The story appears on

Page A15

April 18, 2016

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sports » Motor Racing

Biggest crowd in 4 years packs circuit

THE 2016 Chinese Grand Prix saw the biggest crowd in four years, with 160,000 fans showing up for the three-day event at the Shanghai International Circuit in suburban Jiading District over the weekend.

According to local organizer Shanghai Juss Event, the number of people who purchased tickets through official outlets this year was the second highest in the event’s 13-year history — next only to the inaugural year 2004 when then world champion Michael Schumacher of Ferrari, now recuperating from a deadly ski accident, was still racing.

The race drew big crowds in the first three years, though many were with free sponsors’ tickets. The attendance figure then fell to below 150,000, and only reached a high of 185,000 in 2012. Juss Event manager Jiang Lan was happy to see the fans returning after a four-year lull.

“F1 is traditionally an exciting race to watch, which has cultivated a certain amount of fans in and around Shanghai over the years,” said Jiang. “I believe the service and fun activities around the circuit are the reasons why fans thronged to the race weekend.”

F1 has become a name card for Shanghai along with other major international sports events organized by Juss like ATP 1000 Rolex Shanghai Masters and equestrian Global Champions Tour.

2017 is the last year for Shanghai to host a F1 GP according to the current contract. But with races in some other Asian countries, like South Korea and India, ditched due to various reasons, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is finding it hard to drop the China race.

“F1 governors used to argue with us a lot over details in organizing,” said Jiang. “Now, they are generally happy and just give advice or suggestions. There are many standards in judging any event’s success. To fans, it’s the good service (at the race). To Bernie, it’s drawing a good crowd — it seems we can’t find a reason not to continue our partnership.”

The Chinese GP is also one of the favorite stops for some drivers, including the winner Nico Rosberg of Mercedes.

“The grandstand was full today so that’s great to see and every driver has their section. I can also tell you that the lobby of the hotel is completely packed every evening and every morning, so I think the enthusiasm here for our sport is really great,” said the German.

His compatriot Sebastian Vettel also praised local fans. “It’s fantastic to see that people enjoy what we are doing so much. It makes us feel very, very special,” said the Ferrari driver, who finished second. “It’s the days that you’ll remember one day when you retire — the emotions and the enthusiasm that people transfer on to you, the positiveness, the smiles.”

Fans also loved the race and the atmosphere yesterday.

“I think it was a crazy race from the start,‚“ said local F1 enthusiast Li Ming. “The weather was great after a hugely wet Saturday. The good turnout is a strong statement from the crowd that maybe F1 is here to stay for a while.”


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend