Britain the Most Attended F1 Race in 2018

Formula 1 have published the official attendance figures for the 2018 season, which report a 2.7% year-on-year increase. Britain held the best attended Grand Prix this year, with 340,000 fans passing through the turnstiles over the weekend.

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For the second year in a row, Formula 1’s attendance figures have exceeded 4 million. A total of 4,093,035 spectators attended races in 2018 (an average of 194,919 per race), while 1,702,959 attended on Sundays alone . The average attendance per race increased by 2.7% in 2018 compared to 2017’s figures. The number compares favourably with the attendance figures for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, which had a total attendance of 3,031,768 and saw a peak of 78,011 spectators at the final in Moscow. Sean Bratches, Managing Director, Commercial Operations at Formula 1 has said that the attendance figures are pleasing; as is feedback from fans about the events:

“With nearly 200,000 spectators at each Grand Prix, and more than 80,000 packing the grandstands for Sunday’s races across the season, it demonstrates that these big numbers compare favourably with other major sporting events, thus confirming a trend for growth. The whole show of a Grand Prix weekend – the Formula 1 race, all the support series and the activities around the track – constitutes a great experience for the fans, as the attendance and research figures confirm. We strongly believe that Formula 1 has great potential which still hasn’t been fully exploited and we are fully committed to improving the fan experience in the future.”

Furthermore, the total attendance has increased by over 350,000 since the 2016 season. Despite the loss of the Malaysia Grand Prix from the 2018 calendar, this year’s figures have been aided by the return of the French and German Grands Prix, the latter seeing a 43,000 increase in spectator numbers since the event was last held in 2016. Meanwhile, the return of the French Grand Prix saw 150,000 fans attend the Paul Ricard Circuit over the race weekend. Whether or not the poor management of traffic at the 2018 event will have any implications on ticket sales for 2019 remains to be seen.

Though the future of the British Grand Prix remains uncertain after 2019, the Silverstone race was the best-attended this year, with 340,000 fans visiting the track over the race weekend. Seven races (Britain, Mexico, Australia, USA, Singapore, Belgium and Hungary) saw attendance figures of over 200,000 in total. While Silverstone was the best attended, the number of fans attending the race actually decreased by 5,000 compared to the official attendance figures last season. The Mexican Grand Prix, which was awarded the ‘Best Promoter’ award at the FIA Prize Giving Gala, also saw losses of around 3,000 compared to 2017.

The F1 press release states that four events saw increases in numbers of over 10%. Azerbaijan was the best improved, with an increase of 31.6%. Despite the large increase, it remains one of the least attended race weekends of the year. Austria, Japan and Canada were the other big gainers of over 10%, though the latter should be treated with some scepticism. The official F1 website says that Canada had a total attendance of 360,000 in 2017, while this year’s press release states an increase of 11.4% from that figure, which would make it by far the best attended event of the season. The 2018 press release also makes note of “adjustments made to certain attendance figures subsequent to the release of last year’s attendance results” – which would go some way in explaining the disparity. With these changes taken into account, and with the increase of races from 20 to 21, F1 reports a 7.83% increase for 2018 in “absolute terms” from the 2017 figures.

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