Are fans being priced out of F1?

It is very expensive to be a fan of Formula One with race tickets and merchandise reaching an all-new high.

Even when we look at football, the cost of purchasing a shirt of your favourite team is usually around the £60-70 price mark, but F1 seems to just find a way to add that little bit more onto the cost.

The World Champions Mercedes released two standard t-shirt designs for the 2021 season, one in black and one in white. Both these t-shirts cost £52 and for a t-shirt, that seems to be a little on the expensive side.

For me, £52 for what is essentially free advertising for the sponsors on the t-shirt is a little too much. Especially when the team brings out a new t-shirt every single season with minimal changes.

Then there are the caps. This is by far one of the bestselling products for any team with some being very reasonably priced, while some are quite expensive with a ‘limited edition’ feel around them.

Lewis Hamilton is one of the biggest stars in the sport and has an extensive cap range for his fans to purchase to show their support for the -time World Champion.

Hamilton obviously brings more to the sport than just his driving ability. He is a celebrity on a global scale and can almost be seen as a fashion brand himself. I wonder how long it will be before we see a Hamilton range like that of Michael Jordan and Paris-Saint Germain football club.

Then we have the issue of ticket prices. Every year the cost of going to an F1 race is going up, to the point that many fans are stopping their annual tradition because they simply cannot afford to go. Silverstone is the biggest culprit of this, using the 2019 race as ‘potentially the final one’ was their marketing strategy to increase the prices.

Then there was the ‘Sprint format’ that F1 introduced that would be used for the first time at the British Grand Prix in 2021. This meant that there was now three meaningful days of racing, with qualifying moving to Friday evening rather than Saturday afternoon. There was then a Sprint Qualifying session on Saturday before the Grand Prix on Sunday.

While this increased crowds on Friday and Saturday, most fans would have purchased a weekend ticket anyway, but the price increase from 2021 to 2022 is substantial with rumours of the event returning to its traditional format making many fans feel let down by having to pay more for less.

There will be a point where fans say that the cost is too much, and those fans will slowly fall out of love for the sport. However, if the audience growing up with the sport now is used to the high costs, it might just take them a little bit longer to feel priced out of the sport.

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