Hitting the Apex: Baku City Circuit

It’s Baku Race Week! Read on to know everything you need to know about the Baku City Circuit.

Written by Mees Drijgers

April 27, 2023

Baku City Circuit is a street circuit located in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital city, near Baku Boulevard. The track was designed by Hermann Tilke, whose brief was to include as many of the city’s historic landmarks as possible; this lead to the track passing through the old city and past the Presidential Palace, with the pits and paddock based in and around Government House. Baku City Circuit is the 4th longest track on the 2023 calendar, and the second longest street track after the addition of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. It is one of many street circuits on the calendar, joining the likes of Monaco, Melbourne, Singapore, Jeddah, Las Vegas, Montréal, and Miami. The circuit joined the calendar in 2016, when it hosted the European Grand Prix (now the Azerbaijan Grand Prix). The track disappeared from the calendar for a year, when the race was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however it rejoined shortly after in 2021.

Baku City Circuit (Photo via @redbullracing on Instagram)

For the 2023 Grand Prix, the track has been resurfaced. Baku City Circuit will also be the first circuit to host the new sprint race format: on Friday, a practice session and qualifying for Sunday’s grid will take place. Then, on Saturday, the usual FP2 session has been replaced by a qualifying session for the sprint race later in the day. On Sunday, there are no changes to the schedule.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Track distance: 6.003 km/ 3.73 miles
  • DRS zones: 2
  • Corners: 20
  • Elevation: 26.9 metres
  • Laps: 51
  • Race lap record: 1:43.009 Charles Leclerc (2019)
  • Direction: anti-clockwise

Baku City Circuit (Photo via @mercedesamgf1 on Instagram)

According to F1.com, Baku configuration for this year is as follows:

 

PREVIOUS TYRE COMPOUNDS

  • Selected compounds in 2021: C5 (soft) C4 (medium) C3 (hard)
  • Selected compounds in 2022: C5 (soft) C4 (medium) C3 (hard)

Mercedes and Red Bull are the most successful constructors at the track with 3 wins each. The race has never been won twice by the same driver, from 2016-2019 and 2021-2022, a different driver has won every year. The race has also only been won twice from pole position. Over the years, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has taken place as either the fourth, sixth, or eighth round on the calendar, meaning the race usually takes place at the end of April, or around May/June.

Baku City Circuit (Photo via @astonmartinf1 on Instagram)

Baku City Circuit is a mixture of tight and twisty bits and very long and wide straights; this influences the car set up, as teams have to choose between downforce for the twists or less drag for the straights. Similar to Monaco, there’s not a lot of room for errors, mistakes are punished “quickly and severely”.

PREVIOUS WINNERS

  • 2022 Max Verstappen
  • 2021 Sergio Perez
  • 2019 Valtteri Bottas
  • 2018 Lewis Hamilton
  • 2017 Daniel Ricciardo

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mees was introduced to the world of F1 by one of her friends in July 2020 and hasn’t missed a race weekend since. Her favourite drivers are Alex Albon, Lewis Hamilton, Oscar Piastri, and George Russell; outside of F1, she also actively supports Liam Lawson and Callum Ilott. She specialises in writing about F2, but is looking to specialise in FE and IndyCar as well, after starting to watch both series in 2022. After getting her Bachelor’s degree in English Language and Culture, she is currently getting MA degrees in Translation and English Literature & Culture. When she’s not watching motorsport, she’s either watching football matches (preferably Real Madrid), reading a book, or watching streams on Twitch.

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