In the past decade F1 has added races in several countries with little prior history of motor racing. Unsurprisingly, these races have struggled to draw spectators in the same numbers that European races like the British and Italian Grands Prix.
What could be done to encourage more people to come to these new races? One solution might be to ensure there’s more action going on at the tracks when the F1 cars are in the garages.
The crowd at next week’s Spanish Grand Prix will be entertained by seven other races in addition to the Grand Prix. They get two rounds of the excellent GP2 series and the first two races of its new feeder championship, GP3.
Formula BMW Europe, another frequently entertaining championship, will supply another two races and there’s also the Porsche Supercup.
But fans at the Malaysian and Chinese races saw only one non-F1 series for the price of their tickets. The Sepang race was supported by Formula BMW Pacific and at China the Asian Porsche Carrera Cup was the sole event on the support bill.
Part of the problem is the contraction of the GP2 Asia championship last season. The series previously raced at Shanghai and Sepang, but only visited Abu Dhabi and Bahrain last season.
With the main GP2 series taking over the Abu Dhabi support bill this year, you have to wonder where the GP2 Asia championship will fit in in 2011 – and whether it will at all.
What if there simply aren’t any local racing series to join the support card? Perhaps the track time could be used in other ways involving the F1 teams.
Why not put on a pit stop competition for the mechanics on the start line, as other championships have done? Or could Shanghai’s huge back straight be used for a drag race between F1 cars with a cash prize for the fastest driver?
Do you think crowd sizes at these new events could be improved by putting on more support races? Have you been to Asian and European rounds of the championship and noticed a difference in the amount of action? Share your thoughts in the comments.
For details of the support races at all this year’s Grands Prix, see the race links at the bottom of the page.