Shanghai International Circuit acquires F1 license, Rolex Masters returns with new look
The Shanghai International Circuit has obtained the Grade One Circuit License from the Federation of International Automobiles (FIA) in preparation for the resumption of the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix.
Since 2004, the circuit in suburban Jiading District has hosted the world's premier motor racing championship.
The Chinese Grand Prix has been absent from the F1 schedule since the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, but it is anticipated to return in 2024, which will also be the 20th anniversary of the circuit's founding.
According to Juss Sports, which manages the circuit, it started maintenance and improvement work on the track last year.
The track surface and tire walls have been repaired, the underground tunnel has been renovated, the grandstand seats have been upgraded, and the outfield environment of the circuit has been improved.
On Tuesday, Juss confirmed that it had acquired the Grade One Circuit License, allowing it to host F1 races and other international and national motor racing events sanctioned by the FIA and the Chinese Automobile and Motorcycle Sports Federation (CAMF).
The license is valid for three years. The last time the Shanghai International Circuit held the license was from 2017 to 2019. The 2019 F1 Chinese Grand Prix marked the 1,000th race in F1 history.
Though the exact date for the 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix has yet to be determined, Shanghai's sports fans will be able to enjoy world-class international events and tournaments this year.
On Monday, the ATP executives announced an upgraded version of the 2023 Rolex Shanghai Masters with a longer schedule and a 96-player singles field.
The world's top 100 male tennis players will convene at Minhang's Qizhong Tennis Center from October 2 to 15.
ATP CEO Massimo Calvelli and Alison Lee, the ATP's executive vice president for the international region, were present at the event.
Lee, who has witnessed the growth of the tennis scene in the city, has been particularly impressed by the venue and organization of the Rolex Shanghai Masters.
"The facilities and energy of the city are top-level, including the tailored service for the players," Lee remarked. "We were able to push the tournament forward from an ATP 250 event to its current size.
"There will be a lot of new faces coming to Shanghai this year."
Lee said that the rise of a group of Chinese male players will be another attraction for tennis fans here.
Zhang Zhizhen, a Shanghai native, became the first Chinese player to reach the quarterfinals of an ATP Masters 1000 event earlier this month when he defeated Taylor Fritz of the United States at the Madrid Open.
In February, Wu Yibing defeated American opponent John Isner at the Dallas Open to become the first Chinese player to capture an ATP Tour trophy.
Shang Juncheng, 17, made a spectacular debut at the Australian Open in January, storming into the second round, the first win by a Chinese mainland men's singles player in the Open Era (since 1968).
"China has very good young and rising players like Wu, Zhang and Shang," Lee said. "You can also see that they interact with the tennis circle in a very relaxed way. They are the new ambassadors of China's tennis, and will add excitement to the Rolex Shanghai Masters."