The 2022 Australian Grand Prix weekend was attended by 420,000 fans, setting a new record for the best attended weekend sporting event in Melbourne history.
Charles Leclerc took a dominant victory at the 2022 Australian Grand Prix in front of a 128,000 strong race day crowd in Melbourne. Formula 1 returned to Australia for the first time since 2019 and fans were out in force to witness the Albert Park race. The race weekend attracted an estimated 419,114 fans over four days, breaking Melbourne’s former record of 401,000 fans at the inaugural 1996 event.
The 2022 Australian Grand Prix attendance figure was higher than at any race in 2021. 2021’s record was 400,000 at the 2021 United States Grand Prix. However, it should be noted that the Australian Grand Prix is a four-day event, while last year’s United States Grand Prix was a three-day event.
Recent weekend attendances at the Australian Grand Prix
Though the Australian Grand Prix has remained one of the best attended each season, Melbourne’s weekend attendance figures had dipped below 300,000 in recent years. The 2019 event saw a rise back up to 324,000; the largest figure since 2005.
Five new grandstands were added to the re-configured Albert Park layout for the 2022 race as a result of demand for tickets.
The all-time record for the biggest ever F1 attendance figure is 520,000, which is the four-day weekend figure for the 1995 Australian Grand Prix. The 1995 Australian race was the last held at Adelaide before the event moved to the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.
Record figures on Friday and Saturday
Albert Park welcomed record numbers of fans on both Friday and Saturday. 112,446 fans watched Free Practice trackside on Friday, while 123,247 were present for qualifying on Saturday. Thursday’s support race action attracted a crowd of 55,107.
Sunday’s race day figure of 128,294 was not a new record. However, it was the third-highest in Melbourne’s F1 history. Sunday’s attendance was capped at a self-enforced 130,000 due to labour shortages brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Andrew Westacott, CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, says that around 25,000 fans missed out on tickets for race day due to the restrictions. The race day record is 156,000 at the inaugural Melbourne race in 1996.
Freight delays averted
Amid the record-breaking attendance figures, things were not quite as rosy off track. Ahead of the weekend, it was revealed that Australian Grand Prix organisers face an $8m lawsuit over a cancelled Robbie Williams concert at the pandemic-hit 2020 race weekend.
Meanwhile, DHL narrowly averted a freight nightmare for F1’s teams ahead of the Australian Grand Prix. Freight delays, caused by rising costs and the ongoing war in Ukraine, meant that team equipment would not have arrived in time had DHL not stepped in to reorganise the transportation.
More record figures expected in 2022
Australia is the second race of the 2022 season to set a new attendance record. The season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix attracted a record race day crowd, with 35,000 fans in attendance.
F1 tickets are in high demand this year. Both United States Grand Prix and Mexico City Grand Prix tickets sold out within days of going on sale, while tickets have also sold out for the Spanish Grand Prix and the Hungarian Grand Prix.