Baku thinks big and small for F1 debut
By Alan Baldwin
ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Azerbaijan's big debut on the Formula One calendar next June looks sure to be sold out because local organizers are planning on selling only 28,000 tickets for the race in Baku.
The small number compares with the 135,000 who attended Mexico's return last month after a 23-year absence and 120,000 who watched now-triple world champion Lewis Hamilton triumph at Silverstone.
Race promoter and circuit CEO Arif Rahimov told reporters at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Baku had only 9,500 hotel rooms with Formula One stakeholders taking up some 2,500.
"So we are left with 7,000 rooms which is about 10,000 visitors that we can host," he said.
"That is the maximum capacity that we can invite to Azerbaijan. We are confident we will sell out on the international tickets because this is a very limited amount of tickets that will go fast.
"We are not limiting sales to 10,000 but before people book their F1 ticket they need to make sure they have a place to stay," he added.
Rahimov said there would be 20,000 seats in grandstands and the remainder general admission tickets.
Numbers might go up in subsequent years if space could be found for more grandstands but the geographical constraints of a street circuit near old city walls and the Caspian seashore made that hard. Continued...