These abandoned racetracks once created memories for millions. Some were reused, but mostly forgotten.
“I am an artist, the track is my canvas and the car is my brush.”
You agree more with Graham Hill when he claimed that even a race car driver is a wonderful artist in his own right! This three-way relationship between car, track and driver, creates a winning combo. Formula One (F1) is a beloved sport in which cars reach speeds of over 200 mph, accelerate to 60 mph in less than two seconds and produce over 1,000 horsepower.
However, over the years, some of our favorite F1 circuits have been better abandoned – some due to safety concerns and others for financial reasons. Some have been forgotten, while others have been reconstructed or modified. But even today they all go away.
Here is a list of once famous racetracks that have not stood the test of time.
Valencia Street Circuit
The Valencia Street Circuit was home to the European Grand Prix from 2008 to 2012. Now, it only welcomes racing junkies and F1 enthusiasts. The circuit was not appreciated and blamed for its sluggish layout and lack of adventure. The venue, along with the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, was proposed as alternative venues for the Spanish Grand Prix. But the contract fell through, leaving the circuit in even worse shape. The racetrack no longer has any sign of any hot wheels speeding up on it.
This F1 Grand Prix venue hosted by Germany, the old Hockenheim, was remodeled in 2002. The legendary track consisted of two long straights through woodlands, which caused the cars to operate at very high speeds on these sections. It was extremely difficult for the engines to handle them and finish in the stadium section.
Jim Clark lost his life in a Formula 1 accident on 7 April 1968 at this race circuit. Subsequently, two fast chickens were made near the crash site as well as near the crash barrier. They covered the length of the track to protect the drivers. At the site where Clark’s Lotus exited the tarmac, a small monument named after him was erected around the trees near the first chicken. After the 1980 murder of Patrick Depiler in Ostkurve (East Curve), another chicken was built.
After Erik Komas was wrecked there in 1991, Ostkurwe was redesignated for the 1992 German Grand Prix – from a rapid left turn to the more difficult right-to-left-right chicane. Now, instead of a spectacular, remote run through the woods, a radically shorter, Herman Tilke-designed “point-and-squirt” track, only 1.6 miles in length, is surrounded by large grandstands, has been left to mourn.
Buddhist International Circuit (BIC)
From afar, the Buddhist International Circuit appears to be an ancient relic of a golden past. But as soon as you step into this enclosure, you realize that what appears to be a storied old racetrack has now turned into a wasteland, with no trace of F1 hot wheels anywhere. Once a bright red Ferrari and Red Bull mixing blue and red, this racetrack is no longer part of the F1 calendar.
Remember how Sebastian Vettel won all 3 F1 races held here and that iconic moment where he leaned in front of his car? Remember the Indian celebrities who went to the F1 races organized by BIC during these grand events?
In 2020, the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority closed the Buddh International Circuit – India’s only F1 circuit – for being unable to clear its pending dues on time.
Adding to the above list of abandoned F1 circuits, there are Korean Grand Prix Circuit, Reims, Rouen-les-Assarts, Dijon-Prénois, Clermont Ferrand, Fuji Nascar Speedway, Keemola Motor Stadium, Brookland Race Circuit, and many more. Every racetrack has its own journey. But motorsport enthusiasts never want this love to fall short.
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