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Sunday, December 20, 1998 Published at 15:13 GMT

Chinese Grand Prix cancelled

Chequered future for the Chinese Grand Prix

The Chinese Grand Prix scheduled for 21 March next year has been cancelled.

The sport's governing body - the International Automobile Federation (FIA) - blamed problems "experienced by the organisers".

The Grand Prix, due to be staged at Zhuhai, has been switched to Buenos Aires in Argentina subject to agreement being reached between Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone and the Argentine organisers.

Green light for 2000

China had been listed on a tentative schedule as the second race of the 1999 season.

A decision as to whether it can take place towards the end of the year will be made before the start of the season, but it will definitely be included in the calendar for 2000, said the FIA.

"There remains the possibility that the FIA can secure an agreement with the teams to run an additional race," the FIA said.

"In this case, the Chinese Grand Prix will be held in the autumn of 1999."

There were fears earlier this week for the future of the Belgian Grand Prix next year after it was reported that tax officials are investigating the financing of it.

However, the race - which many drivers consider the best in the world - has been included on the calendar for 29 August.

Mr Ecclestone is already facing a tobacco advertising ban and a European Union antitrust probe.

Tobacco sponsorship, which is crucial to Formula One, must end by 2006.

The 1999 Formula One schedule:

  • 7 March - Melbourne, Australia
  • 11 April - Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • 2 May - San Marino
  • 16 May - Monte Carlo, Monaco
  • 30 May - Barcelona, Spain
  • 13 June - Montreal, Canada
  • 27 June - Magny-Cours, France
  • 11 July - Silverstone, England
  • 25 July - A1 Ring, Austria
  • 1 Aug - Hockenheim, Germany
  • 15 Aug - Budapest, Hungary
  • 29 Aug - Spa, Belgium
  • 12 Sept - Monza, Italy
  • 26 Sept - Nurburgring, Germany
  • 17 Oct - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 31 Oct - Suzuka, Japan

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