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F1 NEWS 

Chinese GP likely to stay beyond 2010

Chinese Grand PrixThe Chinese Grand Prix is likely to stay in Shanghai beyond 2010, according to race organisers.

A circuit official had said recently that organisers were weighing up whether or not to extend their contract beyond 2010, amid poor ticket sales.

"We're doing the assessment. By next year we should be able to give you an answer," Qiu Weichang, deputy director of the Shanghai Administration of Sports, said.

"We want to create a win-win situation, for our side and for Bernie (Ecclestone) and the F1 organisers as well. If this is something we can do, and our cooperation is very happy and smooth, we will consider it.

"Of course we would like at least to break even. But there are two factors, one is the assessment the other part is the win-win situation that we can create."

However, Leon Sun of organisers Juss Events, played down the comments, saying they had been probably misunderstood.

Sun believes the Formula One race is good for China.

"I've spoken to Mr Qiu and he never said the Grand Prix was going to leave China," he told Reuters.

"I think it's probably some misunderstanding in translation. I would say it's likely it will stay after 2010. Formula One has only been here for five years. To build a spectator base is not easy, it's a long term operation.

"We think Formula One is a very good product, a very good event for Shanghai city so at least from our company's point of view we want to continue promoting and building the event.

"Research shows there are more and more race fans in China, so I don't think we will say no to the Formula One Grand Prix."

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