F1 General Admission ticket prices rise nearly 10% in two years

2012 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2011

Noticeable gaps in the crowd at Barcelona last year

The cost of holding F1 races is increasingly being passed on to fans as the price of the cheapest race tickets has risen quickest since 2010.

General Admission ticket prices rose 9.52% at ten circuits between 2010 and 2012. However the price for admission to seated areas remained stable at several venues, and average prices for those rose by only 1.84%.

Sepang International Circuit is a notable exception to the rise in prices. At the home of the Malaysian Grand Prix, general admission tickets are 37% cheaper than they were two years ago as the race organisers try to attract fans in the face of increased competition from nearby Singapore and its glamorous night race.

However several other race organisers have had to put prices up: General Admission tickets for the Belgian, Canadian, Monaco, British and Italian Grands Prix have gone up between 18 and 30 percent.

Here is a breakdown of the lowest and highest prices for the 2012 F1 race tickets currently available, and comparisons to the same prices two years ago:

Three-day General Admission tickets

Albert Park

Availability of General Admission tickets varies considerably from track to track. Inevitably, it’s the expensive seats that have the best views.

Of the 13 tracks surveyed, Silverstone had the most expensive three-day general admission ticket. However this has not stopped the circuit attracting crowds other circuits would envy: last year’s race attracted a three-day attendance of 315,000.

Cheapest three-day tickets with seats

Albert Park

Inevitably the Monaco Grand Prix is consistently among the dearest races to attend.

But it’s striking how expensive tickets are for seats at the Belgian Grand Prix, although the long Spa-Francorchamps circuit boasts ample room for spectators with General Admission tickets.

Dearest three-day tickets

Albert Park

At the top end of the price range the costs are similar between most circuits, with Singapore and Monaco attracting the top spenders.

2010 and 2012 ticket prices compared

F1 race organisers face significant economic pressure at the moment. Foremost among which are the rising cost of race hosting fees charged by Formula One Management and economic uncertainly leading fans to spend less on attending races.

On top of that, F1’s move away from free-to-air broadcasting to paid channels in some areas is likely to have a direct effect on the purchasing power of F1 fans. A year’s subscription to Sky in order to watch the ten races not being shown for free in the UK costs ??363 – more than a weekend ticket to the British Grand Prix.

As one British fan put it to me recently, why pay money to see one of the races that’s being shown on TV for free anyway, when that money could be spent on going to a different race, or put towards the cost of a Sky subscription?

Given the costs race organisers face, it’s perhaps surprising that ticket prices aren’t being driven higher at an even faster rate, despite already being quite high.

As race organisers feel the pinch of falling attendance there have been rumours more will move to share races with other circuits.

Spanish Grand Prix boss Salvador Servia said earlier this week: “The main thing is for the fans to come to the circuit. If the fans come, then there is no problem. But with the crisis, attendance has decreased in all circuits.”

Here are how the ticket prices have changed between 2010 and 2012 at the venues for which the data was available:

Cheapest Three-day (No seat) Cheapest Three-day (Seat) Dearest Three-day
Average +9.52% +1.84% -3.2%
Sepang -37% -11.4% -32.19%
Shanghai +17.03% -1.35% -8.45%
Catalunya +9.09% +5.88% -15.89%
Monte-Carlo +20.34% +1.39% -0.72%
Montreal +23% +17.58% +12.58%
Valencia -2.56% -24.37%
Silverstone +19.23% -2.17% +5.26%
Hockenheimring 0% -25.13% 0%
Hungaroring -5.26% -7.75% +5.14%
Spa-Francorchamps +30% +9.38% 0%
Monza +18.75% +36.36% +23.4%

Are you going to an F1 race this year? Have you stopped going to races because of the cost?

And how does the price of going to an F1 race compare to other sporting events and leisure activities? Have your say in the comments.

Plan your 2012 race visit

Going to an F1 race in 2012? Find other F1 fans who are and share tips on ticket prices and more in the dedicated race forums:

Notes on the research

All prices were obtained either from the official website for the Grand Prix or F1.com. Prices were not available for the Bahrain, Korean, Japanese, Indian, Brazilian, United States and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. Prices not quoted in pounds sterling were converted on February 2nd 2012. No conversions were undertaken when comparing between tickets for the same circuits in different years.

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. In a small number of cases, ticket prices were unavailable because they had sold out. ‘Seated’ tickets include bleachers, folding seats or grandstands but not grass areas. ‘General admission’ tickets do not include a seat and may restrict spectators to viewing in certain areas.

Thanks to Guilherme for researching the data on 2012 ticket prices. If you’re interested in contributing to F1 Fanatic. See here for details on how you can:

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44 comments on F1 General Admission ticket prices rise nearly 10% in two years

  1. Eastman (@eastman) said on 2nd February 2012, 13:38

    At Montreal it is amusing that year over year the price of the most expensive, main straight, start-finish seats are very similar, but the hairpin and Senna curve seats (arguably the ‘better’ seats) continue to balloon.

    As compared to other North American sports, it is by far my most expensive event of the year. Even over scalped tickets during the NHL playoffs last year, my bench seat in the sun was nearly 200 US dollars more. However I did get three full days of entertainment, compared to about 4 hours in the hockey arena.

  2. Dot Kewley said on 2nd February 2012, 13:44

    I went to Abu Dhabi in 2010 & 2011, tickets booked through bookF1.com, ticket price for 3 day, seated was;
    2010 £294 pp
    2011 £338 pp

  3. Spawinte (@spawinte) said on 2nd February 2012, 13:48

    What the hell, I paid 190 euros for Spa 3 day GA tickets in 2010. I think I got ripped off ;_;

    My 3 day GA for Monza this year is 82.50 sterling.

  4. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 2nd February 2012, 13:48

    Where does the Buddh Circuit stand?

  5. Deurmat (@deurmat) said on 2nd February 2012, 13:51

    This is why we went to the German GP instead off the Belgian GP last year. I am Belgian.

  6. David said on 2nd February 2012, 13:55

    I want to know why FOM need to keep upping the prices… have they seriously been losing money which they’re now trying to claw back? I doubt it but if so I’d like to know about it. And if not then FOM are just being too greedy, too fast, and will only harm the sport itself and have a detrimental effect on its money making ability as time goes on.

    F1 is pricey, very much so, and like everything else a bit of common sense would go a long way. If you really want to appeal to people in new territories then pricing them out of the spectacle is not going to help grow the sport there, which will reduce viewership on tv also in those countries, reducing advertising impact and thus advertising revenues for all the teams and the tracks, reduces the number of people out there who could potentially be lapping up (non overpriced) merchandise. Basically everything they’re doing is trying to wring money from people now and ignoring the fact that millions of potential customers are being turned off by this greed and billions of lost revenue awaits. Nice one Bernie.

    • Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 2nd February 2012, 14:01

      I want to know why FOM need to keep upping the prices… have they seriously been losing money which they’re now trying to claw back?

      Well, aparently CVC is still trying to make a profit out of its purchase….

    • Solo (@solo) said on 2nd February 2012, 17:36

      FOM doesn’t put prices on tickets. It just arranges a fee in the initial contract with the circuit. Unfortunately that fee also usually includes a 5%(if i remember correctly) rise every year so i guess it’s natural the prices will go up if the circuit owners want to stay in the same margin.
      I never understood that rise in fee that is quite higher than the inflation rate rise though and why circuit owners accept such a thing.

      • David said on 2nd February 2012, 20:50

        I should have made that clearer, I did mean FOM upping their prices to the circuits which then gets passed on to us.

        As for the circuits accepting it… maybe we’re starting to see the cracks appear and FOM, or CVC or whomever, are pushing their luck a little. It’s a shame as F1 is a great sport to go and see and going to motorsport in general is such a different and unique experience, it’s a shame to see the pinnacle costs so much 9considering how many people can be let into a circuit for example compared with limited seating in a tennis arena or even a football stadium for example.

        What I want to see is more and better general admission areas. I can only speak about Silverstone, but I don’t know why they can’t have bigger banked areas along the sides of the tracks for standing spectators so everyone can get a decent view, and not just the lucky ones who manage to get to the front. Have proper tiered standing areas along all the straights and the new part of Silverstone has very limited seating never mind limited standing positions, for the important first few corners, feels like a no mans land spectator wise. In short there’s a lot that could be done to improve motorsport for the fans going along and CVC pricing circuits out of the market and circuits having limited scope for improvements as a result does’ help build up the sport.

  7. McLarenFanJamm (@mclarenfanjamm) said on 2nd February 2012, 13:58

    This is mostly the result of the contracts signed with Bernie as they will include year on year increases in charges, I imagine these increases will also be above the rate of inflation. Of course, the circuits have to agree to them otherwise the race is taken away from them and given to some oil baron in the middle-east that nobody has really heard of.

    I’m attending the British GP for the first time this year but have teased myself by looking at prices for at least the past five years and seeing the price increase every year is staggering. It was only a few years ago that GA tickets for 3 days were £90.

    I really fail to understand why Bernie feels the need to charge the circuits (and the broadcasters for that matter) such exorbitant fees. I’ve no doubt it’s one of the reasons so many of them are now sponsored by Santander and have to present their truly awful trophies. I can only hope that whoever replaces Bernie isn’t so greedy.

    • Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 2nd February 2012, 14:08

      I think this is mostly the result of CVC trying to get the money they’ve spent on their purchase of F1 back. We must not forget that they own FOM and that Bernie is works for CVC, so he is not the only greedy guy in this story.

      But I agree with you, this business model is completely ludricous in the current economical climate, and it is only hurting what they should strive to protect: the classic Grand Prix venues and the people that attends the races.

    • ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 2nd February 2012, 14:08

      NBA-style management for Formula 1 has never sounded more attractive :)

  8. I have been to the Silverstone Grand Prix since 2002, and made it every year bar one when my Mother passed away. However, this year I won’t be going – the increases in price have made it uneconomical for me to go. I found paying £179 as I did last year for camping + 3 day walkabout tickets was very expensive, but manageable, but £215 for the camping + 3 day walkabout is too much to budget for.

    It’s a shame, and I’ll miss the fantastic buzz, but at those prices, which have gone up year-on-year since I started attending (the first year I went, I got Copse B under-cover tickets for £225 p.p., and the second year General 3-day admission was £79 p.p.) and it has got to the point where I just can’t countenance the cost.

  9. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 2nd February 2012, 14:05

    Personally, I’m more than “a bit” happy about Sepang tickets being the cheapest. Fits my wallet nicely :)

  10. BrawnGP said on 2nd February 2012, 14:31

    Makes SKY a bargain…

  11. Daniel Bigham said on 2nd February 2012, 14:37

    I went to Spa last year, but the cost is getting pretty ridiculous. I’m going to stay local this year and stick to Silverstone. I think the language barrier restricted the parties somewhat, whereas I imagine the Silverstone atmosphere to be more like a festival. I do get a weekly email about general deals from deal cloud, and spotted this Monaco one today:


    Day return flight and tickets for £450, including breakfast and dinner, not too bad really, but still quite extortionate for a motorsport event!

  12. The Limit said on 2nd February 2012, 14:42

    I often wonder why the British always get ripped off? Nothing seems to change does it, my wallet still has nightmarish flashbacks to my 2001 visit there. Yet you seldom see empty seats at Silverstone do you? God Save The Queen!

  13. Prices rise in the two years where it’s been economic hell? I should be shocked but I’m not. I love F1 but I doubt at this point in my life I’d go to a race. It’s a ridiculous amount of money just to watch it now never mind the cost of travel and the tickets for a GP.

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 2nd February 2012, 15:00

      That’s the same conclusion I came to @Steph . I’d love to go o a race one day, but that’s only because I think it would be nice to be closer to the sport I’ve been such a close fan of for years, but for now it’s a “no”.

  14. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 2nd February 2012, 14:56

    Hell, it’s cheap to attend the Malaysian GP! To be honest, I’d pay everything to attend a race… I’m yet to do it :(!

    PD: The page looks f…ed up on Chrome… graphs go over the text.

  15. Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 2nd February 2012, 15:02

    Its a shame that prices are going even by 10%. I never been to a grand prix and they are getting more expensive, i also cant afford skyF1 or sky sports and with football tickets rising its a shame that I cant afford to whatch the sports i love, malaysia is cheap for flights and hotels its gonna still be expensive. What annoys me more is my idiot friend went to silverstone 3 years in a row and still cant name one of the corners of the track and silverstone has real corner names e.g. copse, stowe, beketts


  16. TED BELL said on 2nd February 2012, 16:12

    Great article except for the fact that many of us don’t know how much a “pound” really is. So with respect to this issue can someone tell me what the current exchange rate is with the mighty US dollar??

  17. TheWittyWeasel (@thewittyweasel) said on 2nd February 2012, 17:50

    I’m going to Spa this year, and have managed to get a silver ticket (S3, Les Coombes) as well as travel, accommodation Thur-Mon and all meals except dinner for £500 which, all things considered is pretty reasonable, so I can’t complain too much.

  18. Gagnon (@johnniewalker) said on 2nd February 2012, 17:57

    I did go to my first grand prix last years at Montreal, and even if the price would be twice as its presently I will go there again. Best race I ever see and it was right in my face in T1. I love formula 1 and I love montreal GP and I will be back next years of course

  19. Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 2nd February 2012, 21:58

    Excellent piece Keith, more of this please!

    We went to Singapore last year and it cost just over Au$1000 for the three day zone 1 ticket on the grid (about Stg670 at today’s exchange). If you break it down it’s about Stg220 per day, with about 7 hours each day when the track is accessable and for probably 5 hours of that time when there is something to do or see along with the actual practice/qual/race. I thought that was reasonable value if you compare it on a time and/or event basis. Certainly better value than the Stg170 my wife will spend at the Opera this weekend – only two hours or so with the added penalty of actually having to listen to opera. Give me an aria of V8’s anytime.

  20. Ben (@) said on 2nd February 2012, 22:53

    Increasingly being passed on to fans? This is nothing new. The guaranteed and perpetually increasing amounts of money charged by FOM to the tracks for the honor of hosting a grand prix practically dictates that fans get screwed. Competitive pricing is not even an option.

    If FOM fees were tied to attendance numbers, then you’d see the prices come down. Until then, we’re all just going to have to continue paying for Tamara Ecclestone’s underwear.

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