Today, F1 is back at Zandvoort for the first time in 36 years, and it looks a little different. We love some F1 history here at WTF1, so we thought we’d look back at some other great racetracks that have come back to the F1 calendar after a break. Some were successes, others not quite!
The track has been off the calendar since 1985, but it’s back this weekend for the Dutch GP 🙌 Having been a circuit that F1 used to race at a long time ago, on and off between 1952 until 1985, the whole venue has been updated to comply with F1’s modern safety standards.
Lots of the corners have been redesigned, the paddock expanded, and so has the runoff. It looks pretty mighty, and the new super steep banked corners are insane! We’ve been hyped for this for a long time!
HOCKENHEIM AND NURBURGRING
These two historic German tracks are some of the most-loved in F1. Both have fearsome old layouts that have now been completely changed for the modern-day.
The Nurburgring used to use the infamous Nordschleife layout for F1. It’s a 21km beast of a track that’s still used today for the odd race and public driving; it was too unsafe for F1, even in the 70s. To get F1 back, they built the Nurburging GP layout, which was opened in 1984 and was used last year as the Eifel GP.
Hockenheim’s old layout was essentially an oval through the forest with a few little chicanes thrown in for fun. V10s screaming through the trees was pretty great, but the whole venue outgrew modern racing. It was entirely redone and cut out the entire forest section to make it a track for racing and entertainment. We think it’s worked very nicely.
Before making a surprise return to the calendar last year, Turkey was last on the F1 calendar in 2011. The circuit was brought back because of the pandemic-related calendar reshuffle, and the owners were desperate to make a good impression.
They got the entire track resurfaced, but the surface didn’t have any time to break up naturally because everything was so last minute. The circuit became almost like an ice rink with cars were slipping and sliding all over the place, but it should be better this year.
Several changes were made to Imola to slow down the cars after the awful crashes that killed Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in 1994. Chicanes were added around the track to make it safer, and it did work.
When Imola lost their F1 contract in 2006, more changes were made. The entire pit building was demolished and rebuilt, and the final chicane by the pits was removed so they could have one long straight. It returned during the pandemic for events in 2020 and 2021 under the name ‘Emilia Romagna Grand Prix’.
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
The most famous oval race in the world, the Indy 500, was counted in the F1 World Championship for the first ten years of its existence.
F1’s 50th year returned to Indy to race on a modified ‘road course’ that used a third of the oval and an infield section. To be fair, it was very successful for the most part, and it felt right to have F1 at the home of US motorsport.
What didn’t go so well was the ridiculous race of 2005 when the tyres couldn’t deal with the banking on the oval and would have blowouts. Nothing could be sorted out, and the race was run with only six cars. Unfortunately, that’s what Indy is remembered for.
AUTODROMO HERMANOS RODRIGUEZ
F1 cars first raced at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit for a non-championship event in 1962, with it being an official Grand Prix the following year. The circuit hosted races on and off over several decades, with the last race being in 1992.
It returned to the calendar in 2015 after being away for over twenty years with Mexican fans really wanting to celebrate the love of F1. To give the fans the best experience, they built the end of the circuit through an old baseball stadium that can host a mega 25,000 supporters!
The 1976 finale at Fuji is thought to be the race that turned F1 from a niche competition to a global sport. F1 returned 30 years later, in 2007, to the modern track, but it didn’t go quite so well.
The track was great, but the organisation was all wrong. Seats were sold in places where the cars couldn’t be seen, a simple lunchbox meal cost 10,000 yen ($87), and fans were only allowed to show support to the Toyota team who owned the circuit! F1 only raced twice at Fuji before returning to Suzuka.
Which circuit on this list did you most enjoy having back on the calendar?