Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Volume 3 Issue 15: Two-Cent Economics

The F1 Dilemma?

Here is another example of how good information is really hard to come by. I have picked some of the quotes which I found rather amusing and at the same time, disgusting.

"Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia should continue hosting the race because the international event grabbed the attention of millions of people worldwide."

While it may not be wrong, but what kind of attention are we grabbing? Barely anyone feels like driving all the way to Sepang, which is about 50-60 km away from the city, to watch an overpriced race. OK, I can't say it is overpriced these days, as they are giving tickets out for free, for fear of empty grandstands. That is the kind of attention that we are garnering from people worldwide.

Then, in the next paragraph, we see this:

"Dr Mahathir also said “it was good” to have a “Malaysian” car winning third place in Malaysia, which was a historic moment."

Signs of delusion? The only thing "Malaysian" about Lotus-Renault is through an indirect interest, where Proton holds a majority share of Group Lotus plc. There is nothing in the Renault car that has the smell of Proton or Malaysia in it.

After that, we see this:

"SIC chairman Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir said the turnout was encouraging with the number of spectators exceeding 100,000."

Bear in mind, the 100,000 turnout is over THREE days. And you would imagine that he just plucked out the number 100,000 out of thin air because, what makes 100,000 "encouraging"? Why not say that the turnout was 10 times of 10,000, and it was superb? I guess that would be too much of a lie. Let us take a look at some facts. I randomly picked out races from 2010's F1 calendar and let's see how encouraging 100,000 is - see Chart 1.

Chart 1: 2010 F1 GP Attendance

Need I say more? We have a slightly higher attendance compared with Bahrain, and Turkey, which holds the worst record for attendance. In Singapore, where the population of the country is less than 20% of Malaysia's, the number of spectators for its F1 race is about 250% of ours.

On top of that the capacity for Sepang is 130,000. So, over 3 racing days, that adds up to 390,000. 100,000 out of 390,000 is NOT encouraging. In short, the Sepang circuit was a dud, just like many of the other mega projects. Now, the Cabinet will discuss whether to pump in more money to keep the circuit afloat, since it was the brainchild of our 4th PM. Should we be paying money to boost one man's ego? But if we don't, then the circuit would be left to rot. What a dilemma. So much to think about, and yet, the PM has time to visit his Facebook friends. If the bus driver is mingling with the passengers, who is driving the bus?

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