After decades of racing innovation in Formula One, the cars are not the only things to change. As the years go on and the regulations change, so too must the circuits in which these powerful vehicles compete. As such, some fall to the wayside while others adapt and change.
For the nearly 73 years that F1 has been active, they’ve had almost as many tracks as they’ve had teams and vehicles. As mentioned beforehand, some are no longer with us. However, the ones that we have more recently are some of the best in the world. To showcase this, here are ten of the best Formula One circuits ever built…
10 Sepang International Circuit
When circuits are built, they receive a grade, or rating, from the F.I.A. (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile). A grade of “1” means the track is suitable for series like F1, MotoGP, and so on. Sepang, of course, is one of these tracks.
The Sepang International Circuit was first introduced into Formula One for the 1999 season. The track boasts several long-straights for overtaking and plenty of difficult corners. Some of the best drivers struggle on this track, while other thrive on it.
9 Bahrain International Circuit
Bahrain is a, sort-of, wildcard in terms of the rest of the tracks on the F1 calendar. Often times, the same driver doesn’t win the same Bahrain GP several years in a row.
The temperature and humidity (or lack thereof) affects the cars greatly. Along with the climate issues, the track is also incredibly complicated. There are several difficult corners and hairpins that also change in elevation as the lap goes on. To win at this track, you need to be either very skilled or proficient at that particular circuit (like Charles Leclerc).
8 Red Bull Ring
Although it may be named after the Formula One team Red Bull, they are not always dominant at this track. Then again, few drivers are as consistently successful at the Red Bull Ring as Red Bull driver Max Vertsappen.
The Red Bull ring is a fairly straightforward and short track. Lap times, typically, hover slightly above the one-minute mark, which really shows how fast paced the Ring really is. With multiple straights supported by D.R.S. (Drag Reduction System) zones and high-speed corners, a race at the Red Bull Ring almost always gives fans a good showing.
7 Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos)
Often, great things don’t last as long as they should. Whether this be a love, a fun experience, to even a Formula One track; eventually, it all fades away, as evidenced by the Brazilian Grand Prix supposedly being moved from Interlagos back to Rio for the following seasons.
The Autódromo José Carlos Pace, also known as Interlagos, has a special place in the minds of F1 fans. It’s been the sight of some of the most intense and crazy spectacles in the sport, including Lewis Hamilton stealing the championship from Ferrari back in 2008 at the last corner of the last race of the season.
If Interlagos does actually get axed, hopefully it will return on a future date for all those who love/miss it so.
6 Circuit Of The Americas (COTA)
After a several year hiatus from Formula One, America was bound to reenter the sport at some point. Luckily for American F1 fans, they did come back with the Austin, Texas based Circuit Of The Americas.
With a very interesting preview of their nearly built track, the public was very excited over it. Thankfully, the fans would not be disappointed due to the spectacular showing at almost every U.S. Grand Prix race. You don’t have to look far for an example too, even as early as last year when Kimi Raikonnen won his last race for Ferrari.
5 Silverstone Circuit
For drivers and enthusiasts alike, Silverstone is one of the all-time favorites. Fans can enjoy close racing and all-out effort from each racer. For drivers, though, it can be very close to home, as a majority has houses in the U.K.
Silverstone is also a historical track that has existed in Formula One since its debut. Literally. The first championship race in 1950 was even held there. Needless to say, Silverstone is a highly anticipated race for nearly every season.
Some other good news to add is Silverstone’s continued in Formula One. Recently, the owners/directors of the track have made an agreement with F1 to keep the famous circuit on the calendar for much longer.
4 Suzuka International Race Course
Formula One fans aren’t as rowdy or crazy as Futbol fans, rather, they are a more creative and welcoming bunch. To see the epitome of this, look to Japan, as most of the Japanese enthusiast are both ingenious and very welcoming. Oh, and they’ve got one of the best tracks ever made.
After opening in the ‘60s, Suzuka has seen a vast number of Formula One races. Some were championship deciders as well. In terms of track design, the Japanese circuit is nearly perfect. If you can think of a feature to a track, Suzuka has it. Moreover, fans and drivers have recognized this and treasured it as a result.
3 Autodromo Nationale Monza
If you call yourself a Scuderia Ferrari fan, then you are very aware of the Autodromo Nationale Monza, frequently referred to as just “Monza.” Moreover, since it’s an Italian circuit, Ferrari reigns supreme among the spectators with giant Prancing Horse flags and Rosso Corsa filled stands.
Monza is also one of the quickest tracks on the calendar. Most of the track is actually straights and, with D.R.S. assistance, becomes an overtaking filled Grand Prix. F1 cars can, sometimes, max out their vehicle’s top speed on this track too, as seen with Renault in 2018.
Nearly every track in existence has something special about it, something that separates it from another. Some, though, have much more than just location and races, but vast wealth, history, pedigree, and worldwide recognition. Of course, this is in reference to Monaco.
The small city-state is home to the classic Monaco Grand Prix: A race through the narrow streets adjacent to the Mediterranean. What’s really insane about Monaco, though, is how rich everyone is. If you can think of an expensive item, it’s probably in Monaco somewhere. Understandably too, especially since Monaco is a beautiful place where you can drive a Grand Prix circuit anytime you go to the store!
1 Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps
Recently, a tragic accident occurred at the Circuit De Spa-Francorchamps during the most recent Belgian Grand Prix. Formula 2 racer Antoine Hubert, sadly, lost his life in an accident at the famous Eau Rouge/Raidillon. It’s a very depressing situation, which proves that Spa is no track to be taken lightly.
The circuit, often shortened to just “Spa,” weaves through the Ardennes Forest with grace. Spa’s masterful design gives it some of the most difficult and intense segments of any F1 race. Even at Eau Rouge when drivers manage to stay safe/unscathed from a hard crash.