Button visits Shanghai International Circuit 17 Oct 2003
Following last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, BAR team boss David Richards and driver Jenson Button took the opportunity to head east to China and visit the new Shangai International Circuit, venue for the forthcoming inaugural Grand Prix of China in 2004.
The $240 million construction project, scheduled for completion next March, is already well underway and Button and Richards were able to stand at the top of the completed main grandstand and look down to where the start/finish line and pit complex will be.
"The Shanghai circuit looks like it will be a good medium-speed track when it is finished and there appear to be a lot of overtaking opportunities," commented Button. "It looks exciting and challenging and I am looking forward to racing there."
BAR already has a Chinese sponsor with SINA and Richards is keen to establish a big fan base in the country. During the visit he and Button met with a number of high-level politicians and businessmen, including the Vice Mayor of Shanghai, the British Consulate General and members of the British Chamber of Commerce, as well as potential commercial partners.
Moving on from Shanghai to Beijing, Button took part in a photoshoot with the BAR 005 and Guan Qi, otherwise known as Miss China 2003. He also found time to visit the ancient imperial palaces of Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
"This was my first trip to China and we had such a busy schedule I didn't get much time to explore," said Button. "However, there are clearly a great number of Formula One fans here and I am very appreciative of the amount of support they have already given us. I can't wait to come back for the race."
The 2004 Grand Prix of China will take place on September 26, subject to circuit approval.