Combining major sporting events, like Formula One, with travel
plans appeals to many.
If you're like me, you might want to visit a Grand Prix race or two on
your travels. So, with one eye on the F1 calendar, I've done the research for you.
I'm not a Formula One fan, in the truest sense of the word, but I
do like travelling and I do like being 'where
something is going on'.
I've been to many Grand Prix races in my time, and although Monaco
remains my favourite, there's a special atmosphere at all of these events.
Ayrton Senna in Monaco - © Michel
Australia, when the Grand
Prix was held in Adelaide, was a real 'party atmosphere'.
Hindley Street was closed for the weekend and much of Adelaide turned
into an open grill, with the sizzling sausages and ice-cold 'tinnies' second only to
Christmas lunch on Bondi Beach. (Read about it in Nomadic Gatherings).
The Australian Grand Prix used to be held at the end of the season;
summer, in Australia.
In order to try and make the sport more interesting the Federation
Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA),
continue to introduce new rules to the sport of Formula 1 and change the racing calendar
from time to time.
In 2008 there were two new street circuits to visit: Valencia
(European Grand Prix) and Singapore (for night racing).
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix,
held at the Yas
Marina Circuit, made it to the chequered flag in 2009.
South Korea made its F1 debut in 2010, India lined up on the starting
grid in 2011, and Formula One returned to the United States in 2012.
2018 F1 Race Calendar
25 March - Melbourne, Australia.
8 April - Sakhir, Bahrain.
15 April - Shanghai, China.
29 April - Baku, Azerbaijan.
13 May - Barcelona, Spain.
27 May - Monaco Grand Prix.
10 June - Montreal, Canada.
24 June - Le Castellet, France.
1 July - Spielberg, Austria.
8 July - Silverstone, Great Britain.
22 July - Hockenheim, Germany.
29 July - Budapest, Hungary.
26 August - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
2 September - Monza, Italy.
16 September - Singapore Grand Prix.
30 September - Sochi, Russia.
7 October - Suzuka, Japan.
21 October - Austin, USA.
28 October - Mexico City, Mexico
11 November - Sao Paulo, Brazil.
25 November - Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi.
The main race is on the Sunday but you might like to plan for the
warm-up and qualifying days beforehand; where tickets are cheaper and you can often get
better photographs of the cars, without too many heads in the way.
Albert Park: (Melbourne Hotels - Australia)
Australia is famous for Grand prix racing with a 'barbie' atmosphere.
Stylish Melbourne is Australia's centre for shopping, restaurants,
sport, arts, culture and big events. And it doesn't get much bigger than the Formula One
International Circuit: (Manama
Hotels - Bahrain)
The first race to take place in the Middle East, the Gulf Air
Bahrain Grand Prix won the FIA Race Promoters' Trophy, for the organisation of the best
Grand Prix in 2004. Unfortunately, unrest in the Middle East forced the racing meeting off
the race calendar for the start of 2011.
The BIC shuttle makes pick ups from the Ritz
Carlton, Sheraton, Radisson SAS,
Al Dana Resort, Movenpick and
Spa-Francorchamps: (Spa Hotels - Belgium)
August is not as bad as September, but Spa seems notorious for Grand
Prix races in the rain; so take an umbrella, just in case.
Although the original circuit was shortened in 1983, Spa still has the
longest lap length of all the Grand Prix race tracks.
Part of the course uses public roads and the whole setting, in the
rolling Ardennes hills, makes Spa-Francorchamps a favourite of many.
Centrally located (50km south-west of Aachen, 50km south of Maastricht
and 50km south-east of Liege), the circuit is easily accessible through motorways E40, E25
and E42; making this a popular race weekend for Formula 1 fans from England, France,
Germany and Holland.
(Sao Paulo Hotels - Brazil)
The Brazilians are almost as passionate about Formula 1 as they are
about football and samba. But then that's not surprising, considering they have produced
some racing car legends in Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna.
Now there's Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa to keep the Brazilian
The Brazilian Grand Prix (Grande Premio do Brasil) is held at the
Autodromdo Jose Carlos Pace, in the Interlagos district of Sao Paulo.
On race days there is a special bus service to the autodromo from
downtown Sao Paulo.
Interlagos was the initial home of the Brazilian Grand Prix in the
1970's, then lost the event for a decade to Rio de Janeiro (Jacarepagua), before taking
the driving seat again in 1990.
Gilles Villeneuve: (Montreal
Hotels - Canada)
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is beautifully situated on an island in
the St. Lawrence River and conveniently served by the Montreal metro system
2008 marked the 30th anniversary at the circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, but
it was dropped from the calendar for 2009; only to appear again in 2010.
When visiting the race circuit, it is advisable to wear comfortable
shoes and get to the circuit early, as you may have a 2km walk to your grandstand seat.
Connected to Ile Sainte-Helene and the Lachine Canal bike path, the
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (on Ile Notre-Dame) is also an ideal place for cyclists and
in-line skaters during the summer months.
It's no longer possible to spend a week in North America, visiting two
GP races, as Indianapolis has been dropped from the F1 calendar.
Circuit: (Shanghai Hotels
Shaped like the Chinese character 'shang', the Shanghai Circuit made
its Formula 1 appearance in 2004.
The F1 Circuit is located five minutes from the northern part of the
suburban ring road; 40 minutes from People's Square.
Hong Qiao airport is about 30 minutes away.
GP Magny-Cours: (Nevers Hotels - France)
The French Formula One Grand Prix took pole position at Magny-Cours in
1991 but was dropped for 2009.
The Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile (FFSA) slashed their prices in 2008, to make the French
Grand Prix one of the cheapest races for European Formula 1 fans.
After examining the economic situation, the FFSA renounced its status
as financial promoter of a F1 Grand Prix. As a consequence, and as long as no promoter
comes forward to succeed the FFSA, the F1 Grand Prix de France is absent from the FIA
calendar; although there's always Monaco.
A nostalgic visit to Nevers,
halfway between Paris and
Lyon, can still be combined with a tour of the Loire Valley.
The German Grand Prix, as opposed to the European Grand Prix (formerly
also held in Germany), usually takes place in the middle of summer and now alternates
between Hockenheim and Nurburgring.
HockenheimRing: (Hockenheim Hotels - Germany)
Hockenheim is easily
accessible from Karlsruhe and Mannheim by train, where you'll find a
shuttle bus from the train station to the Ring. On foot, it's a good 30 minute walk from
(Adenau Hotels - Germany)
Once classified as the European Grand Prix, Nurburgring (near Adenau) attracts German campers in their thousands; the
300,000 square metre camping oasis is directly next to the Grand Prix course.
Nurburgring lies 90km southwest of Cologne or 60km northwest of Koblenz,
with the nearest airports at Koln-Bonn
(80km) and Dusseldorf (120km).
If you choose to drive, you'll be pleased to hear that the car-parking
is free. There may also be a bus-shuttle to Nurburgring, from the main station in
Silverstone: (London Hotels - United Kingdom)
Silverstone Circuit - current home of the British Grand Prix - is
situated on the A43, between Towcester and Brackley.
Exit the M40 at Junction 10 (from the South) and follow the A43
signposted to Northampton, or exit at the M40 at Junction 11 (from the North) and follow
the A422 to the A43.
Alternatively, you can exit the M1 at Junction 15a and follow signs
for the A43 Oxford.
Hungaroring: (Budapest Hotels - Hungary)
The Hungaroring circuit is 19km from the centre of Budapest, alongside the M3 motorway, near the
village of Mogyorod.
The track is in a natural valley, surrounded by 50 hectares of rolling
hillside. This amphitheatre setting gives spectators a magnificent view of the race from
just about anywhere around the course.
If you're in the Lake Balaton region, during Grand Prix weekend, there
are plenty of coaches (including race ticket) to Hungaroring for the Grand Prix.
International Race Circuit: (New
Delhi Hotels - India)
India has always been known for its love of cricket, but interest in
Formula One has grown rapidly in recent years; especially with the presence of Vijay
Mallya's Force India team on the starting grid and the arrival of Indian drivers, Narain
Karthikeyan and Karun Chandhok, behind the steering wheel of F1 cars.
The Jaypee International Race Circuit is a part of Jaypee Sports City (near Greater Noida, along the Yamuna Express
Highway). Spread over 2,500 acres this is an ambitious project to include an 100,000
seating capacity Cricket stadium, an hockey arena, a sports training academy and
infrastructure for other sports.
Autodromo Nazionale: (Monza Hotels - Italy)
The Italian Grand Prix, not to be confused with the Imola Grand Prix
(also in Italy), has been raced at Monza for over 50 years.
Monza is located 15km north-east of Milan,
in northern Italy, and is an easy day-trip for race fans based in Switzerland.
Many Formula One fans travelling to Monza choose to stay around the
Lake Como area.
Speedway: (Tokyo Hotels - Japan)
Grand Prix racing was first held in Japan in 1976, at the Fuji
circuit, then moved to Suzuka a decade later. Fuji made a return in 2007 but handed back
to Suzuka in 2009.
With Mount Fuji in the background (on a clear day), Oyama's Fuji
Speedway really does symbolise motor racing in Japan for the purists.
With Japan's efficient transportation network, getting to Fuiji Speedway is easy
enough; although the diagrams seem to have been put together by someone more conversant in
computer language than literary communication.
Circuit: (Suzuka Hotels - Japan)
Suzuka's figure of eight track is unique in Formula 1 racing.
After being dropped in 2007, for the Fuji Speedway, the Suzuka Circuit
returned to host the Japanese Grand Prix in 2009.
The closest airports to Suzuka are Nagaya and Osaka's Kansai
Tokyo is further away but the bullet train is a comfortable enough
option of travelling to the race from the capital, if you prefer to stay in one of the Tokyo
Sepang Circuit: (Sepang Hotels - Malaysia)
Located in the heart of Malaysia's Multimedia Super Corridor, the
Sepang Circuit is only a 10-minute drive from Kuala
Lumpur International Airport - voted the 'World's Best Airport'; in the 2005 AETRA
awards and 2006 ACI-ASQ awards.
If you're visiting the Malaysian Grand Prix, you may prefer to stay
in Kuala Lumpur.
Grand Prix de Monaco:
(Monte Carlo Hotels - Monaco)
As you already know, the Monaco Grand Prix is my favourite.
As the race often coincides with the Cannes Film Festival some of the stars also make an apearance on the streets of Monte Carlo during race
If you decide to drive to the South of France,
you can even take your car around the 'track' in the evening; when the Monaco street
circuit is open to the public.
True, you can drive around Monaco anytime but it is a little
special to drive around when the race barriers and chicane are in place.
Enzo e Dino Ferrari: (Imola
Hotels - Italy)
Although called the San Marino Grand Prix, it was actually raced in
Imola, Italy; from 1981 to 2006.
Singapore Grand Prix: (Singapore Hotels - Singapore)
New to the Formula 1 calendar in 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix is
raced around the city state's Marina Bay at night; making it the first fully lit street
race in Formula One history.
With no lights on the cars and relying on powerful overhead lighting,
things could prove tricky if it rains.
The F1 Singapore Grand Prix was also the first street race to be held
in Asia and one of only a few races to run anticlockwise.
Formula 1 at
Night - Singapore:
At the Chingay Parade in February 2008, a night-time preview was given of what night-time
Formula One racing might look and feel like in Singapore, come September.
International Circuit: (South Jeolla Province - South Korea)
The Korean Grand Prix made it to Formula 1 grid in 2010.
A brand new race track was constructed for the event in Yeongam, South
Jeolla Province - 320 kilometres south of the capital, Seoul.
South Korea has also hosted other major sporting events: Asian Games
(1986 and 2002); Seoul Olympics (1988), and the FIFA World Cup Finals (with Japan - in
Circuit de Catalunya: (Barcelona Hotels - Spain)
The Spanish Grand Prix is raced on the Circuit de Catalunya.
Coaches take spectators to the Circuit from the centre of Barcelona; arriving at the Circuits East Area.
Or you could use the railway station with the other 10,000 passengers.
Urbano: (Valencia Hotels
Calling a Formula One race the European Grand Prix now seems another
way of saying this country has two Grand Prix events on the season's race calendar.
Whatever, the Valencia
street circuit (Street View)
made its F1 debut in 2008; an event I missed.
A preview of how Europe's newest F1 street circuit looks, around the harbourside of
The Valencia street circuit should not to be confused with Circuit Valencia, a racing circuit located just
outside Cheste; 20km from Valencia.
If you are interested in Circuit Valencia, leave Valencia along
Avenida del Cid and take the A-3 dual carriageway, direction Madrid. After about 20km,
take exit 334 (Urbanizaciones - Circuito).
During race events, the circuits train station on the
train line is open for fans arriving by rail.
Autocares Bunyol also provide a
Valencia-Cheste bus service.
Park: (Istanbul Hotels - Turkey)
Turkey was a new addition to the Formula 1 race calendar for 2005. The
track is located in the Tuzla Tepe�ren area, on the Asia side of Istanbul.
It can get very hot in Turkey during the summer but early May is still
Although it's quite a trek up to Istanbul for the sun-worshippers
staying in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, the journey is feasible from Izmir or
United Arab Emirates
Yas Marina Circuit:
(Abu Dhabi Hotels - UAE)
The Yas Marina Circuit is a newly-built circuit on Yas Island, about 30 minutes from the country's
capital, Abu Dhabi.
This became the second Formula One race track in the Middle East;
Access to the circuit is by a purpose built 12 lane highway which can
be accessed from the Sheikh Maktoum (E10) highway from Abu Dhabi, or the Sheikh Zayed
(E11) highway from Dubai.
United States of America
Formula 1 United
States: (Austin Hotels - USA)
Thanks to Full Throttle Productions, Formula One returned to the
United States in 2012; to a world-class facility purposely-built to host the event in
US GP Indy: (Indianapolis Hotels - USA)
The United States Grand Prix used to be held at Watkins Glen (NY),
then Long Beach, Dallas, Detroit and Pheonix; before re-establishing itself again at Indianapolis - famous home of the Indy 500 - in 2000.
Although no longer on the F1 calendar, a possible Grand Prix return to
Indianapolis in the future has not been completely ruled out.
Motor Speedway is located on the west side of Indianapolis, close to Indianapolis
From I-465: Take Exit 16A, Crawfordsville Rd. Head east approximately
1.5 miles; the Speedway is located on the north east corner of Crawfordsville and
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