Apr.11 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Shanghai has been on F1’s annual calendar since 2004, but so far the pinnacle of motor sport has not made the expected impact on the crucial Chinese market.
“I’m worried about China,” McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted to AP news agency.
“The potential is huge, the importance is massive and we must make it successful there,” he said.
Whitmarsh thinks that, collectively, the sport has not done enough to promote itself in China, the most populous country on earth with arguably the most important economy.
“We need to work a little harder,” he said. “We as a sport are a little bit arrogant. ‘We’re formula one. We arrive and people will want to come to see us.’
“But China doesn’t need us,” Whitmarsh insisted.
A Chinese hero would help. Caterham already has Ma Qing Hua – a Shanghai local – on its reserve driver roster in 2013, and on Friday he will contest the morning practice session.
“For me, we just need some time to let people understand this sport,” Ma said.
“At the moment, formula one is already a top five sport in China. It’s quite big and growing very fast.”