Fuji Speedway is to disappear from the F1 calendar once again. Despite a multi-million pounds upgrade ahead of its reintroduction in 2007, its return last a mere two races.
But there are venues whose acquaintance with F1 was even more fleeting. Ten tracks held just a single race each and do not look likely to reappear soon. Here are Formula 1’s one-off venues.
Pescara, Italy (1957)
Winner: Stirling Moss
The 25th running of the Gran Premio di Pescara was also its only appearance on the world championship calendar. It is the longest circuit ever to hold a Grand Prix – and also the part of Italy Jarno Trulli hails from.
Pescara was the last of the classic road races to appear in F1, using closed-off public roads that blasted along the sea front, through the town and up into the mountains. By the late 1950s, permanent racing facilities were increasingly the norm.
The drivers faced 18 laps of the 25.57km (15.89 mile) track. Juan Manuel Fangio took pole position with a time of 9’44.6, 10 seconds faster than Stirling Moss, the pair the only ones to lap beneath the ten-minute mark in practice. Moss won the race from Fangio, all the while wondering whether the Argentinean driver was going to mount another comeback of the type that stunned Mike Hawthorn and Peter Collins at the Nurburgring two weeks earlier.
Ain Diab, Casablanca, Morocco
Winner: Stirling Moss
This was international motor racing’s last visit to Morocco until the World Touring Car Championship raced there (on a different circuit) this year. Morocco held its only Grand Prix in 1958, shortly after having declared its independence.
A high-speed coastal circuit in Ain Diab played host to the 1958 season finale, where the title was won by Mike Hawthorn, after being handed second place by team mate Phil Hill. Rival Stirling Moss was forced to accept the runner-up spot in the championship. He was also left grieving, after Vanwall team mate Stewart Lewis-Evans crashed and suffered terrible burns from which he died six days later.
AVUS (Automobil Verkehrs und Übungsstrasse), Germany, 1959
Winner: Tony Brooks
The bizarre AVUS circuit was no more than the parallel sections of a dual carriageway joined by a couple of hairpins. It has been used extensively before World War Two, but after it the encroachment of Soviet-occupied Germany forced the shortening of the track.
During its sole world championship race weekend in 1959 Jean Behra was killed in a support race when he flew off one of the high banks. The circuit remained in use until the 1990s as a venue for Germany’s popular touring car championship. But this gigantic crash which forced the abandonment of a DTM race in 1995 showed the dangers of continuing to race at the track:
Later that year Kieth O’dor was killed in a touring car crash at the circuit, and before the decade was out racing at AVUS was finished for good.
Monsanto Park, (1959)
Winner: Stirling Moss
Peculiarly, three of the ten one-off races appeared on the calendar in 1959. The circuit at Monsanto in Portugal looped through a nearby park (much like Albert Park does today).
During the race eventual champion Jack Brabham suffered a nasty accident: he hit a telegraph pole trying to avoid a wayward car, and was flung onto the track. Team mate Masten Gregory arrived on the scene and narrowly missed hitting him. Gregory went on to finish second behind winner Moss.
Sebring, United States (1959)
Winner: Bruce McLaren
Venue of the first United States Grand Prix, the course around the Sebring airfield was the setting for the 1959 title-decider. And what an event it was, with Brabham securing the title after pushing his Cooper over the line to claim fourth place.
The race was won by Bruce McLaren, setting a new record as the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix, which stood until Fernando Alonso won the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2003.
The track remains in use today for sports car races, notably the Sebring 12 Hours which kicks off the American Le Mans Series.
Riverside, United States (1960)
Winner: Stirling Moss
The only F1 race held at Riverside in California was run after Jack Brabham had already wrapped up the championship. This was a blow for the organisers, particularly as Ferrari chose not to compete.
But there was some local interest. Phil Hill, without a Ferrari to drive, procured a Cooper for the race. And the American Scarab recorded its only Grand Prix finish, driven by Chuck Daigh.
After its one-off F1 race the rough, bumpy Riverside course held Indy Car, NASCAR and sports car races. But the circuit is no more: in the 1990s it was sold to property developers, bulldozed, and the land is now occupied by a shopping mall.
Zeltweg , Austria (1964)
Winner: Lorenzo Bandini
The first venue for the Austrian Grand Prix was another airfield circuit. Short (less than two miles long), flat and slow, it wasn’t popular. Once the F1 teams discovered the nearby Osterreichingring – longer, very quick and undulating – Zeltweg’s fate was sealed.
Lorenzo Bandini won the race – his only win for Ferrari – while the bumpy service proved the undoing of rivals such as John Surtees (Ferrari, broken suspension) and Dan Gurney (Brabham, ditto). Richie Ginther was the only other driver to complete all 105 tours, the rest at least three laps in arrears.
Le Mans Bugatti, France (1967)
Winner: Jack Brabham
It had little of the character of the long and hugely quick La Sarthe circuit which holds the 24 Hour race. And so the shorter Bugatti circuit proved an unpopular alternative to the likes of Rouen and Clermont-Ferrand when it held its sole F1 race in 1967.
A thin field of 15 cars arrived for the race, which was decided when the leading Lotuses of Graham Hill and Jim Clark expired (not an unusual sight in 1967), letting Brabham through to win.
Dallas, United States (1984)
Winner: Keke Rosberg
The single race at Dallas in 1984 is always remembered for being run in searing summer heat on a decaying surface. Only seven cars were still circulating at the end, led home by Keke Rosberg, who had sussed the conditions and bought himself a water-cooled skull cap.
An eighth, Nigel Mansell’s Lotus, which had briefly led, expired within sight of the line. Mimicking Brabham some 25 years earlier, Mansell pushed the car towards the line, but failed to reach it and collapsed with typical theatrical effect.
Forgiving it its granular surface, the track (by street circuit standards) wasn’t too bad – reasonably wide, with some quick corners, places to overtake and lacking the 90-degree monotony of Phoenix. But when the race organiser skipped town with the profits it became clear F1 wouldn’t be going back.
Since then three other circuits have held a single F1 race but are scheduled to hold more in the future: Valencia and Singapore (this year) and Donington Park (in 2010).