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Why Are F1 Tickets So Expensive? (Full Explanation)

Attending an F1 race can require a big chunk of cash. Tickets to attend a race are extremely expensive, and they normally sell out quickly too. There’s no doubt that attending an F1 race is a special occasion, but many fans are left wondering why F1 tickets are so expensive.

Formula 1 tickets are so expensive because of the costs involved in hosting a race. Racetracks need to pay F1 to get onto the calendar, and they also have to keep their track maintained to ensure the event goes ahead. They also have to pay to prepare for the event, adding to the ticket costs.

If you have the opportunity to attend a Formula 1 race weekend you should definitely take it. It is an incredible experience that you should not miss out on! However, it can be difficult in terms of the costs, so below we go through why F1 tickets are so expensive in more detail.

How Much Do F1 Tickets Cost?

F1 tickets can cost anywhere from around $100 to thousands of dollars. Tickets get very expensive if you’re looking for good seats and want to attend all three days of on-track action. For general United States Grand Prix tickets, you’ll be looking at between $100 and $180 for single day passes.

If you want to attend all three days, which includes the practice and qualifying sessions you can expect to pay between $225 and $400 for your tickets depending on which grandstand you choose to sit in.

There are several factors that influence the price of Formula 1 tickets. If you understand what determines the overall price of the ticket, you may be able to find yourself some cheaper tickets to the next Grand Prix!

What Affects The Price Of F1 Tickets?

Country

The first factor to consider is in which country you will be attending an F1 race. Some countries have more expensive tickets than others, and this is an important factor to consider when it comes to buying tickets.

For example, tickets to the British Grand Prix can be nearly double the price of those for the US Grand Prix. The exact reason for this can vary, but in the majority of cases, the racetrack organizers have a large influence in setting the price of their tickets. Russia, Japan and China tend to have the cheapest Formula 1 tickets.

Regarding the British GP, it could come down to the fact that the sport has a huge following in the UK, relative to population size. This creates a higher demand for the tickets which will naturally cause the organizers to bump the prices up.

Sometimes it comes down to the reputation of the racetrack. For example, the Monaco Grand Prix is the event that everyone wants to attend, for both the atmosphere and the historical significance of the Monaco GP, so their tickets will be among the highest of the entire F1 calendar.

Seating

Seating is another element that has a big influence on the ticket prices. Just like any other event, better seats will cost you more money. Generally, the main grandstand tends to be the most expensive.

The main grandstand is the one found on the main straight and it is directly across from the pit lane. This means that the fans who grab these tickets normally get the best view of the race start, the pit stops, many overtaking opportunities, and the end of the race.

However, it’s important to choose your seating wisely. You might not want to sit on a long straight for example, where the cars fly past you at 200 miles per hour. It might be exciting to watch once or twice, but you only get to see the cars for a split second each lap.

The best seating is often at the end of a long straight or on a series of corners. Sitting in an area where the cars need to slow down gives you much more time to see them. Plus, these corners will also present overtaking opportunities which are great to watch as well.

When You Buy Your Tickets

Just like with flight tickets, the prices of Formula 1 tickets will go up closer to the event. As the tickets begin to sell out, you may notice that some of them begin to become more expensive as the demand for them increases.

The best time for you to buy Formula 1 tickets is usually as soon as they are released by the circuit or on the official Formula 1 website. The longer you wait, the more you are going to pay. In addition, the tickets tend to sell out quickly as well, especially when it comes to the more popular races.

Type Of Ticket

The type of ticket you buy is also important to consider when you’re looking at the price. There are a few different types of Formula 1 tickets available for you to choose from, and they all vary in price.

The first is single day passes. These are often bought by people who simply want to experience Formula 1 or attend one of the concerts that take place after the event. This would essentially be like buying a really expensive concert ticket and getting to see some race cars on the same day. You can buy single day passes for Friday (Thursday at Monaco), Saturday or Sunday.

There are also two day passes that you can buy for F1 events. Two day passes will generally be for either a Friday and Saturday or for a Saturday and Sunday. These are appealing to most of the general public as they aren’t too bothered with free practice sessions of Fridays and just want to watch qualifying and the race.

The final options for standard Formula 1 tickets are the three day passes. These passes will allow you to attend Friday, Saturday and Sunday. What most people don’t know about these is that these passes also give you Thursday access.

Although there’s no on-track action on a Thursday, you can often do a pitlane walk and see all of the cars as the mechanics work on them and get them ready for the weekend. You’ll also see teams practicing pit stops, taking their cars to scrutineering, and if you’re really lucky you’ll see some of the drivers in their garages, but note that they’re not obliged to come out and meet the fans.

VIP Tickets

Finally, there are Formula 1’s VIP tickets, also known as the paddock club. Paddock club tickets cost around $6,000 for three day access, again depending on the track. Two day access is around $5,600 and Friday access is about $1,000.

Paddock club passes come with a lot of benefits for the price, such as the private viewing area above the garages, an open bar, lunch, private meet and greet with the drivers, and in some cases access to the pitlane during the weekend as well. However, all of these details vary depending on the ticket and the track.

Why Are F1 Races So Expensive?

So, you might still be wondering why exactly F1 tickets are so expensive. Even though Formula 1 cars are expensive to build, maintain and operate, the teams have their own sponsors and budgets that pay for all of this.

However, there are other elements that influence the cost of your tickets. At the end of the day, the majority of the money that you are paying for your ticket is going to the racetrack that is hosting the Grand Prix.

The Cost Of Hosting F1

Racetracks and countries that host Formula 1 need to pay in order to secure their place on the calendar. Formula 1 is an attraction, and it hosts some of the most coveted events in the world which means that they can charge seemingly ridiculous amounts of money if a country wants to host a race.

The general cost of hosting a Grand Prix is around $40 million annually. This is simply to sign a contract with Formula 1 which will bring the sport to the track for one weekend a year. Most tracks will usually sign roughly decade long contracts instead, which can lead to costs of $500 million or more over the 10 years. However, there is a reason for this high asking price.

Formula 1 as business is massive and it employs thousands of people. In order to pay salaries, have a prize fund for the teams, and grow the sport, it needs a lot of money to be brought in to keep it running. The way to recoup these costs is through charging the circuits for the privilege of hosting a prestigious F1 event, and they pay the bill mostly through ticket sales.

The Cost Of Maintaining The Track

On top of the costs involved in signing a contract with Formula 1, the racetrack is responsible for their own maintenance. Formula 1 cars have very particular needs in terms of the tracks that they race on. The track has to be up to date and deemed safe by FIA standards.

Formula 1 cars, along with any other racing series that the track hosts throughout the year, can be harsh on the surfaces on a racetrack, so regular (and expensive) maintenance is a must for any racetrack on the calendar.

Weather conditions, such as excessive rain or hot weather, can further damage the tarmac too. This means that your tickets are providing some much needed funds for the track to continue to host Formula 1 in the future.

The Cost Of Preparation

It’s not simply a case of turning up at the track and sending Formula 1 cars out there. There’s a lot of behind the scenes preparation that takes place before a Grand Prix even kicks off for the first free practice session on a Friday.

From cleaning and repairing to setting up stalls and preparing the teams’ and drivers’ areas, there’s a lot of work that goes into getting a racetrack ready for a Grand Prix. Unfortunately, all of this work, and the costs included in it, is the responsibility of the track organizers.

The Cost Of The Event Itself

Modern day Formula 1 is not just race cars going around a track – it’s a whole event. There’s a lot to do, from activities to food stalls and even concerts after the race. All of these costs have to be covered by the organizers.

Some F1 races have some big stars performing afterwards. For example, Justin Bieber, Martin Garrix and The Killers are just a few of the famous names that have performed at Grand Prix concerts in the past.

It takes a lot of money in order to bring these famous artists over and get them to perform at a Grand Prix. This “added value” increases the prices of your tickets as you don’t have to pay anything “extra” to go and watch the concert.

You may also notice that everything at a Grand Prix, like the food and drinks, is also extremely pricey. In order to simply break even, a racetrack needs to charge huge amounts of money.

Final Thoughts

F1 tickets are expensive because they need to cover the costs of preparing and maintaining the track, staffing costs, and the various other costs of running the entire event. In addition, the track needs to pay to have their circuit featured on the F1 calendar, which factors into ticket prices too.