China visit important to F1

Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug thinks that the Chinese Grand Prix, next on the F1 calendar, is probably the most important race in the history of the sport

China visit important to F1

"It's a new era for motorsport and we will have more spectators worldwide than any other race," Haug said at Monza. "Especially in America, there will be a lot of talk about the race. I was in Shanghai for the DTM and the city and the people are impressive.

"We will experience some very positive surprises there from the people and the organisers. The racetrack will be state of the art and it's a very positive direction for Formula 1."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis added: "The numbers speak for themselves - it's a huge, emerging market. And virtually every company that supports a team has China in its sights or has launched its product into the Chinese marketplace.

"Formula 1 is already very popular in China. It will become even more popular after the event - and for us, it clearly represents a business opportunity. We're working hard on that. Most teams have spent several months developing the best commercial platform upon which to achieve a relationship with the larger Chinese organisations."

To automobile manufacturers, China represents a huge opportunity. At the moment, only a tiny percentage of the population owns a car and, first of all, you have to obtain a licence to buy a number plate (sold at auction usually for more than £3000 or half the price of the average car in China). But the wealth of the country is growing rapidly and the population is more than 1.3 billion, or, put another way, around 25 times the size of the UK.

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