Formula 1 “would love” to have a second grand prix in China as it looks to increase the sport’s popularity, according to head of global sponsorship Murray Barnett.
There is currently a race in Shanghai that takes place in April, which this year is set to be the 1,000th grand prix since the start of the world championship in 1950. F1 plans on opening an office in Beijing as part of a focus on the Chinese market, and Barnett includes a second race as a future target when space on the calendar allows.
“We would love to have a second race here,” Barnett told the Xinhua News Agency. “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 Shanghai Grand Prix.”
There are currently 21 races on the F1 calendar, with a new event in Vietnam confirmed as joining the schedule in 2020 and the sport also openly pursuing options for a second grand prix in the United States.
Another way of increasing interest in China would come in the form of a local driver, and Barnett admits the move for Guanyu Zhou to Renault — where he will be F1 development driver as well as an academy member — is a step that could easily lead to a race seat in future.
“We’d love to see him [in F1]. Ultimately, that’s down to the teams, but I think even they recognize what a fantastic opportunity China is, and you never know, we might see him in F1 very soon.”
Following confirmation of Zhou’s role, Renault named the rest of its academy members this week as GP3 champion Anthoine Hubert, Max Fewtrell, Victor Martins, Christian Lundgaard and Caio Collet.