Are F1 fans getting ripped off? Cheapest and dearest tickets prices revealed

British Grand Prix visitors will pay the most for general admission in 2010

British Grand Prix visitors will pay the most for general admission in 2010

F1 fans will pay between ??18 and ??822 for a three-day Grand Prix ticket in 2010.

But which circuits offer the best value deals – and which track has the most expensive tickets? (Clue: it’s not Monaco…)

Compare the prices of the cheapest and dearest F1 tickets on sale below.

Tickets are now on sale for every round of the 2010 F1 season, apart from some of the later ‘flyaway’ races (see below for details on which). When all those tickets are available, which will probably be around May, I’ll add them in and update the analysis.

Cheapest three-day tickets with no seat

Cheapest three-day F1 tickets in 2010 (click to enlarge)

Cheapest three-day F1 tickets in 2010 (click to enlarge)

NB. No such tickets were available for Bahrain, Valencia and Interlagos. See ‘notes on the analysis’, below.

Cheapest: Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang – ??18.29 ($29.78 / ??20.98)
Dearest: British Grand Prix, Silverstone – ??130 ($211.71 / ??149.11)

British fans wanting to see all three days of the action and are happy to bring their own chairs will have to fork out the most – a general admission ticket at Silverstone costs ??130.

The same ticket for the Malaysian Grand Prix costs 100 Ringgit – 86% cheaper than the Silverstone ticket, though I suspect there’s a significant difference in average salaries between the two countries as well.

I’ve included Monaco’s weekend tickets (Saturday and Sunday) and Melbourne’s four-day tickets (Thursday to Sunday, though there are only support races on Thursday) here for ease of comparison. They are the second and third dearest tickets respectively.

What the three cheapest tickets have in common is that they’re all at circuits which are new additions to the calendar. We’ve talked before about the difficulty some of these race organisers have drawing in fans, so the lower prices will in part be a reflection of that.

There’s also the question of how desirable standing tickets are at some venues. I’ve watched the Turkish Grand Prix with a general admission ticket standing in the blazing sun (when the race was still held in August) and if I were to go again I would certainly get a seat in the shade.

What this data can’t show us is how much less tickets sell for on the black market when corporate guests who’ve received them for free sell them on. As Mark Shen explained in the comments recently, that is common practice at venues like Shanghai.

The average price of the cheapest three-day ticket for an F1 race is ??79.11.

Cheapest three-day tickets with a seat

Cheapest three-day F1 seat tickets in 2010 (click to enlarge)

Cheapest three-day F1 seat tickets in 2010 (click to enlarge)

Cheapest: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul – ??62.93 ($102.48 / ??72.18)
Dearest: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte-Carlo – ??453.71 ($738.88 / ??520.40)

It will come as no surprise that three-day tickets for the glamorous Monaco Grand Prix are twice as expensive as any other race bar Belgium.

Looking at all three graphs Spa-Francorchamps consistently has some of the highest ticket prices for a ‘regular’ European round. But the great circuit is clearly still a big draw for fans the 2010 Belgian Grand Prix discussion page on this site is one of the busiest.

The average price of the cheapest three-day ticket for an F1 race with a seat is ??165.

Dearest three-day tickets with a seat

Dearest three-day F1 tickets in 2010 (click to enlarge)

Dearest three-day F1 tickets in 2010 (click to enlarge)

Cheapest: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul – ??230.73 ($375.73 / ??264.64)
Dearest: Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos – ??822.25 ($1,338.99 / ??943.11)

It was a bit of a surprise to find the dearest public tickets were for Brazil rather than Monaco.

It turns out the top-priced tickets for Arquibancada E, costing 2,385 Reals, include more than just the seats. Visitors are served a ‘buffet’ menu on each day of the event and the stand has security guards and a receptionist. The stand overlooks the second part of the Senna S and offers a view of much of the Interlagos circuit.

Inevitably Monaco has the next most expensive tickets but Silverstone ranks only eighth – indicating it has a narrower range of prices than some venues. The cheapest tickets may be dearer than at other tracks, but their top-priced tickets are less expensive.

Aside from the new venues, Montreal has some of the cheapest tickets across the board, with even the premium three-day tickets costing less than ??300.

There are probably two reasons for this. Bernie Ecclestone is believed to have lowered the price of the race by doing a deal. And, as in America, there is so much competition for the money people spend on leisure pursuits in Canada, like going to a Grand Prix, that a higher price would not attract enough fans.

The average price of the dearest three-day ticket for an F1 race is ??447.39.

Conclusions

Going to an F1 race is expensive and it pays to do a lot of research before going to a race you haven’t visited before. Can you get early discounts on ticket sales? Is it cheaper to buy tickets at the track on the day? The links below will help you find other F1 fans who can answer these questions.

We’ve only scratched the surface with this look at ticket prices. Once the full prices for 2010 are available we’ll take a complete look at how much fans paid to go to races in 2010. Next year we’ll be able to take a look at how much ticket prices have increased by. Please suggest any improvements in the comments.

Notes on the analysis

All prices were obtained either from the official website for the Grand Prix or F1.com. Prices were not available for the Singapore, Korean, Japanese and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix.

Prices not quoted in pounds sterling were converted on January 19th 2010. All prices quoted exclude early purchase discounts. Prices do not include booking fees, car parking charges or other costs. Corporate hospitality not included.

Some prices quoted may be for tickets that are no longer available.

‘Seated’ tickets include bleachers, folding seats or grandstands but not grass areas.

Over to you

What do you think of F1 ticket prices? Which tickets are the best value? Is it worth getting a General Admission ticket and putting up with having to get up early?

Have your say in the comments.

Going to a Grand Prix in 2010

Planning an F1 race trip in 2010? Swap notes with other fans who are going to this year’s races here:

Image (C) Brawn GP

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73 comments on Are F1 fans getting ripped off? Cheapest and dearest tickets prices revealed

  1. Bewildered said on 20th January 2010, 12:01

    You know you write articles and create charts, faster than I can actually read?

    • Mouse_Nightshirt said on 20th January 2010, 14:17

      That’s because he is really The Stig.

      • Bewildered said on 20th January 2010, 22:28

        You know, I have have considered this possibility myself..

        some say, his ears twitch when he’s near a wifi connection, and that he actually types as well with his feet, as he does with his hands…

        All we know, he’s called… Keith!…………… ?

  2. Prisoner Monkeys said on 20th January 2010, 12:09

    I’m willing to bet that you’ll find the most expensive races are also the best-attended ones. I would not call it ripping people off, I would call it Elementary Business Principles 101. Any idiot in any marketing department will tell you to change more during peak times and less in he off-peak.

    • Agree. If they were too expensive then noone would go and so seats would be empty but it just isn’t happening.
      That said for many being able to go to a race is a very hard choice and it comes down to circumstance and personal wealth rather than being an option for all but everything is like that. F1 is just to the extreme :P Fans will always want it cheaper and the venues, CVC or whoever will always want them more expensive if they can get away with it.

    • Yeah I agree, that makes sense. Curious why Monza is so cheap though.

  3. Strange that a so-called “Third World” Country is leading in the most expensive GP. But coming to think of it, Ferrari have more sales in that country too. That may explain the expensiveness.

    • MPJ1994 said on 20th January 2010, 12:24

      I assume you mean Brazil? Since when is Brazil a ‘third world country’ Sure it isnt the richest country and there may be people living in extreme poverty, but you would have the same in other countries that are considered wealthy like the US, UK and Australia. Compared to other countries (Haiti comes to mind) Brazil is wealthy.

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 20th January 2010, 12:31

        Yeah, Brazil is actually quite developed.

        • Ned Flanders said on 20th January 2010, 17:19

          Brazil is one of those countries with a minority of rich people and a majority of poor. Presumably most Brazilians couldn’t afford to go to the GP but there’s still a few million people who can (and do)

          • Antifia said on 21st January 2010, 15:08

            Brazil has around 200 million inhabitants. You could say that about 120 million are poor – based on Western European standards. That still leaves 80 million people who could afford watching the GP – it is more people that the entire population of many an European country. And F1 is big in Brazil. Following the supply and demand frame of mind, it is not so surprising that tickets at Interlagos are not so cheap.

      • sato113 said on 20th January 2010, 13:20

        I’vwe been to brazil and loved it! (could see interlagos from my plane!) definately not third world.

      • Gusto said on 20th January 2010, 13:56

        Brazil is Third World if you use the orginal definition of the term http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_World

        • James said on 20th January 2010, 22:47

          Third and First world are actually dated terms.

          The scale used now is:
          Less Economically Developed Country: i.e. Malawi, Nepal, Bhutan
          Newly Industrialised Country: i.e. Brazil, South Korea
          Recently Industrialised Country: i.e. China, India
          More Economically Developed Country: Australia
          Most Economically Developed Country: USA, Germany, UK and possibly China.

      • Dantton said on 20th January 2010, 20:10

        Hi, I am brazilian, and I have to say to you guys, we belong in the “third world” definition. What we have here is extreme unequality, with the rich being really rich and the poor, extremely poor. And there´s a middle class to, wich I belong in. This analysis is prety general, of course.

        The thing is that, apart from food and houses/apartments, doing anything in my country is extremely expensive. It´s just digusting, the amount of money they ask for motorsport entertainment. That´s why motorsports will never grow in this God forsaken land.

        • Guys,

          I’ve paid R$ 300,00 – something like US$ 170 – for a nice place in 2010 Brazil GP. I can see from the information in this post that this is a reasonable price.

          • José Baudaier said on 21st January 2010, 3:35

            How did you find a ticket so cheap? It’s been something like 5 years since I last saw a ticket at that price range.

          • Jay Menon said on 22nd January 2010, 7:53

            Oh yeah, the curse of being born in a third world country. Tell me about it!

            All over-worked and under paid by the so called “First World” countries. Gotta love capatalism.

            This first world third world thing is so out of date. Technically, these terms should have been deemed not applicable since the Soviet Union fell, the great moral “victory” of the First World!

            South Africa was and still is classed as a first world country…so yeah, go figure.

        • Yes, your analysis is pretty general and, forgive me, naive.

          I happen to own a business that does some economic and credit analysis for bigger companies. Countries that today form the so called BRIC (brazil, russia, india, china) are in better shape, economically speaking, than countries like australia, which used to occupy a lower tier on the “first world country club”.

          Brazilian middle class is, comparatively, huge compared to other even some first world countries. People tend to think that poor countries have a very small amount of rich people and a majority of people living in poverty which is not true. The city of Sao Paolo alone have about 800k people, yes, 800k people, living in the so called very wealthy segment, what would explain the recent boom on the cities luxury facility, luxury car sales, etc.

          People need to understand that there is still a very strong CULTURAL factor. I’ve visited India with a very wealthy native investor, he took me to his home town and his family was indeed living in what TO ME was poor conditions. Interestingly, to them it was normal and usual living with so little confort. It was a cultural thing.

          In Brazil, likewise, the middle class is culturally COMPARED to our middle class still poor BUT THEY ARE NOT, but as Strauss said, you can’t compare culture, there is no better or worse, only different.

          In the economic business that I am luckily part of today, the BRIC block is very much unaltered by the recent economic crisis. Their economy is booming and many of our larger industry found on those countries the money necessary to survive. They left the third world country definition in the early 2000’s.

  4. ajokay said on 20th January 2010, 12:22

    That doesn’t surprise me, and it’s the reason I’m not going to Silverstone this year. In 2004 I paid £100 for the entire weekend of general admission.

    You can get the same amount of entertainment at a cinema for a tenner, a gig or theatre or day at a theme park for £20-40.

    I would have loved to have gone this year, really I would, but £180-ish for a decent seat just for the Sunday? No thank you, I’ll sit on my sofa and watch it. It’ll be raining anyway…

    • thestig84 said on 20th January 2010, 14:21

      I do not agree with getting the same entertainment at cinema or theme park!!

      Also if your theme park is £40 like you suggest then its about the same cost as F1. £40×3 (fri, sat, sun) =£120

      I think general admission is pretty good value. Ive been Thursday-Sunday averaging about 6hours a day, better than £60 for 90mins watching chelsea or similar

      • Also if your theme park is £40 like you suggest then its about the same cost as F1. £40×3 (fri, sat, sun) =£120

        I don’t want to go for the weekend… I want to go for just Sunday, and I don’t want to have to get there at 5am to grab a small spot of grass… I want a grandstand seat. Support races are alright, but I’m really just there for the F1.

        F1 = 2 hours tops = approaching £100 per hour.

        Not good value for money if you ask me.

        • Jarred Walmsley said on 8th February 2010, 21:01

          Well thats because you only want to see the F1 race for those that want to go for the whole weekend like me and I assume most people on this site then it is good value. Also what currency are you writing in?

    • Tiomkin said on 20th January 2010, 15:29

      I agree ajokay, its the British way to show a stiff upper lip whilst getting royally ripped off. Most things on the planet will cost more in the UK. I think the Brits enjoy it. (Makes them feel ‘special’). All companys jack up the prices knowing that the foolish Brit will defend their ‘right’ to be screwed.

      Welcome to rip off Britain, long may it last. Pip pip.

    • sato113 said on 20th January 2010, 17:49

      £130 to see it live vs. free to watch at home….
      I think my sofa wins.

  5. Ned Flanders said on 20th January 2010, 12:31

    Great analysis. Silverstone must be making a load of money if they are getting the biggest attendances for the highest prices. I suppose it explains why Simon Gillett was so desperate to get the GP at Donington.

    • Paul F said on 20th January 2010, 12:44

      Wasn’t Silverstone’s 2009 profit somewhere in the region of £600k? Not quite “a load of money” considering what the turnover must be.

    • Silverstone is one of the very few GPs that turns a profit. Which is why their argument that they “couldn’t afford” to upgrade their facilities was nonsensical.

      • Paul F said on 20th January 2010, 13:22

        I think that their argument about not being able to afford the upgrades was based somewhat on the short length of their contract at the time – why improve facilities if you could lose the Grand Prix within a couple of years? Besides, even though Silverstone makes a profit, it’s still not a very big one – certainly not enough even in 5 years to make all the planned upgrades to facilities.

        It’s also worth noting that I don’t think that any of us – as fans – will benefit at all from any facility upgrades made to the venue. When Bernie talks about “upgrading facilities”, he refers to corporate hosting facilities, pits etc…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 20th January 2010, 12:45

      They don’t have the highest prices across the board – when it comes to the dearest tickets they’re not even in the top half.

      • Keith, it would be interesting to try and find out how many seats are available and how many general admission tickets max are available at each race – I’d expect that somewhere where space is at a premium would charge more than other tracks.

        Having said that, I’ve done tickets at Nurburgring, Spa & Monza and General Admission at Monza over the past 3 years.

        Nurburgring & Monza the “seated tickets” can often be concrete bleachers, where the seating numbers were painted on when we were all a lot skinnier and it’s easy to get crushed up.

        Spa we were on a temp grandstand at Bustop and it had plastic seats, so you actually personal space, which was good.

        Monza general admission you can either set up on a camping chair or grab a space on one of the metal bleacher units – but you’ll never see as much of the track in one go as you will with some grandstands.

    • “Silverstone must be making a load of money”

      I think you wanted to say Bernie….

  6. Travis said on 20th January 2010, 12:47

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Melbourne GP (more so since moving here from Sydney in 2002). But the price vs watching the coverage on TV has always got me.

    Any other Australians here paid for a seated ticket before?

    • Macca said on 20th January 2010, 13:10

      I’m going to the Australian GP this year and have paid for seated tickets. For each of the 4 days you get to sit in a different grandstand (race day I am straight across from the podium) and it only cost me $415.

      Keith, I’m not sure but I think you can get a 4 day general admission for around AU$90 through GP Advantage.

      • sato113 said on 20th January 2010, 13:37

        will you be taking any photos to post on here Macca?

      • GB2009 said on 20th January 2010, 22:38

        Hi All,

        I’m a regular at Melbourne, but have also been to Silverstone a couple of years ago and hope to make Montreal this year too.

        I notice that Melbourne is among the more expensive ‘cheapest ticket’ events, but there is one thing that sets this event apart from the others (to my knowledge and experience), and that is the amount of support categories there are.

        There can be anywhere up to 20 races over the 3 days (never any on Thursday), including 3 from our leading touring car series here. There is also historic demonstrations, speed comparisons between a V8 Supercar, F1 Car and road car (which is fantastic to watch).

        Compare this to my experience of Silverstone (in 04), when there was 2 x GP2 races, 2 x Porsche cup races, and I think maybe one historic race other than F1 for the entire 3 days.

        With all the extra action they pack in to Melbourne, it probably has one of the best cost to action ratios of the year…

        Just thought I would note this for those outside of Aus.

        GB

  7. Of the 4 Grands Prix I’ve visited since 1995, I combined 3 with a vacation in the respective country: San Marino 1999, USA 2002, and Spain 2008. That way you at least ‘sav’e some on travel costs. And it’s an excuse towards the Missus to go to a GP… ;)

  8. Travis said on 20th January 2010, 13:25

    Macca: That’s the exact package I was thinking of. Which stand ends up looking at the podium (ie which package did you get)?

  9. Choltz said on 20th January 2010, 13:42

    Prices look right as I am 1 pound under your price for the dearest tickets in Montreal.

    I had thought that GDP per capita could have something to do with it, but it can’t be since Canada is higher than Belgium, and yet Spa is very expensive. (But still worth it IMHO).

    It’s one of the things I miss about the USGP, it was probably the cheapest race you could go to, and Friday and Saturday were always GA so you could sit anywhere which was nice.

    One thing when traveling to Montreal and costs is the hotels, a 100$ CDN a night room goes up to 450$ a night!

  10. wasiF1 said on 20th January 2010, 14:19

    It’s a shame for me being an F1 fan that I won’t be there in Malaysia this year.

    Keith can you find out the seating capacity of the circuits,as I know Sepang have 130,000 & Shanghai 200,000 capacity.

  11. Mandev said on 20th January 2010, 14:19

    Hence why I’ve started watching the BTCC..

    • thestig84 said on 20th January 2010, 14:25

      Live?!? Ill put it on when its on itv4 but its hardly what it was back in the 90s. The grid is pretty depressing and they still end up smashing each other out the way.

      • sato113 said on 20th January 2010, 17:51

        BTCC 1998 mmmmmmmm…. ;)

      • The grid is pretty depressing and they still end up smashing each other out the way

        Thats half the fun, isn’t it? Thats why I watch it… mirror to mirror racing and spins and crashes, from green light to chequered flag.

        • Mandev said on 21st January 2010, 18:42

          Yeah. The ITV4 coverage is pretty good. But I just can’t afford the ticket prices for F1 and BTCC tickets costs around a tenth of that of F1, so if I want to see some racing for real BTCC is the way to go.

  12. Keith,

    it will ve interesting if you use Big Mac index as exchange rate for each currency.
    This will give us a better idea of the cost according to purchase capacity of the fans of each country.

  13. With this prices, i´ll be watching F1 on cable TV, much cheaper! Always on the shade and a pint as well!

  14. Icthyes said on 20th January 2010, 15:35

    These are the kinds of articles that makes this site stand out from the rest for me.

    I’m actually surprised at how cheap a 3-day ticket can be, even if it’s “only” general admission. Even the ones with seats can be reasonable. The problem really is always going to be the transport and/or accommodation.

    I think what this shows above all is that F1 is still great value for money, if you can afford all the rest of your trip as well.

  15. Andrew H said on 20th January 2010, 16:27

    You’ve missed F1 paddock club ticket prices…

    3 day ticket at Montreal…. $4520

    • Is there somebody paying Paddock Club tickets?
      I was in the Paddock Club of Valencia GP last year, but invited… as most of the other people who was there!!!

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