Should Tilke be kept away from Austin?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Drivers have criticised tracks like Abu Dhabi
Drivers have criticised tracks like Abu Dhabi

Yesterday’s news about F1 returning to America generally prompted two reactions from fans.

As well as welcoming F1’s new race in Austin in 2012, a lot of people urged the race promoters to pick someone other than Hermann Tilke to design the track.

Tilke’s company has designed or altered almost every track on the F1 calendar. Several of his designs have been criticised for being unexciting – but is that criticism misplaced?

Update: The race promoters have confirmed the track will be designed by Tilke.

Prisoner Monkeys made this case in Tilke’s defence:

Hermann Tilke works within rules set out by th FIA. Anyone who replaced him would be bound by those same rules and would only produce a similar circuit. If you look at some of Tilke?s non-F1 designs ?ǣ Motorland Aragon springs to mind ?ǣ you?ll see that he?s actually pretty good.

It?s the rules, not the designer that needs changing. And if FOTA get the regulations for the cars right, they may not even need that.
Prisoner Monkeys

Anyone who thinks designers like Tilke have a free rein when it comes to creating circuits is mistaken – at least, if they want their circuits to be used for Formula 1.

The FIA’s circuit regulations are specific and demanding (see PDF here). The length, width, gradient and camber of new tracks are all tightly defined by the rules.

Natural boundaries and terrain also limit Tilke’s scope. Istanbul is a good track thanks to the hilly terrain it is built on. Whereas Valencia has no gradient and no room for any quick corners.

Despite these caveats, I think some of the criticism of Tilke is justified. He’s penned some excellent tracks, like Istanbul Park and Sepang, but others have been missed opportunities.

At Yas Island for example, despite the track being constructed on a man-made island at gigantic expense, Tilke found it necessary to include low-speed chicanes as part of the circuit design – one of which immediately precedes another low-speed corner.

Even the drivers – who usually stick to an uncontroversial PR line when asked to give their opinions – have been moved to criticise Yas Island. Adrian Sutil did over the winter and Lucas di Grassi had this to say when I spoke to him about it earlier this month:

[In] Abu Dhabi, you have completely free space to do whatever you want, as much run-off area as you like, so maybe like corner eight in Turkey they should do more challenging, fast corners. It would be nicer for the drivers, better for the spectacle.
Lucas di Grassi

But the amount of criticism Tilke gets from fans is out of proportion with the extent of his responsibility for the standard of modern F1 tracks.

If Bernie Ecclestone points at an industrial estate in Valencia and says ‘put a track there’, there’s very little Tilke can do within the constraint of his brief and the rules to create the next Spa-Francorchamps or even an Istanbul Park.

Although Silverstone avoided using Tilke for the latest changes to their circuit, it would be a surprise if anyone other than Tilke was charged with building Austin’s Formula 1 track.

Hopefully he’ll get the space and the resources to come up with a worthwhile addition to the F1 calendar.

Hermann Tilke

204 comments on “Should Tilke be kept away from Austin?”

  1. Should Tilke be kept away from Austin? – definetley…

    1. Please tell me you read more than just the headline before posting that.

      1. I certainly did read the article, and I think the criticisms that have been levelled at him, especially for the Yas Marinas circuit are well justified, and I hope he keeps away from Texas… I believe he was also involved in the disastrous re-make of the Hockenheimring, a pointless destruction of a beautiful circuit.

        1. Prisoner Monkeys
          26th May 2010, 10:21

          Hockenheim needed to be shortened. There was virtually no access to the Ostkurve other than the circuit itself. In the event of an accident there, emergency crews would have to drive all the way from the stadium section round to the accident site – which would take far too long. And it’s not like the organisers could simply buy the land around the circuit because it’s national park.

          It’s pretty obvious that when Tilke was appraoched to shorten Hockenheim, he was told to treat the outer circuit as a perimeter. Given the shape of the infield and the FIA regulations (an probably the budget, too), he was never going to be able to do much.

          1. Obviously the Hokeinheim ring needed to be shortened, most of the people who complain have no idea what their talking about anyway, it was apparently very soulless before the change.

            Still you get the feeling he could have done a lot better, turns 5, 6 and 7 are boring, don’t contribute to the racing and prevent overtaking into turn 8.

            Simularly Abu Dhabi, why the dog leg before the hairpin leading onto the back straight? Spaces out the cars before what should be the circuits prime overtaking spot. Saftey for the spectators? He designed it from scratch, the spectators should never have been put in a possibly dangerous place, there are lots of ways round it, even if the stadium owners wanted a stadium section there could have been a gap in the stands for extra run off, or even his famed under stands run off.

            It does however seem like the rules are too tight, an maybe it’s time the FIA looked into loosening them a bit, especially while they continue to let cars tackle Spa Suzuka and Monaco. But all the double chicanes and weird double slow corners seriously get in the way of racing on Tilke tracks.

            Especially as we know he can produce good tracks if he puts his mind to it.

          2. MouseNightshirt
            26th May 2010, 13:17

            Scribe: soulless? You presumably never watched a race there.

            I thought there was a level of beauty about it. Hi-tech machines blasting their way through a deep forest at 200mph. Man made beasts running riot through a quiet natural forest.

            I thought it was immense. The contrast was almost poetic…

          3. I completely agree with Prisoner Monkeys. Im sick of all the Tilke bashing when he’s not allowed to make good F1 tracks because of the rules, the rules are way too strict, no wonder all the tracks look the same.

        2. LazerFX, my comment was to AndrewT.

          1. no need to read the article. Tilke out.
            We need the grandstands closer to the action. That’s key. Until they look at this issue, i won’t go and visit another gp, i’ll watch on tv. It’s sad, but i was the one that was at estoril 85 two hours under the rain, without a complaint. I know i have changed, but f1 did too, and for the worst. And tilke is part of that change. That’s my opinion.

          2. Whether it’s the FIA’s rules that are the problem or not, it’s still not good to have a monopoly on track design. Having one guy design all the tracks leads to one head with set preferences and ideas. Different companies with different teams will lead to different ideas within the rules.

            For instance… look at, oh I don’t know… all the different F1 teams. Same set of rules, 12 different teams of designers, 12 different car designs, and us lot could all tell them apart if they were in bare carbon fibre form.

            Tilke track design over the last 10 years is like an F1 form of in-breeding, a constant churning of the same set of ideas, producing very similar and largely unrewarding results.

            So yes, Tilke should stay away from Auston’s new track. They should have an american design it. American road tracks always seem to be full of different ideas to European ones, they tend to have a different feel about them.

            Let someone else have a go.

          3. Prisoner Monkeys
            26th May 2010, 12:39

            Let someone else have a go.

            But there is no-one else! The only other firm that designs racing circuits to a standard that would satisfy the FIA has a terrible reputation for being over-late and over-budget.

          4. So… this whole article is pointless then, yes?

        3. you must have never seen an F1 race there.

      2. Jose Arellano
        26th May 2010, 17:35

        by now he should have found the “double difusser gray area” in the rulebook to come up with something better.

      3. I think it would be good for the sport NOT to have Tilke design Austin track. Why well at this point he got a monopoly on F1 track design. All new tracks are his design. Turkey is his first and absolutely best F1 track design. He never managed to measure up to that track. If you look at Korea it’s close to a copy of Malaysia in track design. The long straight follow by hairpin follow by a long straight is bubbling out of the main track instead of folded into the track as in Malaysia and instead of a tight corner at the end he made it a bit flatter and a double corner. Corner 15 after the long straight is a good overtake place or just to position for overtake at corner 1. In Korea corner 15 becomes corner 1 but afraid due to the nature of the corner (looks fast) overtaking will not be very good and can’t get close enough through corner 1 and 2 so distance on corner 3 might be to much for a overtake. Corner 3 might allow some overtake or setup for overtake in corner 4 (except straight might not be long enough to close the gap).

        Sure rules are to blame at big part but track design needs new ideas and Tilke seems to run out of good ideas and track start to look similar and uninspiring. Another designer might bring in some other ideas and would make the track hopefully feel different. 6 tracks (if I counted right) I think is enough designs on the calendar.

      4. I think Tilke’s interpretaion has a lot to do with it, even if the rules are hideosly restrictive. I mean, its not surprising when one man has an all but stated monopoly on new track design in F1, that after a while he is going to run out of ideas.

        No one man is a fountain of inspriration, and someone else should have a go, well just because someone else should have a go.

        Tilke has had a major hand in at least 12 past, present and future F1 tracks, and penned alterations to many more. Even if they were all briliant and we loved his work, his time is done.

      5. of course i read the article through, and sorry for this very short and simple reply :(

        1. OK, it’s just that the reply came very soon after the article went up! :-)

  2. Who choses to put boring hairpins and slow corners on the new tracks ? Tilke or the rules ?
    Sorry, but even if the FIA rules are strict, Tilke is responsible and is to blame.

    1. Prisoer Monkeys
      26th May 2010, 10:17

      The FIA regulations aren’t just tight, they’re astringent. Seriously, do you know why Tilke built a chicane before the hairpin in Abu Dhabi? It was because the rules dictate the maximum allowable speed for that hairpin relative to a) the speed the cars can achieve on the previous straight and b) the amount of run-off area on the outside of the corner. That’s how tight they are.

      1. Presumably Tilke had the option of not building the chicane and placing the hairpin earlier on the straight instead, creating more run-off?

        1. Prisoner Monkeys
          26th May 2010, 10:23

          Possibly. It depends on the design brief given to him by the circuit owners: if they wanted to have a stadium section with the seats so close to the circuit, he would have had to have put the chicane in regardless.

          1. I think a problem seems to be that while the regulations themselves are particularly tight, there will always be ways of making a track seem more exciting that Tilke has done within the specific set of rules. I don’t necessarily think its his fault however. Also, its worth noting that a lot of his tracks produce good racing – like Hockenheim or Malaysia. Others simply don’t, suggesting that some of his designs simply aren’t good, while others are.

            Also, the most frustrating thing about the F1 regulations is that they don’t appear to apply everywhere. Monaco for example. If there was less disparity, there would be more approval for tilke’s good tracks.

          2. Prisoner Monkeys
            26th May 2010, 12:43

            Monaco stays on the calendar because it’s Monaco. They pretty much get their race for free. Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that if Monaco applied to join the championship for the first time tomorrow, they’d be rejected.

          3. It must be the rules rather than the designer that are creating bland samey tracks.
            Look at Monaco, designed years ago and it is only 3.3km long, the shortest on the calender. Then look at Spa, another “old classic,” it is the longest at 7km. This shows how varied lengths used to be before the rules seemed to make every new track 5km.

            I’d love for the FIA to allow Herman Tilke and his team to have some freedom in how they go about this new track. Make it as long as it needs to be, make it a low downfore track rather than the new style with all their slow corners. A new low downforce track would be unique and differant and could make f1 work in the USA.

          4. Calum,

            Old tracks can’t really be counted, Pescara was almost 26 km and even Spa was ~14 km once upone a time. While I might want to see modern F1 cars on the old Nurburgring and old Spa tracks (at least if the cars were essentially land-based UAVs), they aren’t (weren’t) even close to safe, although this is more a function of barriers, safety stations, and therefore cost.

            Frankly, I’m all for breaking up the stranglehold of Tilke, but whoever gets it needs as much freedom in track design as possible from both locals and teh FIA.

          5. This comment thread is fascinating, but surely we are all missing one vital point.

            Tilke doesn’t exist in a vacuum. He must be deeply aware of historic circuits that are regarded by every F1 enthusiast as virtually sacred ground. So he MUST know what makes the very best circuits so special. And conversely, what makes the poorest circuits the ones that simply don’t work. And why they don’t work.

            So too the FIA. They MUST be well aware of the criticisms from everybody ( drivers, teams, fans ) of new circuits like Yas Marina, which simply do not cut it.

            Is it too much to imagine that some reasonably intelligent FIA management ever actually sits down to think about what is required to make the very best F1 circuits ?

          6. If there was anyone giving him a design brief the that track would not have been a mess it is.

            Hockenheim was destroyed by him, Germany was always a speed fest from the the 1930s. I wonder what part of this tradition that he was trying to continue.

            There is certain demand in the regulations for safety of tracks which make for endless runoff areas before the barrier which does kill a track, but when turn 1 in indy is allowed, what the hell??

        2. yeah but he wanted the straight to be as long as possible. to improve overtaking…

          1. A new low downforce track in the spirit of Monza would be great! If it has to be on the relatively flat side of Austin that would be an awesome approach. Us American fans are used to high speeds, Indy cars reaching 210, 220 around the track, slow hairpins won’t impress, but blistering straits and high speed corners will. Still I would prefer the track to be on the hill country side of town, full of elevation changes and banked curves. Like an American Spa or something of the sort. Why is the Nurburgring the greatest track, because it has elevation changes. If the guys in charge can secure some hilly land, than Tilke will have to make an exciting course just to get it to fit!

  3. My suggestion is to create a Kart-track first and test the design. Make it a contest by creating penned tracks on a big parking lot and start testing the tracks with a 24 units kart-race.
    May the best design win!

    1. I have a theory that you can create an excellent racing track by throwing a piece of spaghetti on the floor. Might test this later.

      1. ha, quite a good idea. but try telling tilke that!

      2. Make sure you cook it first, or you’ll end up with drag racing.

        1. Perisoft!!

          Brilliant, you should be in charge of the FIA with thinking like that!

          1. Karts arn’t affected by downforce.. you can run karts around Valencia and there will be overtaking!

            The thing that amazes me is that Tilke is a racing driver at competition level.. he’s not some gumby with only a construction company.

            Maybe he should race some open wheelers with downforce so he can ‘get it’ a little bit more.. where not running taxis here.

            But I do honestly think its a bit of both.. regs and Tilke.. my idea.. CHANGE BOTH!

          2. WILL: Karts arn’t affected by downforce


  4. Jarred Walmsley
    26th May 2010, 10:07

    Ohh, yes he should definitely be kept away, while he has his moments and does create some nice tracks, it gets very boring if they are all the same or very similar

  5. I say yes, keep him away. If another designer is chosen and the track is a success, then we can infer that maybe it is Tilke. If someone else designs the track and that person creates a race track which is bland and boring, we can draw some conclusion that the rules and regs of track design are wrong

  6. I tend to defend Tilke a lot.

    Yes, FIA rules are to blame more than Tilke. But I think, FIA will realize this only when some designer other than Tilke also ends up making a boring track. Only then, will FIA relax some of its track rules.

    So, giving Texas circuit to someone other than Tilke will help Formula One in the long run.

    So yeah, no Tilke for Austin!!

  7. I hope the US do not give him a visa. He is an undesirable alien in my book.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      26th May 2010, 10:25

      Too late – he’s already visited Jersey City and Monticello to inspect them.

      1. If Tilke is bound by the rules, and that is why he produces boring tracks, why not give another designer a shot at making it. The other designer will design it within the rules, and if its boring, we know its not Tilke’s crappy designs destroying f1.

      2. and they chose against those!! why? because they were interesting tracks, and tilke thought not suitable for f1. An undesirable alien, that’s correct, like someone said.
        But like another one also said, the problem, it’s within the fia, with all those safety rules, that are destroying the sport we love. I hope todt, puts some sense into it, even if mosley’s errors, are going to last way longer that after his forced retirament.

  8. Dean Yamasaki
    26th May 2010, 10:14

    Despite the rules and restrictions, I would be very interested to see what a different designer would come up with.

  9. General consensus is that Turkey is his best track, and that Turkey is likely to leave the calendar. Why doesn’t he just copy turkey and improve it for Austin. If we are going to have Tilke design it at least we should guarantee its a good one.

    1. I like that idea. Just dig it out of the ground and fly it over with a few thousand helicopters…

      1. Keith you are a genius.

        1. Bingo! lol. But seriously he does have some good designs.. I wont mind him paying homage to all of the best parts of his tracks and putting them together in one track. Sepand double straights, Turn 8 turkey, uhh cant think of anymore but you get the idea.. =)

          1. can’t the designer take favourite corners and passing places and patch them together with the right entree speeds via the straights?
            seems so simple.

        2. Whatever it is you are on Keith, can I have some…..

      2. Jose Arellano
        26th May 2010, 17:42

        if the rules are too tight he should be the first man pushing bernie or fia like crazy to allowed him some dispensantions

      3. That would rock Keith.

      4. yes. like the castles american millionares used to buy from europe back in the 80’s. Just build a nice fast race track that fans like, and don’t focus on safety in a sick way like mosley did. Let’s start rebuilding the sport we love with this race track. The first of a new era.

  10. Quoted from a previous article Keith:

    “Regardless of what you think of Tilke’s tracks, you have to ask whether only having one circuit designer is good for Formula 1. Where are the new ideas going to come from in a monopoly? How can good value for money be ensured in an industry where there is no competition?”

    Pretty much sums it up for me!

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      26th May 2010, 10:33

      There are only two firms who build racing circuits to an FIA standard professionally: Tilke GmbH and Apex Circuit Design. I’m told Apex have a reputation for being late; they’ve got a project near Domodedovo that’s fallen well behind schedule and another one for the Middle East that was so late it was abandoned.

      1. why not tilke give his role to another designer in the tilke gmbh company itself and see what fresh minds can do?

        I’d think this could happen only when pigs can fly.. oh well

      2. Silverstone’s redesign was designed by Populous and built by Buckingham Group, I think?

      3. I am the owner and project manager for the Domodedovo circuit. In 2007 our company appointed Apex Circuit Design following a competitive tender against two other providers of this type of service. Their work was always on time, was cost-competitive, was always to the highest quality and always presented solutions for us to generate revenue and reduce costs. Completely the opposite to what Prisoner Monkeys states.

        Apex Circuit Design had won our tender for master-planning in December 2007 and in February 2008 FIA provisionally approved our circuit design. Our funding sources collapsed as a result of the global financial crisis at the end of 2008.

        I remain positive that funding to complete the project will be found. The way our venue designed really helps now as we were able to scale it down to category 3 circuit and reduce our expenditures before we start operation and complete the full circuit. I also must say that tender drawings from Apex Circuit Design are equal in quality to construction drawings according to the local standards – that just shows the top level of engineering we received from our designer.

        I am very concerned to see reference to my project at Domodedovo and any claims by Prisoner Monkeys or his informants that the delays we experience have anything to do with Apex. This is completely untrue.

    2. Mark Hitchcock
      26th May 2010, 10:37

      Yep, absolutely right.

      Even within the strict rules there must be some scope for experimentation…but we won’t really know that until a fresh new designer is brought in to push the rules a bit.

  11. Bartholomew
    26th May 2010, 10:25

    There are many beautiful American tracks like Road Atlanta to use as a reference of American look and feel, so the Texas promoters have the opportunity of coming up with a signature look, by keeping Tilke away.
    Why is the US Moto GP so popular ? in great part because of Laguna Seca !
    Gentlemen Texas Promoters : you will put a lot more money in your pockets if you keep Tilke away
    Please gents make a beautiful historic track without Tilke, a track that will become an instant classic

  12. Here’s one for you:

    F1 wants to reach out more to the fans? Get 3 different designs, whether they’re all by Tilke, or 3 different designers. Stick them on the Formula 1 website, get people to vote for their favourite.

    Can’t complain there.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      26th May 2010, 10:36

      It doesn’t work that way. Every designer has to play by the same rulebook.

      1. Yeh I know that the rules are tight, but what I meant was, if 3 different designers (or, as mentioned above, Tilke just designed 2-3 variations) penned Grade 1 status designs, i’m sure there’d be some differences despite being similar. That way, the fans have their say and the majority result would come to fruition.

        1. This is a damn fine idea, if the tracks play by the rules there shouldn’t be a problem. Modern technology would allow them to create very detailed models of their tracks as well, showing gradient and interaction with the surroundings.

      2. Yes, every designer has to play by the same rulebook, but each designer won’t always interpret it the same way. Think double diffuser and F-duct here–both ruled legal by FiA, but not thought of by every team’s designers.

        Not bashing Tilke here, just saying perhaps some creative juices other than those brewed by Tilke GmbH should be blended into the mix.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys
    26th May 2010, 10:30

    There’s two pieces of good news for Austin:

    Firstly, the event promoters are racers. They own Thunderhill Raceway in California, and it’s got some nice hills in it. They know what it takes to create a good circuit; they are not some anonymous government who are wanting a race for visibility’s sake.

    Secondly, we only saw the final circuit draft for India. Before the final plan was created, Tilke sent his proposal to all of the teams, who put the circuit data into their computers and got back to him. Modifications were then made for the sake of making the circuit more conductive to overtaking. “Improving the Show” may have some benefits after all.

    1. That is good news indeed.

    2. This is indeed good news. I believe the teams and drivers were consulted before the alterations to Silverstone were made too, this consultation can only be a good thing for the future!

      As for the American track, they say they want to emulate great European tracks like Spa, so I’m hoping for a high speed layout!

      1. I commented the same thing as you about Spa before I saw your post. Austin has lots of rolling hills (I live here so I know) and I would hope to God that they come up with a Spa-like track here or I won’t be particularly happy.

  14. I personally prefer another designer apart from tilke just to see how other designers interpret guidelines given to them while designing new circuit..and i think we all had enough of his gun design circuit….And keith if u had a poll for this i think the answer would be very clear….:p

  15. Sush Meerkat
    26th May 2010, 10:38

    The rules need to be relaxed a little, they were made in such a manner to minimise accidents and casualties but with advancements in safety such as new types of barriers (at Yas Island), stronger monoquocs, HANS, Fireproof racing suits and incredible helmet designs we’ve gotten to a point where safety is almost at parity with the insane speeds.

    The two huge problems Tilke faces also is that Bernie wants him to create luxury accommodation to keep us peasants at bay, second problem is I don’t believe he asks drivers for their input which is a mortal sin since they know exactly where you can and cannot overtake.

    They’ve been racing all their lives and know what makes for an exciting race, but their just there to be the “faces” of F1, not the brains.

  16. UneedAFinn2Win
    26th May 2010, 10:40

    It seems Tilke has had his worst work come out of flat landscapes. I think they should try to find a mountain or a succession of very steep hills and deep gorges to create an undulating track with lots of elevation changes.

    oh. right. Texas. Nevermind.

    1. Bartholomew
      26th May 2010, 11:40

      definitely, the lay of the land will make a difference !
      we want hills !!

    2. They can build a hill or two. They have lots of barren earth they can dig up in Texas, no one will mind a few massive holes in the desert.

    3. is the area around Austin hilly then?

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        26th May 2010, 12:42

        Not particulary, but the promoter is apparently looking at three sites and since they already have one circuit in California, they know what it takes.

      2. Paul McCaffrey
        26th May 2010, 17:20

        Austin is on the edge of the Texas Hill Country. It’s the most beautiful part of the state.

      3. Austin is at the convergence of a couple of different geographic areas. To the West is the Texas Hill Country. It’s a beautiful area characterized by rolling hills and amazing Spring flowers. To me, this would be ideal. To the north and east the area is much flatter with fewer trees. There is also an area to the east in a small town that has become a suburb called Bastrop that has piney woods. I really look forward to the development of the track and watching this process.

    4. Clearly you’ve never been to Texas, and definitely not to Austin, it sits at the start of the Texas hill country, a beautiful area that has more than enough hills and twisting roads for anyone.

      1. I hope they will make a track like the Österreichring/A1-Ring. Now that was a beautiful track flowing through the hills, in the middle of nature! Ahh, I could picture myself sitting on those hills, being driven around by cars. ^_^

  17. Marc Connell
    26th May 2010, 10:53

    I just think there should be a battle between designers as well as cars/drivers/manufactures

    Yeah its the rules but people like tilke should try and out smart the rules like what the f1 car designers do :)

    1. Get Ross Brawn to design the track then – if there is a loop hole in the regs, he will find it !

      1. theRoswellite
        27th May 2010, 5:12

        “Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that if Monaco applied to join the championship for the first time tomorrow, they’d be rejected.”

        At the heart of so many issues past and present is the business-speak of one BE.

        If his ideas, as translated through the rules of the FIA (and I hope I am totally wrong on this), are held to be the one and only template for F1 track design, then we are left with track after track appearing around the world, never showing any individuality or personality.

        The obvious question might be: why would so many tracks be constructed with so little uniqueness or variation from a theme, and the answer…with conformity you have control.

        The FIA can eliminate any problems by stipulating to a very high degree the requirements of an acceptable track design. Just as the podium ceremony is choreographed in detail, so the layout of the track is constricted before the first shovel of dirt is turned.

        What the FIA and, I would guess, Bernie have failed to realize is: there is a price to be paid for such conformity, and we are all paying it.

        In my youth there were many exciting, even beautiful, tracks. Tracks that were a major not minor part of the F1 experience.

        I miss those days.

        1. To be fair I doubt the FIA track design regs have been influenced by Bernie Ecclestone. My understanding is that the rules are influenced by current trends in what makes a safe circuit, and like design requirement for public roads, a “safe” road equals a boring road.

          I think the reason Bernie says “if Monaco applied to join the championship for the first time tomorrow, they’d be rejected”, is purely based on the fact that Monaco doesn’t comply with the design regulations, rather a rejection based on commercial reasons not to hold a race there. I think Bernie is smart enough to understand that F1 needs Monaco, even if he doesn’t get paid millions of dollars to hold a race there.

          I think the answer to your question “why would so many tracks be constructed with so little uniqueness or variation from a theme”, is runoff area. For a track to be safe it needs to have acres of runoff area, which limits the uniqueness from track to track, afterall how much can you really vary the look and feel of a runoff area? Some people also believe that sections of Tilke’s cirucits have too many tight twisty boring sections, and in a sense I agree. I do however think in part it comes back to the runoff area requirement, rather than a desire of Tilke to build boring circuits. The slower the corner, the less runoff you need, the faster the corner the more runoff you need. So it comes down to physical space to build the track, and I suppose spectator comfort at race. Do you have highspeed corners, and then grandstands 50 metres from the edge of the track, or slower corners and grandstands 10 metres from the edge of the track?

          And as much as the safe circuits might be boring, they seem to be working, afterall in the moden era there have been very few serious injuries (i.e. career ending injuries) and touch wood no deaths since that fateful weekend at Imola in 1994.

          1. theRoswellite
            27th May 2010, 13:49

            Excellent reply…thanks.

            Safety and the corresponding runoff areas certainly seem to eat up much of the available space at any track and that is as it must be I suppose.

            Perhaps my real desire is simply to have each track show some “signature” section which through individuality inspires. Unfortunately, I also realize that is something much easier wished for than accomplished.

          2. I don’t buy it. Surely if they need so much runoff area, they can just increase the total surface to build on?

  18. if the rules are to blame for Tilke’s bad designes, then we should definitely give someone else a go since its gonna be a horrible track anyway why not try something new?

  19. Tilke should collaborate with other designers perhaps even ex-drivers to have some input to design a good track once and for all.

  20. Terry Fabulous
    26th May 2010, 10:57

    Let him do whatever he wants… But make sure there are sprinklers installed around the track that go off twice an hour.

  21. Untitled258
    26th May 2010, 11:04

    The rules need to be relaxed tbh, i flicked over them briefly a few weeks back and they just seem ridiculous. There is nothing worse then being given a brief to design something, and having thousands of rules to stick within, it makes your job 10 times harder then it needs to be.

    I do think we could have a change from Tilke though, see if anyone else can do something interesting within the rules.

  22. While some of tilke’s tracks have been promising, namely malaysia and istanbul park they’re all very bland im sure theres some scope in the rules for a bit of flavour.

    I’d get the guys who did silverstone to design it, if only to add a bit of variety to the new tracks.

  23. Can we keep Bernie away as well?

  24. Electrolite
    26th May 2010, 11:27

    I think it wouldn’t be the end of of the world if Tilke designed the Austin track. He’s done enough f1 tracks within the silly rules by now so hopefully this will be exciting if he does. But then again it could be another Yas Marina or Singapore. I think if he did design the track, the track’s location and how it’s going to attract people shopuld be considered. Americans love speed. Perhaps the before or after the pit straight there could be a bowl-style curve, for example.

  25. It is a simple matter of the impression of speed. Monza, Spa, Monaco, Interlagos all work because the cars are seen in proximity to background information. (trees, buildings hills etc). An image of a car moving across a grey tarma background may as well be stationary. Even Singapore does not work because the darkness hides the background information. Watch the GP2 during daylight and it looks stunning.

    Monaco can be a long traffic queue, but a car flashing around the swimming pool will always look incredible.

    Tilke tracks are corporate, souless, health and safety conscious products of the age in which we live.

  26. Ned Flanders
    26th May 2010, 11:37

    Why not just build an oval?!

    1. Electrolite
      26th May 2010, 11:46

      Or a massive figure of 8!

      1. Now THAT would be cool! Or, an idea I’ve always played around with, an oval with a figure-8 in the infield!

  27. Robert McKay
    26th May 2010, 11:46

    I understand Tilke is hamstrung with the regs, and that is 70-80% of the problem. I also understand anyone is constricted if you are given a “street” venue.

    But I still believe that it would make sense for someone else to try designing a circuit. Someone else may have new ideas or new interpretations of those rules, and further, a bit of rivalry between Tilke and someone else will spur on the actual designing of the circuit, and not simply the buildings, floodlights and coloured LED’s at the side of the track.

    I refuse to believe that it is healthy for the sport to rely so much on one person.

    1. Agree with you Robert. It would be good to compare two designers even if the rules are so restrictive that the tracks end up very similar anyway

  28. I don’t know why I bother commenting, the articles are so logical and spot on I can’t debate. Then PM comes along and makes it even harder…unless quick Nick is the topic of discussion :P

    I would say that another designer would be good. Mainly to see how they would go about it, I know it is the same rule book so would end up looking the same anyway but it would be nice to have some comparison and some variety.

    The rule book is completely to blame though in F1. I’m not overly happy that when we go to brand new tracks like Abu Dhabi there are already chicances.

    The rules seem contradictory to me; we can go to tracks like Suzuka and Spa which are mainly fast, flowing, have big gradient changes and the speed at the end of the lap is controlled so it is safer but a track with similar characteristics would probably not be able to be built today. It doesn’t make sense to me. Tracks like that should get a firm yes or no, it’s either safe or it isn’t but that’s just my opinion.

    Doesn’t Tilke consult the drievrs on track design anyway to help with overtaking? I think I read that somewhere but feel free to correct me. Perhaps if that is the case, the drivers should give more input as they haven’t been that complementary about new tracks in the past couple of years.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      26th May 2010, 11:59

      Doesn’t Tilke consult the drievrs on track design anyway to help with overtaking? I think I read that somewhere but feel free to correct me.

      He’s doing it with India. That’s the first time.

      1. Aah, ok. Thanks very much PM.

      2. That´s not true, for example he contacted MS for Sepang.

        1. Prisoner Monkeys
          26th May 2010, 12:45

          And Sepang was his first one. He’d done a few modifications here and there over the years, but Sepang was his first full project. And while he contacted Schuamcher for that one, he onl contacted Schumacher. For India, he’s working with all of the teams.

          1. Contacted only Schumacher .. and arguably its his best track and generally a good one that I like seeing. More input doesn’t always mean better results. But don’t get me wrong, I’m always pro involving teams and drivers.

  29. Lets just rally for a change the regulations to allow cars to follow each other closely and aid overtaking.
    Circuit design won’t really be of much concern then

  30. Keep him away at all costs!!!! get the company who designed the Potrero de los Funes circuit, San Luis, Argentina

    Stunning track

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      26th May 2010, 12:50

      Nobody designed Potrero de los Funes. It was built over existing roads through the town and around the lake.

      1. That’s also something which makes F1 tracks great, to build on public roads. It’s what made the old Spa so wonderful (and circuits like Reims-Gueux, and others like that), and that you can still see a little bit of in the present-day Spa.

        Sadly, it’s usually too unsafe for new circuits today. Even Potrero de los Funés isn’t a Grade 1 circuit, and it would need “upgrades” (actually more like downgrades) that would take away some of the excitement. (which is not to say it wouldn’t still be a good track)

  31. if you don’t like slow corners, watch nascar.

    1. There is nothing wrong with slow corners per se, but it’s important to have the right variation of slow and fast corners, in order to get a “flow” into a track. So many (Tilke) circuits these days are like: “accelerate – brake, accelerate – brake”, so monotonous (take a look at Marina Bay, for example). If you look at the good circuits of old, you’ll find that one of their defining characteristics is how they have this flow of slow and fast corners, so over the course of a lap you have to slow down and speed up in variation, not in a straightforward, repetitive way. Even Monte-Carlo has a bit of that. (I don’t know if I worded this right, but I hope you get what I mean.)

  32. If Tilke’s firm is given some good terrain and good budget to work with then I cannot see any reason why they cannot come up with a good circuit.

    Having said that, I cannot see why any other consortium of engineers and architects couldn’t come up with an equally as good circuit. For the design of the actual circuit any civil engineer familiar with road design can understand the FIA requirements for the track design.

    As for the supporting infrastructure such as access roads, water, sewer reticulation, storm water drainage, electrical reticulation, lighting etc, any group of civil and electrical engineers familiar with urban development can sort that out. Likewise if briefed properly any bunch of architects and structural engineers familiar with commercial buildings can understand the requirements for race track buildings and grandstands.

    Personally I think it would be great if a consortium of Texan engineers and architects were put together to do the job! I’m working with an American engineer at the moment and he is freakishly smart!

  33. keith could you do an interview with Tilke one day? i bet he’s hard to get hold of though…

    1. I’d love to hear an interview with Tilke. Trouble is, he’d have to be very careful what he said…

    2. In a magazine in germany he showed his ideal track, which was something between 10 and 20 km long as it contained his favourite corners. i think he would show something like this also to Keith.

    3. I think I read an interview with him once in which he said the (safety) regulations and particularly the locations he has to work with restrict his creative ability too much. =c

  34. Genuine, snark-free question: If it’s more the FIA rules than Tilke to blame, how do we explain the fact Silverstone seem to have got it right with their redesign?

    Always given, of course, that it’s seen enough use so far to establish that they did. And, also, that was an adaptation rather than a ground-up construction project, which may be another point in their favour.

    Have to say that Richard Phillips’ remarks on the subject made us die laughing. He’s always good value!

    1. Well we don’t exactly know that they have, I mean it’s an improvement but the chicane complex added at the top of Farm before the new straight is an example of not getting it right. We don’t know if it’ll prevent overtaking into Luffield.

      Surley one hairpin would’ve been the right thing to do.

      1. The other point here is that we don’t know what Tilke might have come up with, given the same job to do. Maybe they’ve done a better job than he would have, maybe not, but we’ve got no basis for comparison.

  35. Get Adrian Newey to design it… he’s quite clever at finding the loop holes in the rules. ;)

    1. Great idea! I was wondering how Tilke never found any loop holes to exploit after 10 years of circuit design monopoly.

      1. Robert McKay
        26th May 2010, 15:22

        It’s easy to say the rule are too restrictive, and I’m sure they are…but Tilke still managed to come up with things like Turn 8 at Turkey.

        I think the question is more why he hasn’t come up with more equally interesting features given the number of tracks he’s worked on.

        The Silverstone comparison is interesting though – perhaps there the comparison is not so much between Silverstone’s Arena section and a full blown from-scratch Tilke effort as much as it is, say, the new first sector at Nurburgring, or the redesigned Hockenheim, which Tilke did (both).

        To be honest the Arena bit seems as much a function of where they had left to go, as much as anything, and there’s actually a bit of similarity in the two new sections in the twisty bits.

        1. This makes for an interesting idea: We should try to come up with better designs given the same patches of land Tilke was given to work with, and then see if we can actually come up with better tracks! I doubt, for example, that anyone could’ve done much better in Singapore.

  36. At first I was for Tilke, on the premise that things can only get better with practice, and its mostly the regs that limit the design.

    However, I found the argument strong to allow another designer to pen Austin and see if they can make something better within the same Regs. Variation is important, and I liked the comparison to 12teams,12designers.

    Unfortunately though, there would appear to be no one else suitably qualified and trusted to get the job done. Tilke it has to be then…

  37. Rules are rules, but not designing few places for overtaking makes me think “keep tilke away from any track!”.

  38. Surely Tilke can not be the only human on earth that knows how to design a circuit. Lets give somebody else a chance to design a different circuit with different logic and ideology. What F1 requires is diversity.

    The end.

  39. A few well placed rumours about dealings in Pakistan and we can get him on one of those no fly lists.

  40. I would like the FIA to have a look at the rules governing new circuits with some other people such as designers, drivers and teams and see if they can be altered in anyway.

    I have often read comments saying that classic circuits such as Interlagos would not get a place on the calendar now because of the rules if they weren’t already established.

    I agree that the rules do restrict what Tilke can do but I would like to see someone else get the job if only for the fact that I wouldn’t like all new F1 circuits to be designed by just one man.

    Also given that the Austin Grand Prix is scheduled for just two years away I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t have a design already because otherwise it seems it could be cutting it a bit close to be ready in time.

  41. Oh, dear. If it’s Tilke, then it’s another borefest, but will it matter? Turkey was hailed as a terrific circuit (mildly entertaining at best – well it is a Tilke circuit) and now look at their future in F1.

    It is after all, Americans and F1. Can’t you see this ending in tears?

    Will there be a GP in the USA in ten years time? I doubt it. American audiences will undoubtedly dwindle, and I can’t see ten years being realistic.

  42. Tilke should be kept away for one reason: it’s time someone else had a chance!

    It’s not that Tilke is restricted by the regulations, it’s that Tilke seems to ignore more and more with each new track of his the variations still allowed within the rules. Since Turn 8, when have we seen another great high-speed corner on a Tilke circuit? His latest creation, Abu Dhabi, was little more than straights, chicanes, and right-angle turns. Having had to put in a chicane before the hairpin as a necessity, he shies away from making it as heavy a braking zone as possible to make a possible overtaking point. Shanghai is nothing more than glorified copy of Sepang.

    Get some fresh ideas in.

    1. Agreed. Fresh ideas are lacking. Surely there is someone else who can give it a go. At least there would be better variation, whic is what F1 is all about.

      It’s not a one make series where all the cars are built by the same constructor, but that’s what is happening with circuit design.

  43. Just get Bernie to lie down in the middle and draw round his ego.

    1. We’ll end up with a 2 hour, 1-lap grand prix then!

  44. with over 6 billion people in the world, endless musical and cultural tastes, diverse artforms and architecture around this planet.. surely there is more than one person empowered enough to design and build a formula 1 spec racing circuit???

    is Tilke really that sought after?

  45. After reading the FIA regulations, they are strict only in the width, length, camber, etc of the circuit, and include a little formula (R=V^2/K) that is used to determine turn radius. There is nothing in there saying you have to put a turn in this direction, or that direction, or a chicane here or there.

    I personally think some of Tilke’s tracks are great for drivers and racing (Sepang, Turkey, China, even old Bahrain). We often discuss how its the regulations governing the cars that’s creating the processional races and while track design is occasionally mentioned, its not the main issue people talk about. It’s the cars that need changing! I’d rather see another old Bahrain before another Barcelona!

    That being said, why should one guy have a monopoly on how tracks are created. There are lots of great mind out there who all would each location differently. Let’s get some variety on the calendar!

  46. It’s pretty unclear why only one designer makes F1 tracks?
    He’s the only one smart enough for the job?
    The only well made Tilkedrom (Turkey) will be shunned due to low attendance(30.000 plus last year)and poor infrastructure around the track. FIA is poorly led by some pretty short-sighted people.
    Less racing-less money for everybody. Bernie knows that…or he really hates overtaking in racing? Not sure about that.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      26th May 2010, 14:56

      It’s pretty unclear why only one designer makes F1 tracks?
      He’s the only one smart enough for the job?

      No, it’s because his is one of only two firms worldwide that specialises in designing racing circuits to the standard the FIA demands. The other one is Apex Circuit Design, and they have a bad reputation.

      1. Robert McKay
        26th May 2010, 15:24

        Does it not help that Bernie reportedly has shares in Tilke’s company?

        1. Hmm, hadn’t heard that before…

          1. Robert McKay
            27th May 2010, 9:40

            To be fair it may well be bunkum, but I’m sure I read it somewhere.

  47. Prisoner Monkeys
    26th May 2010, 14:37

    Based on some of the reports from Austin news stations, a circuit plan may already be in place. They claim that it will be 3.4mi (~5.7km) long, and within 15 miles of the airport.

    1. FYI PM

      The Promoter has nothing to do with Thunderhill Raceway Park in California.

      From Adam Cooper:
      The company behind the race is Full Throttle Productions, founded in 2005 and responsible for a modest NASCAR Grand National event at Thunder Hill Raceway in Kyle, 20-minutes south of Austin.

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        26th May 2010, 15:27

        My information is faulty, then. The article I read about it was apparently oblivious to the fact hat there are two Thunder Hill Raceways.

        1. Here’s a link to the Cooper article which I should have included above :)

    2. Maybe they will make in the shape of Texas! There’s some track diversity for you ;)

  48. Competition breeds excellence. Yes, Tilke does have to work within the limits of the FIA’s stringent rule book, but he also has a total monopoly on circuit design/re-design these days. Keep him away from Austin, and give the contract to another firm so that we can get some competition among track designers, and we all benefit when the cream rises to the top.

  49. newnhamlea1
    26th May 2010, 16:05

    i think somebody else should design it… heres my design

  50. i thought common sense pointed to diversity with the way F1 tracks are designed, not attack of the “boring” clones.


  51. What they need to design is a track which really shows off the F1 cars well – F1 cannot and willnot compete against NASCAR for overtaking etc. It needs to have fantastic directional changes and great braking zones, and the fans must be able to see the cars upclose or it is doomed to fail. Personally I think it will fail anyway – how can they justify spending the huge amount on a circuit which the NASCAR rednecks will think is poofy?

  52. FIA rules are tight, but no rule states that you have to put long straights followed by slow turns. Ok, this combo should increase overtaking (all for the sake of ‘improving the show’), but you can’t replicate this feature in all the circuits you create because you’ll make them become soul-less, such as a cheap mass product. In his defence, we have also to say that the venues he had to cope with tend to be totally unattractive (except for Singapore, at the moment): we have modern masterpieces of contemporary architecture in the middle of nowhere (the worst examples being Bahrain and Turkey) and this is one of the main reasons why people hate Tilkedromes.
    Moreover, I can’t accept how he amputated the old Hockenheim: certainly German authorities wouldn’t have permitted to keep the old circuit, but Tilke surely could have done better than that Mickey Mouse track.

  53. Well, each new circuit coming up seems the same as the last big car park. I dunno who is at fault but the only thing I can think of changing is the designer.

    Depressingly, I don’t believe that designing circuits from scratch is an ideal way of doing things and I have an inbuilt dislike of what I think of as fake, temporary tracks. Spa was an intersection of some great roads, Silverstone was an airfield, Monza was once a big oval… They evolved to become classics. Of course nothing can be done about this, it is more just an acceptance that standing in a big field or desert and dropping Tarmac will never make a great f1 track. But maybe I am just old fashioned.

  54. Jose Arellano
    26th May 2010, 17:45

    i preffer them to make the race in an oval for some variety rather than another boring abu dabi

  55. James Brickles
    26th May 2010, 18:11

    Its time we had a different track designer in Formula 1, just to see how they interpret the rules.

    Tilke may have the FIA’s tight rules on his shoulders, but Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and the second half of Fuji were all abominations. Tons of space and he creates ‘those!’

    Turkey, Sepang and the A1 Ring were his finest moments, but please let someone else design this circuit.

  56. I like some of his tracks. I do believe he is working to the strict guidelines given by the FIA. I think the bigger issue in not who designs the circuit, but rather why the hell are they having a GP in Texas at all. Middle and southern America don’t want F1, that’s a given, it should have been in LA or New York where they acutally have a chance of filling the seats.

  57. I think they should just do a figure 8.

    It would be cheap and quick to build, plus loads of over taking.

  58. ……….and they could do tractor racing as support.

    they would be able to get John Deere as a title sponsor

  59. The Dutch Bear
    26th May 2010, 18:58

    FIA’s regulations are way to strict. We shouldn’t be too hard on Tilke. But I think we should give someone the chance, maybe just to silence the hardcore Tilke critics.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      26th May 2010, 22:01

      Yes, I think that’s about right.
      I just had a quick look at the FIA regulations and I think Spa, if it was a new track applying for a race now, would fail on two counts. Firstly, I don’t think there is 250 m between the start line and the first (right hand) turn, Secondly and according to my calculations, using the R=V2/K would mean that the elevation change at the bottom of Eau Rouge and at the top of the rise would not be permitted.

  60. J.A. Summers
    26th May 2010, 19:03

    What about that company that did Silverstone? At least they showed they were capable of implementing good changes to a circuit.
    Or the company that designed Le Pôle-Val de France a while ago, they might not have demonstrated they can actually build a circuit, but the design looked interesting.

  61. I am still in shock that Austin is potentially getting a spot on the F1 calendar.

    As a life long fan of F1 who has never been able to see a race live, this is amazing. Now my town is going to have a race!

    Those folks talking about putting the race track on the west side of town in the hill country are probably out of luck. That side of town has huge restrictions on what can be built there and the land is very expensive. I doubt a large enough undeveloped parcel without deed restrictions can be found for a track.

    The area just south of downtown is out too. We are very protective of an area called the Edwards Aquifier and the Barton Creek. Lots of big projects with large amounts of run off have been turned stopped because of the impact on these pristine areas. (we even have our own endagered species – the barton springs salamander)

    There is a lot of undeveloped land just to the south east of town that would work well for this kind of development. We just built a new airport on the site of the an old airforce base few years ago and there is a lot of empty and cheap land around that area.

    Another option might be to put it at the old Muller Airport which is located just north east of University of Texas. A lot of the old hangers and buildings are being used for movie production and the site might be large enough for a track…

    The news paper today had a headline “Formula One in Austin Texas?”. Yeah, baby, couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

    1. I’m with you Carldec, I’m from Fort Worth and I can’t wait to make the trip down for the race!

    2. Better get the Barton Springs Salamander some ear protection! Austin is a bit of a strange choice as the complaint about Indy was that it was not “big” enough from an International perspective, that’s why you heard rumblings of New York, L.A, Vegas highly recocognizable for foreigners. Also Rome & London, so congrats to Austin for putting this together, no doubt the good vibe there from top class music, food, & good atitude will be as infectious as Montreal. They say these races bring in 80 million up in tourist $, so hope that helps locally, hotel requirements are a must. Indy was one of the more reasonably priced races in the series, hope Austin is also, Enjoy

  62. No one else can Homogenize a track like Hermann, while his creations are often impressive & stunning visually they usually lack something when it comes to the track specifically. How about a small commitee of F1 DRIVERS to provide input into creating the right charecteristics that the current more exciting tracks have. Like the leading pro golfers do designing new golf courses.

    I suggest, Alonso, Kimi(could’nt be bothered), Hamilton, Schumacher, Vettel, Hakkinen, Kubica, Basically all the agressive drivers.
    Let Hermann put a nice lid on it & stick to the hospitality section to provide the right “wow” factor for the rich upper crust Bernie likes to attract to keep up the exclusive F1 brand.

    For fan input we could provide Alistair to take a 180 degree viewpoint once the top drivers reach consensus, he could school them on what they should be doing.

  63. Sepang is a nice circuit from a viewers perspective – it’s almost like it’s built in a dip so that wherever you are watching from you can see half the circuit. I don’t know how many current F1 tracks can boast that.

    When I’m at a race, I like the slow corners because you get to see a lot of car time but a high speed corners are great to watch when you are at a distance from them.

    What I would do is to look at all the tracks that are out there now and see where the overtaking opportinuties are and try to stitch that together into a circuit. To make F1 great TV, there needs to be more than 1 overtaking place on the track but most circuits seem to only have on (if that).

  64. Let’s keep Tilke away. The issue is not about rules. It’s about his interpretations of them.

    So what are the real issues? I think there are three: fantasy, buildability and overtakability

    Simple solution: make a contest, for everybody who can envision a track (fantasy issue covered).

    And for the buildability issue: First let the company* who will build the actual track make a selection, so all the ideas which cannot be build for practical or budget reasons are filtered out.
    After this let only people who have or had a superlicence in the last 30 years make the choice, based on a single point: overtaking possibilities – there it is: overtakability issue also covered.

    (*and yes, there are enough companies who can produce such a complex in a short timeframe. This is the world where roads, bridges, skyscrapers, aeroplanes etc are build)


    And on the subject of rules: I read the rules-document and they’re not that specific in my view.

    For instance the length of the start grid should be between 458 and 2000 meters (number of cars 26 multiplied by at least 8 metres per car, plus 250 meters to the first corner, where corner in these cases only means a change of direction of 45 degrees at least – which leaves a spectrum between 45 and say 175 degrees).

    So, just for start grid and first corner there is an indefinite numer of possibilities (You can also add minimum width and width chanes in the equation, but that doesn’t change this)… And I won’t mention the rest. Rules are really not the issue.

  65. “Tilke is only working within the rules the FIA gives him and anybodyelse would come up with the same result” to more or less quote a post here.
    Well if that is the case why then are Silverstone, Spa and Hockenheim still approved site or for that matter Montreal?
    It would seem one could build something challenging with good site lines with the features of these older tracks within the rules and still not come up with Tilke’s boring layouts.

  66. Regardless of whether Tilke’s track are good or not and why, he must be kept away. We simply cannot have all our tracks designed by the same guy. We need variety.

  67. This is an oppurtunity that can’t be wasted, the US needs a track with some style,something that is unique.y

    A track that will keep the fans coming back every year

    The track has got to be unique not just the paddock and grandstands.(shanghai)

    Theres an 99.9 percent chance that tilke will let us down once again if he designs this circuit.

    I wont this to be road course not a race circuit or some modern autodrome.

    This oppurtunity cannot be wasted!!!!!!!


  68. Magnificent Geoffrey
    27th May 2010, 1:17

    Regarding the Austin track:

    “Hellmund also said the Tilke (TIHL’-keh) course architecture firm had been hired to design the venue.”

    So there you go.

  69. Prisoner Monkeys
    27th May 2010, 1:26

    According to Adam Cooper, Tilke has already been commissioned to design a circuit and is in Austin searching for office space. The site has apparently been purchased (claims that they had a shortlist of three appear to have been some kind of smoke screen; to what end, I don’t know) and it said to be 800 acres of hilly terrain. They appea to have made a point of that,because tey’ve specifially requested that Tilke buld something fast, flowing and challenging.

  70. Hermann is a practicing architect, I sense he pays more attention to the buildings, grandstands, and other structures then to the track configurations themselves.

    Who is the firm that designed the Silverstone modifications? The Texas developer should have a design competition between Tilke, the Silverstone design group, and another qualified firm. They do it for landmark buildings, why not a landmark f1 track?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      27th May 2010, 1:47

      The Silverstone group is called Populous. As far as I can tell, Silverstone is their only F1-related project. The FIA/FOM would want them to have a little more experience before they take on a full circuit.

      The only other group that bids for Forumla 1 circuits is Apex Circuit Design, and I’m told they have a bad reputation for delivering project late and over-budget. They’re building a circuit near Domodedovo in Russia that I am told is a year late and a million Euros more expensive than originally planned. The FIA/FOM wouldn’t want them building circuits.

      Tilke’s other main advantage is that Tilke GmbH isn’t just an archtectual firm – they’re a construction mnagement company, too. Tilke has personally overseen the construction of every circuit he’s designed, with the exception of South Korea (don’t ask me why).

  71. Tilke needs to be kept away from any track designed in the future. I do agree with PM comment that he have to do what the rules allows him & of course what Bernie asked him to do but he could have done a better job then he is doing. The organizer of the British GP have a done a great job to keep him away from it. One of the problem about Tilke’s design is that all his track requires almost same amount of downforce (Malaysia, China, Turkey). I think what F1 needs is more low downforce tracks on the calender like Spa, Monza, Silverstone where the aero effect becomes low & more emphasis is given on the mechanical grip of the car.

  72. keep tilke far far far way from austin!!!!
    the circuits he made are boring and very comun…

    go to portimao (algarve, portugal) anda see a good new circuit…

  73. to be honest I dont care who builds the damn thing I am just enjoying the Idea of being a short flight from Tampa FL to Austin Tx for an F1 Race.

  74. The trouble is, his design team get most of the F1 tracks to design. And they don’t appear to be consulting drivers enough or working hard enough to make sure a track is fun exciting.

    We need some fresh ideas, from other track design companies. And although we haven’t experienced F1 at the new Silverstone circuit, it looks like Populous have done a brilliant job and have created more of a challenge and some potential overtaking spots.

  75. We need some fresh ideas, if nothing else. So a new designer would be welcome.
    I am disappointed with some of his designs. I think he missed making Sepang a great circuit because he didn’t use the natural undulation enough. 2 long identical straights is so boring.

  76. Please keep Tilke away!!! His tracks are not inspiring and boring to watch. They need the group that reconfigured Silverstone for 2010.

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      27th May 2010, 10:05

      That group is called Populous, and their only experience is Silverstone. I’d wait for them to do a little bit more before I go awarding contacts for full circuits.

      1. And Dubai Autodrome:

        Not sure what grade it is, it has held GP2 races on two of its configurations.

  77. Well it seems Tilke GmbH has got the contract for the Austin circuit. Of course, in the “good old boys club” that is today’s FiA and F1, how could one actually expect anything else?

    It was commented here that F1 has become so inbred that it’s gene pool is dying (paraphrased), and I couldn’t agree more. Those in control apparently are more concerned about maintaining control than having good racing or a truly good fan experience. F1 has become a closed shop, with very stringent entry requirements. And I believe that without a more open-market approach it will become more and more stagnant, until entropy finally claims it’s due and F1 dies not with a bang but with a whimper.

    Those at the top must change, for, as M|att commented: “Where are the new ideas going to come from in a monopoly? How can good value for money be ensured in an industry where there is no competition?”

    That was a comment about Tilke’s stranglehold on F1 track design, but it could be said of FiA and F1 as well. FiA/Bernie say no one else has the necessary experience, is it? And they never will, unless given opportunity. Time for the good old boys club to close, and FiA and F1 to move into the 21st century with the rest of us.

  78. The race promoters have confirmed Tilke will be designing the track.

    1. This is not directed at you Keith, maybe more in response to dsob, although I agree with his/her sentiment.

      Maybe a good future article would be “If not Tilke, who else?”… I’d like to know what other companies are out there that can do the job and deliver to the budget and deadlines imposed. So often now you hear of project overruns and horrendous final costs.

      Who else is there?

    2. Robert McKay
      27th May 2010, 10:29

      It sounds like he’s been given a brief to create something a bit more interesting than usual, although that might just be me reading too much into the PR statement.

    3. the Sri Lankan
      27th May 2010, 10:42

      its all over for u Austin!

  79. urg…bloody hell, not again…

    what’s wrong with just going to laguna seca or road america or any other of a number of good existing circuits?


  80. The problem is that we’ve got no basis for comparison. No-one else has built an F1 circuit recently, so it’s difficult to judge whether the problem is Tilke himself or the restrictive rules.

  81. Too late! Tilke selected to design Texas circuit…..

    German Hermann Tilke, Bernie Ecclestone’s favoured Formula 1 circuit architect, will be designing the track which will host the returning American Grand Prix from 2012 onwards.

    Tilke has designed six of the current F1 circuits, including Istanbul Park which plays home to this weekend’s Turkish Grand, as well as parts of existing tracks such as the new-for-2002 loops at Germany’s Hockenheim and Nurburgring venues.

    The Unites States Grand Prix makes its return to the calendar on what will be a 10-year contract up to and including 2021, with the country having last hosted a race when Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren took victory at Indianapolis in 2007.

    The Austin, Texas site – which spans some 700 acres (2.8km²) – will be the first purpose-built home for a race in the USA since Watkins Glen in 1980.

  82. Yep, Autosport saying the same.

  83. Geez what’s with all the Tilke love all of a sudden. I have been defending Tilke a lot myself, but this is getting ridiculous.

    Tilke isn’t as horrible as people sometimes make him out to be. He HAS produced decent tracks. Tracks like Istanbul, (old) Bahrain, Sepang and Shanghai have provided ample overtaking. More than on most classic tracks.

    On the other hand, the trouble with him is that he’s more geared towards getting the project finished on time and within budget than he is with producing a good racing track.

    Maybe FIA should step in and make sure that the racing is the prime concern when designing a track. Have the track design put in a simulator and have the drivers try it out before it gets approved.

    Drivers can tell you instantly where overtaking can happen and what ruins it.

    For instance, Tilke hurt the Bahrain track with his latest changes. He killed a prime overtaking spot by adding a silly micky mouse part. Even before they tried driving on it, the drivers even said the changes decreased the chance of overtaking (instead of increasing them).

    1. Robert McKay
      27th May 2010, 14:25

      To be fair, he didn’t do that. He designed that bit of the track for the endurance series that sometimes run there, didn’t intend for it to be for the F1 circuit, and it was the circuit owners who decided to use the extra loop.

  84. This is awful news. Why is Tilke the only one who designs the new circuits. Istanbul aside they are all uninspiring. Yes I know he is confined by the regulations but it is still annoying that one man can have some much influence on these tracks. What do you think about this Keith. Do you know is there anyone else capable of designing these tracks

  85. why don’t they commission a kindergarten student to doodle a trace on a white piece of paper,
    fold that papers and pick them out of a bowl, and then have Tilke finalize it on top of the original doodle….

    now that’s original and the we’ll see who’s to blame the regs, or Tilke.

    it’s preferable of those kids haven’t been influenced by their big brothers loop to loop scalextrix.

    this comment is not entirely serious

  86. According to Adam Cooper’s blog the site is said to be in hilly countryside.

    1. i hope we get some nice gradients

  87. is motorland argon really not f1-designed/ legal?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      27th May 2010, 15:10

      It only has a Grade-2 rating – and it was intended that way. The owners of the circuit never had any intention of hosting a Formula 1 race or testing.

  88. If their smart, they’ll build it like Spa. We (Austin) have lots of rolling hills – we’re not called “The Texas Hill Country” for nothing.

  89. Sprinklers are a must hehe.

    Yes. keep Tilke away from Austin, im really bored of his sterile boring circuits. I say build another circuit through a hilly forest!!

  90. Dear members of the F1 Fanatic community:

    It has recently been brought to my attention that some of the comments made by myself in this thread – and possibly in others – are untrue. These comments relate to Apex Circuit Design and the construction of the Eurasia Autodrome near Domodedovo in the Russian Federation, and claimed that Apex was an unreliable contractor producing sub-standard work and that the Domodedovo project had run over time and over budget.

    I am both ashamed and emabrrassed to admit that these comments were posted in error. I have no way to validate my claims, and therefore no right to speak ill of either Apex or any of their projects. For this reason, I am posting this message as a public apology to both Apex Circuit Design and the owners of the Domodedovo circuit and am retracting my comments. I originally took my source’s comments in good faith, which has since proven to be wrong. I offer no excuses for my actions, and only ask that I be forgiven for this greivous error; had I known that my source for these comments was incorrect, I never would have posted them in the first place.

    I may, however, offer some insight as to how I believe I strayed from my path. Circuit design is a subject I have a great interest in, and one that I have argued forcefully over in the past. Where on previous occasions I have prefixed any of my claims relating to Apex Circuit Design and/or any of their projects with “I am told that” (or words to the effect thereof), I started dropping said prefix as the argument kept coming up. Hence, I am the architect of my own undoing.

    I would once again like to express my deepest regret in posting these comments in the first place, and offer my sincerest apologies for it. In future, I will strive to verify any claims I make, and actively avoid making such comments again. On that note, I will open the door to the wider community to follow my lead; I have seen countless occasions on several websites where members of a community of accused members of the FIA of corruption or Team USF1 of fraud. These are serious criminal accusations, made because a person did not like action taken by those organisations. While we cannot police the internet as a whole, let us stand together as a community an actively seek to prevent the forum and our wonderful host Keith from being tainted by such a brush.

    Sincerely, Jason (aka “Prisoner Monkeys”)

    1. Apex have asked to make the following statement:

      “We at Apex were somewhat surprised at the suggestion by Prisoner Monkeys that we were underperforming for some of our clients, because for us to do so would be totally at odds with the way we work. Our client in Moscow has submitted a post which refuted one claim made and, since the other had no specific project named, the client in question could not retort though if he had been he would have responded I am sure. Our way of working is very inclusive; we listen to what people want and we try – within constraints defined by safety guidelines, common sense and regulation – to always provide the most exciting solutions that are cost effective, timely and provide a long term sustainable operation for our clients. I am grateful that Prisoner Monkeys has clarified the situation and, on the subject in question, we would be happy to contribute to the debate and to show any forum member around our offices in the UK to showcase the way we work in this field.”

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