Picture by Darren Heath, Courtesy of McLaren.com
It’s fairly normal that a ‘new’ or returning race to the F1 calendar will see a big attendance for the inaugural event which then falls away over the next two years.
The Indian GP attendances shrunk by around one third between year one and year two, and Austin Texas in 2015 had between 10-11 less temporary grandstands than in their opening season. To compensate, the Circuit of the America’s did allow General Admission tickets which were not available in 2012.
The big test for the United States Grand Prix in Texas will be this year with the return of the Mexican GP. Around 50% of the COTA audience has to date been reportedly Hispanic, so the a revival of a race at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez – which is a short commercial flight from Austin – will undoubtable impact the US Grand Prix
The return of the Austrian GP in 2014 saw enormous interest, such that the race promoters had to apply for special dispensation to increase their maximum capacity allowed under the local government license.
Following the 2015 event in Styria, it appears the Austrian GP is suffering the second year syndrome despite the fact there is no race in Germany this season. Over the course of last year’s event some 225,000 spectators made it through the turnstiles with 95,000 present to see the race.
The 2015 numbers are in and the total spectator count is 120,000 with just 55,000 present to see Nico Rosberg’s victory on Sunday.
Despite free concerts for ticket holders by Austrian music favourites, this was a collapse in attendance given that the first year ‘curiosity factor’ is over.
The badly neutered Red Bull circuit is hardly inspiring and the communication network to reach the 700m altitude is as efficient as one would expect for mass transportation of tens of thousands of people in the central European mountain region.
There appears to be little demand in Austria for a Grand Prix and its attraction to the wider F1 audience is having little impact.
The 2014 Hockenheim F1 event in Germany was deemed a disaster in terms of attendance. Yet the numbers were fairly similar to those who made the trek to the Red Bull Ring last weekend.