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Mercedes-Benz Boss Sees China as Future of Formula 1

Organisers regard China has a huge potential market for motorsports, given its rapidly emerging middle class and huge market for carmakers


British Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton drives a Mercedes-Benz in a qualifying round of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in Italy last month. Photo: Reuters

 

The head of the Mercedes-Benz Formula 1 team believes China could host three races each season once the sport makes a post-pandemic comeback.

Organisers regard China has a huge potential market for motorsports, given its rapidly emerging middle class and huge market for carmakers.

The Chinese Grand Prix is absent from the F1 calendar for the third straight year due to China’s Covid-19 surge but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expects motor racing will develop a “strong footprint” in the country.

China is relatively lacking in motorsport culture, but F1 has extended its contract with the Grand Prix until 2025 and there has long been talk of a second race in the country.

“We’ve been in Shanghai before and couldn’t be there the last two years, but this is an important market for us,” Wolff told Xinhua news agency at the FIA Formula E Championship in Monaco over the weekend.

“I’d like to not only race in Shanghai, I’d also like to race in Beijing. It’s a fantastic market for us at Mercedes, and I believe we should be embedded there.

He said there was no reason that China couldn’t have three races like the US. “We have … Las Vegas, Miami and Austin – and if we can do the same thing in China, that would be great.”

China’s first Formula 1 driver Guanyu Zhou enjoyed a superb start to his career at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in March, as the Alfa Romeo rookie finished in the points on his debut.

Ma Qinghua and Dutch-born Ho-Pin Tung have also driven for F1 teams.

 

  • Reuters with additional editing by George Russell

 

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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