New Tilke images reveal Baku track’s narrow corners

2016 F1 season

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New images from F1 circuit architects Tilke reveal more details of the street track in Baku, Azerbaijan which will host the 2016 European Grand Prix.

A defining feature of the track is the narrow climb around the city’s historic centre. Track designer Hermann Tilke described this section as “extremely narrow” and a rendering of the corner shows it will be one of the tightest sections on any F1 track.

In contrast a seven-lane road which runs parallel to Baku’s seafront will provide room for the start/finish area, with the temporary pits and paddock laid out in front of the Government House building.

Tilke estimates a lap length of 6km around the anticlockwise, 20-turn track, with top speeds of up to 340kph (211mph).

The highest speeds are likely to be achieved as the cars approach to the start/finish area, with the pit lane entrance on their left.

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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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80 comments on “New Tilke images reveal Baku track’s narrow corners”

  1. So.. a grid start to the finish because no one is going to get past the car in front on track

    1. There is certainly going to be one or more SC periods (where did I hear that before?) @dam00r

      1. “In contrast a seven-lane road which runs parallel to Baku’s seafront will provide room for the start/finish area”

      2. SC barely fits there…

  2. I guess we will have to wait and see how that track works out in real life. From the rendering shown, as well as from that Video and pictures shown (from Sam and several other who are Azerbajian based and mentioned it in the first article) show just how narrow and steep that corner is, the rendering makes it look wider than the pictures!

    1. What Video is that?

      1. It was in the roundup a day or 2 ago @petey84, not specifically made for the race, but the guy who posted it gave details at what time what part of the track was shown in the video (apart from the rest of it which was showing off the rest of Azerbajian)

  3. That actually looks pretty interesting! Will be great to have a genuine street race other than Monaco on the calendar.

    1. more so because it looks like your able to pass on it,
      Monaco is the most boring track every year, round and round it go’s till it finishes, only time Monaco is good is when it rains on and off otherwise useless.

      1. I like your comment, everyone bags a track because it is new and tilke designed, some some of the old tracks are no better. Monaco is one of the worst tracks f1 has seen for racing quality, but it has “historical value”

    2. Actually I think we already have enough street tracks @watty. It’s Formula 1 and not Formula E.

      Bring us proper race tracks. COTA is a good example of how Tilke and his team can actually design a great track.

      1. What I meant, @jCost was it’s good to have proper street tracks like this rather than “street tracks” like Sochi/Valencia which have all of the bad properties of street tracks and none of the good.

      2. what makes a street tack not a proper race track in you mind? how do you correlate formula e to formula one in that comment? it might pan out Formula E has the better tracks then. what is a proper track to you? how is it different to a street track, they are all tracks, just different scenery.

        1. Formula E was designed for street racing.

          1. formula E doesn’t even go 120 mph and their pit stops consist of changing cars . oh yeah i like formula e so much i’d rather just play with myself instead.

            go karts go faster

      3. Completely disagree with you there @jcost .. why bring back normal tracks when 8/10 of Tilke’s last tracks have, to be blunt, sucked? We need another designer ASAP – with no competition Tilke is churning out boring tracks with boring corners, hilarious run-off and no elevation changes. The FIA should open up a track design competition or something, it’s just a joke now. As you say COTA is a good circuit, as was Istanbul (shame no-one ever bought tickets), but most of the time Tilke simply dissapoints. At least street circuits remove a lot of his freedom, and force for certain great corners…

        1. @timi I was just assuming as long Bernie is there Tilke will be responsible for any new track. I hate monopolies but I just highlighted that COTA is a great track and given similar circumstances Tilke team can design a good track, and as you pointed out when there’s freedom (COTA and Istanbul) results tend to be better… on the other hand, their street circuits are very disappointing.

  4. ColdFly F1 (@)
    14th October 2014, 9:52

    Deja Vu all over again!

  5. I like turn 9 and 10 – there’s cobbles there in real life though they should send them over those!

  6. If something happens in the narrow section we’ll have a real traffic jam.

    1. nah, Maldonado will just plow through and she will be all go again.

  7. It looks way better than Singapore or Valencia.
    It reminds me the Macau street circuit, with the mix between fast section and ‘old town’ slow section. I doubt this track could be as good as Macau (wich is maybe the best street circuit in the world), but I think/hope it could be interesting.

  8. This is not okay. Last time I checked the FIA rules state that minimum circuit width needs to be 10m. Monaco gets a special relaxation, because it’s Monaco, but having sections of circuit this narrow with blind corners is a massive safety concern.

    1. Also that straight looks pretty fast for cars travelling on a real road – with all its imperfections etc. I hope they’re at least considering a brake failure into turn one.

    2. Boo hoo!

    3. I don’t the point of that section. It’s not rall, it’s not Goodwood Festival of speed either. What’s the point of including a trafic jam point?

      On the other hand, parts of “the key circuit” look very interesting.

    4. I think it might be 12 metres, but I’m not sure if it applies the same for temporary circuits.

  9. Now that looks like a proper street circuit.

    Elevation changes rather than flat is in my opinion always a plus, also front runners meeting slower cars in the tight twisty area means getting strategy right is more important, and maybe also more desperate overtaking will ensure too.

    It may prove to be procesional, but so is Monaco, yet there is always a sense things could change at any corner and this track looks like it could produce a similar feeling, unlike the last race.

    Just have to wait and see, but looks promising.

  10. So after the grotesque Putin Grand Prix we’ll have another vanity project F1 in Azerbaijan. How depressing.

  11. Well at least it’s anti-clockwise. Could you imagine them arriving at the first few corners (turns, 18, 19, 20) doing 340 at the start of the race?!

    This does look exciting, and slightly terrifying, but we’ll wait and see.

    1. I think for that very reason it should be Clockwise!! That would be a real test of a drivers skill, and would make for some great racing. Instead we just get to see one really long straight with corners at the beginning which will be taken flat out and have no impact at all. Shame IMO.

      1. Agreed, it would really separate the men from the boys, and would be incredible to watch. Sadly we won’t see it which is a shame.

  12. At the final part of the track, when will they begin going flat out to the start/finish line? Is it from after Turn 16 itself, or as I presume, after Turn 18, with a slight lift for Turn 18? Any idea how long (time and length) the drivers will be on the pedal?

    1. I’m not sure, just had a look on google maps, certainly looks like from 16 as I should imagine the kink should be flat. Actually if you look at google maps the image of narrowness is misleading, it’s only a very small section. Starts getting narrow tight right at #7 then turns #8,#9,#10 and #11 might as well call that a chicane, then it widens to at least 4 lanes again, so could prove to be quite fast.

    2. @himmatsj Looking at the width of road available to them there, I suspect they could make it flat out if they choose to. However they may decide to make it narrower at that point to restrict the cars’ speed, as they’ve done at several points around the Singapore track.

  13. Looks like a poorly thought out fictional street circuit from an unlicenced video game.

    1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
      14th October 2014, 11:04


  14. I am actually quite excited by what I have seen so far. Most Tilke circuits tend to have a tight slow corner before the start/finish line (Yas Marina, Sochi, COTA, Buddh International Circuit, Valencia, Sepang etc). This tends to ruin the climax of a race when you have two people fighting for position on the last lap and all they need to do is defend into the last corner and the place is theirs. This nearly 2 mile long flat out run to the finish line will hopefully generate more entertainment then DRS ever has.

    Also, the contrast between the tight slow sections should pose a challenge to the teams of finding the right setup for the slow sections, and the extremely fast section. Although it may be as straight forward as use as little down force as possible, defend in tight sections and then tear away down the straight.

    I didn’t expect to, but I am actually looking forward to this “European” Grand Prix.

  15. What is the fascination with street circuits. Monaco race is usually boring, unless it rains. Valencia was horrible, Singapore relies on it being a night race, take that away and it is again boring. All the street races they tried in the past in the US were hopeless and dangerous. And we have just had the most boring race for several years in Sochi, rate the race proves that.

    Street circuits, no thanks.

    1. I agree, if you want a GP then do the decent thing and build a proper GP circuit as most street races are rubbish.

    2. Ok, Singapore and Valencia are boring. So is Sochi, except turn 3. In fact, street circuits with a majority of 90° corners are boring and look all the same; this is often the case in US, because of the configuration of their streets.

      But I find Monaco great, even if races are usually boring: this track is an epic challenge for the drivers, where -barely- no mistake is allowed. And remember Adelaide, wich was great ! Outside F1, Macau or Pau are also very good tracks.

    3. Will the New Jersey race ever happen?

      1. probably not, no.

      2. Good God no. I remember the first time it was postponed in 2012 I said this will never happen and I’m happy to stick by that. By all means come back to this and slate me if it were to ever happen, sometime in the 2020s. ;)

    4. Samhainhell
      13th June 2015, 14:34

      Anything can happen if you have money.. Even making uninteresting circuits.. Countries host and capitalise on F1, even if they don´t care for the actual race..
      The objective of moving to cities is that it brings more money to everyone.. Well, money seems to talk higher than the “primitive” objective of racing..

  16. 6km? It’ll become the second longest track by the looks of it. It’s weird seeing the 2009 F1 cars again! I suppose the western part of the circuit doesn’t look too bad but the narrow 90-degree corners do not scream out brilliant racing.

  17. Those narrow corners look like the pit lane at Abu Dhabi.

    Doesn’t fill me with confidence, if I’m honest.

  18. Narrow streets never turn out well in Monaco, do they?

    I count about 11 corners that have the same or similar radius. They said there’s 20 corners, but about 3-4 of them look more like slight bends on a straight.

    I don’t have much confidence in this layout. I’m not bagging the Azerbaijan government, good on them for trying to promote their nation and its tourism, but I’m not gonna love watching this on TV.

  19. I wonder what are these designers paid for? Designing 90 degree turns?
    I really hope this circuit does not become a reality, almost all street tracks are boring. Cant there just be tracks like the A1 ring,Monza,Spa etc where there are no 90 degree stupid turns nor night races and still they are the most loved by us fans.
    BTW,when does Tilke retire ?

    1. Have you looked at the map?
      The street layout is almost exclusively 90 degree turns. What should Tilke do? Demolish whole blocks of the city?

    2. 3 of “A1 ring’s” 7 proper turns are practically 90 degrees

  20. sigh… how depressing, especially after an awful race in Russia. I think Bernie will move the British GP from Silverstone to London next and get the queen on the podium. Shame he didnt end up in prison…

    1. It has become just a show hasnt it these days. With the background surrounding being more important that overtaking and actual racing. Just freaking depressing to see.

      1. All that money to support the teams and the huge number of personal they have, engine costs etc all has to come from somewhere. Yes Bernie takes a huge slice but if he wasn’t hawking GPs to the highest bidders then we’d have much smaller team budgets, less tech and less car development.

      2. @graywizzard Try saying that when rewatching the Korean Grand Prix! But on the whole I agree.

    2. Hmm, let’s go back to the golden era shall we?

      Las Vegas (quite possibly the worst track of all time)
      Long Beach

      All utterly rubbish.

      There’s nothing new going on here. Countries wanting to host and capitalise on the publicity of F1 but not having any genuine motorsport interest to build a dedicated facility.

      The USA finally got round to it with CotA and what a fantastic circuit it is. Maybe we need a few goes at rubbish street circuits in the hope that they may evolve a proper interest in motorsport and a subsequent dedicated facility.

  21. el presidente
    14th October 2014, 12:30

    Is it just me, or does it look more or less the same as Sochi? that whole square is identical.

    well lets hope it becomes a new pau or macau… with big pile-ups, red-flags and SC’s around every corner..

    sochi was dramatic.. it is that the KGB will kill the drivers if they would be negative about it. ;)

  22. A (rather uninspiring) 90° corner-part, a narrow street circuit-part and a long twisting straight (T16–>T1) which should aid overtaking. I am not going to judge this now, but it looks interesting and it could potentially provide some good racing.

    1. I have the same opinion. It looks interesting, but as ever I have to reserve judgement until I’ve actually seen a lap on it.

  23. this is just so wrong in so many different ways…I have nothing more to say

  24. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    14th October 2014, 14:37

    Maldonado going through turns 9 and… no he didn’t manage to get turn 10. SC or red flag guaranteed.

  25. Another Bernie Eclestone’s deal. There is no limit to his greed. How I wish the manufacturers would disband. Formula 1 went from the the pinnacle of motor racing to BE’s whatever-i-want to make millions.


  26. Why don’t they use someone else besides Hermann Tilke?-Most of his tracks are soooo boring-Variety is the spice of life,surely!!!

  27. Pau meets Macau – for F1. Wow!
    Are they really going to build dedicated pits there? I guess they will be similar construction to Monaco pits.

  28. This will a new boring track.

  29. this looks awesome! especially that massive straight!

  30. F1 is going in the wrong way.

  31. The Baku circuit looks like a modern day Macau, it should be really epic.
    Easily the best looking street track ever!

  32. Tilke’s only redeemable track in the last 5 years has been COTA . Everything else , specifically sochi has been garbage .

    1. Did you not see the GP3 race on Sunday, it was amazing. The circuit is actually quite tough and the only reason why most people didn’t like the race was Pirelli’s fault for not getting surface info and going ultra conservative in regards to their tyre choice.

  33. I miss a formula1 track to be like a “real” formula1 track, not like “Tilke” formula1 track!!
    Nothing like SPA, Silvertone, Suzuka, Monza or old France circuit!

    1. Baku actually has nearly the same amount of elevation as Monaco. And no one complains when the racing in Monaco is as dull as dishwater.

  34. I do think Tilke gets some unfair criticism; It’s not his fault that Bernie has signed a deal to have a race in Baku. Nor is the existing street layout his fault. His hands are very much tied in terms of what he can do; I bet a lot of the layout designs itself because the pits can’t go just anywhere – likewise stands for spectators.

    Also, he gets stick when his circuits are deemed too sterile, and he’s getting stick here because this circuit seems to have a bit of danger to it – a very long, high-speed straight and a very narrow twisty bit.

    Just like Pirelli he can’t really win, can he?

  35. Horrible! HORRIBLE!

    Another track for boring races.

    1. Wow, you are calling a track horrible just based on a birds eye view image. That is sad.

      1. Forgot to mention that a true test of weather a circuit is boring or not is an actual race.

  36. How can Azerbaijan host the **EUROPEAN** Grand Prix…. Azerbaijan is properly Asia… What next the European GP being held in India ???

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