Hermann Tilke on Baku City

Hermann_Tilke-H-cc-Thilo Vogel


The F1 circuit architect (above) has been responsible for designing the majority of Formula 1’s ‘new’ circuits, including the likes of the Yas Marina Circuit (Abu Dhabi), Marina Bay Street Circuit (Singapore), Bahrain International Circuit and Circuit of The Americas (Austin).

Most recently, he’s tackled downtown Baku circuit (Azerbaijan) as the city prepares for racing this summer.

What was your first thought when you heard of the opportunity to build a street circuit in Baku? I had no idea about the city. After my first visit to Baku I was left with just one thought: Amazing! From the very first moment, I was really proud to be a part of the project and the team here. Baku will be the world’s fastest city circuit and the track loop around the city’s historical centre will create a unique and remarkable atmosphere for fans watching in the grandstands and at home. The City Circuit of Baku is located in a vibrant city. The streets are really narrow and this is exactly what makes it so appealing.

What was the most challenging part of the construction process? Coming up with an idea for the routing of a city track suitable for F1. City circuits are always challenging to build because the team has to construct the racetrack within the city. Various problems arise when designing a circuit in the city.

What is the average lap time expected to be? We calculated a lap time of 101 seconds, but that depends on the individual set-up of the racing cars and on the developments of this year’s new cars. The brake point in front of Turn 8 is V max= 204km/h. Between T8 and T9 we expect a V min of 86 km/h. The layout of the track is designed to show off the beauty of the historic and modern views and sights of Baku.

You can also race the virtual circuit.


Sochi – well, here we are then…

Never thought it would go ahead until, that is, I saw the first images of the circuit set-up. And now, here we are in October and post Ukraine it’s almost upon us and appears to be going ahead as planned (10-12th) minus controversy. Well, troubles elsewhere are keeping the press busy.

The Sochi Autodrom – in Krasnodar Krai, Russia and another circuit designed by Formula One architect, Hermann Tilke – features 18 corners across 5.8 kilometres and will host round 16 of the 2014 World Championship. It’s an interesting layout with a good mix of high speed corners and technical sections.

Sebastian Vettel was the first F1 driver to lap the circuit and you can see an onboard video of his lap here.

Pointless me posting images when you can see them all here.

FIA approves Korean GP circuit

The saga continues…

For the third day running, yet more images of the Korea International Circuit. This time, it’s a lot of very worried looking officials walking down the tarmac rather sheepishly, and shaking hands. The body language speaks volumes:

FIA Formula One Race Director and Safety Delegate Charlie Whiting has carried out a site inspection and approved all the facilities.  Not surprisingly, the green light was welcomed by promoter, the Korea Auto Valley Operation (KAVO).

Said KAVO and Korea Automobile Racing Association (KARA) Chairman, and FIA Formula One Commission member, Yung Cho Chung, who hosted Whiting for the inspection of the 5.615km track and infrastructure facilities:

“We are delighted that all works are now finished to the complete satisfaction of the FIA, and we join the whole of Korea in welcoming the Formula 1 fraternity to the Korea International Circuit for the first time.”

The event has the full backing of South Korea’s Central Government, as well as the Government of South Jeolla Province, where the circuit is located, and its Governor Park Jun-yeong.

The Korea International Circuit is designed as a dual structure: the 5.615km Formula 1 track, which will include elements of a street circuit and has a 1.2km straight, and a shorter, permanent circuit of 3.045km.

The track was designed by Hermann Tilke, and incorporates local elements such as the roof of the main grandstand which resembles the eaves of traditional Korean ‘hanok’ houses. A total of 130,000 spectators will be accommodated at the circuit, with 16,000 seats in the main grandstand.

Overtaking in Formula One (Part 2)

I see that Formula One’s governing body – the FIA – was discussing the much debated subject of overtaking on Wednesday.

Among those present were circuit designers Hermann Tilke and Clive Bowen. Bearing in mind what I said on Tuesday, I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting!

Ditch Hermann and save F1

The deliciously witty crew at grandprixdiary.com have, as usual, put their fingers right on it. The latest generation of F1 venue may be OK for supermodels and sundry celebs, but Hermann Tilke‘s circuit design has killed racing.

And why does this guy get all the business anyway?

The list of contracts he’s won is impressive but it begs the question whether it is good for the sport for one architect to maintain such a grip on circuit design.

Bring back the old style of circuit, we say. You don’t need all this plastic frippery when all that’s required for proper F1 racing is a nice bit of tarmac, handy thermos and, in the words of Clive Bowen – Founding Director of Apex Circuit Design – a track that builds in confidence and grip for drivers just where they need it the most to make a pass.

In response to F1 writer Joe Saward’s analysis of the subject, Bowen suggests how we can get around the problem.

His three ways make a great deal of sense.

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