As far as motorsports are concerned, there is no other sport in the history that sets the adrenaline levels of the fans on fire, as the Formula 1 championships. The F1 is the highest level of open wheeled auto racing, where the racers are required to follow rules quite strictly. Though the racers and the cars define the motorsport, what really makes it interesting, is the racetrack. The circuits decide whether the racer can overtake and get to the lead, or fall into the deadly gravel pits and lose the race forever; it’s what that brings the spirit into the game. Even the best cars can bite the dust, if the driver doesn’t study the track well enough. Some of the best F1 championships have been the result of excellent engineering and seeming improbability of the circuits. So without any doubt, the F1 circuits do deserve to be ranked for their background work, so let’s take a look at the top 10.
10. Shanghai International China
The Asian expansion of the formula 1 sport has been a grand success for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) – the organizers of F1 championships. The Shanghai International Circuit was constructed in just less than 18 months; though not a big deal for the Chinese. The construction of the track was excellent, considering the short period of construction. But still, of all places the Chinese decided to build it on the worst place possible – a swamp. The Circuit was literally built over a soft terrain that is known to sink, but still made it possible with complex materials; and it works fine, at least it does for now. Known for its extreme right hand corners, it makes the Chinese Grand prix all the more interesting.
9. A1 ring Austria
The European circuits always add the x factor to the game, presenting some of the most picturesque yet highly challenging circuits of the world. It’s never a flat, dusty, boring track in the European part of the world, where you can even have a nap before something interesting happens, as witnessed in the Americas and Asia. It’s always filled with some of the most tight corners and endless straight lanes, which present both the drivers and fans with paradise; and the A1 ring is nothing short of a driver’s paradise. In a country dominated by hills and breath taking valleys, you can only imagine how the F1 circuit will be there. At one point of time the Austrian A1 ring was considered one of the dangerous circuits in the world, resulting in its shortening and reconstruction. During the Mid 90’s the circuit was abandoned by the FIA for over a decade. But then the Red bull people came in and rebuilt it to be, one of the best F1 circuits in the world.
8. Montreal Canada
The Montreal circuit in Canada, also better known as the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is one of the brilliantly engineered F1 Circuits at present. The location of the circuit in a manmade island in St. Lawrence River alone, gives it a spot on the top ten. But it’s not just that, which makes it so special; it’s one of those rare Circuits which make even the most experienced drivers feel like they have just entered racing. The reason the circuit is favored by a lot of racing veterans is that, the barricades along the track run so close, that it doesn’t give the slightest window to make an error. Even the best drivers have got locked up between the barricades due to their carelessness. So, in racing terms, it’s any man’s game here at Montreal.
7. Buddh International Circuit
The Buddh International circuit, India, opened its gates for business in 2011, and since then it has been a revelation to the fans and drivers of F1 alike. The track was engineered by Hermann Tilke, one of the top designers of F1 circuits, and he set out with his skill to prove a point. The Circuit was designed entirely for modern F1 cars and nothing less; so F1 fans can be happy that, at least this will be spared by the circuit trashing NASCAR. The circuit has a series of ups and down, that can set even the dullest races seem interesting. The turns at specific points are designed to allow multi-lane cornering, which only adds to the unpredictability of the circuit.
6. Nürburgring, Germany.
One can safely say that Nürburgring is the most challenging track in the world of F1 or any other motor sports for that matter. The track was purpose built around the village of Nürburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany to be the most challenging track ever built; and still today, it lives up to its name. Though the F1 part of the track is quite short and less scary, the entire track is one of the longest tracks in the world, stretching its boundaries with over 20.8kms of Tarmac. The circuit has the highest elevation change in a racing track; the difference between its lowest points and the highest is 300 meters – which is literally racing over a hill. Character apart, the Nürburgring circuit is an eye-pleaser, with its picturesque mountains and wilderness, which earned it its nickname – the Green Hell.
5. Silverstone Circuit UK
The home of the legendary British Grand prix is next on our list of the best F1 circuits in the world. The track was originally a Royal Air force Bomber station, which was later converted into a racing track and maintained till today by the British racing drivers association. The Silverstone Circuit has held the British Grand Prix every year since 1987, and one of the first circuits to modify the tracks to improve driver safety. The circuit, apart from the F1 race, hosts a myriad of other British motor sports, earning it the status of – home of British Racing.
4. Monaco, Monte Carlo
The Monaco circuit or the Circuit de Monaco is a purpose built F1 track, set on the streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine. It is more generally referred to as the Monte Carlo circuit due to its setting in that locality. The race at Monaco is held for one weekend, every year during the month of May; the rest of the year it just stays harmless, as a busy road with buzzing traffic. The Circuit takes six weeks to setup and three weeks to dismantle, so you can imagine the level of care put into the maintaining of this track. It is considered being the most challenging track in the history of F1, with sudden elevation changes and demanding corners that require the best of talents to negotiate. It contains both the slowest corner – the Fairmont pin, and the quickest – the flat out kink at the tunnel, in F1 racing. Monaco is also the home of most F1 racing drivers; so as far as circuits go, this is a F1 fan paradise.
3. Hockenheimring Germany
The Hockenheimring circuit in Germany is the other F1 circuit in the top ranks from the European hill side. The track was constructed in the 1930’s making it one of the oldest F1 circuits. It hosts the German F1 Grand Prix biennially, with the last race being held on 2012. The racing circuit is almost completely flat, with no elevation changes whatsoever. But don’t let that fool you, because as far as F1 circuits go, this is one of the toughest to break ground. The Hockenheim circuit is the home to some of the most challenging corners in F1 history, and the longest stretches of asphalt, making it deadly and inviting at the same time.
2. Sepang International Circuit
The first track to take form from the drawing board of Hemann Tilke – the Sepang International circuit is a masterpiece. The circuit was the result of strict bans against Tobacco companies as sponsors to European F1 racing. As the F1 teams set out to find new lands, they ended up in Malaysia, and boy wasn’t that the best thing to had ever happened to this place. The circuit, apart from its brilliant engineering and corners that flow into each other, making it a racers paradise, is probably one of those few circuits that has a soul. While all other circuits look like a disaster from an asphalt mixing machine, this one looks almost as if it was born to be raced upon. A true monument to Tilke’s designs.
1. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Probably the most favorite track to racing drivers, fans and simply anyone who loves motoring – the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is the F1’s best ever circuit. The circuit in located in the beautiful town of Spa, Belgium, surrounded by lush green forests and some of the most beautiful scenery. The circuit earns its reputation from its geographic terrain; it is both fast and twisty thanks to its hilly regions, making the most challenging circuit, and the favorite to many F1 legends.