Formula One

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Formula One is the most popular annual sporting series in the world. Its global reach allows people from all over the world to attend its races. Attending a race can be an adventure in itself, and a race-goer can expect to experience a new country and culture and interact with people from all around the world. Formula One currently visits nineteen countries over five continents.

Understand[edit]

The locations of Formula One racing remain fairly static throughout the year, with only the dates of the races subject to year on year changes. Over the past few years, the number of different countries hosting a Grand Prix has increased, especially in Asia. Since 2008, circuits in Singapore, Abu Dhabi, India and the United States have been added to the calendar, with a Russian Grand Prix joining in 2014. Because of the increase in the number of races, the German Grand Prix rotates yearly between two different circuits. Races in France, Turkey and South Korea have recently been discontinued.

Weekend structure[edit]

Formula One events take place over three days, referred to as 'the weekend', starting with practice sessions on Friday, the qualifying on Saturday, and culminating with the race on Sunday. Monaco is only exception to this, where the practice sessions are by tradition held one day earlier on the Thursday, leaving the Friday free.

  • Friday (Thursday in Monaco) kicks off the weekend begins with two practice sessions of 90 minutes length: one in the morning and one in the early afternoon. Qualifying for some supporting championships may also occur in between or after the sessions.
  • Saturday features on practice session in the morning before the official qualifying session, which most often begins at 1pm local time. The qualifying lasts 60 minutes, after which support championships go back on track with either qualifying sessions or races depending on the category.
  • Sunday is the busiest day of the weekend, comprising entirely of races. Support championship races will bookend the day, with the Formula One race beginning anywhere between 1 and 3pm local time, depending on location (the Australian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix begin late afternoon, the Singapore Grand Prix at 8pm). The Formula One race typically will last 90 minutes, barring delays or wet weather.

Support races[edit]

With only six hours of action over three days, the crowd can get restless when the Formula One cars aren't racing around the track. However, the Formula One championship is joined by many other supporting championships over the weekend to keep the track alive. The races may be shorter and the cars may be slower, but don't discount the excitement (and carnage) they may bring.

  • GP2 is the feeder series to Formula One and is present at eleven Formula One races (2013 season). GP2 cars look like smaller versions of F1 cars and their drivers are eager to cut their teeth into world-class racing, each knowing that a winning season could propel them into the big leagues. The GP2 series features 30-minute practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday respectively, and one race each on Saturday and Sunday. The series has a reputation of delivering future racing stars, and several of the current crop of F1 drivers, such as Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hülkenburg and Romain Grosjean, were once GP2 drivers.
  • GP3 is a rung down from GP2, with young drivers getting their first taste of international racing. The series is present at seven Formula One races (2013 season). Like GP2, there are 30 minute practice and qualifying sessions on the Friday and Saturday before two races on the Saturday and Sunday.

Grand Prix locations[edit]

Americas[edit]

Canada[edit]

The hairpin (L'Epingle) at the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve offers great viewing opportunities

Canadian Grand Prix - Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve, Montréal

  • Date: 6-8 June 2014
  • Tickets: General Admission: $45.45 (Fri), $70.50 (Sat), $95.75 (Sun), $126.00 (wkd); Grandstand: $267.50-$560.00; 1 child under 11 per ticket-holding adult: Free
  • Certainly one of the best venues on the calendar, the Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve often produces some of the best racing of the season. The circuit is within the Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Notre-Dame island right across downtown Montréal. Popular seating areas include along the start/finish straight, at the first chicance and down at the hairpin. Although most of the recent races have been dry, wet weather is a possibility with heavy rainfall delaying the race by two hours in 2011. Expect to see close racing and plenty of overtaking.
  • Contact: EMAIL: dfauteux@octanemanagement.ca | PHONE: (+1) 514 350 4731 ext 230

United States[edit]

United States Grand Prix - Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas

  • Date: 30 October-2 November 2014
  • Tickets: General Admission: $49 (Fri), $79 (Sat), $129 (Sun), $169 (wkd); Reserved Seating: $79 (Fri), $129 (Sat), $229 (Sun), $299 (wkd)
  • The latest purpose-built track to join the Formula One circus, the Circuit of the Americas features large undulations which offer great viewing spots from many of the grandstands. 2012 saw the first running of a Grand Prix, so any major problems should now be ironed out. The circuit is conveniently located near Austin Bergstrom International Airport, making the circuit easy to reach from most parts of Austin.
  • Contact: EMAIL: info@circuitoftheamericas.com | PHONE: (+1) 512 301 6600

Brazil[edit]

Brazilian Grand Prix - Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos), São Paulo

  • Date: 7-9 November 2014
  • Tickets: Grandstand: R$995-R$3,320 (wkd)
  • Brazil has been represented on the F1 calendar by the Autódromo José Carlos Pace since 1991 and was the site of the championship decider in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2012. Bumpy and quick, the track offers good overtaking opportunities. The Brazilian fans are among the most passionate in F1 and will not hide their joy or disappointment at the fortunes of local drivers. Expect dry conditions, but do not discount the possibility of brief showers.
  • Contact: EMAIL N/A | PHONE: (+55) 115 666 8822

Asia[edit]

Bahrain[edit]

Bahrain Grand Prix - Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir

  • Date:4-6 April 2014
  • Tickets: No information available
  • The Bahrain International Circuit became the first circuit in the Middle East to host a Formula One race, doing so in 2004. The race has been held in March/April for the entirety of its run to avoid the scorching summer desert heat. However, the race is usually the hottest of the year. The grandstands provide relief from the sun but when walking around the paddock make sure to stay hydrated. Being in the middle of a desert, the landscape is barren and dull, not unlike much of the racing here. Local civil unrest can be a distraction, forcing the cancelling of the 2012 race.
  • Contact: EMAIL: info@bic.com.bh | PHONE: (+973) 1745 0000

China[edit]

Two identical bridges tower over the start/finish straight at the Shanghai International Circuit

Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai

  • Date: 18-20 April 2014
  • Tickets: No information available
  • The Shanghai International Circuit is a modern autodrome built for the first Chinese Grand Prix in 2004. Good vantage points are the hairpin at the end of the 1 km straight, which always has overtaking action, and the main grandstand along the start/finish straight, from which one can view 80% of the circuit. Crowding is never a problem and the event typically undersells, leading to many empty seats. General admission is very cheap compared to grandstand entry, but there are no viewable video screens.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: (+86) 216 956 8888

India[edit]

Indian Grand Prix - Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh

  • Date:
  • Tickets: Grandstand: ₹1,500-₹12,000 (Sun), ₹2,000-21,000 (wkd)
  • One of the many new international circuits to spring up recent years, the Buddh International Circuit heralds the long overdue arrival of India into Formula One. The circuit is fast and flowing, but lacks the necessary characteristics for good, close racing. The grandstands are located far from the edge of the track, so binoculars are advised. Be prepared to deal with the humidity. The next race after the 2013 event will not be until 2015.
  • Contact: EMAIL:jaypee.sports@jalindia.com | PHONE: (+91) 120 442 9499

Japan[edit]

Fans cheer as local driver Kamui Kobayashi races past during the 2011 Japanese Grand Prix

Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka International Racing Course (or simply Suzuka Circuit), Suzuka

  • Date: 3-5 October 2014
  • Tickets: Grandstand: ¥15,568-¥98,592 (wkd)
  • The only Grand Prix in Asia for a long time, the Suzuka Circuit is notable for being the site of numerous championship deciders in the 1990s. The Japanese fans are an enthusiastic bunch and seldom leave the grounds before the sun has set. The best spot for viewing overtaking is along the main straight where one can see moves into the final chicane and into the first corner. There is an amusement park on site for the quieter parts of the weekend.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: N/A

Malaysia[edit]

Malaysia Grand Prix - Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur

  • Date: 28-30 March 2014
  • Tickets: No information available
  • The Sepang International Circuit is about 60 km (37 mi) south of Kuala Lumpur, although it is much closer to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The race starts late in the afternoon at the very end of the local monsoon season, so very heavy rain is a possibility and could lead to delays in the racing. Be prepared for high humidity. The best viewing spots are around the hills in the flowing outer sections of the circuit, although for shelter the grandstands along the two straights in the centre of the area is a good bet.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: (+60) 38 778 2222

Singapore[edit]

The Marina Bay Street Circuit is without a doubt the most visually spectacular circuit in Formula One today

Singapore Grand Prix - Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore

  • Date: 19-21 September 2014
  • Tickets: Grandstand: S$698-S$1288 (wkd); Walkabout: S$68 (Fri), S$148 (Sat), S$178 (Sun), S$228-S$498 (wkd)
  • The Singapore Grand Prix is the only F1 race held at night, and the backdrop of the city of Singapore makes this event a visual feast not to be missed. The Marina Bay Street Circuit winds its self around the harbourfront, going past local landmarks such as the Singapore Flyer, the Fullerton Hotel, and the Merlion Park.
  • Contact: EMAIL: tickets@singaporegp.sg | PHONE: (+65) 6738 6738

United Arab Emirates[edit]

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi ِAbu Dhabi Grand Prix News - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix News, Abu Dhabi

  • Date: 21-23 November 2014
  • Tickets: General Admission: AED545 (Sat+Sun); Grandstand: AED1,875 (Sat+Sun), AED2,080-AED2,600 (wkd)
  • The Yas Marina Circuit hosts the only grand prix that starts in the afternoon and ends after sunset. The circuit does not provide particularly exciting racing, but the grandstands along the two long straights give the opportunity to watch cars race up to 200mph. The circuit facilities around the paddock are the very definition of opulence, but expect to pay very high prices for access. The temperatures can also get pretty high during the day but should cool down by the time the race gets underway. On site is the Ferrari World theme park.
  • Contact: EMAIL: customerservice@yasmarinacircuit.com | PHONE: (+971) 2659 9800

Europe[edit]

Austria[edit]

Austrian Grand Prix - Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria

  • Date: 20-22 June 2014
  • Tickets: No information available
  • A surprise return for 2014 after a hiatus of 11 years, the Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring is situated in the picturesque Austrian countryside.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: N/A

Belgium[edit]

The steep drop down and climb up of the Eau Rouge-Raidillon complex

Belgian Grand Prix - Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Wallonia

  • Date: 22-24 August 2014
  • Tickets: No information available
  • Possibly the best racing track in the world, the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps features everything that makes a circuit great: challenging high speed corners, large changes in altitude, plenty of overtaking opportunities, and a long history of producing exciting racing. The Eau Rouge corner is perhaps the most famous in F1, and Blanchimont and Stavelot are well known in motorsport circles. The best viewing opportunities are at the first corner (La Source) and the climb up to Les Combes. The circuit is notorious for its own micro-climate that can see drastically different conditions at each end of the track so be prepared for anything.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: (+32) 8729 3700

Germany[edit]

German Grand Prix - Hockenheimring Baden-Württemberg (or simply Hockenheimring), Hockenheim, Baden-Württemberg

  • Date: 18-20 July 2014
  • Tickets: Grandstand: Adult: €229-€279 (Sun), €99-€499 (wkd), Under 16: €114-139 (Sun), €49-€174 (wkd)
  • The Hockenheimring was once home to long straights punctuated by chicanes. The old track is now being reclaimed by the forests around the track, and the current iteration of the track is more compact, offering a higher viewing capacity. The track is very flat, so only buildings and other structures will obscure further away sections of the track. Most of the seating is around the start/finish straight; nevertheless this is the best viewing area.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: N/A

Note: As part of a shared hosting agreement, the 2015 German Grand Prix will be held at the Nurburgring. The Hockenheimring will return for the 2016 event.

Hungary[edit]

Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, Mogyoród, Pest

  • Date: 25-27 July 2014
  • Tickets: General Admission: Adult: €68 (Sun), €77 (wkd), Junior: €34 (Sun), €38 (wkd); Grandstand: Adult: €191-€381 (Sun), €99-€423 (wkd), Junior: €50-€169 (wkd)
  • The Hungaroring is notoriously twisty and makes overtaking very difficult. The first corner and the chicane are best bets to see some racing action. Being in Central Europe during the height of summer, temperatures can get very hot, and there is little shading. Grandstands along the start/finish offer some shade. Wet weather has only affected one Hungarian Grand Prix in more than 25 years, so an umbrella would only be needed for protection against the sun.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: N/A

Italy[edit]

There's only one team the fans support at Monza

Italian Grand Prix - Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza

  • Date: 5-7 September 2014
  • Tickets: General Admission: Adult: €45 (Fri), €60 (Sat) €80 (Sun), €90-€95 (wkd); Grandstand: Adult: €100-€150 (Sat) €155-€590 (Sun), €110-€600 (wkd)
  • The Italian Grand Prix is one of the classic events on the Formula One calendar and is home to the Ferrari team, where their fans are at their most passionate. The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is located inside a huge enclosed park, the Parco di Monza, which is also a natural reserve. The best viewing spots are at the chicanes and at the Curva Parabolica. Be aware of pickpocketing and the sale of illegal tickets in crowded areas near the circuit's gates.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: N/A

Monaco[edit]

The abundance of yachts in Monte Carlo's harbour means there's a grand prix just around the corner

Monaco Grand Prix - Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo

  • Date: 22-25 May 2014
  • Tickets: No information available
  • Located on the streets of Monte Carlo, the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world. Overtaking does not feature heavily at the Circuit de Monaco. Viewing is largely restricted in the grandstands; being in a city means buildings block out a majority of the rest of the circuit, although it does provide a great opportunity for fans to get closer to the action than at any other venue. Unlike every other Grand Prix, Friday is a day off, with the cars taking to the track on the Thursday instead.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: N/A

Russia[edit]

Russian Grand Prix - Sochi International Street Circuit, Sochi

  • Date: 10-12 October 2014
  • Tickets: No information available
  • Capitalising on the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Sochi International Street Circuit is set around the olympic park and will be the third longest circuit on the calendar. As the circuit is still under construction information for travellers is still scarce.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: N/A

Spain[edit]

Spanish Grand Prix - Valencia Street Circuit, Valencia

  • Date: 9-11 May 2014
  • Tickets: No information available
  • Basking in the glorious mediterranean sun, the Valencia Street Circuit winds itself around a port in a similar manner to the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. It is circuit with a reputation for little overtaking. There are reports that the circuit is in a vandalised state, and its future on the F1 calendar is unknown.
  • Contact: EMAIL: info@circuitvalencia.com | PHONE: (+34) 90 201 2899

Note: As part of a shared hosting agreement, the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix will be held at the Circuit de Catalunya. The Valencia Street Circuit is expected to return for the 2016 event.

United Kingdom[edit]

The view from the Silverstone circuit's Luffield grandstands during the 2008 British Grand Prix

British Grand Prix - Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone

  • Date: 4-6 July 2014
  • Tickets: General Admission: Adult: £58 (Fri), £76 (Sat), £150 (Sun), Child: £29 (Fri), £38 (Sat), £75 (Sun); Grandstand: Adult: £171-£295+ (Sun), Child: £85-£295+ (Sun)
  • A historic track which hosted the first ever F1 race in 1950, Silverstone is one of the fastest on the calendar and provides plenty of great viewing opportunities. Camping is allowed on site with a permit. Traffic into the venure can be notoriously heavy, not only for cars but also for helicopters, with the circuit becoming the busiest heliport in Europe on race day. Take precautions to deal with the unpredictable British summer weather. Despite having a modern layout and expensive ticket prices, the circuit still retains an old-fashioned vibe, and is still very much an event for the fans.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: (+44) 844 3750 740

Oceania[edit]

Australia[edit]

Australian Grand Prix - Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, Albert Park, Melbourne

  • Date: 14-16 March 2014
  • Tickets: Grandstand: Adult: $320-$565 (4 days)
  • The Australian Grand Prix takes place at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Albert Park, which is normally a public park the rest of the year. Plenty of good viewing spots and compared to many tracks is quite close to the circuit's edge. General entry is good value with the most popular spot being Brocky's Hill, located at the back part of the circuit. It is advisable to take a picnic rug or foldable chair if choosing to sit there.
  • Contact: EMAIL: N/A | PHONE: N/A

Get in[edit]

Tickets[edit]

Entry to a circuit requires a ticket. Tickets can be bought for the whole weekend (all three days) or for one specific day (they get more expensive as the weekend goes along). There are generally two types on sale:

  • General admission tickets are the cheapest and most easily available, and they do not restrict the ticket-holder to a particular section of the track. Many circuits have viewing banks that general admission ticket-holders can use, although these fill up very quickly so get there early for a good spot. If the viewing areas are full then there are many parts where standing is available. These tickets do not give the comfort of grandstand tickets, so make sure adequate protection from the elements is brought along. The ground may be uneven or wet underfoot so bring suitable footwear and something to sit on.
  • Grandstand tickets give the best view of a particular section of the track and often have a large screen in view so none of the action is missed. Ticket prices are scaled, with the most expensive stands giving the most protection from the elements along with the best view. Tickets for grandstands are most commonly booked in advance so the buyer can choose a specific seat, although a few may be available on entry. There may be a few grandstands at some circuits that have no seat allocation, although these don't always give the best view.

Traffic[edit]

By car[edit]

Formula One Grands Prix are popular events, so preparations should be made for heavy traffic. If arriving by car, Fridays are often the quitest day, but don't expect to just sail through. Traffic queues on the weekend can be ridiculously long, and unless you are a dedicated soul arriving before sunrise expect to be waiting upwards of half an hour. The same can be said for leaving. A vast majority of the crowd tends to try and leave at the same time, so unless you wish to leave early (and miss some racing) or wait until late in the evening (when there is no racing going on) be prepared for more waiting. The parking areas tend to be extremely large so make a note of anything that can make identifying where you've parked easier. No one wants to be searching for their car at the end of a tiring day.

By shuttlebus[edit]

Some circuits may offer a shuttlebus service, designed to alleviate traffic problems. Cars are parked some way from the track and shuttlebuses run at frequent times to the track in their own designated lane, so this can make entry a much quicker process.

By helicopter[edit]

Arriving by helicopter is the most stylish way for the fan to enter, if you are lucky enough to be a VIP. Most tracks have some kind of heliport, if not a purpose-built one then a field within the circuit perimeter is used. All the worries associated with queueing and waiting are largely foregone, and helicopter is surely the most stress-free way of getting in.

Get around[edit]

Walking is generally the best option (and sometimes the only option) for getting from one area to another. Circuit maps are printed within official programmes and on boards dotted around the track. If you do not have a print version of the circuit map consider taking a picture of one of the boards with your phone or camera. Bridges and service tunnels connect the interior of the circuit with the exterior.

Buy[edit]

There will be many stalls situated just outside the viewing areas selling all kinds of F1 and motorsport memorabilia. Stock typically includes official team/driver merchandise and clothing; pictures and paintings; branded gear such as umbrellas, binoculars and flags; DVDs and other media; and collectible racing car models. Official programmes will also be on sale. Be prepared to pay high prices (remember you're mainly paying for the brand), but they can make excellent souvenirs from the event and the gear can be used again for future events.

Sleep[edit]

Hotels near many of the circuits can sell out up to a year in advance, so if you are intending on staying nearby book early. Some venues, such as Silverstone, allow camping on fields adjacent to the circuit. You will probably need to book a camping ticket to take advantage of this, and these too usually sell out fast so book early if you want to take this option.

Stay safe[edit]

Despite the high visibility of the 'motorsport is dangerous' notices Formula One has quite a good spectator safety record. However, no matter how safe a restricted part of the track may seem you should not venture onto these areas as they can be quite dangerous. Previous spectator fatalities at Formula One races have been caused by the spectators in question being on a restricted part of the track. Sticking to the proper areas drastically reduces the chances of being hurt in an accident. Be aware that moving vehicles operate in the paddock areas and along service roads, so keep your eyes and ears open. If someone is hurt medical tents with trained staff are located at various points around the track; these are marked clearly on circuit diagram boards.

The following general precautions should also be taken:

  • Earplugs are highly recommended especially for young children and those going for the first time. Formula One cars are ear-damagingly loud and having 22 cars over a sustained period of 90 minutes can cause harm. Earplugs will probably be available at the track and some circuits offer basic versions for free. If you are intending on taking a radio to listen to the on-track commentary use a pair on in-ear monitors that can double as earplugs.
  • Sun protection is advised as many races take place in the summer with only grandstand seats getting any meaningful shade. Wide-brimmed caps are handy, and sunglasses are optional.
  • Waterproof clothing is a necessity especially for those not in sheltered areas. Even if the forecast is dry, some areas (for example Spa-Francorchamps) may experience large changes in conditions over a small area. Take a strong umbrella to cope with windy weather, otherwise bring a waterproof coat.


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