Friday, 15 April 2011

David Coulthard: China and Formula One – a love affair which never really took off

China's potential remains untapped. This is now the eighth grand prix in China but the world's second largest economy still sleeps when it comes to F1.

It provides a lot of money to Formula One through race hosting fees, but little else.

I remember everyone getting very excited in 2003 when we were about to come here. Teams were scrawling Chinese messages on their cars and the like but the country has still not responded to the sport.

Certainly not on a commercial level. It is surprising when you think about it; China and Formula One should be a marriage made in heaven. Instead what we have is a half-empty, fairly soulless track about an hour out of town where the grandstands are largely empty and you need a bus to get from one end of the paddock to the other.

Martin Brundle will not be doing his grid walk because he physically cannot get from the grid to the TV compound in time to start his race commentary.

You would think Chinese companies would be trying to capitalise on F1's marketing potential but very few appear to want to. McLaren have Aigo but that is about it.

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