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An easy ride in to the track
An easy ride in to the track
Posted By:   |  10 May 2009   |  7:37 am GMT  |  12 comments

The attendance at this year’s Spanish Grand Prix is noticeably down on recent years. This morning we drove in at 8am and didn’t stop once.

It’s the first time I’ve been able to do that since Alonso came to prominence. His lack of competitiveness with Renault is a lot to do with the drop off in interest, I’m told by my Spanish colleagues. But also the state of the economy and the high ticket prices are having an effect.

Nevertheless they are expecting 100,000 people here today, so more than Silverstone’s capacity. But they expanded the grandstand capacity here and it can hold over 130,000.

The top price grandstand seat here is €500, with €300 a common price.

Flavio Briatore apparently has worked out that it is cheaper for a family of four from Spain to go to New York for a week’s holiday than it is to come to the Grand Prix.

Although the skies are blue in the photo above, it rained overnight at the circuit and it is raining now in downtown Barcelona. It’s 9-30am as I write this and it’s now overcast and only 18 degrees.

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Off topic, but I bet you, like me, will have an eye on a certain local derby in Manchester tonight.

So let's hope for rain to spice up the race (often needed in Spain) and go City!


Cost cutting is all well and good but of course the cost won't be cut for the fans as long as Bernie continues to milk the circuits for his fee, and the circuits are forced to milk us to pay that.


With the way Räikkonen's year is panning out, I expect a lot more Spaniards to attend next year to see Alonso in the Ferrari, ridiculous ticket prices notwithstanding.


Flavio Briatore apparently has worked out that it is cheaper for a family of four from Spain to go to New York for a week’s holiday than it is to come to the Grand Prix.

Indeed. Easy to choose to go to New York.

I can't see a reason to go to a Grand Prix, except for the noise (TVs can never reproduce sound correctly, certainly not at the volume an F1 kicks out); you have limited viewing of the race (you are in one place), no doubt because you are a captive audience although you've already been fleeced for your entry ticket, you'll be fleeced for food and drink and possibly parking as well. If you want a Kangaroo so that you can have a limited viewing experience that is better than your seat but not as good as your telly, you can fork out for that too. And if its abroad you've your flight and hotel to pay for.

I'm amazed that Brits travel to Singapore for a race - well if you can afford it, good for you, but most of us can't!

I get a better viewing experience from TV, don't get fleeced for the privilege, plus some good commentary from Martin Brundle, Jake, DC, Ted, Lee and occasionally EJ (in fact EJ has noticably improved since Mike Gascoyne's appearance). [moderated]

Its a real shame that despite the ridiculously high prices charged for Grand Prix tickets that the promoters barely break even or need a handout from the government. They should be rolling in it, but Bernie and CVC bleed the sport dry.

Lower costs for tickets and promoters would be better for everyone. You'll never get me at a Grand Prix with the current silly prices - there are more deserving things to spend my funds on.

Likewise, I don't understand why anyone would pay for tickets to a football match. Way overpriced.



I have a slightly off-topic question. Until Nakajima's retirement in the race in Bahrain, it looked like that race might have ended with no retirements. Would that have been a first in the history of F1? I'm guessing that, apart from the farce at Indy in 2005, it might have been?


Have to agree 100% with Snail.
Hope one of Bernies "people" reads this; the majority will very soon arrive at the refusal point, Which I reached a few years back where we said "bugger this, it's taking the piss" we shall watch it on telly in the shade with our own food and drink. Sadly we do miss the atmosphere, the noise, the tension.

I have not been to many GP venues but the thing that will always stay with me was Monte Carlo, the electricity in the air, the night before the race, the hotel cockroaches and then the absolute noise as the cars come out from the tunnel. (it was many years ago when there were "proper" engines and I was watching from the harbour)
Silverstone also has many memories of the harvest flies, the pits at one in the morning, camping etc. All now sadly beyond my finances.
If Bernie really wanted to ensure the continuation of the sport he would allow the circuits to make a decent profit and maintain or drop the admission prices. I hope he understands that the budget cap must be reflected in his own profits and the costs for spectators at the gate and in the stands. He and Max have already alienated a large body of the regular fans.

Adding more exotic venues where the price of entry for the locals is several weeks or even months wages and the costs for European fans to travel and stay are high will not work. He has been around too much money for too long and has lost reality. Maybe a lesson should be learned from the UK public's abhorrent reaction to the MP's expenses scandal. We do not like being taken advantage of.


If anyone wants to make a comparison A1 GP is on Ch5 tonight just after midnight at 12:25 .


Back in my earlier years my wife and I joined a marshaling group and were fortunate enough to marshal GPs at Mosport a few times and Montreal once or twice back in the 70s. Great "seats" and no costs other than travelling expenses.

I'll always remember the earth shattering vibration and sound as the full field pounded up Mosport's back straight hill on lap one, 10 feet from my marshaling position.

Is modern GP marshaling still done by trained volunteer marshals?


i too noticed how easy it was to get into the circuit & out for this years spainish grand prix & the attendance was a lot down on last years .lots of empty seats everywhere for the 3 days. it was even easy to walk through the f1 village. but the prices are just crazy 12.50euros for a pint of weak lager is just daylight robbery & 35 euros for a team cap is a joke . something should be done to make it more affordable for people otherwise race days will be ghost towns.


It certainly is and the sport wouldn't happen without them


Monza 2005 had 20 starters and 20 finishes. The only other time it has happened with a full grid is the Dutch Grand Prix of 1961.


I think there have been a few before indy 2005, and I think there was one in France. I'm not sure on the number, maybe about 5 other races with no retirements. But I am sure there were other races with no retirements.

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