F1 bucket list: Five must-see race weekends

Jon Wilde
Sportsbreaks Planetf1 notice board. February 2022

Sportsbreaks Planetf1 notice board. February 2022

Watching F1 on TV is great, you never miss a thing, but there’s nothing like actually being at a grand prix, is there?

With travel opening up again after a traumatic two years of living through the pandemic, Formula 1 fans are now finally able to plan attending races with confidence.

Everyone deserves a treat after these worrying times, don’t they?

A full, record calendar of 23 grands prix has been scheduled for 2022 when new cars and new regulations mean races should be even more fiercely contested and exciting to watch.

If you thought 2021 was unbeatable with that thrilling World Championship duel between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, 2022 could be even better with more teams and drivers vying for race victories.

You may be a seasoned F1 traveller with a collection of admission passes stored away as mementoes, or a newcomer to the sport eager to get out to a circuit and watch your first race up close.

Either way, here are five grands prix you really should try to experience.

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MONACO GRAND PRIX (May 27-29 2022)

Cars pass the harbour during the Monaco GP. Monte Carlo May 2019.
Cars pass the harbour during the Monaco Grand Prix. Monte Carlo May 2019.

We’ll go in chronological order through the season, so let’s start with one of the jewels in the Formula 1 crown and probably the sport’s most famous race globally.

First run in 1929 and a part of the F1 World Championship since its inaugural year of 1950, Monaco is the venue most synonymous with the sport and instantly recognisable to any fan.

A street circuit just over two miles long, the track winds around the Monte Carlo area of the Principality and takes in landmarks such as Sainte Devote, Casino Square, the hotel hairpin and tunnel, the swimming pool complex and La Rascasse.

For viewing, it does not get any better than the large grandstand overlooking the harbour – and you will see the cars race past you 78 times on the sport’s shortest regularly-used track.

In all honesty, Monaco is not usually the most thrilling race because the circuit is so narrow and overtaking is very difficult. There can be plenty of excitement when it rains, though!

But as an experience, that is more than made up for just because it is such an iconic place to visit, quite simply one of those that needs to be on the bucket list and ticked off. It is Monaco, after all.

And who knows, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you might just wangle an invitation to a party on one of the A-listers’ yachts…

Book your Monaco trip now with Sportsbreaks

Sportsbreaks packages include a weekend grandstand ticket, plus 3 nights in a handpicked Nice hotel.

Located on the French Riviera and at the foot of the French Alps, Nice is renowned for its traditional gastronomic specialities with a variety of open-air markets, wine chateaus and authentic restaurants.

On race day, catch the train direct into Monaco to experience Formula 1’s glitziest race and an incredibly challenging circuit for even the most talented of drivers. Click HERE

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX (July 29-31 2022)

Hungarian Grand Prix. August 2021
Hungarian Grand Prix. August 2021

Late July, the start of summer holidays, is the ideal time of year to get out there and watch Formula 1 – and the Hungaroring is a great place to do it.

Located just under 20 miles north east of the country’s capital, Budapest, it’s a great circuit for viewing and is an essential trip every year for the legions of F1-adoring Finns – and they certainly know how to enjoy themselves.

The technical section between turns six and nine furthest away from the pits straight is a particularly popular spot with fans, although the main overtaking spots are in the opening sector of the track.

Hungary’s grand prix may not be one that immediately springs to mind when fans think of the F1 classics, but it has featured some unforgettable races since first appearing on the calendar in 1986.

Jacques Villeneuve snatched victory from Damon Hill on the last lap in 1997, Jenson Button claimed his first win at the 113th attempt in a crazy, wet 2006 edition from 14th on the grid and Esteban Ocon emerged triumphant in 2021 in a grand prix that simply had everything.

And when the action is over, you can head back to Budapest to reflect on what you have watched in one of Europe’s great capital cities – a boat trip along the Danube to take in the sights is highly recommended.

Book your trip to Hungary now with Sportsbreaks

With a choice of accommodation in the beautiful Budapest, this is a fantastic opportunity to experience one of Europe’s most affordable capital cities with fantastic weather to be expected.

Ticket and hotel breaks start from £499pp with the option to add flights. Click HERE

BELGIAN GRAND PRIX (August 26-28 2022)

Fans watch cars through Eau Rouge during the Belgian GP. Spa-Francorchamps August 2017.
Fans watch cars go through Eau Rouge during the Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps August 2017.

Don’t be put off by what happened at Spa last year – that washout was a freak occurrence, surely never to be repeated.

But after 2020, when the race was held behind closed doors, and 2021 we are certainly due an authentic Belgian Grand Prix, because that truly is an occasion to savour.

Set in the forests of the Ardennes in the south east of the country, not far from the borders with Germany and Luxembourg, Spa-Francorchamps is probably as different a venue to Monaco, for example, as it is possible to be.

Equally photogenic, it is picturesque because of its landscape, while from a circuit perspective Spa is more than double the length of Monaco at 4.35 miles with lots more places to launch an overtake.

And it features names F1 fans will know as well as their own – the opening tight right-hander at La Source, the breath-taking run up to Eau Rouge and Raidillon, the lengthy Kemmel Straight presenting passing opportunities, Pouhon, Stavelot and Blanchimont.

Eau Rouge has been modified for 2022 to enhance safety, while other changes are also taking place around Spa to further improve the spectators’ experience – sounds like yet another great reason to try it out.

Treat yourself to a Spa weekend with Sportsbreaks

Sportsbreaks’ ticket and hotel packages are priced from £429pp for a 3- or 4-night break including a choice of accommodation in Brussels city centre.

Travel can also be added with a choice of direct flight from Manchester or Eurostar train from London. Click HERE

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX (September 9-11)

Charles Leclerc's Ferrari passes a grandstand at the Italian GP. Monza September 2021.
Charles Leclerc's Ferrari passes a grandstand during the Italian Grand Prix weekend. Monza September 2021.

If red is not your colour, Monza might not do it for you – but what a fun weekend mixing it with all those Ferrari fans!

The tifosi, as they are known, are what makes the Italian Grand Prix, which is exciting enough as a spectacle in any case.

Like the other three circuits described above, Monza is a historic Formula 1 venue. It has been on the calendar since the World Championship began, except for one year, and as a track the appeal lies in its simplicity.

That is because it is largely a series of straights separated by chicanes, which lends itself to extremely high speeds and super-fast lap times.

It is in a beautiful location too, the Royal Villa of Monza park, emitting its own unique ambience where you can sense the history at every turn.

And some remarkable races have taken place there in recent years. Who would have predicted Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo as the last two winners?

Before them, it was Charles Leclerc for Ferrari. Just imagine being there if the Scuderia did it again…

Book your trip to marvellous Monza with Sportsbreaks

With a choice of accommodation in the picturesque hilltop city of Bergamo, there’s plenty time to check out the venetian architecture, taste the local culinary delights and shop at the Oriocenter mega mall.

Sportsbreaks packages start from £489pp for ticket and a 3- or 4-night break, with travel also available from either Manchester or London. Click HERE

SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX (September 30-October 2 2022)

Charles Leclerc passes a grandstand in Singapore GP qualifying. Marina Bay September 2019.
Charles Leclerc's Ferrari passes a grandstand in Singapore Grand Prix qualifying. Marina Bay September 2019.

We wanted to include one long-haul trip for European race fans and it was hugely tempting to go for newcomer Miami, which joins the F1 schedule this year.

But on the basis of some prior experience, we have opted for Singapore – an F1 night race has to be another of those bucket-list trips, especially now it is back after having to be cancelled in 2020 and 2021.

Staged on a street circuit like Monaco, Singapore’s track is longer and equally gruelling for the drivers but has produced some spectacular racing down the years since its first edition in 2008.

And you will certainly get your money’s worth – a Safety Car is pretty much guaranteed due to the difficulty of recovering stricken vehicles, so the race duration is usually very close to the maximum two hours.

Besides seeing a grand prix under lights, you would need to have more to do to make a visit to Singapore worthwhile – and it certainly has plenty to offer in that regard.

A personal highlight to recommend is a cable car ride over to Sentosa island, while Singapore also has plenty to offer lovers of nightlife.

Maybe Miami next year…

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