F1 Better Off in China than Austria, Says Lauda

Formula One has more to gain by racing in China and Bahrain than in Austria, according to Niki Lauda.

F1 Better Off in China than Austria, Says Lauda

Formula One has more to gain by racing in China and Bahrain than in Austria, according to Niki Lauda.

Austria's greatest Grand Prix driver, three-times a champion, was quoted in the race programme for what is expected to be the country's last Grand Prix as saying that he saw no chance of Austria staging a race after 2003.

"No. It is better for F1 racing to have a race in China or the Middle East than in Austria," he said when asked about a possible 'miraculous return'.

"I am sorry because I have always enjoyed racing in Styria (the local region)," he added. "It is not just a cliche that the Austrian GP is different, it really is. It was my home race and I am sad it's gone.

"I have always tried to help make it stay or at least come back but things do not look great at the moment."

There are no Austrian drivers in Formula One at present, although Alexander Wurz is McLaren's reserve, and Lauda remains the last to win his home Grand Prix with a victory for McLaren at the old Oesterreichring in 1984.

China and Bahrain are due to be included on the 2004 calendar and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said that this year will be Austria's last race.

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