Formula One's boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Chinese Grand Prix will remain after 2010 but continued losses for the city of Shanghai make the future of the event less than certain.
Chinese news media have estimated the anticipated losses over the seven years of the current contract, which runs out next year, at nearly a billion dollars.
Shanghai's deputy sports minister said last year a decision would be announced over the five-year renewal option before the end of this year.
After a news conference involving those city officials at was cancelled so Ecclestone could meet with a vice-mayor, the octogenarian Briton emerged in ebullient mood, saying as long as there is China, Formula one will be here.
Ecclestone has been the driving force behind Formula One's expansion into Asia,
But Shanghai's circuit has never come anywhere near filling its 200,000 seats.