With Formula One set for potential further disruption to this season following the postponement of Australia and China, we take a look at which old racetracks deserve to make a F1 comeback.
Bahrain will consequently open the season on weekend of 26-28 March before F1 head back to Imola just months after it returned following a 15 season absence,
Now, here are five former circuits which deserve a F1 comeback on the season calendar.
Number 5 – Jerez
Jerez, need I say more? I love this track and it’s history.
It has everything – it is fast but technical sector one gaining further speed in sector two and finally a near flat out sector three punishing tyres before slowing for the final hairpin at turn 16.
F1 hasn’t raced here since the championship finale of 1997 where we had 3 drivers set the exact same pole time – including the two title contenders in Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher, and of course Villeneuve’s move on Schumacher who forced a collision that cost him the title.
However the last time we saw F1 at the track was just six years ago for winter testing, with the biggest memory being Lewis Hamilton’s brake failure in 2014 into Turn One.
My biggest on track memory which stuck with me since watching footage, featured Martin Donnelly being ejected from his car during Friday Practice for 1990 Spanish Grand Prix.
Seeing him lay still on track still strapped to what was left of his seat was jaw dropping, whilst his ankle twisted was a scarce reminder of how dangerous a sport F1 still is.
However the track itself is just brilliant if you watch Ayrton Senna qualifying footage you see just how quick the care 30 years ago could go round and makes me think todays cars would be much faster and more dramatic too.
In saying all these good things it is narrow and I could see passing being difficult but like Monaco it is for me a classic track that deserves to be back.
Number 4 – Magny-Cours
Now before I get into this track in particular, I urge F1 please for the love of God get rid of Paul Ricard because it’s so dismal.
Now with that, Magny-Cours is a track im sure we all want back after last featuring on the calendar for 13 years now after it was last seen in 2008.
The sweeping fast turn one onto the back straight into the hairpin sounds very much like Jerez, whilst there are iconic moves made on this track, such as Coulthard and Schumacher battling it out into the hairpin with the Scotsman letting the German know his frustration.
The chicane at the very end of the lap being a final challenge before finishing a lap is something that is pretty unusual with the only one coming to mind being at Spa with the bus stop.
The track itself I think is a fantastic challenge for car and driver pushing the limits of aero and mind, with fast flowing bends ready to punish the slightest weakness of any car.
To have Paul Ricard in its place, a historic track in itself is rather the opposite with near to no over takes in recent times and hard to watch run off area paint is painful.
Number 3 – Sepang (Malaysia)
Whilst this track is so old compared to the others we’ve just seen, Sepang International Circuit is a fantastic track with the threat of wet races.
It also saw one of the rarest things you’ll have ever witness in F1 – half points being awarded as happened after the 2009 race was red flagged due to torrential conditions as darkness descended on Sepang.
That race however produced one of F1’s iconic comedy moments of Kimi Raikkonen helping himself to ice cream during the stoppage, whilst others compared notes before the checkered flag was waved to signal the conclusion of that race.
Sepang also played host to various memorable moments like Red Bull’s infamous “Multi 21” scandal in 2013 and Hamilton’s title destroying power unit failure in 2016, although nothing will top Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso’s duel for the win in a rain-soaked 2012 race.
The track itself is a great mixture two big straights to start and end the lap a down hill turn 2 and 3, and the double apex turn 7 and 8 where Petrov learned to fly in his Lotus.
Whilst this track was lost through contract issues, it certainly never failed to entertain us regardless of weather impact or team problems and F1 should return to Sepang even as an one-off.
Number 2 – Fuji
Now this one shouldn’t need a introduction because Fuji Speedway has constantly entertained us since making it F1’s debut in 1976.
Weather though has often played a huge part in past F1 visits yet the track has always been a challenge for drivers.
F1’s trip in 2007 in particular was a thriller with torrential rain impacting the entire weekend with the Safety Car running for several laps during the race, as various battles raged throughout with drivers making passes then sliding off repeatedly.
The track itself is in two halves really, the quick straight into turn 1 hairpin and sweeping turns three, four and five and into a very technical sector two and three.
If it was a choice between Fuji or Suzuka for the Japanese GP, I would have both in a perfect world which I suppose is a benefit of the crazy times that we live in now that makes that possible.
Number 1 – Istanbul
Need I say more, no really do I really have to?
After its fantastic return as one of the many Super sub tracks last year, we should really consider Turkey full time.
Although track surface and weather played its part across the entire weekend last season, the track itself is an extremely fun track to watch.
One of the biggest disappointments though was that we never really got to see what a modern day f1 car could do at maximum speed around the ultra-fast Turn Eight due to slippery conditions and wet track impacting ability to take the corner flat out.
Now modern F1 fans are sadly subject to lacklustre circuits which rarely features overtaking but secure their spots on the calendar through a combination of money and location instead of for having exciting racing circuits.
With so many classic tracks being available, yes contracts and money is a difficult thing to overcome however not impossible, because I would rather pay more for a ticket if it meant I saw a fantastic race at a memorable track as dare I say these “modern” tracks” won’t be remember like these will and are.