Sunday, June 19, 2016

New F1 Circuits - "Massive Track Evolution"

"Massive Track Evolution".

That's how one of the F1 team principals described what the new track - Baku - will do as the cars clean-up and rubber-in this brand new circuit.   The result of course is faster and faster lap times.

Those words could also describe what's happened to F1 circuits generally over the years as new tracks, territories and ever more modern facilities are added.

Baku, Azerbaijan is the latest addition to the F1 calendar in 2016, putting the city and the country on the map.

Personally I always enjoy it when new Grand Prix circuits arrive on the calendar!

Below are some highlights of new F1 circuit additions.  Each one of these has provided an evolution in terms of either the track itself or in Formula One's history books. 

Since 2010

  • Two new venues really stand out because they cemented the Formula One World Championship as being a truly global sport.  The addition of the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi since 2014 as well as the long awaited return of F1 in U.S. Grand Prix in Austin, Texas in 2012.

  • Notable mentions are the return of the Mexican Grand Prix (2015) and the Austrian Grand Prix (2014) both providing a new life to old tracks and a welcome nod to F1's history.  A push into Asia brought less success with India (3 races) and Korea (4 races).


  • The Singapore Grand Prix (since 2008) has provided a unique and historic addition to F1 racing with the addition of night racing.  This concept is now emulated by 2 other venues, including the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (since 2009) which is a model of the modern racing circuit.

  • Bahrain (since 2004) spearheaded more Grand Prix races in the Middle East plus has run under lights since 2014.  More new territories too with Shanghai (since 2004) being very successful while Turkey (2005-2011) not so much.


  • The Sepang Circuit and the Malaysian Grand Prix (since 1999) has been universally applauded for it's layout and facilities.  It is a track that continues to be enjoyed by the drivers.

  • Notable mention goes to Albert Park, Melbourne, (since 1996) which replaced the very popular Adelaide street circuit race (1985-1995) and managed to take the event to even higher levels.


  • In 1987 started a legacy still going today with the Japanese Grand Prix racing at the Suzuka Circuit.  The addition also of the Hungarian Grand Prix (since 1986) was a big deal at the time.  This was because it was the first GP behind the "Iron Curtain". 

  • In 1983 after 13 years absence, the F1 circus returned to Spa, the first Belgian Grand Prix to be held on the modern Spa circuit.


  • The Japanese Grand Prix (since 1976) at Fuji Speedway added further reach to the calendar.  Also in 1976 saw the addition of a second race in America, the so-called "U.S. Grand Prix West".

  • New territories were explored during the 1970's starting with the Brazilian Grand Prix at the (old) Interlagos circuit in 1972. 


  • F1's global reach continued with the addition of Canadian Grand Prix in 1967 and the South Africa in 1962.

  • Starting another legacy in 1961 was Watkins Glen which became a classic venue for the U.S. Grand Prix after taking over from Riverside and Sebring the previous 2 years.


  • During the 1950's new circuits were added due to the expanding calendar.  Several circuits hosted just one race during this decade:  Morocco (1958), AVUS (1959), Monsanto, Portugal (1959), Pescara (1959), Sebring (1959).

  • Argentina was an obvious choice for a race which started in 1953 helped along of course by Fangio's stature.  The Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort (since 1952) was one of several to provide additional European venues.

  • The stand-out new venue was of course the awesome Nurburgring Nordschleife which started in 1951.  It was one of two new additions after the inaugural season, the other race being the Spanish Grand Prix at Pedralbes.

Thanks for reading, please leave your comments.


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