Despite the elevation changes the new Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan will provide Formula One teams this weekend as they prepare for Sunday’s European Grand Prix, the 6.003-kilometer (3.730-mile), 20-turn street circuit.
Five other circuits have hosted the European Grand Prix: Nürburgring, Jerez, Brands Hatch, Valencia and Donington Park.
BAKU CIRCUIT STATS
BAKU CIRCUIT FACTS
This is Formula 1’s first visit to Baku, but it isn’t the city’s first experience of international motorsport. For three years, between 2012 and ’14, Baku hosted an international GT race on a separate street track. That sportscar race no longer takes place, but F1 has a long-term deal to race in the city.
What makes the track unique:
It’s the first anti-clockwise circuit of the 2016 campaign, but the track’s unique feature is its 2.1km (1.305-mile) pit straight, along which the cars will reach a top speed of 340km/h (211mph) – the fastest speed on a street track in the history of the sport.
Poor. The asphalt is new, which will make it oily and slippery. Grip levels will improve as rubber is laid down on the racing line, but teams are expecting slippery conditions – similar to those at the Sochi Autodrom in 2014.
Minimal. This is a street circuit, so space is at a premium. Concrete walls line the track, which means mistakes will be punished – and never more than at Turn Eight, where the track is barely wider than two F1 cars. But FIA race director Charlie Whiting is satisfied with the safety standards at the track.
Watch out for…:
Turn One. The cars will have been flat-out for the preceding 2.1kms (1.305 miles), along which is the first DRS zone, so expect lots of drama under braking and overtaking attempts into this slow, 90-degree left-hander.