European Grand Prix preview: Not like anything we’ve seen before in F1
Baku European Grand Prix 2016
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  15 Jun 2016   |  10:36 pm GMT  |  108 comments

Formula 1 moves to its 32nd new country this weekend with the inaugural Baku European Grand Prix in Azerbaijan on what looks like the fastest street track F1 has ever seen. Speeds of up to 350km/h are predicted on the 2.1km long straight, which is the kind of speed only seen at Monza and in the high altitude of Mexico!

The race is the 23rd running of the European Grand Prix, but it will be the first F1 race ever to take place in Azerbaijan. Fernando Alonso is the most recent winner of the European event after his triumph for Ferrari at Valencia in 2012, and the Spaniard has the most wins at the European GP of the current crop of drivers with three, while Vettel has two and Felipe Massa one.

At just over 6km in length, the Baku circuit is the second longest on the calendar, only behind Spa, and it has been designed by regular F1 architect, Hermann Tilke. It is not like anything seen before in F1 as most of the corners are low speed, but the straights are long and fast. This calls for two completely different downforce configurations. It will reward cars with good mechanical grip, like Mercedes and Red Bull and with plenty of engine power like Ferrari and Mercedes.

It looks very much like Mercedes will enjoy a margin this weekend. It is also a high fuel consumption circuit, so there will be some fuel management to be done.

The layout travels around the downtown area of Azerbaijan’s capital city, which incorporates the UNESCO heritage site known as Icheri Sheher, the old city – where the organisers have laid temporary asphalt on the cobbled streets to allow the cars to race through – and the more modern sections on the promenade near the Caspian Sea.

Baku European Grand Prix 2016

As the circuit winds its way around Baku, the width of the track varies greatly. The widest part of the track is 13m, while the narrowest section, between Turns 7 and 8, is just 7.6m. Turn 8 will also be the slowest corner on the track, with an expected apex speed of 53mph.

Baku European Grand Prix 2016

The Baku track is also expected to have an extremely high average speed for a street circuit. This is largely because of the rapid sequence of flowing corners in the final sector that form part of the 2.1km (1.5-mile) main straight, where drivers are expected to be on full throttle for over 20 seconds and hit 350km/h. The Haas F1 team’s pre-race briefing stated that the calculated lap time for the track is expected to be 101 seconds.

Wind could also play a part in the on-track action this weekend, as Baku is unofficially known as the “City of Winds” and unexpected gusts blowing along the sea front could cause the drivers problems as they hit the brakes for Turn 1.

Baku European Grand Prix 2016

There will be two DRS zones this weekend, one on the approach to Turn 1 and one on the straight coming into Turn 3, while McLaren has highlighted the “deceptively fast” Turn 15 as a key corner as it is lined with close barriers.

What’s the strategy for Baku?
Before a car turns a wheel on the new track there are a few observations that can be made. It is a street track and given the high speeds in parts of the track, it’s likely that we will see a Safety Car. This is especially true because, as a new event care will have to be taken to give the marshals time to deal with incidents.

New street circuits tend to be low grip at the outset and the grip should ramp up over the course of three days running. The temperatures will be warm and with the cars likely to run lower downforce, they will slide in the corners.

Pirelli has brought medium, soft and supersoft which is a conservative choice – due to the ‘unknown’ of a new track. The soft is likely to be most people’s mandatory race tyre, while the supersoft will be the qualifier and first race stint tyre. The soft is proving a very durable and raceable tyre, so with pit stops quite slow and unattractive at 24 seconds, it looks like this could be a one-stop race. But there may be surprises when the cars run on Friday.

Heading to Baku: The F1 drivers in numbers

After they finished first and second in last weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel are now tied together on 1,974 career points, although in should be noted that their tallies are inflated by the changes that F1 has made to its points scoring positions in this century.

Nico Rosberg, who has seen his championship lead cut from 43 points to nine in just three races, is seeking a 14th consecutive front row start – a streak that started at the Singapore Grand Prix last season. Another qualifying statistic, albeit a worrying one for Ferrari, is that Vettel has been quickest in four FP3 sessions so far this season but neither of the Scuderia drivers has yet started on the front row of the grid.

Pascal Wehrlein

Several drivers are on streaks of their own in recent races. Pascal Wehrlein is echoing his Manor predecessor Max Chilton, as he is only driver to have completed every race this season but without scoring a point.

At Force India, Nico Hulkenberg has scored points in last two events, the first time he has finished in the top ten in back-to-back races in 2016, but his teammate Sergio Perez saw his own a four-race scoring streak end in Canada. Esteban Gutierrez has out qualified and out raced Romain Grosjean in last two races, but is still yet to score for Haas F1.

Although many drivers up and down the grid are coming under increasing pressure to deliver good performances, two men who hold unenviable recent records are Jolyon Palmer and Daniil Kvyat. The Russian driver is yet to out qualify any teammate in 2016, as he failed to beat Daniel Ricciardo in qualifying while at Red Bull and has been out qualified by Carlos Sainz so far at Toro Rosso, while Palmer has only completed 23 racing laps in last two races thanks to his crash in Monaco and mechanical failure in Montreal.

What do you expect from this weekend’s European Grand Prix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

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Still do not get it, how is this Europe?

Tornillo Amarillo

I found an answer : if the Caucasus Mountains are the geographic limit between Europe and Asia... Baku is definitely in ASIA!

How come we are discussing basic geography? (then we do not discuss politics - human rights 🙂 ).

Alex the journalist : excellent F1 article, clear, informative, love it. Keep up!


@AlexD.. What is the definition of "Europe" anyway? Is it European now if a country is a part of the "EU" ? Maybe the UK will soon become non European. I think Azerbaijan should be forced to take its place in the EU, to be allowed to keep the "European GP" tag.


Are you reducing the continent called Europe, to which Azerbaijan is part, to the EU? How stupid!


@Jean-luc.. I do not know if that is addressed to me or @AlexD. If it was addressed to me, sorry I do not understand what you are reffering to. Maybe i am stupid 😉


No @Nomad sorry. It was a response to @alexD's comment,


Hah! 😀 but AlexD didnt mention anything about the EU now did he? 😉 So im still not any wiser about what "Are you reducing the continent called Europe, to which Azerbaijan is part, to the EU? " meant :/

Oh Look! Shiny Stars!! Those stars again i have no idea what they mean.


Petroleum money.


It's not worse than the San Marino GP.


Money talks.


There is no official border between Europe and Asia. When I was at school, we were aught that the boundary followed the Ural mountains south through Russia, and then down through the Caspian sea. The USSR straddled the boundary as did Turkey.

Historically Azerbaijan would be considered to be part of Asia, but Azerbaijan clearly wants to become more closely associated with Europe than with Asia. Considering several of their neighbours such as Georgia are nowadays considered to be in Europe, it's not a huge stretch to suggest that Azerbaijan be considered a European country.

I assume the organisers (or government) have chosen to call it the Grands Prix of Europe rather than call it the Grands Prix of Azerbaijan. Their choice I would say.


Eventually, Asia will be called Europe. By definition "A continent is one of several very large landmasses on Earth" So it is ok to call Asia Europe.


Bernie has to call it something, he has to come up with some excuse to fill his pockets even more?.
It looks like an exciting track, but I can see someone getting seriously hurt here.


I am with you. Though technically Azerbaijan is considered to be a transcontinental country located right on the virtual border of Europe and Asia (... of a single continent Eurasia). Perplexing? Sure! =)


They're in Eurovision.. maybe Australia will have two tracks


Very simple.......£'s or $'s.....


No: €'s, as this is for Europe 🙂


Wonder how few years before this race is scrapped.

Still, never mind those human rights, eh Bernie? As long as they'll pay, eh?


Its not Bernie's job to be analysing which countries screw around more with human rights violations. If that was his basis, we would be suprised at how many of our "Big Brother" group of countries would be rejected for how callously they bomb around the world, like say send a cruise missile to vanish an entire village where one suspected target might be hiding. It helps to have the media on one's side 🙂 So best to avoid getting into that argument.. this is F1, not the International Court of Justice.


While I agree that it is not F1s job to get involved with politics the reality of the situation is that F1 is used as a political tool. It is used to legitimise countries and showcase them on the world stage (hence why governments pay so much for an F1 race).

Also as a business is it really a good idea to associate yourself with countries who have a dodgy track record (ok I understand every country in the world has a chequered history). Large brands regularly cancel sponsorship contracts because of what is perceived to be less than savoury behaviour. FIFA were forced to out Blatter because of presser from their sponsors as they didn't want to tarnish their image. I believe that F1 regularly lose a lot of viewers because of the people that they associate with


Looks like another long snooze fest of a track like Valencia or Sochi. Devoid of character or proper racing characteristics. Cars will shoot off, fall into single file and stretch out between each other for miles. Commentators will rave about how exciting some scrap for 12th place is, while the leader is 30+ seconds ahead of P2.


I suspect you're right. There doesn't look like many passing opportunities.


James, Alex - I wanted to ask about the way comments notifications are being set up. I receive an eMail notification that somebody replied to my post and there is also a link. I click on the link and arrive on your blog. I see no comment and so I cannot continue the discussion. Will it not make more sense to send eMail notifications when comments are actually available on the website? What is the point of receiving a notification if the comment is not there? Thank you!


Baku? Europe? How did that happen?


We may as well have the next European Grand Prix in New Zealand at least we can have a Lord Of The Rings Theme wait a minute it's not in Europe .... or is it I mean Baku is so European.

Tornillo Amarillo

I laughed for two minutes...


When you have measly 10m population and your country is heavily oil rich I guess they can pay to call it whatever they want.

They should have been a bit more creative and gone with BOWSER'S CASTLE Grand Prix.

Tornillo Amarillo

Yeah, Canada is rich too, they can call it "North Pole Position GP"...

Just sayin'. By the way, Montreal track is the only surface without potholes in the province of Quebec, but just in June... but I'm not totally sure....

Just sayin'.


:O I thought only India had potholes


That makes Canada a step closer to Europe. With only one place temporarily having no potholes while the rest are strewn with potholes ...well that's more European than Baku with its perfect roads. In Baku I expect "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" to fly over the Baku Castle . Plus the Evil Child Catcher with his large net (from the film) chasing Max V, using a trail of Red Bulls resting on a pairs of clogs to entice Max.


@NickH They should rename the Chinese grand prix to the "American Grand Prix" for a year and let there be a celebration of American culture for that weekend 🙂 Barbeques et all. And maybe the next new Grand Prix that comes up in europe can be called the "Chinese Grand Prix" as they celebrate Chinese culture over the weekend. I can imagine it right now, Lewis Hamilton wearing a Cow Boy hat and saying he loved the atmosphere while winning the American Grand Prix of 2017 in China 😀


"Steady over the lava Lewis...good job, now it's hammer time" 🙂


Hammer Bros. you mean?


Will the media be fenced and silenced while they are in Baku. Men in Black following the western production teams.
Looking forward to the fast straights and tight slow corners. Could be either a mix set up or a fast set up and troubling corners. Tyres will wear quickly on this track due to the heat.


Considering I am not a fan of almost any of Herman's work and actually wished F1 stayed away from him as far as it could, I share Lewis' concerns regarding this circuit.
Le Mans 2016 clash also doesn't help (btw, I find it ridiculous FIA\FOM couldn't change the date of F1 race…)

May be I will be proven wrong – I don’t mind it, let’s wait until the action begins.


Free Practice will be an big learning curve in this very European Country anyone for Deer Balls I mean Dough Balls .


Given that this is by far the longest straight - even when disregarding the first part of the 2.1 km stretch which is arguably not a straight - will we see speed records? Or will downforce levels be too high for that?

By the way, technically, Kvyat out qualified Sainz in Canada, as opposed to what the article says. 😉


But after Kvyat's Monaco penalty was applied he dropped below Sainz - the same way as when Michael Schumacher was fastest qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix but was relegated due to penalty.

But then Sainz got moved back on the Sunday due to a gearbox penalty...


The FOM quali battle graphic will still give that to Kvyat. Qualifying result before any penalties are applied.


For comparison especially between teammates, think most people are more interested who is the fastest over 1 lap rather than where they actually start the GP due to penalties.

Stephen Taylor

Azerbaijan is desperately to convince they are in Europe with a sporting drive.
1 Hosting a 'European Grand Prix' this year
2 Hosted the 2015 European Games.
3. Baku National Stadium will host Group Stage/ Quarter Final matches at the pan-european UEFA Euro 2020 football Championships.
I don't consider this country truly in Europe though but it should be decent race this weekend non the less.


Brand building. Thats what it is called


Just send them the Billion Dollar EU bills pending.. they have the Oil Monies, Marriage made in heaven if you ask me.


European GP in Azerbaijan - nice invention Bernie...! LOL

Track does look very good for tourist snaps, but not convinced it will show up a multi (or even 2) team fight like a Monaco.

In another matter - watched this & the current engines (sorry PU's) are just not F1, as much as I'm impressed by the efficiency, I just don't care enough. (how good are the brutish V12 & screaming V10?)

Imagine how good they would be around Baku...? Keep dreaming of yesterday I suppose. (I will never forget the V12's & V10's around the Adelaide F1 street track.)


Azerbaijan news outlet ABC said ticket sales have been slow, with only 18,500 tickets printed for the race and "not all of them sold".


This is a television event. Bums on seats don't make money.
But enough cynicism... I think this will be a great event. I already want to visit Baku! Looks idyllic situated right there on the edge of the Caspian.


Judging from the pics, most people can probably just look out their window to watch the race.


Great. Lets say that 1000 flats @ 2 per unit have some track sight. That's how many?


@Sebee.. Maybe its a party at all the 1000 flats 😀 or a social gathering with people coming and going from the Windows alternating with watching the tv live broad cast.

Suddenly maybe 10,000 who knows people from the flat (if there are 1000 flats in the first case 😉 ) Combine that with people who did buy stand tickets (say only 10,000 out of 18.5 k printed tickets).. The total figure would be a relatively decent PERCENTAGE of their mere 9.4 million population of the entire country!

It would be 0.22% of their entire population at the event compared to say the US GP, where its 0.03% of their population who make it. So percentage of population showing up for live race.. almost 10 TIMES HIGHER TURNOUT PER 100 PEOPLE OF THE NATION in Azerbaijan compared to USA and this would be if they just managed to sell the 18.5K printed tickets forget the flat windows over looking 😉

Small countries have advantages when it comes to such statistical figures I guess 😛 who would have though! I didnt when i started typing this post.


Better not have a GP in China and India with those stats 😉


The organizers and sponsors care not a jot about the % of the population. They care about the headcount and how it compares to the capacity over the weekend, because that's the fundamental premise of the business.


@redline.. Actually one would assume the head count barely matters to the organisers this year, its all about the number of international eye balls they get via TV and other media on their country/city for this year. Next year Head counts would matter a lot to see if this year attracted many tourists to their nation.


@Nomad... yeah that's a very valid point. TV eyes are obviously more important than headcount from a visibility perspective and raising the countries profile etc... But I suppose that actual attendance is their most important revenue stream? If making money actually matters to them at all...


@Redline.. making money with tickets? What happened to Oil Money 😀


I think the key thing here is a low grip surface with a high average speed circuit- this is likely to be very close between Mercedes and Red Bull. Ferrari I think should have a half a turn more wing to counter their grip shortfall. I think young Max tends to do really well at the high speed circuits like SPA. Very hard to predict as the set up work will be a super challenge for all drivers. I think both Ferraris will be better on their tyres in the long run becausenof the hotter conditions but maybe not enough outright pace and grip of Merc/ Red Bull. 1. Lewis 2. Max 3. Seb 4. Nico 5. Kimi 6. Dan 7. Valtteri 8. Alonso 9. Carlos 10. Sergio


Ferrari better on tyres and yet 3rd & 5th :O


Great article! Very interesting. Track looks good compared to some new tracks. Looking forward to seeing how it works out.

I wonder why the pit lanes are designed long if they know it will lead to less pit stops. Maybe shorten the entrance or exit.


Hardly Europe - more like Middle East GP.


More Middle East GP haven't we had enough of those empty lifeless circuits.
Baku is more of a Silk Trade Asian root about it.


Errrrr... Eurasian perhaps, but not really Middle East....


Who believes that "temporary asphalt laid over cobblestones" is good for F1 cars at. 350kmh ? In Baku ? World Centre of Temporary Asphalt Laying ? Where is Borat when you need him ?

Where in the name of Fangio is this place ? I am pretty good an Geographical knowledge, but this place is NOWHERE.

Just another extremely dodgy regime bunging Bernie more cash to hold a race in a place nobody knows or cares about. Really, what does he need the money for ?


As soon as I read "temporary asphalt" I thought "oh no!" Even if it's on the low speed sections, with the loads that go through an F1 tyre, what are the chances of the track breaking up?


temporary asphalt laid over cobblestones and 350kph are not in the same place....and who cares where it is, another race is more bang for my buck. Actually it's in the same place it always is...the corner of my living room.


@Ray C.. even in your living room it may not be as safe 😀 last year when they cut to the onboard footage on Max's car right before his crash into the barrier in Monaco, with the intensity of the sound, suddeness and the surprise - I almost fell of my seat in the living room ! ...and now Two Monacos from this year! Have soft carpets to land on I say! Also a handy vacuum cleaner for the split munchies 😉


The temporary asphalt will be through the narrowest, slowest part of the track. Nowhere near speeds of 350kph there. Not saying it won't fail, just saying it won't be due to cars going 350kph over it!


When I hear the name of the country I just think 'Longbow 2'. That's the only time I've ever heard of it.


Really, what does he need the money for ?

Keeping score


It seems odd that there is a trend towards city tracks being very long these days. You instantly think Monaco for a street race, with a lap time around 80 seconds, but the recent additions of Singapore, the brief stint with Valencia, Sochi and now Baku are all around the 100 second mark which feels high for an F1 track. I wonder if there is a good reason for this, such as making sure there is enough character in the track or trying to represent the city. It must make the logistics even harder, shutting more of the town, but given the fees they will pay F1 to host the race I suppose it will be a drop in the ocean.


lets hope this one is different as formula E and its city centre tracks have show this format to be a bore.
Maybe the speed and noise will make the difference.


I think that Lewis could take the lead in the WDC this weekend! It will be interesting to see which is the number 2 team this weekend (between Red Bull and Ferrari) the long straight favours the power of the Ferrari PU but the layout of the circuit favours RBs mechanical grip advantage. My money is on RB but the higher temperature could help Ferrari. How close they are will also be interesting, especially if cars can split the Mercedes drivers in qualiy

Stephen Kellett


You're right. A European Grand Prix that is not held in Europe. Azerbaijan is in Asia.
This is just stupid. It's about money. Nothing less.


At first sight i am worried about the top speed of 350 mh on a street circuit. What if somebody goes off, is there enough room to decelerate before hitting a wall?


IF you condiser the two straights being side by separated by just a barrier with cars going in different opposite directions.. If the camera crews can get the shot.. we could see a passing of atleast 350+250 = 600 Kmph a FEW FEET AWAY FROM EACH OTHER separated by a concrete divider. That is just AWESOME!


Damn, I just checked the map of the circuit with a bit more interest and the side by side section wont really be very fast as one side is just after a sharp chicane like thingy while the other is right at the start of the start finish straight albiet after a high speed corner.. so what 200+ 150 kmph= 350 kmph speed difference? There goes my dreams of seeing two cars crossing each other at 600kmph difference. Maybe the next new track will have it. LAS VEGAS! Someone please tell Tilke :'(


And this concrete divider is approved by FIA, so what is to worry... Anyway as is said elsewhere a lot of people will have looked at the safety side of this. But what is the reasoning behind it, why is it deemed safe? Are accidents like Alonso this year of Verstappen last year impossible here?


Seriously...... This is motorsport & F1. It's designed to be fast & 'dangerous' (yes, dangerous). There should be more 350 km/h tracks with some risk.

No fear though, Tilk would have made sure it 'Driving Muss Daisy' safe & boring as usual


It will have met the same basic criteria for FIA approval as any track. If something still is glaringly dangerous, the drivers will have brought it up after their track walks today, you would hope too.

Big accidents can happen anywhere though and it's the ones that happen in less obvious places or with slightly unusual trajectories that are scariest.


Both Button and Rosberg did bring up issues with the track lay out. Specifically the amount and location of the run off areas, one of them (can't remember which corner) having to turn right to access it which will obviously be challenging if the car is out of control


I agree. Someone may die...


I get the points about calling this the European GP, and yes it is a little unusual, and yes its probably PR and marketing from the Government there.

But why are people so outraged by this that they seem to be writing off the weekend as a complete farce already? Its a point but it's hardly going to be the defining point of whether I enjoy the weekend or not.

The track could be good, the race could be good, the surface is completely unknown and there are so many things that could really make this a good race, not to mention that again Testicular girth could play a big part in qualifying order.

Equally it could be less than spectacular but people please, lets enjoy the excitement of the potential while it lasts.


+ many billions!!


A track needing good mechanical grip like Redbull for the slow corners and Massive Power like Ferrari for the High speed straights.. MEANS MERCEDES will win I guess 😀

Ever notice how Ferrari stings like a bee at the starts and Redbull Floats like a butterfly in sliding conditions? But its the Merc that picks up the wins usually so meh :/

Not sure about Redbull lowering downforce in lieu of top speed because the slow corners they have better suspension / mech grip anyway. Will that not hamper them in the high speed sequence of corners James?

So which Merc if its a Merc? Will it be Nico? But the high speed sequence of turns before the final straights - gut feeling says Nico will be conservative initially but build up throughout the weekened while Ham will probaly find the limits and end with a crash by free practise itself. So I would put my money on Ham for this one unless Vettel can hold on to his Ferrari and its Slippery ways.


Rosberg's front row streak started at Japan '15. Both Mercedes were off the front row at Singapore last year.

I hope they go through the red flag procedures with the drivers for this race. If there's a crash between turns 8-10 then the marshals will be screwed, trying to remove it. If the leader(s) pass the start line before a red flag, that will be a right mess. They should have routes available to bypass any potential bottleneck areas.


sounds like another stop-go circuit from Herman.


Incredibly dangerous if your car had a wing/brake failure at 200mph and you hit the concrete wall 5 metres away from you, then clobbered an adjacent barrier. Nice to see the FIA taking safety seriously.


My thoughts too when I read this article yesterday, then today Jenson has come out with concerns about T3, T7, and T13 having little to no run off areas and issues with the pit lane entrance. I hope this is not the case of FOM fees trumping driver safety.


Long straights and slow corners equals exquisite torture for car set ups!! I'm here in Baku for the race... Can't wait!!


I am guessing from all the initial comments even Europeans are not convinced this is Europe. I guess Bernie is using the socioeconomic/political definition of Europe (i.e. any country willing to give me at least $30 million a year to host a race), not the geographic. As for the race, I expect this race will rank next to Russia in F1 worthlessness. Expect a Mercedes to post the track speed record two laps before the end of the race after running at least 2/3rds f the race on one set of tires.


I'm rather looking forward to the possibility of an "African grand prix'
... I think Japan would be the the best place for it... Or maybe Norway...


Interesting to see how many races will end at Turn 8. It looks like an insult towards all the safety work done in the sport.


Tires could be a surprise: looking forward to the first practice !

Tornillo Amarillo

I think getting pole will be important in a new circuit. Anybody else risk of being tangle.

I think that splitting strategies for both cars would be advisable.

I would stay in qualy tyres until first safety car (say no more than 40 laps), then Softs until the end. So 1 stop strategy for everybody, save you get more SC.

For P11 backwards, I'd put Soft until safety car (yeah 40 laps maximum) then Super-Softs.

I'm so grateful I can write cualquier verdura (anything) here without risk of paying any fees, penalties or commenting fines... for now.

Tornillo Amarillo

I wanna do a case for HULK. He's getting so boring for me...

FI needs the HULK's consistency, his points and the money it means, but HULK himself needs a Podium or Nothing!

It is excellent for FI having a finisher most of the time like HULK and a podium finisher from time to time like PEREZ. But that plays well in the hands of PEREZ only.

HULK, if you are reading this lines, and I am pretty sure you do, please take into account that in Baku things could be mixed up, so do whatever to get the fricking podium. Otherwise, ...

Otherwise, ...



haha, otherwise.. otherwise KIMI may win 😀


High speed or not, this track looks like an absolute bore as far as producing good racing. Hope I am wrong.

Tornillo Amarillo

Geography for everybody:

Azerbaijan is an European country with its capital in Asia.

In Baku, the capital, has been built three penguin-esque crystal towers that everybody loves. But there is not penguins in Azerbaijan. However it's been reported that "a penguin that escaped from the flood-ravaged Tbilisi zoo has been found alive near the border with Azerbaijan."

Azerbaijan is bounded by the Caspian Sea, so the country is a partner of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization... Uh?

Now everything is clear for me.


After watching the onboard video of the track, I have to say it looks rather boring. And far too long.


In the online video, the driver is driving slowly because there are people working everywhere and all safetys are not up.. the video was almost 3 mins while teams estimate on the simulators a 110 second lap is it?

What is SCARY is.. if that guy in the video was slow.. and the F1 cars are doubly fast.. that track looks like DEATH to me, I really wouldnt wish any of those drivers to be there. That slow video in the red car.. the narrow sections appeared wider than some of the pictures now being shown in full race spec.

While the architecture surrounding the track is beautiful there is something very UNHOLY about this track. True one can say its like monaco but faster.. but monaco itself is unreal and thank god its slow - But this one is FAST. I hope the drivers are extra careful about yellow flags and red flags for this race to avoid multi car collisions.

My initial enthusiasm for this track is severely dropping now and a sense of dread is setting in which shall only be lifted once the race is over on Sunday, only to return the next year again.


you need to relax dude, the track was vetted by alonso and whiting before any car turned a wheel there.
its likely safer than Monaco all things considered, and the last death in f1 was a freak accident followed by poor medical procedures to recover the driver.

relax, the race will be fun and sections of the circuit genuinely challenge the drivers.
you can't suddenly get cold feet cause it looks like the drivers will actually get challenged


too much talk about a country being in this or that continent.
look for daniel ricciardo's lap of the track on f1 2016, it has some interesting elements and will likely produce some good racing with its long straights into slow corners, not to mention that turn 8 complex simply looks spectacular


Jordon King ran off into one of the exit run offs some time around 33 minutes left to go in 1st practise for GP 2 and there was a LARGE VAN parked in that RUN OFF AREA and he drove past the VAN, went behind and did a power turn and cam back out. The first session being so dusty do they want to risk doing a SUZUKA moment again JAMES?


A Special Note towards those who talk badly about F1 and how weak the product is compared to Le Mans 24 hours.. I just tried to get into watching Le Man (somehow 24 hours never appealed to me before) But what i just read went over my head.. BOP WHAAAT?

Added weights to those who qualified higher plus more turbo restrictions plus some cars get more fuel allowed (to equalise them is it it??) because they were dramatically slower in qualifying? WHAT IN THE LORDS NAME IS HAPPENING??? :O

And maybe I couldnt make it out from the article properly but it felt as if some teams could just drive slower in qualifying on purpose to make their competitors look really fast which makes those fast one get penalties in the way of added weight to the car for the race; I assume in a race that is 24 hours long the qualifying deficit can be made up by those that purposely went slow.. but those who get the added weight to them for qualifying well have to live with it for 24 hours? Is that what just happened there??

Also those that sandbagged will probably not get penalties and keep sandbagging trhough the entire 24 hours except in maybe some corners to lets say make a pass?? Whole thing sounded were confusing to me

And they say F1 is confusing?


In Lieu of the Horror show and farce that i found going on in LeMans24, F1 is indeed the pinnacle of motorsport where you clearly see which brand stands where when it comes to how competent there are in churning out cutting age engineering.

Its clear, Mercedes is completely on top of Hybrid/Turbo Power, followed by Fiat/Ferrari followed by Renault (point to note is while always lacking power they seem to have good understanding of traction) followed by Honda which was a year late to join. But on the whole.. i cannot imagine them adding weights to the Merc just because Mcbooger or Manor cannot qualify as fast. thats a FARCE!!

So thats a big point for F1 and a huge minus point for 24hrsLeMans.


How do you clean up 'temporary asphalt' after the race?


If it's like the temporary stuff they put down in Paris for the Formula E race, it's laid over a sheet of plastic so shouldn't be too difficult.


hmm... just a thought > wouldn't it be interesting if the cars were setup to adapt to the circuit rather than the other way round? I mean, you can hardly call it a 'street circuit' when most of it has a new layer of asphalt laid down!
I just think it would be exciting to hear the commentator express how the Mercedes was faster on the straight but losing time vs the Red Bulls and Williams over the cobblestones...

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