The 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is set to take place on Monday, November 27th at noon at the Yas Marina track on Yas Island. Although Max Verstappen has beaten his record and already won the season, there’s no doubt the race will still be surrounded by excitement as fans flock to find out where other drivers will place on the leaderboards.
Everyone has been keeping an eye on the drivers this year but what do you know about the tracks themselves? This article discusses the 2023 F1 tracks, from the oldest which was opened in 1922 to the one that hosted its first-ever race this month.
Oldest Grand Prix Tracks
The oldest track in this year’s F1 season is the Monza track in Italy, where the 14th race was held. Known for a lack of run-off areas and curves taken at high speeds, the track has been the site of many fatal accidents, and 19 drivers have died as a result of crashes at the site.
The 7.004km Circuit de Spa-Francochanmps in Belgium also opened in 1922 but was first used for Grand Prix racing in 1925, making it the second oldest track on this year’s F1 calendar. It’s the longest track in the championship but is also plagued by terrible weather and this Grand Prix often takes place in the rain. Sadly, Dilano van’t Hoff, a Dutch racing driver and 2024 Spanish F4 champion died on the track this year on the 1st of July, just 29 days before the Grand Prix took place.
After Spa, the Circuit De Monaco, which is laid out along the streets of Monte Carlo is the second oldest in the race calendar. First used in 1929, it’s a uniquely challenging track that meanders through narrow streets and junctions and as a result, it’s possibly the most anticipated race of the season every year.
Verstappen took pole position at this year’s race despite a wet and tricky track, however, Lewis Hamilton still holds the record for the fastest Grand Prix lap at 1:12:909, which he set in 2021. This is followed by Michael Schumacher who completed a lap in 1:14:439 and Rubens Barrichello who clocked at a time of 1:18023.
Yas Marina Track
Crowds will flock to the Yas Marina Grand Prix Circuit in Abu Dhabi later this month to watch the final race of the season. The track itself has a relatively short but eventful history; it was officially opened in 2009 and quickly gained a reputation for being a glamorous and cutting-edge venue. The circuit was designed by the renowned circuit architect Hermann Tilke and features a unique layout that passes through the glamorous Yas Viceroy Hotel and alongside the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf. The track is 5.554km, and it’s one of the longest on the F1 calendar, offering a mix of high-speed straights and challenging corners, making it a favourite among drivers and fans alike.
The decision to host a Formula 1 race in Abu Dhabi was a strategic move by the government to promote tourism, showcase the city’s modernity, and establish the United Arab Emirates as a global destination for motorsport. The first Formula 1 Grand Prix held at Yas Marina in November 2009 was historic, as it marked the debut of the sport in the Middle East.
One of the circuit’s distinctive features is the Yas Viceroy Hotel, which straddles the track. Its LED lighting system allows it to change colours and create a mesmerising visual display during races. This unique feature has contributed to the circuit’s identity and the aura of luxury surrounding the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Over the years, the track has seen some memorable races, including title-deciding battles, dramatic overtakes, and remarkable performances by Formula 1’s elite drivers. The circuit’s twilight race format, which transitions from day to night, has added a thrilling dimension to the race, making it a fan favourite.
One of the circuit’s most iconic features is its twilight race format. The race begins in daylight and ends under the spectacular floodlights, creating a visually stunning spectacle. This unique setting adds an extra layer of excitement and drama to the Grand Prix, providing a captivating visual experience for spectators.
New F1 Tracks
Two of the newest tracks in this year’s Formula One are both in the US while the third is in Saudi Arabia. The Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia opened in 2021 and was the site of the second race of this year’s season. It’s also the second-longest circuit and was designed by Carsten Tilke, the son of the aforementioned Hermann Tilke.
The Miami International Autodrome is the second youngest track and is a purpose-built temporary circuit that runs around the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Open a mere 22 months, the track is 5.412km long and features 19 tricky corners which have an average speed of 140mph. It was first included in the Formula One calendar last year which was won by Max Verstappen for Red Bull.
This leaves the brand-new Las Vegas Grand Prix track as the youngest circuit in the F1 season this year. Although Las Vegas was on the race calendar 40 years ago, that was a shorter track that was built entirely within the car park of Ceaser’s Palace Casino. This year will be different and we will see a circuit that includes a 2km stretch right down the famous strip.
The circuit’s first race is due to take place on the night of November 18th, meaning practice will take place on Thursday and qualifying on Friday. It will be the penultimate race of the calendar and it’s expected that Vegas will be bursting at the seams over the weekend. This is due to the combination of the race as well as the lineup of major artists and DJs that have been announced to play in the city over those dates. Calvin Harris, Diplo, Dom Dolla, Tiesto, Fisher, Steve Aoki, Swedish House Mafia, Alesso, Martin Garrix, Marshmello and the Chainsmokers will all be headlining at various clubs.
There’s no doubt that everyone who has been following this season will want to travel out through the Mojave Desert to see the action on and off the track but if you can’t make it, you can always follow all of the Las Vegas Grand Prix news on Australia’s most popular motorsport platforms. 2023 has been an interesting year for Formula One, no doubt the final two races will be just as impressive.