Five more great tracks F1 should visit

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Rockingham Motor Speedway - this is where I\'d have the British Grand Prix
Rockingham Motor Speedway - this is where I'd have the British Grand Prix

The Potrero de los Funes track in Argentina got a big thumbs up from everyone when I suggested it as a potential new venue for Formula 1.

What other circuits are out there that F1 is yet to visit that would make great additions to the calendar? Here’s five suggestions of mine, post your favourites below…

Road America, USA

There are plenty of American circuits that F1 should visit: Laguna Seca and Road Atlanta are both excellent circuits. But my favourite is Road America, often dubbed the Spa-Francorchamps of the States.

It’s not hard to see how it’s earned that name. It’s long, fast, flowing and supremely challenging. Keep an eye out for Carousel and the daunting Kink on this video lap with Bruno Junquiera (around the two minute mark):

(Here is the location of the track on MSN Virtual Earth.)

Rockingham (Sports Car Circuit), Great Britain

Built at the beginning of this decade, Rockingham is an oval track that was built to hold CART races before the series fell into financial trouble. The oval hasn’t been used for a proper, full-blooded motor race in years, which is a great shame. I first went to Rockingham two years ago during a test session in December, on a freezing cold, blue-skyed day. It was impossible not to fall for the place, which feels like it’s been torn from American soil and dropped into the middle of Northamptonshire.

I’d love to see F1 cars racing on ovals too, though I suspect a lot of other F1 fans might not like that idea. But Rockingham’s sports car circuit configuration as used by the British Touring Car Championship could be ideal. Spectators would have a magnificent view of the whole track, and I bet the racing through the banked first corner towards the hairpin would be great.

Rockingham Sports Car circuit track map (anti-clockwise)

Aut???dromo El Zonda Eduardo Copello, Argentina

Does Argentina build the best racing circuits? I thought Potrero de los Funes was fabulous, the long version of Buenos Aires is one of my all-time favourites, and here’s another exciting Argentinian track with lots of character.

I don’t know much about El Zonda other than it’s built in a ravine next to a mountain. But it looks seriously cool – I’m a sucker for tracks with crossovers. Bringing it up to F1 safety standards would cost a fortune. That said, the video below is from 1997, so it may have been upgraded since then.

Aut???dromo El Zonda Eduardo Copello circuit map (anti-clockwise)


View Larger Map

Mount Panorama, Bathurst, Australia

The Potrero de los Funes track drew instant comparisons with Bathurst, home of Australia biggest motor sport event, the annual Bathurst 1000 Touring Car race.

The Mount Panorama circuit is one of a kind, though. First the cars climb a steep hill lined with concrete barriers, and the track gets even tighter and trickier as they pick their way back down the mountain. Then there’s the gigantic blast down the Conrod Straight, with a fearsomely fast kink at the end.

Having F1 cars race at Bathurst would be as unlikely as putting on a Grand Prix at the Bristol NASCAR oval. It would be spectacular though.

This video doesn’t show as much of the circuit – but there’s some vintage Murray Walker:

Mount Panorama circuit map (anti-clockwise)


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Ascari Race Resort, Spain

This private facility does not host any racing series – it’s a place for rich boys to take their toys. The circuit is a gem though, designed by Klaas Zwart and including several corners inspired by designs on famous great tracks such as Spa. It’s very quick, as this video shows:

Ascari race resort map (clockwise)


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What tracks do you think F1 should race at? Post your suggestions, links and videos below.

45 comments on “Five more great tracks F1 should visit”

  1. Thanks for the Champ Car and V8 Supercar memories, Keith! I also have that video of Murray, I think it was called ‘Murray’s Magic Moments’.

    I particularly agreed with Bathurst and Elkhart Lake being great for F1 but of course they’re like the new Argentinian track: just a dream these days for F1 no doubt. As is your cool suggestion of oval racing – I’d like a few of those!

    My suggestion would be a replacement for the dull Valencia scenery – either Surfers Paradise or the Norisring… my two favourite street tracks and DTM races at Norisring are crazy.

    I also noticed its hard to see the track diagrams sometimes when you use Google maps and thought this site might interest you … it gives you track lengths, good maps and sometimes even a bit of historical background.

  2. I’d love to see an F1 car on the corkscrew at Laguna Seca.

  3. I’d love to see racing return to Mexico City, Long Beach and the full Hockenheim.

    I guess I’ll have to just dig out my old VHS tapes instead though.

  4. the annual Bathurst race is 1000KM not 500KM :)

  5. yorricksfriend
    28th November 2008, 10:50

    It’s actually the Bathurst 1000 Keith – 1000km – takes 6 and half hours

  6. Yeah a 100% oval F1 race sounds a good idea…… Anyone know why F1 used the infield section at Indianapolis and not the whole oval?
    Rockingham should be used instead of Donnington……

  7. Thanks guys, fixed. Anyone been? I’d love to go…

  8. I love to see F1 go to Macau thats an amazing track.

  9. I’ve watched 2 CART races at Rockingham. I think they may have been the only 2? I’ve also driven the oval in their single seater experience.

    I believe that Rockingham should have been made a bigger oval. It’s a shame as the facility is top class. Unfortunately Champ cars were lapping in just over 20secs a lap! It’s crazy speed and only 1 spot became sensible enough to overtake on. They should have extended the straights between turns 1 & 2 and 3 &4 making a longer looking oval. At no point were the Champ cars getting into a decent draft.

    I haven’t seen any racing on the infield or driven it, but I would be concerned about passing places for F1. Maybe only the first hairpin would be a good passing place. Again if the oval had been extended, maybe a longer infield could have been created?

    Good viewing for the trackside fans in the stands. Not so sure about the TV audience due to lack of elevation changes.

  10. yorricksfriend
    28th November 2008, 11:24

    @ Keith, nah I’m afraid I haven’t been but I certainly watch it every year – Definitely going to the Bathurst 1000 is something I will do in the future. Great article by the way, F1 cars at Mt Panorama would really be something, but to make it comply you’d probably have to blow up half the mountain to get the access roads in

  11. I went to Rockingham a few times as a marshal when it opened, and whilst I think it’s a great race track, I don’t think that it could cope with F1 cars on the infield – unless you wanted a complete procession. Apart from turn 1, there’s nowhere to pass on that circuit.

    Road America on the other hand is a proper circuit and has long been my favourite US circuit, along with Mid-Ohio. I remember watching champcar races round there and thinking that the US GP would be much better off there rather than Indianapolis.

  12. not been to Bathurst but i have heard some crazy stories, a rev head’s haven!
    i have heard u have to take the wednesday to wednesday off work!, u get there and drink, drink and drink some more!
    the crowds camping there do burnouts n crazy stuff late at night in done up ****heaps they have painted in the race teams colors!
    i am sure the infamous ‘mullet’ hairdo isnt far away either!

  13. “…and I bet the racing through the banked first corner towards the hairpin would be great.”

    OR…we would have a repeat of what happened at the USGP in 2006. But, I will go with you on this one, Keith. I would like to see F1 do an oval or two.

  14. Is it just me or does the track at Road America look a bit narrow in places..??

  15. It isn’t too bad, they have Indycars racing on them and they are wider than F1 cars.

  16. Fantastic Murray Walker video; I hadn’t seen that one before.

  17. Christopher – There’s no shutting him up, is there? I laughed my head off watching that, especially when they go over the crest on the straight.

    Del – love that corkscrew!

  18. I also love the Laguna Seca corkscrew – I had Gran Turismo 3 and playing on that track is awesome.

    All these beautiful tracks that F1 will probably never get to race on… Till Bernie and his unreasonable demands go we can only dream :(

  19. the proper Nurburgring??

    on a related note is the spanish track the one Clarkso was unable to run over an apple on??

  20. Keith: El Zonda has been upgraded for safety reasons in some places, but it’s still miles away of F1-standards. Anyway, there is not enough room to do much more, so it would be a dream much more crazy than Potrero de los Funes.

    But you’re right that seeing an F1 taking the blind curve to the bridge and the fast ‘eses’ at the start/finish, with the wall centimeters away, would be something…

  21. With regards to the American tracks, In Forza Motorsport 2, Road America is great to race on, Road Atlanta not so much.

    But I still think the USA should have 3 Grand prix… East Coast at Sebring
    West Coast at Laguna Seca
    and a race on the Oval course at Indy.

    I want to see F1 cars race on the full-length La Sarthe circuit at Le Mans,

    Rockingham would be great, although I think they should use the longer version of the track you mentioned Keith, with the lengthier piece at the end with the hairpin back onto the oval.

    Bathurst might be a bit narrow up the hilly end, it is very tight through there.

    F1 should definately return to Argentina and get on that San luis track, it’s amazing.

  22. Great video Del…….corkscrews and donuts…mmmmm.

  23. I would add to that list Autodromo di Pergusa, in Sicily. I once saw a touring car race there (can’t remember which series) and I thought the setting looked fantastic, on TV anyways. It encircles the only natural lake in Sicily. It hosted a non-championship F1 races from 1962 to 1965.

    Google Earth coordinates:

    37°30’44.06″N
    14°18’17.20″E

  24. I have to say that in terms of F1 I’m not really a fan of any of the suggestions in the blog or even the Potrero de los Funes circuit. Great circuits they may be I just don’t think they would be conducive to a good F1 race, overtaking opportunities etc, maybe Mount Panorama would be good. Rockingham? You’ve gotta be kidding, that would be awful.

    I’d second the calls for the Nordschleife, Leguna Seca, and the Indy oval and add to that Circuit de la Sarthe and the old Hokkenheim. I remember when the calender included Buenos Aires and Monaco at one end of the spectrum and Hokkenheim and Monza at the other. Between those (and the tracks in between) there was a nice variation in the season ranging from tight and technical to all out power and skinny wings. Old Hokkenheim was great, blasting out into the forest, hanging on for grim death through the chicanes and sliding and tippy-toeing through the stadium, engines blowing up etc. Remember when Barichello won his first GP there, what a race.

    If the Nordschleife was to be included it would need so much work and it would be done by Tilke and he’d ruin it so I’d rather they didn’t to be honest!

    Also I think it would be great to have a proper oval in F1.

    These dudes have a fairly comprehensive list of circuits on Planet Earth for anyone who’s interested http://blogf1.co.uk/circuits/

  25. ScuderiaToroFerrari4Eva
    28th November 2008, 20:07

    these are good suggetstions i’d love to see them go at mount panorama and road america but the true circuit which should be rebuilt is the old hockenheimring i mean seeing the cars blast at over 360km/h through the trees was out of this world and it would be fascinating if f1 used the whole oval at indianapolis with the new aerodynamic rules would be plenty of overtaking and valencia last section is great but the whole circuit is disappointing i expect better in 09

  26. Terry Fabulous
    28th November 2008, 20:56

    My neighbour went to Bathurst every year through the 80’s and 90’s until his wife but the kybosh on it.

    Each evening the crowd on the hill that was camping would gather on a football field and fire fire crackers AT each other.

    This year they cracked down on drinking and only allowed one case of beer per person per day. People were outraged at the tightness of the restrictions.

    Oh yes, its a man’s world on the mountain.
    I run around it every time I have to go to Dubbo or Orange for work and it is SO FREAKING HILLY.

  27. @ Del – Yes please ! That was awesome, imagine 20 cars taking that corkscrew ! Why oh why can’t it happen?

    My ideal F1 calendar would feature Laguna Seca, Mt Panorama (no Keith I haven’t been – disgraceful behaviour for a revhead such as myself. Must rememdy that asap), the Nordschleife and the Portero.

    I can dream…..

  28. Two words: Brands Hatch!

    As unlikely as many of the other suggestions but for me, its one of the greatest racing circuits in the world. Paddock Hill bend in an F1 car these days would be an incredible challenge and you can see much of the circuit from the grandstands thanks to the bowl-like terrain around the Indy section of the track.

  29. Fantastic topic, and great contributions by many of you!!

    Road America is a fantastic circuit that would be great for an F1 race. Obviously, if Bernie dosen’t think Indy is fancy enough for his VIPs, racing in the middle of Wisconsin won’t have a prayer. Sad, because the locals are some of the best sports fans around- they love their racing, and bleed green and gold for their beloved Packers and Lambeau Field when it gets too cold for motor racing.

    If you want to talk about oval racing, then a number of American circuits could be metioned. Obviously both Las Vegas and Phoenix (former F1 hosts on poor street circuits) could be an option, along with Daytona. But along with that comes the companies that own most NASCAR tracks- ISC (Daytona, Phoenix, Watkins Glen) and SMI (Las Vegas, Infineon, Bristol). Dealing with the political ends of these compaines can be more than frustrating, and niether of them would back down to Bernie by even one inch from what I cna see. On a realted note, I love the Bristol mention, as one of my co-workers has tickets for the NASCAR race there, which are often considered to be the most difficult tickets to obtain in American motorsports!! The local demographics would probably not be very interested in F1, but an oval race there would be amazing!

    Outside of that, Laguan Seca is good if Tilke keeps his hands off the corkscrew. the new Algarve Circuit is also high on my list, and how about that track in New Zealand that A1GP races at?

  30. This would be my ideal, 20-race F1 calendar:

    1 – Brazil: Interlagos
    2 – The Americas: Various
    3 – USA West: Laguna Seca
    4 – China: Macau Street Circuit
    5 – Monaco: Monte Carlo
    6 – Spain: Jerez
    7 – European: Various
    8 – Canada: Montreal
    9 – USA Indy: Indianapolis Oval
    10 – France: Le Mans Circuit de La Sarthe
    11 – Britain: Silverstone
    12 – Germany: Nurburgring
    13 – Italy: Monza
    14 – Belgium: Spa-Francourchamps
    15 – USA East: Sebring
    16 – Argentina: Potrero de Los Funes
    17 – South Africa: Kyalami
    18 – Pacific East Asia/Oceania: Various
    19 – Japan: Suzuka
    20 – Australia: Adelaide

  31. yorricksfriend
    29th November 2008, 2:00

    Another note on Bathurst – a couple of times in recent years kangaroos have found their way onto the circuit, one time it had a happy ending – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Trr90QgxBnw and one time it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmGEvRFQcqU didn’t I remember in GP2 race a while back at Istanbul Bruno Senna hit a dog and it ruined his suspension – I can imagine a kangaroo could do a whole lot worse damage (sorry Keith for repost but the links were unclear the first time)

  32. about Bathurst, not much is said about the undulation, camber and gradient over he top.

    especially Mcpilamy, reid, the dipper, the elbow, skyline. in my mind there the main corners, along with the chase.

  33. The Adelaide Street Circuit should start off the season and Bathurst should finish it off! Two of the greatest tracks in Oz, and the world, beginning and ending a year of F1… Oh well… A guy can dream. :D

  34. this is a good post, but i dont agree with any of the tracks, they don’t look built up enough, and to be honest im looking forward to specticals like singapore only not street circuit.

  35. id like to see F1 running on the V8 supercar configuration for Adelaide with the kind at turn 8, F1 cars at 310 km/h going through would be awesome.

  36. There are a few more venues that Formula 1 should visit: Brands Hatch, Zandvoort and the Nordschleiffe.

  37. what a fabulous circuit is Bathurst.
    I love it very much

  38. you could argue that we should be greatful for having the 4 best circuits in the world in F1 anyway :P

    1. Spa Franchorchamps
    2. Monza
    3. Silverstone
    4. Monaco

  39. MN – Would F1 cars be able to get around the hairpin at Macau?

    Eric – Yes! Enna-Pergusa. Now there’s a bonkers track. Another one that goes around a lake too, like Potrero.

    K –

    Great circuits they may be I just don’t think they would be conducive to a good F1 race, overtaking opportunities etc

    This is a whole other debate. I think the idea of tracks you ‘can’t overtake’ on is largely redundant: most of the time the problem is the cars. A classic exmaple is the Circuit de Catalunya. When that came on the F1 calendar in 1991 there were no complaints about the difficulties of overtaking, but over the years as F1 cars became more aerodynamically sensitive it became a circuit you can’t overtake on. ‘Blame the cars, not the tracks’.

    Matt – What do you mean by “not built up enough”?

    Pingguest – Those are great circuits, I was trying to think of tracks F1 hadn’t been to before.

    Andy – At least for one more year, then we’ll be down to three…

  40. Terry Fabulous
    30th November 2008, 10:59

    Ajokey I love your list.
    Wouldn’t it be grand if the calendar stopped off at the sacred sights of our sport. Sigh.

    Think of this when we go to Bahrain again.

  41. The FIA GT race from Potrero de los Funes is about to be shown on Sky Sports Extra (noon in UK), only just spotted it on the channel guide but from the pictures it may be worth a look.

  42. ajokay

    Nice list but I’d like a 22 race season so could we add Estoril: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aut%C3%B3dromo_do_Estoril,
    and Zandvoort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_Park_Zandvoort ?

    I’ve wanted to see F1 at Le Mans and Macau for years, they’re great tracks and always give great races.

    Although it’s unsuitable for modern F1 cars and marshalling would be a nightmare I’ve always wanted to see an F1 or GT race on the Isle of Man TT course

  43. we have great circuits, yes

    Sadly, the Zonda is quite old, dangerous and pretty small. I has JUST been upgraded since 1997, but still racing there is so exciting.

    Potrero is a better option though…

  44. K, I see no reason why F1 wouldn’t put on a great race at Road America. If any of the American tracks listed would pose problems for overtaking in F1, it would be Laguna Seca, as it’s just a tighter track with no extraordinarily long straights.

    I would heartily agree with Road America and Bathurst from the original five.

    I think Ascari Race Resort probably just has too many niggly little corners to really put on a good F1 race. Also, it has but two substantial flat-out sections.

    El Zonda I think would be great for GTs, and maybe LMPs as well. I’m just not sure how F1 would handle it. There’s no denying though that the place is a great circuit. For international events, it’s definitely on the short side with a 2.016-mile lap. That would translate to a 95-lap F1 Grand Prix.

    I sorry, but all I can say for Rockingham is hell no. The oval itself is fine for cars that are suited for that type of racing. There was some good action at the CART events there; the lap record was a bit under 26 seconds at an average of ~210mph. The infield, however, is painfully tight, and would be even more so for F1. The course you have defined would be slightly less than 1.94 miles to the lap, which is very short, and about half the corners are quite slow. There’s just no way I think it would make a decent F1 venue.

    There has never been a “Grand Prix” on an oval for F1. Yes, I know that the Indy 500 counted in the World Drivers Championship in 1950-60. Modern F1 car, however, just aren’t designed for ovals (hitting concrete at 230mph), and I think one of F1’s hallmarks is having all its Grands Prix as road races. Having the wide variety of road courses, street circuits, and ovals has always been the purview of CART, and I think it should stay that way.

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