Chinese authorities hint at plan for new F1 deal

The Shanghai government has dropped a firm hint that this year's Chinese Grand Prix will not be the last one.

Chinese authorities hint at plan for new F1 deal
Fans in the grandstand
Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull Racing RB12
Overview of the starting grid
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF16-H
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 Team W07
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The 2017 race, which is scheduled to take place on April 9, is the final event under the terms of China's current contract.

Although race organisers Juss Event Management have previously declared their confidence in sorting out a new deal, it is understood that there has been no rush to finalise matters.

Furthermore, the change in the running of F1 – with Liberty Media taking over control of the sport – has not acted as a spur for matters to get sorted out either.

However, in documents published by the Shanghai government, it has been made clear that the F1 race remains an integral part of the local authority's plans to drive growth in the region.

In what was called the 'Shanghai Sports Industry Development Program 2016-2020', the local government said it wanted showpiece events like F1.

"By 2020 [Shanghai] commits to keeping the momentum of holding an iconic event in each month," the government publication said.

"Firstly, to improve the operation and effectiveness of the eight exiting big events, such as the F1 Chinese Grand Prix…Thirdly, to grow the appeal of Shanghai to international top commercial sport events…and add 1-2 big events by 2020."

According to the plan, Shanghai will be obliged to "increase the spillover effect of exiting renowned sport events including tennis, track and field, marathon, equestrianism, motor racing, snooker, cycling, etc." in order to expand business interests.

Chase Carey, who replaces Bernie Ecclestone as the new F1 CEO, said recently that he believed Asia was an important market for the sport.

"I definitely would agree that the US is an area of opportunity for the sport in the longer term," he told the official F1 website. "But so is the Americas and Asia - and we certainly believe that all these are important areas of growth."

Reporting by Frankie Mao

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