The 10 Best F1 Tracks In The World

Mythical by their history and their age, by the exploits that took place there, by the dramas and tragedies of which they were the theatre, these ten circuits deserve their place in the F1 Pantheon.

  1. Nurburgring

When it comes to the Legendary Motorsport circuits, there is the Nürburgring… and the others. A standard measure for assessing the talent and courage of a pilot, The Ring has its Ringmeisters, a term used to describe those who master it best. Among them are Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio and Jackie Stewart, triple victors of the German GP. Three other drivers won twice: Tony Brooks, John Surtees, and Jacky Ickx. Its great peculiarity is its great length: the northern part, the famous Nordschleife, where the Grand Prix was contested, is almost 23 kilometers long and has 176 bends! The circuit takes its name from the castle of Nürburg, located right next to it, in the Eiffel mountains. The immortal Fangio scored the most impressive victory of his career in 1957, after a comeback of the anthology, during which he beat the record of the tour several times, even surpassing the time that had earned him the pole! The Ring also has its share of tragedies: five drivers die there during the GP of Germany, but it is especially the terrible accident of Niki Lauda, told in the film Rush, that strikes the imagination. The sad irony, the sports authorities, considering the circuit too dangerous, had decided at the beginning of the 1976 season to replace Hockenheim the following season… a new configuration of the Nürburgring, shorter and in line with modern safety standards, was inaugurated in 1984. It was the scene of several grand prizes. The Nordschleife continues to be used, however, by both amateur drivers and car manufacturers, anxious to prove the effectiveness of their models. That the Ring remains, after 90 years of existence, the reference.

  1. Monaco

Like the Nürburgring, the Monaco circuit dates back to the 1920s, and it serves as a measure of talent. The comparison stops there: while the German course is famous for its immensity, that of the principality is for its narrowness. The race takes place in the streets of the city, not on a permanent circuit. This makes Monaco the slowest course, but also one of the most difficult because it is lined with walls and rails, which require ultra-precise driving. Atypical, therefore, and anachronistic: if it is still part of the calendar, it is first and foremost a matter of tradition. Prestige, too: a victory in Monaco has added value. With few exceptions (including Piquet, who hated him), it was the Grand Prix that every driver dreams of winning, especially since many of them ” play at home,” having chosen the principality as their place of residence. While the Nürburgring has its Ringmeisters, Monaco also has its masters: Ayrton Senna leads with six triumphs ahead of Graham Hill and Michael Schumacher, tied with five. The Brazilian should have counted two more : in 1984, his irresistible comeback was interrupted by the controversial decision of race director Jacky Ickx to stop the race at the 31st of the 78 laps, because of the torrential rain; in 1988, he made one of his rare driving mistakes at 11 laps from the end, while leading with a comfortable lead. Another peculiarity of Monaco: it is the only Grand Prix where drivers have been saved by … frogmen! Alberto Ascari in 1954 and Paul Hawkins in 1965 both dived into the waters of the harbor. Its narrowness makes overtaking risky (euphemism!), Monaco is less conducive to Homeric ascents than the other circuits.
On the other hand, the streets of the Principality have been the scene of several amazing Grand Prix races, some of which resemble a race by elimination: only four drivers completed the race in 1966; three in 1996… Gilles Villeneuve’s victory in 1981 also made history: no one else could have won with such a car that was not compatible with the Monaco tortilla. That day, the Quebec driver showed all the scope of his talent, with a real balancing act. Unusually, three drivers have won their only Grand Prix at Monaco: Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Olivier Panis and Jarno Trulli.

  1. Spa-Francorchamps

From the tortilla monégasque to the toboggan of the Ardennes, we change the universe completely: Spa is a speed circuit, very popular with drivers. The old route also had its detractors: among them, Jackie Stewart, who suffered his most serious accident there in 1966, and his compatriot Jim Clark. Despite this aversion, Clark has won four years in a row! Designed in 1921, Spa-Francorchamps is the oldest of the F1 “historic” circuits. Its original route was about 15 kilometers, a little more than double the current circuit. Mexican Pedro Rodriguez won the last Grand Prix on the old configuration in 1970. The Belgian Grand Prix then moved to Nivelles, then to Zolder, and finally returned to Spa in 1983. Michael Schumacher is the track record holder with six wins, one more than Senna and two more than Clark and Raikkonen. The spa is also one of the rare tracks of the modern F1 to be located in the countryside, lined with trees and hills, which gives great images to television. Another classic example of the Belgian circuit: there can be sunshine at one end of the track and rain at the other end. And we can’t talk about Spa without mentioning the stiffness of the Red Water, a portion where we often talk about the size of the testicles of the drivers who pass without lifting their feet… Some ended up in the set, like Jacques Villeneuve, on two occasions (1998 and 1999). In defense of Villeneuve, it should also be noted that he signed a convincing pole position on the same circuit in 1996.

  1. Monza

Built in 1922, the Monza Autodrome remains the fastest circuit in the F1 championship. Unlike Spa-Francorchamps, which is more demanding in terms of piloting and settings, Monza has only one purpose: pure speed. This explains, in large part, its heavy toll: 52 drivers (car and motorcycle) died there. The accidents did not spare the spectators: 23 killed in the crash of Emilio Materassi in 1928 and 14 in that of Wolfgang Von Trips in 1961. Other great F1 perished at Monza: Alberto Ascari (1955), Jochen Rindt (1970) and Ronnie Peterson (1978). The first 10 km route includes two circuits: a 5.5 km long road and a 4.5 km long oval track with steep bends. It ceased to be used in 1962 but can nevertheless be seen in ” Grand Prix,” a cult film by John Frankenheimer, which took place in 1966. Monza is also the stronghold of the Tifosi, the famous Ferrari fans, responsible for the high-flying atmosphere that reigns there. When a Scuderia driver wins at Monza, it’s the apotheosis, nothing less! Even more so if the winner is Italian, like Ascari, who wins twice (1951 and 1952), Scarfiotti (1966) or the charismatic Clay Regazzoni, Swiss of Italian origin, the double winner also (1970 and 1975). However, it was the German Michael Schumacher who was the recordman of Monza with five victories, all over Ferrari.

  1. Silverstone

Like Monaco, Spa and Monza, Silverstone was part of the inaugural season of modern F1 in 1950 and claimed the honor of hosting the very first race of this championship. Located on a former Royal Air Force (RAF) base, it has been the site of the British Grand Prix since 1987, after years of alternating circuits with Aintree and Brands Hatch. Despite major changes over the years to make it safer, Silverstone only granted Monza the fastest F1 title. Enthusiasts and connoisseurs, the British fans were spoiled by their drivers: Lewis Hamilton crossed the finish line by winning four times; Nigel Mansell and Jim Clark, three times. It should be noted that the Scot also won the UK GP on two other occasions: at Aintree (1962) and Brands Hatch (1964), while Mansell also won at Brands Hatch in 1986. However, it was the Frenchman Alain Prost who was the king of Silverstone, with five victories.

  1. Brands Hatch

Between 1963 and 1987, The Magnificent Brands Hatch circuit hosted the British Grand Prix, alternating with Silverstone. And it was a Briton, Nigel Mansell, who was the last winner of an F1 race at Brands Hatch in 1986. That same year, a severe accident involving four drivers, including the Frenchman Jacques Laffite, called into question the safety of this circuit, which was considered obsolete. The crash ended Laffite’s career and the arrival of the F1 at Brands Hatch. Previously, the Swiss rider Jo Siffert was killed in 1971, in an off-season race that featured F1 and F5000 single-seaters. The sad irony, Siffert had won his first Grand Prix on the same circuit three years earlier.

  1. Watkins Glen

Contrary to what some might think, the first F1 races on American soil were not played at the famous Watkins Glen circuit in New York state. The first U.S. Grand Prix, won by Bruce McLaren, was held at Sebring in 1959. The following year, Riverside’s defunct California circuit hosted the GP (Stirling Moss victory). The significant era of the “Glen” began in 1961 and continued without interruption until 1980.
It should be noted, however, that since 1976, two Grand Prix races have been held in the United States: Watkins Glen in New York State and Long Beach in California. The former is renamed GP of the United States East and the second GP of the United States West. It was a great time for the F1 in North America: Canada also had it’s Grand Prix, American (Mario Andretti) and Canadian (Gilles Villeneuve) drivers took part in the Championship, as well as American (Shadow, Parnelli, Penske) and Canadian (Wolf) teams. Watkins Glen is also the premiere theater: Innes Ireland, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, and François Cevert win their first Grand Prix-the first three on Lotus. It is also a fertile ground for the British team, which triumphed seven times at the Glen. Gilles Villeneuve also scored a masterly victory in 1979, eclipsing all his opponents in the rain. Death does not spare “the Glen”: among F1 drivers, François Cevert kills himself in 1973, two years after having won his only victory there (the accident is mentioned in the film Rush). The following year, the Austrian Helmut Koinigg, on his second start in F1, also experienced a tragic end on the same circuit.

  1. Imola

The Dino and Enzo Ferrari Race Track in Imola hosted the Italian Grand Prix for the first time in 1980. It will also be the only one since the race was renamed the San Marino Grand Prix the following year, the National Grand Prix is back in Monza. Italy has two Grand Prix until 2006. With seven victories, the German Michael Schumacher is the undisputed king of Imola, especially as six of them were won at the wheel of a Ferrari. Imola also rhymes with controversy: in 1982, at the height of a crisis that divided the F1 into two clans (FOCA and FISA), the Grand Prix was boycotted by some teams. The race took place, but it was marked by the incident involving the two Ferrari drivers, Gilles Villeneuve, and Didier Pironi, the first accusing the second of not respecting team instructions and stealing the victory. This is the last race of the Quebec driver who, with rage in his heart, kills himself during the qualifications of the next GP in Belgium. The turn of Tamburello was the scene of two dramas: the terrible accident of Gerhard Berger, from which he miraculously escaped alive, in 1989, a tragic prelude to that of Ayrton Senna, five years later. The “Black weekend” of Imola, marked by several incidents, goes down in history: Roland Ratzenberger kills himself during qualifying and Senna the next day, during the race. Rubens Barrichello, on the other hand, is close to death when his single-seater flies away. This fatal Grand Prix is an indelible mark, and in the history of the F1, which lost two drivers, including one of its biggest; and in the history of the Imola circuit, now inseparable from these tragedies.

  1. Interlagos

If we associate Brazil with samba and football, we must not forget Formula 1. This country is a great breeding ground for auto racers and has given the F1 some of its greatest champions. Among them are Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna, who alone have won eight World Championships. Due to its position on the calendar, the Brazilian GP often plays a decisive role: from 1972 to 2003, it is one of the first races on the calendar, thus serving as a barometer; since 2004, it is the other way around : he is played at the end of the season, sometimes crowning the champion. Regardless of his position in the calendar, he is often the scene of intense moments, especially when a Brazilian driver wins: Fittipaldi wins two years in a row (1973 and 1974), Carlos Pace in 1975, Piquet in 1983 and 1986, Senna in 1991 and 1993, Felipe Massa in 2006 and 2008. Piquet’s two victories took place in Rio de Janeiro, at the Jacarapegua circuit, where the Brazilian GP played from 1981 to 1989. Massa’s second win in 2008 was probably the most heartbreaking in F1 history: he was world champion for a few seconds until Lewis Hamilton managed to pass Timo Glock in the final corner. The British win the championship by one point… the record of wins at the Brazilian Grand Prix belongs to the French Alain Prost (6), before the Argentinean Carlos Reutemann and the German Michael Schumacher, tied with 4.

  1. Montreal

Before accusing us of chauvinism, the Canadian Grand Prix is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, making it one of the oldest races on the calendar. The first Grand Prix was held at the Ontario circuit in Mosport in 1967, the centennial year of Canadian Confederation. The first four Grands Prix take place in alternation with the circuit Mont-Tremblant, but from 1971, Mosport, warning the exclusive. The Canadian Grand Prix celebrates its 10th anniversary with a historic victory: Jody Scheckter wins a Canadian-style single-seater. Although based in England, The Wolf team is owned by an Austrian Canadian, Walter Wolf, and the car is flying the Canadian flag. A Quebec driver, Gilles Villeneuve, is competing in the same Grand Prix on a Ferrari, replacing Niki Lauda, who left before the end of the season (with the title of champion in his pocket). The following season, the “P’tit gars de Berthierville” became the first Canadian to compete in a full F1 season and most importantly, the first to win his National Grand Prix in front of his own in Montreal, where the race was now held. The circuit île Notre-Dame was renamed Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve a few weeks after his tragic death. Home to the Canadian GP for almost 40 years, this circuit has been the scene of sometimes spectacular, sometimes unusual, and sometimes both. The Frenchman Jacques Laffite won the last GP of his career in Montreal in 1981 and Daniel Ricciardo his first in 2014. Jean Alesi of France and Robert Kubica of Poland won their only Grand Prix in Montreal. Michael Schumacher is Canada’S GP record holder with seven wins, two more than Lewis Hamilton.

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