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F1 Tracks: Baku City Circuit - Azerbaijan Grand Prix

The Baku City Circuit isn't your usual street circuit, with the drivers powering their way round a track that takes in all the sights the capital of Azerbaijan has to offer.

Few cities can offer a race that encompasses a UNESCO world heritage sight, an anxiety-inducing narrow circuit and the longest straight on the F1 calendar, all of which help the Azerbaijan Grand Prix stand out from the crowd. 

The track is a test of nerve for the drivers, many of who have found out the hard way that one slight misjudgement can lead to disaster in Baku, while teams face a balancing act between the need for downforce through the slower sections and the requirement for speed along the many straights. 

The lack of margin for error has made for some highly-entertaining races in Azerbaijan since it first appeared on the schedule, and Baku's mix of ancient and modern buildings has provided a scenic backdrop. 

Sebastian Vettel's swipe at Lewis Hamilton in 2017 in the same race Lance Stroll secured a podium as an 18-year-old, the Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo colliding in 2018 and Verstappen's tyre failure of 2021 are just some of the memorable incidents to have taken place in F1's relatively short history of racing in Baku. 

Although the staging of the race in the oil-rich state has caused some controversy, Baku has set the standard for what a street circuit can offer, justifying its place on the calendar.

Where is Baku City Circuit?

The circuit is located in the heart of the Azerbaijani capital Baku with the start/finish straight running along the banks of the Caspian Sea. 

The route then winds up into the Old City, parts of which date back to the 12th century, which is where the track narrows to just 7.6 metres in places as the cars speed past the ancient buildings.

It then drops down back towards the harbour, where the landscape is fast-changing with new skyscrapers going up all the time.

When was Baku City Circuit first built?

Well-known track designer Hermann Tilke masterminded the layout for the Baku City Circuit in 2016 and was largely given free rein to pick and choose the streets he wanted to use. 

What the German came up with was not only a circuit that showed off the city but also the fastest street track in F1 history at the time.

Drivers average around 200km per hour, topping out at 350km on the long straight. The track has since been surpassed by Jeddah in Saudi Arabia as F1's fastest street circuit, but it remains one of the quickest tracks around.

The wide straights, where F1 cars can run three abreast, encourage overtaking, which is unusual for a street circuit, as too are the cobblestones through the Old City, which have to be covered for the race.

How long is Baku City Circuit?

At 6.003km, the Baku City Circuit is the third-longest track currently on the F1 schedule, with Spa Francorchamps (7.004km) and Jeddah Corniche Circuit (6.174km) the only venues ahead of it.

The main straight makes up over a third of that distance, measuring 2.2km, the longest straight in F1.

When did Baku City Circuit first host an F1 race?

Baku made its Formula 1 debut in 2016, staging the 23rd edition of the European Grand Prix before the name was changed to the Azerbaijan Grand Prix the following year. 

Nico Rosberg won the inaugural race in Baku, while Williams' Valtteri Bottas put the main straight to good use to set the unofficial fastest speed ever recorded by an F1 car at 378 km/h.

Who has won the most F1 races at Baku City Circuit?

Red Bull's Sergio Perez took the chequered flag at the Baku City Circuit in 2023 and in doing so, became the first driver to win multiple times at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Perez also won in 2021, the year Verstappen's tyre blew out and Hamilton misjudged the braking distance into turn one at the restart when trying to pass the Mexican.

Had Hamilton not made that error on the restart following Verstappen's retirement, he may have been the first multiple-race winner having stood atop the podium in 2017. 

Rosberg, Bottas, Verstappen and Ricciardo are the other drivers to have won in Baku, with the latter duo and Perez helping establish Red Bull as the most successful constructor in race history with four wins.

What is the F1 lap record at Baku City Circuit?

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc is the proud owner of the race lap record in Azerbaijan having blitzed the track in a time of 1:43.009 in 2019.

The fastest lap the Baku City Circuit has ever seen was also recorded that same year with Bottas posting a time of 1:40.495 in qualifying for the race.

Does Baku City Circuit host any other events?

Motorsport hasn't taken off in Azerbaijan yet, with the average crowds for the grand prix amongst the lowest on the current schedule. 

As a result, few other classes of motorsport have raced around the Baku City Circuit with F2 and GP2 Series the only others to have tried the layout. 

What is the weather like at Baku City Circuit?

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has either been held in April or June since being added to the F1 calendar and so far, there has yet to be a wet race around the streets of Baku.

That's hardly surprising given Azerbaijan is an extremely dry country with a maximum of three rainy days per month in April and one in June.

Temperatures tend to be on the cooler side in April, when the average temperature is 16C.

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