A cloud is hanging over the future of the Chinese grand prix. The Shanghai race at the imposing Hermann Tilke-penned facility has been on the calendar since 2004, shortly after it was built at a cost of $240 million. F1 drivers say it is one of the better Tilke creations.
“Yes, it’s a good track to drive and quite technical where you can use different lines and quite a lot of (corner) combinations which are quite tricky,” said Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson. 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen agrees: “I think it’s a good circuit for making good races.”
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, however, reports that Shanghai’s current contract expires after 2017. The original 2004 contract has been extended a few times, but reports early in 2011 claimed that the latest deal came only after some wrangling over the fee.
“I think it’s a good track to have on the calendar and I would miss it if it goes away,” said Ericsson. Raikkonen agrees: “For the driving it’s nice but we go where the races are, we don’t decide it. I think Bernie decides where the money comes from so we go, we follow.”