The Best & Worst Formula One™ Street Circuits

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Over Formula One's illustrious history, the sport has ventured to all corners of the globe. Some events have become stablemates of the calendar, while others have been a commercial disaster. Many are easily forgotten, while others are remembered for all the wrong reasons. With F1's latest street circuit venture, Baku, just days away; we thought we'd take a look at some of the sport's best and worst street circuits:

Nigel Mansell at the Dallas Grand Prix

Image source: http://epic-formula1.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/nigel-mansell-faints-while-pushing-his.html

X The Third Worst: Dallas Grand Prix Circuit

It would only hold one Grand Prix in 1984; but the Dallas Grand Prix will forever go down in the history books as one of those 'If it can go wrong, it will go wrong' weekends. Just hours before cars made their way to the grid, sections of the circuit had to be resurfaced in 40° heat. Not designed for the intense pounding of street racing, it simply broke up leaving gaping holes on the racing line.

The makeshift circuit would prove treacherous for many drivers; with 18 out of the 26 drivers retiring from the Grand Prix. 14, including Ayrton Senna, would retire having made contact with the wall. The calamity would pay off for one man though, as Rene Arnoux would claim a sensational second place; after starting dead last on the grid.

Finally, known for his sheer determination, Nigel Mansell would faint in the searing heat attempting to push his Lotus across the finish line. Much to the disbelief of commentator Murray Walker.

It's unsurprising the street circuit was dropped for the following year and Formula 1™ is yet to return to Dallas.

 

Canadian Grand Prix

Image Source: Sutton Images

- The Third Best: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - Montreal

Holding its debut Grand Prix in 1978, the Île Notre-Dame Circuit as it was originally named provided the setting for Canadian F1 hero Gilles Villeneuve to claim his maiden victory. The circuit was renamed in his honour following his death in 1982. 

Not your traditional street circuit, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is constructed across man-made islands, which were built for an expo in 1967. Its characteristics lead to intense racing however, with close proximity of the barriers unnerving even the most experienced drivers. In 1999, the final corner was renamed the 'Wall of Champions' after three former Formula One World Champions; Michael Schumacher, Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve, all crashed during the race. 

The circuit holds the record for the longest F1 race in the sports history; 4 hours, 4 minutes and 39 seconds following torrential rain. It is also hailed by many as the greatest race in recent times. Jenson Button would prove to be the unlikely winner after a string of unfortunate events. He collided with both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, suffered a puncture as well as a stop/go penalty, which all left him at the back of the field. But his mastery in the wet allowed him to slice his way through the field; overtaking numerous opponents and crucially being within striking distance of race leader Sebastian Vettel as he ran wide at turn 6 on the final lap.

Celebrating it's 40th anniversary this year, the circuit has cemented itself as an integral part of the Formula 1 calendar. Why not discover how you can be part of the celebrations?

 

Las Vegas Grand Prix

X - The Second Worst: Caesars Palace Grand Prix Circuit

The glitz, the glamour, the shining lights of the Las Vegas skyline. In theory the Caesars Palace Grand Prix of 1981-1982 sounds like the perfect setting for a Formula 1 race. What doesn't sound so ideal though is that the Grand Prix actually took place in the Caesars Palace car park!

The second time an American street circuit has made its way onto this list. (Believe us when we say there could have been plenty more; Phoenix and the failed New Jersey street circuits spring to mind). This one takes its place on our list for its out-of-place nature in Formula 1.

Street circuits are designed to be temporary, to get the sport in the heart of the city without creating lasting impacts on the community. But they took this plan to the extreme in Las Vegas. Formula 1 thrives off its glamour and appeal, so racing in a car park seems more banger racing than a global motorsport event.

It's true what they say - what happens in Vegas definitely should stay in Vegas!

 

Singapore Grand Prix

Image courtesy of 2018 FORMULA 1™ SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX

- The Second Best: Singapore - Marina Bay Street Circuit

Host to the inaugural night race back in 2008, the Marina Bay Street Circuit has become one of the highlights of the F1 calendar. Seen as a 'national festival', as opposed to just a Grand Prix, they certainly know how to put on a spectacle. International stars such as Ariana Grande, Duran Druan and OneRepublic hold full-length concerts over the course of the weekend; meaning the event appeals to more than just die-hard fans. It has been the catalyst for Liberty Media to use this approach for other Grand Prix around the world. 

As official partners of the 2018 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix, Red Eye Events are used to putting on a spectacle for its guests, so why not experience the most atmospheric race on calendar for yourself?

 

Valencia Grand Prix

Image credit: 20minutos | Image source: https://www.carthrottle.com/post/meet-the-abandoned-f1-track-that-was-once-an-epic-street-circuit/

X - The Worst: Valencia Street Circuit

Taking unwanted top spot for worst street circuit in Formula 1 history goes to the former European Grand Prix in Valencia. Hosted for 5 years between 2008-2012, the circuit had a lot of character, including a swing bridge into the harbour. Unfortunately, the nature of the circuit led to several dull Grand Prix races, with little overtaking. With rising costs, the circuit was eventually dropped from the F1 calendar. A deal was proposed to alternate the venue with Barcelona as the Spanish Grand Prix, but when this deal ultimately fell through the circuit fell into disrepair.

Now all that is left is a ghostly reminder of what once was. Sponsorship boards flake in the wind, weeds grow between the rumble strips and the once smooth tarmac is warped and cracked. Gone, and for many, hopefully forgotten.

 

Monaco Grand Prix

- The Best: Monte Carlo Grand Prix - Circuit De Monaco

The jewel in the F1 crown, racing has been conducted on the streets of Monte Carlo since 1932. The armco-lined street circuit leaves absolutely no margin for error. Carefully balancing the car at sensational speeds while winding through the harbour creates a rush that all drivers love. There's a reason it holds a coveted spot in the "Triple Crown of Motorsport" alongside Le Mans 24 Hours and the Indy 500. It's a race driver's desire to win and a spectators' desire to attend. 

Red Eye Events host over 1000 VIP's over the Monaco Grand Prix, providing high end hospitality across numerous locations. Choose to watch the action from the terrace of a luxury Monaco apartment or even soak up the atmosphere on a Super Yacht in the famous harbour. A must for any motorsport fan, make 2018 the year you visit one of the most iconic events on any sporting calendar.

The Baku Grand Prix

Image: © Formula One Hospitality and Event Services Limited

Will Baku become one of F1’s all-time great street circuits?

Originally introduced for the 2016 Formula 1 season, the sport’s latest street circuit at Baku in Azerbaijan has already played host to two sensational races. With the longest straight of any of the current F1 street circuits, it allowed Valterri Bottas to set an unofficial top speed record in Formula 1 during the 2016 qualifying session, of 235 mph. Last year’s Grand Prix proved to be the boiling point of the titanic title battle between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, with the former purposely hitting the latter under safety car. The resulting chaos allowed Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo to take his only win of the season, while F1 Rookie Lance Stroll took an astonishing third place.

Red Eye Events provides fantastic hospitality options for this up and coming event in the city that is often referred to as the 'Paris of the East'. The highlight package is the Formula One Paddock Club™, & full details can be found here.

What are your thoughts on the Baku City Street Circuit? Will it go down in the F1 history books as one of the all-time great street circuits, or will it fade away into obscurity? Let us know in the comments!

Words: Alex Wood, Momentum Social