Shanghai: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Friday confirmed there will be a record 20 Grand Prix races in the world championship next year with a race in India joining the calendar.
Ecclestone had been expected to drop one or two races to make room for India but despite rumours that the events held in Turkey and planned for South Korea were under pressure, he insisted they will continue.
Fresh from a visit to Yeongam in South Korea, Ecclestone told reporters at the Shanghai International Circuit, hosting the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, he was confident the first Korean Grand Prix would go ahead in October.
“We will definitely be there,” he said. “We will be there.
“And next year? We are not dropping anything – it’s 20 races – getting ready for 25!”
The Indian event, to be staged at a purpose-built sports complex, including a cricket stadium, at Noida, near Delhi, will take place in October 2011. It is set to have a 10-year contract.
Ecclestone also criticised local race organisers in China for not promoting their event properly. The Chinese Grand Prix is the fourth stop of the 19-race season in 2010.
“It is a shame because the whole venue is super, everything is good,” the 79-year-old F1 boss said. “They are not promoting it properly – it is as simple as that.
“The people that run the place ought to do a bit more. If you were in Shanghai you wouldn’t even know there is a race here.”
Most of the grandstands at the 200,000-capacity Shanghai circuit were empty for Friday’s opening practice sessions for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
An initial seven-year contract for the Chinese Grand Prix was scheduled to end this weekend, but Ecclestone said the event would continue on a rolling contract.