Shanghai, Wednesday: Official figures released by the People’s Republic of China indicate that last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix was the best-attended in history, though the accuracy of these statements have been disputed.
According to statements from Beijing, the Shanghai International Circuit welcomed 520,000 fans over the three days of the GP weekend, with a record 300,000 attending on race day.
“This is truly a glorious day for F1 in China,” said China’s Minister of Accuracy and Truthiness, Hu Zhlai, said in a statement. “As the largest, most prosperous and best country in history, it is only fitting that we hold the record for the best-attended Formula One event since the sport began.”
Not all sources agree with the Chinese assessment, however, with many travelling fans reporting a very small crowd attending the race: “I didn’t see anything like half a million people,” one fan reported. “Most of the very few people who were there were obviously Chinese businessmen who had been press-ganged into attending.”
Another fan from China attempted to upload photos of purportedly empty grandstands onto his Facebook profile, only to find that once uploaded they had been replaced with photos of a smiling, statesmanlike Chairman Mao.
Officials in Beijing moved to vigorously deny allegations of exaggerating the attendance figures. “We take these allegations seriously and will be moving to ensure that doubts about their accuracy are not raised again,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Freedom and Beatings.
The controversial attendance figures released on behalf of the Shanghai circuit are believed to be related to erroneous newspaper reports that circulated in the People’s Republic on Monday morning, claiming that the Grand Prix had actually been won by Renault test driver Ho-Pin Tung.