As they say, never judge a book by its cover; Baku City Circuit, is the newest addition to the calendar and runs under the prestigious title of the European Grand Prix. Circuits like Brands Hatch, Jerez, Donington Park, Nurburgring and it infamous Valencia Street Circuit have all played host to the European Grand Prix and are all remembered for the historic races that have taken place over the years. After Valenica’s absence since 2012, the prestige of the European Grand Prix has been bestowed over to Azerbaijan.
It is designed by the now well-known Hermann-Tilke, but it is far from being a “Tilke-drome”.
Months earlier, the promoters and the FIA released the circuit design and to be honest, we at ES felt a little underwhelmed. It was a bunch of 90 degree corners separated by medium length straights during the first bit (T1,2,3,4,5,6,7..) and then, the circuit went into the a tighter technical section which opened up into a high speed series of corners and then onto the start finish straight which goes on for miles.
To the old school fans of Spa, Suzuka, Silverstone, us including, the circuit felt like it lacked the flow necessary to be a great track.
However, after seeing the cars and drivers in action on the track yesterday, we at ES feel like a lot of those opinions and observations have to be changed.
The circuit feels like it has a character of its own. It’s resemblance to Macau, Singapore, Monaco and even Monza, to be honest, has surprised me personally.