Tilke has to stop his obsession with “creating overtaking opportunities” by having a ridiculously long straight between two slow corners. It’s obvious it doesn’t work as well as he hopes and it’s time to look for other solutions.
But you can’t say it’s all his fault. Some blame the regulations, but if you read them, they’re quite reasonable. I think the biggest problem are his clients, who know absolutely nothing about motorsport. In Shanghai, they wanted the track to look like a Chinese character; in Abu Dhabi they wanted a street-like circuit with many slow corners, so the “fans can look at the pretty cars”; in Hockenheim they wanted to get rid of the blast through the forest — what was he supposed to do?
If you let the man have his way, you get tracks like Istanbul, Sepang, Buddh, Aragon, Red Bull Ring and Austin: all pretty interesting tracks, apart from some needless slow turns. Of course they’re not all good, but even Bahrain has an interesting part (turns 9 to 13). His street circuits, Singapore and Valencia, have been really poor, no excuses there.
Finally, if I were some growing third world country and I wanted a track to show the world how great my nation is, I would choose Tilke as a designer, because he has made far better tracks than his competitors:
- Apex has only made really poor and uninspired tracks like Avalon, Dubai and the proposed French GP.
- Populous did a good job with Silverstone, but everything they needed was already there. If they have to start from scratch, you get the proposed Buenos Aires circuit, which looks very poor.
- Alan Wilson made the great Barber, but it’s mostly the topography that makes the track (same with Portimao). His other designs, like Miller, are pretty boring and repetitive.