2023 Japanese Grand Prix: Suzuka’s Biggest Weekend Attendance Since 2006

Formula 1 has confirmed a weekend attendance of 222,000 at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, along with a race day attendance of 101,000. It’s the best-attended Suzuka race weekend since 2006.

Images: © F1Destinations

Max Verstappen stormed to his 13th victory of the season at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, putting him within touching distance of a third consecutive Drivers’ Championship win at the Qatar Grand Prix. The Constructors’ Championship is already wrapped up, with Red Bull taking the honours for the sixth time as a result of Verstappen’s Suzuka win.

Formula 1 has announced that 101,000 fans packed into Suzuka on race day for the venue’s 17th title-deciding race weekend since joining the calendar in 1987. The 2023 Japanese Grand Prix race weekend had a total attendance of 222,000.

2023 Japanese Grand Prix is Suzuka’s Biggest Weekend Attendance Since 2006

This year’s Japanese Grand Prix was the first to be fully open to international visitors since 2019. Coronavirus pandemic-related travel restrictions meant that individual travellers could not visit Japan until one week after last year’s Suzuka race. The 2023 Japanese Grand Prix weekend attendance figure is up by 22,000 on last year, while the race day figure increased by 11,000.

A direct comparison between this year’s race and the last pre-pandemic event in 2019 cannot be made as Typhoon Hagibis affected the race weekend and led to all Saturday action being called off. The Sunday figure in 2023 increased by 12,000 compared to 2019. The 2023 figure is the best Sunday attendance at Suzuka since 2012, when 103,000 witnessed home driver Kamui Kobayashi take his only F1 podium finish.

The weekend attendance figure at the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix is Suzuka’s highest 3-day attendance figure since 2006. Prior to 2007, the Japanese Grand Prix regularly attracted in excess of 300,000 fans across the weekend, with the 2006 figure being the event’s record. The Japanese Grand Prix moved to Fuji Speedway in 2007 and 2008 before returning to Suzuka in 2009 amidst the financial crisis.

Attendance figures have never returned to their pre-2007 levels at the track, though the growth this year will be encouraging for race organisers to see. Suzuka currently only holds a contract to host the Japanese Grand Prix until 2024, with next year’s race moving from its late season slot to a new position on the calendar in early April. A contract extension for the popular venue seems likely before F1 returns for the fourth round of the 2024 season.

High Attendances Expected Despite ‘Dead Rubber’ Races

Attendance at 2023’s remaining races is unlikely to wane as a result of the upcoming ‘dead rubber’ races. Should Verstappen win the title in Saturday’s Sprint at the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix, there would be six consecutive Grands Prix at which both titles will have already been decided – the longest such run in F1 history.

Tickets for most of the remaining races on the 2023 calendar have been in high demand. The biggest attendance figure of the remaining races is expected at the 2023 United States Grand Prix. Last year’s race weekend was attended by 440,000 fans. It would be no surprise to see Circuit of The Americas challenging Silverstone as the best-attended race of the year. The 2023 British Grand Prix attracted 480,000 spectators in total over the four day weekend – the biggest F1 weekend attendance in almost 30 years.

The United States Grand Prix is one of two highly-anticipated American races remaining on the 2023 Formula 1 calendar. The inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix is the other, set to take place on Saturday November 18 on the famous Las Vegas Strip. Around 100,000 fans are expected per day at the Las Vegas race.

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