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GP Week : Issue 113
– Email us Something to say? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Chinese Conundrum I just read your article about F1 China, and can't help but throw my in 2 cents' worth.... I did not go to the GP, but not for lack of trying. We moved here in June 2010, and I had been looking forward to the race since then. Looking at the weather history of the race, we decided to wait until the week of to buy tickets. When I tried to buy them (starting on Friday), every source I contacted told me that the race was sold out. After watching the race, that was obviously not the case. The local Chinese do not care about F1, or racing in general, for the most part. Top it off with ticket prices that are a week's pay for some (and those aren't the expensive tickets), and it's obvious why the local populous didn't show up en masse. That leaves expats and wealthy Chinese as the target audience. It was very difficult to find tickets, then trying to buy them was even worse. Topping it off, the event was promoted as a very "VIP and velvet rope" gala, which turns off a lot of people, me included. We decided that instead of going to the track and trying our luck at the ticket window, we're just going to save our money and time and go to the Singapore round. Eric Chiarelli, Shanghai EricC@HBAATL.com More laughable comments from the F1 fraternity about how empty the stands were in China and why don't the locals come? Seats cost in the region of £120-£220 and the average urban monthly pay is in the region of £210. It's the equivalent of charging around £1500 for a seat at the British Grand Prix. I somehow suspect Silverstone would be more than two thirds empty if that was the case. Nigel Skelsey London, UK Passing the buck? When are Williams going to drop this charade and just come out and say it? They need money... badly. That's why they are doing so bad, –not because they are simply baffled and need a ' technical team overhaul'. They lost 40% of their sponsors from last year, sold shares in themselves, signed a pay driver and still can't develop a fast or reliable car. F1 is a tough business and surviving is in itself an achievement, but just be honest with us and don't make Sam Michael a scapegoat because they apparently "expected better". HRT at least are honest about these things... John Bagusauskas Adelaide, Australia You know you’ve been on the road too long when you go home and leave your unwashed dining plates on a tray outside your door. I’m confused as to why I don’t have a fridge at the foot of my bed, and why no one’s been to collect my laundry. In fact, I was only at home two nights last week, having returned from my five-week tour of Australia and Asia. Now I’m back on the road again, writing to you from Los Angeles. Travelling is an addiction, and home is for wimps. That said, going from flying Emirates to the first three Grands Prix to United Airlines was akin to swapping a palace for a cardboard box under a piss-stained bridge. It’s a transatlantic Ryanair, and Continental and Delta are no better. US air travel seems focused on a domestic business plan. And, face it, it’s the same with motorsport. I just totted it up: I’ve taken 37 flights this year – and there are 16 F1 rounds to go. I’m looking at the Turkish Grand Prix in the calendar and thinking, hmm, I’m not sure I can be arsed. The Turks are saying the same thing. Istanbul Park is a fine circuit, and when we first went there – and were serenaded by Missy Elliott for a cool million bucks – it was rather exciting. But because of the low fan turn out and miserable commute to the track it’s become like one’s annual trip to the dentist – painful and expensive. Hotels are practically Monaco money. Personally I think they should have lost the race after the 2006 podium controversy, when the race was hijacked to make way for an ill- conceived political statement. In the end, the organizers didn’t even pay their full FIA fine. Now they’ve decided they don’t want to pay the FOM fee either. Fine by me. Two blokes who are still happy spending cash right now are Tony Fernandes and his AirAsia and Team Lotus partner ‘Din’ Bin Meranun. The news that they’ve bought a share of Caterham Cars – which is set to opinion ADAM HAY- NICHOLLS GPWeek Editor Team Tony's Seven Wonders The lull in MotoGP caused by the postponement of the Japanese round has been highly instructive ... as race-starved fans tune in to F1 instead. And discover an unsuspected – indeed, unprecedented – world of over taking, changing for tunes, and results in doubt to the end. All things that MotoGP seems to have left behind in recent years – not every time, of course, but too often for us to be able to keep on bragging about how bike racing is better racing. It’s been a long time coming for the cars, and has had to be artificially induced, via a number of more or less false starts. Engine architecture standardised, diffusers banned, KERS introduced, wing-feathering allowed. All, especially the latter two, played a part in introducing the element of man-to-man racing to F1. MICHAEL SCOtt MotoGP Editor opinion Bikes and the 'no-stop' strategy ... 20