Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Miami International Autodrome, 2022

Should Formula 1 stop adding more street circuits to its calendar?

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When Liberty Media took over Formula 1 five years ago they had a clear plan for how they wanted to expand the sport and its calendar.

Races in ‘destination cities’, particularly in America, were a key goal. Inevitably that meant more street tracks.

F1 had already added several new temporary circuits in recent seasons, notably Baku City Circuit in 2016 and Sochi Autodrom two years previously.

First Liberty announced a new street race in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi. But that had the misfortune to be scheduled in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, was cancelled and never reinstated.

However the first of F1’s new American races went ahead this year on a new street circuit, the Miami International Autodrome.

The 2023 F1 calendar will have another street race on a new circuit in Las Vegas. But is the grand prix schedule beginning to feature too many of these city tracks?

Out of the nine races so far this year, six have taken place on temporary tracks. What is the right balance between ‘classic’ permanent tracks and street circuits?


Street circuits offer a challenge apart from regular racing tracks, particularly due to the limited run-off. The inevitable compromises which go with trying to create a racing circuit out of public areas can tax the competitors in different ways, whether it’s the endless braking in brutal temperatures of Singapore, or the sheer narrowness of Monaco.

Of course the value of street racing is it allows F1 to position itself in glamorous locations which adds to the sport’s appeal and success. It was true for Monaco in the fifties and it’s true for Miami today and likely Las Vegas next year.

In person, seeing live racing cars loose on city streets instead of their natural environment is a special offers a different kind of thrill, which doesn’t always come across on television.


Whatever their merits, the number of street circuits on the calendar is becoming excessive. Had it not been for the cancellation of Sochi eight races on this year’s calendar – more than a third – would have taken place on temporary layouts. Plus there’s Las Vegas joining next year and now talk of a French street race in Nice.

The compromises being made to conjure up some of these courses are too great. Drivers were unimpressed with the limited run-off at Jeddah (although those criticisms quietened when a new and even greater safety concern emerged this year) and the poor grip off-line in Miami.

As more street tracks join the calendar, they are increasingly squeezing classic venues off the schedule, to the detriment of the sport.

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I say

Street races undoubtedly have their place. F1’s owners want to bring the sport into places where it will gain high visibility, particularly in the US market. To that end, street races in Miami and Las Vegas make sense, even if the tracks are somewhat on the basic side.

But what concerns me is the way street races, once something of a novelty on the schedule, are becoming the default option for any new location joining the F1 calendar. The idea of holding a street race in Nice, just up the road from Monaco, in a country which already has two permanent F1 circuits, is nonsense.

With the addition of Las Vegas next year, F1 will have the trio of US races Liberty Media has long coveted. And with that I think the schedule will be amply supplied with street races.

You say

Does Formula 1 have the right number of street races on the calendar? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Does Formula 1 have the right number of street circuits on its calendar?

  • No opinion (1%)
  • F1 has far too few street circuits (0%)
  • F1 has slightly too few street circuits (2%)
  • F1 has the right number of street circuits (12%)
  • F1 has slightly too many street circuits (34%)
  • F1 has far too many street circuits (50%)

Total Voters: 212

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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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49 comments on “Should Formula 1 stop adding more street circuits to its calendar?”

  1. Jonathan Parkin
    26th June 2022, 12:07

    My main issue with these types of circuits are the blandness of the new ones specifically, and how similar they are to each other

    If you compare Albert Park to Monte Carlo to Marina Bay they all stand out from each other and have different characteristics beyond the street track label

    But places like Sochi and Miami are too sterile and samey. There is also the issue are they real street tracks. Miami like the Caesars Palace track is in a car park for example. Do the citizens of Sochi actually use the race track to get from A to B like Melbourne residents use Albert Park?

    1. @Jonathan Parkin No, Sochi Autodrom isn’t & has never got used by regular traffic.
      Therefore, regarding it as a temporary circuit is wrong.

      1. I agree with the blandness point, but I dont agree that there are too many street circuits. The definition alone is ambiguous. Does Montreal count as a street circuit, or permanent track? What about Sochi? And honestly, if its a challenge and a good race, they can race on the moon for all I care. Its semantics.
        There will always be some hits and some misses and those are independent of the type of circuit. Compare the blandness of Sochi with Baku for example. Or Miami and Jeddah. Plenty of permanent circuits are utterly boring and lack any character(see Korea and India etc). One of the biggest complaints when we visit some permanent tracks is the endless runoff areas (see Paul Ricard), but then drivers complain that there isnt enough at places like Jeddah. Drivers will always complain about something.
        At the end of the day, a circuits character has more to do with the promoter and contract than the type of circuit, so there’s nothing inherently wrong with street circuits. As long as its a unique challenge for the teams and drivers, and serves up a good race I couldnt care much where they race.

        1. Semi-temporary for Circuit Gilles Villeneuve & fully permanent for Sochi Autodrom.

  2. Calling sochi and Jeddah as Street tracks is disingenuous. Do they even have a single road which is also used by the regular public?

    1. I was thinking that too. They have walls and that seems to be about it. Sochi even has quite a bit of run off.

      It just seems like such a shame when in places like the USA there are already so many great race tracks to choose from.

      1. Fred Fedurch
        26th June 2022, 16:01

        Unfortunately most of the (good) US tracks are too far from approved trauma centers to meet current Grade 1 accreditation.

        1. That’s not it.. The reason is purely money raising from paying public. The destination venues are being monopolised by investers who are capitalising on Infrastructure which is already there and able to get tens/hundreds of thousands in from the surrounding metropolitan areas. In other words they have a ready made audience able to access these venues with in minutes rather than hours required to attend the old fashioned race tracks normally built out of town, which have quite poor connectivity in comparison. The quality of the track and its configuration is quite secondary in consideration to promoters. The worry is this trend continues and the great F1 spectacular becomes a city centre or oil state bore fest at which point I switch off.

    2. @Sumedh Jeddah Corniche Circuit uses a small pre-existing public road portion, but Sochi Autodrom none.

  3. Neil (@neilosjames)
    26th June 2022, 12:25

    Yes, there are more than enough of them already.

    Was thinking about this topic a month or so ago, when I realised how much I was looking forward to the summer and a stretch of races on ‘proper circuits’. I don’t like a few of them and wouldn’t be sad if they dropped off the calendar, but at least they’re not street circuits and it’s a lovely, unbroken run all the way to October (and even then, it’s just Singapore, then back to Suzuka, CoTA, Interlagos…).

    It’s the first time I’ve ever felt this way, and it’s something between excitement and relief at the thought of watching some grands prix on proper racing circuits again. I don’t dislike street circuits as an idea, and they do have a place in F1. But when I feel excitement and relief at the idea of a race at Paul Ricard, I know my own little personal limit of an acceptable number of street circuits has probably been breached.

    Must add though… I don’t know if it’s because of how street-heavy the start of the season was – maybe I’d feel differently if they were distributed more evenly.

  4. I think it’s about right at around a third of tracks. As we get more runoff and tarmac on traditional circuits we need the challenge of street circuits more and Baku and Jeddah have been brilliant additions which are amongst my favourite races.

    I’ll be glad to get some traditional circuits next though, that’s what the cars are built for.

  5. I think that these are the races that should be rotated (on modern street circuits), not the regular (especially not historical) venues. If we’re to have 23-25 races each year as planned, allocate around 5-6 spots for places like Baku, Vegas, London, Berlin, Paris, NY, Athens, whatever, I think that most of us could live with that. You get to promote cities and earn money, those cities get to choose when they want to host the event (and by not doing it each year they get some variety too, being able to host different events), we get a bit of that “new age F1 spectacle” and get to keep the F1 we love too. Of course, some other races could be on rotation too, but we could afford to have say SPA, Monaco, Monza, Silverstone or Brazil each year with no stressing over potentially losing them. But I guess greed will prevail, and short term growth over long term sustainability.

  6. Chris Horton
    26th June 2022, 13:11

    Categorically absolutely 100%, too many bland boring soulless basic circuits.

    So much is made of the location, then you watch the race and it’s barrier lined an featureless. Or it has a fake plywood marina.

    Azerbaijan aside. That’s a keeper.

    1. Azerbaijan is a pleasant outlier. Honestly, I’ve stopped watching street races mostly. Azerbaijan aside, they’re incredibly dull. I’ll watch qualifying then the highlights. With the calendar as busy as it is, I’m happy to miss dull locations.

      That said, I would like to get to go to the Singapore GP one day… So one way of looking at it may be they’re focusing on getting people to races rather than caring as much quality of racing and tv spectacle. That is how you coerce bigger fees from promoters – give them very tangible economic benefits which may not so obvious for more rural circuits.

      My mind is very much made up on this, less street circuits, please!!

      1. Chris Horton
        26th June 2022, 16:57

        I agree, they’ll milk the sport for all it’s worth at the expense of the heritage.

        I remember I couldn’t wait to see a new circuit, always used to look forward to seasons with new races on the calendar, but these days I couldn’t care less.

  7. I couldn’t care less. Stop racism, all races are equal!

  8. I don’t necessarily have an issue with street circuits & there are in fact many used in various categories which I enjoy.

    My problem with the more modern style street circuits F1 has been introducing is how similar they are in terms of all sharing very similar design characteristics because they are more purpose built now than circuits which simply follow the normal streets.

    It’s the same sort of problem we had with the TilkeDrones of a decade ago. A series of circuits which while all different in layout all ended up feeling very similar because they all featured the same characteristics. And while some of those circuits weren’t necessarily bad I don’t think any of them really had any soul.

  9. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    26th June 2022, 13:18

    ‘Street circuit’ has become a meme at this point. A buzz-word used to get people excited because they expect exactly those items named at pro’s for a street circuit. Problem is, current ‘street tracks’ really don’t seem to add those. Or at least not more so than some other tracks.

    Singapore, Baku and Monaco are REAL street tracks in the original meaning of the war. Addelaide (?) was as well: tight track, proper walls and roads which cause for interesting tarmack properties. Miami for instance isn’t. Yeah, it was a cool track, but it could’ve just as easily been a ‘normal’ track if they hadn’t thrown ‘street track’ around at every possibility. Also, a car park really isn’t a proper road in my opinion.

    But there are plenty of normal tracks with the same properties that mae a street track exciting. Take Zandvoort for instance: tight, barely any run-off and you need complete focus all the way through.

    The biggest problem (I think) is that F1 creates proper tracks OR street tracks in ‘fake’ locations that one could replace and it’d be very different. You could airlift Yas Marina out of the sandpit it is in and place it in a country that actually has a link to F1 and an audience (South Africa perhaps?) and it’d be received much better. Same with Miami: make it a permanent track at an exciting location and people would like it more. It’s the vibe around a track, in a country, that makes or brakes it.

    I wouldn’t mind more street tracks if A: the track is interesting and isn’t a normal track built on a parking lot and B: if the location is cool. I’d exchange all sandpit-races AND the ones in the States for one in South Africa.

    1. both what you write @barryfromdownunder and @stefmeister adresses a lot of points that make the current flow of new “street tracks” so meh, much like the barrage of same-ey Tilke tracks without character, acres of runoff and really no good reason to be there because somebody came up with some cash on a piece of land years back also took some of the excitement out of new tracks.

    2. @barryfromdownunder Albert Park roads also get used regularly by normal traffic like Monaco’s, Baku’s, & Marina Bay’s (likewise LV’s from next season), so also a street circuit by definition.

    3. 100% agree. Can Montreal be considered a street circuit? Or Melbourne?

  10. Firmly against. I’m not too worried about the ‘quality’ of tracks, since the best races are often circumstantial. Any track can produce a thriller or a stinker depending on the situation.

    The reason I’m so against street tracks is that they only come in one variety; global cities. In other words, cities that don’t need a Grand Prix. The fact that Las Vegas, a city which has absolutely gotten on fine without F1 for much of its history, is rumoured to be taking up Spa’s slot is criminal. Tracks like Spa and Silverstone need major races just to survive as an entity, and their local communities rely on that large economic boost every year. Miami does not. Madrid does not.

  11. We really should look at why street circuits were used in the first place. They were easy and relatively inexpensive to set up and mostly the local authorities paid for the upkeep.
    The reason F1 stopped using street circuits originally was that they could not offer the same level of safety as a dedicated race circuit. But Ecclestone and now Liberty are moving back because they are relatively inexpensive to set up and maintain.
    Also, the new focus on ‘thrills & spills’ and the use of circuits such as Jeddah, Azerbaijan and Miami, Liberty has set the format of F1 for years to come and using marketing tools such as DTS guarantees an influx of new ‘wham bam thankyou mam’ spectators who may be getting bored with stock car racing.

  12. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    26th June 2022, 13:34

    It’s not a bad split right now and there have been some good additions (as well as some bad ones) but I feel there are too many races full stop. The off season doesn’t give you long enough to really miss the sport and get as excited for it starting again. The calendar is saturated, as someone who never likes to miss a race it’s a bloody hard commitment these days and then sprint races on top. Sweet spot about 18-20 races a year I think.

  13. I think there’s too many races on the calendar in general now (18-20 is a better number) but putting that aside for now.

    But coming back to the question. Yes I think we do have too many street circuits, Or maybe a more accurate way of putting it would be too many flat, featureless cookie cutter boring car park street circuits.

    That is the real problem. These aren’t proper street circuits. They are circuits build to look like street circuits on flat, featureless roads that don’t offer the challenge of what a proper street circuit once did as there’s more runoff, the circuits are wider, smoother & use the same sort of tarmac used on permanent circuits.

    The unique challenge of street circuits used to be that they followed the normal streets, Were tight, narrow & didn’t have any room for error with the same tarmac the everyday traffic used making for a bumpy ride & offering up less grip that created additional challenges.

    Even some of the worst street circuits of the 80s such as Detroit or Dallas had a unique character due to how the everyday streets threw up unique challenges which broke cars & fatigued drivers which made mistakes commonplace where there was no room to make a mistake.

    Most of these modern ‘street’ circuits don’t have any of that. They have no character, no soul & are essentially nothing more than style over substance.

    Jeddah & Miami are down the bottom of the list with some of the worst circuits i’ve seen F1 race on. Sochi & Valencia are down there as well. That track in Vietnam also would have been based on what we saw of it & how it drove in the game. And Las Vegas also likely will be based on all the renders & computer laps of it i’ve seen & driven so far.

    1. Forgot to add.

      I don’t think it helps that you have these boring car park street tracks replacing or at least putting under threat some proper tracks that are so much better.

      I mean there is actually a possibility that Spa could fall off the calendar & end up been replaced by one of these car park street tracks. Would that really be a good exchange?

      It does remind me of 1981 when you had that awful Las Vegas car park track replace Watkins Glen which was a circuit that was universally loved at the time. And it set off that decade where the US races were taking part on awful street circuits which i’d argue did more to harm F1 in the US than anything else.

    2. You make a great point on the elevation changes. I think it is because everyone is trying to ape Monaco and have it run by water, and if you have water it’s likely to be in a place that is flat. But that means we get a lot of the same-same – marina and tall towers and a pass by something historic. And when there isn’t natural water – like in Miami or Las Vegas – they’ll run it by some anyway. Miami’s fake marina and Vegas’ Bellagio fountain.

      One of the thing I love about Spa, or a place like Nürburgring is all the trees. It’s nice to see different ecologies beside the tracks.

  14. There are a number of reasons for not having them, and only one or two reasons have them.

    Street circuits tend to be processional , eg DRS trains because overtaking chances are so few, as such its all about qulifying and then stategy. Maybe if street circuits had a mandatory 2 stop, it might had to their entertainment.

    Also street circuits seem in capatible with the current car specifications, eg too bumpy for ground effect cars.
    also if a car goes off it almost certainaly results in a safety car, which nulls the race up to that point, as everyone bunches up again. IMO too much potential for gamesmanship.

    On the plus side, its different. The way the other circuits are presented on TV, eg the generic tight shots on the cars, they racing could be anywhere. At least with the street circuits, the track is the star.

    I have to say i miss the Malyan grand prix, which i’d have over one of the european street tracks.

  15. Strategically from a business perspective it’s wise, in my opinion, to have a number of circuits on the calendar that do not have to overly concern themselves with 2.2.6 of the FIA ISC, or similar regulatory obligations. This is not a luxury afforded to purpose built venues. Having a large number of events that pretty much deal exclusively with F1 provides an independent infrastructure that puts Liberty in a very strong negotiation position going forward, especially when we consider the so-called ‘rift’ that is appearing according to Scott Mitchell between the FIA and Liberty.

  16. I would say no to more street circuits, they just aren’t as good as the permanent circuits and the best new tracks of recent years have been Zandvoort and the Red Bull Ring, both of which are not new at all and are returning old classics. They are far superior to Sochi, Baku, Hanoi, Jeddah or Miami, and I think in general most good tracks are outlined by grass or gravel as opposed to walls or tarmac runoff. But the term ‘street circuit’ is quite vague; Rouen-Les-Essarts was a fantastic street circuit but I don’t think we should expect anything like that any time soon.

  17. Fred Fedurch
    26th June 2022, 16:05

    I vote against with an asterisk. If they replace Paul Ricard with Nice I’d be happy. The ridiculous paint on the circuit’s borders give me Vertigo when I watch the French GP.

  18. I voted for slightly too many, but I still don’t get why people keep on considering Sochi Autodrom a temporary circuit despite not being one per se? Semi-temporary Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is more fitting for this category.

    The former isn’t temporary any more than other permanent tracks rarely used outside their F1 events, such as Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, located deeply within city limits.
    On the other hand, Jeddah Corniche Circuit is a temporary one closest to permanent, with only a small portion consisting of already-existing public roads.
    Back to the relevant point, yes, more temporaries than necessary these days, but this is just the modern preference.

    This approach explains Indy getting overlooked for the Miami-LV duo & Paul Ricard possibly getting axed for Nice (with at least one hiatus year for French GP before this would happen, though) or perhaps even Montmelo for Madrid.

  19. Most of those tracks are not street circuits, but CITY circuits, i.e. built in a city with little space for run-offs, so they’ve got close walls.

    1. Hit the nail on the head.

      If we are calling Sochi / Jeddah /Miami as Street circuits, then so are some of the fan favorites like Mexico, Interlagos.

      It doesn’t matter if the race is on a street circuit or a city circuit or a regular circuit, as long as it provides good racing.

      1. It doesn’t matter if the race is on a street circuit or a city circuit or a regular circuit, as long as it provides good racing.

        Good racing alone shouldn’t be what defines a track as been good or not.

        I mean the last race held on the Valencia circuit was great yet that didn’t make the circuit any better.

        Additionally not every lap of a race is going to be exciting and you are going to have more quiet moments in a race than excitement.

        And if the circuit is as bland as most of these newer temporary circuits are then it just makes the quiet moments even more boring as you don’t have the joy of watching the cars driving around a great circuits.

        Even when you have duller races at a track like Spa, Silverstone, Suzuka or Imola you at least have the spectacle of watching the cars driving around an amazing circuit. With car parks like Miami, Saudi, Sochi etc… You don’t have that soit just ends up feeling even duller than it would on a better track.

        I’d also point to Paul Ricard. There actually tends to be a decent amount of overtaking there yet with the runoffand how flat and smooth the track is now there’s just no excitement to watching the cars going around the place so it always feels like a worse race than it actually is.

  20. The definitions have become a bit blurred. Are Albert Park and Montreal street circuits? They have more actual roads than Sochi, Jeddah and even Miami. Spa-Francorchamps was (largely) a street circuit, but new public roads in the area have changed that. If new ‘street’ circuits are more like Spa-Francorchamps and less like Monaco, I’m all for it. The problem isn’t with the type of track, but with the characteristics of said tracks. Also with the cars, they’re just not that great for racing even in 2022, but that’s another issue.

    The main reservation about street circuits would be with the increased chance of seeing races reduced to lotteries or restart-bonanzas due to a higher chance of safety car neutralizations, but that’s become common on any type of track so it’s no longer a major drawback to street circuits.

    1. @MichaelN The definition indeed is somewhat unclear.
      A temporary circuit is probably the most fitting term.
      The ‘street circuit’ one is applicable to Monaco, Baku, Marina Bay, & Albert Park as these tracks consist either entirely or predominantly of public roads (& likewise LV from next season).
      Sochi Autodrom is a fully permanent circuit since no regular driving occurs or has ever occurred on this circuit.
      Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is only semi-temporary.
      Yes, the entire lap length (bar the hairpin) can get free driving, running, walking, cycling, etc., when F1 isn’t in town, but the circuit doesn’t get regular public road use like the above-mentioned quartet.
      On the other hand, Jeddah Corniche Circuit is semi-permanent as only small portions are pre-existing public roads.
      Miami Autodrome is temporary but located within a car park area, so not exactly a street circuit as it doesn’t really feature public roads, but merely car park pathways.

  21. LM is slowly getting us ready for the FE version of F1…

  22. Street circuits can produce good racing, such as Detroit, Long Beach, Surfer’s Paradise. But whether it is the current cars or just the ‘street races’ F1 goes to, they rarely produce good action. Personally, I would go for one in ten to one in eight races being streets races, so between two to three per year. They are valuable for being a challenge and for variation but we have far too many as it is.

  23. some racing fan
    26th June 2022, 22:06

    Miami is not a street circuit. It’s a rare type of temporary circuit that has permanent asphalt but the safety facilities need to be installed
    every year. It should stay but changes should be implemented to the layout, and it needs to be held in February or March as the first race of the year.

    But street circuits used on the calendar that should stay or go:

    -Baku: stay (move to late September)
    -Jeddah: go
    -Monaco: stay (with changes to the layout)
    -Singapore: stay (with changes to the layout)
    -Las Vegas: stay (give it a chance)

    1. some racing fan
      27th June 2022, 8:05


      Melbourne- stay (alternate with Adelaide)
      Montreal- stay

  24. Thanks for the opportunity Keith.
    I have a belief that there should be a few good street type circuits. I live in Melbourne and have attended Albert Park just once – it did nothing for me. However, I drove over to Adelaide for every Grand Prix held on that glorious street circuit, and thoroughly enjoyed every visit.
    My suggestion is this: The entire championship should be spiced up a bit by including a couple of sports car endurance races along with a couple of challenging hill climbs to give us a proper world championship. It will not happen, but . . .
    I admired Nico Hulkenberg when he took part at Le Mans, it was wonderful to see such an action and good result! Sadly Bernie Ecclestone took a dim view of that and ‘sorted’ his calendar so that it could not happen again. That was not at all sporting. This year the Liberty mob made it even worse for clashing events and that should not be allowed again.
    Monaco and Spa must be kept in the Formula One calendar! They can dump Miami, Albert Park and such because they do absolutely nothing for me.

  25. Raynaud (@)
    27th June 2022, 8:46

    For me the problem is that the current F1 cars are only suitable for circuits that have flowy turns. Looking at albert park and other new street circuits with the stop and go it looks so slow. Not the F1 I like. When F1 started with the bigger tires in 2017 I was astound by how late they’re braking and how fast it looked. Now they are struggling to find grip, bah.

    Coming back to the general statement. I don’t like street circuits because it all looks the same. Due the need of DRS it is all to artificial. It is also to flat and there is no sand to stop cutting corners.

  26. Nice london madrid again street circiuts

  27. I’d say no. Not at the expense of classic race venues. The cars are way too big and wide for street circuits.

    This challenge could be addressed by allowing teams to have two types of chassis? Or perhaps a chassis that is adaptable?: One long-tail, and one short-tail. You want to have small boxy cars on street circuits.

  28. Street circuit has become synonymous with city centre, 90° turn, flat as a pancake f1 track.

    If the current owners insist on street circuits can we at least mix it up with some different types of street circuit?

    I’m talking Reims. The undulating terrain of Clermont-Ferrand. The old Spa.

    There’s nothing wrong with streets. We’re just picking the wrong ones.

  29. I voted right number. I mean right number now. This should be a maximum. I have no desire to see a race in Las Vegas but it’s going to happen.

    I’m not in favour of replacing Paul Ricard with a race in Nice. But I think somewhere like Paul Ricard proves that standard circuits can be unexciting as well.

Comments are closed.