The 2014 Formula One season is well underway, with the inaugural race, the Australian Grand Prix, complete and the second race, the Malyasian Grand Prix, just around the corner. In light of the festivities, GTspirit has decided to count down our top ten favourite tracks on this year’s 2014 Formula One calendar.
10. Marina Bay Street Circuit, Marina Bay, Singapore
The Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore was added as a stop on the Formula One tour in 2008. It is noted for being the only night event ever in Formula One, adding to the already difficult challenge it presents. After the Singapore Grand Prix in 2008, Lewis Hamilton said the Marina Bay circuit required twice as much energy to navigate than the other daunting street circuit on the calendar, Monaco. Marina Bay makes for great racing, and with Singapore’s spectacular skyline in the background, the venue looks good too.
9. Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria
The Red Bull Ring, which began life as the Osterreichring and was then renamed the A1 Ring, will return to the F1 calendar for the first time since 2003. The original circuit, built in 1969, was extremely fast and had little in the way of run-offs or safety precautions. As a result, when its name was changed to the A1 Ring it was redesigned with shorter straights and tighter corners. Even though the track was now slower, the racing was still competitive and entertaining enough for F1 to want to return to the circuit this year.
8. Hockenheimring, Hockenheim, Germany
Both fans and driver’s look forward to the German Grand Prix held at the Hockenheim Ring. Many argue the circuit lost much of its character when it was redesigned in 2002, which saw the removal of the absurdly long straightaways which were each about 1.3 km in length. The straights were so long, in fact, that in the earlier days of F1, many of the competitors would fail to finish due to engine and transmission failures from the high speeds achieved on the track. The Hockenheim ring may be shorter now and thus not as fast as it once was, but it still delivers great racing year after year.
7. Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos), Sao Palo, Brazil
Autódromo José Carlos Pace, formerly Interlagos, has been the site of the Brazilian Grand Prix 31 times. The circuit is unique in that in runs in a counter clockwise direction, which puts additional strain on the driver’s necks, as the centrifugal force puts strain on the right side of the driver’s neck as opposed to the left side, which is more common in F1. The circuit also features several sections with steep elevation change, which usually makes for an interesting race.
6. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named in commemoration of the legendary French-Canadian racing driver Gilles Villeneuve, is the only track to ever host a Canadian Grand Prix. It is situated on the Ile Notre-Dame island, which sits in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River. The tracks combination of tight, intricate corners and fast straights usually results in an exciting race at the track year after year.
5. Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka, Japan
The Suzuka Circuit began life as a Honda test track in 1962, though the layout has changed three times since then. It is the one of the only circuits employed by Formula One to feature a ‘figure eight’ layout, where the circuit passes over itself through an overpass. Suzuka is a usual favorite of both drivers and fans, and will continue tradition by taking place toward the end of this year’s Formula One calendar.
4. Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, U.K.
Silverstone is one of the more historic tracks on this year’s Formula One grid. The circuit has been the site of the British Grand Prix 61 times since 1950, albeit in numerous different configurations since its inception. The track is a mixture of high-speed flowing sections and complex corners, making it a favorite of both drivers and fans alike.
3. Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco
Held around the tight and winding circuits of the small principality, the Monaco Grand Prix has been held a total of 61 times in Formula One history. The cars have long since outgrown the narrow streets of Monaco, which has brought on some criticism from fans, but as a result the track presents a particularly difficult challenge for the drivers. Between the glamor, prestige and difficulty, Monaco is without a doubt one of the best Formula One circuits of all time.
2. Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza
Monza, a.k.a. The Cathedral of Speed. It is hard to argue that Monza is not one of the greatest Formula One Circuits of all time. The track has been a part of the sport’s calendar since its inception in 1950, and was used to host other races long before then. Even though the track’s high speed sections, like the front straight which used to lead directly into the “Curva Grande” turn, have been interrupted by chicanes, the circuit is still the fastest stop on the Formula One tour.
1. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Francorchamps, Belgium
Spa is a recurring stop on the F1 tour, and for good reason. The seven kilometre-long circuit is situated along the Ardennes Mountains and is almost as beautiful as it is challenging. It begins with the extremely sharp “La Source” hairpin turn, which leads into the legendary high speed “Eau Rouge” section. Spa is without a doubt one of the best places to watch a Formula One car thunder around a circuit at full chat, and is often times at the top of any Formula One fan’s list of favourite circuits.
So there you have it, our top ten favourite Formula One circuits which will be used in the 2014 Formula One Season. There are 19 circuits on this year’s Formula One calendar, all of which are pretty great, so if you think we missed any don’t be afraid to let us know in the comments below.