Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has declared he would like to see three Chinese Grand Prix races on the Formula One calendar as he urges the motorsport to target growth in the Far East nation.
F1 is set for it's maiden Miami Grand Prix this weekend, the first of two races in the United States on the calendar this season, with Austin later in the year while Las Vegas will join the schedule in 2023 with a night race.
That gives the US more races than any other country on the calendar and more than some continents have combined, though there is expected growth with additional races on the calendar in the coming years to increase on the current 23-race schedule.
The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai is set to be one of those additional races, returning to the Formula One calendar in 2023 after an extended absence amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Wolff believes there should be additional races in China on the schedule.
“We’ve been in Shanghai before and couldn’t be there the last two years, but this is an important market for us. I’d like to not only race in Shanghai, I’d also like to race in Beijing," he said in an interview with Xinhua.
“It’s a fantastic market for us as Mercedes, and I believe we should be embedded there with a strong footprint. We have three races in the U.S. now, Las Vegas, Miami and Austin and if we can do the same thing in China, that would be great.”
Introduced to the Formula One calendar in 2004, the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai was a mainstay right up until 2019, when Lewis Hamilton took the chequered flag in what was the 1000th race in F1 history, but the 2020 race was cancelled due to the pandemic.
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In 2021, China was again off the calendar and wasn't included for this season's record-breaking 23-race schedule. However, a three-year agreement has been signed until 2025 and Shanghai will welcome Formula One back to its shores next year.
The return of China and the introduction of Las Vegas to the calendar could see another record-breaking season next year with 24 races, which is the current maximum allowed with the current agreement, and has seen speculation that iconic races could lose their spot.
Qatar is also set to earn a permanent spot, with expectation they could replace the cancelled Russian Grand Prix on this season's calendar, while there's also a prospect of new Grand Prix in Africa in the near future – which may mean calendar rotation is necessary.
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