The extension of China’s formula one contract beyond 2010 may not be as simple as was recently suggested by Bernie Ecclestone.
The F1 chief executive had been asked in Shanghai about rumours that the race could now drop off the calendar, despite it being a crucial market for carmakers and sponsors.
“The contract is ongoing here. We renew every five years. It will go on,” said the Briton, blaming poor attendances on the local promoters but insisting that the government is “fully supportive”.
Earlier, a government official had warned that an “assessment” of whether China should renew its F1 deal was taking place.
And a Reuters media report on Friday predicted that contract negotiations will be “fierce”, after the event recorded “huge losses” over the last seven years.
But race promoter Juss Events’ Leon Sun sounded confident that a deal will be struck.
“It hasn’t been announced because there are still a few technical issues to be sorted out but we’re in good shape.
“It looks good at the moment,” he said. “We’ve got until October this year to sort it out but I’m confident that we’ll have something before that.”