Formula 1 attendance figures on the rise in 2019

Filed in Blog/News by on 2 Comments

Formula 1 attendance figures are on the rise in 2019. Over half of the races held so far in 2019 have reported higher ticket sales than last year, with some claiming to have sold out with record crowds. Meanwhile, four races have reported falling attendances in 2019. We take an in-depth look at how Formula 1’s attendance figures have shaped up so far this season.

Australia

This year’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix saw a healthy crowd, with 102,000 fans flocking to Albert Park on race day – an increase of around 7,500 on 2018. More impressively, an estimated 324,100 fans passed through the turnstiles over the race weekend – the highest figure seen since 2005. That’s an increase of 30,000 from last year, and only just falls short of the best attended race overall in 2018 (Britain, where 340,000 fans attended). 2019’s figures were perhaps boosted by an extensive array of support races. CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, Andrew Westacott reflected:

The crowds saw lots and lots of people who had never been to Formula 1 before come along, enjoy it, and realise that it’s an international event of stature. It brings something significant and different to Melbourne, and as a result of that, we have won over lots and lots of hearts and minds because they had a fantastic time. We got to offer more variety, more value for money – and that’s what Melburnians, interstate and overseas visitors loved.”

Albert Park will celebrate its 25th Formula 1 race in 2020. The date for next year’s race has been confirmed as March 15.

Bahrain

The Bahrain Grand Prix attracted a record crowd, with 97,000 fans attending over the race weekend, and 34,000 in attendance on race day. The race day attendance increased by 2,000 from 2018 and by 5,000 from 2017. Chairman of the Bahrain International Circuit, Arif Rahimi, noted the rise in local attendees:

We are absolutely thrilled to have broken all records for race day and weekend attendance. Since 2013, our total attendance has risen by 33%, reflecting the huge growth in the popularity of the sport in the region. I thank all the fans who have travelled from all parts of the world, who have shared this spectacle with us.”

The circuit says that the Main Grandstand, University Stand, Paddock Club and Corporate lounges all sold out.

Read Stephanie’s trip report from the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix!

China

Formula 1 celebrated its 1,000th race at April’s Chinese Grand Prix, and the event drew the largest Shanghai crowd seen in many years. The event was listed as “sold out”, though the actual attendance figure is yet to be revealed. The Shanghai International Circuit has a 200,000 capacity – but it was clear from television coverage that not all grandstands were in use, which has been the case for some years.

Read Sarah’s trip report from the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix!

Canada

The Canadian Grand Prix promoters say 307,000 fans were in attendance over the 2019 race weekend. The Grand Prix itself was controversial, with Sebastian Vettel being all but stripped of the win following a time penalty. We may have to wait to find out the actual attendance figure, however. There was controversy in 2017, as the promoter reported a weekend crowd figure of 360,000 – but when F1 revealed the official figure in December, that figure had diminished by 180,000.

Austria

The 2019 Austrian Grand Prix reported an attendance of 203,000 fans over the weekend, according to F1. That’s an increase of around 20,000 from last year, with the event continuing its year-on-year attendance growth. Many Dutch fans travel to Austria in support of Max Verstappen, and they were treated to a second consecutive win at the track for the Dutch driver.

Britain

The 2019 British Grand Prix attendance rose year on year by 11,000 to 351,000 in 2019. A record crowd saw Lewis Hamilton take a sixth home victory, with 141,000 fans passing through the gates on race day. Perhaps the rising number was due to the uncertain future of the event, and the fact that Silverstone billed the race as their potential last. A 5-year contract extension was only announced a few days before this year’s sold out event.

Read Leon’s trip report from the 2019 British Grand Prix!

Hungary

With Robert Kubica back on the grid, attendance for the Hungarian Grand Prix was always expected to be higher in 2019, given the proximity of Budapest to Poland. Sky Sports F1 report that 30,000 Polish fans were in attendance at the event, while F1 reported an overall weekend attendance of 230,000. That’s up 20,000 on last year and is well up on 2016’s figure of 176,000, which further highlights the full effect of the ‘Max factor’.

Azerbaijan

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix is the first of four to have reported lower ticket sales than in 2018. The Baku event looks set to remain one of the least-attended races of the season. Approximately 85,000 fans attended the Baku City Circuit over the 2019 event weekend, a drop of 9,000 from 2018’s figure. Baku City Circuit Operations claimed that ticket sales matched that of 2018, with the drop in attendance being attributed to the lack of a Friday concert, plus the late cancellation of the Sam Smith concert (he was replaced by Jessie J).

Perhaps a more worrying issue for the event is the fact that, while the circuit offers the seventh cheapest grandstand tickets of the season, tickets cost almost 60% of the local average monthly wage. International visitors accounted for almost 25% of ticket sales, though the number would certainly be higher if there were more convenient flight connections to the Azerbaijani capital. In spite of this, BCC’s Head of Commercial, Bulent Ozerdim, noted the rise in attendance of locals:

We are enormously encouraged by the fact that our local fan base is growing year-on-year and in particular appears to be resonating with the country’s youth. I believe we now have all the pieces in place to grow from this position of strength and continue to deliver another incredible F1 race weekend for the fans in 2020.”

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix is believed to be seeking a change back to a June slot on the 2020 calendar.

Spain

The loss of Fernando Alonso from the 2019 grid had an effect on attendance for the Spanish Grand Prix – though the hit wasn’t as large as some had feared. In total, 160,428 fans attended over the race weekend, down 12,000 on last year’s figure. It’s the second year in a row that attendance has dropped at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with a total decrease of 17,000 since 2017.

There were issues at the circuit for fans on the weekend too, with new security measures leading to long queues and many attendees missing the on-track action in Free Practice 1. The Spanish Grand Prix was not expected to appear on the 2020 calendar, but it seems the short term future of the event may have been saved, following an investment from the Catalan government.

France

The general trend is for a race to suffer a decline in attendance figures during its second season on the calendar, and that was true for this year’s French Grand Prix. Attendance at Circuit Paul Ricard fell from 160,000 in 2018 to 135,000 in 2019, according to Eric Bouiller. Speaking on the Friday of the event, Bouiller, who is the strategic advisor at Circuit Paul Ricard, also said that the circuit welcomed 9,000 more fans on Friday than it had been able to in the previous season.

Read our first impressions of Circuit Paul Ricard on our new site GPDestinations!

Germany

Germany may have produced the most unpredictable race in many years, but the attendance figure dropped. 61,000 were in attendance for race day, with a weekend attendance of 153,000. The 3-day figure is 12,000 down on last year’s Hockenheim attendance. The event is not expected to remain on the 2020 calendar.

The only omission from this list is Monaco, as the official attendance figure for the event is yet to be revealed. The event has reported an attendance of 200,000 fans in all of the last four seasons. With it being one of the sport’s most famous races, there’s little reason why that figure will have changed for 2019.

Last season Formula 1 reported a record yearly attendance, welcoming over 4 million fans to its events. There was an increase in spectators of 7.83% in absolute terms. With nine races remaining in 2019, it could be another record-breaking year for F1.

The official attendance figures are usually released by Formula 1 in mid-December. Have you attended any races so far? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author ()

Nicky Haldenby is a Formula One writer from Scarborough, England. Having grown up with F1 often on the TV on Sunday afternoons, Nicky has been following the sport avidly since 2006. After graduating from University in 2015 with a First Class degree in English Language and Literature, he founded his own F1 website and now regularly writes articles about both the sport's history and current affairs.

Comments (2)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Robert says:

    Hey please keep in mind, that in Hockenheim one Grandstand was demolished because of the Porsche Center. It was Innentribune A. It should have a capacity of about 9000 people I would say. If it would have been available (three cheapest categories), I guess it would have been quite the same attendance as last year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *