Rating the 2017 F1 fan experience: Canada, Australia & Singapore best

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We’ve rated the F1 fan experience at every race in 2017 and the results are in. Canada scored highest with 84%, edging out Australia and Singapore. At the other end of the scale, the least impressive fan experience was offered in Russia, Azerbaijan and Bahrain.

Please note: these ratings are subjective. They are based on our own experience and feedback from fans who have been to races this year. Feel free to leave a comment below if you disagree!

After taking into account five factors (atmosphere, cost, organization, racing and off-track activities), our results show that the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal offered the best F1 fan experience this year! The season’s best attended Grand Prix is located close to the center of a vibrant city that really does come alive on race weekend, it’s well organized and the overall weekend cost is reasonable, especially if you are traveling from the US. Completing the top 3 were Australia and Singapore, two of the best organized races on the current calendar. The races which scored poorly for the fan experience (Russia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain) were among the lowest attended races on the 2017 calendar and were also held in markets that have not traditionally attracted a large F1 following.

How are our F1 fan experience ratings calculated? We take a look at 5 factors, then derive an overall percentage for each race.

  • Atmosphere: in addition to the trackside atmosphere, we also take into account the history of the event and the friendliness of the locals
  • Cost: the cost of race tickets, plus the affordability of the destination city, including accommodation cost
  • Organization: the quality of track facilities (seating, vantage points, amenities) and staffing, plus ease of getting to and from the circuit
  • Racing: the quality of the F1 racing, plus support categories
  • Off-Track: food, nightlife, culture and touristic potential of the destination
RankingRaceOverallAtmosphereCostOrganizationRacingOff-Track
1Canadian GP84%90%80%80%80%90%
2Australian GP83%85%80%90%70%90%
3Singapore GP82%90%60%90%75%95%
4United States GP81%90%70%85%75%85%
5Mexico GP80%95%65%70%80%90%
6Spanish GP79%80%75%80%70%90%
7Italian GP78%95%70%70%70%85%
8Japanese GP77%85%60%75%85%80%
9Hungarian GP76%80%80%65%75%80%
10Austrian GP75%80%70%85%70%70%
11Monaco GP74%90%50%80%70%80%
12Malaysia GP72%70%90%50%80%70%
13Belgian GP70%90%60%60%80%60%
14British GP69%90%40%75%70%70%
15Chinese GP68%60%80%55%70%75%
16Abu Dhabi GP67%75%55%90%50%65%
17Brazilian GP65%80%70%40%70%65%
18Bahrain GP64%50%70%70%80%50%
19Azerbaijan GP63%50%70%55%80%60%
20Russian GP62%50%80%70%50%60%

Race-by-race analysis

  • 84% Canadian GP: Montreal comes alive for F1 and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is just one stop on the metro away from the heart of downtown. The circuit has an incredible atmosphere and the races are exciting as well.
  • 83% Australian GP: Albert Park is a beautiful park close to the center of Melbourne and free trams are on offer for fans to get to and from the circuit. The organization is world-class and Melbourne has plenty of off-track activities to keep fans satisfied.
  • 82% Singapore GP: the best organized race on the calendar? Quite possibly. Racing under lights plus A-list concerts  in the heart of Singapore make for an awesome atmosphere as well, but it is an expensive weekend.
  • 81% United States GP: the Circuit of the Americas is a modern purpose-built track with great facilities, excellent atmosphere and a world-class city nearby.
  • 80% Mexico GP: 2017’s best fans? Arguably. The atmosphere at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is electric and there is good access to the vibrant Mexico City, which also celebrates the “Day of the Dead” on race weekend.
  • 79% Spanish GP: the first European Grand Prix in the rankings offers one of the best trackside experiences on the calendar, with Free Friday and awesome panoramic views. It’s also close to one of the world’s great cities, Barcelona.
  • 78% Italian GP: Monza is an incredibly atmospheric and historic venue in a beautiful city park near Milan. Chaotic organization drops it a few places however.
  • 77% Japanese GP: the fans at Suzuka are incredibly passionate and the circuit treats fans to some incredible racing, but it is a long way from the largest city and Japan can be equal parts fascinating and frustrating for the average Western visitor.
  • 76% Hungarian GP: Budapest in the middle of the European summer is a great F1 host and the Hungaroring offers some of the best panoramic views on the calendar, not to mention being the cheapest European race. On the downside, the racing can be a little dull and it’s not that easy to get to the circuit.
  • 75% Austrian GP: an extremely well-organized race in a beautiful location, but the Red Bull Ring is a long way from the nearest city and the racing isn’t always that exciting.
  • 74% Monaco GP: The race is historic and the venue incredible, but it’s also very expensive for the average fan and getting to the circuit from Nice or other cities along the riviera, where the accommodation is cheaper, takes at least an hour.
  • 72% Malaysia GP: Sepang was an excellent circuit with extremely cheap ticket prices and great viewing opportunities, but poor crowd numbers. It was also hard to reach from central Kuala Lumpur. We’ll still miss it!
  • 70% Belgian GP: Another iconic rural circuit with incredible historic and excellent racing, but tickets are expensive and the circuit was overcrowded this year, especially in the general admission areas.
  • 69% British GP: Silverstone has an excellent atmosphere, but ticket prices are really steep and it’s hard to get to and from the circuit.
  • 68% Chinese GP: Cheap tickets and metro access from downtown Shanghai are positives, but the smog was a problem this year and the organization is poor.
  • 67% Abu Dhabi GP: Excellent organization, but ticket prices are very high and the race this year was incredibly dull.
  • 65% Brazilian GP: Interlagos regularly throws up some incredible races, but the organization is poor and security became a real issue this year.
  • 64% Bahrain GP: the move to night racing has been great for the Sakhir circuit, but it’s still one of the poorest attended races on the calendar and there isn’t much to do in Bahrain.
  • 63% Azerbaijan GP: the race this year was arguably the season’s best, but Baku is really hard to get to for the average fan and viewing opportunities at the circuit are poor.
  • 62% Russian GP: another host city that is really hard to get to. The venue is world class but the racing is not.

Do you agree with our ratings? Leave a comment below!

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He's been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (2)

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  1. Simon Donald says:

    The rankings seem very fair although I’d maybe swap Singapore and Canada around. Having attended both I feel the off track world class performances and the organisation of the Singapore GP are both simply unmatched.

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