Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport and its circuits have played a huge role in shaping the sport’s legacy. It is a sport that pushes its drivers to their limits. With 23 rounds in a race calendar, there are many iconic and challenging circuits. Each requires exception skills and precision from drivers to navigate successfully.
In this article we explore five of the toughest Formula 1 tracks in the world:
Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, Canada
Based on the Notre Dame Island in Montreal, Quebec, this 4.361km racing circuit is the home of the F1 Canadian Grand Prix. It first opened in October 1978, has 70 laps, and has a lap record of 1:13.078 as set by Bottas in 2019.
Interestingly, the man-made Notre Dame Island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River was initially create for the 1967 Expo 67 World’s Fair. Once this, and the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics were over, it was decided to make a race track out of the island’s roads. It was first named the Circuit Ile Notre-Dame, but later renamed to Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.
The circuit is a driver-favourite with lots of heavy-braking chicanes and a famous hairpin corner. The most iconic part is at the end of the lap at the ‘Wall of Champions’ after drivers like Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, and Jacques Villeneuve crashed into it during the 1999 GP.
Silverstone Circuit, UK
The Silverstone Circuit was the first Grand Prix, and it hosted the inaugural World Championship round in May 1950. The track features 52 laps with the lap record set by Lewis Hamilton of 1:27:369 in 2019.
Whilst it’s had a number of layout changes over the year, it has always maintained its reputation as one of the fastest tracks on the race calendar. Historic corners like Maggotts, Becketts, and Abbey have provided some of the biggest racing challenges for drivers, and as for its speed, Lewis Hamilton compared a flat-out lap at Silverstone to flighting a fighter jet.
Circuit de Monaco, Monaco