The tracks we’d like to see in F1 this year
- F1 season set to resume again this weekend at Spa
- Several calendar slots remain in doubt later this season
- Motoristo picks several venues we’d like to see back on the calendar
The 2021 Formula One season is in full flow, and resumes this weekend at the majestic Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium this weekend.
The annual visit to Belgium has never been in doubt despite the continuing complications of the COVID-19 pandemic, but further events down the line have either been cancelled or are in serious doubt due to travel restrictions.
At present there are two TBA gaps on the calendar, and concerns about other venues. F1 may therefore need to call on several venues to complete its planned 23 race calendar for the year, so here’s some venues we’re hoping they may consider.
Mugello – Italy
Let’s start with a recent venue, used last year for the Tuscan Grand Prix; Mugello. This Italian circuit is much more renowned as a motorcycling venue, it’s been a MotoGP staple for years, but last year’s maiden F1 Grand Prix was properly dramatic, with collisions aplenty including a dramatic start line pile-up. But it also proved a great venue for racing, with drivers able to pull off numerous overtaking moves, especially into the first corner. The old school layout and feel were both well received, and there would be few complaints if it were to be brought back.
Magny Cours – France
This writer has some serious 1990s F1 bias, so please excuse me for including a venue that very few people have really missed. Magny Cours disappeared from the F1 calendar way back in 2007, but was something of a modern classic, featuring a real mix of high speed, tight hairpins and quick chicanes. The revised layout would work well for modern F1 cars, and the long straight after the first couple of quick corners would be perfect for a bit of slipstreaming. It wasn’t immune to changeable weather either, and produced a classic Grand Prix in 1999, won by Jordan’s Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Not everyone’s first choice, but we’d love to see this circuit back in place of the rather bland current venue for the French Grand Prix!
Adelaide – Australia
I have no complaints over the current venue for the Australian Grand Prix, for me Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit is the only venue that should ever be considered for the opening round of the year. But the first place to hold an F1 World Championship race down under was the streets of Adelaide. The circuit held the concluding round of the championship 11 times, and there was always drama. Whether it was Nigel Mansell’s tyre blowout in 1986 when on course to win the championship, or the hugely controversial Michael Schumacher-Damon Hill collision that decided the 1994 title, Adelaide always seemed to produce the goods. It had a party atmosphere matched by few others, and remains much missed, despite last holding the Grand Prix in 1995. Given Australia’s current restrictions have led to the cancellation of the Melbourne event, there’s no chance of Adelaide being included, but we can dream, right?
Hockenheim – Germany
Yes, we know F1 raced here until only recently, but the Hockenheim we want back is the old school blast into the forest and back that was sadly lost at the end of 2001. Very few F1 circuits with the exception of Monza are a showcase of out and out speed, and Hockenheim was just that. Essentially four long straights punctuated by chicanes and a stadium section, the most powerful cars were the ones that shone here, provided they didn’t blow up! Yes, the racing wasn’t really that great, yes it was pretty dangerous with trees just behind the barriers, and yes, the fans didn’t see much of the cars. But the chance to see F1 cars at full speed around here again would be incredible. Just a shame that the old track was dug up when they rebuilt it!
Estoril – Portugal
The Portuguese Grand Prix made a welcome return last year, as F1 raced at the modern Algarve circuit for the first time. The undulating circuit was, unsurprisingly, well received, and was included in this year’s calendar again. But the long-time host of the Grand Prix was Estoril, and had its moments too, including deciding the closest championship of all time in 1984, as Niki Lauda defeated Alain Prost by just half a point. The next year, Ayrton Senna claimed his first ever F1 win in treacherous wet conditions, and the venue became a key fixture thereafter. But the 1996 race proved to be its last F1 contest due to incomplete safety revisions. It has in recent years been modified slightly with a tighter first corner, but this author would love to see it have another crack at F1.
Donington Park – United Kingdom
OK, so I have always had a soft spot for Donington, in fact I spend pretty much every day there, so forgive my bias! But who wouldn’t want to see another F1 race at this classic circuit, especially after the epic contest it produced in its only Formula One event in 1993?! It’s one of the smartest circuits in the country, well located with an international airport nearby, and much loved by teams and drivers. Please?!
Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.