Formula 1: Can the Port Imperial Street Circuit in New Jersey Be a Success?

Adam MacDonaldAnalyst IIFebruary 26, 2012

There are two ways to make a street circuit. You can make it thrilling, or you can make it in Valencia.

There have been four F1 grands prix in Valencia and, let's be frank, they have all sucked. The circuit represents the very worst of Formula One: long, boring processions, with no overtaking and no action. If Timo Glock holds the lap record in a Toyota, you know something is very wrong.

Other street circuits, on the face of it, should have to deal with similar challenges. The narrow track and lack of run-off areas prevent sweeping corner sequences. That and the slower pace severely limit the number of overtaking maneuvers attempted during the race.

However, other tracks just don't struggle with the issues the way Valencia does. I know I cannot be the only one who longs for the days when the Australian GP was held in Adelaide. It wasn't a jewel on the calendar, but it was a good track and far superior to the dull-as-mud and unpopular Albert Park.

Marina Bay in Singapore has brought a lot of excitement since its debut in 2008. Admittedly, though, this is in large part due to the frequent safety cars and the fact it's held at night.

Of course, the most famous and prestigious F1 grand prix is in Monte Carlo. Even without the history and the sense of occasion that comes with the Monaco GP, the track has produced some excellent racing. It's a good thing then that the new Port Imperial Street Circuit, due to host a race next year, has copied so heavily from Monaco.

Very heavily. Indeed, one could be forgiven for thinking the designer Hermann Tilke just photocopied a picture of the Circuit de Monaco, straightened it out and thought that was good enough.



Let's compare the two tracks side-by-side.

Both have the same long, thin layout, but Monaco has more of a 'dog leg' look. Both are clockwise tracks, overlook a harbor, have a long straight that ends in a left-right hairpin and that is followed by two 90-degree right handers.

Take out Loews, Ste Devote and Mirabeau and they're eerily similar.

The fact this is yet another track designed by Tilke should be cause for concern. He has been widely criticized for producing mind-numbingly dull circuits, including Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, which has run-off areas bigger than some countries, Bahrain and Valencia.

However, even if it turns out that Tilke has managed to copy all the bad bits of the famous track and none of the good, it should still be better than most of the dreary circuits the German has come up with.