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China gets new three-year Formula 1 contract to end of 2020

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Formula 1 will continue to visit China for the next three years after announcing a new contract for the race in Shanghai lasting until the end of 2020.

China first hosted F1 at the Shanghai International Circuit back in 2004, joining the calendar as part of the sport’s push into Asia that also saw the likes of Bahrain, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and Korea stage races.

The race’s pre-existing contract expired after this year’s running in April, but F1’s new bosses were keen to keep the race on the calendar given the size and importance of the Chinese market.

On Friday, F1 issued a statement confirming a new three-year deal had been agreed with the promoters of the race in Shanghai, securing its place on the calendar through to the end of 2020.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement which will see the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix continue as a fixture of the Formula 1 World Championship for at least a furthe three years,” F1 CEO and chairman Chase Carey said.

“This great country has already demonstrated an overwhelming show of interest in our sport and we firmly believe there is still a great deal of unexplored potential here. That’s why this renewed agreement is so important as part of our development strategy, especially in this part of the world.

“We and our partners in this venture want to make this Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix even more spectacular, while bringing Chinese fans ever closer to the sport.

“Finally, we wish to thank the Shanghai Municipal Government for the support it has given and continues to give to the Grand Prix, which has been a crucial element of its success.”

As part of the new deal, China is confirmed to be swapping dates with Bahrain for 2018, the latter becoming the second round of the season on April 8.

Shanghai will stage its race one week later on April 15 in order to avoid clashing with a national holiday in China.

Red Bull Air Race: Yoshi Muroya joins Sato as Japanese champs at Indy

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool
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Takuma Sato isn’t the only major Japanese athlete to take home top honors at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this year. Countryman Yoshihide Muroya joined him in that on Sunday after winning Red Bull Air Race at IMS, and the Red Bull Air Race World Championship in the process.

Fittingly, the 101st Indianapolis 500 champion was there on site to join him in the celebration.

Muroya flew with a track-record run in the final and erased the four-point deficit to points leader Martin Sonka. The record run came after a disappointing qualifying effort of 11th in the 14-pilot field in the Master Class.

A day after the win, Muroya joined Sato in heading to Sato’s new Verizon IndyCar Series team, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s, Indianapolis-based shop.

A few social posts from Muroya’s victory and the subsequent celebration are below.

CHECKING OUT EACH OTHER’S RIDES

ASTLES BREAKS THOUGH AS WELL

Muroya wasn’t alone among big winners at the Speedway. In the Challenger Class, Melanie Astles of France became the first woman to win a major race at IMS, and is the first female winner in the Red Bull Air Race World Championship.

Nine women have competed in the Indianapolis 500 (Janet Guthrie, Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick, Milka Duno, Simona de Silvestro, Pippa Mann, Ana Beatriz, Katherine Legge) and Mann is the first woman to have been on the pole position at IMS, having done so for the Freedom 100 in 2010 in Indy Lights.

Photo: Joerg Mitter/Red Bull Content Pool