Yesterday we looked at the first four of the top street circuits listed in F1 Racing in March. All but one of those circuits were used within the last 20 years.
The next four are the opposite: all but one were not used within the last 20 years, giving us a more definitive look of what street races looked like before.
F1 Races: Spanish Grand Prix (1951, 1954)
F1 Racing says: If ever a street circuit had wide-open spaces, it was this four-mile blast around and along the avenidas of Barcelona.
Journeyer says: Before Barcelona had the Circuit de Catalunya, there was Pedralbes, and it wasn’t your typical street circuit. Like Reims, it had long, fast straights, but unlike Reims, this was in the downtown section of a major city!
Alas, we did not see much of this circuit. It first hosted the championship decider in 1951, which saw Juan Manuel Fangio take the title from Alberto Ascari.
After that thriller, it hosted one more race in 1954, won by Mike Hawthorn’s Ferrari. But with the disaster that hit Le Mans in 1955, Pedralbes fell foul of the stricter safety rules. It was never to host a race again.
F1 Races: Canadian Grand Prix (1978-1986, 1988- )
F1 Racing says: Is it really a street circuit? Perhaps not. But it sure looks and drives like one. Unusually, this is a layout that has been improved by recent revisions.
Journeyer says: Indeed, this circuit has produced some cracking racing. This is the circuit Belle Isle in Detroit would probably have tried to emulate had it pushed through. Its initial success was thanks to the Canadian’s home hero, Gilles Villeneuve.
I’ve made a series on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve before – here’s a load of videos from the home of the Canadian Grand Prix.
But again, just to jog your memory, here’s a summary of the 2008 race, which saw Robert Kubica and BMW take their first F1 win.
F1 Races: Portuguese Grand Prix (1958, 1960)
F1 Racing says: This had it all: cobbles, a roundabout, even tramlines. A stretch of dual carriageway put its average over 113mph and it was deemed too dangerous – even in 1960!
Journeyer says: When F1 fans talk of Portugal, it’s Estoril that comes first to people’s minds. Not many know that there WAS a Portuguese GP before Estoril, and it was at the Circuito da Boavista, in the city of Oporto, Portugal’s 2nd-largest city.
This circuit had two sections: the flat-out bits on the carriageways, and the twisty bits that took them through small neighborhoods in the city.
It hosted an F1 race twice, in 1958 and 1960. 1958, in particular, saw Mike Hawthorn get disqualified, only for him to be reinstated in the race results thanks to his championship rival, Stirling Moss.
The circuit made a comeback in 2005, and now hosts a round of the WTCC. It also hosts historic F1 races, and the video below shows one of them, for pre-1961 cars, the very cars that raced here.
F1 Races: Pescara Grand Prix (1957)
F1 Racing says: Two long, long 190mph (even in the 1950s) straights linked by a mountain section. Its 16 miles bisected numerous narrow villages, as well as Pescara itself.
Journeyer says: In case you haven’t noticed, this course is actually longer than the Nurburgring Nordschleife. The race presented a huge challenge to the drivers as well. In fact, only one F1 race was ever held here, in 1957. Moss won it from Fangio by more than 3 minutes.
However, it is more famous for the pre-WWII races it held, known as the Coppa Acerbo. The first ever race here was won by an Alfa Romeo driver. His name was Enzo Ferrari.
The video below was of the 1937 race, won by Bernd Rosemeyer for Auto Union. Also in this video is an early version of what we now know to be the post-race press conference.
Here’s a scrapbook video created for the Pescara circuit.
So there you have it, your middle four. I’m pretty sure many F1 fans would know most or all of what will be the top four street circuits. But do you know in what order they’ll come out? Post your predictions in the comments (but if you’ve read it already, don’t spoil it for the others!)
I’ll reveal the top 4 street circuits tomorrow.
This is a guest article by Journeyer If you want to write a guest article for F1 Fanatic you can find all the information you need here.