Formula One - Circuits


See also: List of Formula One circuits

A typical circuit usually features a stretch of straight road on which the starting grid is situated. The pit lane, where the drivers stop for fuel, tyres, or minor repairs (such as changing the car's nose due to front wing damage) during the race, and where the teams work on the cars before the race, is normally located next to the starting grid. The layout of the rest of the circuit varies widely, although in most cases the circuit runs in a clockwise direction. Those few circuits that run anticlockwise (and therefore have predominantly left-handed corners) can cause drivers neck problems due to the enormous lateral forces generated by F1 cars pulling their heads in the opposite direction to normal.

Most of the circuits currently in use are specially constructed for competition. The current street circuits are Monaco, Melbourne, Valencia, and Singapore, although races in other urban locations come and go (Las Vegas and Detroit, for example) and proposals for such races are often discussed—most recently London and Paris. Several circuits have been completely or partially laid out on public roads, such as Spa-Francorchamps, although no course currently is. The glamour and history of the Monaco race are the primary reasons why the circuit is still in use, since it is thought not to meet the strict safety requirements imposed on other tracks. Three-time World champion Nelson Piquet famously described racing in Monaco as "like riding a bicycle around your living room".

Circuit design to protect the safety of drivers is becoming increasingly sophisticated, as exemplified by the new Bahrain International Circuit, added in 2004 and designed—like most of F1's new circuits—by Hermann Tilke. Several of the new circuits in F1, especially those designed by Tilke, have been criticised as lacking the "flow" of such classics as Spa-Francorchamps and Imola. His redesign of the Hockenheim circuit in Germany for example, while providing more capacity for grandstands and eliminating extremely long and dangerous straights, has been frowned upon by many who argue that part of the character of the Hockenheim circuits was the long and blinding straights into dark forest sections. These newer circuits, however, are generally agreed to meet the safety standards of modern Formula One better than the older ones.

The most recent additions to the F1 calendar are Valencia, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Korea, India and the Circuit of the Americas in Austin (Texas).

A single race requires hotel rooms to accommodate at least 5000 visitors.

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Famous quotes containing the word circuits:

    The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower.
    Robert M. Pirsig (b. 1928)