SEPTEMBER 29, 2006

On the black market

Formula 1 in China has an unusual problem, according to reports in the China Daily newspaper. People in China want to see the Formula 1 racing but the tickets are so expensive that they cannot afford to buy them. In order to avoid having empty grandstands the circuit has taken to giving away a lot of free tickets in order to ensure that the grandstands are full so that advertisers are happy and the race has the right image.

The problem with this idea is that the free tickets are then being sold on the black market at a cheaper price than the official tickets.

According to the newspaper last year the Chinese racing magazine Formula One Race polled 100 spectators and discovered that 98 of them had bought black market tickets. Only two people had paid the full ticket office.

"We must take serious action against it, or the Formula 1 race will be greatly impaired," says Yu Zhifei, general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit Co Ltd. "It has become a matter of to be or not to be for the race in China."