Baku City Circuit, 2016

Drivers compare new Baku track to Valencia and Macau

2016 F1 season

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The Baku City Circuit resembles the previous home of the European Grand Prix in Valencia, according to Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat.

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Valencia, 2012
Kvyat compared Baku to Valencia…
However his team mate Carlos Sainz Jnr likened it to the Guia circuit which is the home of the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix.

After driving the circuit in the simulator Kvyat says the most impressive feature of the circuit is the long, flat-out run to turn one. He also picked out the narrow section around the old city centre as a distinctive part of the lap.

“This track reminds me a bit of the Valencia street circuit,” said Kvyat.

“We drive through the city’s historic centre, which looks like being a very tight section, where we will need to be very precise,” he explained.

“There’s another fast section through turns 13, 14 and 15 and I think the braking into turn 15 will be quite tricky… We will see when we get there. After that you arrive at turn 16, a medium-speed 90-degree turn, and you don’t brake again until you reach the first corner.”

Sainz also picked out turn 15 as one of the more challenging bends on the track but said the track reminded him more of Macau than Valencia.

“From turn five onwards it starts to get very interesting,” he said. “It reminds me a lot of the Macau circuit: the section from turn seven to twelve is very similar to its tight section, while the long straight that goes from the exit of turn 16 all the way to turn one is very like its straight.”

Max Verstappen, F3, Macau, 2014
…whereas Sainz likened it to Macau
Fernando Alonso, who is an ambassador for the Baku track, says it has “similar characteristics” to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve where F1 raced on Sunday.

“This circuit is a great mix of both worlds,” he said, “and as the fastest of any previous street track I’m excited for the challenge and to see what’s possible in these kinds of conditions, where everything is a little bit unknown.”

“I’ve already driven the track on the simulator and there’s certainly a lot that makes it unique – medieval walls close to the edge of the newly-laid asphalt, anti-clockwise corners, minimal run-off – so it seems to have all of the ingredients to give us a bit of drama and the prospect of exciting racing.”

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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41 comments on “Drivers compare new Baku track to Valencia and Macau”

  1. “This track reminds me a bit of the Valencia street circuit,” said Kvyat.

    But.. Kvyat has never driven at Valencia, right?

    1. @andae23 He did in GP3 in 2013, but never in F1.

          1. Why drive a track on the simulator you’ll never drive on in real life?

          2. To give Red Bull information about the track they can use to aid their set-up and development work – Daniil has been in the Red Bull scheme for a fair while, and Red Bull expects contributions to simulator work from early in the single-seater career.

    2. @andae23 – Good catch. But of course he hasn’t driven at Baku either… I think he’s just comparing simulated tracks.

      1. @tribaltalker That or it’s made up by the PR guy…

    3. He actually did in Formula BMW Europe in 2010. Sainz was also in competing in that series.

      1. @bleu Ah mystery solved, thanks

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        15th June 2016, 8:13

        Thanks @bleu‘; solid piece of ‘investigative journalism’.

  2. “long, flat-out run to turn one”.

    Let’s hope for another Mercedes start for a good fight for the lead through the race

    1. According to the Baku City Circuit website, the Start – Finish line is fairly close to Turn 1. It looks like maybe 200 metres or so distance.

    2. That’s long straight, Mercedes can regain the lead before turn 1

      1. and then take each other out on turn 2 ;)

  3. At least Macau has more historic value than those two.

    1. In 40 years Baku will has the potential to be historic, you have to start at some point or is this track marked down just because it is new? It is that opinion which gives historic teams special payments.

      1. You think the regime there is going to pay that much dollar and close down key parts of the city centre for months (to tarmac the cobbles and then remove it each year) for 40 years? Not a chance.

        1. That’s a question that can only be answered over time. I do not think so but cannot predict the future.

  4. My concern having seen the slow paced video of this circuit is will we have massive pileups if cars that touch each other or walls. Looks like little space to get around any mishaps and it made me hope for fault free racing but who knows…

    1. Like I already mentioned in several other Baku posts, the thing that concerns me is the sudden transition of a wide track into a narrow course. Yes it does not look like a sudden transition but with F1 speeds this happens in a second or two. So I’m really afraid the more aggresive drivers are going to make mistakes or underestimate something and create a huge mess at this spot.
      I would guess Hamilton, Cheko or Kyvat would be the best candidates for this incident, but I really hope they don’t lock up or do something crazy.

      1. Rosberg, Vettel, Grojean arent immune either, drop a few grains of wheat, and let the seagulls dictate the corners…

      2. Hamilton? Perez? 2 drivers on the podium in Monaco which has barely any run off. They will be as good if not better than anyone else in this regard.

        Wide track into narrow…these guys are top level and manage the tunnel at Monaco into a chicane very well, the TT riders carry huge speed on bumpy roads into villages so these F1 drivers will be fine. If we worry about this we cannot complain about tracks with huge run offs that look like they were marked out in an airport carpark.

        1. Good point, yes they have the skills to pull it off, but if they are racing someone head to head before turn 8 I worry they are are going to be the last person to back out and give that position to the other driver. Definitely can’t wait to see how drivers will react to that part of the track.

          1. Yeah I think the challenge this track appears to pose should be celebrated when many complain of huge run offs. Drivers have to respect the track boundaries here as there is little room for error. I am intrigued.

  5. I would facepalm if FIA put a lengthy DRS zone on the start finish straight that is already 2 km in length. It would make overtaking far too easy. DRS can go somewhere else.

    1. @kingshark “DRS can go somewhere else.”

      The scrap heap!

    2. For sure it will be smack bang middle of that straight

  6. How many anti clockwise circuits do we have at the moment? Think it’s laudable for that factor alone, but let’s wait and see.

  7. Why did they had to make it so long? I would love to see F1 on a streetcircuit doing 1 minute Indycar-like laptimes.
    The same with Singapore by the way, looks nice, but I just think it’s to long.

    1. @franco Sorry, worst idea! Short laps mean short straights and tight corners. Umm… Monaco anyone? Nearly always a procession – anachronistic, overrated millionaires playground.

      We want big, long complex laps, Singapore for example. It looks like Baku is cross between them…

      F1 at the Nordschleife please! Failing that, Mount Panorama or how about the Isle of Man TT circuit? :)

      1. @psynrg that’s flawed. interlagos is a very short lap and the race benefits because there are many more opportunities for drivers to go through each challenge/overtaking point. also it’s better for those at the track because you see more action. 14 laps at the nurburgring vs. 72 laps at interlagos.

        there are many circuits that would benefit from a serious trim. you say short laps mean short straights and tight corners – ever been to thruxton?

        1. Exactly! I love Interlagos. Fantastic circuit.

  8. These are some photos of the new Baku City Circuit that the F1 will be heading to this weekend.

    http://media.f1i.com/seasons/13084-baku-city-circuit.html

    Looks very interesting, there are some tight parts of the circuit that’ll really test the drivers.

    I’m looking forward to this weekend.

  9. Is it possible that turn 16 is the final braking zone and just full throttle from then on?

    1. LovelyLovelyLuffield
      15th June 2016, 10:10

      I think so, yeah. From exit of 16 it’s basically foot down to T1, about 35% to 40% of the race on full chat.

      1. I haven’t heard that phase in years – makes me quite nostalgic.

  10. Fernando Alonso is an ambassador for the Baku track? Does that mean he gets paid a lot of money to just give nice opinions?

  11. Then it will be very boring.

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