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It wasn't all plain sailing in China

NEWS STORY
27/09/2004

Despite the hyperbole, it wasn't all plain sailing in Shanghai at the weekend.

We were repeatedly advised of the numbers of race fans that had paid out to attend the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix, and by all accounts the race organizers are on to a winner... but then they would need to be.

With a 7-year deal with Bernie Ecclestone, rumoured to be costing anywhere between 20m and 30m a year, it's vital that race organizers re-coup their money.

"We do not expect to make a profit for three years," said the circuit's deputy general manager, Yu Zhifei. "It may take nearly 10 years to cover the investment costs."

Meanwhile, the Shanghai Daily Monday described the event as an "expensive affair"

"Everybody is stealing from my wallet," one spectator told the newspaper, while another complained that the event "lacks participation from fans".

With a population of 1.3 billion, an economy on a definite upswing, and car ownership as low as thirteen to every one thousand people, no wonder David Richards referred to China as the new Klondike.

However, while the inhabitants of 'Planet Paddock' are rubbing their hands in glee, it seems as though some Chinese race fans - after just one weekend - are saying the same thing as race fans around the rest of the world have been saying for some time.

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