Chinese GP this weekend


The Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai is this weekend. After an interesting race in the season opener in Melbourne with Ferrari getting a clever win, we sincerely hope that the close competition will continue. On a circuit where passing is possible, it will be interesting to see just how the passing king Max Verstappen will go with his Red Bull.

The race will start at 1 p.m. Thai time on Sunday, and we watch the huge screen at Jameson’s! Jameson’s is right next to Nova Park, if you are unsure. Get there at noon for lunch and an ale or three.

The history of the Grand Prix is interesting, where the GP has had problems from day 1. The race debuted on 26 September 2004, and was won by Ferrari’s Rubens Barrichello. The following year, it hosted the final round of the Formula One championship, in which the newly crowned world champion Fernando Alonso won and claimed the constructor’s title for Renault. In 2006, the Chinese Grand Prix was won by Michael Schumacher – his last victory in Formula One.

In November 2008 the BBC reported a senior race official, Qiu Weichang, as suggesting that the loss-making race might be cancelled (as Singapore and Malaysia at present). Following a similar announcement about the French Grand Prix, Qiu Weichang said that the race’s future was under consideration, and a decision would be made in 2009.

2010 came and went with no formal announcement of an extension to the initial seven race deal struck in 2004. However, immediately after the 2010 Shanghai race Bernie Ecclestone, who managed the contracts with the various circuits, said of the 2011 calendar, “We are not dropping anything. [It’s] 20 races – getting ready for 25.”

It was only in February 2011 that a deal was agreed between F1 and the organizers of the Chinese round of the world championship. Reasons for the delay appear to have been over the fee paid to F1 to host the race. After racking up losses year after year, the organizers of the race refused to pay the fee required, reported to be amongst the highest paid to host an F1 race. F1 bosses appear to have reduced the fee and the new agreement to host an F1 race runs to 2017. What happens now with Bernie out of the equation and the new owners of F1 in charge? Watch this space.