Formula 1: 5 More Classic Tracks in the Style of Hermann Tilke
Love him or loathe him, Hermann Tilke's impact on Formula One cannot be denied. With the exception of Bernie Ecclestone, no man has influenced the sport more in the past decade.
Tracks which he designed, modified or otherwise had a hand in will hold 12 of the 22 races provisionally scheduled for the 2014 season. It's likely to drop to nine of 19—still a substantial number.
So why stop there? If the long-term goal (and one has to wonder) is a calendar filled with Tilkedromes, we should let Hermann loose on the old classic circuits, too.
Just think what he could do to Interlagos. And Monza really, really needs a new hairpin. Right?
These are my visions of what might happen if he's ever asked to design those and other classic circuits.
Purists and those of a nervous disposition should avoid clicking "next."
Monza has survived since the dawn of motoring time with only minor changes to its layout, but it presents a small problem for modern F1. The races take less time than the practice sessions.
So what Monza really needs is a hairpin and a squiggly infield.
The track is kept in its current form until the newly opened-up second Lesmo, where it spears off onto a new straight. A right-hand hairpin is next, then a triple-apex left-hander.
A short straight follows before a long, quick left which ends with a slower right. The track opens out, then curves gradually into another right, then another right, this one much tighter.
A long left takes the cars back onto the old circuit layout. The final corner has been pushed back slightly but the profile is retained, and from here we stick to classic Monza until the end of the lap.
Monaco shouldn't really be on the modern calendar. It survives due to history and tradition alone—if the Monaco Grand Prix had never existed and Prince Albert went to the FIA to propose a new race on the current circuit, he'd be laughed out of the room.
But would a Tilked Monaco work?
The first half of the lap is kept in its current form due to space constraints. The changes begin at the Harbour Chicane, where some land has been reclaimed from the sea.
The chicane is replaced by a single left-hander with adequate run-off and some much-needed space on the inside. A Singapore-style right-right-left sequence sends the cars back to Tabac, and the old circuit remains all the way to Rascasse.
Then it turns left and shoots off into the distance on some slightly modified existing roads.
This new straight has a little kink, and at the end is a tight left. The track then goes in an almost-full circle around the casino chip-painted run-off area. Another tight left sends the cars onto another new straight.
If the Grimaldis don't like the chip and associated land-reclamation work, replace the circle with a simple hairpin.
A slow chicane is installed to slow the cars before the circuit rejoins the old layout at Antony Noghes. Then it's back onto the old start-finish straight and the end of the lap.
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Tilke is actually in the process of redesigning the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez to make it F1-suitable, hopefully in time for 2014. A 2015 date is more likely.
His version won't look like this (I believe it's a less drastic alteration), but it will be interesting to compare.
The pit straight is slightly lengthened and the first corner turned into a nice tight hairpin right to assist overtaking. A left comes next, then a 90-degree right.
The track heads back on itself (sorry, young footballers of Mexico City—your pitches now have a racetrack running through them) and a completely new long, medium-speed left comes at the end of a short straight.
A left-hand kink (flat-out) is next, before a slower right leads the cars onto a longish straight. It ends with a right-hand hairpin (you can never have too many hairpins), which should provide a second good overtaking spot.
The track then rejoins the old layout.
Coming toward the end of the lap, the old final turn, Peraltada, has to go for safety reasons. A 90-degree right-hander sends the cars into the baseball stadium (yes, there's a baseball stadium here), and a left takes them across the middle of the field and out between the grandstands.
A slightly curving section of track leads the cars back onto the final part of Peraltada and back onto the original pit straight.
Estoril last hosted an F1 race back in 1996. It's a nice layout but quite short and could do with a bit of a facelift. With all subtlety of a brick, it's received a face transplant instead (went a bit over the top here).
The first corner is pushed back and turned into a right-hand hairpin (what else?). A left-hand kink at the exit is designed to put the drivers off their rhythm before the shorter straight which follows. Another hairpin is parked at the end.
A short straight is next, and it leads into a medium-speed right. A slow left is next, then a strange left leading to a pair of slow corners, one right, one left.
A non-overtaking right-hand hairpin is next, then a short straight down to a medium-speed left, then a slower left.
A slow right is next, then a right-hand kink before a medium-speed left takes us to the final corner.
Parabolica (the current final corner) had to go. It's replaced by an unusual right, which curves gradually in to the single apex, then curves back out onto the pit straight.
Interlagos is one of the few circuits remaining on the current calendar which truly has a unique character. Let's get rid of it.
The new lap begins on the new pit straight, which has been moved for logistical reasons. Turn 1 is a wide left-hand hairpin far beyond the current location of Descida do Lago. The track then heads back along another straight, ending with a tight chicane.
The next few corners remain original, but Pinheirinho is turned into two corners and Bico de Pato becomes a curved hairpin.
It's back to the old layout again until midway through what used to be the pit straight. A tight chicane slows the cars in front of the new grandstands, then the track again returns to the original layout.
The Senna S and Curva do Sol are retained, then it's back onto the new pit straight for the end of the lap.
So there you have it. Five dream/nightmare visions of what could come to pass.
Monaco has been transformed into a bizarre hybrid, and Monza looks suspiciously like a carpenter's planer. Estoril is no longer Estoril, and Interlagos has angles.
What do you think? Would any of the new layouts produce better races, or are they nothing more than horrible corruptions of beautiful venues?
Do let me know.
Part One, including Silverstone, Watkins Glen and Suzuka, is here.