Journal: Which City Would You Choose To Create Formula 1's Next Street Circuit?

Which City Would You Choose To Create Formula 1’s Next Street Circuit?

Alex Sobran By Alex Sobran
May 2, 2018
19 comments

Last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku was fun to watch as a fan, but the race was probably more than a little frustrating for some of the drivers, and especially those named Daniel Ricciardo. Street circuits certainly lend themselves toward drama and broken bits of carbon fiber—just ask Bottas—but the claustrophobic conditions and car-to-car scuffles that result from these impermanent, narrow, walled-in race tracks are only part of the picture.

The real allure, from a spectator’s point of view that I would assume holds true for the drivers too, of these types of events is the surreal mixture of motorsport and the trappings of municipal life, a juxtaposition wherein commuter traffic is replaced by the sharks of Formula 1 but the local tabac in the background looks the same as it always has. It’s sort of like spotting a supercar “in the wild”; the contrast of civilian cityscapes lined with tire walls, the complex acoustics that come from racing engines echoing through the lattice of alleyways and apartment blocks, it’s just different from dedicated circuits with miles of run-off and gravel.

With the increasing chances of a Miami Grand Prix joining the Formula 1 calendar next season, it looks like such events are thankfully far from dying out even if Baku doesn’t make the cut in the future, though plenty of other terrific street circuits have fallen off over the years— Montjuïc Park, Detroit, Adelaide, more—as the politics, safety, and finances of the sport shift over time.

It’s only natural to add and subtract locations to keep everyone interested and well-paid, so if you aren’t a fan of Miami, where would you place the next street circuit for motorsport’s top flight series? Of course the considerations of shutting down a major metropolitan hub like central Paris would be a logistical migraine, but damn, wouldn’t you like to see Vettel and Hamilton duking it out with the Champs-Élysées? Let’s daydream: which city streets are ripe for a fantasy Formula 1 race? Monaco exists after all…

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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DerelictSteve GoudyBrentCholo gomezSteve Scarpato Recent comment authors
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Derelict
Derelict

Washington, DC. Plenty of roads, bridges, etc… Great scenery.

Steve Goudy
Steve Goudy

I do not think that city streets make very good race tracks. I like natural terrain road courses, that (like Jack B. made clear) Hermann Tilke has not been involved with.

Brent
Brent

San Francisco would be great, especially with the hills. You could have F1 cars flying like Bullitt’s mustang! Salt Lake city would be another great choice, ineradicabley wide streets, unique architecture, they could run up state street past the Mormon temple, charge up the hill around the state capitol…

Cholo gomez
Cholo gomez

The city of Punta del Este in Uruguay

Steve Scarpato
Steve Scarpato

Two of my favorite cities qualify. New York and St Petersburg, Russia. Both would draw fans and their ambiance would add to any telecast of the race!

Siraaj Shah
Siraaj Shah

Alberta Rockies would be brilliant.

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer

With the exception of Monaco I think street circuits are butt-ugly. I’ll take one COTA over a dozen tedious urban nightmares any day.

Johnny Sarena
Johnny Sarena

Lake Shore Drive! CHICAGO………

Ann Jackson
Ann Jackson

Long Beach!

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Peter Tabmow
Peter Tabmow

The Bois de Boulogne in Paris… which actually hosted the first major races in Europe after WWII.

Brian Muldoon
Brian Muldoon

Was just having this conversation last weekend. Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin parkway would take cars to the art museum loop, down a long straight with some dramatic turns before circling city hall and heading back down towards the art museum. Would be amazing.

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James
James

Yep, so many options and roads. Could include boat house row as well.

Casual Observer
Casual Observer

I wish they’d bring it back to Adelaide. Was so good stepping off the character-filled circuit straight into a street party with the whole city!

Michael Stuchbery
Michael Stuchbery

Really enjoyed those early AGPs in Adelaide, the sound of those turbo 1.5s and Mansell’s blow out had to be heard to be believed. Current F1 and Albert Park (Melbourne) is too sterile.

JB21
JB21

Mountains of Japan!

Jack B
Jack B

Any city that Hermann Tilke never sets foot in….

Christian
Christian

Amen!

Jack Chesnutt
Jack Chesnutt

Golden, Colorado.