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Big plans for Asia 23 Mar 2003

Bernie Ecclestone (GBR) F1 Supremo.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang, Malaysia, 21 March 2003

Bernie Ecclestone had a series of meetings with Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahatir to ensure that the Malaysian Grand Prix went ahead as planned and was not cancelled at the last moment because of the Gulf War.

Formula One's powerbroker also met with representatives of the putative Chinese Grand Prix who visited Malaysia this weekend to study the Herman Tilke-designed Sepang circuit and gain a better understanding of how the infrastructure of Formula One works.

The Jordan Fords of Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralph Firman bore allegiance to the Chinese race via signage for the Shanghai International Circuit and China Central Television as part of its sponsorship deal as CCTV's 'preferred team.'

The new circuit at Shanghai is already well advanced. Construction work commenced last October once a deal had been agreed with the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone to stage a race "between 2004 and 2010," and the facility is expected to accommodate 200,000.

Ecclestone said in a television interview: "Malaysia has done a very good job organising this race. Dr Mahatir is a man of vision. Soon we will have China and Bahrain on the Formula One calendar."