The Beginner’s Guide to F1 Travel

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Advice on planning, tickets, travel and accommodation for rookie fans attending their first Formula One Grand Prix.

How much will it cost?

Formula 1 is not a cheap spectator sport, but with careful planning, an F1 holiday doesn’t have to break the bank. A typical minimum expenditure for going to a full F1 race weekend (Friday-Sunday) including tickets, hotel and spending money will set the average fan back around $500-1000 USD, not factoring the cost of travel. If this is too much, general admission tickets for race day only can be had at most races for around $100 USD. Read our Rankings page to find out the cost of an F1 weekend around the world.

Organised tour or DIY?

Both options have their pros and cons, and will appeal to different types of fans. The big considerations are money and time. If you want the complete package with everything organized for you, and are prepared to pay for it, choose an organized tour. You’ll find F1 travel companies in major markets who specialize in organizing tours to F1 races. If you are on a budget and comfortable with independent overseas travel, then go for the DIY option, using our resources to help plan the trip of a lifetime.

Buying F1 Tickets

After you have decided to go to a race, choosing which ticket to buy – and from where to buy it – is one of your key decisions. Some race organizers handle their own ticket sales via an official channel (e.g. the circuit website), while others outsource to ticket agencies. The quality of customer service, information on available tickets and purchase process can vary in efficiency, depending on the destination.

We co-operate with two of the biggest and most reputable F1 ticket companies, bookF1.com and Gootickets.com, who supply tickets to all the races on the current Formula 1 calendar. We’ve used them ourselves and can vouch for their honesty and professionalism. Read our F1 Tickets page for more information. We also publish a yearly ranking of F1 ticket prices around the world: Malaysia offers F1’s cheapest tickets in 2016, Abu Dhabi most expensive

Getting There

The majority of F1 circuits these days are located in or close to major cities, which makes booking flights easier and also limits the chances of having to pay an ‘F1 surcharge’.  If you wish to save some money when flying to a race, particularly in Europe, don’t automatically choose the closest airport to the city. There may be other airports close by for which the tickets are much cheaper.

Budget airlines are present in most large markets serving Formula 1 around the world (e.g. Ryanair and Easyjet in Europe, Air Asia in SE Asia), so use a site such as Skyscanner to research all the options. If you have more time and flexibility in your itinerary, don’t forget to check other means of travel such as train, self-drive, bus or ferry – particularly for the European races.

Where to stay

Camping, which is still popular during the European F1 season, is the cheapest form of accommodation available. Take your tent or drive your camper van and experience immerse yourself in a weekend of Formula 1 action without leaving the track. Read our European F1 Camping Guide.

Another budget option is to stay in a hostel. Most F1 cities around the world offer hostel-style accommodation, which is particularly suited for the budget solo traveler or younger F1 fan. Be ready to share your room with other race fans and don’t expect luxury.

Budget hotels also appeal to many fans. A typical nightly price for a double room in a budget hotel in an F1 city over race weekend will run around $100-$150 USD. Be aware of location though, as you don’t want to book a great deal only to find that you are nowhere near public transport and need to spend a fortune on taxis to get to and from the circuit each day. There is no shortage of mid range and luxury hotel options for F1 travelers in host cities around the world.  Expect to pay around $200-300 USD per night for a double room in a mid-range hotel and upwards of $500 USD per night for a five star hotel, depending on the location.

Many F1 circuits are located close to large cities, so a good trade off is to stay where there are better accommodation options, but with a longer daily commute to and from the circuit. Don’t forget that large accommodation booking sites such as Booking.com often allow you to reserve a room with no down payment, and with free cancellation if your plans change and you can’t make it to the race. Airbnb is also worth considering for city races and is particularly popular in F1 destinations such as Australia, Canada and the USA.

What to Pack

Resist the temptation to pack too much! If you have forgotten something, it will be relatively easy to buy at your destination. Don’t forget to leave some room in your bag for F1 merchandise and gifts for yourself, family and friends. Make sure you have comfortable clothing and practical shoes which you have already worn in, as you will cover a lot of ground on foot over the course of a race weekend.

Research the likely weather conditions at the race you will be attending and pack accordingly. Don’t forget to take along a decent camera to capture your experience. Make sure you have a spare memory card or at least have the ability to download photos after each day so you don’t run out of space for photos over the weekend.

On the Ground

Do your research before arriving in the host city for the race. Know how to get to your hotel and how to get to the track. Have a printed map or save some Google Maps on your smart phone before you leave.

When you arrive, look to purchase the official printed race program for the event as soon as possible, even at the airport on arrival. It is usually available at newsagents in the host city and will be an invaluable source of local information over the Grand Prix weekend. It’s also a great memento to take home with you.

The tracks where F1 races are held are often some distance from where you are going to be staying, so it pays to know in advance how you are going to get from your hotel to the track and back each day.

Trackside

Before you leave for the track each day, pack a small backpack with essentials such as extra clothing (e.g. rain jacket, or a spare t-shirt if it is really hot and humid), hat, umbrella, sun screen and camera. If you are on a budget, take along your own food and drink as trackside prices are high. Most circuits will allow fans into the circuit with plastic bottles (best not to take any glass).

Once you are at the track, you will need to find your entry gate and get yourself oriented. Your ticket should be provided with a good circuit map to help you out. Get yourself a lanyard to make sure you don’t lose your ticket and it is readily available for any inspections throughout the day. If you are taking public transport, be aware that it can be very crowded if you are leaving at the same time as all the other fans at the end of the day. If you don’t want to be a sardine on the train or bus home, delay your exit from the circuit by an hour or so.

One of the best experiences of the whole weekend is the opportunity to walk down the pit straight after the end of the race and join the other fans for the podium celebrations. The track is normally opened to fans just minutes after the end of the race, so if you want a good view of the podium, get close to the finish line as the end of the race approaches.

Above all, have fun! Around 500m fans watch F1 on TV each year, but only a few million are lucky enough to see the sport live. As well as an amazing sensory experience, F1 circuits offer an awesome atmosphere and the opportunity to meet like-minded fans from around the world.

What do you think of this guide? Have you been to a race and want to provide your own advice? Get in touch and provide your feedback or tips! Leave a comment below or contact us.

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Comments (33)

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  1. Joe Sawer says:

    Hello, My wife and I will be in Monaco during the F1 week. Race day tickets are not as readily available as the Saturday and those that are tend to be the most high priced and outside of our budget. We are really interested in attending the event, and if we do it will be our very first F1 event. We would want it to be a memorable experience. Would you recommend attending Saturday or at least outline the benefits of attending Saturday.

    Thank you in advance.
    Joe

    • Editor says:

      Hi Joe. The cheapest day to go is in fact Thursday, when all tickets are 60-70 EUR. You still get a great atmosphere and 2+ hours of on-track F1 action. Saturday is also good for qualifying, but it’s more expensive again. If it’s your first F1 event, I don’t think it matters which day you go. Sunday is the most exciting, but it’s also the most crowded and harder to get to and around the circuit. You can read about our experience going to just Thursday/Friday at Monaco in 2014: https://f1destinations.com/monaco-monza-weekend/

      • Corinne Garrett says:

        WHAT? Go all the way to Monaco and forego seeing the race on Sunday? Please – this is a bucket list venue. When are you going to be in Monaco on race week again?!

        Many hotels along the race route offer “hospitality” suites. Hotel suites with balconies and/or rooftops, restaurants, patios &/or yachts that are catered, out of the weather, have open bars & luxury of luxuries: clean, close bathrooms used by a limited number of people(typically 14 to a suite).

        Consider a hospitality package for Sunday to see the real race. It’s not cheap (…it is Monaco),but suite/yacht/Rascasse accommodations are still available. You & your wife deserve it.

    • David Winsemius says:

      Went to both Saturday and Sunday in 2009 and I found that renting one of the radio-linked viewing gadgets for about 60 USD/day was well worth it. May be able to do it on your cellphone now. Made keeping up with the positions much easier. I’m not sure that going only Saturday makes as much sense if you are already there and want the flavor of the trackside action. On race day there were people who climbed the road that looks down on La Rascasse (and I think the pits) and I think they paid nothing. (But I don’t know if there was some sort of limited access to that venue.) I suppose you could hang out in the streets and watch on a mobile device or you could retreat on race day to an air-conditioned hotel room if they broadcast the race locally then afterwards go back out to the streets.

      Our trip to the US GP was not as entertaining. Monaco was much more memorable.

  2. Ange says:

    Hi I’m taking my husband to Silverstone as a surprise with National Holidays. I’m a complete novice to the sport do you have any hints or tips?

    Thanks
    Ange

    • Editor says:

      Hi Ange, here goes: check the weather forecast carefully and dress accordingly. There’s always lots of walking at a Grand Prix, so wear some decent, comfortable shoes. Make the most out of the Friday practice sessions, where you can sit in most grandstands. Install the F1 app on your mobile phone and pay for the premium content so you can follow what is happening on the track. Buy the race programme, it’s a nice momento from the event. Take lots of photos, but don’t forget to sometimes put the camera down and enjoy the atmosphere! I could go on, but that’s a start. Hope you have a great weekend!

  3. Kerry says:

    I would like to do Austin and then Mexico, but cannot find any guide to best places to sit at mexico, ideally we want to be in the area where the cars race between the grandstands, and I believe where the drivers podium was, any recommendations?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Kerry, sounds like a great plan. We don’t yet have too much information on Mexico, sorry. But the area you are looking for is the stadium section, which is either Grandstand 14 (Foro Sol South) or Grandstand 15 (Foro Sol North).

  4. Tess says:

    Hi. I’ve never been to any European F1 races before but plan on going to one or two next year. I was wondering what is the difference between weekend ticket and Sunday ticket? Does the weekend ticket include passes for Friday Saturday and Sunday?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Tess. Yes, weekend tickets gives you access to the track for all three days of competition – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Good luck with your plans to see some races in Europe next year!

  5. James Bell says:

    Hello, I’m looking into going to the 2017 F1 Austin race.I want to experience the full package. What’s your advice?

  6. Amelia says:

    Hello,

    I’m planning on talking my husband to the Monza 2017 F1. My question is: should I book through a travel agency or book on my own…I have read that generally getting around with all the people and the means of transportation can be rather chaotic… any recommendations?

    Thanks a lot!!

    • Editor says:

      If you book other holidays yourself, then you will be fine with Monza. Lots of useful information in our guide to help you out! Yes, getting to the track and back can be a little chaotic, but go with the flow and don’t stress out, you will be fine (take a taxi if walking long distances if a problem for you). And feel free to ask any questions.

  7. Flor says:

    Hi I’m planning on going to the Mexico GP and was wondering are all the tickets fri-sun (3 day pass)? I was looking at the ticket description and it didn’t say it was for one day only, so I was wondering about that.

  8. Maria says:

    Hi,
    I’m thinking to give F1 tickets to my husband. Since this is my first time, please, provide some guidance on what I should buy and where. I tried the F1 official page and it is not on sale but I go to ticketliquidators and they are selling them. Not familiar with the best location /best price thing. I’m interested in the 3 days in Austin, TX. Thank you

    • Corinne Garrett says:

      Austin – been there, done that. Circuit of the Americas is out in the middle of nowhere with no on site hotels. There is a parking fee. Getting in and out is a long wait hassle. Unless you live close enough to drive in every day,you will want to stay at a hotel and are well served to stay with one offering a shuttle service to the track. This versus waiting in a queue in the scorching sun to get to and from your car in the enormous lot. Alternatively, if you have an RV, rent a trackside slot – but it’s not going to be inexpensive…could work if you went with a group & split the cost.

  9. Patrick says:

    Hi, My wife and I are headed to Monaco for our first grand prix ever. We are looking to buy the K1-2 premium grandstand seats. Is there a way to know or choose just which seats we are getting if we book through you? Thanks

    • Editor says:

      Hi Patrick, normally you can make a request for specific tickets and our supplier will do their best to accommodate you from their pool of tickets. However, since they are based in Monaco, I will put you in touch directly to discuss!

  10. Christopher Covington says:

    I’m travelling to baharain to attend the race is a ticket good for the whole weekend or just one day

  11. Dave says:

    Hi,myself and a friend are headed to the Spanish Grand Prix in a few days time, we have tickets in the ‘Superfan’stand. I’ve been to Silverstone before but wondering if we need to dress a bit ‘smarter’ for the stands – any advice?

  12. Danielle says:

    Hi! I’m going to Silverstone in July and it’s my first Grand Prix. Just wondering how much time should I leave b4 the race? We’re sitting in Woodcoote A.

    Thanks

    • Editor says:

      Hi Danielle, it depends how far away you are coming from and how you are getting to Silverstone? If you are only travelling for Sunday, the I suggest you get to the track as early as possible as there’s lots of people and traffic on the small country roads near the circuit. I would be aiming to get there by around 10am to make the most of the day!

  13. Andrea says:

    Hello! I plan on going to Hungaroring two weeks from now with my friends and we want to buy General Admission tickes. Any tips for us? Should we buy a VIP parking ticket or we can easly find a normal one?
    Thank you

    • Editor says:

      Hi Andrea, good choice! I’m thinking of going to the race this year as well and I will probably also buy General Admission. It’s a really good offer there and tickets only cost 90 EUR. There’s more info about General Admission tickets here. I recommend finding a spot for the race somewhere on the hill behind the final corner. And normal parking is fine, though I never parked there on a race day; still I think there is plenty of parking. Just don’t be in a hurry to leave the circuit after the race, wait until the traffic calms down. Enjoy!

  14. Hazel says:

    Hi. Just back from our 3rd Singapore race and want to try Europe next year. It’s not easy to find out if any of the European tracks also offer great pre and post race entertainment. Any help would be appreciated. Initially thinking of Belgium, Austria, Monaco, Spain and Italy. Many thanks

    • Editor says:

      Hi Hazel, Singapore was awesome, wasn’t it? Most of the European races do not offer the same kind of entertainment like in Singapore. The races that have good concerts at present are Abu Dhabi, Baku in Azerbaijan and the US Grand Prix in Austin. There are small concerts at the circuits you mentioned, but no big name acts. To be honest, you go to the European races for a different kind of experience. If you like a race where you can stay in a big city and easily travel to the track, I recommend Spain (stay in Barcelona), Hungary (stay in Budapest) or Monza (stay in Milan). All of these are great tracks and amazing cities. Good luck with your planning and let me know if you have more questions. Andy

  15. Purdie says:

    Does anyone know if I purchase tickets as a gift for the Belgium Grand Prix 2018 If i have to attend the even as I paid for them?

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