Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has affirmed his belief that there is room for three races in China as Formula 1 looks to broaden its reach.
China has played host to 16 world championship grand prix since 2004, with all of them being held at the Shanghai International Circuit since 2004, but Formula 1 has not paid a visit to the country since it hosted the sport’s 1000th race back in 2019 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of 2023, there will be three races in the United States within around 2,500 miles of each other as Vegas is added to the pre-existing events in Austin and Miami.
While the distance between Shanghai and Beijing is not quite as large, a 12-hour drive still separates them, and Wolff believes that it is important to cater to the market in East Asia as extensively as possible.
“We’ve been in Shanghai before and couldn’t be there the last two years, but this is an important market for us,” he told Xinhua in China.
“I’d like to not only race in Shanghai, I’d also like to race in Beijing. 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 US now and if we can do the same thing in China, that would be great.”
The potential arrival of three races in China, as well a return to South Africa and a more profound exploration of the American market, means that there may end up being no place for some of the most iconic racetracks on the calendar such as Monaco and Belgium.
Daniel Ricciardo has finished on the podium in Monte Carlo four times, winning the race in 2018.
The Australian enjoys reaching out to new audiences as the sport grows in popularity, but warns that it would be ill-advised for the sport to turn its back on its foundations.
“I like sharing the sport with more of the globe, and ultimately sharing our passion with more people,” he said.
“There are those core F1 venues and circuits such as Monaco. It’s a special weekend.
“For sure, like the race, it’s one of the most tricky circuits to overtake so, you know, I’m not sure it provides like the ultimate viewing experience on a Sunday but the weekend experience and just everything that is Monaco is special and unique.
“Winning it or not, I think going there as an F1 driver and having that and experiencing all the emotions that go with competing in Monaco, it’s unique.”
In any case, the likelihood of China hosting a race, for now at least, looks relatively remote due to the country’s “Zero Covid” policy.