Malaysia offers F1’s cheapest tickets in 2016, Abu Dhabi most expensive

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For our 2016 analysis of F1 ticket prices, we take an in-depth look at prices for three main F1 ticket types, ranking the record 21 destinations from cheapest to most expensive. Overall, prices are fairly stable since last year when expressed in USD, with the cheapest tickets still sold in Malaysia and China, and the most expensive in Britain, Monaco, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. For the first time, we have also compared the cost of the cheapest 3-day race ticket with the average monthly salary in the country where the race is held, yielding some surprising results.

Main image © F1Destinations.com. Read our earlier F1 ticket prices analysis here: 2015, 2014, 2013. Tickets are not yet on sale for the final four races of the 2016 season in the USA, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi; we have used 2015 prices for these races instead. Due to different pricing strategies for each race (many promoters offer a series of early bird discounts) as well as the different times when tickets go on sale, ranking F1 ticket prices is not an exact science. We have based this ranking on prices as at February 15, 2016, some of which still include early-bird discounts.

When expressed in the home currency of each race, prices remain unchanged at more than half of this year’s venues. A handful of race organizers (China, Malaysia, Australia) have increased prices marginally, whilst a similar number have lowered prices for selected ticket types (Russia and Britain).

Exchange rates have not affected prices as much as last year; the EUR is at a similar level against the USD when compared to one year ago. The losers are Australia and Canada (both local currencies down around 10% against the USD) and Russia, where the rouble has lost almost 40% against the USD. Good news for travelling US fans.

The fact that F1 tickets are overpriced is well illustrated by our new data point this year, where we compared the price of the cheapest 3-day tickets (General Admission) at each race with the average monthly wage in that country. On average, weekend tickets will set back fans around 8% of their monthly wage. The cheapest races for locals are in Austria, Canada and Malaysia (less than 4% of the monthly wage), whilst the most expensive are in the Middle East, Mexico and Brazil (13-26% of the monthly wage).

It’s unlikely that such high prices will be lowered significantly in the near future without change to F1’s business model. Race promoters currently pay large annual fees (from $15-60m USD each year) to the F1 commercial rights holder for the privilege of staging their race, and it’s these fees that explain why F1 is in danger of losing more of it’s classic European races (which cannot afford to pay such high fees) and why F1 fans pay so much for the privilege of watching their sport live.

Main Findings

  • The average price of 3-day General Admission tickets at the 21 races in 2016 is $133 USD (compared to $137 USD in 2015 and $154 in 2014). Malaysia sells the cheapest 3-day General Admission tickets at just $33 USD, while the most expensive are sold in Abu Dhabi ($271 USD).
  • The average price of the Cheapest 3-day Grandstand tickets in 2015 is $224 USD (from $234 in 2015 and $256 in 2014). Malaysia’s grandstand F is the cheapest on the calendar ($78 USD), while Monaco has the most expensive grandstands ($482 USD for the cheapest).
  • We also analyzed the prices of 3-day Pit Straight Grandstand tickets, which cost an average of $609 USD, compared to $626 USD in 2015. Prices range from $398 USD in Bahrain to $1250 USD in Mexico.

Other Findings

  • Sochi in Russia overtakes Hungary this year to offer the cheapest tickets on the 2016 European F1 calendar. The  most expensive European Grand Prix tickets can be found in Belgium, Britain and Monaco. Ticket prices for the returning German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring are similar to the other ‘mid-priced’ European rounds in Austria, Italy and Spain.
  • The new European Grand Prix at the Baku street circuit in Azerbaijan has tickets priced around the mid-point of 2016. However, they are priced in $USD for locals, which makes them very unaffordable given the recent 40% fall in the local currency (the government abandoned a dollar peg in December 2015 due to the falling oil price).
  • ‘Free Friday’ – in which fans can sit in any grandstand they wish on the first day of the weekend – is expected to be offered at six races in 2016: China, Spain, Britain, Italy, Malaysia and Japan. (Hungary discontinued Free Friday in 2015.)

2016 F1 Tickets: Cost of Cheapest 3-day ticket vs. Average Monthly Wage (%)

2016 F1 Ticket Prices: 3-day General Admission ($USD)

2016 F1 Ticket Prices: Cheapest 3-day Grandstand ($USD)

2016 F1 Ticket Prices: 3-day Pit Straight Grandstand ($USD)

How the rankings were calculated

  • Prices were taken from the official ticket supplier for the event (normally the circuit’s website) and don’t include any handling or delivery fees. Conversions from the race’s home currency to $USD were done using prevailing exchange rates on February 16, 2016 at xe.com.
  • The ticket prices for the following races in our ranking include early-bird discounts: Spain (10% off till Feb 29), Belgium (5% off till May 31), Italy (5% off till May 31), Singapore (up to 40% saving before Apr 30) and Malaysia (20% off till April 18).
  • Tickets are not yet on sale for the final four races of the 2016 season in the USA, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi; for the purposes of this ranking, we have used 2015 prices for these races.
  • General Admission tickets as such are not available in Bahrain or Brazil. For these races, we used the prices of the cheapest 3-day ticket instead.
  • Prices for 3-day Pit Straight Grandstands are based on the best available regular (non-corporate) tickets opposite the pits/start-finish line at each race.
  • For comparing the cost of the cheapest 3-day ticket against the average monthly wage in each country, we used 2009 wage data from the International Labor Organization (ILO), available on Wikipedia.

Compare & Buy 2016 F1 Tickets

Race Buy TicketsBuy ExperiencesMore info
Australia-iconAustralia
March 25
Fangio, Prost and Senna Premium grandstands sold out.
Bahrain-iconBahrain
April 8
Tickets expected to go on sale in December 2017
China-iconChina
April 15
Tickets not yet on sale
Azerbaijan
April 29
Up to 20% off until December 31, 2017
Spain-iconSpain
May 13
Up to 10% off until Feb 28, 2018
Monaco-iconMonaco
May 27
Some grandstand (K, L, O, V) beginning to sell out already
Canada-iconCanada
June 10
All ticket categories still available
France
June 24
Tickets not yet on sale. New travel guide coming soon!
Austria-iconAustria
July 1
Up to 20% off until December 31, 2017
United-Kingdom-iconBritain
July 8
All ticket categories still available
Germany
July 22
Early bird discounts (5-10%) apply until December 31, 2017. New travel guide coming soon!
Hungary-iconHungary
Jul 29
Save up to 20% until December 31, 2017
Belgium-iconBelgium
Aug 26
Save up to 10% until January 31, 2018
Italy-iconItaly
Sept 2
Tickets expected to go on sale in December 2017
Singapore-iconSingapore
Sep 16
Save up to 28% until May 8, 2018
Russia-iconRussia
Sept 30
Tickets not yet on sale
Japan-iconJapan
Oct 7
Tickets not yet on sale
United-States-iconUSA
Oct 21
Tickets expected to go on sale in March 2018
Mexico-iconMexico
Oct 28
Tickets not yet on sale
Brazil-iconBrazil
Nov 11
Tickets not yet on sale
United-Arab-Emirates-iconAbu Dhabi
Nov 25
Tickets not yet on sale

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He’s been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (2)

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  1. Jay Crabill says:

    On your 3 day General admission, on the bottom, it goes 15,16,16,18. For USA it should say 17, not 16. :)

    • Editor says:

      Thanks Jay, but that is what we intended. The price is the same for Monaco and USA, so they are both in equal 16th place (same goes for Austria and Italy in equal 9th place). We skip the next number in both cases to account for this:)

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