BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reflects on the Chinese Grand Prix, highlighting its many incidents, from the BMW WilliamsF1 Team's point of view. Dr Mario Theissen. Photo by BMW PressClub. "This weekend Formula One made...
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reflects on the Chinese Grand Prix, highlighting its many incidents, from the BMW WilliamsF1 Team's point of view.
"This weekend Formula One made history once more by contesting the first ever Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai, a Grand Prix that turned out to be very eventful, and in truly interesting surroundings. Obviously, we are not satisfied with what we achieved on the track, but the days in Shanghai were ones we will never forget."
"China truly amazed us. For those of a nervous disposition, the traffic is a real shock. You have to try and be prepared for all manner of extremely risky moves from both cyclists and pedestrians, and a traffic jam seems to be a must. As there is no more space available for new streets in the sprawling metropolis, the authorities are building the streets in multi-levels."
"I used to ask myself "where do the Chinese park their cars in this booming city?" I couldn't find any car parks or multi-storey car parks. Maybe this is the reason why the streets are so overcrowded all the time."
"The facilities at the track, which has been built on dried up marshes located an hour from Shanghai's city centre are just incredible. The area is huge, with the futuristic pit buildings and grandstands styled in traditional Chinese elements."
"The media centre, located on the ninth floor of an 'eye-shaped' building directly above the pit straight, is particularly impressive. From there, media representatives are offered the chance of watching nearly the entire circuit, enabling them to spread the latest news around the world."
"The Shanghai International Circuit has set a new Formula One benchmark, but it is vital that the sport maintains a healthy mixture of tradition and modern spirit. Therefore, neither the N?rburgring nor Silverstone or Spa should lose their significance. Formula One without these traditional circuits is absolutely unimaginable."
"They have to be a part of the Formula One calendar just as the futuristic circuits at Shanghai, Bahrain and Malaysia should be. We are already looking forward to the 2005 season, when the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix will represent Formula One's newest challenge."
"The race has provided China, and motor racing in general, with a massive boost. For BMW, China currently represents the fastest growing market with an enormous potential. BMW is already producing cars in China and is well established in the luxury class. In the first eight months of 2004, BMW increased its outlet on the Chinese market -- consisting of China, Hong Kong and Taiwan -- to 16,620 cars. This represents a 23.9% increase compared to the same period last year."
"Furthermore, BMW has been involved in Asian motor racing for some time. In 2003, our 'young gun' series, the Formula BMW Asia, made its debut. As a reward for his achievements, Ho-Pin Tung, the first Formula BMW Asia Champion, got the chance of a bonus test behind the wheel of the WilliamsF1 BMW -- thus becoming the first ever Chinese driver to drive a Formula One car. Ho-Pin was our guest for the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. It was great to see that he was recognised and acknowledged by his fans from all over China."
"This year, another Chinese Formula BMW Asia driver has caused a sensation, 22-year old Han Han. In order to finance his motor racing career, Han Han has already written several books taking a critical stance concerning the Chinese educational and training system, of which he has already sold an incredible five million copies."
"I'm really anxious to see how motor sport will develop in China, there is certainly huge potential. Somebody recently compared the Chinese Grand Prix with the Alaska gold rush, let's wait and see!"