Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2018

Baku’s straights are “too long” for Vettel

RaceFans Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel isn’t a fan of the huge straights at the Baku City Circuit.

What they say

The drivers’ championship leader said yesterday he prefers the twisty bits in Baku:

The track is very nice with the exception of the straights, maybe they are a bit too long. But they’re part of the track, part of the track’s soul.

I like it, driving around the old town I think is quite challenging, it’s a good track.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Comment of the day

Ricciardo has a difficult but crucial decision to make:

I think he’s in a hell of a conundrum: the best place for him to take the shot at the championship is Red Bull, since he’s clearly capable of beating Verstappen in the standings.

However, Red Bull is yet shy of the shot Ferrari and Mercedes are having. And to be honest, I don’t believe they’ll be that sharp anytime soon.

That said, best bet would be wearing red or silver. Problem is, I don’t believe he could beat Vettel or Hamilton for the title on any day. Not in a straight fight.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to El Gordo!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

51 comments on “Baku’s straights are “too long” for Vettel”

  1. Comment of the day……he beat Vettel over a season. Thats a fact. Not due to a bit of reliability luck either, yes he had that but also outperformed him when both ran fine more often than not so I would say he can beat Vettel and Verstappen over the year on points to potentially become champion. Hamilton is unkown to him but he must fancy a chance to beat him if the stars allign as Rosberg and Button both scored more points than Hamilton over a season in the same car. In the best car you only need to do it once to be champion.

    1. I agree. We already know he can beat a WDC under the right conditions – he beat Vettel, who, from appearances, seemed to be struggling with the car. But it is extremely difficult to tell. It would not be surprising at all to see him trade poles and race wins w Vettel or Hamilton.

      I think he is the ideal driver for Ferrari. Indisputably fast, reliable points scorer, and a good teammate. I think the only danger for Ferrari is he might beat Vettel enough to cause problems.

  2. I really love Baku, it’s just about the only newer addition I think is good. It breaks the unnecessarily boring rules with a 7m wide corner, corners with no runoff area, and 2.2km flat out (officially with corners but they’re flat out).* In an age dominated by safety, this track is refreshing.

    And it’s a very beautiful city (appearance-wise, at least) – miles better than other recent additions located in swamps and deserts miles away from civilisation. There are trees and old buildings lining the track.

    With all the talk of new races in the coming years, I would much rather have another Baku than another Yeongam, Buddh, Abu Dhabi, Sochi, and even Shanghai and Bahrain. Even if some layouts aren’t so bad and the races are sometimes good, the tracks are all very bland, flat, wide, and surrounded by acres of tarmac

    I’d love to see tracks like Buenos Aires return, but not if they’re going to get ruined by Tilke. It’s best to go to a street circuit and leave the old ones untouched

    *Although I dislike the unnecessary long wide straights on every new Tilkedrome, having an incredibly long and fast section like this on a street circuit is unique and exciting

    1. @strontium Agreed. I do like the circuit as well (I especially enjoy the approximately 2km long full-throttle section, which of course, is the longest in the whole Championship). The best street circuit in F1 currently, and also one of the best modern(ish) tracks in F1 along with COTA, and BIC.

    2. “And it’s a very beautiful city (appearance-wise, at least) – miles better than other recent additions located in swamps and deserts miles away from civilisation. There are trees and old buildings lining the track.”
      Remember this ? :)

      1. @budchekov beat me to it, and also most prominent buildings in Baku are less than a 100 years old, which in European City Age is a youngster.There were many stories about it in previous years

      2. @budchekov @uneedafinn2win I had completely forgotten that’s what they did! That’s hilariously pathetic.

        I know the buildings aren’t that old but their architectural style (or the style of the facades) are quite classic. I think it’s still miles better than racing around a swamp

    3. @strontium Buddh International Circuit is a fantastic track in my opinion. The corners are rather old school and the circuit as a whole is very fast and flowing, starting from the second sector. It’s not flat either, with some very cool elevation changes in sectors 1 and 3. The large patches of tarmac aren’t ideal obviously, but I really like the design. The drivers loved the track as well, and it’s really a shame that the race had to be cut from the calendar.

      It was supposed to be the event that finally brought motorsport into the limelight in India, but unfortunately, the first two iterations were quite boring and the audience numbers declined over time…and now I don’t know how much longer I’ll have to wait for the track to get another chance again.

      1. @neutronstar @frood19 I do like the layout between turns 1–3 and 5–14, but my days those three long straights and four hairpins… another track that just didn’t need to be so long.

        But beyond that it still has all the usual modern problems. It’s too wide, so much runoff, and other than the coloured runoff areas, it is bland. The problem with all modern tracks is, even when the layout is good, they all look the same. They lack small features and imperfections like old kerbs, wonky straights, an uneven surface, just literally anything that gives them character. This is largely because of the FIA’s rules on new circuits. They’re too sterile and lacking in heart

        1. @strontium oh absolutely, I’m all in favour of shorter circuits. Buddh had the potential to become unique and interesting, i.e. with the elevation changes, and circuits have to age gracefully over time. sepang grew some character over the years and that was considered rather soulless when it first arrive in ’99.

          wonky straights are really overlooked as a feature on most new circuits – i remember webber saying it had a big effect on making a bigger slipstream (turkey was his example, and we saw some great racing there).

        2. @strontium BIC is actually quite narrow, save for the turn 3 hairpin and the two main straights. I agree with the rest of your points, though.

    4. I would quite like to see this generation of cars at Buddh, just for the spectacle of it – who knows, we might get a decent race somehow.

  3. James Coulee
    27th April 2018, 1:25

    About COTD, maybe Ricciardo lacks something compared to Hamilton and Vetel (though I’m not sure he does: I feel he has an extra controled aggression that could give him an advantage in a straight fight with them) but both Hamilton and Vettel have an aquiles heel (a more volatile mental condition) that Ricciardo explores very naturally. I think that’s the main reason why he wiped the floor with Vettel at Red Bull previously.

    …But I don’t think Ferrari would give him the room to do that: they’d pull a “Kimi” on him before that.

    1. I agree generally speaking, the key is the “straight fight”part. I have faith that Dan has the ability to win against either WDC if he had full support, the question is more about whether the team would be prepared back Dan when it became necessary to maximise the points of 1 of their drivers.

    2. Anthony Blears
      27th April 2018, 2:21

      He’s said he wouldn’t sign for a team without a guarantee of equal treatment being written into the contract. So if he does end up at Ferrari it’s because they’ve agreed to give him a fair fight against Vettel (which I would love to see).

    3. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      27th April 2018, 7:39

      Ricciardo is an extremely complete driver. I don’t think 2014 was a fluke, I think he’d do it again if he and Vettel were team mates albeit a lot closer this time.

    4. To be fair to both HAM and VET, it’s one thing to fight for podiums and the occasional win (as RIC has done/does), and it’s a very different thing to fight for the WDC.

        1. I have little doubt that Dan could beat either Lewis or Seb over one season. If Rosberg can do it and win the championship then I am pretty sure he could.

          I am not sure he would outqualify them too often but he’s good enough to win several races and he’s consistent.

      1. I don’t think that fits Riccardo. I’d agree 100% Versappen drives to win or crash trying. But not Ricciardo. Perhaps that is part of what makes him appealing to Ferrari.

  4. The Tim Goss announcement proves that the Honda era wasn’t a ‘top chassis + horrible engine = backmarker car’ scenario as McLaren led us to believe. To some of us fans, it was always clear that such a scenario was too extreme to be true.
    The real scenario was more like a ‘average chassis + horrible engine = backmarker car’; which seems more believable.

    1. Got to agree with you to a certain extent. McLaren did a good job with the chassis in 2015 and 2017 at least.. as only on chassis dependant circuits did they actually deliver results in the points. But, when it comes to delivering a good chassis when it matters, it looks like they’ve fallen short of expectations again.

      It’s quite a difficult time for them. Let’s see who they get in for a replacement for Tim Goss. I’m really hoping they can somehow get Paddy Lowe to join the team again. I’m pretty sure that Paddy would get fed up of looking at that human wallet strolling around the Williams garage, and instead would want to join a proper racing team again.

      Either ways.. I hope McLaren are one the look out for some good hires in the technical department. Every team has been recruiting high profile names, (Budowski to Renault, Mekes to Ferrari, Lowe in Williams, Allison in Mercedes). It’s time for McLaren to poach people of it’s competitors or the FIA and stop being such “gentlemen” about it.

      1. @todfod, would that necessarily be a good thing when there have been suggestions that Lowe’s design decisions are why Williams are performing so badly (having resulted in significant problems with the cooling systems and internal airflow, as well as badly affecting the handling balance of the car)?

        1. Then again.. Paddy did design the most dominant car in the modern era of F1 just a few years ago.. so it’s kind of hard to say whether the problem is exactly. Paddy did a solid job when he was at McLaren previously, so I think he should be able to do a decent job if he gets back.

          1. @todfod
            I have to disagree with you. Mercedes was already super quick in 2013 but was held in the races by its tyre eating nature, back then the car was designed by Geoff Willis. The dominance showed by Mercedes during 2014-2016 years was mainly due to their superior PU.

          2. @tifoso1989

            Mercedes had some superb qualifying pace in 2013, no doubt about that, but they were still way behind with tyre issues and race pace. I don’t think the 2014 car was just an evolution of the 2013 car, because it didn’t have any of the same issues, and it looked vastly different….so I don’t think there is a lot of credit due to Willis for the Mercedes dominance.

            Kind of agree that the PU was the biggest reason for their dominance at least in 2014 – 2016, but it’s not like their chassis was much less either. Their car was equally strong on power dependant circuits as it was on aero dependant circuits. You could argue that Mercedes had the 2nd best chassis in 2014 and maybe 2017, but they didn’t have anything less the 2nd best chassis throughout the 2014 to 2017 era. A lot of credit goes to Paddy Lowe in that department.

      2. Paddy Lowe has been given shares in the Williams team which makes him a partial team owner so I don’t see him going to Mclaren in the near future and being just another employee. I imagine in his current position he would be quite happy for the Stroll family to keep injecting cash into the team and therefore helping to keep it viable.

    2. I don’t believe this analogy at all, you could see mclaren had a great chassis last year from the way it went around turns, and can see the chassis is worse this year if you watch the car and not the lap time.

  5. So if RIC can win against VET and HAM in a ower car, why does one think he is the slower of the three. He might actually be fastest of the three, no?

    1. Meant ….slower car ….

      1. Sure but any driver can be the faster of the three if he has a huge tire advantage.

  6. ”The track is very nice with the exception of the straights, maybe they are a bit too long.”
    – I disagree with him on that. I don’t find the approximately 2km long full-throttle section (the longest of the Championship) too long, in fact, it’s the part of the circuit I enjoy driving the most.

  7. I don’t feel the straight is too long—but it’s too long for DRS.

    The straight could be the scene of some brilliant slipstreaming battles, and it’s long enough to even allow the driver who is passed to possibly fight back. But with DRS being assymetrical, overtakes wind up being a foregone conclusion by the time they reach the braking zone.

  8. Thanks for COTD Keith!
    I don’t suppose it’ll be much endorsed though, lol.

    1. Not sure why you would consider Dan losing in a straight fight given that he did exactly that in 2014 – albeit not in a title fight – but plenty of people forget he was coming into a team that was absolutely Vettel’s team (he was the golden boy for RBR) against a 4xWDC. I doubt people gave him a chance over that season yet he convincingly out-qualified and out-raced Vettel over the season.

      If they were to race again even in a title fight, I’d wager again Ricciardo to win over a season. He has shown time and time again he is extremely consistent over a season and makes minimal mistakes. If you watch Ricciardo in races, especially those that he has won, he takes the opportunities when they are there for him. Now if there is the opportunity to finally be in a WDC car that he has been wanting for years, then he’d be even more highly motivated to win over the season.

      Agree with it being a difficult decision though. I think the Red Bull has the best chassis out of the three main teams but is lacking in power. Red Bull also has some of the best strategies out there and being stuck with Renault or Honda doesn’t necessarily mean they will make the jump next year to match the Ferrari/Merc PU because Renault have been promising that every single season and has not delivered. On race day, the RBR is a match for the Ferrari/Merc but it’s qualifying where they suffer as some tracks, track position is king and if you are qualifying 5/6th, then that’s a hard way to win the WDC every year.

  9. Regarding Baku, what bothers me the most is that 1st sector with those crappy 90 degree turns and many unpurposeful straights. This totally rubbish sector pretty much ruins the circuit, even though the other two are very nice. It can be nice to hotlap, but I haven’t enjoyed the previous two races so far. Maybe it suits better Project Gotham Racing games than real F1. I like the long straight, however. Wish Mistral was to be like that either.

    1. Your kidding aren’t you? That first sector is classic Street track, and has undulations

    2. @Niefer ”but I haven’t enjoyed the previous two races so far.” – Last season’s race was an exciting one, though, LOL.

  10. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    27th April 2018, 7:36

    Anyone watch the NFL draft? This is how teams should pick their drivers. Last in the standings previous season gets first pick etc 😂

    1. I was actually thinking the same when watching the NBA draft picks. But then again.. if you think about it the Manor/Marussias/Saubers have had the top rookie driving for them for the last few seasons in a row. Bianchi, Leclerc, Wehrlein, Ocon all started as 1st round 1st draft picks and went to the worst team on the grid. Even Vandoorne joined a lower midfield team. The later picks.. aka Strolls / Sirotkins went to the higher midfield teams – Williams.

      Although if we were to include all drivers in that system of picking, it would be hilarious. I can imagine Hamilton driving for Sauber, Verstappen in a Williams, Alonso in a Toro Rosso Honda… lol

      1. Hamilton: it’s crazy to be fighting for points instead of wins this year!

        1. Alonso: the engine looks much slower than before (with mclaren), amazing!

  11. McLaren need money to make these hires. They gave up 100 million last year. So, this is going to be tough.

    However, they still have middle east owners and a growing technology group. The contract to supply batteries for the 2nd gen formula E cars can perhaps provide some much needed funding.

    McLaren can come back up to the top, no doubt. But they do need to identify and get rid of non-performers.

    1. They need to hire aggressively and ruthlessly. Instead of moping about “gentlemen’s agreements” , they should be looking at poaching FIA personnel, along with some ex-Mercedes (Paddy Lowe) and current Ferrari aerodynamicists. They need to really be more ruthless and aggressive in their off track tactics.

  12. It’s upsetting to see Ricciardo on top of the engine components used table already :( . He’s definitely in for some penalties around halfway through the season. Kind of showcases how ridiculous this 3 engine rule is. He had one failure at Bahrain (race 2) and he’s already on the back foot for the rest of the season. Just ridiculous.

    The dominant favourites to win the most components used battle are still Honda though. Onwards and upwards as usual at Sakura. #progress
    Can’t wait to see a Red Bull with Honda power. I doubt it will even make it to the formation lap.

    1. +1 Imagine the outcry if the current WDC was in the same position.

    2. +2

      Most teams couldn’t make 5 engines last a season, now they’re asked to make 3 engines last a full season. Too much and too soon. Why not going gradually and at a lower pace, to give teams more time to come on top of their issues?! Why not 4 engines and starting from 2019? Imagine what Horner would have said if RBR was just as fast as Mercedes and Ferrari, so a title contender, only to lose to the other 2 teams due to reliability issues.

      1. Ehm, in race trim red bull looks as fast as mercedes and ferrari, they have reliability and one-lap problems.

  13. @Niefer I disagree, we’ve already seen that Dan has the beating of Max AND Seb in equal machinery, I think Lewis too if Lewis is having a sulk or the car is a ‘diva’. I also think he’s better off in a red or silver car for any title aspirations…. his biggest dilemma is not choosing a competitive team but choosing a team mate he can beat!

  14. Re: COTD, there’s a simple solution. Ricciardo should just ask Alonso what he would do.

    … and then do the opposite.

    1. Ahaha, true, “I would stay with red bull, it’s very fast this year and you can win races on merit if you get on top of the qualifying pace” -> 2019 red bull goes back into the midfield!

Comments are closed.