F1 up for 2nd Chinese GP after ‘huge impact’ brought by Zhou Guanyu
Published: Dec 01, 2021 08:55 PM
Stefano Domenicali, the boss of Formula 1, told media outlet The Race on Tuesday that a second race in China is "100 percent realistic" and that the growing popularity of its newest driver, China's first F1 racer Zhou Guanyu, can make a "huge impact" when it comes to getting people interested in racing.  

"And I can tell you we have already received interest from another city to have a Grand Prix in China," said Domenicali to media, hinting that another Chinese city is looking to host the event in addition to the previous host Shanghai. 

Although it was a big disappointment for many after the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai was halted after 2019 due to COVID-19, the grid decided to extend its contract with Shanghai until 2025. 

"This is great news for all of our fans in China and we are delighted to announce this agreement that will see us racing in Shanghai until 2025," Domenicali said in a statement to media on November 6. 

Besides confirming to media that there is hope for a second Chinese Grand Prix, the CEO also noted that the huge popularity of Zhou can help the event expand into the Chinese market. 

"And I'm sure that the effect of Zhou being in the F1 world, the first Chinese driver in Formula 1, will have a huge impact on awareness."

Zhou became China's top sport star in 2021, the same year Alfa Romeo announced he also became a member. 

The news about this 22-year-old handsome-looking driver's international career earned more than 250 million views on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on the day he made his F1 debut. 

Many netizens see him as the "face" of China in the industry. 

"I started to be a F1 fan more than 10 years ago. Back then it was European and fancy, far from us. To be able to see Zhou in the sport is like fruits finally coming off a tree. It made me even more interested in the sport even though Zhou is not my favourite style-wise," Yao Wang, a Chinese F1 fan, told the Global Times.   

F1's intention to set the Grand Prix in China was also celebrated by overseas fans, many of whome said it brings a breath of "fresh air" to the industry.

"The sport has been 'overly mature' in Europe I guess, not saying it is sad, but expanding into new markets in Asia sounds like a good idea to me, like bringing in fresh air, rejuvenating what already existed here," Tom, a F1 fan in Bristol, the UK, told the Global Times. 

In 2004, China Shanghai hosted its first F1 race. As the most populated country in the world, it has seen F1 audience figures rise 43 percent year-on-year annually.