F1 project under way in Shanghai

FIA president Max Mosley flew into China from Japan yesterday to inspect the site of the new Shanghai International Circuit, the likely venue of the inaugural 2004 Chinese GP. The city has invested more than US$180m in the initial construction phase of the 5.3km (3.3-mile) track, Shanghai International Circuit Company director Li Qinming told the AFP news agency

F1 project under way in Shanghai

Chen Liangiou, the mayor of Shanghai, announced that a provisional contract to stage the race had been signed with Formula One Management in July, when the project faced competition for the GP from Beijing and Wuhan (in the central province of Hubei). Li Chengwei, vice-secretary of the ASN, China Automobile Sporting Association (CASA), said at the time that, although only Beijing and Shanghai had submitted their track designs, "Many issues remain unclear."

Zhuhai, where an international-standard circuit was completed in 1996, is no longer in the frame. The venue in the southern economic development zone of Guangdong, near Hong Kong, gained a provisional F1 listing, but there were logistical problems with it, and its operating company was declared insolvent in 1999.

Designed in Germany by Tilke Engineering & Architecture, the Shanghai circuit will have a variety of different layouts (including a flat oval), and a drag strip. It is being built to the north-west of Shanghai about 20 miles from the city's HongQiao International Airport, and will be a component of the enormous, 10-year Anting Automobile City project, which is conceived as a future economic powerhouse for China.


The municipality and private industry plan to invest no less than 50bn yuan ($6.3bn) in the 68sq.km Anting development zone, including automobile manufacturing, exhibition and services facilities, a new transport infrastructure, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Quality Testing Research Institute, and the Tongji Automobile College. VW already has a factory in the area. Half the finance for the project will come from foreign investors, according to Cheng Guang, the deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Development Planning Commission. By 2010, Cheng predicted, Anting's annual trade volume could hit US$36bn.

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