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Korean Grand Prix: Six of the Best: Short-lived Grand Prix circuits

Despite a long heritage of multiple class motorsport harking back to the twenties, as well as a non-championship Formula One Mercedes exhibition race in 1954, AVUS was still a surprising choice to host the German Grand Prix in 1959. Due to concerns over tyre wear, the race was uniquely scheduled as two 30-lap heats, with the winner to be decided based on the aggregate of the two parts.

The event was somewhat overshadowed by the death of Grand Prix front-runner Jean Behra in a support race on the Saturday, starkly illustrating the dangers of the circuit. The race itself was a Ferrari procession, with the scarlet Maranello cars of Tony Brooks, Dan Gurney and Phil Hill respectively taking the three podium positions in both races – Brooks taking the chequered flag at a then-record average speed of 143.3 m/ph. AVUS' abiding image though remains Hans Hermann's miraculous escape from his barrel-rolling BRM, incredibly captured on photo and film.

Formula One was destined not to return to Berlin, with the 1961 ban on banking and evolving attitudes to safety and high-speed straight-line racing putting paid to AVUS as a Grand Prix destination.

Fair Park, Dallas, Dallas Grand Prix, 1984:

The search for a home for Formula One in the United States took in many street circuits through the 1980s and 1990s, encompassing Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Phoenix and, most ingloriously, Dallas, in 1984.

The layout of the temporary circuit in downtown Dallas' Fair Park was itself well-received, despite its tight and twisty nature, but the issues for which the Dallas Grand Prix are remembered were more deep-rooted.

A lack of run-off areas were and remain commonplace at street circuits, and the 100-degree plus heat was an occupational hazard of scheduling a mid-summer race in Texas. The track surface however was a unique variable; a bubbling volcanic potion of metamorphic tarmac that flared and fractured throughout the weekend - much to the detriment of the low-ride height Formula One cars expected to traverse 67 laps on raceday.

With rumours of cancellation abounding throughout the weekend, and a drivers boycott proposed on Sunday morning, the entire weekend operated under a cloud – a mood heightened by Martin Brundle's leg-breaking accident during Friday practice.

Waved off by Larry Hagman and under the watchful eye of former President Jimmy Carter, when it eventually started the race itself was an attritional farce, with the unpredictable surface and abrasive conditions accounting for 18 of the 25-strong starting field.

Keke Rosberg won for Williams-Honda, attributing his success to a specially water-cooled helmet, allowing him to literally keep a cool head while those around were losing theirs - famously including pole-sitter Nigel Mansell, who unnecessarily tried to push his Lotus home after a late breakdown, ultimately collapsing onto the track with exhaustion and dehydration.

Citing the oppressive heat and borderline comic conditions, Formula One beat a hasty retreat from Texas after only one outing, replacing the Dallas Grand Prix with the infinitely more popular Australian race in Adelaide from 1985.


Will Saunders
@formulawill




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superdowg316

October 02, 2013 9:56 AM

*cough* post-2002 Hockenheim *cough* Before I get comments that "Old Hockenheim was boring, too long and blah", let me explain. The whole reason it was shortened was to keep the track on the calender. Because they were removing trees to make the new circuit, they tore the old one up and planted the trees there. And there's an Irony to this... What's that irony you ask? Well, because they were making a new track AND tearing down the old one, along with pulling and planting trees, Hockenheimring nearly went bankrupt. As a result, they now have to alternate with the Nurburgring. Demolishing a classic track for a Tilkedrome that's only used once every two years? What a failure...

formulawill

October 02, 2013 12:34 PM

superdawg - i thought about the new hockenheim, as well as new kyalami and new beunos aires, but think on reflection the topic of desecration/'reimagining' of old classic tracks deserves a separate article. there's a case to suggest that interlagos is the only true re-versioning that managed to retain some of the original circuit's grandeur. a1 ring, nurburgring, fuji would also all be up for critique. any others?



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