First onboard lap of Baku City Circuit revealed

2016 European Grand Prix

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The organisers of Azerbaijan’s new round of the world championship have produced the first onboard video lap of the Baku City Circuit.

Azerbaijaini racer Gulhuseyn Abdullayev drove a lap of the 20-turn, six-kilometre long layout. He named the narrow section around the historic city centre as one of the track’s most challenging featured.

“Turns eight to ten around Qosha Qala gates were particularly very interesting,” said Abdullayev. “I believe we will witness breath-taking moments during the race.”

This section of track will be among the narrowest on any F1 circuit at just 7.6 metres wide. “Driving through those turns is not easy at all,” Abdullayev added.

“The track was free for now, and did not require much effort from me, but during the race when there will be racing cars and slow moving pilots around or any incidents it will present a serious driving challenge for pilots.”

F1 cars are expected to lap the track at an average speed of 211kph (131.1mph), indicating a lap time of around 1’42.37.

The circuit will host the European Grand Prix from June 17th to 19th.

Baku City Circuit track map
Baku City Circuit track map

2016 European Grand Prix

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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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    82 comments on “First onboard lap of Baku City Circuit revealed”

    1. Looks a lot better and wider that I assumed!

      Turns 7,8 and 9 look insanely narrow though could be interesting!

      Quite looking forward to the race now! :)

      1. I agree. I think every driver will give a sigh of relief every time they arrive at Turn 12 with the car intact! Turn 15 looks to be off-camber as well as downhill – could be fun, but I wish there weren’t quite so many 90 degree turns though.

      2. @nemo87 Don’t be fooled by poor bloke – who doesn’t even seem to know exactly where the road goes or what gear he’s in at any moment – he just ran across a lot of pieces of tarmac which will be out of bounds, once the white lines will be pained and the kerbs will be placed. You can sometimes see little white spots on the inside of certain corners; that’s where the kerbs go. You can confirm this via the circuit’s previous official preview video which seems to show the same spots but with kerbs – consequently, you can safely check it for the actual white lines as well.

        In short, the Azeri driver did not follow the actual track boundaries in a lot of corners, making them look much wider and quicker.

        1. What I like about Baku the most, as a city, is that despite it being on the far side of the Caucasus and thus not in Europe in the strictest of terms (see the “European GP” label), its wide, tree-lined avenues, classical buildings and inner city castle still make it a lot like Paris or Budapest, and thus entirely European in terms of style.

    2. So the whole idea behind building this track was to showcase Baku’s old town? At least that’s the impression I got from it

      1. Baku`s old town is located on the sea shore and relatively flat, while modern blocks are located on the slopes of the hills

      2. It does look much quicker than your average street circuit. Monaco and Singapore are 160kph and 170kph on average speed and even the Hungaroring is just 190kph whereas this does have the potential to be 210kph, as suggested, perhaps even more. So it’s quite unique, it has character (it’s quick.)

    3. Well, it’s pretty. Not sure how the racing will be.

      1. @davids In terms of passes, it’ll surely deliver. Turns 18 and 19 will be flat-out (Turn 20, the little kink after the left-right flick as well, obviously) and so it’s indeed a massive 2km long straight.

        It’s a grinding approach to just build a straight long enough to ensure overtaking (you can, after all, do the preceding corners right, a la Silverstone Arena and you can do a lot of things with the remaining track length as a bonus), but it’s one way of making sure it works.

        1. @atticus-2

          so it’s indeed a massive 2km long straight

          Honda was doomed right from the beginning…

          1. @kingshark Haha, good one. (Both Renault and Honda clawed back a huge chunk of their 2015 top speed deficit so it’s a bit of an ‘outdated’ joke, but it still sits.)

            I just measured it, by the way, using Google Earth and it should be right around 2000m full throttle not counting the very beginning and very end of it, the acceleration and braking zones. It’s 1990m that I measured, but given that nothing is given with such a new track (no markers, no previous laps to go by), it could easily be 1960m or 2030m. How grand.

      2. I agree. Beautiful buildings, and I like the trees too.

    4. That was terrible. I hope that this is interspersed with chicanes or something, because that’s just a bunch of long straights separated by 90 degree corners.

      1. I absolutely agree, it seemed to be the most boring track of the season.

        The driver was described as a “racer”. Well he might be but certainly not in cars! On almost every straight he lifted and coasted and generally made little attempt tp get the maximum from the car.

        I will probably watch it (because someone else is picking up the tab) but I am not looking forward to it.

        1. You did notice that there are track workers all around the circuit, right?
          The barriers are not fully closed, cranes are on the track, dust on track…

          1. Plus it’s the first ever lap, which is relatively rarely done full-throttle

        2. @accidental-mick It only feels that way because the driver was going intentionally slowly with the track’s safety features not being complete yet, it was filmed roughly 6 weeks before the race

        3. @accidental-mick He didnt even try to push.

        4. The commentator was described as a “fan”. Well he might certainly be but not of racing! At almost every opportunity to realize this was a demonstration lap on an incomplete circuit this “fan” failed to realize and get the maximum from his commentary.

    5. This circuit looks quite interesting from the initial onboard lap.

    6. ColdFly F1 (@)
      3rd June 2016, 9:59

      seems very bumpy!
      And amazing how long they are on the various straights; especially between 16 and 5.

      1. The slow speeds enhance the long straights. These will mostly blink by at F1 speeds – over 200mph on some right?

    7. I’m quite looking forward to this. The track has a bit on an Indycar/FE feel to it, and that’s Ok to me as it’s therefore different from most other tracks on the calendar. From the onboard the track actually looks pretty dangerous, and I suspect it will be challenging to keep it out of the barriers all weekend.

    8. I love it

    9. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      3rd June 2016, 10:20

      I think its always wise to reserve true judgement until the actual thing, but first impressions are a little lukewarm.

      It looks pretty – the trees and the old buildings are gorgeous and I think it’ll certainly be one of the nicest looking circuits on the calendar… but I really don’t think it’s going to do much as a race. It reminds me a lot of Monaco, Sochi and Valencia, and all of them are terminally boring unless rain or someone crashes. Now looking at how narrow the track seems to be I think safety cars are all but a certainty, but if people don’t bin it in the wall I can’t see how people are going to overtake on that track. You know, actually race?

      I mean I could be wrong but it looks like it’s going to be a super-expensive and pretty procession. I do hope not though as it does look really nice.

      1. @rocketpanda What? You don’t feel that with numerous long straights followed by slow corners they’ll be able to overtake? If they’re won’t overtake there, they won’t overtake anywhere

    10. It’s decent. More of a Formula E circuit than a Formula 1 circuit, but definitely better than dull tracks such as Abu Dhabi and Russia.

    11. Surface seems slippery

      1. Miguel Bento
        3rd June 2016, 13:00

        It’s a new tarmac, plus they were using rain tyres (why?)

        1. They usually use rain tyres on occasions like this. I guess it helps to clear the dust or something, should also help a lot getting heat into the tyres.

          1. It helps keep any would be “heroes” in check.

    12. Another Valencia?

    13. Well, that is going to suck. Narrow and full of 90-left, 90-right.

    14. How can you guys even compare this to Valencia?

      This is a proper street circuit, in the heart of the city. With big elevation changes & bumps, wide sections opposed to Macau-like segments and the longest straight F1 ever had, with Monza-like speeds between the walls.

      I’m very excited for this, i think it could allow good racing too.

    15. Reserving judgement until the first race(s), but… it looks like a combination of Phoenix and Valencia. Since there aren’t any road markings, it’s impossible to have a final verdict about the layout, but a few observations:
      – T2 looked surprisingly tight. And the following two straights were surprisingly long, perhaps even an overtaking opportunity or two?
      – Exit of T12 has Singapore style kerb “in the middle of the road”; if it’s flat look for drivers just ignoring it and running close to the wall
      – T15 without any road markings looked mightily fast, however, in all the maps it looks much slower.
      – The kinks on the front straight looked tighter than in the maps, especially T19.

      1. The driver just cut T15. There should be kerbs or something that will make that turn tighter.

    16. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      3rd June 2016, 11:09

      It looks like Singapore, just with a bit more Orientalist tourism appeal and none of the floodlight appeal.

      Just in case any of you fancy a trip to Baku for the race, perhaps first read Freedom House’s latest report on Bernie’s newest friends:

      …what an amateur al-Khalifa is…

      1. Good link, thanks :)

    17. Looks cool, Very fast & a lot wider than I was expecting in places.

    18. Reminds me of Montjuich… the track seems exaggerately dangerous. With most corners being 90-degree turns, the escape roads will end with flat tyre barriers, and though there is more room than in Monaco, the higher speeds give me the feeling of “more vulnerable”, including to the city itself. I hope the castle is wrapped up in tyres! Incidents can occur on the straights too, and as the barriers were not completed I’ll trust the judgement of the organisers and wait to see the circuit on race day.

      1. Exactly my thoughts, at 1:46 a driver can go straight onto the castle tower, that will need more barriers and making it even narrower. And any other corner in the circuit a misjudgement can end up in carnage. I suspect we will have a high number of DNF there.

        1. Fast, crazy dangerous. Long straights and 90° corners.
          Remind me Phoenix, correct, but straights are longer.

          I definitely don’t like it. 350 kph in between the walls and hystorical buildings is absolutely crazy.

        2. My First thought was ‘shunting a Hightech Carbonfibre f1 into a hundreds of years old castle- its just glorious :D’
          I do Think this Part will be quite Slow, so maybe they’ll leave It?
          Also First Street Circuit that actually feels It since Monaco. Properly excited actually.

    19. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
      3rd June 2016, 12:05

      This looks hazardous to say the least. I not only fear for the safety of drivers and mostly the marshals but also for the surroundings and people there in general.

      And furthermore: This track is the symbol for the discrepancy in how FOM/Bernie care for F1, it’s safety and the racing. On one hand some tracks get converted to boring parking lots and the cost for enhancing safety makes it unprofitable to host a F1 race and on the other hand hazardous courses like this are being raced on to “entertain” rich and bored autocrats and oligarchs – no word about safety there.

      Halo, Canopy, kilometer-wide tarmac runoff-areas etc. are being discussed but it’s all unnecessary as long as the drivers are put into situations like racing this Baku-Circuit.

      1. You understand the track is not finished? Barriers are not there, not even kerbs. When completed it will look more like Monaco.

        1. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
          3rd June 2016, 12:20

          Yes I do. I am not referring to the work-in-progress state shown in this video but to the general feeling I get when seeing this. Imagine how narrow Turn 8 will be when barriers etc. are up and imagine how hard and dangerous it’ll be for marshals if they have to clean debris there. Just as an example.

          1. @wildrover84 Oh dear, just wrap everything in bubblewrap and make the cars radio controlled.

            1. Just because this track is excessively dangerous doesn’t mean we all want to make racing excessively safe.

    20. Looks incredibly dull. I expected the castle section to be more twisty. It appears to be full throttle, 90 degree turn and full throttle. Valencia looks more challenging.
      I’m looking forward to the race and hope I’m wrong.

    21. The last sector will be insanely fast…..

    22. Reminds me of the “London” street circuit from the Gran Turismo series of games. Has potential, but feels like there’s a lot of wasted straights followed by very tight turns– going to be really difficult to overtake next year.

    23. Looks not too bad. Reminds me of those old American street circuits. If only it was on another day I would definitely watch the race there, but unfortunately FIA/FOM have decided to compete with the greatest race of them all. Maybe next year.

    24. it looks so boring

    25. I`ve been in Baku few times, I`m sure it will be beautiful race, the only drawback will be VERY hot and humid weather in June, and turn 8-11 looks like a great place for a pile up, actually there`s very noticeable elevation change in that place…

    26. This circuit will give us one hell of a race!

      The fast sections will mean that drivers will have big compromise to make on down-force so they don’t get passed on those long straights. There will be overtaking and no need for DRS.

      There is potential for aircraft style accidents in a few places though, with cars launched it the big braking zones.

      F1 needed a circuit like this. In indycar there are Super Speedways, Short ovals, Road Courses and Street Circuits. To win a championship a driver/car combo has to work on all of them. F1 circuits are so similar the status quo is rarely upset. The Old Hockenhiem required a very different setup and this was good! I hope Baku provides the same challenge.

    27. WOW. the run from turn 16 to turn 1 could be all flat out in an f1 car. that’s a massive stretch!

    28. This seems like it could actually be one hell of a track. Exciting to drive definitely. Such a great potential for high speeds among the tight walls. I’m really looking forward to this one.

    29. Turn 1-6 seem really boring, all 90-degrees.

    30. Oh, and @keith, it seems the map on this page is actually wrong as T3-4 has been moved one block further down the road (see

    31. 90 degrees corners and straights… the interesting complex 8-9-10 (because of the castle) can’t save nothing… Boring!

    32. I will be happy if my first reaction is wrong, but like many are saying this seems like Valencia and Sochi, and both were/are horrible in my opinion. City circuits can be interesting, but it takes the right layout. A flat part of town with a bunch of boulevard straights and 90deg corners is not it. I’m not holding out much hope.

      Aside: Parts of it (the turn by the castle) remind me of an old street rally circuit in Gran Turismo 4–Citta di Aria–but that’s a tenuous connection.

    33. Watch it now before the FOM takedown!

      1. Why would the FOM take this down? There is no F1 anything in this video besides the track which has no sponsorship and stuff like that.

    34. petebaldwin (@)
      3rd June 2016, 17:37

      Pros: A proper street race. Valencia, for example, was around some dock roads and Singapore is on multi-lane wider roads. This is around narrow streets with buildings tight to the track. It’s much faster than Monaco but retains it’s claustrophobic nature. Also, there are plenty of overtaking spots.

      Cons: Lots of 90 degree bends at the start of the lap and what happens when someone ploughs into the castle?

      1. @petebaldwin If that happens, I guess he’ll have to stay in the hospital for the knight.

        1. Ba-Dum-Tss!

    35. What was he driving? It sounded like my Dad’s old Atkinson Borderer.

    36. There’s 8 (or 9) corners on that track, not 20.

      “7” – “12” will be the most boring single file slow speed puttering ever seen on TV because they have to set up for top speed, low dowforce for the ridiculous straights.

      Power obviously wins here over aero so congratulations Mercedes 1-2

      1. @uneedafinn2win Ever heard of mechanical grip? So hello Red Bull!

      2. Points for Manor :)

    37. Sure looks like an X Box track.

    38. I’m going to wait to judge this track until I see a full race. It looks scenic but very tight. I’m looking forward to the race.

    39. Clearly there’s a strong motorsport tradition in this country if it’s producing drivers of this calibre…
      No French Grand Prix on the calendar, Germany and Italy under threat, and Bernie is taking us to Azerbaijan of all places.
      F1 is abandoning its fan base, and wondering why constant rule changes aren’t fixing its plummeting viewership. Let’s have a return to the traditional, classic venues and ditch all these deep-pocketed dilettantes.

    40. I still think safety is going to be a major concern….

    41. another monaco, don’t expect much overtaking in this race…

    42. Nice city. Idiot idea tu race there. Bad circuit.

    43. This circuit is a safety and security nightmare despite being the most boring track ever. Bernie finally managed to let his greed create a huge threat. Be warned.

    44. Sometimes it’s clear on the video that the wheel does not rotate. And all the time there is no suspension movement.

    45. Lots of tree’s severely overhanging the circuit, does anywhere else have that currently? I hope they pre-shake them to loosen dead branches!

    46. Well, in battle of extremely corrupted regimes’s circuits, Baku wins. Looks great, I hope the racing will be even better.

    47. A pretty looking area, looks like southern France. Turns 8-11 look like a lot fun especially at race pace. Can’t wait till Sunday!

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