Sunday I watched the Shanghai Formula One race, the last race of the 2005 season. We were invited by Xue Qin from Guanchi / Flirting Pictures, a top local TV commercial production company in Shanghai. She gave us excellent tickets: Row 1 just behind the finish line! The seats were really amazing, being just a few meters away from the cars when they drive by at speeds far over 300 kph is quite an experience. She also arranged that our driver could park right outside the Grandstand, and because of that we were back in Shanghai about one hour after we left the circuit. I guess we were ahead of the traffic jams, because it was quite a smooth ride. Last year we were invited by Bertelsmann to the F1 race, and had a corporate Volkswagen event at the VW test track after the finish. So then we also missed the traffic jams, but many people complained about the long ride back.
Contrary to my expectation, the seats were pretty much filled. In the Grandstand where we had our seats almost all seats were sold out. Outside the Grandstand people were literally throwing money at us to buy our tickets! Quite amazing when you know that Grandstand tickets were almost 4000 RMB (=400 EUR) per seat. I read in the paper that total attendance on Sunday was 130,000 people (a full house is 150,000 people), better than expected a few days ago.
The race was fantastic to watch, although you sometimes miss what has happened (on TV the commenters keep you better informed). Only at home I found out that Montoya had hit a loose drain cover, and therefore had to retire. Exactly the same as what happened at the DTM race in Pudong last year. It seems the organizers did not learn from the mistakes of their DTM counterparts. I also watched that one, and we had to wait for hours before the race was re-started. This time luckily the race continued as planned, but it cost Mercedes-McLaren the constructors title. But all in all it was a great race, especially when you get invited to the best seats in the house!