Skip to content

F1 Primer: The tracks

Mar 12, 2013, 7:52 AM EST

There are 19 races on the 2013 F1 schedule from Austin to Abu Dhabi. Here are some of the highlights.

The fastest: Monza, Italy

The nearest thing F1 has to an IndyCar or NASCAR-style oval. Built just outside Milan in 1922, Monza is essentially four quick corners connected by long straights, interrupted by three chicanes to slow the cars down.

The latter means the classic slipstreaming races Monza used to see are a thing of the past. But it remains F1’s quickest track. The fastest ever F1 race took place here in 2003, won by Michael Schumacher at an average speed of 153.843mph.

Video: Lap of Monaco with Michael Schumacher in 2003

The longest: Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

Like Monza, the Spa circuit in the Ardennes forest in Belgium featured in the first ever world championship in 1950. Then an 8.7-mile monster, even in its reduced form the 4.3-mile track remains the longest in F1.

It’s also one of the most popular among the drivers as it is fast and flowing, with few of the many slow corners found on modern tracks. Eau Rouge, Pouhon, Stavelot and Blanchimont are some of the evocative names of the thrillingly fast corners to be found on the track.

The most glamorous: Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Holding a race around the streets of the tiny principality of Monaco is preposterous and marvelous. Were it not for its prestige and heritage there is no way a similar race could be envisaged today.

Monaco generally does not produce great races because overtaking is practically impossible. But its narrow confines are a stern challenge for the drivers and when combined with a sprinkling of rain it’s one of the toughest events in motor racing.

Video: Lap of Monaco with Ralf Schumacher, 2004

The original: Silverstone, Britain

The world championship began at Silverstone in 1950 and although the circuit has been transformed almost beyond recognition since then, it still features some of F1’s quickest and most challenging corners.

Video: Lap of Silverstone with Jenson Button, 2011

The drivers’ favorite: Suzuka Japan

Along with Spa, the sinuous Suzuka circuit with its unique crossover is regularly named by drivers as one of their favorites.

Not just because of the demanding opening sector, the high-speed corners and the enthusiasm of Japan’s fans. But because it is one of a dwindling number of circuits where a mistake is punished by contact with a barrier instead of a long drive through a wasteland of tarmac run-off.

The newest: Circuit of the Americas, USA

The home of the United States Grand Prix was an instant hit when it held its first race last year. The complex opening sector is among its best features – and of course the warm welcome from American fans who’d gone five years without a race of their own.

The rest

The city of Melbourne welcomes the teams to round one. The opening flyaway tour includes Malaysia, China and Bahrain before heading to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Canada’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve often provides exciting races. The German Grand Prix returns to the (short) Nurburgring this year.

A hectic sequence of final races begins with the Singapore night race and takes in Korea, India and Abu Dhabi. The United States Grand Prix on November 17th begin a double-header finale which concludes with the Brazilian Grand Prix in the feverish atmosphere of Interlagos in Sao Paulo.

F1 Primer

Latest Posts
  1. Danica Patrick enters final year of contract but wants to stay at Stewart-Haas

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:46 PM EST

    NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 2 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour - Day 2

    Car owner Gene Haas confirms this is the final year of Danica Patrick’s contract but says he wants Patrick back.

  2. NASCAR: J.J. Yeley will be BK Racing’s primary driver in 2015

    Jan 27, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Sprint Showdown - Qualifying Getty Images

    Yeley ran the final seven races of 2014 in BK’s No. 83 Toyota.

  3. Cast your vote: Which SHR driver will improve most in ’15?

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:53 PM EST

    SHR lineup AP

    While teammate Kevin Harvick won the Sprint Cup championship in 2014, Danica Patrick, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart all came up short. Which driver will bounce back the most in 2015?

  4. Danica Patrick: 2014 was a success to build upon for ’15

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:45 PM EST

    Danica Patrick AP

    While some media may think 2014 was a sub-par year for her, Danica Patrick believes last season was just the opposite, a season of growth and improvement that she hopes to extend into the 2015 Sprint Cup campaign.

  5. Al Unser to be recognized at Legends Day this May

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    Photo: IMS Photo: IMS

    Al Unser Sr. gets a day of honor at IMS this month of May.

  6. NASCAR, RTA are communicating but not commenting much about it

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:08 PM EST

    Party in the Poconos 400 - Practice Getty Images

    RTA chairman Rob Kauffman deflected several questions Tuesday about the organization, which represents virtually every team in NASCAR’s premier series.

  7. Kurt Busch: Indy 500 return is “something we haven’t talked about”

    Jan 27, 2015, 2:05 PM EST

    Kurt Busch AP

    Former Sprint Cup champ finished sixth in first ‘500’ appearance last year.

  8. Bobby Hamilton Jr. makes comeback bid in ARCA

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:32 PM EST

    Bobby Hamilton Jr. (Photo courtesy Carter 2 Motorsports) Bobby Hamilton Jr. (Photo courtesy Carter 2 Motorsports)

    One year after his last comeback effort fell short, Bobby Hamilton Jr. is back to try it again with Carter 2 Motorsports in a full-time ARCA season racing effort.

  9. Sauber confirms Friday launch date, and HP partnership

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Brazil Getty Images

    Sauber will have its new car launch on Friday, and also has confirmed HP partnership.

  10. Start times for 2015 Camping World Truck Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    NCWTS logo

    The 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule and race times was announced Tuesday.

  11. Start times for 2015 XFINITY Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:40 PM EST

    xfinity series logo

    Race times for the inaugural season of the new Xfinity Series were announced Tuesday.

  12. NASCAR: HScott announces second car for Michael Annett

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:32 PM EST

    GoBowling.com 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Annett will bring his Pilot/Flying J sponsorship with him to HScott Motorsports, where he’ll team up with Justin Allgaier.

  13. Start times for 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races

    Jan 27, 2015, 12:15 PM EST

    Food City 500 Practice Getty Images

    NASCAR releases start times for all 36 Cup points races plus Daytona 500 prelims, the All-Star Race, and the Sprint Showdown.

  14. Michael Waltrip Racing responds to Kyle Busch’s comments about working together

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:54 AM EST

    Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts - Practice Getty Images

    Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner says his team is working with Joe Gibbs Racing, countering claims Kyle Busch made about the collaboration between the teams.

  15. Bowyer on Gordon: “You’re never good with somebody when it got that ugly”

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:22 AM EST

    Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon Clint Bowyer, Jeff Gordon

    Clint Bowyer said of his relationship with Jeff Gordon: “You’re never good with somebody when it got that ugly.”

  16. International Speedway Corp. shows strong revenue growth in 2014

    Jan 27, 2015, 11:22 AM EST

    ISC logo

    NASCAR’s parent company, International Speedway Corporation, showed healthy growth in both the fourth quarter of 2014, as well as for the overall 2014 fiscal year, it was announced Tuesday.

  17. NASCAR: Brian Vickers glad to look ahead to racing again after heart surgery

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:59 AM EST

    Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Vickers will be back in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota at Las Vegas in March.

  18. NASCAR: Brett Moffitt to drive Brian Vickers’ No. 55 car at Atlanta

    Jan 27, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

    Quicken Loans 400 - Qualifying Getty Images

    MWR test driver will compete in Vickers’ car at the second race of the 2015 Sprint Cup season.

  19. NASCAR considers unveiling 2016 rules at Sprint All-Star Race in May

    Jan 26, 2015, 8:45 PM EST

    NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race

    NASCAR heavily is considering using the May 16 showcase as a trial run of the rules package for the 2016 season and has begun informing Sprint Cup teams of the possibility.

  20. Indy Lights: Spencer Pigot, Ed Jones top 1st day of Homestead road course test

    Jan 26, 2015, 8:33 PM EST

    IndyLightsLogo

    Quick recap for Day 1 of 3 in South Florida for the Indy Lights contingent.

Video from NASCAR America

Joe Gibbs is ecstatic about Carl Edwards
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. J. Gordon (2193)
  2. K. Schrader (1758)
  3. J. Clements (1726)
  4. K. Grala (1659)
  5. S. Gallagher (1609)
  1. R. Hornaday Jr. (1553)
  2. M. Lira (1549)
  3. M. Waltrip (1526)
  4. B. Scott (1466)
  5. B. Vickers (1446)