WHILE Asia loses one of its stops on the Formula One calendar after this weekend, the Chinese Grand Prix will continue until at least 2020.
Formula One confirmed on Friday that the Shanghai race will continue for at least three more years.
The race, which made its debut in 2004, will swap places with Bahrain on next year’s calendar, moving to April 15.
The current Chinese race weekend coincides with the country’s three-day Qingming national holiday, also known as the Tomb Sweeping Festival, where families pay respects to their ancestors.
Chase Carey, the F1 chairman and CEO, said in a statement: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement which will see the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix continue as a fixture of the Formula 1 World Championship for at least a further three years.
“This great country has already demonstrated an overwhelming show of interest in our sport and we firmly believe there is still a great deal of unexplored potential here.
“That’s why this renewed agreement is so important as part of our development strategy, especially in this part of the world.”
This year’s race, which was won by Lewis Hamilton for a fifth time, was the last under the previous contract.
Jiang Lan, chairman of Shanghai Juss Sports Development, who organise the race, said the Chinese Grand Prix is “one of the most prestigious and recognised events” on the F1 calendar.
“Since its Shanghai debut in 2004, the Formula 1 Chinese F1 Grand Prix has become a motorsport showpiece for China but also a fixture for all of Asia Pacific’s and global motorsports fans,” added Jiang.
The news comes in a bittersweet week for F1 in Asia.
Malaysia, which pioneered Formula One’s push into the region, is set to host its final grand prix in Sepang on Sunday.
Singapore, though, recently agreed a four-year extension, keeping it on the calendar until at least 2021. – Reuters.