SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Shanghai has extended its deal to host the Chinese Grand Prix for seven more years despite falling attendance, organisers said.
The city will continue hosting the race until 2017 and organisers said they will lower ticket prices, among other measures, to attract more spectators.
“F1 is a calling card for Shanghai,” vice-mayor of Shanghai Zhao Wen told the Shanghai Daily newspaper on Wednesday. “I am confident about the success of the event in the years ahead.”
The Chinese Grand Prix attracted some 260,000 spectators in its inaugural year in 2004 with a slight 10,000 increase in 2005, but attendance has since declined with 155,000 attending in 2010.
“We’ve learnt that high ticket prices have led to fans staying away, and will try to improve the situation in the following years,” said Chen Yiping, deputy director of the Shanghai Sports Bureau.
Prices for prime seats range from 1,980-3,280 ($300-$498)yuan this year, compared to 3,580-3,980 yuan last year.
A train station near the circuit will also be opened on the metro line for better access.
The Chinese Grand Prix will be held on April 17, while the first race of the new F1 calendar is scheduled for Bahrain on March 13, though civil unrest in the Gulf state has prompted fears it could be called off.
(Editing by Greg Stutchbury; To comment on this story email