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Fans angered by alcohol ban at Spanish Grand Prix

Filed in Blog/News by on 6 Comments

Like us, you probably enjoy drinking a cold beer or two at the track when you are watching the action. This wasn’t possible at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, where organisers angered many fans by enforcing a total alcohol ban.

The following text appeared on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya website this year, though the majority of fans failed to notice it before arriving at the circuit:

The sale of and access to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with alcoholic beverages is forbidden. Soft-drinks and alcohol-free beer will be available for sale at the different sales points inside the facilities. In order to access Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with beverages, please be reminded that following the regulations of Royal Decree 203/2010 from 26 February, the containers must be made of plastic, laminated paper or similar material and in no case may be heavier than 500 grams in weight or 500 millilitres in volume.  The security and control staff at the access gates reserves the right to take off the caps and covers of the containers. Containers made of metal, glass, ceramics, wood or any other similar material cannot be taken into the facilities.

The reasons for this year’s ‘dry’ race remain unclear, but we have been told unofficially that it was the result of a ‘licensing issue’; the venue had failed to secure the right permits to sell alcohol at the race in 2015, for whatever reason. Our request for an explanation from the Spanish Grand Prix organizers has not been answered.

Understandably, this decision angered many fans, some of whom have taken to social media and other online forums to complain. Many fans also felt ‘duped’ for not being made aware that the overpriced beer on sale inside the circuit (at up to 11 for a large) was of the alcohol-free variety. The insistence from trackside workers that the screwtop lids be removed from all drink containers further enraged many fans.

Here’s what some of you said (originally comments were posted on our Trackside guide to the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix and our Facebook page):

  • ‘A lot of people were duped last weekend into paying 11 for a non-alcoholic beer. The food offering was dreadful and I think it lead to a very flat atmosphere within the circuit. The no bottle cap rule is crazy, it makes no sense at all. We had a good weekend overall, but a very disappointing experience from the circuit. Possibly one to avoid for next year unless they get their act together.’ Steve
  • ‘I went today and didn’t know about it. We wandered in expecting to grab a beer and sit in our seats. We got to the ‘bar’ and saw the 3 beer sizes and I thought, that’s expensive. Then the guy next to me says to me it’s alcohol free, I said WTF!? Came all the way from Australia for this race and we’re totally pissed off . We’ll NEVER be back to Spain after this. I urge every F1 fan to boycott this race and plan to go to a more fan friendly Europe F1 that let’s you have a beer/wine/spirit.  At least the weather and the seats we have are awesome….’ Sos

What do you think? Would you still go to a ‘dry’ Grand Prix? Leave your comments below.

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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 (6)

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  1. Stephen fisher says:

    Makes total sense now, thought my brother and I had gone proper hard core and drink loads… 2014 was the best experience I ever had so was keen to come back but was leave very flat this time..it just wasn’t the same, this was my holiday on my birthday, I only have one and came away very flat and now feel VERY ripped off,
    Just glad the towns outside were very hospitable ..
    A BIG question mark if I will come back,

  2. Gail Bryant says:

    Unfortunately I’m here now and only finding out about the ban. Would have given it a miss had I’d known.
    And yes we have travelled from Australia!

    • Editor says:

      Hi Gail. The Spanish GP is one of my favorites, despite the alcohol ban. Don’t worry about it. Insider tip – there are bars serving real alcohol just outside Gates 1 and 6. You can get a passout between the on-track action for a quick drink! Enjoy the weekend. Andrew

  3. Nick Gurse says:

    I was there today and can confirm the sale of the alcohol free beer was very misleading. The beer said “cerveza sense alcohol”. Why not “cerveza sin alcohol” which is normally how they would say it. Even then it was setup to look and sell like the real deal. I came from the USA and had no idea. I wouldn’t have come had I known about this.

  4. Bill says:

    We got caught day 1 at the F1 by the Heineken 0.0 beer. Terrible trap for €12 a beer. 5 good friends meeting in Barcelona from Australia and Canada and have to take pass out to drink beer. While the race and the track were great the food and drinks were horrific.

  5. Tony Vango says:

    It is a definite no for myself and my wife no beer and no wine left halfway through the race to get a drink what is going on we don’t have punch ups at GP or rugby only football thugs do that wake up and get the beer back after all is it not sponsored by a beer company???

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