Start, Losail International Circuit, 2023

Crowd of just 38,000 saw Verstappen win F1 title in sprint race

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In the round-up: Formula 1 has reported massive audience for many races since the pandemic but the attendance figures for last weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix shows a surprisingly small crowd saw Max Verstappen’s third world championship win.

In brief

Qatar attracts small crowd despite capacity increase

A crowd of 38,725 turned up to watch Saturday’s sprint race at Losail International Circuit in which Verstappen clinched his third world championship. The recently renovated track can accommodate a total of 52,000 spectators.

The Saturday figure was the lowest across the three-day event. Friday qualifying for the grand prix attracted 39,503 fans and there were 48,168 present for the main event on Sunday.

Verstappen won his second title at Suzuka last year with over 90,000 in attendance for the grand prix which was run in heavy rain.

Alonso protege joins next F3 test

The entry list for the second post-season FIA Formula 3 test, which takes place at Barcelona this week, only features two changes from the drivers who headed out to test at Jerez last week.

Alpine junior and Fernando Alonso protege Nikola Tsolov is back in action for ART Grand Prix, the team he raced for this year, taking the place of Williams junior Ollie Gray who drove at Jerez.

Rodin Carlin is the only other team with a changed line-up, as GB3 points leader Callum Voisin will only do day one of the test and then be replaced by Formula Regional Europe racer Nikhil Bohra.

Top karter undergoes surgery after almost being run over in race

Joe Turney, one of the world’s top kart racers and a former rival of Red Bull’s Formula 2 driver Zane Maloney, has had successful surgery on his ankle after a scary accident during the final of the World Karting Championship last Sunday.

After crashing out in a collision while fighting over the lead, Turney pushed his kart back on to the Franciacorta track in the hope he could get it restarted. Another kart coming from behind hit Turney’s right leg as it went past at speed. Turney’s leg buckled and rolled fully over his ankle, leaving him sprawled on the track and unable to move away safely.

Turney was taken to hospital where surgery saved not only his racing career but more importantly his right foot. He said he now faces a “long road to recovery”.

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Comment of the day

The FIA will open an investigation after the difficulties drivers faced during the Qatar Grand Prix, as high temperatures, high humidity, a lack of wind and a track layout with little time for rest combined to cause extreme exhaustion and dehyrdation for those in the cars.

It proved too much for some, although only one driver actually chose to end their race early as a direct response to the challenging conditions. A long time ago, F1 held races in even more extreme conditions than what was seen last weeked.

In 1955 and 1977, back then the Argentinian GP was held in January, when it is super hot in Buenos Aires. The ambient temperature was 40C (104F) and the track temperature was 51C (124F) on both occasions. The 1955 race was so hard that Juan Manuel Fangio was the only driver to actually finish the race without handing his car off to someone else (you could do that then), and the searing temperature of his Mercedes’s bodywork burned his thigh so badly it took him three months to recover.
Some racing fan

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Mark Scott!

On this day in motorsport

  • 30 years ago today Olivier Panis clinched the Formula 3000 title despite crashing out on the second lap of the season finale at Nogaro. His future Ligier F1 team mate Franck Lagorce won the race.

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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19 comments on “Crowd of just 38,000 saw Verstappen win F1 title in sprint race”

  1. Enjoyed the detour into a McLaren hinterland, where they’re grown-up enough to still have Marlboro on the cars.

    On the other hand, what is that Beckham thing doing here? Time to ignore Twitter and let it die in peace?

    1. The Marlboro thing has more to do with if it is a customer car or not. Most customers leave it on, Mclaren does not keep it on their own cars.

    2. McLaren won’t put Marlboro logos on its own cars owing to its sponsorship with BAT

  2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    10th October 2023, 0:20

    Enzo Peugeot what a name.

  3. Not to worry, an even bigger crowd will get to watch him receive the trophy. Only in about 2 months… on a stage somewhere…

    1. Yeah, I saw the graphic on F1 TV that there were 120k or whatever total fans, a sold out audience, but it was pretty obvious during the race that the stands were only half full; huge swaths of empty seats were obvious. Get rid of this race for a number of reasons, but that won’t happen; there’s too much money involved. This venue is awful for a number of reasons; bring back actual tracks instead of desert roads.

      1. I was at Brands Hatch for the climax of the BTCC series on Sunday. Much cheaper and better spectacle than going to F1 in Qatar, and plenty of fans packing the stands. Would be curious how the attendances compared!

  4. Reuters: 10, 11, or 12 teams, I’m indifferent, & 24 as a long-term stable race amount is perfectly okay.

    Regarding Racer headline: I generally don’t understand why people are seemingly hell-bent on using the term ‘top secret’ incorrectly or exaggeratedly, even though that applies by definition only to extreme situations or fields such as army & country matters.
    Furthermore, if the Heritage center were like the headline suggests, even the Racer people wouldn’t have received access inside because of being third-party individuals to Mclaren, so contradictory to an extent.

    1. the term ‘top secret’ incorrectly or exaggeratedly, even though that applies by definition only to extreme situations or fields such as army & country matters.

      Anybody can declare anything ‘top secret’; whatever you define the highest level of secrecy within your self defined hierarchy of confidentiality.

      In other words: you are ‘exaggerating’ a bit ;)

    2. It’s just a means to grab attention. People love the idea that they’re getting special information that others aren’t, it’s just how we’re wired.

      But these collections are indeed not very secret at all, and in many cases a part of it is available for public viewing, either on site or a special venue. For example, Alonso’s museum sounds like a great visit if you’re ever nearby.

      1. MichaelN,
        Bernie’s collection, on the other hand, is nothing short of astonishing. While he has displayed some of his cars over the years, I didn’t come across references that list the entire collection.

    3. Regarding Racer headline: I generally don’t understand why people are seemingly hell-bent on using the term ‘top secret’ incorrectly or exaggeratedly

      Given that the location has to be kept confidential, and references to its whereabouts aren’t allowed to be published, describing it as secret is fair game.

      But these collections are indeed not very secret at all, and in many cases a part of it is available for public viewing, either on site or a special venue.

      The collection of course isn’t secret, we’ve all seen the cars race on TV – the building, however, is, and isn’t accessible to the general public.

  5. I bet the attendance in Las Vegas won’t be much bigger.

  6. 38,000 – I wonder how many of those were personal ticket purchases vs. how many were corporate freebies and the like.

    1. Most look like actual ticket sales, it’s Qatar where prices are super high & for them tickets were priced fairly for locals, expats & torusits which seemed to work well. Corporate freebies would be in the paddock area which isn’t more than 1/2 thousand at best, those are always freebies cause few ever pay to get into the paddock. They had no real hospitality in the stands so they were ticket sales….my mate works out there & went with his pals & it seemed like a busy event

  7. Wow, Juan Manuel Fangio, what a beast! Especially that back then drivers had the engines in front of themselves, so they sat in the heat wave from the engine with no heat insulation whatsoever. They must’ve been literally getting cooked.

    1. Totally agreed. And not just the physical toughness, but the mental focus it would take to do that must have been insane. And makes Marko’s comment about South Americans look even more stupid than it did before.

      Let’s remember that he is South American and so his head is not as focused as Max Verstappen or as Sebastian Vettel was

  8. Solid proof this Sprint format doesn’t deliver added value to the sport, just to Liberty’s revenue.

  9. Without the silly sptints the championship would have been won at Suzuka.

    Yes a race early but at least it would have been at a great track in front of a packed, dedicated, knowledgeable and genuinely passionate crowd of fans creating an atmosphere that would have helped make that moment feel extra special.

    As it was in a silly sprint at a soulless track infront of a smaller crowd with no atmosphere it was a moment that just fell a bit flat.

    But i guess Liberty don’t care as long as some of these venues or should i say these governments are willing to hand over absurd amounts of money to make Liberty ignore the vast array of negatives.

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