I see many of you chose countries that do already have a track on the calendar and also historic versions of circuits, so I made a fictional calendar with the best circuits in each country that deserves a GP, regardless of time. The only restriction is that I think a lap time of over 3 minutes is too long, so no Nordschleife, Snaefell Mountain Course, Targa Florio or that sort of thing. Imagine having these tracks with ’86 F1s!
1. Argentinean Grand Prix – Potrero de los Funes 1987-2007: It’s a stunning track now, but it must’ve been mental with looser turns and without the chicanes.
2. Brazilian Grand Prix – Interlagos 1936-1989: Almost all the goodies of the current track, with extra high speed corners and straights.
3. South African Grand Prix – Kyalami 1968-1985: The best circuit on the continent (never tried Tripoli). A short blast at high altitude.
4. Yugoslavian Grand Prix – Opatija 1939-1977: Probably the most heart-stopping circuit of all-time. Only the stupendously brave will tackle this deathtrap at full speed.
5. Monaco Grand Prix – Monaco 1973-1975: A true must-have on the calendar. Poses a unique challenge for both driver and car. This incarnation has the faster chicane out of the tunnel, but also the very tricky Rascasse.
6. Spanish Grand Prix – Montjuïc 1969-1975: Very pretty track with both slow and fast corners. Easily the best ever on the Iberian peninsula (apart, maybe, from Lasarte in San Sebastian, but that one doesn’t qualify).
7. Unites States Grand Prix East – Virginia 1957-Present: Very stiff competition from Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta, Bridgehampton and many more, but I chose this one because of Watkins Glen’s proximity to Mosport, which comes shortly after.
8. United States Grand Prix West – Laguna Seca 1963-1987: Sears Point and Long Beach have their merit, but the early version of Laguna Seca is so much fun. Those boring turns of the current track didn’t exist yet, so it was an even shorter blast and you pass the Corkscrew about every 30-40 seconds in an F1 car.
9. Canadian Grand Prix – Mosport 1961-Present: The most difficult choice for me was Watkins Glen + Mont Tremblant/Montreal or Mosport + Virginia/Road Atlanta. I just love fast corners over a crest.
10. Dutch Grand Prix – Zandvoort 1948-1972: The legendary track in the dunes in it’s purest form.
11. French Grand Prix – Le Mans 1956-1967: France never had a mainstay on the calendar, but because of that it has had more fantastic circuits in F1 than any other country. Rouen, Reims, Charade and Dijon are all great tracks, but I chose for the one that is truly legendary and the one that everybody wants to see an F1 race on.
12. British Grand Prix – Cadwell Park 1962-Present: If you ignore the fact that the facilities are not even adequate for the BTCC, this is Britain’s greatest track.
13. Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps 1947-1978: Does this one need any explanation?
14. West German Grand Prix – Solitudering 1922-1965: A stunning track in the forests near Stuttgart. The first half is blazingly quick with a few heart-stopping corners and the return is a series of esses that makes Suzuka’s snakes look like a little worm.
15. East German Grand Prix – Sachsenring 1937-1971: Gee, I do love long, fast and dangerous road circuits, don’t I?
16. Italian Grand Prix – Monza 1976-1999: I love the old Imola circuit. Piratella was banked at the apex, but off-camber if you missed it and subsequently crashed without pardon, Aqua Minerale was like Pouhon followed by the Corksrew in reverse and there was a blind kink over a crest where the Variante Alta currently lies. But I just couldn’t choose any other circuit than the Italian GP’s spiritual home. And it’s not like Lesmo, Ascari and Parabolica aren’t challenging either.
17. Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul 2005-Present: Istanbul stands out favorably amongst what we’re used to these days, but does it stand up against the greats? Well, it manages and the contrast with all the old school tracks will make it shine brighter.
18. Japanese Grand Prix – Suzuka 1983-2001: Without doubt the greatest purpose-built track (of reasonable length) ever designed. 130R was still 130R back then.
19. Singapore Grand Prix – Thomson Road 1966-1973: Before the street circuit in the urban jungle, Singapore had a street circuit in the real jungle. And not a bad one.
20. Australian Grand Prix – Bathurst 1963-1986: Australia had many great tracks on rural roads, like Lobethal, Longford and Gnoo Blas, but this one is truly mythical. I do like Caltex Chase, but it’s not a challenge in an F1 car, so why have it? And Reid Park also required more commitment in the old days, so I chose for the old version.