Formula One Tracks

February 9, 2009 by  
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Formula One is a popular sport the world over. Eagerly watched at live events and on TV, F1 is a sport that continues to attract large crowds. Of course, the highlight of the Formula One calendar is the World Championship. Held at Formula One race tracks across the world, top-notch drivers compete for the opportunity to win the title of Formula One World Champion for that year.

Formula One race tracks, or F1 circuits, are specially designed for high-speed racing – and speed is exactly what Formula One Grand Prix is about. Corners have to be carefully set so as to prevent serious accidents, but remain challenging. Certain Grand Prix circuits have been set in the streets of towns such as Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo and Spa Francorchamps Circuit in Belgium. Over the years that the World Championship has been held, the F1 circuits hosting the event have sometimes been changed. Some have remained hosts to World Championship Grand Prix races, whilst others have been used for just a season or two.

Each Formula One track is uniquely designed with several turns, curves and straights. Amongst the more challenging are Suzuka in Japan and Nurburgring in Germany. Bahrain International Circuit in Manama of Bahrain is set amidst the sand which was sprayed with a special substance to prevent it from blowing onto the track. The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari in Imola is probably one of the best known in the world, along with France’s F1 circuit of Magny Cours. Other well-known Formula One racing circuits include Australia’s Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Silverstone Circuit in England, Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, Hockenheimring of Germany, Hungaroring in Budapest and Canada’s Gilles Villeneuve Circuit in Montreal.

Viewing Formula One racing on television is a popular pastime for many, but F1 is best experienced live at a track. If you live in a country with a nearby F1 Grand Prix circuit, you will be fortunate enough to get several opportunities to watch the thrill of F1. Many make travel arrangements to attend major races at F1 tracks around the world. Imagine yourself standing looking out onto the track, the drivers are pulling up in their stream-lined cars. The engines begin to rev as they prepare to speed off down the road-way. Eventually the tension bursts as the cars race forward. During the race you eagerly watch the top competitors until the final lap comes. Chills shudder down your spine as the team you have been rooting for comes in first place. The excitement, tension and joy of a day at the racetrack is truly not to be missed.

Tracks

Nürburgring

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Nürburgring, or “The Ring”, is a motor racing track situated in Germany. As a truly impressive Formula One circuit, the Nürburgring winds its way through the beautifully wooded hills of Germany’s Eifel plateau. Based around the town of Nürburg, the unique Nürburgring F1 circuit overlooks the remnants of a medieval castle, providing a challenging circuit in remarkable surroundings which attracts large crowds for every event.

The racing circuit of Nürburg was an idea formulated by Dr. Creutz in the 1920s. The original Ring, called Nordschleife, was opened in 1927 and is still used today. This circuit covered an impressive 14 miles or 22.5 km with 172 corners. Many drivers battled to remember the racing line of the complicated Nordschleife circuit. The Nürburgring was actually made up of two circuits, the Nordschleife and the Sudschleife which joined a the paddock with the pits and grandstand. The old Nürburgring was the site of many impressive races such as the time Jackie Stewart won a race in 1968 whilst his wrist was in plaster and the track was covered with fog. Unfortunately, the old track was plagued by safety issues. In 1976 F1 driver Niki Lauda suffered a bad accident in which he sustained severe burns. At the end of 1976 Nürburgring’s license as an F1 circuit was removed.

Over time the Nürburgring was revamped and the new circuit was opened in 1984 covering 4.556km with 14 turns. During the 1984 inaugural race it was decided that they would pit some of Formula One’s greatest drivers against each other in 20 equal Mercedes 190Es. The line-up of famous drivers included Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Keke Rosberg, James Hunt, John Surtees and Carlos Reutemann. Senna took the lead, beating Lauda by a small margin.

The European Grand Prix was hosted at the Nürburgring F1 track in 1984 and 1985 but not after that due to financial problems. For some time the Nürburgring played no role in Grand Prix, but ran several other events during this time, both on a club and international level. Fans did not abandon the Ring though and turned out in large numbers on race days.

As Michael Schumacher burst onto the F1 scene, Formula One was brought back to the Nürburgring race circuit. The Ring hosted the European GP in 1995 and 1996 and then the new Luxemburg GP in 1997 and 1998. From 1999 through to 2006 it became the resident venue of the European Grand Prix. As of 2007 the Nürburgring Formula One circuit will host the German Grand Prix on alternating years with Hockenheim.

Phoenix International Raceway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Built in 1964, the Phoenix International Raceway was originally designed to be one of the best American open wheel racing tracks available. The raceway was carved out of the Estrella Mountains giving the racetrack an incredibly picturesque backdrop. This meant that the new track, which is located at Avondale in Arizona, not only replaced the old one at the Arizona State Fairgrounds but quickly became a favorite amongst racing greats at the time. What’s more, the development of the track further spurred on the developing tourism industry, which meant that it contributed to the economy of the local community in quite a significant way. However, things only really started to take off at the track in 1988 when the Phoenix International Raceway was chosen to host some NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races. Suddenly racing legends could be found in every corner of the town and the whole of America discovered just what a great track the Phoenix International Raceway was.

The Phoenix International Raceway is one mile (1.6 km) in length and takes the form of a D-shaped tri-oval. It has a seating capacity of 76 800 and is currently owned by the International Speedway Corporation. Because the track was built right at the foot of a rocky mountain range, it had to be designed around its geographic location. Thus there is a curve in the middle of the backstretch which is situated between turns two and three. This curve is a rather unique feature and is commonly known as ‘the dogleg’. The ‘dogleg’ design allowed the designers to include an external road course and a drag strip into the overall design of the track. Turns 1 & 2 have an 11-degree bank while Turns 3 & 4 have a 9-degree bank. The front straight has a 3-degree bank while the back straight has a 9-degree bank.

Today things at the Phoenix International Raceway are somewhat different from what they originally were. The external road course gave way for an infield road circuit. The crossovers that were originally built to access this infield circuit were sealed off in 2005 after construction of a tunnel under turn four. The drag strip is also seldom used, but the raceway continues to be a popular venue for racing in general. Unfortunately, the raceway was unable to host the Indy Racing League in 2005 which brought to an end a long history of hosting this premier event. Still the raceway continues to enjoy its unmatched tradition of hosting 58 IndyCar events including the Fall NASCAR weekend, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the Busch Series, Craftsman Trucks Series and Featherlite Southwest Series.

Bahrain International Circuit

February 9, 2009 by  
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Located in the Persian Gulf and linked to Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway, the Kingdom of Bahrain plays host to one of the F1 Grand Prix events each year at the Bahrain International Circuit. Bahrain not only hosts the annual Formula One Grand Prix, but it also caters for drag racing and GP2 series races. In 2006, Bahrain was also able to host a V8 Supercar race, the Desert 400, and a 24 Hour Race. Much of the racing takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit – a brilliant circuit that is a source of national pride.

It was the Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa who initiated the construction of the Bahrain Circuit. The project became a national objective for the Kingdom and a lot of effort was put into making it the best racetrack possible. As the Honorary President of the Bahrain Motor Federation, it was easy for the Crown Prince to see the need for a proper racetrack in the country. By the time that the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix was scheduled to take place in 2005, the racetrack was still not complete. However, it was advanced enough for the race to take place which is exactly what happened. The success was phenomenal and the track has hosted an annual Formula One race ever since.

As a desert track, the Bahrain International Circuit has posed rather unique challenges. For one thing, there were concerns that sand would blow onto the circuit and disrupt the races. Organisers managed to overcome this by spraying the sand surrounding the track with a special adhesive to prevent movement. The track was designed by the German architect Hermann Tilke and it cost roughly US $150 million to construct. The circuit features six separate tracks: a Grand Prix track, an inner track, an outer track, a paddock circuit, a drag strip and an oval track. The full circuit measures 6.4 kilometres in length and has 15 turns.

The Bahrain International Circuit hosted the opening race of the 2010 F1 Grand Prix Championship on 12-14 March, with Rubens Barrichello taking first place in his Cosworth-powered Williams.

Mugello Speedway

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Located in the beautiful Tuscany region of Italy, with its 5.245 mile track and a total variance in altitude of 41,19 meters, the Mugello Moto GP Circuit presents car and bike manufacturers with ideal conditions for rigorous testing and is regularly used by Ferrari for putting its F1 cars through their paces during development. So although Mugello is not a venue for an FIA Formula One World Championship race event, it is nonetheless closely linked with this exciting sport.

With a history going back to 1914, when the first race was held on a road circuit, Mugello has hosted some legendary drivers and seen the development of innovative racing cars through the decades. The World Wars interrupted events at Mugello, but during the sixties, large crowds of spectators were drawn by the excitement on the track as auto racing started to develop, going from strength to strength.

Today, Mugello Moto GP Circuit boasts up-to-date facilities and hosts a variety of events, as well as being the testing ground for some of the world’s most technologically advanced racing cars.

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