The Growing Popularity of Driver Grandstands in Formula 1

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Charles Leclerc has recently followed the successful Max Verstappen (and MotoGP) model by offering fans the chance to buy tickets in his own grandstand at select events. Several other drivers, including Carlos Sainz & Daniel Ricciardo, also have their own grandstands at home in 2020. Nicky Haldenby and Andrew Balfour take a closer look at the growing phenomenon.

Grandstand Charles Leclerc at the 2020 Monaco Grand Prix

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will have his own grandstands for the first time in 2020. The first will be at his home event in Monaco, where a section of the large Grandstand K will become Grandstand Charles Leclerc on Saturday and Sunday. The harbourside stand offers views of the Nouvelle chicane and Tabac, the fastest section of the iconic Monaco street circuit.

The Leclerc Grandstand package includes a signed cap, a T-shirt, a beach bag and an official signed programme. There is also a prize draw in which ten ticket holders per day will win the chance to meet Leclerc in the paddock. Tickets are priced at €250 on Saturday and €550 on Sunday (€800 for both days). The price for both days is actually €200 less than you would normally pay. The seats are located in the middle of the grandstand, in K3. Buy direct from the circuit here.

Grandstand Charles Leclerc at the 2020 French Grand Prix

In addition to Leclerc’s Monaco grandstand, Section 1 of the Ligne de Depart grandstand on the Main Straight at Circuit Paul Ricard will also be named in Leclerc’s honour for the first time in 2020. The stand will face Leclerc’s garage, and ticket holders will receive a signed Leclerc cap and a beach bag. The 3-day pass in the covered grandstand is priced at €549, which is a €50 premium over regular tickets in the same grandstand. Buy direct from the circuit here.

Carlos Sainz Grandstand at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz has had his own grandstand at his home event, the Spanish Grand Prix, since 2016. Following Fernando Alonso’s retirement at the end of the 2018 season, Sainz has become the star attraction for Spanish fans. Details have not yet been confirmed for 2020, but in 2019 Grandstand M became Grada CS55. Located at Turn 5, three-day tickets for the Sainz stand were offered at just €99. Last year’s ticket package also included a limited-edition McLaren cap and a #55 flag.

Fern Lock, a huge Carlos Sainz fan from the UK, sat in the CS55 grandstand in Spain last year and told us about her experience: “I’ve often felt like I was the only Carlos fan at races, being lost in a sea of red or silver. Grada Carlos Sainz gave me that feeling of being home. Thousands of fans shouting VAMOS every time he drove past, waving their flags and really getting behind Carlos meant everything to me (plus €99 for your ticket, exclusive cap and a flag really is a BARGAIN!) The energy the supporters in that grandstand radiate is incredible and it’s something that I hope every fan, no matter who they support, gets to experience at some point.”

The pricing of Sainz’s grandstand tickets compares favourably to that of the dedicated rider stands for the 2020 Catalan MotoGP at the same circuit one month later. Weekend tickets for the Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi Fan Club grandstands are priced at €120. Though these tickets are more expensive than the Sainz stand was in 2019, it’s worth noting that seats in both MotoGP riders’ grandstands are half the price of what you pay for seats in the same grandstand at the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Tickets for the CS55 Grandstand at the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix are expected to go on sale in March via Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Keep an eye on relevant social media channels for announcements, as tickets will sell out very fast.

Lance Stroll Grandstand at the 2020 Canadian Grand Prix

Since 2018, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s Grandstand 24 has been named the Lance Stroll Grandstand. Located at the exit of the hairpin, Grandstand 24 offers an up-close view of one of the most action-packed spots at the Canadian Grand Prix, as well as views of the Biosphere and Montreal skyline. Don’t expect every fan in the stand to be there supporting Stroll. Grandstand 24 is popular, because it has great hairpin views and good access via the Metro. A three-day pass costs $430 CAD. Buy Lance Stroll Grandstand 24 tickets here.

Max Verstappen Grandstands

Verstappen won’t have his own grandstand at his home event, but it is expected that the sold out Dutch Grand Prix will mostly be attended by Verstappen’s Oranje Army. Instead, the Austrian, Belgian and Hungarian Grands Prix all have dedicated Verstappen Grandstands. Tickets for these grandstands are available through verstappentravel.nl and are mainly marketed in the Netherlands. Ticket holders buying through Verstappen’s travel partner website for all events receive various items of Verstappen memorabilia with their ticket purchase. There is also the opportunity to win paddock tours, signed helmets and race suits.

  • Max Verstappen Grandstand at the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix: The Austrian Grand Prix, which has featured a predominantly orange attired crowd in recent years, was the first to have a Max Verstappen Grandstand. The original stand had capacity for 1,000 fans in 2016, increasing to 5,000 the following year. Now, Verstappen has four grandstands at the Red Bull Ring. New for 2020 is a Verstappen grandstand on the start/finish straight. Priced at €499, these tickets offer covered seating opposite the pit-lane and are conveniently located just a short walk from the F1 Village and F1 Fan Zone. The Orange West tribune is also located on the main straight, with tickets priced at €229. Meanwhile, the Nord and Mitte grandstands are also reserved for Verstappen fans. In 2020, tickets for the Nord stand were priced at €269, while Mitte tickets cost €249. Both have already sold out for 2020, but you can buy other tickets to the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix here.
  • Max Verstappen Grandstand at the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix: Much like the Austrian Grand Prix, the Belgian event has been awash with Verstappen fans in recent years as their half countryman has risen up the F1 ladder (Verstappen’s mother is Belgian). Until the Dutch Grand Prix joined the calendar for 2020, the Belgian Grand Prix has acted as Verstappen’s de-facto home race. Since 2017, the Spa Francorchamps circuit has had a dedicated grandstand for Verstappen fans, located near the Pouhon turn. Tickets for this stand are available exclusively from Verstappen’s travel partner, and are priced at €275 for the weekend. Purchase other Belgian Grand Prix tickets here from as little as €150 for 3-day General Admission.
  • Max Verstappen Grandstand at the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix: The Hungarian Grand Prix, which has seen a boost in attendance figures in recent years, is the third event to offer a dedicated Verstappen Grandstand. Fans in this grandstand in 2019 witnessed Verstappen score his first pole position in Formula 1. The stand is located on the Hungaroring’s Main Straight, and offers views of the starting grid, pit-lane and the final turns of the track. Tickets are priced at €229.

Daniil Kvyat Grandstand at the 2020 Russian Grand Prix

Russian fans have had a home driver to support in every running of the event since the Sochi Autodrom joined the calendar as host of the Russian Grand Prix in 2014. The Turn 3 grandstand has been named after their home driver in every season; be that Daniil Kvyat or Sergey Sirotkin.

The uncovered grandstand offers views of the long left hand Turn 3, which has been a spot of high drama in the past; not least in 2016, when Kvyat himself was the catalyst for an incident which saw Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel shunted out of the race.

This year, fans will pack in to the grandstand to support the Alpha Tauri driver. The grandstand is divided into two sections – four-day tickets in the centre are priced at $145 USD, while tickets to either side are slightly cheaper at $136 USD – before early bird discounts. The side tickets are perhaps the best option, as you will also be able to see either Turn 2 or Turn 4, depending on which side you sit. Save 30% on 2020 Russian Grand Prix tickets until April 30.

Daniel Ricciardo Grandstand at the 2020 Australian Grand Prix

Since 2017, Daniel Ricciardo has had his own grandstand at the Australian Grand Prix. Riccardo Grandstand Premium is one of only two stands on the inside of the Albert Park track. Located at Turn 4, the covered grandstand offers views of Turns 3-5 and even has its own dedicated catering and bar facilities. A four-day pass for tickets in the Ricciardo Premium Grandstand costs A$590.

Romain Grosjean Grandstand at the 2020 French Grand Prix

Romain Grosjean has naming rights over one of the Chicane grandstands at Circuit Paul Ricard, his home event. The Grosjean Grandstand at the 2020 French Grand Prix is located on the entry to the chicane. Tickets for this stand can be purchased through Grosjean’s website, with three day passes costing €289. The passes also include a limited edition Grosjean cap and a meet and greet opportunity with the French driver on qualifying day at the French Grand Prix.

Have you sat in a driver grandstand? Which driver grandstand would you like to see introduced? Leave a comment below.

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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.

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