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

Sepang
??13.18
Shanghai
??50.36
Hungaroring
??74.71
Montreal
??77.73
Monza
??78.86
Hockenheimring
??82.18
Catalunya
??99.61
Valencia
??99.61
Singapore
??100.3
Spa-Francorchamps
??107.91
Albert Park
??125.17
Monte-Carlo
??150
Silverstone
??155

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

Shanghai
??85.5
Sepang
??92.68
Hungaroring
??98.78
Hockenheimring
??123.69
Monza
??124.52
Catalunya
??149.42
Singapore
??150.95
Valencia
??157.72
Montreal
??167.17
Albert Park
??209.74
Silverstone
??225
Spa-Francorchamps
??290.54
Monte-Carlo
??460

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

Montreal
??352.13
Shanghai
??360.14
Sepang
??368.84
Albert Park
??372.12
Catalunya
??373.55
Valencia
??373.55
Hungaroring
??373.55
Hockenheimring
??414.22
Silverstone
??420
Spa-Francorchamps
??456.56
Monza
??481.46
Singapore
??652.44
Monte-Carlo
??750

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:

2012 F1 season


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

  1. 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??

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. egsgeg said on 3rd February 2012, 0:32

    Some of these tickets are more than my entire salary :/

  7. dragoll (@dragoll) said on 3rd February 2012, 7:58

    I think it is important to highlight that different races provide different support events. Although the Albert Park race is fairly dear, the event is held over 4 days, with F1’s on track for the 3 days. However, the support events this year include:

    F1, V8 Supercars, Porsche Carrera Cup, Group A & C, Historic Demonstration, Red Bull Race Off, Speed Comparison.

    http://www.grandprix.com.au/event/on-track

  8. Borat Sagdiyev said on 3rd February 2012, 8:41

    Sepang is very cheap! How much a flight from UK to Malaysia cost? With GP2 season opener there, It should be a fun weekend.

  9. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 3rd February 2012, 13:35

    I’ve found that both races i’ve been to (Silverstone 2010 and Monza 2011) were great value for money.

    My measuring stick is music festival prices. I stopped attending Download Festival in 2010 after I lost interest. That has now been replaced by attempting to visit a different European circuit every year. The prices for food/drink are lower at the races than they are at a music festival, so I feel like i’m getting a bargain by comparison.

    Ultimately I think it really boils down to value for money. If you’re going to only watch the F1 sessions then you’re not getting as much bang for your buck if you were to watch all the support races and exploit the other advantages (pit lane walk at Monza for instance).

    The races are pretty much my only annual holiday aside from the odd weekend break here or there so i’m happy to spend the money i’m spending now and I won’t complain much if it does go up as i’m fortunate enough to be in a position where I can afford to absorb the extra cost.

  10. Has anyone tried sharing weekend ticket to F1? I mean if we two buy one ticket, can I attent the race on Saturday and my husband on Sunday with the same ticket?

  11. LazerFX (@lazerfx) said on 15th June 2013, 12:07

    Yes, at Silverstone at least. You get unnamed tickets with tear off tags for each day… My parents have in the past shared a weekend general entry ticket.

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