Going to an F1 race in 2010? Read these top tips from F1 fans first

Tips from F1 fans who've covered the calendar from Australia to Abu Dhabi

Tips from F1 fans who've covered the calendar from Australia to Abu Dhabi

Planning an F1 trip in 2010? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve got thousands of comments from F1 fans who’ve been to races all around the world.

They can tell you which toilets to avoid at the Hockenheimring, where you can get cheap deals on tickets, how to get a glare-free view at Australia’s twilight race – and everything else you could want to know.

Read on for tips on visiting every track on the calendar (except Korea, of course)…

Bahrain Grand Prix

Here’s Zilman’s tip for where to sit at Bahrain:

We sat in the (middle) university grandstand, which i believe is the best place to sit. It is newly designed with complete cover from the blistering 37 degree sun, but there were no horrible poles supporting it and restricting our view. It overlooks turn 1, 2, and 3, the chicane at the end of the main straight.

We also had a clear view of some of the straight and the pit lane exit, as well as the straight that the cars accelerate onto after the chicane. Also included in this view was a clearly visible big screen, the prince’s tower direclty opposite us, and another large section of track in the distance which provides extra viewing and excitement.

The hospitality area in front of the main straight is a short walk from the university stand, and is well worth checking out. It has loads of food and official merchandise stalls. I thought it was nicely laid out, with tented areas and huge cushions to relax on and escape the heat. We also managed to get some autographs there on the Saturday.

Find out more from people who’ve been to Bahrain and those who are planning to go this year with the links below:

Australian Grand Prix

The Australian Grand Prix became a ‘twilight race’ last year and Damon Smedley has some excellent pointers for picking a seat to make sure you can see the action:

I went for the first time this year (2009) and we had the GP Advantage deal. I would recommend the four corner package to anyone who is planning to attend the Australian Grand Prix as it gives you a variety of different angles of the track and the motor racing.

I was not entirely for the twilight Grand Prix, the sun was in our eyes for the whole race on Sunday (we were in the Clark stand that day) but of course, you could solve that problem by arranging a stand such as Fangio (on the pit straight) or the Jones stand (outside of braking zone for turn 1) for the Sunday.

Make sure you have accommodation close to the track or you have to wait in line for ages at night to get on a tram that you find difficult to get off again due to the astronomical amounts of people.
Damon Smedley

Also, apparently the Australian Grand Prix organisers forbid fans from using cameras with lenses longer than 300mm. Find out more from fans who’ve been to the race below:

Malaysian Grand Prix

Journeyer recommends you take an umbrella – and not just for the obvious reason:

I went to Singapore 2008 and Malaysia 2009. The merchandise was cheaper in Malaysia than Singapore. I guess it depends what kind of products you’re looking for.

And bring an umbrella and raincoat – even if you’re in the covered stands. The covered stands leak now (and you’ll need the raincoat for that). And you’ll need the umbrella to get to the bus or cab that will bring you home.
Journeyer

Find out more about going to the Malaysian Grand Prix from fans who’ve been before:

Chinese Grand Prix

Some useful advice from Mark Shen for anyone travelling to this year’s race in Shanghai:

According to my experience, drivers and team boss and staffs will stay in Shanghai Four Seasons Hotel (5 Stars) and Shangri-La Hotels (5 stars) instead of the trackside villas. So if you choose these hotels, there are a high probability to meet some famous guys.

A new Metro line is completed this year and now you can take it directly from city centre to the circuit. I highly recommend you not to take the shuttle bus because you can avoid the heavy traffic and save time if you take metro.

Don’t miss Shanghai World Expo 2010. It will open on 1st May and just some days later than the Grand Prix. You can visit both Grands Prix and World Expo and make your trip much more valuable.
Mark Shen

Spanish Grand Prix

MarkD offers some tips to help you save money and – if you’re a Lewis Hamilton fan – preserve your general wellbeing:

Prices of food and merchandise are well over the top. Take as much food and drink as you can in a cool bag, they let you take it in as long as you have no glass. I think grandstand tickets are far to over priced you get just as good views from general admission. Be early to grab a good place and take some big rugs/towels/mats to place on the ground to hold your spot.

If watching at turns 7 and 8 expect the die hard Alonso fans there, this is there main grandstand. Expect a nasty reaction to Lewis Hamilton every time he’s on the big screen, but I was there with my England flag with ‘Go Lewis’ written on it and I got out alive (although the missus speaks Spanish and I did get plenty of insults). When Alonso retired in 2008 half the Alonso fans left before the race was over giving us much more room to enjoy the race.
MarkD

Monaco Grand Prix

Going to the Monte-Carlo street race isn’t cheap so it’s even more important to do some research before booking. It’s also famously noisy, as Greg points out:

For the race, the grandstand was very good. Had a nice view of the track, a bit of the pits and in the background was the marina. There was also a big screen on the side of the opposite grandstand, so I could watch the race when cars weren’t right there.

It is louder than Belgium, probably because the tall buildings and cliff faces capture and echo the sound back. They give out ear plugs with the tickets, but if you are sensitive to noise, you might want to bring your own.

Beer, water and food is available once inside the track, and it isn’t too expensive.
Greg Wesson

More fans’ opinions on Monte-Carlo below:

Turkish Grand Prix

The Turkish Grand Prix has struggled to find an audience and who knows if it’ll still be on the calendar after its contract expires next year? I went in 2006, when the race was run im the heat of August – it now takes place during a cooler part of the year. But getting there is a struggle too as Shagrathian explains:

[It's] Not easy [to get there]. And I’m Turkish. Even it took one and half an hour from the continent of Asia. The track is really middle of nowhere.

Just seeing and living the atmosphere is worth everything. But the security wires in front of us were really annoying. On the other hand, we’re at the nearest stand to the track.
Shagrathian

Find out more about going to the Turkish Grand Prix:

Canadian Grand Prix

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is back on the calendar and there’s already lots of chat going on between people who are planning to go. There’s a lot of positive comments about the race – here’s one from Christopher:

The atmosphere was wonderful around the track all 3 days I was there. I arrived early each morning and gates were promptly opened at 7:30 a.m. to let everyone in. You can bring almost anything inside the venue with you! They had no restrictions on cooler sizes & don’t even bother to check what’s inside. Of course, this means you can save $5.75/beer (only 12oz.) if your smart and pack a good lunch (burgers, dogs, etc. are about $5 each). The track has maps and signs which direct you to all pertinent Grandstands & General Admission areas. I walked to almost every conceivable spot on the track where you could see the race from and found it confusing figuring out where you were once in a while. Bathrooms are everywhere (I literally never waited in line) and kept in good condition considering the number of people at the track. Concessions are located all over the track so you never have to go far to get anything you may need.
Christopher

Read more and talk to other fans heading to the Canadian Grand Prix below:

European Grand Prix

David was unimpressed with his first visit to an F1 race at Valencia’s street track:

The weather was (too) hot, requiring a hat, sunscreen and plenty of water. I had 2 bottles of water with me. At the gate they take the bottle tops off and confiscate them. I took some spares so screwed these on after. This was my first experience of live F1. I dont think I will bother again. The coverage on TV is better. You do need earplugs. Unfortunately, you cannot then listen to the commentary which was given in Spanish and English. The stand I was in, G1 did not have long distance views so no sooner was the car in view then it had gone around the next bend.
David

Other fans had more positive experiences though. Read more below:

British Grand Prix

Silverstone has its detractors, but the speed and atmosphere make it one of my favourite places to watch F1 cars. Lots of you seem to agree, including DrCMI:

We made good use of our roving ticket on Friday, watching the Formula BMW, GP2, and F1 practice from Maggots, Stowe, and Club. I will not even begin to describe the sensation of seeing for the first time a F1 car going through these corners. On Saturday we watched F1 qualifying from Luffield C. Probably the ideal position as you get to see the cars negotiating the complex, there is a huge TV screen visible, and the timing-tree is right in front of you. We also watched the Formula BMW and GP2 races from Becketts and Copse.

Our seats for the F1 race on Sunday were very good. We were almost opposite the car on pole (Vettel) and only three rows from the track. This gave us the most amazing view of the scrum that was the grid before the race, as well as the start. We could also see some pit-stops from here. The only issue was that although there was a TV screen close to use, it was very small and hard to see anything on – invest in Kangaroo TV if you sit here. The proximity of the cars going full-pelt down the pit straight more than made up for it though, especially when Lewis overtook Alonso! After the F1 we were able to stay for the classic car race and, once that was finished, we walked onto the track and back around to Becketts. Even getting out of the campsite and onto the A43 wasn’t as bad as we had feared.
DrCMI

There’s hundreds more comments on visiting Silverstone below:

German Grand Prix

The German round of the championships switches from the Nurburgring to the Hockenheimring this year. Expect high demand for tickets with Michael Schumacher making a return. It’s not had a great write-up by fans on the site so far – see this comment from Carol:

Like Hungary, never again – give me a decent track like Spa and the atmosphere any day.
Carol Treurnicht

Has anyone had a more positive experience of going to the track? Share your thoughts in the links below:

Hungarian Grand Prix

The circuit may be derided as boring but a short lap means you see the cars often and the weather is reliably good. Claire talks up the Hungaroring:

I would definably consider going to Hungary again for the F1 – I know it isn’t always guaranteed an exciting race, but our tickets were cheap (especially in comparison to other places), the flights were cheap (good ol’ whizzair), the camping was cheap, and the food was cheap. The atmosphere was brilliant, the proximity to the track was excellent, and the views from our seat allowed us to see a fair amount of action. And then there is Budapest itself – definitely worth a visit!
Claire MSJ

Read Claire’s thoughts in full and find out more about the race below:

Belgian Grand Prix

A massively popular race – the spectators’ thread attracted over 600 comments last year and this year’s already has more than 100. It’s not hard to see why Spa is so adored by fans when you read comments like this one from Obster:

There seemed to be plenty of time on Saturday to watch the cars from different corners, compare driving styles, and just take in the breathtaking and historic views from around the track. Naturally the La Source hairpin is the first view you get of the track on arrival. But there is also the dramatic vista from the top of the hill at Rivage, looking down the mountain to the pits complex at the bottom-one of the best scenes in all of racing, in my view.(You are actually looking down on the helicopters ferrying the drivers to and from the track!)

Great to watch the turbos, especially Piquet in the BMW, come down the hill to Pouhon and blast thru the turn, right in front of you. Also unforgettable is standing at the base of the Eau Rouge/Radillon complex-which looks like a towering tidal wave of asphalt looming up over you.

During the break in one of the days, I took my hire car around the old original track-which at that time still featured tiny white guardrails and imposing telephone towers right at the edge of the fairly narrow roadway. You could get a true sense of how imposing Spa was-Stavelot-the town and famous turn-seems very far away from Start/Finish. All of this is outstanding motor racing history and not to be missed.
Obster

Read more from Obster or join in with the crowd already planning their 2010 Spa trip below:

Italian Grand Prix

Anthony discovered the cheapest way of seeing the Italian Grand Prix:

If you choose the right campsite and make friends with the right people you don’t need a race ticket. I had a couple of very enjoyable races watching from the roof of a camper van that was parked against the fence at the 1st chicane!
Anthony

Read more from Anthony or discover less unorthodox means of watching the race at Monza in the links below.

Singapore Grand Prix

John Beamer went to the first ever Singapore Grand Prix and was impressed:

The track was easy to get to being right in the centre of the city. As you’d expect with Singaporean organisation it was top notch. Turn 1 was no where near the underground and the organiser ran a bus-metro system. It worked fantastically well – on qualy day and race day we were able to get back to our hotel on Scotts Road in about 30 minutes. In most other countries that would have taken 2 hours.

From our vantage point you could see down the main straight and turns 1 and 3 – a good location. It was easy to walk around the circuit and you happen across other great vantage points – one in particular by the Marina on turn 23 looking down the main straight. Also the flyer is a great, albeit expensive, ride during one of the practice sessions as you get a great view of the circuit (think London eye). Street circuit is also good as you get close to the action.
John Beamer

Read more from John.

Japanese Grand Prix

One race on the calendar where advice is hard to come by is the Japanese Grand Prix. Have you been the Suzuka? Tom is looking for some tips:

I plan to go this year so am eager to here tips. Particularly on where best the stay on Saturday night and easiest way to get to the track on Sunday morning.
Tom Hitchings

Korean Grand Prix

This is a step into the unknown for the fans as well as the drivers! If you’re off to the inaugural Korean Grand Prix this year, it’d be great to hear from you:

Brazilian Grand Prix

Here’s Daniel on his experience at Interlagos:

I was at the M sector, at the end of the pit straight, in front of Super Aguri and Spyker garages, from where I could see the cars coming uphill from the Juncao through the straight and reduce to enter the ‘S’, from which I could see the first part.

The grandstands were great: covered, confortable, organized, but the food and beverages were expensive (R$4 (US$2) – for 355ml of beer, R$5 – R$2.5 for one hot dog) and far from good.

But the view, from were I stood, was the best of the circuit, even better than the VIP area.
Daniel

Read more about Daniel’s Brazilian Grand Prix trip.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Mark gave us a thorough report on his visit to the firts Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year:

The grandstands are built really close to the edge of the circuit and you’re at a higher level looking down and across so you have some great views. From our seats in the west grandstand by turn 8 we could see most of the way back up the main straight to turn 7 where the cars came from. We could see them as they braked and turned around turn 8 and 9 and then as they headed off down the back straight towards turn 11. Then by looking across we could see them as emerged from the Yas Hotel and came up around turn 20 and 21, we could see the whole of the length of the main pit straight and in teh distance could see them entering the first corner.

So I reckon we were able to see 30% of the entire circuit from our seats without having to move or strain.

And because the stand was built so close to the edge of the track you almost felt like you were on top of the cars as they came past. Especially if you went down to the rail at the front and hung over (they only let you do that during the support races before the grandstands filled).
Mark

Read Mark’s verdict in full here.

Visiting the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

General resources

If you haven’t picked which race you’re going to yet, have a look at our F1 ticket price comparison to see which races offer the best value.

Have a look at the 2010 F1 race calendar to find out when each of the Grands Prix are happening.

Wherever you’re watching F1, some things don’t change. Have a look at our tips on what to take to an F1 race, why you should wear earplugs and whether it’s a good idea to take young children.

Read more

Are you going to an F1 race in 2010? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to join in the discussions above.

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Main image (C) Brawn GP

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32 comments on Going to an F1 race in 2010? Read these top tips from F1 fans first

  1. In regards to the busy trams after the Australian GP, a good tip is to go to the next station towards the city (i.e. go out the exit closer to turn 3 rather than on the main straight). Much less people go there, but when I was there in 2008, they sent a few empty trams to that station, and it was easy to get on.

    • damonsmedley said on 6th February 2010, 0:20

      In reading that comment I am assuming you exited the circuit onto Cantebury Rd. We were unfortunate enough to have exited at gate 8 and we nearly walked the entire way back to the Domain Interchange along St. Kilda Rd. As we walked in the direction of the city, we expected the people to thin out and the trams to become less crammed but each tram that passed us had people piled up inside. We eventually gave in and got on one, but getting off was very hard as the driver could not see you fighting to get to the doors for the sea of people.

      Your suggestion applies to those who perhaps have a hotel in the city, whereas mine is for those staying in the Toorak/South Melbourne area.

      • just go across the road to the Belgian Beer Cafe on St. Kilda road for beers until the congestion dies down.

        • damonsmedley said on 6th February 2010, 2:56

          Not an option for me at 16 years of age! But seriously, you can’t even be bothered with dinner by the time you get back and dump your stuff sometimes. Nethertheless, the Australian Grand Prix is a fantastic weekend.

  2. The_Pope said on 5th February 2010, 17:41

    The angle of the sun is something I hadn’t thought of, since my last race there was proper daytime. Going to use Google Maps (with StreetView) to check the direction I’m facing. Looks safe so far at North / West.

    As for the 300mm lens issue, see the discussion thread for my fresh thoughts on ways to beat the limitations :)

  3. I hope there’s another F1Fanatic meet and greet at Silverstone this year

    • Scribe said on 5th February 2010, 20:59

      I had high ambitions to get to Silverstone this year. Didn’t pan out very well. My money always seems to slip through my fingers before it reaches anything substantial.

      • Macca said on 6th February 2010, 12:20

        I was hoping some of us that are going could do one at the Australian GP.

        • Andrew said on 9th February 2010, 12:44

          I will be at Silverstone this year, wouldn’t miss seeing the English boys flying round in the Mclaren and seeing Lewis teach Schumacher a thing or two!

          If its anything like last year to will be awesome and to top it all they are showing the WC final live after the race on the big screens, all shapping up to be a fantastic weekend.

  4. I´ve been in Silverstone, Spa, Imola and Valencia, love the first 3.
    My favourite circuite is Imola, love the surroundings and the Ferrari fanatics like myself!
    Prices are always high at this events, so my advice, have some water and a snack to eat with yourself.

  5. steve said on 5th February 2010, 20:18

    Don’t forget to take out a small mortgage or give up the family holiday if you go to a Grand Prix.

    I went every year as a child…but I simply can’t afford to take my family to a Grand Prix weekend…its a rip off. Horrible campsites, treated like cattle, mud to sit on, never get close to a driver, get the worst spots to view from…all in all watch it on the telly and remember the atmosphere when it was great in the 70s and early 80s.

    • thestig84 said on 5th February 2010, 23:33

      Shame you feel that way. Ive loved every second of every gp ive been too. I guess if I come across downsides you list I take them on the chin and get on with enjoying myself! Normally turns into an adventure!

  6. If you never do anything with your life (yes you, you know you aren’t going to do anything with your life, so I’m talking to you!) go to the Belgian GP and get there midweek.
    Its fantastic and the people, from all over the globe, are really tremendous fun. Everyone there likes what you like and as long as you don’t get too snotty about the team you don’t own then you’ll have barbeque’d food and drinks with all sorts of interesting people.

    The track is massive and while it usually rains, proper dress and a small foam seat or tiny fold out are light enough to be carried all day. Just get there, borrow someones fold out shovel and rest easy. If you don’t go you’ll never hear the sounds the tv doesn’t pick up – not volume cause thats obvious, but the backfiring into the corners “pop, pop, grumbldy grumbldy”

    It’s not expensive as was said earlier either… The Elephant campground has a fair price and hot showers, toilets and a food stand, plus there’s a pub within a minute of walking. Flying from Seattle costs, not the actual camping and racing – that was a bargain and a memory I will not soon forget!

  7. Andrea said on 5th February 2010, 21:00

    I go every year to the Italian Grand Prix (maybe because I live at 20 minutes from the circuit :D) and I never needed a ticket!

  8. Great article Kieth, thanks for posting it. I’m trying to get to Montreal this year!

  9. melanie said on 5th February 2010, 22:14

    we have done Monaco saw Lewis win, and Vettel at Monza and Silverstone can beat the seeing it live grandstands are good but if you have the terraces at home get there early.

  10. While the circuit at Turkey is some way from Istanbul it certainly is not difficult to get to…

    The city provides free public transport from various locations in Istanbul, organisation and facilties put other circuits to shame.

    You should make every effort to go…….plus Istanbul is unforgettable.

  11. Prisoner Monkeys said on 5th February 2010, 22:48

    The covered stands leak now (and you’ll need the raincoat for that).

    I do believe Sepang has joined Bahrain and Silverstone in the fad of changing their circuit, but they’re not touching the layout. Apparently they’re looking to improve their facilities, which could mean the covered stand it given an overhaul.

    I dont think I will bother again. The coverage on TV is better.

    Don’t let that deter you – it’s just the nature of street circuits. You view is naturally constricted by the buildings all around. I went to the Sydney 500 touring car race at Homebush Bay Olympic Park in Decemeber, and experienced something similar: you only get to see a limited amount (however, we did get to wander around the infield all day and pick out vantage points – though I can’t imagine you could do this in Valencia).

    This is a step into the unknown for the fans as well as the drivers! If you’re off to the inaugural Korean Grand Prix this year, it’d be great to hear from you.

    I’m no expert, Keith, but looking at the location of the circuit on Google Earth, it’s in South Jeolla in the country’s south-west. It’s hard up against the Yellow Sea, which means it’s open and exposed to some rather vicious storms that come out of China in the summer.

    • Journeyer said on 6th February 2010, 15:20

      Let’s hope they do renovate the covered stands in Sepang – or at least fix it. They also need a covered walkway shed from the Petronas gas station outside the circuit (where the KLIA bus parks) to the Sepang bus station across the road. It’s either crazy hot or bucketing down.

  12. wasiF1 said on 6th February 2010, 2:04

    All the best for the people who are going to the races in 2010.

  13. Mandev said on 6th February 2010, 10:37

    Although I’ve never been to a F1 race, I’ve watched the BTCC at Silverstone. They use the National Circuit, but now that F1 will be using the National Straight this advice should fit F1. If you get seats in the right place (Woodcote A, I believe) you can see all the way down the National Straight to Becketts (and now Arena)and down the Pit Straight to Copse. And you get to see Luffield, so good overtaking opportunities.

  14. Macca said on 6th February 2010, 12:13

    I am going to the Australian GP this year and I am glad to say that I have done everything that is recommended in this article.

    I also got the Four Corners Package GP Advantage tickets and am sitting in the Fangio Stand on race day, right opposite the podium.

    I will also be staying with my cousin who lives no more than a 10 minute walk away from Albert Park.

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