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Ecclestone in talks to extend Chinese GP deal

FORMULA One chief Bernie Ecclestone has opened talks with Shanghai authorities over extending the contract for the Chinese Grand Prix.

The current deal runs out next year, and poor spectator numbers and corporate interest have put the viability of the race in doubt.

"We are here forever. As long as there is China, we will be here," Ecclestone said. "It is a fantastic race. Everything is good here. It shows the world what we can do in China."

Ecclestone wants local businesses to support the race more, in the wake of oil company Sinopec withdrawing its sponsorship.

"At the moment, the corporations here have not realized exactly what they can get out of F1," Ecclestone said. "I tell you what is a little bit disappointing, is that it is not supported more by local companies."

Ecclestone is bullish about the future of F1 in Asia, with South Korea and India due to be added to the schedule.

"When I decided to bring F1 to Asia everyone said I was mad," Ecclestone said. "It is super. Asia is growing and lots of parts of the world are dying."

Meanwhile, Renault team principal Flavio Briatore has threatened to lead a revolt with other teams against 30 million pound (US$39 million) of television rights money destined for the sport's newest team.

The dispute centers on whether Brawn GP should be considered a new team or a continuation of the Honda team. If it is the former, there is an argument the money could be withheld.

Ross Brawn flayed Briatore over the comments. "It is a shame that he brings those things into the public arena, as it is Formula One Teams' Association's business, but that is his style," Brawn said.


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