Vettel weighs in on Baku track

THere’s been a lot of talk and hand-wringing over the new European GP circuit in Baku. In particular the long straight and tight old town bits but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has weighed in on the circuit:

“It looks spectacular around here, the circuit seems nice, especially the bit around the old town in the back, with a lot of uphill downhill sections, which you appreciate more when you see them from real than you probably feel by watching TV. It should be exciting, really interesting, getting into the car tomorrow and see how it feels.

It’s a completely new place, it would be a bit foolish to have any expectations. There is a lot of talk about the long straight, but it would also be worth mentioning that here the weather will be hot, which is really different from the races we had so far because it has always been colder than we expected. So here we’ll see how the tires work, and things like that I think: there is a lot of homework to be done tomorrow, for sure it’s more important to do it here because we have no experience from previous years.

Of course we expect to be strong but we have to wait and see. Generally we found out that our car is working everywhere, but we need to make sure that we unleash the pace in all sessions, in particular on Saturday, to make sure that we get where we deserve to be in qualifying. It’s a long race here , it’s the first race ever, there will be a lot of things unknown and hopefully tomorrow we can tick as many boxes as possible.”

Baku turn

The warmer weather may benefit teams like Red Bull and Ferrari but I doubt it hinders Mercedes so will there be a competitive potential for the Scuderia? Possibly given that their qualifying pace seemed much improved in Canada and with a new circuit, anything can happen. The unknown is the tires and how they will perform in warmer weather on varying asphalt.

Hat Tip: Ferrari

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Zach M.

Do you think with all the cold weather races that have been giving Ferarri issues with their tires they overreact this race and stay out too long?

Negative Camber

My hunch would be no because they are under a lot of pressure to get their strategy correct given the last two races. I would assume warmer weather will favor them and Red Bull but of course I could be wrong. :)


That straight certainly won’t favor Red Bull. As Ricciardo said in his video-game hot lap of the track, they need 20 more gears ;)


I don’t buy Helmut Marco’s comments that Red Bull will lose 1.2 seconds per lap thanks to the long straight.
If we look at the speeds achieved in China (the longest straight raced so far this season), Ricciardo was the fastest. Since the Renault have had their power unit upgrade.

peter riva

Your video on the main page is very informative of the track. A couple of things sprang to mind and I wonder if Paul can comment…

1. The car seemed unstable approaching the castle tower in the most narrow section. Hit that tower and I wonder for drivers’ safety.
2. the separation of the stands to the track is closer than the Indy 500… even with barriers on the day, I wonder if this is a good idea. Viewing? Spectacular. A loose wheel, not so much.


If there is a crash in that section it will be just left of the optic gallery. You should watch the video of Ricciardo playing F1 2016 at Baku. You don’t get close to the tower and the speed is quite low still.

Paul Charsley

the car was unstable everywhere as it was on rain tires which were probably pretty darn cold and he was just putting around with the occasional burst of throttle when he thought it was safe, so not much to garner there

peter riva

Thank for the expert insight!

Paul KieferJr

I worry about that narrow twisty section. Reminds me too much of that “London GP” idea and the one lane going through a gate. I’m no fan of playing “Chicken”. :P


If that section was right after a long straight, yes it would be a problem, but its after a series of 90 degree turns & short straights – I seriously doubt cars will be alongside each other approaching the castle. Which is not to say there won’t be crashes – I’m sure someone will push too hard or get their line wrong & hit the wall ;)

peter riva

I agree… and this morning saw NO lifting cranes anywhere… what a bottleneck there could be…


It does look very nice.