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?”

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  1. 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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