F1 racetrack Shanghai – Approach to Hongqiao airport (Shanghai)
Originally uploaded by Marc van der Chijs.
The Shanghai Daily reported today that the ticket sales for this weekend’s F1 race are not as good as last year. The promotor for the race thinks that about 110,000 people will attend the main race, compared to 150,000 last year.
I am not sure whether announcing this is a smart move. The reason is that in China you are normally able to get cheap tickets right before an event starts if it is not sold out. Scalpers for example sell tickets given to people who do not use them (a regular practice in China is to give tickets to events as a gift to customers). Last year everyone anticipated a sold out event, and because of that all tickets were bought in advance. However, many of my friends are now waiting for tickets from scalpers to become available.
Another reason for the lower sales are the increased prices for the tickets. The F1 organization probably thought that because of a sold-out event last year they could raise prices. But because it is not a novelty anymore, many people are not willing to pay prices of sometimes several thousand yuan for a ticket. The fact that this is the last race of the season, and Alonso has been crowned champion already, also does not help.
At least some things will be improved in comparison to last year. Shuttle buses are for free this year for example. But more important, they are able to drive around the perimeter of the stands. Last year I had to walk for at least 45 minutes to get to my stand, which was on the exact other side of the track. I don’t mind, but not everybody likes to walk so far.
What most likely will still be the same is the long wait for buses to get back to the city, and the traffic jams after the race is over. Last year I was lucky to have an invitiation for the after-party at the Volkswagen test track (close to the F1 circuit), so I avoided this. But friends told me it took them hours to get on a bus and get back to downtown Shanghai.