Chinese Grand Prix tickets not on sale yet

Shanghai has struggled to attract spectators even when the rain stayed away

Shanghai has struggled to attract spectators even when the rain stayed away

The 2010 Chinese Grand Prix is 100 days away but ticket sales have not yet begun for the event.

F1.com doesn’t have any tickets on sale for the race yet and there’s been nothing on the Shanghai International Circuit’s website, which now appears to have gone down.

It’s the earliest round of the championship which tickets aren’t on sale for. One ticket seller told me tickets for the Chinese event are “always late”. This is especially problematic for people outside China wishing to go to the race who have to apply for a Visa.

There are a few online sellers claiming to have tickets available but they don’t seem to allow you to pick where you sit – making you wonder whether they’ve got official details on ticket sales yet.

Poor attendance has dogged the Chinese Grand Prix in recent years. The race organisers have stopped trying to sell tickets for the massive grandstand alongside turns 12 and 13, turning it into an advertising hoarding instead.

There have also been reports of people being brought to the circuit just to fill seats and make it appear more full, something which also happened at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Tickets have also not yet become available for another poorly-attended event, the Turkish Grand Prix.

It’s hardly surprising that the future of both events is in doubt. The original seven-year contract for the Shanghai circuit to hold the Chinese round of the championship expires after this year’s race and no new contract has been announced yet.

The Istanbul race is in a similar situation, with its seven-year deal set to run out after next year’s race.

The two races have much in common. Both are held at purpose-built facilities constructed at huge costs using government money – but both lie some way outside of the cities their tracks are named after (I can vouch from experience).

China is one of the fastest-growing markets for passenger car sales in the world – 1.04m were sold last November as the government reduced taxes on car purchases.

The same isn’t true of Turkey, which claimed a race-day attendance of just 32,000 last year – less than half the number of people who attended Friday practice at Silverstone.

Demand for these races may not be high, but by not offering ticket sales as early as possible and allowing fans the maximum time to make their travel arrangements, the race organisers are missing out on potential sales.

Planning to go to the 2010 Chinese or Turkish Grands Prix? Swap notes with other fans who are going here:

Read more: 2010 F1 calendar

Image (C) www.mclaren.com

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43 comments on Chinese Grand Prix tickets not on sale yet

  1. Adrian said on 8th January 2010, 9:20

    I remember a few years ago my then-girlfriend was going to the Turkish Grand Prix and traffic was that bad getting in that she missed the whole thing… (Of course I did warn her that she’d need to go very early, but the friends she was going with apparently knew better!!)

  2. Mark Shen said on 8th January 2010, 9:33

    It’s normal. Because almost no Chinese buy tickets through official webside. I am a Shanghaiese and I always buy tickets from scalper. It’s cheaper. Near the Shanghai Stadium there are many scalpers, who sell the tickets for big sport events,including Tennis Master, HSBC Golf series, also F1. So,you can go there on Wednesday or Thursday before the race and get a cheaper ticket. For example, I bought a grandstand ticket of 2009 Grand Prix for just 180EUR, and the official price was 397EUR .

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 8th January 2010, 9:56

      So as well as selling so few tickets the circuit is making much less money on the few they do sell?

      • Mark Shen said on 8th January 2010, 10:42

        Many tickets are not sold. They are sended to sponsors as a gift. The sponsors like Bridgestone or Shell give them to their employees. But not every employee is interested in F1. So they sell the ticket to scalper. This is the reason why these kinds of tickets are very cheap.

  3. MichaelinBeijing said on 8th January 2010, 9:44

    Keith,

    This is what I’ve managed to find so far.

    http://www.racing-china.com/new/f1/2009/tickets_en.html

    Nothing more should be said. I was almost in tears.

    • Stealthman said on 8th January 2010, 10:57

      $583 for a start/finish straight grandstand seat, and over 50 US dollars for a “grass stand” seat. For less than the latter, you could get a weekend ticket to the Perth round of the V8 Supercars last year that was right next to the track.

      I mean, sure, F1 is expensive, but you really need to question what’s going through their heads when they think up ticket pricing… if you want a reason why tracks like Shanghai aren’t making any money, this is it. I’m sure that they could do it for less, but of course we all know this boils down to Bernie and his gargantuan fees… in the end, this means all the new tracks are slowly being killed. :(

  4. MichaelinBeijing said on 8th January 2010, 9:58

    there are a few other ticketing websites, but not in English. Good luck with the “official” website then.

  5. Macca said on 8th January 2010, 10:06

    It is a complete balls up, personaly I hope thay are dropped from the 2011 calender.

    • MichaelinBeijing said on 8th January 2010, 10:12

      Unfortunately Macca. Chinese GP promoter has claimed their contract has been renewed. Now they are waiting for Beijing government to nominate a title sponsor.

      Ask Bernie if you don’t believe me. :-)

  6. ajokay said on 8th January 2010, 10:47

    F1 really needs to return to, and stay in countries who have a racing heritage and/or a decent amount of the population who are interested in motor sport to attend the races, and attend them to the rafters. And F1 really needs to stop being turned into a willy-waving competition between developing nations’ governments showing how ‘prosperous’ they’ve become.

    • Mark Shen said on 8th January 2010, 10:59

      If so, the CVC will go bankrupt. Without money from these countries, do you think that F1 will survive the financing difficulties? Can you or the organizer in western countries bear a higher ticket price? I don’t think so. Take Canada GP and Germany GP as example.

      • ajokay said on 8th January 2010, 11:09

        Managed perfectly fine before. If CVC go bankrupt, someone wlse will buy it all up and it will carry on, I have no doubt, the world will keep turning. But surely in anyone’s book it’s good to have a popular race brimmed full with supporters, like the Spanish Grand Prix has been, like Silverstone last year and no doubt this. Canada will be sold out too; rather than have a race with no-one watching.

        • Mark Shen said on 8th January 2010, 11:40

          Why you think chinese or malaysian F1 spectators are not fans or supporters? They are, but they are not as many as some traditional F1 fans in Europe. The motor-racing culture should still be cultivated in these countries.
          Don’t think it so naive. You should also consider other aspects. For example, Ferrari boss Montezemolo has attended every Shanghai GP since 2004. Why? Because chinese markets are important for his company. Also the team sponsors are willing to see there cars and their brands be shown in fast growing markets. These GPs are used to amuse local people who are living there, not the foreigners. The world doesn’t turn around you.

          • ajokay said on 8th January 2010, 11:50

            But no-one living there goes… half the seats are empty, sometimes more, and that’s just on race day. Fridays and Saturdays looked almost deserted last year.

            And to say it’s about manufacturers wanting the exposure, but there are only 3 manufacturers left in F1. And let’s face it, Ferrari don’t really need to advertise. Ferrari are Ferrari and are known the world over. If you like Ferraris and have enough money to buy one, you’ll probably buy one, they don’t really need to ‘advertise’. The same is probably true for Mercedes too.

  7. George said on 8th January 2010, 11:16

    “This is especially problematic for people outside China wishing to go to the race who have to apply for a Visa.”
    All three of them.

    Cant say I’ll miss Shanghai, but Istanbul is a pretty good circuit…I guess how sad I am at it’s departure will depend on what it’s replacement is (Rome GP?).

  8. The visa aspect might not be that much of a problem, at least Joe Saward was reporting last year it was only possible to pick that up 14 days in advance of traveling…

    http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2009/04/07/home-is-where-the-bills/

  9. Not fussed, maybe when they go we can get some classics back. Turkey is damn boring. I don’t get all the fuss about ‘turn 8′. It’d be a decent corner if it had gravel runoff, but right now it doesn’t matter if a driver screws it up because they’ve got 100m of tarmac to guide them back to the track safely.

  10. wasiF1 said on 8th January 2010, 12:06

    They need to allow people to sit in the massive grandstand alongside turns 12 and 13.
    Turkey is a good track,but I don’t think FOM will want to have them in the future after their contract expires.

  11. Mark Shen said on 8th January 2010, 12:06

    “But no-one living there goes… half the seats are empty, sometimes more, and that’s just on race day. Fridays and Saturdays looked almost deserted last year.”

    The reason you see half of the seats are empty is , the Shanghai circuit has a huge designed capacity with 200.000 spectators. And all of them have seats. The last year’s spectator were 90000. So half of them are empty. You can check how many spectotors attend the Britisch GP or German GP. Just check in Internet and don’t draw a conclusion like”no one living there goes” , that sounds so funny

  12. Although China is becoming one of the largest markets for auto industries, there are relatively fewer racing fans. The national live broadcast only started from 2003, not to mention the poor performance of commentors who mess up everything in the race. Prior to that, the drivers most “F1 fans” knew were probably only Schumacher and Hakkinen.

    Also, Chinese authority doesn’t encourage the development of unprofessional racing as the it is unlegal for common people to change the engines, chasises and so on.

    One factor for the Chinese GP is the GP is overpriced for normal Chinese and Shanghaiese as the annual median household income in Shanghai is somewhere between 5,000-6,000 euros.Therefore,it is really tough for normal working class to participate.

    • Mark Shen said on 8th January 2010, 12:59

      Yes. What you have said ,is the fact. But 5000-6000 euros is average. Shanghai has more than 18 Million citizens and many of them can earn much more. F1 in Shanghai,unlike western countries, is just an entertainment for rich people. Who cares that normal class should also afford a F1 ticket? And last year there were 90000 spectators. You see half the seats are empty just because the designed capacity is too huge: 200000 spectotors . It is acceptable. How many spectators attended German GP or British GP last year?

  13. Christopher said on 8th January 2010, 15:18

    Just got an email from F1.com saying they’re on sale now.

  14. I just got the ticket today

  15. Mark Shen said on 8th January 2010, 15:46

    Some tips for the Shanghai Grand Prix 2010

    1. According to my experience, drivers and team boss and staffs will stay in Shanghai Four Seasons Hotel (5 Stars) and Shangri-La Hotels ( 5 stars) instead of the trackside villas. So if you choose these hotels, there are a high probability to meet some famous guys.

    2. The metro Line 9 is completed this year and now you can take it directly from city center to the circuit. I highly recommend you not to take the shuttle bus because you can avoid the heavy traffic and save time if you take metro.

    3. Don’t miss Shanghai World Expo 2010. It will open on 1st.May and just some days later than the Grand Prix. You can visit both Grand Prixs and World Expo and make your trip much more valuable.

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