A Brief History of Street Tracks in F1
Before purpose-built circuits, the pioneers of motor sport raced on city streets and closed public roads. In 1950, the first year of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the streets around Monte Carlo roared to the sound of grand prix cars. Seventy years later, the tradition continues as a new location will welcome the world’s fastest cars and drivers. This spring, Vietnam’s cultural capital Hanoi will join an illustrious list of cities to host a Formula 1 street race as the Formula 1 VinFast Vietnam Grand Prix gets underway on 3rd – 5th April, 2020.
Fans have always loved street races because of the unique access they get to the cars and drivers. No other type of circuit on the Formula 1 calendar gets you so close to the action.
Monaco-aside, racing within the confines of a city started to become popular in the 1970s. The parkland on a hill overlooking the beautiful Spanish harbour of Barcelona first hosted the Spanish Grand Prix in 1969. The super-quick circuit navigated Montjuich Park’s long sweeping roads and tight turns around the houses. Its suitability for a grand prix ceased after tragedy struck in 1975, so the following year F1 headed west to seek out alternative venues.
The Californian coastal city of Long Beach became a part of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship for eight seasons as the American racing scene fell in love with F1 on its city’s streets. Subsequent tracks in Las Vegas, Dallas and Detroit were huge successes that spawned similar events in Adelaide and latterly in Melbourne, Australia.
After a period where new grand prix circuits were built from the ground-up, one city decided to buck the trend. It also ambitiously hosted the first-ever Formula 1 night race. Since 2008, Singapore has been one of the highlights of the calendar as the Marina Bay Circuit has proven popular with fans and drivers alike. The flat-out straights, technical corners and searing heat have made the Singapore Grand Prix one of the ultimate tests for a grand prix driver, while the dazzling floodlights create an impressive spectacle.
Away from south east Asia, new street races have appeared in recent years in Valencia, Spain and the Azerbaijani capital, Baku. The latter has produced some of the most dramatic moments in recent Formula 1 history.
In 2020, a new venue will be added to the calendar when Hanoi will host the Formula 1 VinFast Vietnam Grand Prix on 3rd – 5th April. To be one of the many fans who will experience first-hand the thrilling speed of a Formula 1 car on a city’s streets then buy your tickets now at www.f1vietnamgp.com. You won’t get any closer to the action.