Formula 1: Hermann Tilke's Top 5 Circuits

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Formula 1: Hermann Tilke's Top 5 Circuits
Homonihilis / Crosa / Gil Abrantes / James Neilsen

Formula 1 has expanded a lot in recent years. Ten years ago, 65 percent of the races, 11 out of 17, were held in Europe, the sport's traditional heartland. In 2012, the figure has dropped to 40 percent, just eight out of a total of 20.

This shift has been made possible by a wave of shiny new circuits popping up around the globe. These circuits tend to follow a familiar pattern, and are usually designed by one man—world renown track architect Hermann Tilke.

Tilke has designed ten circuits that have hosted at least one F1 Grand Prix. Another is set to debut later this year, with (at least) two more planned to arrive in the future.

In addition, Tilke GmBH (his company) has worked on alterations to existing circuits such as Hockenheimring, Nurburgring and Fuji Speedway.

Fans and drivers are divided on whether Tilke's influence has been positive or negative. Many say his circuits are too similar, soulless and that they don't punish driver errors enough.

To them, a top five of Tilke tracks will be like a nicest smelling dog poo competition, or a battle to determine Justin Bieber's best song.

On the other side of the fence, they've been praised for—in theory at least—promoting overtaking opportunities and being exceptionally safe.

The remaining fans (including me) lie somewhere in between. Tilke tracks do lack character and soul, and they certainly don't punish mistakes enough—but some of them produce top racing and a true challenge for drivers.

Here's my personal top five.

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