And The Lights Go Out : Formula One’s Romance With Cities (Part 2)

Racing off from part one of our Formula One cities series, here are next batch of hosts for this year’s F1 Season.


07: Canadian Grand Prix

Circuit : Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Schedule : June 05 – 07, 2015

Montreal, Quebec

The Canadian Grand Prix (also known in French as the Grand Prix du Canada) started in 1961. It became part of the Formula One World Championship in 1967. The 2015 races will be held in the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec.

The Canadian Grand Prix was initially staged on two venues. It alternated between Mosport Park in Ontario and Mont-Tremblant in Quebec. By 1970s however, Mont-Tremblant was deemed unsafe and dangerous and the races were permanently moved to Mosport Park.

In 1977, the Canadians decided to build a new race track. The venue they picked was the Île Notre-Dame, a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River in Montreal. They tranformed the island by building connecting roads and a circuit. Originally named as the Île Notre-Dame Circuit, it was finished in 1978 and has been the Canadian Grand Prix’s venue for decades. In 1982, the circuit was renamed in honour of the famous Canadian F1 driver Gilles Villeneuve, father of the racer Jacques Villeneuve.

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec

Canadians are avid fans and supporters of the F1 races. The city of Montreal grinds to a halt during the races.

In 2005, the Canadian Grand Prix became the most watched Formula One Grand Prix in the world. The old and modern charm of Montreal makes it one of the best destinations for the Grand Prix.


08: Austrian Grand Prix

Circuit : Red Bull Ring
Schedule : June 19 – 21, 2015


The story of the Austrian Grand Prix (German: Großer Preis von Österreich) just like an F1 circuit with many twists and turns is perhaps one of the most colourful in F1’s history. It began in the 1950s with a local group of motor racing aficionados. The first track built was an L-shaped circuit located in the town of Zeltweg which initially held Formula Two Championships. The organisers, however were aspiring for more and they were able to host the Formula One championships in 1970. The Austrian Grand Prix F1 races were held in 1970-1987, 1997-2003 and 2014 to present.

A permanent race track called the Österreichring (translated as “Austrian circuit”) was built in 1969 and used for the F1 races in 1970. After numerous accidents, disputes with the locals over car parking and the general feeling that the circuit is hazardous, the Austrian Grand Prix at the Österreichring was finally pulled from the F1 calendar in 1987. The Austrian telecoms company A1 funded the redevelopment of the circuit designed by Hermann Tilke. The redesigned circuit was renamed the A1-Ring and it brought back the Formula One racing in Austria in 1997. It continued to host the Grand Prix’s for the next six years before being dropped again after 2002.

Over the succeeding years, the circuit was purchased and rebuilt by Red Bull. In July 2013, after a ten-year hiatus, an agreement was made to revive the Austrian Grand Prix. The races are held on the now renamed Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Styria, Austria.

Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Styria, Austria
Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Styria, Austria

The fresh air, alpine scenery, wide open spaces, craggy mountains, rolling hills and small town setting of Spielberg makes the Red Bull Ring one of the most scenic F1 circuits. The natural backdrop of the region provides a breath-taking view for the fans and spectators. The region itself which is about a two-hour drive from Vienna is a haven for sports and outdoor-loving people.

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09: British Grand Prix

Circuit : Silverstone Circuit
Schedule : July 03 – 05, 2015


The British Grand Prix is one of the oldest continuous Formula One World Championship. In 1950, the Formula One Championship was introduced and the 1950 British Grand Prix held the first ever race. The 2015 season will be staged in the Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, England.

England and the Formula One racing has ties that run deep; Silverstone is the oldest race on the F1 calendar, England is home – in fully or partly – to eight F1 teams (McLaren, Williams, Red Bull, Lotus, Force India, Mercedes, Caterham and Marussia), F1’s commercial management is based in London. In addition to that, 11 Britons have won the British Grand Prix – Stirling Moss, Peter Collins, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, John Watson, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Johnny Herbert, David Coulthard and Lewis Hamilton.

Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, England
Silverstone Circuit in Northamptonshire, England

The Silverstone Circuit is formerly a World War II aerodrome. It is one of the most formidable circuit in F1 requiring bravery and finesse. The circuit has been greatly upgraded and improved since it was first used. With its rich history and unique blend of cities and countryside, the British Grand Prix is truly unique.


10: German Grand Prix

Circuit : To be announced
Schedule : To be announced

The German Grand Prix (Großer Preis von Deutschland) started in 1926 and in 1951, it became part of the Formula One World Championship. Germany is home to three F1 circuits hosting the Grands Prix; the Nürburgring in Rhineland-Palatinate, Hockenheimring in Baden-Württemberg, and AVUS (Automobil Verkehrs und Übungs-Straße (Automobile Traffic and Practice Road)) near Berlin.


In 2006, an agreement was reached that the German Grand Prix would be held alternately between Nürburgring and Hockenheimring; Hockenheimring hosting the race in the even year and Nürburgring in the odd years. However, for the 2015 season, no official venue is specified yet. According to BBC, Germany could not keep up with the ever-increasing financial deals imposed by the F1 management. It is still unsure whether the German Grand Prix will be put up on the calendar. Many feel that the F1 management is giving too much priority on profit and commerce rather than the good of the sport.

Michael Schumacher, centre, celebrates his win at the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Germany, in Hockenheim, Germany, 2006.
Michael Schumacher, centre, celebrates his win at the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Germany, in Hockenheim, Germany, 2006.

Financial problems aside, it is undeniable that the German Grand Prix is one of the most awaited in events in the F1 calendar. The Nürburgring and Hockenheimring are also demanding circuits that have witnessed great records and feats in the F1 history.


11: Hungarian Grand Prix

Circuit : Hungaroring
Schedule : July 24 – 26, 2015

Budapest, Hungary

The Hungarian Grand Prix was first held in 1936 in Budapest but World War 2 and the Iron Curtain ended the races for the next 50 years. In 1986, after much negotiations, the Hungarian Grand Prix was included in the Formula One races making it the first race to take place behind the Iron Curtain. The national sporting authority of Hungary was determined to put Hungary back on track of global motorsport and it has been a mainstay in the F1 calendar ever since.

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Initially, a street race through Budapest was suggested similar to Monaco’s but the authorities decided to build a brand new circuit to accommodate the races. The result is the Hungaroring, a motor-racing circuit located in Mogyoród 19 km outside the capital city of Budapest. Built only in 8 months, one of the shortest construction time for a Formula One circuit, the circuit is characterised by its tight, twisty and bumpy nature. Overtaking is difficult making it a scene of some of the most memorable races. The Hungaroring is located in a valley which provide spectators with good vantage points.

The Hungarian Grand Prix is loved by fans all over Central Europe and an estimated 200,000 spectators show up for a race.


12: Belgian Grand Prix

Circuit : Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Schedule : August 21 – 23, 2015

The Belgian Grand Prix goes back to 1925 when it first held its national race in the Spa region’s race track.


The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is among the most challenging and historic F1 tracks. Despite its name, the circuit is not located in Spa but lies in the locale of Francorchamps within the municipality of Stavelot. The Spa is a circuit of extremes. At almost 7 km, it remains the longest circuit on the F1 calendar; with long straights, perilous fast corners, and dynamic elevation changes set against a backdrop of the picturesque Ardennes countryside. The weather at Spa is also famous for its unpredictability. It can be raining on one part of circuit and dry on another.

The Spa is also notorious for its fatal accidents particularly at the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix where two drivers lost their lives. Such is the challenge of the Spa that only a few great drivers conquered it.

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

The Spa, aside from being home to the F1 circuit, is known throughout the world for its water. The natural springs of the Ardennes have been used since the Roman times and people still flock there today for hydrotherapy. Aside from the races, the historic cities of Brussels and Liege are worth visiting when attending the Belgian Grand Prix.


13: Italian Grand Prix

Circuit : Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Schedule : September 04 – 06, 2015

The Italian Grand Prix (Gran Premio d’Italia) is one of the longest running Formula One race. The motor racing began in 1921 and it became part of the Formula One World Championships in 1950.


The venue for this year’s races is the Autodromo Nazionale Monza located near the city Monza, north of Milan, Italy. The circuit was constructed in 1922 and completed in under six months. It is characterised by its long straights and sweeping curves. If Italy is shaped like a boot, Monza is shaped like a shoe. During its long history, the Monza has witnessed a lot of historic moments, famous victories and fatal accidents. For many fans, the Monza embodies the spirit of the Formula One racing.

Autodromo Nazionale Monza located near the city Monza, north of Milan, Italy
Autodromo Nazionale Monza located near the city Monza, north of Milan, Italy

The Italians call Monza ‘La Pista Magica’ or the magic track, and with their consistent record in the Formula One races it is a truly fitting description.

Head off to part 3 here.

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