Ecclestone, Mosley to Sign China F1 Deal

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Max Mosley will sign an agreement to hold a Grand Prix in Shanghai from 2004 to 2010, the company building the new China circuit said on Tuesday.

Ecclestone, Mosley to Sign China F1 Deal

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Max Mosley will sign an agreement to hold a Grand Prix in Shanghai from 2004 to 2010, the company building the new China circuit said on Tuesday.

Shanghai, China's richest city and bustling financial hub, has begun work on a 5.45-km (3.39 mile) racetrack and hopes to host a Grand Prix event in 2004 once it is complete.

India, Dubai, Egypt and Turkey are other possible candidates to join the Formula One calendar that year.

"Mr. Ecclestone and Mr. Mosley will visit Shanghai very soon," an official from the Shanghai International Circuit Company Ltd told a news conference. "They will participate in the opening ceremony for work on the track ... and on October 20 they will sign an agreement to hold a Formula One Grand Prix event in Shanghai from 2004 to 2010."

The Chinese company said in July it had an agreement in principle with the Formula One administration to stage races in the city during that six-year period.

China hopes the two billion yuan ($240 million) circuit - designed by German racetrack engineer Hermann Tilke, who was also responsible for a new track in Malaysia, the sport's latest newcomer - will attract more attention to the high-speed sport.

City officials also hope a Shanghai Grand Prix would join a series of high-profile events the country has been named to host. Shanghai held an Asia-Pacific summit last year and Beijing will host the 2008 Olympics as well as this year's ATP Tennis Masters.

Not First Attempt

The Shanghai circuit, designed to look like the Chinese character 'shang', meaning 'to rise', is scheduled for completion in March 2004. It will hold 200,000 spectators and also include a theme park.

The Shanghai track is not China's first attempt at joining the Formula One circuit.

China spent more than nine years developing a circuit in the southern city of Zhuhai and was scheduled to join the Formula One calendar in 1998, but the track failed to meet international standards.

The cities of Beijing, Wuhan and Xian are also planning to build motor racing tracks, company officials said on Tuesday.

At present, the Formula One season comprises 17 Grands Prix, 11 of them in Europe. Malaysia was the most recent addition in 1999 and a new circuit outside Moscow is scheduled to be completed in 2003.

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