“Street” and super quick: Baku is a set-up puzzle

Baku is the “youngest” circuit on the calendar and, at 6.003 kilometres, the second longest after Spa.

It is undoubtedly one of the most unusual tracks on the Formula 1 calendar. It’s a street circuit, running through the centre of Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, but nevertheless it boasts a straight of 2.1 kilometres, which is over a third of the total distance and is tackled flat out.

Last year, the highest recorded speed was in excess of 378 km/h. This year, it is unlikely the F1 cars will hit those sort of numbers because of their increased downforce and wider wheels. However, finding the right set-up for Baku tomorrow will still be a difficult task for drivers and engineers, because when deciding on the optimal level of aerodynamic downforce, one has to weigh up the demands of the slowest section, with the need for speed down the straights.

This type of circuit also requires excellent traction in the twistier corner and it is also tough when it comes to energy recovery.

The forecast is for sunny weather, but cooler than the heatwave conditions affecting parts of Europe at the moment. Pirelli is bringing its Medium, Soft and Supersoft compounds, as degradation here is higher than in Monaco and Montreal.

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