Austrian GP attendance almost halved

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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.

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15 responses to “Austrian GP attendance almost halved

  1. Why would you want to go to a live raceday. Even on TV it is barely watchable without falling asleep. There is no sound bonus. You sit far away. Serious on-track action is unlikely or thanks to DRS totally predictable (as in unexciting). Price to attend is pretty steep. You know who will win. When McLaren is your team (not mine) they are likely to last 20% of the race…
    Tell me why I should go to a race? There is no tension, no thrill factor, no bonus over free to air tv.

    • Another nail in the coffin – I listened to the last gp on headphones and it was about 237‰ more enjoyable…try it.

    • I concur. There’s little point in attending. I’ve seen some great races live in the V10 & V8 era’s, but I’ve no motivation to go along to GP to watch the Mercs drive round at the front with that awful sound.

      Even during the Schumacher domination years F1 was great to see live because by damn they pushed the cars hard, and the sound was incredible (anyone who’s heard a 19,000rpm+ V10 will know what I mean!). Plus of course back in 2001-04 they were very fast cars for the time, in 10 years or so we’ve got slower, easier to drive and less aurally pleasing cars.

    • This yr is the first time in over 40yrs I will not be attending the British GP. Factor in the cost of travel, parking and such it leaves a dent of almost £800 in my pocket. I already pay over £300 just to watch this on sky(it really is the only reason I subscribe) but even this I am questioning this year. I followed through the Ferrari and red bull dominance so its not that but it’s just the lack of design freedom the teams are under. I am not one to done a silvercap but following the lack of TV coverage for Manor(these chaps did marvels just to be on the track this year) and the sudden win from Ferrari when the sport was put under the spotlight I have to wonder if it’s really racing or just a WWE experience directed by MrE.’its your time to win so lets make a show’, I know its far fetched and I really don’t buy into it but you have to wonder lol.
      Now I attended Spa and Silverstone WEC events..what a different approach, it cost just over £100 for the whole weekend,this was travel AND accommodations,I got to walk in the pits,meet the drivers and see some pretty impressive machines. There was racing on track and the sound,even though these are hybrid, was absolutely glorious.
      F1 needs to shape up or its going to lose its core audience. Do you think the rich and privileged set pay for the tickets? Do they pay for the hospitality? Not a chance. I watched the race in Canada and witnessed all the stars and celebrity and were they in the pits?next to the track or even watching the race?..nope,most were in the air conditioned rooms ,talking away without even seeing the race so will these people cover the costs to the tracks?no way, I do think Germany dodged a bullet this year by missing a hosting.
      Sorry for the rant Sash but where F1 is concerned,it hurts to see this once great sport fall from the top,but maybe there is hope as Ben Parker once said..with great power comes great responsibility so lets hope the FIA can get control back from the leach that is FOM

      • @oddball

        Heard exactly the same from another engineering person between Silverstone and Spa WEC events. He and his son were selling their tickets for the British GP. Echoed your feelings about pit walk, driver meeting, prices etc. But his great joy, was being able to talk to the Porsche and Audi technicians and ask sensible questions, and get answers. Unlike his last experience at a Grand Prix where he claims to have got the big ….. off treatment. Everywhere you look, F1 seems to be alienating its fans/customers, whilst WEC tries to make fans happy. Strange world.

        • @Iain There is a real risk of f1 driving life long fans like ourselves away. From the 90’s there has been a real change of atmosphere within the paddock. Given what you have said about contact I fully agree,yes we know its a huge sport with many secrets of design but fan contact is sadly lacking.This has been addressed to a point with social media however trying to pry information out of the teams is like pulling teeth,if you aren’t on the select list then your not worthy,its why sites like this excel.The insider pundits are afraid of losing their access to the paddock if they print or say something that paints F1 in a bad light,that’s the dictatorship that MrE runs.

    • I remember the first time I went to a race -Mexican Formula 3- when I was a teenager, the two things that impressed me the most were the sound of the engines and the smell of fuel and tires -the third were the girls in small clothes 🙂 -. All that is gone.

  2. Well, let’sbe honest, there is no compelling reason for people to go to any GP nowadays. The racing is far too unspectacular and the championship is a private Mercedes affair.

    Why bother?

  3. Yes, cost/value is a big issue. I though about going to the Austin race last year, but a quick back of the envelope calculation soon dissuaded me. For the cost of flying down there, purchasing tickets, lodging, eating, etc. my wife and I could spend a week in Tofino (west coast of Vancouver Island). This we did and had a fantastic, relaxing vacation. F1 has serious value and racing issues.

    I’ve attended a number of races, both here in the US and abroad, and enjoyed them immensely; there is nothing like the sound of a racing engine attempting to self destruct. I remember how my heart started beating faster and my feet sped up as I approached the track and heard the cars, but is it worth it? Unfortunately I’ve decided it’s not. I was out of town last weekend and missed the race; when I read the results I didn’t even bother to download it. I didn’t miss much and neither did the Austrians (or whoever) who didn’t attend. A sad commentary on current Formula One.

    • @Gomer. Yes, cost/value is a big issue.

      Astute observation. Value and cost are not the same thing. In the current global economic climate, only the Billionaires/Millionaires can ignore that concept.

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