F1 racing provides excitement for spectators around the globe and every race track used provides a unique test of skill and courage that makes this motor sport one of the most passionately followed spectator sports. In this article we take a look at a brief history of where the drama unfolds, on the track and look at circuits used in the past, present and also plans for the future.
Since the first World Championship Grand Prix in 1950 at Silverstone a total of 68 different circuits have hosted an official F1 race. The racing circuit at Nürburgring is a good example of the constantly evolving nature of the circuits and how they adapt to the changing demands posed by improvements and developments to the cars that are competing and related safety issues. The Nürburgring used to race over a longer configuration but following safety concerns they now use a shorter safer circuit. As a result of the expansion of the sport into Asia and America nearly half of the 20 circuits currently on the Grand Prix circuit were not on the calendar just over 10 years ago.
Consigned to history
Racing at Aintree is associated with the horse racing spectacle that is the Grand National but Aintree hosted the British Grand Prix at various times between 1955 and the last time in 1962. Some circuits were not so fortunate to get more than one shot at hosting the Grand Prix and the Ain Diab in Casablanca Morocco, whilst being in a location entirely suited to the glamour of F1, only got to be a one hit wonder in 1958. Monaco is famous for many reasons and particularly the F1 race that winds its way through the streets that are normally frequented by the rich and famous, but some other street circuits were not so fortunate to stand the test of time and the Circuito da Boavista in Portugal only got to host the Portuguese Grand Prix in 1958 and 1960. The streets of Porto and many others have not heard the competitive roar of racing engines for some time unlike the residents of Monaco.
There are plans in place to introduce a Grand Prix of America and a Russian Grand Prix in 2014. The American race will be held on the Port Imperial Street Circuit in New Jersey which will see cars racing over a circuit of 5.1km around the streets of Hudson County while Russia eagerly awaits their Grand Prix which will be held in Sochi. The Sochi Olympic Park Circuit will hopefully see racing take place around a circuit of 5.8km in 2014 but there is talk of a potential delay for another year as preparations are also in place for the 2014 Winter Olympics so F1 fans in Russia might have to wait a little longer for their motoring entertainment to come to town.
As with the cars that compete, the nature and layout of the circuits used is always being evaluated and changes made where required not only to provide high class entertainment but also to ensure that the highest level of safety is always achieved. Any course that does not evolve along with the sport will always be wary that the last race they host will be their last, as history has shown that many venues are never guaranteed a future if they do not meet exacting standards.
Jamie McMackin is a racing enthusiast and researcher. He enjoys getting out on the tracks and sharing his experiences on various racing blogs. Visit Wish.co.uk to find out more about driving experience days.