Top ten… Corners in Formula 1

Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren-Mercedes, Istanbul, 2005 | DaimlerChryslerIt’s Istanbul next and that means the drivers once again get to grapple with the best new corner on the F1 calendar.

It may have a rubbish name but turn eight on the Istanbul course is a brilliant bend.

Hermann Tilke may have cursed many tracks with some tedious turns but he’s also created some good corners as well – and there’s plenty of other great corners still thriving. Here’s ten of my favourites:

Turn Eight – Istanbul Park

Modern circuits aren’t supposed to have fast corners, let alone four-apex monsters with unsettling bumps. The teams have to run their cars low for maximum speed around the rest of Istanbul Park, which causes the drivers all kinds of problems as the cars start bottoming out at turn eight.

In 2005 driver after driver ran wide at this corner in qualifying. I stood their during last year’s race and in the pounding heat I saw Michael Schumacher make that vital mistake that cost him precious seconds – and eventually four points – to Fernando Alonso.

Becketts – Silverstone

Whenever I go to Silverstone, whatever race I’m watching, I make a beeline for Becketts. But nothing come close to rivalling Formula 1 cars going through the opening two parts of the five-bend complex. Their change of direction at maximum speed is just astonishing.

In series where aerodynamics don’t play as great a role, it’s a critical sequence. In the GP2 sprint race on the morning of this year’s Grand Prix I saw leader Pastor Maldonado take a fraction too much kerb on the way in. That put Adam Carroll right on his tail and though Maldonado parried Carroll’s attacks for the next few bends, two miles later on the other side of the track Carroll squeezed through to win.

If only that happened more often in F1!

Pouhon – Spa-Francorchamps

Yes, I could have written this entire article using just corners on the mighty Spa-Francorchamps. But I limited myself to one per track.

The challenge of the once-great Eau Rouge has been neutered by a grippier surface and less powerful V8 engines. Now it’s the rapid, downhill, thread-the-eye-of-the-needle sweep of Pouhon that’s the most dramatic place to watch at Spa.

Or is it Stavelot? Or Blanchimont? Or Les Fagnes…

Casino – Monte-Carlo

While other parts of the Monte-Carlo track have been opened out, Casino remains as tight and punishing as ever. Sweeping in at speed from Massenet the drivers have to brake and flick the car through Casino without understeering wide.

Get it wrong and you’ll thump the barrier hard – as Felipe Massa did in qualifying last year.

Campsa – Circuit de Catalunya

It’s near-blind on the way in, demanding total commitment from the drivers at 230kph. It’s also exposed, and strong gusts of wind cause problems for the drivers particularly in qualifying.

Another bend that F1 cars attack at a much higher speed than any other racing category.

Parabolica – Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Monza’s long straights demand minimum downforce trim – which makes this long, fast 180-degree bend extra-tricky.

Mergulho – Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, Interlagos

Another track that’s not short of good corners, Mergulho is a downhill plunge where the drivers attack at maximum throttle but fighting to ride the Interlagos bumps.

Imola – Circuit de Nevers

Odd to name a corner after a circuit – especially as the Imola circuit has few bends the equal of its namesake on the French Grand Prix track. Imola is essentially a chicane – but much quicker than your average chicane, with a rapid elevation change thrown in for good measure.

Get it wrong and your line into Chateua d’Eau and the following straight are compromised, and you’re vulnerable to attack. Fernando Alonso’s semi-kamikaze pass on Nick Heidfeld at Imola was the highlight of this year’s race.

Nurburgring 2006 | James Moy / Crash Media GroupSchumacher S – Nurburgring

Michael Schumacher may have had a hand in designed the Veedol Schikane but it was the faster left-right following the Dunlop Hairpin that was named after him this year.

Lewis Hamilton celebrated the occasion by having a big crash at the corner when his front right wheel failed. It may be flat out in V8 cars, but it’s another place where F1 cars impress with a very high speed direction change.

Genting Curve – Sepang International Circuit

I’ve always though Genting was an under-rated pair of bends. The entry is very quick at over 250kph and F1 drivers have to scrub off a little speed while changing direction at precisely the right moment to nail the right-hander.

Photos: DaimlerChrysler | James Moy / Crash Media Group

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11 comments on Top ten… Corners in Formula 1

  1. Robert McKay said on 23rd August 2007, 12:12

    Turn 8 should just be called “The Quad”.

  2. Journeyer said on 23rd August 2007, 15:56

    Haha! Here’s my personal top 10:

    1. Eau Rouge (Spa) – Sorry, still a brilliant place to be, as much as I like Pouhon.
    2. Turn 8 (Istanbul Park) – Tilke’s redemption. :)
    3. Casino (Monaco)
    4. Becketts (Silverstone)
    5. Parabolica (Monza)
    6. Nurburgring (Magny-Cours) – Imola is good, but this chicane is better for me.
    7. Schumacher S (Nurburgring)
    8. Turn 13 banking (Indy) – Sure it’s going off the calendar, but it’s always been a brilliant place to see F1 drivers on the limit.
    9. Mergulho (Interlagos)
    10. Turn 4 (Albert Park) – An underrated corner, it’s tricky even in the dry and has provided a lot of thrills and spills (like DC and Wurz this year)

    BONUS: 130R (Suzuka) – It’s not on the calendar now, but it’s brilliant!

  3. Roger said on 23rd August 2007, 21:41

    two more:

    Suzuka – 130R
    Monaco – Tabac, this one really great

  4. Eric M. said on 24th August 2007, 1:51

    My 10:

    1. Eau Rouge (Spa)- yeah, it’s been dumbed-down a little, but it’s still the best. Any more changes though, and that might not be the case.
    2. Pouhon (Spa)- Pouhon is the best downhill sweep in F1. (Why are we limiting ourselves to one corner per circuit?)
    3. Parabolica (Monza)
    4. Turn 8 (Instanbul Park)- Tilke’s redemption indeed.
    5. Variante-Ascari (Monza)- easily the best chicane in F1, if it can even be called a chicane.
    6. Becketts (Silverstone)
    7. Piscine (Monaco)- this quick left-right just before the pool is my favorite part of the circuit.
    8. Genting (Sepang)- another great left-right.
    9. Campsa (Catalunya)- I agree with this one, though I would have said New Holland if that absurd new chicane was removed.
    10. 130R (Suzuka)- Oh, what the hell. Sure Suzuka’s off the calender now, but surely it will return. Fuji has nothing that can justify it being a permanent replacement for Suzuka.

  5. Nathan Jones said on 24th August 2007, 8:57

    at albert park the back chicane is better than turn 3!

  6. Dageraad said on 13th September 2007, 20:32

    1. Eau Rouge (Spa)- One of the greatest corners ever.
    2. Turn 8 (Istanbul)- Is this just the only good thing about Tilke
    3. Blanchimont(Spa)
    4. 130R (Suzuka)
    5. Final Chicane(Montreal)
    6. Curva Di Lesmo (Monza)
    7. Saint Devote (Monaco
    8. Campsa (Catalunya)
    9. Mergulho (Interlagos)
    10. Imola (Magny Cours)

    Great Ex-F1 Corners

    1. Fuchsrohre (Nurburgring)
    2. Masta Kink (Spa)
    3. Scheivlak (Zandvoort)
    4. Senna Chicane (Adelaide)
    5. Peraltada (Mexico)

  7. 1. EAU ROUGE
    2. POUHON
    3. ISTANBUL- TURN 8
    4. LESMO 2
    5.BCKETTS COMPLEX
    6.IMOLA CHICANE
    7.CASINO
    8.TURN 6-7-INTERLAGOS
    9.TABAC
    10.PARABOLICA
    11.180 DEGREE CORNER-MAGNY COURS
    12.BLANCHIMONT UNTIL RUN OFF AREA WAS ADDED
    13.WALL OF CHAMPIONS AT MONTREAL
    14.TURN 7-8 AT SEPANG
    15.300R
    16.TURN 11-12 MELBOURNE
    17.THE OLD,OLD BUS STOP CHICANE
    19.MALADY
    20. NURDKURVE

    ALSO PINHIERINHO IS QUITY TRICKY AND OVERSTERRY

  8. Dan Thorn said on 6th May 2009, 12:11

    I’ve never really seen the attraction with Turn 8 at Turkey – Sure, it’s difficult and easy to make a mistake but I cant help feeling that with all of that tarmac run off the drivers aren’t afraid to push. Put a load of gravel there instead and we’ll see who really has the balls to attack it on every lap!

    Aqua Minerale at Imola was always my favourite corner, and I like the Lesmo’s at Monza too. And, of course, every corner at Spa.

  9. Browny said on 23rd December 2009, 3:13

    Here’s my list of Top 10 Corners from circuits used in recent times (2007 and on)
    Also I am using your rule of 1 corner per circuit, otherwise yes the list would be dominated by Spa

    1. Pouhon, Spa, Belguim

    2. ‘S’ Curves, Suzuka, Japan

    3. Maggots/Becketts/Chapel Section, Silverstone,GreatBritian

    4. Turn 8, Istanbul Park, Turkey

    5. Turns 5 & 6, Sepang, Malaysia

    6. Piscane Chicane Turns 13 & 14, Monte Carlo, Monaco

    7. Turns 11 & 12, Albert Park, Australia

    8. Nurburgring Chicane, Magny Cours, France

    9. Ascari Chicane, Monza, Italy

    10. Turns 6 & 7, Nurburgring, Germany

  10. My favourite corner currently in f1 is Tabac. Eau Rogue, Becketts, Imola, Degner, Pouhon and some others are amazing as well.

  11. Rui Delgado said on 14th November 2010, 13:31

    Here my current F1 best corners, no order of preference, and former circuits included:

    1- Tanque at Estoril;
    2- Boschkurve at Osterreichring;
    3- Eau Rouge at Spa;
    4- 130R at Suzuka;
    5- Barbecue at Kyalami;
    6- Craner at Donington;
    7- Becketts at Silverstone
    8- Parabolica at Monza
    9- Aqua minerale at Imola
    10- Casino at Monaco

    No Tilke crap. these corners separate the men from the boys

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