Straight, hairpin, straight, hairpin. Twiddly bit and back around again for another lap.
It was Korea last and it’s India next: the scenery changes but the tracks don’t.
Does the Buddh International Circuit, scene of the first ever Indian Grand Prix this weekend, offer anything to distinguish itself on F1’s increasingly homogeneous calendar?
Red Bull’s simulator indicated an average lap speed of 235kph, suggesting a lap time of around 1’18. But tyre manufacturer Pirelli’s predictions are rather more conservative, estimating a 1’27 lap with an average speed of around 210kph.
Based on Pirelli’s estimates, here’s how the Buddh International Circuit compares with the other 19 circuits on the original 2011 calendar:
Indian Grand Prix lap time based on estimate by Pirelli
Indian Grand Prix average speed based on estimate by Pirelli
Indian Grand Prix maximum speed based on estimate by Pirelli
Number of corners
On the face of it the Buddh International Circuit looks entirely typical of modern F1 tracks: roughly five kilometres in length with the usual combination of long straights leading into slow hairpins, plus some medium-speed corners.
Its layout has much in common with other recent additions to the calendar such as Yas Marina, Korea, Istanbul and Bahrain. This is not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Without wishing to judge the track before it’s even held a race, it’s impossible to ignore the conspicuous lack of imagination in modern F1 track design – whether you choose to blame ubiquitous designer Hermann Tilke, or the safety and commercial restrictions he is constrained by.
We see far too much of circuits that “have a bit of everything” and, consequently, have nothing that marks themselves out from other new tracks. As the graphs above make clear, it’s the classic old venues such as Monza, Spa and Monaco that provide the extremes on an otherwise increasingly homogeneous calendar.
But this will matter little if the Buddh International Circuit provides exciting race. We’ll find out if it can on Sunday.
2011 Indian Grand Prix