8 October 2014
F1: Ecclestone unveils Azerbaijan track layout
Bernie Ecclestone has taken time out of his journey to the inaugural Russian Grand Prix to unveil plans for the circuit that will host Azerbaijan's first F1 race in 2016.
The layout of F1's latest calendar addition has been revealed at a special media event in Baku, as Bernie Ecclestone completes another step towards realising an Azerbaijan Grand Prix in 2016.
The F1 CEO joined Azerbaijan's minister of youth and sport, Azad Rahimov, to unveil the Hermann Tilke-designed Baku European Grand Prix street circuit.
“Azerbaijan is the latest addition to the Formula One calendar and I am pleased to see they have designed an innovative new street circuit that will definitely help to create a world class event when we race there in 2016,” Ecclestone commented.
While Baku has staged GT races over the past couple of years, the arrival of F1 has prompted the street circuit to re-imagined, with regular F1 penman Tilke charged with creating a suitable layout.
“This is a very exciting milestone for everybody involved in the Baku European Grand Prix and I would like to thank Mr Ecclestone for taking the time out of his very busy schedule to come and help us unveil the newest F1 circuit to join the world's most exciting sport,” Rahimov said.
“We have been working very closely on the circuit layout with Hermann Tilke and his team since early 2013. Our brief to Tilke Engineering was simple – create a circuit that is unique, one that will help the grand prix in Baku quickly establish itself as one of the most exciting, thrilling venues on the F1 calendar, and one that the fans and teams alike are excited about.
“Most importantly, we wanted a track that would showcase the best of Baku, our capital city, and I am delighted that the circuit the F1 teams will race on in 2016 has achieved exactly that aim.
“Now the next phase of hard work begins and we are all excited about seeing the circuit evolve over the coming months. We know there will be challenges, but with the support of Mr Ecclestone, Tilke Engineering and everyone involved in helping to create F1's newest grand prix, we know we will deliver a spectacular event in 2016 that will add to Azerbaijan's well-earned reputation as a modern European country that is the perfect venue for the planet's highest profile sports and entertainment events.”
For Tilke, whose recent projects have involved the purpose-built circuits in Bahrain and China and semi-street circuits such as the ill-fated Korean GP venue at Mokpo in Korea, shaping the Baku layout was of great interest.
“I am absolutely thrilled about the Baku European Grand Prix project and delighted we can now unveil the track design,” he claimed, “We have created a challenging street circuit, in terms of engineering and design, and one that thrives on Baku's very attractive urban atmosphere and its great combination of history and 21st century style. The historic city centre, the beautiful seaside promenade and the impressive government house all combine to provide the perfect backdrop for a spectacular new track.
“Obviously street circuits present a number of challenges, in terms of circuit design, but we have been able to incorporate some unique features that will provide the teams and fans with fascinating racing. For example, there will be an extremely narrow uphill section at the old town wall that will reward pinpoint accuracy and courage, and we have an acceleration section of almost 2.2kms along the promenade which will see the cars running flat out at very high top speeds – something that will create an incredible spectacle for the race fans on track and the viewers at home.”
Neighbour Russia makes its F1 world championship debut this weekend, as the action resumes in Sochi, at a circuit created from the roads of the 2014 Winter Olympic park.
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