10 reasons why we love track circuits

Austrian Grand Prix 2017

1. The fast, sweeping corners

Eau Rouge! Copse! Parabolica! The Suzuka Esses. Er, the evocatively titled Turn Nine at Barcelona! Yep, stick that in yer street circuit and smoke it…

2. The overtaking factor

Look, we all love street circuits, but we know they’re impossible to overtake on. And that’s why the racing on them is a little dull. And that’s also why pukka racetracks offer a proper racing wow-factor that you don’t get anywhere else.

3. History

Look at old black and white photos of Silverstone, Monza or Spa – those cars and drivers are from a different era, but still retain a direct link to the present. And that’s why we need to keep Formula 1 alive at its most historic and important tracks.

4. The Nordschleife

Worthy of its own entry. Built in the 1920s at huge effort and expense, there’s no greater race track in the world. The ‘Green Hell’ is a 14-mile monster, one that’s simultaneously respected and feared by every racing driver in the world. A street circuit it is not…

5. The clans gather en masse

We’ve all been there: trying in vain to sleep through Euro trance in a Hockenheim campsite at 4am; tripping over guy-ropes while traipsing through acres of tents in a field near Silverstone; trudging along pavements clogged with Tifosi en route to Monza. It’s the arrival of the tribes – the flags, the banners, the adulation. We love it all.

6. The architectural grandiosity

A race track with a colossal wing-like bridge perched on top of giant 10-storey-high pillars? Check. And another one at the other end of the pit-straight, just for good measure? You got it. If you build it, they will come, they said; they didn’t. But, hey, it still looks AMAZING…

7. The varied and unique landscapes

The flat, featureless er, features of Silverstone; the dense, shaggy pine forests of the Belgian Ardennes; the ancient woodland of the Parco di Monza; the ampitheatre of Interlagos. David Attenborough could make a brilliant documentary series about the natural diversity found in F1. We’d watch it.

8. The tricky technicality

Ooh, look at Shanghai’s Turn One! That looks really tough. Or take a gander at that fast, wide bit round the back of Sepang. Tres difficile, non? And what about Degner One and Two at Suzuka? Too hard for us. All designed on a bit of paper (or computer), but always ready to catch out the over-confident (or under-skilled) racer…

9. The homage factor

Let’s build a new track that’s a bit like Interlagos, but faster. In the middle of nowhere in Turkey. Now let’s build a track that’s got a bit of the best bits of all the other tracks. In the middle of nowhere in Austin, Texas. Talent borrows and genius steals, they say. We can’t help but agree.

10. The enormo grandstands

On race day, the atmosphere inside Hockenheim’s huge, concrete stadium is intense. The same is true in the packed stands along the Interlagos start-line – full of life and colour and noise. There’s a grandstand in Abu Dhabi that’s so big that the run-off area actually continues underneath the stand. You don’t get that in Azerbaijan.