‘Why don’t they make street circuits like they used to?’ – Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton hankers after classic street circuits as F1 prepares to race for the first time at the Baku City Circuit.

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Will the Baku City Circuit be a worthwhile addition to the F1 calendar? Let’s give it the benefit of the doubt for now:

I am actually looking forward to this one and happy to give it a chance before we write it off. It does look funny as a design and maybe a Phoenix, Arizona early 90’s feel (with the 90-degree corners) but its gonna be real fast and tight around the castle, so here is hoping for a good circuit for us all.

There have been too many new ones in the past 10 years or so that certainly have not produced as a circuit – Sochi looks good on paper, it’s all new and clean, but it’s so boring. South Korea and Turkey had pretty good circuits, but nobody went, Valencia looked great for a back drop in a James Bond film, but not a good circuit, and the worst for me is Abu Dhabi – I cant stand it!

So I am pumped for this one. Hope not to be disappointed.


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76 comments on “‘Why don’t they make street circuits like they used to?’ – Hamilton”

  1. Lewis Hamilton: Seems to be a future Formula E competitor

    1. @esmiz I really don’t understand your comment.

      1. Formula E generally race on tight street circuits in the middle of cities. Hamilton wants to race on tight street circuits. Ergo, Hamilton would like to race in Formula E.

        1. @selbbin thank you for enlighting me.

      1. you guys have no clue as to what makes a racer a racer. your comments are ridiculous…hamilton wants a circuit that has passion and drama. not a couple of straightaways linked through some tight stuff in the city. get it yet??

        1. There is absolutely nothing that would indicate Baku could not have both those things right now.

          1. Other than the onboard lap I’ve seen. Granted, the driver wasn’t really wailing on it, but still, it felt like lots and lots and lots of straights with a few 90’s, and one or two interesting turns.

        2. ColdFly F1 (@)
          16th June 2016, 6:14

          chill @_Fast; it’s just a witty lighthearted comment.

        3. Andy (@andybantam)
          16th June 2016, 8:33



          I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said “better someone think you’re a fool…” etc etc…

        4. I guess you don’t follow Formula E by the sound of it

        5. From Ted Kravitz, Ted’s Notebook Canada

          “Lewis, when in the car, has no principles”

          Is this what makes a racer?

          1. Senna invented no morals racing, Schumacher copied and Hamilton is not the only modern driver like this so yes the modern champion driver is like this due to dirty Senna.

          2. So sick of hearing comments like that about Senna. Was he perfect? No. But he was far more genius than dirty. It was Schumacher that took dirty to a whole new level and kept it there for his career and used ‘Senna did it’ as an excuse to not take a higher road and be better. Hamilton is a relative angel compared to MS.

    2. I´m not blaming Hamilton comments, I´m pointing a fact, if Lewis likes street race tracks, formula E have plenty of this. I like Formula E.

  2. I think when it comes to street circuits, it’s a good question why they aren’t made like Monaco anymore.

    It’s important to note that Monaco only exists on the calendar “because it’s Monaco”. That is to say, it’s history and glamour adds to the value of F1, to the point where (I believe) Bernie lets them have the race for free.

    The reality is, as I found when trying to design a similar street circuit in Bilbao, that having a such a tight circuit is not practical for many reasons, such as the logistical side of Monaco is a nightmare, and in many cities closing roads of a similar layout to Monte Carlo would be a nightmare too, and would completely block key areas. When street circuits are made now they are able to design the layout such that traffic won’t be an enormous issue.

    Furthermore, it’s no secret that Monaco not only produces incredibly boring races, but also simply wouldn’t meet safety standards if it were a new track. They cannot design such circuits now sadly.

    1. @strontium Monaco does current not pay any hosting fees, but I believe there’s constant ducking and diving between FOM and the race management – Bernie understands Monaco’s heritage status but wants to charge them an arm and a leg because he knows they can easily afford it, but Prince Albert II obviously would rather not pay for it, understanding as he does how the event is a blue ribband event for F1, hence why Bernie orchestrated the Monaco-substitute of the Singapore night race.

      Recently, he made comments about Monaco’s payment status and in a surprisingly timed push-back, some Monaco real-estate developers were thrust into the limelight with a proposal that would effectively kill the GP, because it would be situated on/next to Rascasse & Antony Noghes, which are obviously crucial to completing the circuit.

      Whether such a threat being made public was helped by Bernie or someone to do with the Monaco promoter isn’t clear, but the fact that Joe Saward covered it means it wasn’t put out there by Sylt or one of Bernie’s other press monkeys.

      1. @optimaximal When I read Saward’s column, I tried to find more info on the possible development deal in Monaco, without much luck. Do you know if there has been any more news or movement on that? It’s hard to imagine that a developer would be able to get the necessary approval on a project that would wind up killing the F1 race.

    2. ColdFly F1 (@)
      16th June 2016, 6:24

      a good question why they aren’t made like Monaco anymore

      @strontium, I dug deep to think of other street circuits where Fi races/raced. I can’t think of any which looks like Monaco.
      Most are like Melbouren/Montreal (city parks) or Valencia/Sochi(?)/and maybe Singapore (modern, straights, no soul).
      Which are the (recent) circuits which are like Monaco and would probably fit Hamilton’s idea of a great city circuit?

      1. @coldfly, if those are the criteria that you are setting, then you’re probably going to really struggle to find any candidates.

        I presume that you would class the Adelaide street circuit as being similar to Melbourne’s Albert Park, so at that point you’re probably looking at venues like Phoenix or Detroit, though pretty much all of the teams and drivers of that era really hated those venues (though not as much as the Caesars Palace Grand Prix from the early 1980’s, considered one of the worst circuits that the sport has ever gone to, whilst Dallas’s circuit was also very unpopular).

        Really about the only circuit that I can think of that would match your targets would be Long Beach, which fell off the calendar in the early 1980’s. However, even if the sport wanted to, I don’t believe that they could use that circuit – the IndyCar series forced the event organisers to sign a “do not compete” clause that banned them from holding an F1 race at that circuit because it is one of IndyCar’s most successful events.

    3. I never find Monaco boring a car on its own round there is a spectacle without the need for overtaking. It is unique. Baku looks to have a very tight Monaco like section and enormous straights for overtaking in terms of philosophy an original Hockenheim but a street circuit.

  3. “Hamilton doesn’t like circuit” is up there with “Bernie threatens GP venue” for most common headline.

      1. Small teams lodge complaint

    1. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      16th June 2016, 8:29

      …along with…

      “Privateer team in trouble”

      “Bernie wants race in highly inappropriate country”

      “Dennis or Alonso predicting imminent greatness for McLaren-Honda”

      “Helmut Marko saying something negative”

    2. Andy (@andybantam)
      16th June 2016, 8:34

      Red Bull threaten to leave unless…

    3. William Jones
      16th June 2016, 9:09

      Mercedes asked to comment on conspiracy theory

    4. “Ferrari/Red Bull can challenge Mercedes this weekend, says Wolff”

      1. Beat me to it.

    5. “Button to decide McLaren future”
      “Benson posts same Button non-story on BBC site yet again”

      1. “British Fans Decide Which Countries are Acceptable”

    6. So Hamilton complains about new circuits. Well he’s right, isn’t he? Generally they’re dull, dull, dull. Especially when we all imagine what they could be like. But hey, the F1 Supremo decides these venues on how much cash he can rake in from the latest dictatorship trying to polish its image, not on motor racing factors. And Formula One wonders why it has a problem…

  4. Singapore is a proper street circuit. I really love the long, endurance aspect to the both lap times and Grand Prix as a whole. Mentally and physically draining with all the turns and fairly close barriers. It isn’t a Monaco clone by any means, but it really does look a modern challenge. The night gimmick works well for it too.

    I feel Singapore is the best street or urban circuit they’ve added to the calendar in the 2000s.

    1. Completely agree. And before modifying the Singapore Sling turn was even better.

    2. BJ (@beejis60)
      16th June 2016, 3:06

      RIP singapore sling

      1. I’ll fourth that! I love Singapore for the endurance aspect

    3. I agree too. I rate it higher than Monaco in all aspects.

  5. “Monaco is the street circuit. And they don’t make them like that. I don’t why they don’t, but why don’t they just make street circuits like they used to?”

    I’m pretty sure that if the exact Monaco circuit layout was made by Tilke in 2016 and located in Asia somewhere, it would be the most universally hated circuit to ever grace the F1 calendar.

    Street circuits are typically not good for racing but offer a unique set of challenges. Singapore in my opinion is one of the best designed street circuits in a very long time. It is incredibly demanding, but also not too bad for wheel to wheel racing.

    Much like Piquet Sr, I still infinitely prefer proper racing circuits though.

    1. Jimmy Price
      16th June 2016, 2:15

      So does his son.

    2. Piquet Sr never liked street circuits, except for Adelaide. Monaco, Long Beach, any of the 80’s American street circuits- he didn’t like any of them.

      1. Go to 1:00 of this video:

        What is your favorite circuit?
        “I prefer proper circuits like here or Silverstone, or Brands Hatch. I don’t like street circuits” – Nelson Piquet Sr.

        I didn’t imply that he was bad at street circuits or anything. I just said that Piquet, on several occasions, explicitly stated that he disliked street circuits. He also compared driving around Monaco with “riding a bicycle in your living room”.

        1. I know what you meant; he didn’t like driving on street circuits. Piquet Sr in his time seemed to do best at power circuits like Monza, Hockenheim or Imola, even though his first GP victory was at Long Beach in 1980.

      2. As a viewer, I’m not a bit Monaco fan either. Not being my fave circuit, I’d take Singapore over Monaco.

  6. A proper street circuit? Like the Targa Florio? Or Pescara? Bremgarten? Gavea in Rio de Janeiro? The Mille Miglia? The Carrera Panamericana? The Montenero circuit? Or even more recently Adelaide? I agree, Lewis.

    What street circuits really miss nowadays is the bumps and undulations, and general driver’s challenge. But safety regulations today would never allow it and no one would take a chance or have the money to marshal such circuits (The Mille
    Miglia and Carrera Panamericana don’t really apply here, but I thought I should bring it up.)

    1. I also include Long Beach in that list.

    2. We’re talking LeMans so you could put that in there and also the original SPA. I guess there’s no news so we get to read the most uninteresting questions, drivers had to answer.

      1. Yes, that is true. And what is even more annoying is that Hamilton comes up with dimwitted, but agreeable answers. I would also include Macau, Montjuic Park and Pedralbes circuit in Barcelona (although Pedralbes was very similar in layout and style to this new Baku circuit). Le Mans and the old Spa circuits were rural circuits as opposed to Monaco (but then, so was nearly all of the Targa anyway).

        My ultimate dream in regards to F1 racing on city streets is to have a race in Hong Kong on a street circuit in the hills there. Hong Kong has some of the most astonishing roads I’ve seen in any major city- very similar to Macau’s roads, actually.

    3. I think you’ve got streets and roads mixed up. There is a significant difference.

      1. Yes you are right but some of those races utilized city streets and public rural roads.

    4. F1 car round the TT course?

      Nordschleiffe is a public toll road so that should be included?

      I’don’t clarify them road races a street circuit has to be in the middle of a built up area.

      Not too long ago there was only really Monaco now we have a few Street circuits why not road races. Le Mans? Part road part track.

  7. Macau? All F1 drivers had driven in Macau street circuit before. It can be made glamourous ifone wants to.

    1. F1 cannot race at Macau. Maybe 45-50 years ago, but not now. It would be absolutely jaw dropping and amazing if they did, however.

    2. All the current F1 drivers drove at Macau in F3 or other junior formulae.

      1. Hong Kong could afford it and they’d love it because they need to rival Singapore. And it’ll have everything: convenience, speed, glamour, great food hmmm. Bernie?

        1. A GP in Hong Kong would be amazing.

      2. mfreire, actually, I believe that around a third of the current drivers on the grid have never raced around the Macau circuit at any point in their junior careers. I make the list of drivers to be as follows:


        If you consider his solitary start this season to count on the list of active drivers, you could add Vandoorne to the list as well.

  8. Gerulf Dösinger (@)
    16th June 2016, 6:21

    Could we have the picture of Vonn and Marko for the next caption competition, please?

    1. Lol had exactly the same thought…bet I have the same caption in mind as you too.

  9. I seriously don’t understand this fascination with Monaco. Yes there is the glamour and history. It is a great circuit to watch qualifying. But after the novelty of cars racing close to the walls has worn off in the first 15 laps or so, it becomes a boring procession with cars being held up by others lapping 5 seconds slower. Maybe rain can make it interesting but otherwise, no. There is probably 12 or 15 races in the calendar that I’d watch before Monaco

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      16th June 2016, 6:31

      I’m with most f1 drivers (Monaco according to the drivers) and I absolutely love Monaco.
      But there should only be 1 race like that each season, for exactly the reasons you give.

    2. Monaco is a great driver’s track but an awful circuit to race against other people- it always has been.

  10. There are plenty of proper street circuits around. You just need to look at the IndyCar calendar.

  11. I hate street circuits. What good is a race where the racer spends more time hitting the brakes rather than the accelerator!!

    1. William Jones
      16th June 2016, 9:16

      So… you want cars to have more efficient brakes? Less acceleration?

      Because forgive me if I’m wrong, cars start from a standstill, and finish in motion, so by definition, each car that finishes the race gains an average amount of speed per lap equal to the speed over the finish line divided by the number of laps, which will always be positive. But you’re concerned with time taken on each pedal?

  12. I still don’t get a good feeling about Honda. Everything he says is inward-looking, like they’re going to come up with something so totally themselves – something so special that nobody else has done.

    I’d have thought it was obvious that Ferrari and Renault have been catching up by the classic F1 methodology: look everywhere, but especially at your competitors. F1 is such a club, even when it’s handbags – it’s an ethos that Honda are just not embracing.

    Meanwhile after one free year and 1.5 of competing they still can’t manage either reliability or fuel consumption. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ron doesn’t have to give up on them, in the end.

  13. I was looking at Turn 8 and thought it looked silly, like it was intended for docile people control, not 22×1000 hp cars racing past, and then I realised the fence was to keep people off the curb.

    1. @drycrust Maybe few of those metal barriers and a couple of “Keep off the runoff area” signs might help with docile driver control at some circuits where track limits seems to be an issue!

  14. It’s a Tilke track. Of course it’s boring.

  15. Ricciardo driving a hotlap at Baku in the new codemasters game (release date 19-8-2016) He drives and commentates himself and I have to say it looks like a really cool track!


    1. Here’s one from Jolyen Palmer, also live commentated by PAL himself


    2. Ricciardo from this video

      “I love street circuits”

  16. Honda still keeping in line with the philosophy of “make the right decision early” which leads to success, then.

  17. I see that DRS will be adopted by WEC next year.

    Oh joy.

    1. WHAT? No way…

      1. mfreire, I think that PeterG has misinterpreted the reports on the ACO’s proposals for the post 2017 LMP1 regulations.

        Yes, it is true that the ACO is considering introducing a drag reduction system in 2018 (not next year), but it should be noted that only privateer LMP1 cars would be allowed to use such a system if it were to come into force.

        Basically, the ACO has introduced a series of measures which are supposed to reduce the gap between the privateers and the factory teams, though in reality I think they will be fairly ineffective. One proposal was to allow the privateers to use wider bodywork and a wider rear wing for their cars, but of course that has the downside of a higher drag penalty – so, to compensate, it seems that the ACO suggested that they could be allowed to use some sort of drag reduction system to offset the drag penalty.

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