Sports

F1 fever begins: 50% tickets already sold out

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani Roudra Bhattacharya New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

The Formula 1 race may still be over two months away, but excitement over the motorsport extravaganza is palpable, with nearly half the tickets already sold or blocked.

For the F1 second edition in India, organisers and owners of Greater Noida’s Buddh International Circuit (BIC), Jaypee Sports International (JPSI), began ticket sales almost six months in advance. This was to enable overseas fans to book airline and hotel rooms in advance and avoid last-minute rush.

Askari H. Zaidi, Senior Vice-President at JPSI, said, “Last time was our first in organising F1. We used much of the learning and launched the ticket sales in April itself, keeping in mind the international fans who faced issues last time round. Domestic fans, especially from the National Capital Region (NCR), usually make last-minute bookings.”

Tickets for the ‘2012 F1 Airtel Indian Grand Prix’, which will be held between October 26 and 28, are currently available through Web sites such as bookmyshow.com and F1, apart from JPSI’s own portal.

While JPSI has tied up with multiple hotels in the NCR, such as Claridges Surajkund, tour operators such as Le Passage have also been roped in to sell packages to those flying in for the race weekend. “We expect about 10 to 15 per cent tourists from abroad,” Zaidi said.

With corporates and individual buyers already starting their advanced bulk bookings, JPSI has increased the total seating capacity by about 6,000. In all, BIC can accommodate up to one lakh – last year 90 per cent seats were occupied on the main race day.

“With this F1 season falling just before Diwali (November), some corporates plan to offer these tickets as Diwali bonus or incentives to their employees. We generally give more competitive rates for bulk bookings,” Zaidi said.

New prices

Ticket prices have also been “rationalised” this year. While the entry ticket price (picnic stands) has gone up to Rs 3,500 from Rs 2,500, prices for the top-end grandstand (in front of the pits) has been reduced by Rs 5,000 to Rs 30,000.

“We have done away with mid-tiers by merging the Rs 2,500 and Rs 6,000 category to create a larger Rs 3,500 category. Plus, this year, we will be giving food coupons with the more expensive tickets,” Zaidi said.

Tickets are also available for Rs 6,500 (Classic), Rs 8,500 (Star) and Rs 14,000 (premium).

To avoid traffic congestion, JPSI has deployed more buses over last year and improved road connectivity to BIC by opening the new Taj Expressway to general traffic coming for the race week-end.

> roudra.b@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 26, 2012

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