So here we are: the final top four of street circuits. Which circuits are so great that F1 Racing thinks they warrant a place at the top of this list? They’re spread out across the globe, each the best that part of the world has to offer. Let’s take a look at them now.
4. Long Beach
Country: United States
F1 Races: US Grand Prix West (1976-1983)
F1 Racing says: We’re talking its first iteration here, the Bullitt plunge off Ocean Boulevard, the sweep of Shoreline Drive. All in the shadow of the splendiferous Queen Mary.
Journeyer says: And both videos below capture that first iteration in all its brilliance. But even after multiple revisions had watered down the track’s original glory, it still remained very popular with the fans. It regularly had some brilliant racing, especially in 1983 when John Watson’s McLaren won from 22nd on the grid, followed home by team mate Niki Lauda who started 21st!
Unfortunately, that 1983 thriller would be the last F1 race held there. Many US-based F1 fans have wanted it to make a comeback as the home of the US Grand Prix, but it doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon.
Here’s the recap from the second race held at Long Beach, in 1977.
An even better video is this one from 1978. It has a brilliant onboard lap with Patrick Depailler’s Tyrrell. Note that the protection at pitlane exit was nothing more than rows of oil barrels. Much has indeed changed when it comes to F1 safety.
F1 Races: Australian Grand Prix (1985-1995)
F1 Racing says: There were long faces when Australia’s GP vacated the city after 1995. The big stop at the end of Dequetteville Terrace was the scene of many do-or-die moves.
Journeyer says: In the late 1980s and early 1990s, titles were decided in one of two places: Suzuka (in Japan) or Adelaide. Year on year, it has provided heap-loads of tension and action as drivers and teams, especially those contending for titles, put it all on the line.
Of course, the two showdowns here are the most memorable races here. First off, 1986. Mansell looked on course for the title, but his left-rear tyre had other ideas…
And then there was 1994. Michael Schumacher made a mistake, and Damon Hill thought he had him. Michael and Damon both thought they were OK to keep racing, but Schumacher’s Benetton had other ideas…
Oh yeah, almost forgot. Towards the end of the video, you’ll see the Benetton mechanics whooping it up. Keep an eye on the guy in white when he raises his hand, sending a special message to the Williams boys, no doubt.
While Albert Park in Melbourne has done very well as Adelaide’s replacement, the original home of the Australian GP still has a place in the hearts of many F1 oldtimers, fans and personnel alike. A shortened version of the track has been hosting V8 Supercar races since 1999.
2. Montjuich Park
F1 Races: Spanish Grand Prix (1969, 1971, 1973, 1975)
F1 Racing says: Perched above Barcelona, it was rather like Monaco – only 15mph faster. It also had more interesting architecture and a 160mph yump just beyond the pits.
Journeyer says: And while that extra speed made for thrilling racing, it also made for horrifying accidents. And in an era where wings were kings, they were going at almost uncontrollable speeds.
As an example, here’s the first race held there in 1969. The Lotuses’ accident was so dangerous, wings were first banned, then severely regulated in races to come.
But the park circuit was amazing to look at, and race at too. Here’s a recreation of the circuit from Grand Prix Legends.
Alas, a huge accident in the 1975 race took the lives of four people. F1 never returned to Montjuich Park again.
1. Monte Carlo
F1 Races: Monaco Grand Prix (1950, 1955- )
F1 Racing says: Well, F1 Racing devoted an entire article to it! But let’s hear what Carlos Reutemann had to say to Peter Windsor about Monaco: “Monaco is about the perfect lap. Nearly every corner is as rewarding as complete circuits in other countries… You cannot drive Monaco well by seeing it unfold in front of you. You see it only in your mind, and what you see is the car where you want it even before you have begun to slow.”
Journeyer says: Really, was there any other circuit that was going to take #1? Its tradition, excitement, and its sheer longevity all contributed to its unparalleled place in F1 street circuits. I’ve already written a series of articles on Monaco’s history, so I highly recommend you take a look at it and enjoy the videos I pick in part one (1929-73) and part two (1974-2008).
And just a bonus to those articles, here’s a summary video of that fantastic 2008 race won by Lewis Hamilton.
So there you have it: the top 12 street circuits in F1 so far, the key phrase there being ‘so far’. Where will Singapore end up? Will it fail to live up to its hype, like Valencia, or will it truly prove to be the Monaco of the East – or perhaps even better? Find out with me this weekend! It’ll be my first time to watch a Grand Prix in person and it’s going to be one heck of a magical weekend.
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.