We’ve become familiar with the circuits that most play host to most F1 races, which generally take place in dedicated circuit stadiums. There are, however, some truly unique racing routes that take the drivers through the streets of urban districts, and remain some of the most famous and toughest races in the world.
Monaco is considered the father of all street circuits as it’s been in use since 1929. The track was dreamed up by Antony Noghes, who is commemorated by the last corner that bears his namesake. Sadly, relative to some other landmarks that are there, it’s really quite a forgettable one, like the Loews Hairpin (which allows the cars to be equipped with a different steering rack) or what’s now the Harbor chicane, where Alberto Ascari had a terrible collision in 1955 and ended up in the water, luckily without serious injuries.
Circuito delle Madonie is a 72km street circuit, better known as the venue of the Targa Florio. This is a race that takes the racers through both the mountains and the streets of the local city. This may have been the most dangerous circuit ever dreamed of, requiring the kind of meaningless courage you might need for naked bullfighting, so it’s no surprise it was banned in 1977. Nevertheless, being a street circuit, the track still remains–and some of the streets are still being used for the Targa Florio Rally today, which offers a glimpse of what used to be the first Targa without the unbridled lunacy, but, similar to a visit real money Aussie casinos, the track remains a fun risk to race on.
It’s little coincidence that stars like Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher are included in the list of previous Macau champions. Due to an insidious cocktail of high speeds, a slippery surface and crash barriers close to the track, the 6.12 km track running around the former Portuguese colony is about as unforgiving as the Spanish inquisition. It is probably the most epic street circuit currently in use, but as you can see right here, things can go quite wrong quite quickly:
Proving America was seriously big in all it does, there was once a Formula 1 Grand Prix held in a parking lot. But, not just any old car park: it was the Caesar’s Palace car park, from 1981 to 1982 for the short-lived Las Vegas Grand Prix. Since there was no real track in Las Vegas (actually not in Nevada as a whole), a modified model was drawn up using concrete Armco: a little like a super-sized go-kart circuit.
The drivers said the circuit was a bit confusing because there was never a clear view of where the next corner was going. Nonetheless, Nelson Piquet has fond memories of it–there he won the 1981 championship–and it also marks the venue for the final victory for the legendary Tyrrell team, which won with Michele Alboreto in 1982. Diana Ross also turned over the medals that year.