Debate: More street tracks good for F1?

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Next year’s F1 calendar will include three street circuits – the most since the 1991 calendar took in Monte-Carlo, Adelaide and Pheonix.

Are you glad to see F1 bringing the show right into the hearts of major cities?

Or are street tracks slow and potentially unsafe gimmicks that belong in Champ Car and the Indy Racing League – but not Formula 1?

For years Monte-Carlo has been the only true street track on the F1 calendar.

Next year’s two new F1 venues will be street circuits and Valencia and Singapore. A street circuit in Korea has been mooted for 2010.

Monte-Carlo is famed for being glamorous but processional. There are always safety concerns about the close proximities of barriers on street tracks – and Singapore plans to hold its race under floodlighting at night!

Are you glad to see the return of more street circuits to the F1 calendar?

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Debate: More street tracks good for F1?”

  1. I think it’s great that more street circuits besides Monaco will be added to the 2008 calendar. I don’t see why F1 can’t do it. As far as I know the IndyCar and Champ-Car street events are relatively safe. They’re usually able to have run-off areas at the end of fast sraights. Besides, this whole business of spending $500+ million on a brand new purpose-built circuit that probably won’t be all that good anyways can’t go on forever. Street circuits are a nice alternative, in my opinion, as long as they can avoid creating chicane-fests as sometimes happens with the Champ-car/IRL circuits.

    And night racing! They should do that in Malaysia, to escape those excrutiating daytime temperatures.

  2. Street races are exciting. The whole town or city lives the race atmosphere for the whole weekend. It can’t be compared with places where it takes 1 hour in traffic jam to get from city to the track or from track to the city… There are 2 important factors in my opinion:
    1) track safety – both for drivers and spectators
    2) good track layout – we do not need another Monaco type tight track, any new street track needs to be designed with racing and overtaking in mind. Weekend long party is nice thing, but at the end, F1 should be about racing

  3. Valencia is going to be great, its not going to be a slow street track like Monaco its going to be like a very fast street track :P Lots of fast parts and a massive straight where you can reach top speed :D

  4. Over recent years, I’ve not had much of a passion for street circuits due to the fact that I associate them with Monaco, a race which is usually just a procession.

    With these new tracks appearing next year it will be interesting to see if they can break the Monaco mould and offer something a bit more exciting!

  5. Who said street circuits were unsafe!?

  6. I’ll make my judgement when I see these circuits have a race.

  7. Both new street circuits look pretty good to me. F1 needs the variety that they can provide anyway. The thing with street circuits is: think Long Beach, not Monaco!

  8. I’m not a big fan of the street circuits. This biggest complaint about todays tracks such as Hungoring (sorry for the spelling) are that they are too narrow and too many tight turns. Seems like that would be the description of a street race. Champ Car does a great job with these because of the design of the car. The Power to Pass button makes all the difference, not to mention standardized aero packages. So here’s my proposal for Monaco:

    Make the F1 cars race on the Monaco WRC layout (do they still have that, American WRC coverage sucks!) and the WRC guys can race on the Monaco street circuit, whipping the cars around corners sideways…. Now that would be some interesting racing!

    Racing on the street is a publicity stunt not a race, isn’t that what we have been trying to get away from?

  9. I can’t think a an F1 track in modern times (since the 80’s) where there has been one decent street track. Monaco is given it’s place due to its heritage and glamour, but not for the quality of the track but I think we all accept that. I agree with Dan M, they are stunts to promote tourism in the city where it is held and mainly some body or some one (bernie) benefits (£££), not the fans or drivers!

    Perhaps I wouldn’t mind so much but Tilker is designing these circuits as well….Zzz!

  10. Street circuits unsafe?

    Well, if they’re as cobbled together as that track at Vegas they raced at in Champ Cars this year, they certainly can be.

    But most of the big fatal and near-fatal accidents in IRL and Champ Car have happened on ovals.

  11. Ovals are by far the most dangerous areas to race. Street tracks are dangerous only if they are of poor design, or cannot be made with runoffs in the correct area.

  12. The beauty of a good street circuit is that it punishes mistakes. If you get a wheel wrong at most tracks you slide over the kurb, through the run-off and then back onto the track. Get a wheel wrong at a street circuit and you are out the race. Little mistakes like Seb Vettel’s at the Hungaroring become big ones. I remember watching F1 at the hated Phoenix track in the late 80’s early 90’s and it was truly a race of attrition that rewarded 2 hours of blemish free, barrier brushing precision.

    Plus of course, Alesi dicing with Senna in 1990.

    Bring on the new street circuits!

  13. Street courses are convenient for fans, and sometimes they are even a visual success(Long Beach, Detroit to name two) but from a racing point of view, particularly a F1 view I’m just not loving it and I’m not sure why. I had no problem with CART/Champ Car street races back in the day when the series was more fun to watch than F1. Perhaps I just don’t want to see F1 turned into Champ Car? Or maybe I also have a vague recollection of one of the F1 who-do duo, (Max or Bernie?), state back in the ’90’s that they didn’t want to dumb F1 down to CART standards? Honestly I can’t remember what the issue at the time was-safety,tech specs, maybe it was even track configuration-but this is just a money grab for F1. But, Valencia and Singapore? What’s the temperature like on whatever days those are scheduled? I live in Dallas and seem to remember a hot July one year long ago,(not a surprise to the natives, by the way) and a temporary course that went to pieces in the heat. Good luck!

  14. “Or are street tracks slow and potentially unsafe gimmicks that belong in Champ Car and the Indy Racing League – but not Formula 1?” What the Bloody Hell brought this on? I have only been here a month or 2 but i have seen and felt the anti America racing bigger and more vehemently over the past few weeks, what is going on? I love formula one it is my favorite racing series but do not dis champ or irl “gimmicks” it is a bloody insult there is as much skill and set up to each series. Albeit there isn’t as much tech that goes in as f1 but it is more up to the driver and how they drive and car set up as to how they place in qualifying aka (most f1 races)I think the writing is getting down rite insulting here.

  15. I wasn’t criticising American racing, I was explaining two opposing points of view (as I often do in these posts) that people have about street circuits:

    “Are you glad to see F1 bringing the show right into the hearts of major cities?

    Or are street tracks slow and potentially unsafe gimmicks that belong in Champ Car and the Indy Racing League – but not Formula 1?”

    I’m not slating Champ Car or the IRL – I watch and enjoy both series and write about them on Maximum Motorsport. And I wrote this post last week criticising another writer for what I felt were unfair comments about American racing.

    I think my approach has been validated by the comments so far – some people have said street tracks are too slow and difficult to pass on, others like having a race in the centre of the city.

  16. Misunderstandings can happen.

    Not to carry ChampCar’s banner a little too much, but when I drive home on a narrow two-lane road with no shoulder, trees lurching over the road and cars everywhere from the five o’clock rush, I relate to ChampCar.

    Despite where I live, there are no places where I can speed up and down hills conveniently in the way most F1 circuits are designed, and there is no place where I can legally make 500 consecutive left turns.

    I appreciate the apparent inclusion of bridges in the new circuit designs, and wonder what the wind currents on those bridges will do to the F1 cars! Is this a tip of the hat to all those Japanese racing video games that seem to need to include a suspension bridge in the circuit layout somewhere?

    Will the racing be processionary? Probably.

  17. Macau GP 2007 and video links for Macau GP 2006…

    Yet again I refer to the f1fanatic website and his article “More street tracks good for F1?” and a bit to another article “Ten… Jobs for Ecclestone to do”.
    One of the best street races is without doubt the Macau GP. There is no F1 race there…

  18. Does anyone really believe there will be PASSING on a street circuit? Some of you have brought out the details…….it is a “PR stunt”; pitstop passes will be the norm; attrition, both through crashes and broken cars will determine the lesser places; but the race will be won on Saturday when we see who wins the pole.
    A parade is a parade whether it be on a public street or a racing circuit, my concern is ……. SINGAPORE?????

  19. The problem with a street circuit is that much of it is a concrete barricaded tunnel. This is fine until someone comes to grief. They hit a barrier and bounce right back in amongst other competitors that get all mixed up in the carnage and get taken out of the race for something that is nothing to do with their personal performance.
    The same situation on a dedicated track almost always sees the mistake cause the particular driver slide off into a sand trap and no one else is effected.
    This makes for a much more fair result and more cars finishing or at least continuing to compete.
    Additionally less barriers make it safer for the drivers. They are not so restricted in being able to see the track on corners. Such as the incident in A1 GP yesterday when Canada spun, couldn’t see through the barricade, tried to spin heir car back the right direction and the English car T Boned Canada as the direction correction was conducted. Had the barrier not been there on a normal track this would never have occurred.
    From a spectators perspective dedicated tracks make for much better viewing than street circuits.

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