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