7 ways to save money on Grand Prix weekend


The world of Formula 1 is widely seen as being a glamorous, rollercoaster ride for all involved, and if you want to attend a Grand Prix race as a spectator, it doesn't always come cheap.

There's the race ticket (or one for the whole weekend), plus merchandise, event-priced food and drink, getting there, staying there, not to mention, if you really fancy splashing serious cash, getting paddock (ie: pit lane access) passes.

With the British Grand Prix at Silverstone just days away, Experian CreditExpert has come up with some money saving tips to help you make the most of your grand prix weekend without having to dig too deep in your pockets and risk making any unnecessary financial pit stops.

  1. Go to see qualifying instead – you want to see Formula 1 cars? It's cheaper to go on Saturday for the race for grid positions; it's also less crowded and often more exciting. F1 races can be a procession anyway, but on Saturday pole position changes hands on a regular basis with the big names having to race against the clock.
  2. Camp close to the track – F1 fans don't generally rough it like rock festival crowds, but you could avoid spending big on hotels by using the professional, clean and organised camping facilities you can find at Silverstone.
  3. Get your merchandise beforehand- buying your team caps, diecast models and t-shirts can be at a premium when you are there. If you know what you'll want, look for it online or in the high street before the event, or if you see something you like make a note and hunt it down afterwards.
  4. Picnics are best – likewise, you might want to see if you can do better than the sometimes questionable quality and value-for-money of the food at Grand Prix venues, so bringing your own lunches and snacks could be worth doing – there are plenty of grassy knolls to spread out on at Silverstone.
  5. Share your transport – the huge car park queues at Silverstone are matters of legend - try and help reduce the burden by pooling resources to hire a van, share a car or go by public transport if you're not too laden with baggage.
  6. Combine it with a holiday – Grands Prix abroad can often be cheaper to attend and easier to get to, so why not kill two birds with one stone and do a Budapest city break/F1 race weekend, or mix the legendary Monaco GP with a stay in nearby Nice, or even further afield to visit Melbourne or Singapore.
  7. Watch it all at home – Alternatively….all the races are live on TV, including qualifying sessions. Yes, you'll miss the amazing sounds, views and smells of a F1 event, but it's in high-definition, you won't get wet if it rains, and you won't have to wait for hours in a queue for the car park!

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Being a Formula 1 driver is a career that can give you great financial rewards, though it's not without its dangerous side. Here, Williams grand prix driver Valtteri Bottas gives us his answers to some questions about how money and work affect him.

1. What kind of sacrifices have you had to make to get to Formula 1?

Since the beginning of my career, even since karting, it has always taken a lot of my time, meaning I have less time to spend with friends and family. In 2010 I moved near to the Williams factory [from native Finland] to be closer to the team, which means I spend even more time away from friends and family - but I don't really mind because I really enjoy my job.

2. Which of your fellow F1 drivers is the most careful with money?

(Laughs)...I suppose the one who earns the least!

3. Which of your fellow F1 drivers is the biggest spender?

(Laughs again) ....conversely the one who earns the most!

4. What advice would you give to any parent, whose child is F1-mad and wants to be a racing driver?

Don't do it, you will lose all your money! [laughs]. No but seriously, if you see that your child is really enjoying it then you should give them the chance. It's not going to be cheap, because even karting can be expensive when you move up the levels. But my father tells me now that he wouldn't change a day, even if I did not make it into F1. It has given me great experiences and lessons - even life lessons as well as it is such a challenging sport.

5. What kind of work would you like to do when you eventually finish in motor racing?

Hopefully I will have a long career in F1 and when I am finished I will be in a position to help young drivers achieve their goals.

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