Are F1 ticket prices really too high?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Three days of F1 or 90 minutes of football - what's better value?
Three days of F1 or 90 minutes of football - what's better value?

The impressive turnout of fans at the Valencia test last week led many to conclude that F1 races would draw larger audiences if ticket prices weren’t so high.

But F1 tickets aren’t that much more expensive than those for other major sporting events – especially when you consider a Grand Prix runs over three days. Are they really too expensive?

Last month we took a detailed look at the prices of F1 tickets for different races in 2010 and found massive variations in price.

A three-day ticket to the Turkish Grand Prix will let you back less than twenty pounds, while the same ticket for Silverstone costs over ??130 – and that, remember, is the ‘seat not included’ price.

But other major sporting events aren’t that much cheaper to attend.


Tickets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa this year peak at ??576 ($900) for the final. Assuming the match finishes without extra time, that’s ??6.40 per minute. Tickets may change hands for far more than that, though the football authorities go to considerable lengths to stop it from happening.

The cheapest tickets for the earlier matches start at around ??51 which is about as much as you’d pay to go to a Premier League match here in England.

Once the tournament reaches the quarter final stages most tickets are over the ??100 mark and you won’t get into the final for less than ??250.

FIFA World Cup 2010 ticket prices


Tickets for the Wimbledon tennis tournament are sold per day rather than per match, with later days costing more because that’s when the most important matches take place.

Prices for the final five days of play are ??85 or more, reaching a high of ??104 for the final day.

Wimbledon 2010 ticket prices


The format of The Open golf tournament is a little like F1 in that spectators have a choice between standing and seating. However grandstands are few and far between whereas in F1 the majority of spectators sit in grandstands.

Tickets to the event on championship days cost ??60. But access to one of the grandstands is a hefty ??240.

The Open 2010 ticket prices

Too dear?

I haven’t written this to say “other sports are rubbish, F1 is better value”. My point is that when we compare ticket prices for different sports we need to remember we aren’t comparing apples with apples.

Paying ??230 for a three-day seat at the British Grand Prix isn’t cheap, but you’re not just getting a two-hour F1 race: there’s five hours of practice and qualifying, plus two GP2 races, two Formula BMW races, GP3 and Porsche races, and all their practice and qualifying sessions too. (See the ‘2010 F1 races’ links at the foot of the page for details of the support races at each round).

It’s tempting to argue that circuit organisers should cut ticket prices and let more people, but they don’t always have that choice. Silverstone is not increasing its race-day attendance of 120,000 despite building its new ‘Arena’ circuit this year because of the additional problems it would cause for people getting into and out of the track, as well as providing sufficient food, drink, toilet and other facilities.

Ultimately, ticket prices are what they are because of the prices circuits are charged to hold races – and we all know who sets those rates.

Do you think F1 fans are paying too much for tickets? What’s the most you’ve paid to go to an F1 race? Have your say below.

Compare prices for F1 tickets: 2010 F1 ticket prices

Going to a Grand Prix in 2010? Swap notes with other fans who are going to these races:

104 comments on “Are F1 ticket prices really too high?”

  1. Bigbadderboom
    8th February 2010, 17:41

    Good point for debate this Keith, the 2010 world cup organisers have come under heavy fire for their price tickets as nations are now returning a third of their allocations as unsold. I think this is indicative of a change in priorities from sports fans who after recent years now question spending such large percentages of their income on what is fundamentally entertainment. Many (including myself) are doing the same job today for less money than 3 years ago, but because of the recent economic problems we have an additional concern in ensuring we have sufficient nest eggs should the same thing happen again.
    I don’t think it’s a question of value it’s just a question of priorities, there is a good saying used in retail when training young sales staff, and that is something is not expensive just because you can’t afford it! And I think for this year at least that is going to be the situation for many, I still regard F1 as value but the cost of a weekend is often spent wiser on my family, especially now the BBC coverage is so good, I feel i can follow the sport and remain commited, I would love to go to a race but perhaps this year it’s not viable………But we will see!!

    1. totally agree with you. Add low turnouts and I think we must draw the conclusion that F1 needs more competitive pricing.

      1. Its Hammer time
        9th February 2010, 15:07

        I’d also like to add (and I know this sounds a touch cynical so bear with me) that F1 prices aren’t really for 3 days. You go for the race. And that actually lasts around an hour and a half.

        I have been to 4 GPs in the last 3 years and spent well over 2500 so far on my ‘hobby’. On three of the occasions I got wet, had to travel for hours and camp with no sanitation in order to watch sparce track action and endless presessions of Porsche cup “racing” and lower formulae. The F1 guys do a quick tour of the track on a lorry, are insulated in the car, Lap for an hour and a half and then conseal themselves in the paddock.

        You are often sat with little or no idea of how the strategies for different drivers are unfolding and I on one occasion only knew who won because I heard it on the radio in German an hour after the race had ended.

        The alternative is sitting for free, at home, in your pyjamas, with bacon sandwichs and a cups of tea. Erm…yeah, its expensive, regardless of how much south africa want to charge us for watching Rugby (or cricket).

        HOWEVER, having said all of this, Watching Hamilton spank the field by minutes at Silverstone in 2008 with rain porring down my back and into my motorbike boots with 3,000 like minded people at Stowe was the dogs bits and my ill scheduled honeymoon is the only thing stopping me going this year.

    2. I do agree with you,for the same reason I won’t be able ti visit this years Malaysian GP as the ticketing price are high & I have to pay some more money for air travel.

      1. its hard to compare f1 against football and tennis etc.

        if you goto a football match or tennis match you get a full view of the whole event. nothing missed.

        a grandstand seat at an f1 event lets you see 1-2 corners, where the cars pass so quick you miss it.

    3. By the way, the Singapore organizers have released their pricing for 2010:

  2. The USGP was dirt cheap compared to other races. Back in 07 we had Sat & Sun grandstand tickets for less than $200 if I remember correctly. I went to Canadian GP in 08 and paid about the same just for general admission.

    I don’t completely buy into your argument that because it’s a 3 day event with support races and other track activity it then justifies the prices. The St. Petersburg Indy Grand prix in Florida which is run over 3 days, has support from Star Mazda series and American Le Mans Series and other track activities is priced at around $120 dollars.

    F1 gets the bulk of its revenue from TV contracts. The track sanctioning fees is just icing on the cake. They very well could afford cheaper ticket prices.

    1. I dont completely buy into your argument that because its a 3 day event with support races and other track activity it then justifies the prices. The St. Petersburg Indy Grand prix in Florida which is run over 3 days, has support from Star Mazda series and American Le Mans Series and other track activities is priced at around $120 dollars.

      There is decent motorsport at every level, every weekend here in the UK for a fraction of the price you would pay for F1, and in my opinion it’s every bit as entertaining! The best value of course is the World Series by Renault, which is completely free (except it’s gone to Silverstone instead of Donington for the last few years – boo, hiss), but even aside from that you can get a decent weekend’s racing for not very much money.

      1. And there are events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed which cost less than an F1 single day ticket for a the whole three-day event

  3. Ultimately, ticket prices are what they are because of the prices circuits are charged to hold races and we all know who sets those rates.

    This is true up to a point, but Silverstone pays less to host the GP than most other venues, yet it is one of the most expensive races to attend. So the high fees are one factor but they’re not the whole story.

    Live sporting events in Britain are very expensive compared to other countries. The Sky Sports commentators for the England cricket team’s recent tour of South Africa pointed out that tickets for a day’s play at Durban cost about 7, whereas for a similar seat at Lord’s for a Test match you would pay well over 100. Here in Edinburgh we’re fortunate that the Scottish Rugby Union is desperate to get people through the gates to see Scotland play, so tickets (particularly for students) are very cheap – I saw Scotland play Australia in the autumn for 10, and mid-range tickets for yesterday’s game against France were going for 25. Compare this to Wales, though, where tickets to international games are like hen’s teeth – I’ve paid upwards of 50 to see them play before, and they can get even more pricey than that.

  4. Plink Plonk Plunk
    8th February 2010, 17:51

    How long is FOM’s contract with the FIA? It would be nice to have new blood, new ideas and management that actually embraces it’s fans.

    Bernie is so power hungry that he would never, willingly, step down – so how long will it be before we have someone else running ‘THE SHOW’?

    As long as Bernie is in charge, the prices, like a lot of things in F1 – will make no sense at all.

    1. I know Wikipedia is not totally reliable but this article on Mosley says the FIA sold the rights for F1 coverage to Ecclestone in 2000 for 100 years for only $300 million.
      (in the 1997-2001 section)

      1. Yes, that’s right…. the FIA & FOM originally agreed a 10 or 15 year deal (I can’t remember which) but it fell foul of the european commission competition rules.
        By going to 100 years aparently it became the same a long term lease on a house and was OK…..ridiculous…. so no change while I’m still alive!

        1. So the FIA valued the rights for F1 coverage at $3mil a year?!

          Bloody hell Bernie got a good deal there, $3mil a year right now is a good deal but imagine how much $3mil would be worth in 90 years.

          1. Bigbadderboom
            8th February 2010, 21:27

            old boys club rules, you would be suprised by the amount of sub-companies this benefits and their directors

      2. 100 years & only for $300 millions, the value of the money will decrease in about 5 years time so why is the ticketing price increasing?

        I don’t think that I will be alive 90 years from now!!!!!

        1. They sold the rights on for billions. Took out a loan to pay for those billions and the interest on this loan needs to be paid.

  5. Aleksandar Serbia
    8th February 2010, 17:59

    Since they make most of the revenue from tv and commercial rights, they could put prices really low and get more teens in the arena.
    Another thing, they should allow contact with the drivers before the race like autographs and stuff, and not look like royalty which cannot be touched by ordinary people, only the cool and rich ones have the privilege.

    The real F1 fanatics are the youngsters, they collect the posters, buy merchandise and worship the stars, get them 80%off, a reasonable idea don’t you think?

    1. The circuit doesn’t get the money from tv or commercial rights – the only money they keep is that which they can raise from ticket sales.

      1. Don’t the circuit get the sponsors money from the track,as we do see many sponsors with their banner on the track?

        1. I thought CVC pocket this money!

        2. The circuit only get to keep the money from ticket sales they dont get anything from the trackside advertising, and then they have pay to fees to FOM so circuits usually lose money hosting a Grand Prix and so a lot are subsidised by their Government.
          However as I understand it Monaco is an exception and gets to keep the advertising and either pays no fee or a relatively small fee.

    2. Is Melbourne really that unique that you can get to see & speak to the drivers? Every year we have autograph sessions on the thursday & most – if not all – the drivers attend those. And if you don’t catch them there, you can see & speak with them at the media centre where they come in.

      I personally think a GP is pretty good value for money. I pay about $400 for a 4 day ticket to Melbourne, and with the pre-show on the wednesday as well it works out to less than $100 a day. And when I say day, I am there from gate open to gate close, so we are talking 10 or 11 hours. Where else can you be entertained for that long for that amount of money? I seem to recall the last rock concert I went to (Billy Joel) went for 2 hours & was $150 a ticket. AND I didn’t get to see or speak with him after the show !

      1. Magnificent Geoffrey
        9th February 2010, 5:02

        You’ve just described my own thoughts and experiences pretty much exactly. Coming to Australia from the UK and comparing my own experiences from visiting Silverstone and Albert Park, I wouldn’t say that I’m being ripped-off at all considering how much we actually get both on and off the track for those four days.

        Add the extra level of anticipation and excitement you get from knowing that this is (usually) the first race of the year – the one you’ve been waiting for for all those months during the off-season – it makes for a much more rewarding weekend for us fans lucky enough to attend.

  6. I think the comparison with other forms of elite motorsport shows how much of a rip-off F1 is.

    Three day general admission to Silverstone for the MotoGP this year will cost you 60, that’s 46% of the cost of a comparable ticket for F1.

    You can get a ticket for Le Mans 24 hours race for 75 and that includes a reserved, numbered seat.

    A World Rally Pass for this years Rally of GB costs 90 which allows access to Shakedown on Thursday, all forest stage car parks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the Service Park in Swansea on all four days.

    The Isle of Man TT is free to watch although you can get VIP Hospitality for 225 + VAT but that is for the entire week and is the equivalent of F1’s Paddock Club so you get free food, drink and gift packs.

    1. Problem is that these sports aren’t as popular as F1, no matter what we think about the entertainment. If they were, it would cost the same. It’s fundamental pricing strategy; charge an amount that falls just short of the price that would prevent you from selling out the event.

      1. The trouble is that only two circuits (Silverstone and Abu Dhabi) managed to sell out last year. This indicates that for most circuits, the price is too high. And in Istanbul’s case, they must be charging way too much because even a test day at Jerez out-sold them. It’s not simply a case that all circuits are expensive; it’s that some are considered less value than others, either because the racing isn’t as good or it costs more/is more inconvenient to get there and do the weekend.

        A F1 ticket may offer better value than other sporting series, but that’s no help when a lot of people can’t get the money to pay for the ticket and accompanying expenses in the first place.

  7. this is a hot topic and tickets are way too much in my opinion but although fota keeps saying they will tackle this they never do as its pretty far down on their lists of priororities.
    what you need to consider keith is that alot of track, general admission arent worth the tickets they are printed on as the views are so poor so sometimes you have to get a seat and these are incredibly expensive.
    if there was one thing i could change about f1 it would be this as i love going to gp’s

    1. alot of track, general admission arent worth the tickets they are printed on as the views are so poor so sometimes you have to get a seat and these are incredibly expensive.

      Really? GA at Silverstone is great, there’s loads of places to watch from. It wasn’t very good at Istanbul though.

      1. I had a great GA experience at Istanbul – with GA seating could see the cars come off the main straight (and the pits) and through turn one. Same view at Singapore cost me a couple of grand.

        Also Istanbul has GA seating above turn 8 which is awesome.

        1. I went GA at Monaco (most because of the high prices for seating) and NEVER AGAIN!

          Whilst other circuits may be alright for GA, if anyone is going to Monaco I’d strongly advise against it. You are basically clinging to the side of a hill, sitting in the dirt & trees & can only see about 20 metres of track. And there are about 50,000 people crammed into a space which would seat 1000 comfortably, so forget about leaving your possie for a walk or leg stretch ! While there is a big screen there, the foliage in front of it made viewing a little difficult. Sure it was Monaco, it was fun, but next time I’ll mortgage the house & buy a seat.

  8. Ticket prices are pretty darn expensive. I attended the 07 USGP for $90 for 3 day seats in the grandstand about 300 meters before T1. Indy, although not a great F1 course, offered numerous excellent vantage points to take in the practice and race from.
    I attended the Canadian GP in 08, and since Indy had so many open viewing areas with great views of the track I decided not to buy a grandstand seat. Big mistake. The event organizers / powers that be took nearly every opportunity to put up plywood, trees, privacy screes, and to outright restrict access to certain parts of the track for GA ticket holders. It was a terrible waste of money. Now if I want to see the race I’ve got to buy a grandstand seat and pay $230 minimum to sit in the worst seats. That’s way to much money. I can see indycar for $70 a weekend and ALMS for less. Granted I much prefer F1, the ticket prices are still way out of line.

    Bernie is a douche and I don’t see ticket pricing dropping until he dies.

  9. jose arellano
    8th February 2010, 18:28

    i dont think its ok to compare a fifa world cup that happens every 4 years, and it hosts the finest of the most popular sport in the world. with a gp, that happens much more often, and doesnt have that much demand.

  10. Good point but I think comparing FIFA World Cup tickets with Formula 1 isn’t appropriate for one main reason: the World Cup takes place every four years, while Formula 1 Grand Prix are annual… the other events are better to compare, since all of them are also annual…

    A better measure would be, in football, UEFA Champions League prices, for example…

    Yeah, I’ve always thought Grand Prix tickets were worth their price, because of all those sessions and supporting races that take place… But I think Tennis championships are an even better cost-benefit relation on the later days, when you get to see, i.e., the singles semi-finals matches and the doubles finals in the same day with the same ticket… not to mention the grand slams, where you get to see men and women, singles and doubles, mixed doubles, boys and girls… there are many many parallel championships that keep you entertained the whole day…

    I agree with you that football is by far the most expensive when you think in terms of cost-benefit…

    1. Good point but I think comparing FIFA World Cup tickets with Formula 1 isnt appropriate for one main reason: the World Cup takes place every four years, while Formula 1 Grand Prix are annual the other events are better to compare, since all of them are also annual

      As I say there are various ways in which we’re not comparing like with like.

  11. Jeff makes a great point, in that many other motorsport series based here in the USA and Canada are way, way cheaper than F1. At the moment I am looking at going to either MotoGP at Indianapolis or the NASCAR Sprint Cup at Watkins Glen this year- tickets on the start/finish straight are several hundred dollars less than similar seats at the Canadian Grand Prix.

  12. I’m only a few hour drive from the Canadian GP, but have yet to be able to attend simply because I can’t afford it – or at least can’t justify the cost. I’ve seriously considered going the last four years (minus 2009 for obvious reasons), but every year I come back to the same problem – $$$.

    Two grandstand seats + hotels + travel + food would easily set me back $2000 for a whole weekend, or $1000 if I settle for general admission tickets.

    For $1000 I’d be able pull off, but from what I hear of the general admission tickets, you’re fighting crowds to get a chance to view a 6′ section of track – simply not acceptable for $1000.

    For $2000 I’m looking at a good time (good seats), but $2000 is a LOT of money for one weekend. For that matter I could spend a full week at an all-inclusive beach resort in Mexico for just a little more than that (including airfare).

    By comparison – I can get good grandstand seats for the IRL race at Watkins Glen for $100/weekend (for two).

  13. FWIW, despite being only a few hours from Montreal, I can probably actually go to the Turkish GP for less – even when you include airfare.

  14. I think some of the prices quoted are slightly misleading. The two F1 prices quoted are at the very bottom of the price scale where as the prices quoted for the other sports are all at the upper end of their range.

    The FIFA World Cup is probably the most expensive tournament to attend a match at with possible exception of the Champions League. EPL Ticket prices vary significantly depending on the home club and who the opposition are.

    Ticket prices for most sporting and entertainment events in the UK are too high and F1 sadly is no exception.

    But you can’t just look at the cost of the ticket you need to look at the other expenses incurred also: travel, accommodation, food etc.

    I don’t live near Silverstone and I don’t drive, how much is it going to cost me to go to all three days of the British GP? At the cheapest end of the respective price scales it’s a hell of a lot more than going to see a top four EPL game wherever it is. I might be looking at 130 for a top football match in another city but for the British GP it could easily be 400 probably more.

    1. I think some of the prices quoted are slightly misleading. The two F1 prices quoted are at the very bottom of the price scale where as the prices quoted for the other sports are all at the upper end of their range.

      I summarised them for ease of reading rather than listing every single one which would be tedious. I have linked off to the pages where you can see the full lists of prices.

      1. I think it’s fair enough to quote specific prices but it would have been fairer to quote and compare the bottom or average prices rather than the top from one and the bottom for another. It’s good and correct that you sourced your quotes.

  15. I don’t have to say that the world cup and Olympics only happen every 4 years but they are the only sporting events that compete with F1 in terms of viewing numbers. No other sport has the global appeal of F1 and that costs the fan money. Many people watch football from all over the globe but the figures are nowhere near the figures F1 gets. 9 Billion people watch F1 every year (figures from Mclaren in 2003). It is expensive for the fan if they want to be in the grandstand but nearly everyone I know who has been to “Traditional” circuits have enjoyed the company of true fans more.
    Personally I have preferred to be in amongst the fans with tents/BBQ/camper vans etc than grandstand. I have seen most of my GP’s from the pits and I feel out with the majority of true F1 fans because of that (not the best place to watch). If you only get to see 1 or 2 races a year I think the price is ok for the spectacle.
    It is still cheaper to watch the race at Monaco than have a reasonable lunch there.

    1. Not sure about those figures, 9 billion viewers over the course of a season sounds absolutely ridiculous. That’s an average of 500 million per race which is utter nonsense.

      The Independent reckons the highest viewed F1 race if 2006 reached 83m “world wide” compared with 260m for the world cup final.

      1. They may sound that and let’s not take the independent figures as fact. RAI in Italy have 5 million per race, the BBC 4.5 million,DF1 5 million etc etc. Each race is watched by an average of 400 million and that is proved by sponsors ( who spend the money and pay the bills). You only need to see the figures for the world cup final to see how wrong the numbers are. 260million for the world cup final? More people in South America and Africa watch than that.

        1. Actually lets take the Independent figures as correct since they took them from a reputable source and they are verifiable. Or do you just believe any old fairy tale you are told?

          Even if you believe the contemptible figure of 400 million viewers per race you still fall 1.8 billion short of that absurd 9 billion per season figure. This alone should tell you that those figures are a joke.

          ITV averaged around 3.9 million viewers per race in 2008. That’s around 6% of the population in a country that is crazy about motor sport. If we play make believe and pretend that the every other country in the world is as crazy about F1 as the UK we’ll end up with 360 million views per race which is still some way short of 400 million. But we know that not every country in the world has the same enthusiasm for F1 as the UK. Some do like Italy or Brazil but India doesn’t. China doesn’t. That’s nearly half the worlds population right there. They’re not on 6% viewing for F1, not even close.

          FIFA and their lovely sponsors reckon 1 billion people watched the 2006 world cup final. Following your logic they are correct. 260 million is a realistic, verifiable figure. 9 billion for an F1 season and 400 million per race are not, they are what is commonly know as 1st class bs.

          1. The UK has a relativly low pick up on F1 compared to other countries( and much more than others). These figures come from the worst companies(in my opinion) in the world. Coca Cola, Mcdonalds, Visa, Mastercard etc and if they are sure that these figures are correct I am not willing to disagree with them, they are the global corps that rule the commercial world.Why do you think people pay $50 million for 2 30 second comercials during the superbowl? It is not for fun that is certain. Think about the world cup final, 260 million is laughable in global terms, a quater of the European population.

          2. You reckon the population of Europe is over 1 billion?

            After investigation FIFA admitted that it had lied about the figures it released.

            The figures you quote come from a highly dubious FIA report that sighted potential audience figures as actual and included peak viewing figures, adverts and news reports and basically any whimsical mention of F1 on TV. The report was a complete joke and was written to make F1 look more popular than it actually is to get more money out of sponsors and advertising.

            260 million for the World Cup Final is a realistic and verifiable figure.

            Do you seriously think 400 million people are gonna sit down for 2 hours and watch a race as boring as the the Hungarian GP routinely is? It’s never going to happen.

          3. as i understood it, it is quite common to say “x event will be watched by 500 million people” by marketing people, when what they mean is, 500 million people have the ability to watch it live, i.e have access to a channel screening it. I am not sure if this is correct.

      2. TV Viewing figures are all made up anyway. They’re based on a tiny sample of specially selected households, and count (I think) 15 seconds of viewing as “programme watched” (this is so they can get stats for how many people watched a given 30-second ad). So one house could have “watched” 4 programmes per minute. Even if I’m not correct about the 15 seconds, it’s definitely the principle by which it works.

        You’ll notice the figure of “over 1 Billion people” is trotted out for just about every major sporting event – Olympics, Superbowl (ha!), World Cup, etc etc. Amazing when you consider the proportion of the world’s population that live in grinding poverty and don’t have electricity, never mind a tv, or a home to watch it in.

        It’s all bull.

        1. lol It’s true.

  16. Keith, either you really like the word ‘dear’, or it is in fact more popular than ‘expensive’ where you live.
    How is it?

    1. I used the word “expensive” twice and the word “dear” once. I don’t see what you’re getting at.

      1. I am wondering if the word “dear” means the same thing as “expensive” over in the UK. In America I have heard the team used in financial dealings sometimes, like “The company is going to pay dearly” but I have never seen it used quite like Keith is using it here. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

        1. It’s the same in the UK.

          5.high-priced; expensive: The silk dress was too dear.

          6.charging high prices: That shop is too dear for my budget.

          7.excessive; high: a dear price to pay for one’s independence.

        2. oh thats interesting, it’s quite common to say something is too ‘dear’ aka expensive in NZ, i always find differences in language interesting

        3. Sorry for the confusion – I had no idea the word wasn’t used in that way in America.

      1. I think we need something in the comment policy about referencing Michael Winner. Can’t have that.

        1. My humble apologies, Keith.

  17. It is a question of supply and demand. There is a great demand for Formula 1 and people are willing to pay more to attend a Formula 1 race than a Moto GP race. People are also willing to pay more to attend a race at Silverstone than one at Istanbul park because F1 has much more fans in Britain.

    If prices were reduced, we would face a black market with extremely high prices. I believe ticket prices shall remain at current level in order to prevent that and to maintain the exclusive feeling in attending a Formula 1 race.

    1. Quite honestly, I don’t care about an exclusive feeling. MotoGP is just as good as F1 in my book, and Dorna charges a fraction of the hosting/sanctioning fee that FOM dose. They also do a good job of getting races in new/emerging markets while keeping a very strong presence in Europe and America.

      I once did a forum thread on the F1 calendar vs. the MotoGP calendar, but in short I think MotoGP has it all over F1 when it comes to treating the fans well.

      1. People are willing to pay these prices to attend the races so why should they charge less? Do you believe that the hosts of Moto GP races would have the same ticket prices if they faced the same demand as a Formula 1 race does?

        Your argument that Moto GP hosts treats the fans better would only imply a even greater difference in ticket prices if Formula 1 hosts would offer the same services.(People would be willing to pay even more for an F1 ticket)

      2. yes, as a motogp fan i remember your post, and i agree with you strongly. F1 could learn very much indeed from motogp, from how rule changes are done, testing, ticket pricing, post race celebrations, track selection, growing emerging markets whilst still looking after it’s traditional base……

  18. are the prices high? yes, because the popular races haven’t sold out yet.

  19. silverstone has ok general admission but gets very crowded i think and its very flat too, spa can be excellent for general admission but how many tracks are hilly these days hey!

  20. I disagree with tickets being high. You get alot for your money.

    Me, i simply cant afford them even tho i have 2 jobs and 153098133 hobbys.

  21. It is still all relative. I’m not sure how much money per ticket goes to F1 or the track owner. But an empty seat will remain empty if the local and fly in spectators can not afford the seat. Are the prices to high? Well if it is a sell out then absolutey not.

    Makes no difference what a ticket for a football match may or may not be, because the football fan is not buying a Grand Prix seat.

  22. They are too expensive in my view.

    Maybe the bog standard general admission ones are just about ok, but 400+ to sit in Eau Rouge grandstand for three days is pretty hefty to me.

    Thing is if you look at the Friday and Saturday ticket prices, you really see how much of a premium you pay on race day. And when I went to Silverstone on my sole GP visit so far, I actually much more enjoyed the Friday and Saturday with the freedom to move round and see the cars from different parts of the circuit, with Sunday actually be mildly disappointing in comparison. I actually slightly recommend going to a GP for Friday/Saturday and go back to watch the race on the TV, although of course it’s the race everyones going there for primarily.

    But ultimately the ticket prices are the fault of the commercial rights holder, with the ridiculously high race fees and high annual escalator. These are sucking the life out of races, which after all ought to be commercial enterprises turning profits and not Government funded events.

  23. @ K I have no longer the reply option after your post.
    My figures do not come from the FIA and never will. I worked alongside Jordan in the very early 90’s and Mclaren after that. The sponsors of these teams based payment and value on the viewing figures that THEY held not the teams. FIFA quote a total of 26 billion total viewers over the 2006 world cup and here in Italy 25 million alone watched the final(Italian numbers not FIFA). Malboro used to pay Ferrari 200 million plus per year do you think they did that for an audience of 50 million? In the words of a very famous song from the 60’s Money makes the world go round and it’s truth is in advertising.

    1. Considering Italy were in the Final and they won the figure for Italy looks about right.

      The figures quoted by the Independent investigation come from Initiative Sports Media who are owned by the Interpublic Group of companies who amongst advertising and marketing services provide such information for sponsors. The Interpublic Group is the third largest global advertising holding company in the world.

  24. is the instanbul park grand prix really 20?? with a cheap flight.. i might well be up for that.. one of my favourite circuits, even if the grandstands are normally empty.. a good chance to meet some drivers and pit crews with less people around.

    i’m gonna look into this!!!

    1. easyJet fly to the airport in Istanbul that happens to be fairly close to the track (on the Asian side of the Bosphorus). If you can find some accommodation nearby it should work out okay, price-wise.

  25. I don’t have enough money for grandstand tickets, however I feel general admission tickets are pretty good value for money, there’s a lot of racing on over the weekend and you can wonder around the track looking for a good view for race day between races and check out a different view for each support race :) GA tickets could stand to be a little cheaper at a few of the dearer tracks though because it can be pretty uncomfortable sitting on the ground for hours or awkward carrying around folding chairs. Still really fun though :)

  26. I have always thought GA is good value if you enjoy 3 full days (maybe 4 if there is a thursday pit walk) I can see how people can enjoy club racing just as much on the racing side but for me it is all about seeing the whole package. My favorite team and driver on the worlds premier racing stage pushing all weekend. The experiences Ive had following the circus around countries have been unforgettable. I dont get that popping down to brands hatch!

    One major thing that I dont think has been mentioned yet is the % that the hotels ramp up their prices. I have camped everywhere so far. I fancy some luxury this year but cant even find the cheapest hotels in a sensible price range!

  27. Good point… I am sure everyone felt like it was a lot, but thats because you pay for all four/five days at one time… If you go early and do the pit lane walk and walk some of the track and then see practice for two days, plus quali’s and the support races plus the actual race itself the price is uber uber cheap. In dollars Spa was around $300US/person and to go see Pearl Jam (even with Eddie Vedder living about 5 minutes from my house) it will cost around $70+ for about 2hrs of performing. Not saying they aren’t a good act, but these bands are the ripoffs! Most shows you will see suck anyway and last only a few hours where an F1 race will always be much more fun for much longer.

  28. Don’t know whether this has been done in another article, but I was keen to see this so I did it quickly over lunch. Below I have related ticket prices to each countries per capita GDP (IMF data), and related it to the UK per capita GDP.

    For example, given the per capita GDP in China is lower then the UK, a ticket price to the Chinese GP is the equivelent of paying 466 in the UK. Hope that makes sense.

    Bahrain GP 82 75
    Australian GP 197 186
    Malaysian GP 91 65
    Chinese GP 87 466
    Spanish GP 149 177
    Monaco GP 454 532
    Turkish GP 63 179
    Canadian GP 133 122
    European GP 170 203
    British GP 230 230
    German GP 174 179
    Hungarian GP 113 214
    Belgian GP 280 275
    Italian GP 96 115

    1. Monaco is a bit misleading due to all the retired billionaires waltzing around and failing to contribute to the local economy….but otherwise that’s an interesting analysis.

      1. True. And China is also a bit misleading as the average person in Shanghai is signifigantly more wealthy then the west of China.

    2. Interesting.
      Britain and the next nearest one us Brits probably go to (Belgium) are expensive. :D
      The Belgium GP normally falls on the August Bank Holiday too, that helps the Brits going for the weekend. I wonder if that influences the price?

    3. I thought about this also although I considered expressing it at a percentage of the average families monthly disposable income, like a GA ticket to the Chinese GP is 27% of the average Shanghai families disposable income for one month. Which is the equivalent of the average Oxfordshire family paying 301 so dad can wander around the GA areas at the British GP.|en&hl=zh-CN&newwindow=1&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools

  29. nah the thing is, u pay to watch cars go past you. it’s wack i would much prefer watching f1 on my tv but i bet it’s a good vibe at the races.

  30. Sorry about the formating above. Also left out Brazil

    Country Current Factoring in GDP per capita
    Bahrain GP 82 75
    Australian GP 197 186
    Malaysian GP 91 65
    Chinese GP 87 466
    Spanish GP 149 177
    Monaco GP 454 532
    Turkish GP 63 179
    Canadian GP 133 122
    European GP 170 203
    British GP 230 230
    German GP 174 179
    Hungarian GP 113 214
    Belgian GP 280 275
    Italian GP 96 115
    Brazilian GP 157 528

  31. MikeinBeijing
    9th February 2010, 1:53

    Keith, this is amazing work you have done. Cheers!

    Did you do these all alone?

  32. “Paying 230 for a three-day seat at the British Grand Prix isnt cheap, but youre not just getting a two-hour F1 race: theres five hours of practice and qualifying, plus two GP2 races, two Formula BMW races, GP3 and Porsche races, and all their practice and qualifying sessions too.”

    Does Gp2,F2 BMW & Porsche get a share of the money we pay to watch F1?

  33. What in Brazil!!! R$300,00. Price is so high!!!

  34. Tickets for the World Cup in SA (where I am) are ridiculously expensive. You guys can see how much they are, good ones are upwards of R3000 whereas I just bought a ticket for Silverstone, Copse C (D was sold out) and was about R3500.

  35. Indian gp is due to start from 2011 and if the price for grandstand is kept even near about 100 I’m afraid people will like to watch it on TV because if you convert it into Indian currency it’s Rs 8000/- and this is even more than Per month income of most of the Indian families.One more fact F1 is not so popular in India.

    1. I do agree with you,but I thought after cricket F1 is popular in India,with drivers,teams & many sponsors coming from India.

    2. Hey JV,
      Have you been to any international concerts in India? They cost around 3 to 4K INR for a decent seat. If they can sell out, so can a F1 race weekend! Cricket is much cheaper in India and that’s because the authorities know that they can’t afford to price tickets for international cricket matches in India too high (say around 2 to 3 K) as it is a sport watched by almost every Indian and a majority of the Indian public won’t be able to afford a 2K ticket even if it’s a World Cup final! And the amount of cricket viewers/fans in India lets them keep the prices low. But, F1 is not what cricket is in India. It is watched by a different part of the Indian public and there’s just one race to happen in a year. So, a 4 to 5K ticket seems reasonable.
      There’s no point comparing F1 ticket prices in Europe to those in Asia as the household incomes are very different and so is the number of eyes.
      I live in London and have been to various sporting and music events. Generally, entertainment is expensive in the UK but I don’t think the ticket prices are too high. I’d been to the Silverstone race last year and the weekend cost me around 300.00.
      Considering it’s just once a year, I think it’s worth it. Can’t really compare it to an EPL match, there are multiple matches for every team and they’re not as exclusive as an F1 race weekend unless it’s the semi final or the final, for which the ticket prices are way higher than an F1 race.
      So, overall, I think F1 tickets are ok, but I would say that GA tickets should be cheaper than they are. The grandstand tickets are fine.

      1. P.S.
        I’m an Indian and lived in India for 20 years before moving to London 5 years ago… just in case you wondered how do I know about India and it’s cricket. :)

  36. The British GP costs something like 1000 for a family of four and that is without the extras, like the overpriced poor quality food, camping etc. You can’t even buy day tickets now can you?

    Given that 1200 bought our family 3 weeks of holiday in Provence last year its the Grand Prix on TV for us….well me anyway….my kids long since lost interest.

    1. I got Sunday only this year to go with the wife. Kids are with the grandparents.
      This is the 3rd time for me to go to a GP and it’s getting more expensive.

      I still think F1 tickets are too expensive, but then I guess each circuit has to work out how many grandstand seats it can hold and work out a pricing structure from there.
      If Silverstone could build 50,000 extra seats would it help drop the price of them?
      Can Silverstone manage another 50,000 spectators?
      If they could, would building larger grandstands be worth it for one race per year?
      Overall GA should be a lot cheaper and have better access for fans. We don’t want to make this sport too exclusive.

      1. I can’t remember where and when I read it but I’m fairly sure I saw something that said Silverstone could increase capacity if they wanted but they currently thought the additional logistical challenges from it outweighed the benefits.

        I wonder if that won’t change in the near future as they need to get more folk in to match the FOM escalator fees.

        1. “the additional logistical challenges from it outweighed the benefits.”

          Well given what I’ve seen in the past at Silverstone; 50,000 more fans would mean 1 more portable toilet required. What else do you need?

          1. I doubt one toilet would cover it; there seemed to be enough toilets in 2009, but they definitely wouldn’t have sufficed for an extra 50,000. As for the roads in Silverstone’s immediate environs…

  37. YES. Way too high. I have NEVER been to a Formula 1 race before, never ever have I seen a Formula 1 car in the flesh.

    I am the biggest fan you can imagine, it is all i talk about & think about. I just cant afford the ticket prices.. Too expensive!

    It sucks. =[ One day.. maybe one day.. not in the near future mind

    1. I’m not trying to come down on you, but huge F1 fans sell their kids to go! I used to date this woman who’s family had season Seattle Seahawks tickets (NFL) and they were very expensive and amazing seats and yet there were a few random guys that looked aweful that wore headsets tuned in to some station while watching the game with all sorts of old team wear and gear… my point is that this guy was a HUGE fan and he must have spent every dime he has to get this one seat. We see the same thing at F1 events as well. As I’ve said before, the British are truly fanatical about cars and soccer (I mean football)!
      I wish the tickets were less, but I have to imagine that if they would be able to lower them enough to encourage more people to show then they would do it. There is one thing we know about business and that is that regardless of the welfare of the sport, people or the planet, they will sell something in a manner that brings in the most money possible. I think we are all just wishing we could pay less for tickets!

      For those of you who have kids I hear your pain and do feel that kids under 15 should be half price (provided the tickets are purchased with at least 1 adult ticket) because this would probably bring in a few more families and would also keep the interest of the sport in the upcoming generations as well. Its kind of a no-brainer.

      Finally, Cube, if you are the biggest F1 fan, go see a race from Thursday morning pit walk to the after race campground- one last barbeque and drink with the new mates- and then tell me the tickets are too expensive for the biggest fan of Formula 1. Sell a kidney, donate eggs/sperm/blood, get a third job whatever, but see one before you judge. While opinions are all equal, some are more qualified than others. If you had gone we could say your opinion is subjective or biased, but as it is now we can only say they are theoretical or speculative at best.

  38. I meant to add that its difficult to compare with the World Cup Final ticket prices. The tournament is only once every 4 years, football is fundamentally more popular globally, and even with a 60-70 thousand seater stadium a ridiculous number of tickets go to the sponsors, “affiliates”, delegates, FIFA honchos etc. etc., so there’s actually only about 30-40 thousand for Joe Public (I think).

    Hence demand is immensely high compared to the average GP.

    As others have said, if even the most popular races are struggling to sell out, then someone’s getting the pricing wrong.

  39. The article says: “Paying 230 for a three-day seat at the British Grand Prix isnt cheap.”

    Yes, it isn’t. That’s nearly half of my monthly pay. But if you add the traveling costs for us that aren’t lucky enough to have our country host a grand prix, then going to a grand prix is pretty much impossible.

    1. We call them piggy-banks. Put 10 pounds in a month for 2 years and borrow some money from your mom for the flight, then make friends with the nearest person who supports your team and then your food is covered as well.


      1. This assumes you:

        a) have 10 a month spare after necessary expenses are paid for

        b) can get your mum to lend you money for the flight (remember, among other things that the money must be paid back)

        c) you can find someone nearby who supports your team (which can be difficult if your team isn’t one of the more popular ones)

        d) 240 is enough to get you your primary expenses paid – which it isn’t in most cases. Try double or treble that, depending on where exactly your nearest race is

        In practice, even that strategy gets you to one race every six years. Is F1 venue attendance really sustainable with people only being able to get there once in an average circuit’s contract (note that for the average track, this necessitates 600,000 spectators in the catchement area who are interested enough in F1 venue attendence to not spend on other F1-related things, let alone other hobbies)? Tickets may be too expensive for us spectators, but they’re also proving too expensive for most of the venues. The only people who actually gains from this situation are the employees of CVC and whoever they trade F1’s future with.

  40. Im going to the GP of Spa this year. All together, my reserved place on a hump of grass will cost me 300. This includes all the drinks, food, over night stayings and karting.
    It is much, and it could actually be less.

    It would be a good idea to lower the costs of organising a Grand Prix. But it would mean you have less income. Therefor my idea since a while has been the following:

    New Grand Prix venues should pay a lot of money to actually being allowed to organise a Grand Prix. Governments or companies who actually want to organize a Grand Prix should get a contract of no more then 5 years. After these 5 years, the popularity of the venue will be examined and when it is popular enough and is profitable with the amound of spectators flocking towards the track every year, they should pay less.
    Via this way you get venues who have a businessplan about actually making profit. You would prevent prestige projects like Abu Dhabi, where the track itself costs almost a billion dollars, and the number/capacity is around 60.000.
    Ofcourse a country like Abu Dhabi can pay up for it, so there should be no problem. But a circuit like Turkey was too ambitious for its kind. Turkey is a country which does not like motor racing too much, and it shows with its amount of spectators. Turkey, in the construction that I name, would be off the calendar already by now, and making space for a new Grand Prix venue, or an old one who proved itself it the past. Such as San Marino. The wish of maximum 1 Grand Prix per country is not included in this brainfart.

    In that way you also allow Grand Prix who are popular, but have it hard on the financial part like Spa, Nurburgring, Hockenheim, Silverstone and Monza, to be able to pay less to the FOM and become profitable.
    I think handling like this would encourage organizing countries to actually think before they act. It would prevent, as said before, prestige projects as well as Grand Prix organised by countries which actually have no future at all. I mean for real. A Korean Grand Prix?

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