Would more support races help boost crowds at F1’s new venues?

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European F1 fans get GP2, Asian F1 fans get far fewer support races

In the past decade F1 has added races in several countries with little prior history of motor racing. Unsurprisingly, these races have struggled to draw spectators in the same numbers that European races like the British and Italian Grands Prix.

What could be done to encourage more people to come to these new races? One solution might be to ensure there’s more action going on at the tracks when the F1 cars are in the garages.

The crowd at next week’s Spanish Grand Prix will be entertained by seven other races in addition to the Grand Prix. They get two rounds of the excellent GP2 series and the first two races of its new feeder championship, GP3.

Formula BMW Europe, another frequently entertaining championship, will supply another two races and there’s also the Porsche Supercup.

But fans at the Malaysian and Chinese races saw only one non-F1 series for the price of their tickets. The Sepang race was supported by Formula BMW Pacific and at China the Asian Porsche Carrera Cup was the sole event on the support bill.

Part of the problem is the contraction of the GP2 Asia championship last season. The series previously raced at Shanghai and Sepang, but only visited Abu Dhabi and Bahrain last season.

With the main GP2 series taking over the Abu Dhabi support bill this year, you have to wonder where the GP2 Asia championship will fit in in 2011 – and whether it will at all.

What if there simply aren’t any local racing series to join the support card? Perhaps the track time could be used in other ways involving the F1 teams.

Why not put on a pit stop competition for the mechanics on the start line, as other championships have done? Or could Shanghai’s huge back straight be used for a drag race between F1 cars with a cash prize for the fastest driver?

Do you think crowd sizes at these new events could be improved by putting on more support races? Have you been to Asian and European rounds of the championship and noticed a difference in the amount of action? Share your thoughts in the comments.

For details of the support races at all this year’s Grands Prix, see the race links at the bottom of the page.

Read more: Are F1 fans getting ripped off? Cheapest and dearest tickets prices revealed

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Keith Collantine
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59 comments on “Would more support races help boost crowds at F1’s new venues?”

  1. yep, definately. i think the cost would be the main barrier though. if there were better quality support categories, the crowd numbers on fridays would increase methinks. i was in melbourne this year and it would be awesome to have a gp2 or equivalent category. the v8 supercars just don’t cut it.

    1. Wow, V8Supercars just don’t cut it? They are the most followed form of motor-sport in the country. I highly doubt this article is in reference to Melbourne as it always has a pretty massive crowd, numbers are never a concern, compared to the other races in the Asia-Pacific region.

    2. Really TommyC? I love watching the V8 Supercars at the GP, and the fact that only a small contigent of the crowd ups and leaves after the F1 practice suggests I am not alone there. I follow the series anyway, but the fact that this is a non-championship round seems to unleash a bit of aggro from the drivers & they take risks they wouldn’t normally do in a points paying round. Some of the best V8 races I have ever seen have been at Albert Park.

      1. Others could learn from Australia. I was at Melbourne this year and for the whole 4 days there was never more than a 15 minute period where there was nothing on the track. Something was always happening, it was great.

  2. I have my doubts. How many people going to the Spanish GP would not have purchased tickets if it was only F1? My guess would be less than 100, which consists of family members of people participating in the junior races who didn’t get free passes.

    Don’t get me wrong – I love the support races. They give these young drivers up-close exposure to fans, sponsors and perhaps future employers in the F1 teams. But these support races don’t draw much attention independent of the main event. They are icing on the cake, but you can eat cake without icing.

    1. theRoswellite
      2nd May 2010, 15:57

      Can you eat cake without icing, would anyone? I think maybe icing without the cake….?

  3. Wouldn’t this make tickets even more expensive than they already are? But what’s really a shame is that they show none of this excellent racing on TV (here in the Netherlands that is). At best we get a five minute replay of spectacular crashes.

  4. they make too much noise durring the pre-race analaisis

  5. Heres a solution – go to countries with an establised motorsport scene. Cynical yes, but in respect to the location of Grand Prix I wish for a change they put the sport before business. No French GP, no American GP – yet we have a Bahrain GP and a Korean GP.

    Don’t take the people to the racing (eg, China), take the racing to the people.

    1. I don’t think that would work sadly. F1 is a business but it is also a sport that’s famous for its wealth, travel and moving forwards. Some venues have been a mistake and too many are featureless dust bowls which may as well have a cartoon tumble weed blowing across but F1 has to try.

      If it becomes inverted we will be stuck in the same venues with progress becoming stagnant.

      F1 can’t afford that. Also you give the example of the US GP but generally they’re a nation whose love of motorsport stems from Indy and NASCAR. Plenty of fans when to the F1 event (I am in favour of seeing tracks with a passionate crowd) but the nation has proved hard to sell to. Seeing fans in the stand must be a priority but we can’t forget the people watching on TV.
      We can’t just go to historic tracks. We need a blend of old and new. Retaining the story and passion while looking to advance and improve. History can’t be everything; at one time no track had a history but they were given a chance and it is only fair that the new hosts get the same chance.

      I think the restrictions seriously need to be looked at ; they control everything and I mean everything. Tilke and his company can’t be used excessively. I think the restrictions are 75% responsible but if the same designer is used then it is the same vision and the same way of tackling the situation which is why in part, tracks feel the same and stale. It would also be nice if they could see beyond harbours and deserts and please no more street circuits. I’m all for a mix and I really like street layouts but there is the risk of too many.

      There has been some success with new tracks (trying to be slightly less negative); Singapore is a real challenge and needs more bumps -Hungary is dull but we keep it- and I think some more changes are planned plus it is meant to have a very enthusiastic crowd, Bahrain gets some overtaking, Abu Dhabi is too new for me to pick on, Malaysia has the heat and is pretty nice with a risk of rain and it had that great Hei vs Alo vs Cou battle and Turkey has the hardest corner on F1.

      We aren’t ever going to agree because it is down to personal preference and interpretation of what makes F1. Fans do need to work out what we need – history, overtaking, new tracks or driver challenge or maybe a nice mix but even then we need to prioritize it. If us fans can debate for so long and still not agree then I feel complete sympathy for those making the decisions.

      1. I think you’ve made some assumptions on my complete point of view from a very brief statement.

        I agree with a lot of what you’ve said, and I did make a post last week suggesting that in order to make it a “world championship” F1 does need to branch out a bit more outside of Europe in order to get a widespread recognition of the championships significance. But my point I was trying to make was go to countries with some form of motorsport background already, not just selling it to the highest bidder.

        I’m all for America, and I think going to Russia is a good idea also. I think India will be a success also. I know people will refer to China when talking up the chances of India but India is a full fledged democracy that doesn’t suppress its people, and I think as a result the people will show genuine interest. I just don’t see why we go to countries that have no form of motorsport background. To me thats like Nigeria wanting to host the cricket world cup. Start at the bottom, and move your way up.

        You mention we must not forget about the people watching it on TV but seeing a race at a track that is at 10% capacity doesn’t do the sport any favours.

        That said however I think we can all agree on the problems on the sport. The only issue is coming up with a solution the caters to all the problems.

        1. No, no, I just eamnt to expand on the debate. Half of it was just me rambling on how I felt.
          “I just don’t see why we go to countries that have no form of motorsport background.”
          This is something I really do agree with. Althopugh, I like that F1 gives it a chance the results we all want are far from sure.

          “You mention we must not forget about the people watching it on TV but seeing a race at a track that is at 10% capacity doesn’t do the sport any favours.”

          I agree with that and as I’ve said I would prefer the seats to be filled but I think if a track is good like Turkey it shouldn’t be tossed aside, more should be done to get people in.

      2. I’m not sure I totally agree.

        F1 should be a world championship, but look at the additions: Malaysia, China, Singapore, Korea, and soon India and Russia. That’s not the makings of a world championship. Malaysia, China, India, America, Mexico, is more like a world championship. What F1 has developed into is a Europe + Asia championship, with a few side distractions elsewhere.

        F1 hasn’t been going to places with money in order to survive; it was going quite nicely as it was. I remember when Malaysia and the USA were added on to the calendar, I was very excited. Now the prospect of ever more new races doesn’t really thrill me at all, because there’s no novelty (though having Indy back would be nice). F1 has been going to these places with money simply to line Bernie’s pockets, with barely any actually going into the improvement of the sport and its coverage.

        Yes, F1 can’t just stay at historic circuits, but there’s no need for more than one new circuit every five years. Random traditional circuits deciding not to have a race anymore would more than fill up the capacity for new blood and variety. If the old circuits were leaving the calendar because of the cost en masse, I would see the point in F1’s rapid expansion. But whilst I like the idea of 20 races, the pace and nature of the change, I think, has been completely skewed in favour of money for special interests, and not for the furthering of the sport.

    2. I agree. Of course, you would not require 100 years of racing tradition for a country to host a GP but, at least, they should have a few junior national championships (karting and such).

  6. The easy answer to the question is YES as long as they are of the right quality.


    What would help is more F1 on race day !

    Race day tickets in the UK cost an arm and a leg anyway & for 1 hour 30 mins of seeing the F1 cars in action ! – not good enough in my mind.

    Without putting my rose coloured spectacles on and hankering too much for the past – at least we used to get 30 mins of Sunday morning warm-up in years gone by.

    I’ve ranted about this in the past but it is even more relevant now.

    With no in-race re-fuelling and not needing to start on the fuel they qualified with I see absolutely no reason whatsoever why we can’t have warm-up back. I know about Parc Ferme “start the race on the tyres you qualified on” & it was stopped to stop the better funded teams from using quali spec engines & body bits e.t.c. “blah blah blah” (as Rubens would so eloquently say) :) but it’s not rocket science to allow the teams to stick on a bit of used rubber stick in some fuel and go for a blast early on – if for the spectators only – correct me if I’m wrong but this is who the teams are meant to be entertaining isn’t it ?

    To me it’s a no brainer and a “win win” situation for everyone.

    1) Eurosport used to televise it – the BBC could on the Red Button/Online so more exposure for sponsors. – which is why they are there :)

    2) Most importantly the spectators would get into the circuit earlier and see F1 cars for an extra 30 mins which would be much better value for money ! :)

    3) Because of 2 above the vendors at the circuit have a longer period to sell there goods to the public & let me tell you it isn’t cheap for them to be there – so any help they can get would be good ! :)

    4) The circuits could charge a little more to each vendor and take more in there own outlets on circuit from earlier on from an already enthused/energised spending public because they’ve just had there senses nicely awoken by the sound & sight of 24 F1 cars at full chat ! – which in Silverstone’s case at least means more money in the coffers to be pump back into circuit by the BRDC. With Bernie taking his slice :( they need every penny they can get.

    If the powers that be are so intent on enforcing the “start the race on the tyres you qualified on” rule – before the race on the starting grid they would have to put their qualifying tyres back on.

    All Parc Ferme conditions would still apply so no changes to the car – any team found cheating by flouting those conditions and and making changes to the cars would have to start at the back of the grid.

    If a car crashes in warm-up – tough the team would be able to repair it but again have to start at the back of the grid.

    If some teams get all worried & opt to stay in the garages and not go out to entertain the spectators – tough start at the back of the grid – now that’s pressure :) but these are supposed to be the best drivers in the world.

  7. Marc Connell
    2nd May 2010, 10:08

    My dream would be F1 at silverstone to show, V8 super cars that weekend, F3, F2, BTCC. But i dont think that could be fitted in.
    I think F1 races/ qualifying are to long for support races. Maybe 1 or 2 (GP2 and F3).

  8. Prisoner Monkeys
    2nd May 2010, 10:10

    Part of the problem is the contraction of the GP2 Asia championship last season. The series previously raced at Shanghai and Sepang, but only visited Abu Dhabi and Bahrain last season.

    I think a bigger part of the problem is the lack of national racing series. The Formula 1 races might be supported by GP2/GP2 Asia, but they also get events like the Porsche Supercup. The difficulty is that there’s a lack of these racing series in Asia and the Middle East.

    1. This is pretty much the problem.

      Not only are there less support races, so you get less bang for your buck, but there’s a lack of motorsports history in the country anyway.

      It’s not just that F1 needs more support races in Asia, but Asia actually needs more series regardless of whether they’re supporting F1 or not.

    2. You are right here. A lack of local series makes it hard to put together a high quality support program.
      I suppose that is part of the reason why Singapore went for concerts etc. to give the weekend more value for money. This might be an option for the Arabian and Malaysian GP as well (with China maybe politics would make it harder to do with world class acts)

      I would like GP2 Asia series to be part of the firs fly away races, it would make the series better as well and a real bounty for drivers getting into F1.

  9. The notion of having drag racing at Shanghai(and maybe other venues with ultra-long straights) is very exciting indeed. It will add more falvour to the Grand Prix weekend. :)

  10. I’ve always wondered how this works out. Does the GP organizer (and ultimately, the ticket buyers) pay for the support races? Or do the support race organizers sign up for the GP and help pay for the expenses?

    As for the main question, I think more support races won’t bring in more viewers.

    3 years ago, at Sepang they had Speedcar, GP2, Formula BMW, and the Porsche Supercup supporting the main race. This year I think they had only Formula BMW.

    In Singapore, hardly anyone was watching the Aston Martin races, the Porsche Supercup, and the Formula BMW.

    I find it quite sad that most GP viewers ignore the support races. Some people, especially F1 fans, consider the support races too boring and the cars too slow to watch. I could spend a whole day at the track watching F1 and the support races. Too bad not everyone would do the same.

    That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be any support races. The support races adds much to the atmosphere on race weekend. More importantly, F1 brings much needed exposure and possible new fans to these support races. I hope more fans will give their “support” to these support races.

    1. Nathan Bradley
      2nd May 2010, 10:48

      @BMW Boy I could spend a whole day at the track watching F1 and the support races. Too bad not everyone would do the same.

      Agreed, I was at Barcelona last year, and I have to say it was quite nice having your ears woken up at 9am by the sound of the Formula BMW’s racing past!

      Support races are a good thing in my opinion. It makes the tickets much better value for money and, more importantly, gives fans a chance to see potential future F1 drivers’ (See last year’s GP2 series with Chandhok, Grosjean, DiGrassi, Petrov etc.)

      Support races would be much better attended if they had better TV coverage, because as has already been discussed, with the exception of GP2, they hardly get any. For example, I wonder how many people with an average interest in F1 could name a Formula BMW or Porsche Supercup driver? Despite the fact they are support races at most European F1 events.


  11. It’s a yes for me. More support events make the tickets better value for money. No need to increase the prices either as more support events equals more ticket sales, meaning more revenue for the promoter.

    It also seems that a lot of the newer tracks have second fully serviced paddocks and pits, so that opens the possibility of for double headline events, kind of like how V8 Supercars and IndyCars / CART / Champcars / whatever they were called, did at the Gold Coast Indy in Australia for a couple of years. Both series had full length championship races, and it was quite successful.

  12. Lady Snowcat
    2nd May 2010, 11:25

    This is an excellent topic as it touches on the ever problematic question of getting more bums on seats in the new venues for F1….

    I am one of the lucky people who have been to a lot of the current GP tracks and the comment about varying levels of support racing is very true…. and for the locals there is often nothing in the various support features to draw in the public…

    Perhaps the promoters are missing a number of tricks here… and should look outside motor sport for ideas…

    Horse racing has very successful “Ladies Days” at the top venues and whilst this may not work in some of the Middle East venues it certainly would work elsewhere… and you could have special Ladies races too… again it happens in racing… interestingly the gate for Ladies Days is often better than for the main feature…

    BMW Boy mentioned Sepang in 2007 but it was also true in 2008.. seeing Jean Alesi (towel round his head like a turban to keep cool before his Sportcar race) and Mr Herbert etc was really fun…

    The cost of putting on Ladies races and also “Veterans” stuff must be minimal in comparison to the cost of the race payments to Bernie…

    How about special lotteries where race tickets bought on the day give you the opportunity for a lottery win ride round the track with a top driver… they could show the faces of the lucky guys/girls on the big screen as they sit in the car for their lap which would probably be very funny… also there could be similar lucky tickets for pitwalks and corporate hospitality…

    There must be loads of ways to get the fans in that no-one has tried and not all have to be soley for motorsports…

    One of the disappointing things is how few of the tracks put on alternative stuff during the race day… don’t have Beyonce after the race in concert… have her during the day…

    Goodness there is sooo much stuff to do why are they sooo backward in sorting it out…

    Finally if this stuff really does break the bank do a deal with Bernie as I can’t believe he doesn’t want things to be a success.. except, of course, that maybe that at his age he won’t see it come to fruition… mind you if you mentioned that to him that could just spur him to prove you were mistaken….

    1. How about special lotteries where race tickets bought on the day give you the opportunity for a lottery win ride round the track with a top driver… they could show the faces of the lucky guys/girls on the big screen as they sit in the car for their lap which would probably be very funny… also there could be similar lucky tickets for pitwalks and corporate hospitality…

      Silverstone are doing this for the first time this year – if I remember correctly a group of people will win paddock passes, and a pair from that group will also win pitwall passes. Can’t get much closer than that!

      It’s a good idea, I don’t know if any other F1 races do the same.

  13. Some local interest would help. Perhaps the FIA should work with the ASNs towards building the profile of local series, so that they are at a suitable level to support the GP when it comes around. Motorsport in general has to be made more prominent in these countries, and something has to be done about the prohibitive cost of tickets.

    It would be terrible if F1 just abandoned all these new markets though. It is a global sport and expanding, it would be a real shame if it suddenly had to contract again.

  14. I think if the price was lower that would help, i’m going to my first race this year, going to spa and was really expensive for race tickets

  15. Robert McKay
    2nd May 2010, 12:51

    When I pay/paid for a Formula 1 ticket to Silverstone I do so expecting to be entertained for the whole day and, ultimately, weekend. Especially for the price it is.

    If it was that price and just F1 I wouldn’t bother…I’m a hardcore F1 fan but I still expect decent value for money and for racing all through the day. Not to turn up on sunday for a 90 minute race and head off..I want a day of it if I’m traipsing across the country to do so.

    I think it’s actually pretty shoddy that there was only one support race at some of the flyaway rounds, and this should be addressed.

  16. As someone who follows motoGP I’ve always wondered why F1 doesn’t do something similar to that series.
    In motoGP there is the motoGP championship, the moto2 championship and the 125cc motoGP championship and you get all three events at each GP weekend so you get three sets of practice sessions, three qualifying events and three races so there’s always loads to watch at each event.

    As well as giving the fans something extra to follow at events you also get to watch riders progress from 14-16 year old rookies on 125cc bikes all the way up to GP title contenders on prototype 800cc bikes.
    The use of wild card riders in the lower formulae also adds a bit of local interest in nations that don’t have any riders in the full GP series as well as giving the smaller teams a chance to get some short term local sponsorship.

    It would make sense if F1 could do something similar by having GP2 running at every F1 GP weekend with a second support series, even if they had to split it between two sets of circuits (Europe & Americas series and an Asia/Pacific series) in order to keep down costs for the teams and have all of the support series using low cost open-wheel cars that would act as a feeder system for young drivers.

    1. beneboy, That does happen at most European races, as you can see from the line-up at this year’s Spanish GP;

      Friday 7th May

      Formula BMW Practice 08:50 – 09:15
      Formula One Practice 1 10:00 – 11:30
      GP2 Practice Session 11:55 – 12:25
      Formula BMW Qualifying 12:50 – 13:15
      Air Display 13:30 – 13:40
      Formula One Practice 2 14:00 – 15:30
      GP2 Qualifying Session 15:55 – 16:25
      Formula One Press Conference 16:00 – 17:00
      GP3 Practice Session 16:50 – 17:20
      Porsche Mobil1 Supercup Practice17:45 – 18:30

      Saturday 8th May
      Formula 1 Team Pit Stop Practice 08:00 -08:30
      GP3 Qualifying Session 08:45 – 09:15
      Formula BMW First Race 09:45 – 10:15
      Formula One Practice 3 11:00 – 12:00
      Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Quali 12:25 – 12:55
      Air Display Spanish Air 13:30 – 13:40
      Formula One Qualifying 14:00
      GP2 First Race 15:40 – 16:45
      GP3 First Race 17:20 – 17:55

      Sunday 9th May
      Formula BMW Second Race 08:30 – 09:00
      GP3 Second Race 09:25 – 10:00
      GP2 Second Race 10:35 – 11:25
      Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Race 11:45 – 12:20
      Formula 1 Drivers’ Track Parade 12:30
      Formula 1 Grid Presentation 12:45 – 13:15
      Air Display 13:30 – 13:40
      Formula One National Anthem 13:46
      Formula One Race 14:00

      The problem is making it economic to host the GP2 and GP3 feeder series outside Europe.

      However, how many music fans go to gigs to see the support acts?

      1. See, I’ll watch pretty much all the races but the air shows and music concerts are of no interest to me. Unless it’s a group I really like, but not having particularly mainstream tastes that’s not very likely!

      2. Hi Kate,
        I appreciate that they do this at some races, the point I was trying to make was that in motoGP where you get the same support races at every event with concurrent championships it allows the fans to follow all three series at once and the lower formulae get a good bit of kudos by association.

        A lot of people I know think of motoGP as being the whole three series with the 800cc bikes just being the premier event, admittedly this is helped by the fact that in lots of countries the broadcaster shows all three series each weekend. While the BBC don’t do this Eurosport do and in effect their entire schedule is given over to motoGP for a good six or seven hours each day of a motoGP weekend.

        This means that when you go to a GP weekend you know all of the teams and riders in the lower formulae and you find that the stands are almost as full for the 125cc race as it is for the 800cc race and this gives you two extra events taking place over the weekend that have a really good atmosphere.

        With all due respect to the Porsche’s and BMW’s, they’re just random support events and have nothing to do with F1. You may get the odd retired F1 driver taking part for a laugh but they’re not feeder series.
        This means that most people have no idea about their championships, teams or drivers. They still produce some good racing but they don’t have the same sort of atmosphere or excitement that you get when everyone knows more about it and has a preferred driver or team.

        GP2 has been a good addition but could do with being matched up with the whole, or most, of the the F1 calendar instead of just being on at some European GP’s.
        For me the ideal situation would be for a series like Formula Renault or Formula Ford to join up with them too and have a standardised format at each GP weekend with the two feeder feeder series followed by the main event of the F1 GP.

        The biggest obstacle to this is the funding, the lower series wouldn’t generate enough money to be able to afford to run at each of the F1 GP’s so this would mean F1 agreeing to a joint deal where the money generated by F1 is used to cover some of the costs of the lower formulae.
        This is obviously a lot easier to agree too in motoGP as several of the teams have bikes running in all three series but I’m sure there are enough clever people involved in F1 to come up with a solution to this that would benefit everyone.

        1. Thanks for replying. I don’t think we can really compare F1 and MotoGP but F1 could probably learn something from the bikes boys.
          Costs and the restrictions imposed would make it hard, if not impossible to have 3 combined series at all 19 races. Certainly the addition of GP3 is a step in that direction but it’s yet to be seen if this and GP2 have any effect on spectator numbers.

  17. The main reason why I don’t go to Monza every year is the price of the tickets.
    Lower series are interesting while you wait for the GP, but they are not the key.

  18. I have never seen that many people watch the support races though. Most viewers just show up for qualifying and the race.

    For the people in the standing area’s (who cannot leave their spot all day) it’s probably a nice diversion, but still. I doubt anyone really goes to an F1 event to watch the side show.

  19. I think people come to the track to see see stars – the drivers – do what they do best, namely drive racing cars.

    With that in mind I think one or two single make races with F1 drivers behind the wheel would make perfect sense.

    The spirit of these races should of course be crowd pleasing, short’ish sprint type races in good looking cars, some hard tires and lots of sideways action.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I personally would love to see the F1 drivers loosen up a little in a support class where the over all aim is to please the crowd.

  20. More support races to increase interest? NO!

    It would take away the focus from the Grand Prix!

    The problem is Formula 1 is being taken to countries who are not interested in it and it is too expensive for the locals to afford to go and watch it.

    It would be like bringing the World Table-Tennis Championships to Britain, no-one would give a damn and no-one would pay their hard earned cash to go and see it!

    1. Robert McKay
      2nd May 2010, 15:13

      “It would take away the focus from the Grand Prix!”


      Why is it silly to provide a full day’s entertainment for people paying hard-earned money? Precisely how are support races, of which there are many at the European rounds taking away the focus from the Grand Prix?

      1. theRoswellite
        2nd May 2010, 16:33

        Exactly Mr. McKay…

        Possible elements…

        -feature younger future stars of racing, and work to promote them. Back in my home town, we are more interested in people than in objects or even ideas, as simple folk we would need to connect faces to the drivers names.

        -Also, we all have short attention spans so you might consider having match races of one or two laps, in which the winning driver moves on. No championship needed, you could work toward a year end race with the guys with the most points competing for some BIG money. No need for expensive machinery or large crews.

        Just some straight forward racing, easy to stage, easy to schedule, no great expense…and fun to watch,…..and again, easy to understand for those folks back in my home town.

  21. Really depends on the quality of support series, in America though why not make F1 the support race to a NASCAR event at Indianapolis, there wod ba a capacity crowd (200000) guarenteed because of the strong attraction NASCAR has in the USA, and if the f1 was sandwiched between 2 sprints, the crowd would have to stay and watch.

  22. The answer is “no”.
    If you use GP2, GP4, Porsche, or even GT1, BTCC to support F1 races in Shanghai, you will still find that grandstand is almost empty before the Sunday F1 race. The best way is to hold these races as a whole event on another date. Like Shanghai will hold DTM later this year

  23. simple answer- no. the casual person is only just interested in F1, so i doubt they’d be at all interest in gp2 etc.

  24. To have support races you need a national or regional motor sport interest. The races that don’t have the support races are the ones that have little interest in motor sport. Its a catch 22. we need to accept that some places may have the money but not the interest. We all know Bernie wants the money ( Far East, Asia ) while we wan’t the good fans and support races (Europe).


    More support races along lines of GP2, Porsche, V8’s, and maybe celebrity race in small sedan cars.

    Add in a concert of some sort also.

    F1 management need to get some good entertainment industry/promotional people involved to present a more entertaining all round package…but this needs to happen to all race event locations, not just some.


  26. The BTCC has almost constant on track action, with the BTCC itself, Porsches, Ginetta Junior, Ginetta G50, Formula Renault and the Renault Clio Cup amongst any others I might of missed! Although not everyone will enjoy watching every race, at least there is almost always on-track action!

  27. These are good ideas provided the organisers place many big screen tv’s around the circuit for all the fans to enjoy this. Acrobatic airline and fighter displays, as well as stunt drivers and riders, are sometimes seen at other series. Perhaps a prize draw could be held beforehand and members of the public could compete on a shortened or kart circuit or even a obstacle course of sorts…

  28. we want the f1 stars to make a two heat race with let’s say, porsche gt3, and get some incentive so they commit to racing. May be even giving a point for the winner. I am just getting a little over the top here i know, but those guys at nascar race several times during the week end. Are these prima donnas to good to do the same?

  29. my first love was f1, but after almost 30 years of following it, i find in moto gp, what got me hooked to f1 in the first place, but i am sorry to say, it gets more difficult for me to find it in f1 anymore.
    They hurt the sport so badly in the last ten years, that i just can’t enjoy it like i did in the past. Moto gp gives me the buzz, that i got from f1 in the senna years. Am i the only one out there?

    1. I think Moto GP & F1 are two different types of racing, but it’s true many people do find Moto Gp more entertaining than F1 may be due to the fact that it doesn’t have too much politics & have lots of overtaking on track .

      1. I just watched my first MotoGP (Jerez) and I really enjoyed it. The on track battles were amazing as well as the fight for the win that ended on the last corners. The length of the race was great as well. I sat down and watched a 50min or so race and went on with my day.

        My new like for MotoGP doesn’t mean that I would like F1 to be that way as well. I enjoy my F1 weekends and watching the long races and qualifying. I’m just glad that MotoGP was easy to watch because aside from Rossi I didn’t know the drivers and just wanted some quick excitement. I would be disappointed if F1 was done this way.

  30. I don’t like the idea of too much supporting races? Ok Gp2 is great with F1 as it is the feeder series still can’t understand the idea behind GP3? May be money & Bernie. Sometimes many people who dying F1 really don’t care about other racing series.

  31. I haven’t been to a GP since the last one in my home town here in Adelaide in 1995 but I do question whether having more support races will bring in bigger crowds at places like Malaysia and China. Fair enough for places like Australia, Japan, Europe where there are any number of support categories which can run and people do follow them. But in places where motor racing isn’t a big sport, I’m doubtful.

    When I went to the 95 AGP, the support categories were Group A (5.0 litre touring cars), Formula Holden, Formula Ford, Appendix J (historic touring cars), Super Touring cars and Sports Sedans which all saw great racing and crowd support. But would having a similarly full program increase ticket sales for China or Malaysia or Korea or India? Time would tell I guess but I do have my doubts.

  32. At Indianapolis in 2007 we had the Porsche GT3 cup, with a 48 car field!! That was an exiting race to watch. We also had Indy lights and the Formula BMW Americas series. Good support races but I definitely would have liked to see Star Mazda and Formula Atlantic there too.

    1. The last race i went to see was in Hockenheim. I liked the Porsches racing, but the GP2 was a real highlight for me (starring some black kid Lewis H. in a fight wit Nelsinho). They did a dragrace there as well, but something did not work.

      But i would like to have more of it and more things to do in the paddock. The best thing there was doing a simulator with Toyota and displays of veteran cars.

    2. imagine if alonso, hamilton, schumacher, etc were driving those gt3’s. Wouldn’t it be something? Let’s put these prima donas to work.

  33. I agree with the karts idea, why not run go karts on shortened track layout. also, bicycle rentals! on the track.. so people may actually look at the whole track. i know there is danger of liter on the track.

    better yet, why not run a short bicycle race or a marathon.

  34. I agree that one of the main reasons for low attendances at the new circuits is the fact that the countries in question do not have much of a history of motor racing.

    I think the other main factor is the price of the tickets, if they are relatively as high as they are for the British Grand Prix it will deter people who are F1 fans already let alone people who don’t know much about motorsport but might have given it a go. That comes down to how much Ecclestone charges the circuits to host a Grand Prix.

    I haven’t been to a Grand Prix but I would expect plenty of support races and as has already been mentioned it would be nice if there were official feeder series at every race like MotoGP.

    During the BBC TV coverage of the Glastonbury music festival, the presenters have commentated a few times that there is so much else going on that you could have a full weekend without actually seeing a band perform.

    I believe when BMW had a F1 team they ran an event for the fans at races, I can’t remember the name or the exact details but it did entail a test driver doing donuts in a showcar.

    One thing I wouldn’t mind seeing is the teams to take a third car to races and for the test drivers to have their own practice session and sprint race sometime over the Grand Prix weekend.

  35. I’m going to the Canadian GP this year, and I don’t think the support races have an influence on ticket purchases.

    My view of the weekend is like this:

    Friday Practice and checking out the track and everything it offers

    Saturday Qualifying

    Sunday Race

    To top it all of there is Montreal and everything it has to offer during the day and night. I’m more interested in taking it all in rather then spending my entire day at the track. I may be wrong since I have never been to a GP, but for now I think F1 will be enough for me as I want to see the city as well.

    Location is what matters. I’m in the US so I can drive to Canada with my friends for a relatively cheap cost. I go to Europe often, but I couldn’t afford a trip there just for an F1 race. So how many people can afford to fly themselves to Bahrain for a GP? For the Europeans the Euro races are easily accessible. People have friends and family they can stay at and the overall cost is much much less than flying across the globe for a GP.

    If we had two races in North America I would probably go to both.

  36. Has anyone considered the possibility of F1 weekends having multiple races? A1 GP used a sprint race and a long race, Superleague had two 45 min. races… using a setup like this might help.

    But if they want to generate crowd interest, the should build good tracks. Surely that’s the most obvious solution?

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