China could get second F1 race

Sean Bratches and others touring China in search of 2nd race
Sean Bratches and others touring China in search of 2nd race

(GMM) F1's owner Liberty Media has admitted it could add a second race in China to the calendar.

In Shanghai last weekend for the third race of 2019, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: "Why not go to Hong Kong or Beijing?"

Wolff said China is a big market for the sport and for manufacturers like Mercedes, and it seems that F1's commercial boss Sean Bratches agrees.

A report by the French news agency AFP said a street race in Beijing is being considered.

"In terms of interest, we would be highly interested in a street race," Bratches confirmed.

"It would be a nice juxtaposition to the purpose-built, extraordinary facility that we have here."

We reported after the Chinese grand prix that F1 chief executive Chase Carey traveled directly to Vietnam to check out the site of a 2020 street race in Hanoi.

But Bratches said Liberty Media chiefs are actually touring China this week.

"There's meetings set up in each (city) with government officials to talk about identifying a second city to host a grand prix," he said.

"We think there's an opportunity to grow from that perspective."

Former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone criticized the decision to host the sport's 1000th race in China rather than at Silverstone, the scene of the first race in 1950.

But Bratches said: "We have no regrets about it and we'd make the same decision."

More broadly, F1 is needing to reconnect with the Asian market with only the long-standing event in Japan and the modern gem of Singapore catching the continent's attention. Malaysia, India and Korea have all left the calendar but Vietnam is readying for a race in 2020 and there has also been talk of a Philippine Grand Prix in the coming years.

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