Tilke: The trend is towards city tracks and this is good

Formula 1’s track designer of choice Hermann Tilke believes that the sport at the highest level needs more city street circuits in the style of Monaco, Baku and Singapore which each bring a unique atmosphere to the calendar, but he also acknowledges the role of permanent racing venues.

Speaking at the FIA Sport Conference in the Philippines, Tilke stated, “The trend is going to the city tracks and this is really good for professional sport. The idea behind it is that it is really very unique, and every city is unique. If you go in the centre of a city then you cannot compare with others.”

“We have real street races, we have three in the calendar at the moment – Monaco, Singapore and Baku – and all these three are so different and so unique. This makes it really very interesting and for the high professional series like F1, it is the right way.”

“This means amateur drivers, it means a driver who is 60 years old and wishes to drive some kind of racing car or high-performance car. All these people have to be safe [on permanent tracks], it is not only F1. But as you see in Baku – that is a track built only for professional drivers.”

“You could never have old drivers or young drivers on this track, and that makes a difference. The investor of a [permanent] track wants to use a track for everybody – not only F1.”

A permanent race track facility takes massive investment not only for the venue itself but also infrastructure surrounding the area and can take up to three years to construct in an ideal world, while a street circuit can be mounted at a fraction of the fee.

However, Formula 1 is keen to spread wings into Asia with a race in Vietnam already on the cards, while New York is always going to be a street race if it ever happens. Even Berlin is on the radar!

Over the years Tilke has designed many new circuits around the globe, including:

  • 1995: Austria A1 Ring
  • 1999: Malaysia Sepang International Circuit
  • 2004: Bahrain Bahrain International Circuit
  • 2004: China Shanghai International Circuit
  • 2005: Turkey Istanbul Park
  • 2008: Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit
  • 2008: Spain Valencia Street Circuit
  • 2009: United Arab Emirates Yas Marina Circuit
  • 2009: Spain Ciudad del Motor de Aragón
  • 2010: South Korea Korea International Circuit
  • 2010: Russia Moscow Raceway
  • 2011: India Buddh International Circuit
  • 2012: United States Circuit of the Americas
  • 2014: Russia Sochi Autodrom
  • 2014: Thailand Chang International Circuit
  • 2016: Azerbaijan Baku City Circuit
  • 2017: Kuwait Motor Town

Big Question: Does Formula 1 need more city tracks?