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Are Chinese drivers making a foray towards F1?

F1 Grand Prix of China
F1 Grand Prix of China
Dev Tyagi
Modified 01 Apr 2020

Ayrton Senna, James Hunt, Niki Lauda, Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Fangio. The list grows longer and wider and the names of Formula 1 world champions do not stop.

The easiest thing, however, to note from the above is that most F1 world champions happened to have hailed from Europe or the Americas.

Why's so?

We know that the bandwidth of the sport here, in these regions, given its popularity vis-a-vis those in regions that aren't essentially linked with a motor-sport culture or history is high.

And that is essentially the reason why one doesn't see a lot many drivers from Asia or other parts of the world making a foray into an arena that's not only among the most dangerous sports on the globe but also a really expensive one.

But surely, the way Formula 1 is changing now in its bid to cater to geographies, reach markets, create a theatre for participation for the remainder of the world, things are going to change and one hopes, for the better.

In these lines, therefore, when one hears the news about an increasing culture of motor-racing in geographies like China, then things appear bright on the horizon.

Here's what you need to know.

So far, there hasn't been a Chinese driver who made his way into F1. Although, the same cannot be said for the Dragon land's neighbour, Japan. With guys like Nakajima and Kobayashi, there's always been participation from Japan in Formula 1.

But where it comes to China, then it seems, the road toward joining Formula 1, arduous and complex that it may be, might not be an existential unreality after all.


Wondering how?

Well, just like in other mainstream European countries where the path toward F1 often goes through the narrow and demanding lanes of go-karting, the same can be said for Thailand.

That said, how are the future or potential F1 entrants coping up with this move?

Right now, in China, the automatic choice for getting into F1 seems to be through one and only conventional albeit essential way: Go Karting.

Drivers, despite being in the late twenties are taking to Go-Karting. In this regard, a lot of private Go-Karting clubs are opening to retain some unique talent, that can possibly be utilized for the pinnacle in the world of motor-racing.

A local but domestically well-bred system of producing possible, future-ready F1 talents. For instance, Ryan Liu from Shanghai just won a highly-followed league: the China GT4 Champion.

He was quoted on the following,:

"This is a beautiful dream, for me, as it is for many other people," Liu said. "Whether or not one can get into F1 depends on maximizing resources in all areas."

To add more fuel to the fire of Chinese drivers, and possible future F1 stars, the presence of many Karting clubs in places like North East Beijing adds that extra bit to at least make the sport dear and not 'beyond everyone's reach in China.

That's a fine step, right?

And, quoting from onlookers in China, it appears that they aren't going to leave out early or suddenly, in the cold like promise und


"We aren't like Italy or Europe where they have professional academies. They'll have professional teams, coaches and engineers or technicians," said He Wei, a go-karter.

But, in the land of the Dragon, where there's the Shanghai Grand Prix, a global event each year, when can we see a Chinese drive and win his local race?

Published 04 Jan 2019, 03:40 IST
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