The 2022 Spanish Grand Prix weekend attracted a total of 277,836 fans, with the track recording its highest race day attendance figure since 2008. However, many were left unimpressed by organisational issues over the race weekend which were branded as “not acceptable” by Formula 1.
Max Verstappen charged to his fourth victory of the 2022 season at the Spanish Grand Prix. The Dutchman’s win saw him take the championship lead for the first time this year, with title rival Charles Leclerc having retired from the lead with power unit issues. A 1-2 result for Red Bull promoted them to the top of the standings in the Constructors’ Championship.
277,836 fans passed through the turnstiles over the 4-day Spanish Grand Prix weekend. That number is up by an impressive 117,000 on the last Spanish Grand Prix weekend which fans were able to attend in 2019. The race was run without spectators in 2020 and only 1,000 fans were able to watch from the main grandstand last year.
Biggest race day attendance in Spain since 2008
The Spanish Grand Prix race day attendance figure was also well up on recent years. A total of 121,667 fans were in attendance on Sunday, making it the best-attended Spanish Grand Prix since 2008, when 128,000 fans witnessed Kimi Raikkonen’s victory with Ferrari.
Sunday attendance figures at the Spanish Grand Prix
The all-time single day attendance record at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is 140,700, in 2007 – the year in which Fernando Alonso competed with McLaren after winning the title for a second consecutive year in 2006.
Official Sunday attendance figures for the race were not published in 2018 or 2019 but it is believed that the figure dropped in 2019 following Alonso’s sabbatical from the sport. With Alonso returning to F1, the 2022 race was declared a sell-out event in March. Additional grandstands were added due to the demand for tickets.
Alonso and Sainz score at home
Attendance numbers in 2022 were doubtlessly boosted by both Alonso and Carlos Sainz’s presence on the grid – particularly with Sainz driving race-winning machinery. Despite a trip through the gravel in the early stages, Sainz recovered to fourth place in the race and recorded his best home result to date. Meanwhile, Alonso drove from the back of the grid to ninth place, scoring his first points on home soil since 2018.
Formula 1 attendances have been on the rise at almost every race so far this year. The season-opener in Bahrain attracted a record number of spectators, the first ticketed F1 race at Imola since 2006 attracted almost 200,000 and the Australian Grand Prix attracted a record 420,000 spectators over its 4-day weekend.
Organisational issues leave fans unimpressed
The high number of spectators at the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix led to organisational issues over the weekend, both inside and outside the track. Fans took to social media to complain about a lack of food and water at the circuit, long queues for amenities and even longer queues for public transport away from the track. The issues were exacerbated with the race taking place in very hot conditions.
Ahead of the race weekend, organisers encouraged fans to travel to the circuit by public transport. 76 additional train services were provided by Rodalies Renfe in anticipation of the higher than usual spectator numbers. Despite this, many were left waiting over three hours for train services. Taxi services were also largely unavailable due to heavily congested traffic on the roads in and out of the circuit.
The extreme heat led to further issues with water supplies. The circuit attempted to combat these issues with an additional supply of water bottles and dedicated queues for water at bars around the circuit. However, many expressed their anger at the circuit charging €3 for the 500ml bottles with water fountains unavailable on-site.
The situation was branded as “not acceptable” in a statement by Formula 1. Race organisers, who recently signed a new contract to keep the Spanish Grand Prix at the track until 2026, have been told that the issues must be fixed for next season.