The 2014 F1 season is nearly over, but racing fans are already planning their trips for next year.
Here is our guide to four must-see races for 2015, including travel details, where to stay and sit, and what to expect from the most advanced racing challenge on the planet.
British Grand Prix
When is it? 3-5 July 2015
The heart of British racing, Silverstone might have had a chequered history when it comes to keeping fans dry, but the latest upgrade to facilities has made it one of the must-see events of the British sporting summer.
The wide-open airfield offers a panoramic view of the track, and while you’ll have to pick your spot carefully the sight lines of Silverstone allow you to see the best in motoring engineering at the limits of their performance.
It’s not just about the racing: the Silverstone campsite is notorious for its mud, but since the churning debacle of 2012 extra efforts have been made to ensure cars and campers can get in and out of the sites as quickly as possible.
For 2015, the closest campsite will be just 150m away from the track – the noise of cars thrashing just past your tent is just what you need to banish the hangover from the night before.
Where to sit Becketts/Club
One of the fastest sections of the track, with drivers throwing their cars through Maggots corner before entering the Becketts series of turns ahead of the Hanger Straight.
This isn’t overtaking central – the speeds are too high – but seeing the cars pour through one of the fastest sections of the course is one of F1’s great sensory experiences.
Moment of 2014 Seeing Lewis Hamilton top the podium at his home Grand Prix in front of a jubilant British crowd.
How to do it
Three-day weekend tickets start at £175 per adult, but grandstand tickets can be significantly more. Be warned, camping on official sites is only available to people who have bought full weekend passes. These sites include toilet and shower facilities, but it’s always a good idea to fill the car up with food if you don’t want to pay over the odds while you’re there. Silverstone village and pub The White Horse is just a short walk away – the place to go in the evenings. Alternatively, you can book a cosy cottage with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details.
Belgian Grand Prix
When is it? 21-23 August
The noise of engines throttling through thick forest greets you as you enter the valley of Spa-Franchorchamps. Spa is so different to modern, purpose-built tracks: instead of wide open spaces and giant grandstands, there is just a snaky ribbon of tarmac and steep banks where fans gather in their thousands.
You’ll also be in good company: the race is relatively cheap compared to Silverstone, and convenient Belgian travel options make it an ideal weekend getaway.
Add to that the fact that it is perhaps the most historic circuit on the Formula 1 calendar, and you have some idea why this is the fans’ favourite. Remember though, the weather up here in the hills is even more unpredictable than the British summer, so bring a poncho.
Where to sit
Spa is arguably the best place to go with just a general admission pass – you might not get grandstand views of the pit lane, but dig yourself in to the rocky bank around Pouhon and you have an old-school racing experience unlike anything else. Plenty of giant TV screens help to let you know what’s going on elsewhere too.
Make like the industrious German Mercedes fans and bring a cart full of food, booze and blow-up chairs to make the experience even more comfortable.
Moment of 2014 Nico Rosberg shunting into Lewis Hamilton and being booed on the podium afterwards. It tipped the balance of the world championships – Hamilton wouldn’t give his teammate an inch from then on.
How to do it
Coach tour operators Leger Holidays operate a tour including weekend race tickets from £419 per person (£40 off if booked before 30 November 2014). Package includes three nights’ accommodation with continental breakfast, coach transfer and over 500 local pick-up and drop-off locations.
General admission tickets for the weekend start from just £103.08 if you book early.
Visit Belgium with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details
Italian Grand Prix
When is it? 4-6 September
The home of the Tifosi, Ferrari’s feverish and passionate supporters, Monza is another of Europe’s classic races, having been on the F1 calendar since 1950.
Some of the fastest speeds of the whole season are recorded here, thanks to its series of long straights and hair-raising braking sections. Manufacturers adjust their cars accordingly, tweaking their front and rear wings in order to create less downforce.
For real aficionados, Ferrari’s original Maranello factory is just a short drive away, where visitors can visit the museum and even go on a factory tour.
The track itself is around 15km from Milan, making it easily accessible for UK-based race followers. Trains take race fans from the capital to Monza, with shuttle buses to the circuit itself. Unlike Silverstone and Spa, an Italian summer means you’re likely stay dry (although the odd shower can really spice up the racing of course).
Where to sit
Monza is fairly flat, meaning there is no perch like Spa from which to survey the action. It’s worth splashing out on grandstand seats if you’re able to, as they offer views of the pits and the start/finish straight. The noise of the engines (and the even louder GP2 cars) roar around and between the shaking stands; a truly ear-splitting experience.
Moment of 2014 Nico Rosberg missing the first chicane, slithering out of contention after heavy pressure from his teammate Lewis Hamilton.
How to do it
Leger Holidays offer all-inclusive tours to Monza by air from £439 per person. Otherwise, there are two main airports for Milan – the major international hub Malpensa and the closer, more convenient Linate. Stay at the Monza campsite if you’re happy rubbing shoulders all day and night with mad Ferrari fans, or start looking very early to book affordable-ish hotel accommodation.
Visit Italy with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details
Singapore Grand Prix
When is it? 18-20 September
The original F1 night race, and the most dramatic recent addition to the F1 calendar. Old school race fans might not be happy with how Bernie Ecclestone has taken the Formula 1 circus all over the world, but this is one city circuit that deserves its place.
The experience is utterly different to the traditional European circuits we’ve profiled above. The track is lit by 1,600 light projectors with a total power output of over 3 million watts. Shining skyscrapers and the black waters of Marina Bay provide a breathtaking backdrop.
OK, so the racing hasn’t always matched up to this futuristic spectacle, but if you want to splash out on a unique sporting experience, this is it.
Where to sit
This is sadly not a track where you can find many good-value general admission spots, but then again you’re probably not worrying about saving on the tickets if you’ve already booked the air fare. Check out the Bay Grandstand in Zone 3, which gives you great views of the city and a large space to explore and find the best spot.
Moment of 2014 Lewis Hamilton essentially winning the race twice, after he had to claw back time on his rival Sebastian Vettel following a badly timed Safety Car.
How to do it
The Singapore Grand Prix website has a variety of tour packages available, with 12 official tour operators listed in the UK.
Prices for all day and weekend tickets are quoted in Singapore dollars on the website – early bird Bay Grandstand tickets are available from $268 each (roughly £131). Hotel options vary from the wildly luxurious – looking at you the Ritz-Carlton, Millennia – to the peculiar “capsule” hostel experience like the Woke Home Hostel.
Visit Singapore with Radio Times Travel, see here for more details