Turn 10, Baku City Circuit, 2016

2016 European Grand Prix track preview

2016 European Grand Prix

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Racing on a new circuit for the first time is not the plunge into the unknown it used to be. When F1 teams head to the Baku City Circuit this weekend they will have a good idea what to expect.

Turn 16 is the last braking point on the lap
Turn 16 is the last braking point on the lap
As the track is a street circuit and not being built from scratch it will have been possible for them to glean some information about the details of the circuit’s configuration. This is enhanced with the use of track surveyor’s maps to produce a model of the track which drivers can lap in the simulator.

Nor will they have to contend with a rough, well-used road surface: new asphalt has been laid especially for the race. Drivers will be particularly grateful of that as this is expected to feature some unusually high-speed section for a street circuit.

Estimates indicate they could hit 340kph (211mph) approaching turn one, which is faster than they were going as they approached the final chicane in Montreal last weekend.

F1’s most recent new arrivals on the calendar in Russia (2014) and Mexico (2015) were both characterised by very low-grip surfaces. Nonetheless Pirelli has conservatively opted against bringing the ultra-soft tyre, no doubt due in part to the high projected speeds.

The track does not use any of the same roads which were used for the 2013 and 2014 FIA GT championship rounds in Baku.

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A lap of the Baku City Circuit

Turn 15, Baku City Circuit, 2016
Turn 15: tighter than expected
On the anti-clockwise layout drivers initially negotiate a sequence of six right-angled corners. The high-speed approach to turn one should be a prime spot for overtaking.

Following a sharp right at turn seven drivers head into an extremely narrow series of corners around the oldest part of the city. The close proximity of the barriers here are likely to increase the chance of Safety Car periods during the race.

From turn 11 a series of left-handers brings the cars back onto the main promenade which returns them to the start/finish area. The initial impression from the onboard video released recently shows turns 13, 14 and 15 are very quick, however the positioning of the kerbs has made the latter corner tighter. “I think the braking into turn 15 will be quite tricky,” says Kvyat.

The cars then plunge downhill to turn 16, the final braking point on the lap before accelerating back towards the start/finish line. But this is no straightforward blast – the very quick turns 17, 18, 19 and 20 could prove spectacular.

Location of the Baku City Circuit

Baku City Circuit track map

Baku City Circuit track map
Baku City Circuit track map

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “2016 European Grand Prix track preview”

  1. Let’s hope no debris damages the castle walls.

  2. how long is the run up to turn one from the grid? I foresee Mercedes losing out badly here

    1. Ruffle 160 metres to 180 metres / 175 yards to 197 yards

  3. how did this make it to be safety-legal they only know…

  4. This is going to be a properly interesting track. With that long 1.4 mile flat-out section, there should be aplenty overtaking, and the circuit itself actually looks like a bit of a driver’s challenge.

  5. I can see that turns 15 and 16 could have been wider in order to help overtaking but they decided to cut them out. With that I only expect overtaking on the huge main straight aided by DRS. Oh god…

  6. @Kieth Collentine have you hear mention of standing wave issues with Pirelli tyres for this weekend. I read a couple of articles about it, something to do with the long straight and the deformation of the tyre, possibly causing the structure to fail, similar to what happened to Michelin in the US GP.

    Here is a clip of an example of a standing wave.

    1. @Keith Collantine

  7. That is a really long boring lap, with one tight panic section. Good thing modern F1 cars are equipped with cruise control and interactive infotainment systems to keep the drivers entertained.

  8. This track feels a little dangerous, but let’s see. I wouldn’t want to be travelling at 211mph approaching turn 3 with no run off for example.

  9. Based on the video, that looks absolutely terrible. Boring as hell. I can now understand Hamilton’s motorway comment.

  10. I’m surprised turns 8-11 managed to get through safety concerns, mega tight! Also look lots of fun.

  11. Looks like something out of Project Gotham Racing to me, fairly attractive street circuit. F1 cars under trees isn’t really the norm so I like it. No idea how it’ll race though

  12. I hoped turn 15 would be faster. Instead they’d made just another 90-deg turn out of it. Probably has to do with lack of run-off for the entry speed but still it’s not good. I hope a solution for this can be found for next year

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