yas marina circuit f1

Yas Marina easily ranks as one of the best-loved Formula One circuits. (Photo: Marriott International)

Tips + Trends

Best F1 Weekend Ever? Here’s How to Make It Happen

Whether you’re new to the world of Formula One or you’re a veteran fan who follows the exploits off the grid, nothing beats attending an F1 race weekend in person.

You’ll find plenty of F1 weekends around the globe, like Interlagos in Brazil, the Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, Silverstone in England, and of course, the most famous race of all, the Circuit de Monaco. How you best enjoy these exhilarating races usually depends on the cities hosting the events and how they’re set up.

For F1 newbies and pro attendees alike, here are some tips on how to get the most out of your F1 weekend during the racing season, which traditionally takes place between March and December.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

F1 Tickets: What to Know and How to Get Them

yas marina circuit
Plan ahead to optimize your weekend. (Photo: Marriott International)

Your best bet to nab F1 tickets — whether it’s general admission tickets; cheaper stubs to qualifying rounds (great for casual fans); grandstand tickets with numbered seats; a full, three-day, Friday-to-Sunday pass; or a pricier F1 experience package — is to purchase them online well in advance of a race weekend.

If the luxe life is beyond your budget, the more affordable general admission tickets offer the most bang for your buck. You won’t have assigned seats, but you will have the ability to roam freely, sometimes extremely close to the racing action next to the perimeter fences.

Depending on if you’re flying to another city (or country) for an event or not, and the type of tickets you’re after, budget anywhere from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars for your tickets, travel, parking and accommodations. Exclusive Paddock Club passes typically run several thousand dollars.

While some F1 races sell tickets via their own websites, a few of the most reputable online vendors include F1 Tickets and Grand Prix Tickets. Budget funds for parking as well, which will add to the weekend’s overall costs.

Upgrade Your F1 Viewing Experience

f1 victory
Celebrations are next level. (Photo: Getty Images)

If general admission tickets won’t cut it, and you want to upgrade your experience, plenty of options are available to you. Marriott Bonvoy members are privy to opportunities to bid points on exclusive sports experiences to help optimize their F1 weekend. The experiences might include VIP admission to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Lounge on race day, hotel stays, gala parties and destination walking tours.

More broadly, other options include purchasing a three-day weekend ticket, which, depending on the event, comes with assigned grandstand seating for Sunday’s big race and access to all general admission zones. Three-day tickets often include Thursday pit lane walks, which let you get close to the crews prepping their cars.

The Paddock Club pass is the cream of the crop of upgrades, with tons of trackside perks. This extravagant option usually includes privileged VIP viewing positions over the pits and optimal vantage points of the start and finish lines along the grid.

You’ll also get access to F1 simulators, guided track tours, gourmet three-course gastronomy and beverages, the best parking spots, interactive displays and other race-related goodies. Of course, exclusive Paddock Club tickets go for several thousand dollars each, and oftentimes more.

Orient Yourself with the Track and Locate “Fan Zones”

If you aren’t overly familiar with a particular track, make sure to arrive early and walk the track before a race, scoping out the best corners and stretches to watch the action. Also, pick up an F1 circuit map and guide to help familiarize yourself with the racetrack.

Some other cool aspects of F1 race weekends are the fan zones and associated events set up near the track or in town to promote the races. Try to locate these venues as soon as possible.

Fan zones vary from race to race but often include Q&A interviews with drivers, photo-ops with drivers and team principals, fun activities like tire-changing competitions, games with prizes, live music and racing simulators. You might also get the chance to see an open-wheel race car up close and personal.

How to Watch F1 Races if You Don’t Have Tickets

If you can’t attend an event but absolutely have to watch a race, you can subscribe to F1 TV or F1 TV Pro, which are the official online streaming services of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).

By subscribing to F1 TV Pro, you’ll get access to live feeds of nearly every F1 race during the season. This package also includes access to “all driver onboard cameras and team radios;” F1, F2, F3 and Porsche Supercup live streams; and race replays, perfect for hardcore race fanatics.

Know Your Teams and Cars

f1 cars
Learn the ropes: (Photo: Getty Images)

If you’re relatively new to the sport, study up on the teams, drivers and cars. F1 single-seaters move fast, so the ability to recognize a car — zipping by in a blur of speed and color — and know who’s behind the wheel will only add to your viewing pleasure.

For example, if you know whether or not Mercedes-AMG Petronas’s F1 vehicles will feature a silver exterior or not, you’ll have a much easier time identifying drivers as they whip around the circuit.

What to Pack for the Track

Carry plenty of water and sun protection (hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, etc.) for the track. Also, dress in layers and wear comfy footwear. While you might be baking in the sun, cooler weather or rain could roll in. Layers let you peel off or put on clothing accordingly.

The free and official F1 Grand Prix app for your smartphone will also help you navigate the circuit. A portable backup power supply to charge any electronics is also a good idea in case you run out of juice.

A backpack packed with snacks, power bars, solid ear protection (those cars are loud!), binoculars, a portable radio to listen to the track’s live commentary, plus a track map are also great items to add to your F1 “survival” kit.

Where to Stay During an F1 Race Weekend

w abu dhabi yas marina
Location is everything. (Photo: Marriott International)

While you might be tempted to stay as close to the track as possible, many tracks are some distance from the hosting city. It might make more sense to pick a hotel in town with lots of amenities rather than a typical bare-bones racetrack hotel.

Of course, you will find some lovely hotels that do offer exceptional views of the circuit right from your room, like W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island or JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach. The best advice is to research the race you’ll be attending and look for hotels with great track views — otherwise find comfortable lodging elsewhere to enjoy your downtime.