F1 track plan for Croatia looks a lot like Austin

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Croatian F1 track plan

Plans for an F1-standard race track in Croatia have a familiar look to them.

The circuit layout bears a strong resemblance to the plans for the Austin race track which will hold the United States Grand Prix from 2012.

A significant difference is that the Croatian track layout appears to run in the opposite direction. Both circuits were designed by Bernie Ecclestone’s preferred circuit architect Hermann Tilke.

Tilke said his design for Austin included a sequence of bends that were modelled on the high-speed Becketts sequence at Silverstone.

The Croatian track project has been shown to the country’s sporting body Hrvatski Auto I Karting Savez. It is supported by Zrinko Gregurek, who sits on the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council.

Private funding would be used to build the track 15km outside of the capital Zagreb, according to reports in the Croatian media.

Thanks to MyCarPortal for the tip!

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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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105 comments on “F1 track plan for Croatia looks a lot like Austin”

  1. striking resemblance- still looks like a great track though

    1. Doesn’t look like it has as many slow corners as Austin though. Could be a fast track, with a really challenging set of corners along the backside, like Maggots/Becketts or the Suzuka esses. That looks like it’ll have one of the fastest first corners of any F1 race as well. Tilke definitely seems like he’s trying harder lately.

      1. Possibly, on the other hand, maybe he just did someone a favour and did a bit of stretching and bending on the first layout at hand to fit it to the parcel proposed to make a bit of publicity for a “friend”.

        Those corners look pretty sharp bends, instead of smouth curves.

        1. CTRL-C, CTRL-V?

          1. Austin just shopped out the design work…Croatians Eng. cheaper

          2. I couldn’t tell any difference at first, such are the similarities…

          3. Cmd-C, Cmd-V?

  2. Is there a market for F1 in Croatia? Which race in Europe would face the chop in its place? We’ve still yet to squeeze the Russian GP in yet…

      1. Nah, I’ve eaten already. XD

        Although in all seriousness, Hungary isnt too bad a track nowadays. Last couple of races there have been fairly good.

        1. It isn’t bad, but it’s the only one in East Europe.

      2. hungary is actually a pretty neat little track.

    1. Have there even been any rumours about a GP?! I don’t recall any. How odd

      1. I’ve heard some in the past, but as I’ve said in another comment, I didnt think they were substansive. This seems a little more concrete than before, particuarly with a member of the motorsport council being Croat.

      2. If you look hard enough you will probably find rumours for an F1 race in the Antarctic!

        1. Wasnt there something about wanting a Croatian GP when StefanGP was trying to get into F1 last season? Cant remember the details ofcourse :(

          1. Stefan coming from Serbia, that would have been a Serbian GP, I suppose.

        2. well they do run F1 cars on ice quite often. RedBull has a few times, I think Ferrari too :)

        3. The Arctic is more likely. There is no land there, but more money.

    2. The Croatia track might be taking a conservative approach. They might build the track and wait a couple years before submitting a bid for F1. If they have a business model that does not require F1, then it would make sense. So instead of Croatia building a track and then spending extra a few years later to convert it to an F1 standard, they have gone for an F1 standard right from the beginning, so that if they ever desire to host an F1 race, they can do so with minimal effort.

  3. Wait? Two tracks designed by Tilke looking the same? NO WAY! It is actually ridiculous how one man can basically have designed every single track on the f1 calendar!

    1. If you’re reading this Keith, an analysis on the links between Tilke’s engineering company and FOM would be fascinating. There seems to be something rather dodgy about the relationship- or maybe I’m just letting my heart rule my head

      1. Geordie_Porker
        4th March 2011, 18:51

        I agree Ned, that analysis would be..interesting (or bordering on criminal!!).

        Hacving said that, it is pleasing to see Tilke putting in more effort; with the comment about the Silverstone ‘inspiration’ (or copying!) I do wonder whether the success of the Silverstone development effort has made him realise that he has some genuine competition!

      2. Joe Saward hinted at that a while ago. He wrote that the ownership of Tilke is not to be viewed in the public domain. But that it would be very ineresting to know who owns that company…
        Makes me wonder about the cost as well. It is all a lot of money, but is Tilke expensive or not?

        1. Yes he is. Call it “exclusive”

      3. I want to found out about that relationship too. Something obviously fishy. Bernie seems to arm-twisting future track creators on getting Tilke for their tracks.

      4. It is a bit fishy Ned.

        From Wiki:

        Tilke has secured contracts to design many high-profile new world circuits from scratch. These include:
        1999 Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
        2004 Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain
        2004 Shanghai International Circuit, China
        2005 Istanbul Park Racing Circuit, Turkey
        2006 Cancun, Mexico (undeveloped)
        2006 Beijing International Streetcircuit, China
        2008 Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore
        2007 Bucharest Ring, Romania
        2008 Swedbank kartodroms, Latvia
        2008 Valencia Street Circuit, Spain
        2008 Jakarta Street Circuit, Indonesia
        2009 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi-United Arab Emirates
        2009 Motorland Aragón, Alcañiz, Spain (MotoGP venue)
        2010 Dublin Street Circuit, Ireland (undeveloped)[1]
        2010 Korean International Circuit, South Korea
        2010 Moscow Raceway, Russia (planned MotoGP Venue)
        2010 Kazakhstan Motor City, Republic of Kazakhstan
        2010 Atlanta Motorsports Park, United States of America (under construction)
        2011 Jaypee Group Circuit, Greater Noida, India (under construction)
        2012 Austin Formula One circuit, United States of America (under construction)

    2. Couldnt agree more that 1 man shouldnt be designing every second track on the callendar. Why, whenever people talk about the inability of modern f1 cars to overtake, don’t more people put one and one together regarding the track designs and realise theres by and large a correlation between the good races and the races at circuits he didnt design… That said it looks like one of Hemroid Tiklies better efforts.

  4. Ahh! Too many tracks!!

    Well I like the look of it. Korea, India and Austin and this all look more promising than Valencia, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi etc. Not that they’d be dropped though :(

    Has this been talked about before? I’d heard not even a rumour about a Croatian GP…

    1. I’ve heard suggestions about there being a race near the captial (Zagreb I think?), but I didnt think they were substansive at the time.

  5. what a joke

    1. yep. in typical tilke fashion, he’s put a high aerodynamically challenging corner BEFORE the long straight where the overtaking zone is. why spread cars out before a straight?

  6. I wouldn’t want 2 tracks the same but running in reverse. Some of the current tracks run in reverse are quite good though and might be worth considering one day.

    1. They’d require new run offs, new kerbs, new signals, new pits… But you can always go backwards in games :P

  7. Great… so now he’s run out of ways to connect hairpins together (aka: a straight, or a straight with a chicane), he’s just gonna re-use designs from elsewhere.

    1. Never change a winning number …
      Oh, wait, he already turns it around and fiddles with it to make it appear different.

      A lot of it does really, really look like parts of track cut-n-paste have been done, maybe they couldn’t afford an original …

      1. Looks like it.

        A Bernie friend needed a nice picture, so Herman asked the guys to mock something up, but not lose to much time on it, as it will only be used to give some business friend a better buy on the property.

        Disclaimer: this post is pure speculation.

  8. marc connell
    4th March 2011, 16:50

    i like the kart track in the middle :D

    1. is that mini bahrain.. ;)

      1. That’s where they should move the Bahrain GP ;)

      2. My thought exactly. Nostalgia for when Bahrain will have to be dropped :-p

    2. I reckon that kart track would be good though. The full size F1 track doesnt work, but I would love a blitz around on that in a kart,

      1. That might be the only part they actually plan to build. The rest getting probably going to be some private houses or something.

  9. Maybe the US GP project leaders will sue Tilke because of their similarites, like Ford tried with Ferrari due to the F150 name.

    1. Yes – this would have to be the F1th Croatia. ;)

      1. LOL Brilliant comment! :D

      2. From today it would be the F1° Croatia

  10. first of all: yeah! first time i read about Croatia on F1fanatic (if you exclude Bernie’s ex wife)! second: there is a potential for a race in Croatia…we are a tourist oriented country so if they put in summer it will be sold out. and i have to remind you that we know how to make an excellent race event. just ask those that have visited fis ski slalom world cup.. but basically i’m just dreaming :)

    1. Yeah, but the tourists visit the coastal areas, not Zagreb, don’t they?

      1. You mean opposite from what you did Ned? :D

        Zagreb is getting a significant boost in number of tourists as many come to Zagreb by plane so they visit the capital while they are there but the main tourist attraction is the coast.

        1. Well, I would not build a Croatian GP track just 15 km outside of Zagreb, but 15 km outside of Split.

          Why should someone make the decision between “race track” and “coast” anyway? Let’s take ’em both! :D

  11. “Croatian F1 track plan: WARNING – may cause drowsiness, do not view before operating heavy machinery”.

    In all seriousness Croatia seems like a lovely country but we really don’t need any more Grand Prix unless others fall by the wayside. Getting a race back in France should be the priority if another European race has to be added…

    1. I agree 100% Dan. I think Bernie is using this to leverage someone. Remember the reports of Bernie being interested in a track in up state NY, then a few weeks later the Austin deal was signed.

      1. What tracks is he talking to currently? Belgium, Turkey (but thats Bernie promoting it), … ?

  12. Too bad it’s clockwise, i think it would produce a better race if it was counter-clockwise… but clearly the run off areas are not designed for that.

    1. The track isn’t built, the changes would be quick.

      1. A few hours of modelling? Or just paintshop starting from the Austing original?

  13. This is getting ridiculous now.

    1. Maybe it’s part of Bernies divorce settlement… :P

  14. Hey, don’t knock it too much, guys, this is just what Central Europe needs. I live in Slovenia, just 2 km from my house to the Croatian border and only 35 minutes to Zagreb, so have a vested interest. Knowing my luck,though, I’ll have shuffled off this mortal coil before the track is finished and in commission!

  15. yeah it looks a lot like Austin, and i really dislike how one man can be the designer of nearly every circuit on the calender. But i generally like the layout of this track, and it seems like he has actually designed a race track without a chicane. That is good news! All the corners actually look like corners, not the typical Tilke recipe og straights hairpins and chicanes, joined together by a few bends to get the track around the marina. But may i ask why we need more tracks? They are spitting them out all the time, at least i hope it will replace something like Bahrain or Valencia and not one of the good tracks.

  16. actualy if u put them next to eachother they dont look tht simalar

    1. Nah, there’s definitely some similarities there. Here’s a quick comparison pic…

      1. Hmm… let’s try that again! :)

        Comparison Pic Here

        1. i kno completely different right jks

        2. The same track, just put in a few different variables to make it fit the parcel. Copy past job.

  17. we’ve seen this before. Tilke’s running out of ideas.

    1. Didn’t he run out of ideas by the time he built Turkey?

  18. I’m from Croatia. The media is saying that there isn0t direct talk about a GP because they are aware that the calendar is over booked, and that more country’s are waiting for a GP. The good thing is that it will be also built by MOTOGP standard’s and off course it will be able to have races of all FIA categories. Also there will be a part for drag races.

    Finally one more track for doing track days.

  19. As a Croat I must say I would be surprised if this track ever gets built.
    There is an interest for Formula 1 in Croatia but apparently it isn’t big enough as national television has decided to drop F1 coverage after 20 years of continuous broadcast.
    Croatia had a great shot of scoring a Grand Prix when Bernie was eager to run a race behind the iron curtain. His ex-wife Slavica is Croatian and there were talks held about modifying already Grobnik track so F1 could run there. Basically, if they built the track Yugoslav Grand Prix would have happened. They didn’t and Hungary grabbed the spot of a “communist” Grand Prix. Grobnik hosted Moto GP races untill the war and now it is still used as a race track.

    Fast forward to present – Bernie has divorced Slavica but he still loves to vacation in Croatia so every once in a while rumors about Formula 1 race in Croatia resurfaces. The director of HAKS (Croatian auto and carting alliance) broke ground on a hilly terrain and spun some fairy tales about a foreign investor who will build a track there and because Bernie loves Croatia so much we will get a F1 race.
    A few questions arise – what idiot will invest into building a track in foreign country when as recent examples show there is no way he will ever profit from such action and how is a race in a country whose broadcasters apparently can’t find a commercial interest to show Formula 1 possible.

    To be frank, when I saw the title I checked the calendar to see is it April 1st already…

    1. Isn’t this just about getting a nice parcel of land for a good price (as the investor builds something bringing jobs, etc.) only to transfer it to a housing development?

      Sounds like a good explanation.
      I fully agree with your view on why someone would want to build a track in Croatia right now.

  20. Somebody needs to come up with a track thats a big wacky, something that would really stand out. It’s as though modern track designs are working within regulations like it has to have so many slow corners and so many fast corners etc but the only way to create another classic like Monza or Spa is to come with something a bit mad.

    Like for example a banked high speed left hander followed by a long staight and at the end of the straight instead of the usual suspect – the hairpin, have a suzuka sector 1 style complex enterered at 180mph followed by a downhill negative camber sharp right hander etc, lets have something a bit different! Go mental with it Tilke, you have the pencil in your hand.

  21. I do believe I read somewhere that Bernie doesn’t want anymore countries with 2 races (except maybe US?) so maybe valencia gets the axe? (or barcelona, no matter both aweful tracks). Who knows, maybe when all is said and done, Bahrain will be in no position to host races either.

  22. Are you sure that isn’t a very early preliminary design from Austin?

    Something just doesn’t smell right there. The land features, the property shape, and so on…too much of that drawing is dead-on just like the Austin site, not just the layout of the circuit.

    Someone may be yanking someone’s chain, imho.

  23. Seriously… how retarded are we getting here. We may as well run ovals. Some of my granddaughters “pictures” scibbles whatever you want to call them, seem like they would be good tracks. Why do you need to pay somebody odles of money to “design” a circuit that looks like trash most of the time anyways. Like my government (USA) F1 needs an overhaul of the people in charge. I may be a crabby old man, but give me an original circuit and I may not be so crabby anymore, too bad nothing can be done about the old part.

  24. So potentially we could see 3 tracks with a “turn 8” type corner?

    The reason turn8 is special is because its unique.

    (i realise every track has a turn8, i am referring to istanbul, obviously)

    1. Agreed. Plus the Becketts sequence. Soon he’ll be designing tracks only made up of Becketts style and Turkey Turn 8 corners.
      Oh and two ridiculously tight hairpins.

  25. This is ridiculous. As it was, the Austin circuit is a copy of various other circuits in itself. Mockenheim etc.. so to then copy the Austin circuit. This is all just too much idiocy considering the amount of money and effort involved here.

  26. SennaNmbr1 (@)
    4th March 2011, 19:20

    For me, China, Valencia, Turkey and Abu Dhabi can all go.

    1. i know china takes a lot of stick, and as a track for the drivers to drive its not a great one, but it always has the potential to throw up great races as it isn’t too hard to overtake there. Turkey’s a good track in both respects and i dont think it should be dropped simply cos its not well attended. Huge crowds are brilliant for the atmosphere, but for the millions watching on TV its the racing that matters most and i think low attendance is a worthy sacrifice to have that track on the calendar.

  27. Hello, the thing is, this looks serious to me in every way! As I’ve said on the article on our website nothing has yet been confirmed, but the level of detail and media frenzy about this today was very high, so it gives me an idea that this could be done some day here.

    The thing here is that the whole project is backed up by private capital so the position of the track 30min from the center of the capital is great, hotels are easily accessible, transportation is done correctly, airport is 35min away and all that.

    But we will have to see what comes of this! There is also one of the biggest shopping centers located some 500m from the property where the track is planned, so something big is planned right there. Other world championship like GT1, WTCC, Karting and things like that are probably the first and foremost target, but Formula 1 shouldn’t be a problem, if the governing bodies envelop such an idea in the future.

    As I’ve said, I’ll bring more information when we get it, so Keith will be properly updated with all of that.

  28. Who declared Tilke the oracle of the F1 world?
    Has no one else in F1 have any imagination? Tilke certainly doesn’t.
    I think most new F1 tracks have no character and are totally boring because they include no banking (one way or the other) or changes in elevation.
    How about a jump or two like on the old Nurburgring?
    Current F1 resembles nothing more than a glorified go-cart race and it makes me sick.

  29. As a Croat I can say the are where this circuit is supposed to be is hilly. I can’t say if it will ever be built, I find it hard to believe they’ll find private investors although I remember there were talks years ago about Trulli trying to invest in a circuit here.

    In any case even if it does get built I doubt that it would hold an F1 race, I’d say there are bigger chances for MotoGP or other lower level series like WTCC, GT1 etc. F1 maaaybe if Hungary would get dropped and someone would be able to pay the exorbitant sums asked because the government is broke.

  30. It looks BORING! I mean common anyone can do better than this. Let’s have some corners that are completely insane!!! Let’s have tracks up mountains like bathurst in australia and more corners and inclines like eau rouge (might have spelt that wrong!) at spa. Some of the roads the top gear boys found in europe as the best driver roads would be awesome. We want epic backdrops of natural beauty coupled with some ‘balls out’ corners. Just take some tracks off gt5, overhanging trees, dappalled light, snow capped mountains. People watch the tour de france just for the senery, and that is bike riding! Even the test track that james may got the veyron up to 407 kph could be modified, to have a straight that long would be cool as the setups would also vary between teams – some so fast and others faster in a tighter section!

    I just want the new tracks to invoke some passion, I’m so sick of parking lots!!!

  31. * yawn *

  32. I don’t think it’s any accident that the circuit looks like Austin. The plan clearly shows the borders of the land the circuit would be built on, and – as with the Hockenheim rebuild – there’s not a hell of a lot of room for freedom give the shape Tilke has to work with.

    I’m hoping there’s enough difference between this an Austin to give it its own character. Yes, it’s run clockwise, and yes, a lot of the corners are much more angular. But I think it would be better if the circuit was shorter than the usual 5.5km, for one. And it also looks like it could easily be turned into a Suzuka-style figure-of-eight circuit. A few sweepers wouldn’t go amiss, particularly at the square end.

    Overall, though, I think I preferred that Ukrainian design Tilke did. I just see too many similarities betweem Croatia and Austin; if Tilke hadn’t designed Austin the way he did, I’d probably think this would look great.

    1. Just found out: apparently it is shorter. The masterplan suggests it will be 4.4km.

  33. Tilke is a hack. He builds tracks with no soul. Give someone else a shot. Hold a contest. Anything but that guy.

    1. A contest?

      Okay, that’s the dumbest idea I’ve heard in a long time. There’s more to circuit design than just drawing a line on a page.

      1. Using the same guy to design the same track over and over is a dumber idea.

        1. Actually, Tilke has produced some fantastic circuits. Sepang and Istanbul spring to mind, while India, Austin and Sochi all look pretty good. The A1 Ring also had an awesome final corner (a high-speed downhill double-apex right) that wouldn’t have been out of place on the original circuit, and the planned redevelopment – which was abandoned when construction was halted – also looked pretty good..

          Yes, he’s created some boring circuits, but there are three factors that influence him before he has even begun. First of all is the size, shape and location of the land. Tilke is given land; he doesn’t get to choose. Case in point: Hockenheim. It’s fairly obvious he was told to treat the existing circuit as a perimeter. Given the size and shape of the infield, he was never going to be able to do much. Likewish Shanghai, which is built on reclaimed swampland, and so has minimal elevation. However, given the positive reception to the Austin design, Bernie Ecclestone is trying to get Tilke involved in the process sooner so that he can consult on which pieces of land to set aside for the circuit; that way, he can get something with elevations.

          Secondly, Tilke has to work within the constraints set aside by the rule book on circuit design, which can be fairly restrictive at times. There are all manner of provisions and conditions; for example, I believe that the length of the main straight and the position of the start/finish line is dictated by the angle of the first corner, as drivers must be able to sort themselves out before the braking zone and take the corner at a certain speed. As with the land purchased, Bernie Ecclestone has promised that he will try and get the rules loosened up to allow Tilke more freedom.

          And finally, there is the budget for the circuit, though this applies to reconfigurations like Hockenheim and the A1 Ring more than anything else.

          The point is that anyone who designs a circuit will be bound by these three constraints. It’s not so simple as switching the designer and suddenly getting “better” circuits (and I’m a firm believer that it would be easier, cheaper and more productive to change the cars to improve overtaking, anyway). Populous is the only other firm in the world that has done work on a Formula 1 circuit – Silverstone – and even then, I believe they were working on a concept developed by Tilke. Even if they can develop a circuit from scratch on their own, the FIA and FOM will not approach them until such time as they know the Silverstone upgrade is a success. If they get approached, it probably won’t be until the end of 2012 because the Powers That Be will be watching the circuit to see how it works for all racing categories, not just Formula 1.

          Circuit design is not nearly as simple as you make it out to be.

  34. It don’t matter but will it be a good track as it is designed by Tilke?

  35. somerandomguy
    5th March 2011, 1:51

    Tilke obviously does not like overtaking. Just add in heaps chicanes. His tracks do not flow at all

  36. Boring… I doubt this track would actually be considered for F1, all they have to do is come up with Bernie’s asking price and he’d do it, though.

    Speaking of EU tracks without an F1 date — I wish we could see an F1 race at the Portimao Circuit instead of either Barcelona or Valencia. I even prefer Magny-Cours to either of those snoozers. Definitely would have seen four stoppers there with the new tires this year…

  37. HounslowBusGarage
    5th March 2011, 9:33

    There doesn’t seem to be a shorter track shown on the master plan. So racing would only be on the 4.4 km track, which means many more marshalls, so it’s unlikely to be used for club racing and smaller championships, and therefore probably used less than 10 times a year. Which means it will be dirty, dusty and unrubbered *if* a major race is ever held there.
    And given Gabal’s perceptive comment, that would appear to be unlikely.
    So what’s the likelihood of it ever being built?

    1. Maybe that’s what their plan is: attract interest in the sport by announcing plans for a race. Any circuit is going to take 18 months to build, and given that it’s March, that means 2013 is the earliest that the race could begin – and that’s assuming there will be an empty calendar slot. In the meantime, they create demand for Formula 1 as people take interest in what is going on. Even if there is no Croatian Grand Prix in 2013, the circuit is short enough to be used for other racing categoies, so it will be put to use until such time as the race can be organised.

  38. I’m sick of reading about tilke tracks. He has made two good tracks out of about 10 recent attempts.

    If it was a school report it would say must try harder.

    Dreadful designs, boring racing. It should be mandatory to have a different designer for new tracks.

    1. It should be mandatory to have a different designer for new tracks.

      And considering that there’s only about three firms that do it worldwide, what would you propose when it comes time for a fourth circuit to be developed?

      1. What is different when you look at the number of professional golfers or ex pros who have setup design companies?

        Yes you need engineers but I would bet mario Andretti or jackie stewart could come up with a design.

        We aren’t talking just about track design, the build is often done by companies separate to those 4.

        1. Actually, the physical construction of the circuit is overseen by Tilke. He’s not an architect – he’s a civil engineer. His company has overseen te construction of every circuit he has designed, from the A1 Ring to Austin. He did not oversee South Korea until it was obvious they were in trouble.

          1. My point is, you get the same product, which looks good but doesn’t provide great racing. Don’t see the point.

            There is more than one engineer in the world.

  39. Apart from the ubiquitous squiggly bit, looks very very good.

  40. Apex Predator
    5th March 2011, 16:54

    Kind of lame but as long as they’re spread far enough apart and bring some intense racing, then that’s OK with me.

  41. Croatian racetrack is just a fairy tale . There`s no way that in Croatia will be a F1 racetrack in the next,lets say 2 million years. For this year they have cancelled TV coverage of F1,and also nobody will invest in Croatian racetrack,or anything else in Croatia . We got one racetrack,Grobnik near Rijeka, and it`s a crap.

  42. This is absolutely brilliant!! This would create so many benefits for Croatia.. after all it is on the up with tourism as it is. F1 race and then off to the beach! I will totally be there!!!

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