The layout for the inaugural Baku street circuit, which will host the European Grand Prix from 2016 onwards, has been unveiled in a special press event in the Azerbaijan capital.
Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone, circuit designer Hermann Tilke and Azad Rahimov, Azerbaijan’s Minister of Youth and Sport, were on hand to showcase the design to the media.
Despite some concerns over the country’s lack of motorsport heritage and its suitability as a host for the Formula 1 World Championship, its place on the 2016 was announced amid much fanfare earlier this year.
“Azerbaijan is the latest addition to the Formula One calendar and I am pleased to see they have designed an innovative new street circuit that will definitely help to create a world class event when we race there in 2016,” Ecclestone said in the media conference.
“This is a very exciting milestone for everybody involved in the Baku European Grand Prix,” Azad Rahimov added.
“We have been working very closely on the circuit layout with Hermann Tilke and his team since early 2013. Our brief to Tilke Engineering was simple – create a circuit that is unique, one that will help the Grand Prix in Baku quickly establish itself as one of the most exciting, thrilling venues on the F1 calendar, and one that the fans and teams alike are excited about. Most importantly, we wanted a track that would showcase the best of Baku, our capital city, and I am delighted that the circuit the F1 teams will race on in 2016 has achieved exactly that aim.”
The 6.006-kilometre, anticlockwise street circuit layout combines the city’s prominent waterfront and historic town centre in a design that is reminiscent of both Long Beach and Barcelona’s disused Montjuïc Park street circuits.
“We have created a challenging street circuit, in terms of engineering and design, and one that thrives on Baku’s very attractive urban atmosphere and its great combination of history and 21st century style. The historic city centre, the beautiful seaside promenade and the impressive government house all combine to provide the perfect backdrop for a spectacular new track,” the circuit’s designer, Hermann Tilke, added.
“Obviously street circuits present a number of challenges, in terms of circuit design, but we have been able to incorporate some unique features that will provide the teams and fans with fascinating racing. For example, there will be an extremely narrow uphill section at the old town wall that will reward pinpoint accuracy and courage, and we have an acceleration section of almost 2.2kms along the promenade which will see the cars running flat out at very high top speeds – something that will create an incredible spectacle for the race fans on track and the viewers at home.”
Images via FIA