How F1 ticket prices have risen over 20 years

2014 F1 season

Fans, Silverstone, 2013 British Grand PrixIn a sport where money is everything, the price of a ticket to a Formula One race is one of the most visible indicators of how costs are passed on to its fans.

Over the past 20 years, the price of attending some races has risen well above the rate of inflation.

The British Grand Prix is typical of this. A three-day general admission ticket to the 1993 race would have set you back ??52. Had that risen in line with inflation a corresponding 2014 ticket would cost just under ??90.

However the ordinary price of a general admission ticket to this year’s race is ??170 – over three times what it cost two decades ago. This is typical of the price increase seen at tracks which were also on the calendar in 1993.

Other tracks which have tripled the prices of their cheapest weekend tickets in that time include the Circuit de Catalunya, Hungaroring and Monza. Prices are twice what they were at Spa-Francorchamps, the Hockenheimring and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Perhaps unsurprisingly Monaco has seen the steepest rise in this time, increasing its general admission pass price almost six-fold in that time. But even so it is only slightly dearer to buy the equivalent ticket for that race as it is for this year’s British Grand Prix.

Prices at Silverstone have risen particularly steeply in recent years. The cheapest three-day ticket prices has gone up by ??10 per year on average since 2010, and the top-price grandstand seats have gone up even more.

F1 fans may have the chance to see the cars in action this season without spending so much. Up to four two-day tests may take place at tracks following race meetings. However it remains to be seen which venues will hold these tests, and whether they will be open to the public.

2014 ticket prices so far

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NB. All cheapest tickets are general admission except Bahrain. Albert Park is a four-day ticket.

Are you going to an F1 race in 2014?

Do you have a regular race you go to every year? Are you going to one of the new additions to the 2014 F1 calendar?

Find other fans who are heading to the same race via the discussion forums below.

2014 F1 season


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43 comments on How F1 ticket prices have risen over 20 years

  1. ajokay (@ajokay) said on 16th January 2014, 12:22

    The cost just doesn’t warrant the time, effort and planning required to go to these things any more. Not in my opinion anyway.

    • PJ (@pjtierney) said on 16th January 2014, 18:31

      Especially when 3 days of WEC action, with better access than an F1 race, goes for around £40.

      • Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 16th January 2014, 18:49

        …with free parking, and hotels or camping at normal rates, not the ridiculously hiked prices you get around Grand Prix time.

        I hope these things remain, and the paddock/pit-walk access, as the series becomes more popular.

    • Steph (@stephanief1990) said on 17th January 2014, 16:39

      It is just a complete waste of money esp when other (motor) sports events are much cheaper. Given how much people are financially struggling these days as well it is a slap in the face to fans.

  2. MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 16th January 2014, 12:28

    And this is why every year I go to Le Mans, and the idea of going to a GP never even crosses my mind.

    Let’s not forget, that increase in cost is not because the show has got better, but simply because an enormous amount has to be added on top so you can pay for the privilege of knowing you’ve helped a bunch of millionaires get even richer.

    • “Millionaires” is the understatement of the decade! Hi two daughters just spend $150M on new homes but still need to expand them. They are 23 and 27. Seems very appropriate – or necessary might be a better word!

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 16th January 2014, 13:57

        Indeed. Well hopefully at least one of those billionaires will soon have to become accustomed to accommodation considerably smaller than that which he’s used to..

      • *Hi = his, as in Bernie’s

      • I believe the news that both of them are/were getting married was the low point of my existance.

        Destroyed my primary aim in life. Unless they get divorced, in which case it’s back to their gym and game on again…

        • Trust me – they will not stay married long. But even if you managed to stay married to one of them for a full year, I am certain your daddy-in-law would have his league-of-extraordinary-lawyers ready to prevent you from ever seeing a dime.

          But it would be a fun year… or at least the first half!

    • ajokay (@ajokay) said on 16th January 2014, 14:30

      Indeed. I will get round to doing that one day. In the meantime, on any given weekend, I drive for an hour or two, rock up at Silverstone/Brands Hatch/Rockingham/Snetterton/Donington/Thruxton’s front gates, pay 20 quid or so and watch a day of GT or touring cars or whatever with unobstructed views, minimal crowding, near-infinite paddock access.

      Why take 2 days off work to spend hours in a traffic jam, even longer in a muddy wet field putting up a fabric house, and drudging round for 3 days not being able to see anything or get to anywhere because you don’t have the right kind of wristband?

      • MazdaChris (@mazdachris) said on 16th January 2014, 14:58

        And of course if you are one of the chosen few who does have the right kind of wristband, all it means is that you get to watch your little bit of track from on top of a rickety piece of scaffolding. Of course, you’ll have an excellent view of the extremely expensive paddock and hospitality area, where you can catch a glimpse of one of the millionaires out on a jolly to the sport which they have absolute zero interest in, but somehow make masses of money from. Truly, sitting in the gutter, looking up at the stars..

      • Why?? Do you have a better idea for how to accommodate the dear 23 year old? She wan’t her home to look exactly like the Versailles so that’s how it’s gonna be!

        Geez… did you really expect her to go live in some crummy regular sized mansion?

  3. Sam (@) said on 16th January 2014, 12:33

    Although I love to go and I’ve only been to one of the more expensive venues that Spa is, after many years I don’t feel the need anymore.

    Last year I saw Button drive away with it and no race unfolding behind him. This year it was another leader but the same boring train behind him.

    It is however a life-goal to go to Monza and Silverstone one day. But whether that is for a F1 race or for example the 6h race at Silverstone doesn’t really matter like it used to.

  4. It could be priceless because it’s a passion, but clearly the rise of ticket prices are not justified.

    There is tickets cost, transport cost, nights and accomodations cost, and so on… So, for me to go to Spa, it’s about 400€ for a three-day ticket, plus 50€ for fuel to go there from where I live, plus circuit’s car-park, plus hotels/hostels room about 80€ per night.

    Outch, it’s costly! Still I didn’t even eat and drink, don’t talk about souvenirs and gifts… That’s my salary I spend there!

    The saddest fact is that particular race will worth twice as less as the finale. Come on!

  5. Cornflakes (@cornflakes) said on 16th January 2014, 12:44

    Have ticket prices at Abu Dhabi doubled this year to account for its doubling of importance?

  6. Stretch (@stretch) said on 16th January 2014, 12:44

    Albert Park might be a 4 day ticket but on the Thursday, tickets are free.

  7. Julien (@jlracing) said on 16th January 2014, 12:47

    I’ve been lucky last year I think. I bought the cheapest tickets for the German GP at the Nurburgring for only €89 (75 pounds).
    I sat along the straight before the last chicane and had a great view + a big television screen right in front of me.
    Including camping tickets I spent only about €150 (+- 125 pounds) for the whole weekend. What you drink, eat and do there it’s up to you ;)

  8. Another point to add – parking at Silverstone was £15 in 2007, and has gradually risen to £60 as of last year. I think it might have gotten ever so slightly cheaper this year.

  9. andae23 (@andae23) said on 16th January 2014, 13:32

    I’ve been to a Grand Prix twice in my life, in 2011 and 2012. However, last year I had to skip because it was too expensive. And the same goes for this year as well, even though I’m very anxious to hear what the V6 turbo will sound like. I just don’t think it’s worth spending over a hundred Euros for watching F1 cars nursing their tyres and saving fuel all race. And due to DRS, sitting at the so-called ‘overtaking spots’ isn’t worth it since the overtakes you’ll see are all exactly the same.

    For the last two years, I’ve started visiting my local circuit (Zandvoort) a lot more and for a lot less money (typically you only pay the parking fee) you can watch some genuine racing on a proper circuit all day long. And if you want to see something a bit more professional, you can go to the WSR events, endurance races, f3.. all with better racing than F1, yet all cheaper.

  10. It’s a difficult scenario really. If you’re on this site, frankly, if you could (money, time and distance affording) you would be at every Grand Prix.

    These three factors are important. In general terms, most of the site will have jobs, or be at school, which limits the number of trips you can make before even looking at money. For those of us in Europe, the reality is we could probably attend any one of 8 races (GB, Belgium, Spain, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Austria, Monaco).

    I’m UK based, and, living in Northamptonshire, Silverstone is on my doorstep. I can get to the circuit entrance in 15 minutes on a traffic-free day. However, the price of the ticket for three days of the British GP means I’m now planning a trip to Monza instead (having done Spa last year), which is looking at being only marginally more expensive including travel.

    It’s an expensive sport to run, but with the teams struggling to find their way on to the grid year after year and circuits not having the money to upgrade, you have to wonder where all the “kerching” from race tickets is going. The cynic in me says that it’s lining Bernie’s already thick wallet.

    • Jack (@jackisthestig) said on 17th January 2014, 0:45

      I’ve been pricing up going to the Spanish GP this year. Flights from Cardiff, two nights in a 4 star hotel near the Nou Camp, general admission weekend tickets and a train pass to go back and fore from Montmelo only costs around £15 more (subject to not being mugged) than the equivalent trip camping at good old Silverstone.

      I just don’t understand why prices are so inflated for the British GP in particular and that’s before you bear in mind that once you’re there you are trapped in a little bubble of extortion. If you want something to eat you can’t drive to a nice pub or a restaurant because the campsites are so busy you can’t get your car out. You can spend £10 on a pork roll and chips from the back of a van on the campsite or spend a similar amount at a barbeque around the side of the pub in the middle of Silverstone Village, although that’s providing you resist all the people flogging you merchandise and the local schoolchildren going round with a charity bucket, collecting funds for their annual Skiing trip!

      It’s enough to make you turn to drink, although £5 for a pint of warm lager does tend to dissuade you from too much of that.

  11. Keith Crossley said on 16th January 2014, 14:30

    I’ve got here the most expensive ticket to the 1978 USGP at Watkins Glen. Year of the Lotus 79.

    $11.00 US. Which is about $40 current dollars.

    Words fail….

  12. Bjornar Simonsen said on 16th January 2014, 14:33

    Can anyone make an inflation-corrected graph? This means nothing without that.

  13. SP (@jb001) said on 16th January 2014, 15:01

    Heh, F1 tickets make the Honda Indy Toronto look like a real bargain. $50 (Canadian dollars) for general admission across 3 days (although Friday is free if you just want to sample the event). $45 for a 3-day paddock pass. In terms of on-track action there’s Indycar, Indy Lights, USF2000, F1600, Porsche GT3 Cup, Acura Challenge (various production cars with minimal modifications), and Super Trucks.

  14. Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 16th January 2014, 15:25

    I started going to the Indy 500 every year in 2011. General admission is $30. Parking costs vary depending on how close you wanna park but I usually find a yard nearby that offers a spot for $10-20. Worth it every time so far. And like the LeMans comment above, I went to the Rolex 24 at Daytona last year and found it waaaaay worth the price. $80 a ticket for general admission which means any grandstand, any spot in the infield, you name it, you can go and watch. And that track has areas where you can literally see the whole circuit. The second my dad and I left the gates last year, we started planning for this year. We’re even splurging with my mother in law’s camper. So seeing these prices are making me wonder about including going to an F1 race on my bucket list. That’s a steep price for what sounds like a so-so experience. I have a feeling that many hardcore race fans are starting to shift to other series because the value offered seems a better buy. I wonder at what point does it begin to hurt f1 enough to change their tune?

  15. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 16th January 2014, 15:30

    I’d imagine that whilst the ticket prices have gone up 3x inflation, the cost to host a race, the cost to staff it, the cost to police it and all the taxes involved have probably gone up even more rapidly!

    Sadly, nearly all of the money in F1 ends up in Bernie’s pocket and it’s hurting the fans. Having said that, when has F1 ever cared about the fans!?

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