Singapore sees silver lining to F1 ticketing chaos
Potential race-goers, both locally and internationally, have endured days of frustration as the system for selling the first 70,000 tickets repeatedly failed.Updated: Feb 18, 2008 16:07 IST
Politicians Monday attempted to put a positive spin on the bungled sale of tickets for this year's Formula One Grand Prix, saying it proved there was huge interest in the inaugural night race.
Potential race-goers, both locally and internationally, have endured days of frustration as the system for selling the first 70,000 tickets repeatedly failed.
The foul-up forced organisers to issue a humbling apology in full-page advertisements in Singapore newspapers.
"We know the frustrating time that many F1 fans have experienced over the past few days," the ads read.
"The ticketing system has improved considerably, but there may still be some delays at peak periods.
"We apologise sincerely for the frustration and inconvenience that the system problems have caused."
Race officials refused to confirm how many patrons have successfully bought tickets so far.
Minister for Trade and Industry S.Iswaran said the foul-up was regrettable but had a silver lining.
"There was such overwhelming and unprecedented interest that the system could not cope," he was quoted as saying in the Straits Times newspaper.
"The silver lining is that there's tremendous interest and that's something we should be happy about."
But he also acknowledged concern at the embarrassing start to an event that the government is hoping will boost its tourism coffers by 100 million dollars (68.5 million US) a year.
"Naturally, everyone is a bit concerned. The government is concerned because we want to make sure we get off to a good start and the event is seen in a positive light," he said.
Singapore will host the sport's first-ever night race around the city-state's streets on September 28.