The Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit has been on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar since 2004 and is set to host Formula 1‘s 1000th Grand Prix in April this year.
F1 and other motorsport series have broadened their brands into China, a country that has the second-largest economy and is a key location for car manufacturers.
Head of Global Sponsorship and Commercial Partnerships Murray Barnett, who was in Beijing for an F1 strategic marketing conference, told China’s state news agency Xinhua about F1‘s prospects.
“We would love to have a second race here,” Barnett added.
“Probably not in the short-term, given how congested the schedule is already. But we’d certainly love to figure out a way to have another grand prix here.”
“We’re looking at a number of different things to try to generate more interest on a local basis.
“We can’t just be here for the three days of the Grand Prix. We need to have a year-round presence here and be much more locally relevant in order to really establish a big fanbase here.”
China has yet to have a representative competing in a Grand Prix. Ma Qing Hua has been the only Chinese driver to take part in an official practice session but not in a qualifying session or race.
The best young hopeful from the country is Guanyu Zhou, the 19-year old former Ferrari Driver Academy protege finished eighth in the 2018 FIA Formula 3 European Championship before graduating into the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship. He has also been taken on in Renault‘s F1 junior scheme this year.
Barnett added on Zhou‘s chances, saying that F1 “might see him” in the years to come.
“We’d love to see him [in F1]. Ultimately, that’s down to the teams, but I think even they recognise what a fantastic opportunity China is.
“You never know, we might see him in F1 very soon.”
Adding a second race in China would require the current calendar to expand, given that F1‘s owners Liberty Media had already mentioned that the sport is willing to increase to a maximum of 25 races.
In November, Liberty confirmed the Hanoi Street Circuit in Vietnam would be hosting a Grand Prix in the 2020 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, potentially boosting the number of events on the calendar to a possible 22.