Formula 1 2019’s Best Corners

The 2019 Formula One season is now almost over, and in this article, I am going to have a look at some of the best corners and sections from this year’s 21 race circuits.

This is effectively what I would like my dream circuit to perhaps resemble in some way, if you threaded all of these corners together, and also why I like each one.

RACE 1: Australia

CIRCUIT: Albert Park, Melbourne.

CORNER: Turns 15-16 (Prost)

VISUAL:

AUS T1516
Credit: F1 Experiences

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is a really tight hairpin corner, as you can see in the image, and it requires a good exit out of Turn 15 to set up and accelerate the car through the start/finish straight. A poor exit could lead to the rear end of the car coming out and sliding behind, which would lead to a poor amount of speed going down the straight, and leads to the risk of being overtaken.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: Whilst Albert Park is a relatively simple circuit in terms of its design, this is one of the trickiest parts of the lap, and the fact that it is virtually a 90 degree turn means it is difficult to get absolutely right at speed.

Race 3: China

CIRCUIT: Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai.

CORNER: Turns 1-4

VISUAL:

CHI T0104
Credit: Automobilsport

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is a very long section in a very small area, and that really is all there is to say about this section of the Shanghai track. As you can see from the image, it coils around on itself and then uncoils again, and concentration is needed to turn at the right point into Turn 3, otherwise it could go badly wrong.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: The design is one of the best parts of it, and because of that, it leads to the skill of the driver needed to negotiate it.

Race 4: Azerbaijan

CIRCUIT: Baku City Circuit, Baku.

CORNER: Turns 8-10

VISUAL:

AZE T0810
Credit: Sportskeeda

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is one of the most picturesque parts of any circuit on the calendar, because it is one of the best sites you can see – new and old combined in one image. I mean that you have the modern Formula 1 car driving right next to the Old City walls, and that is quite special to watch. You can see from the image that it is quite tight, and it is – only 7.6m wide.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: Apart from the new vs old thing, it is a turn that requires precision and concentration. In the image, you can see from the car in front that it really is a single-file corner, and I love it for that reason. It is also possible to overshoot the corner, as Charles Leclerc proved this year, and end up in the wall where it says Pirelli, so it really is a brilliant corner.

Race 6: Monaco

CIRCUIT: Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo.

CORNER: Turns 5-7 (Mirabeau)

VISUAL:

MON T0507
Credit: The Straits Times

ABOUT THE CORNER: Mirabeau is a tight downhill hairpin, which is then immediately followed by the right-hander. The fact that it is a hairpin is hard, but the addition of the downhill bit makes it really interesting.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: Monaco has many iconic corners and sections, but these are my favourites. It is simply that this hairpin is always something I enjoy watching as the cars come down and around.

Race 6: Monaco

CIRCUIT: Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo.

CORNER: Turns 8-9 (Portier and tunnel section)

VISUAL:

MON T0809
Credit: Pinterest

ABOUT THE CORNER: As you can see from the image, this includes the famous tunnel section, which is very difficult in itself because of the light issues that drivers face. Once they come out of Portier, they are in the light, then it immediately goes dark as they enter the tunnel, and on exiting the tunnel, they are thrown back into the light just as they go around Nouvelle Chicane at Turns 10-11.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: This wasn’t picked for the corners necessarily, but more because it is such a famous part of a famous track, that it couldn’t be left out of any list of the best corners in all honesty. That’s not to say I don’t like it, because I absolutely do.

Race 7: Canada

CIRCUIT: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal.

CORNER: Turns 10-11 (L’Epingle)

VISUAL:

CAN T1011
Credit: Trip Advisor

ABOUT THE CORNER: It is another tight hairpin, and it requires a good exit in order to accelerate up the straight towards the start/finish line. If drivers do not get it right, then there is the risk that they could run too wide and allow another driver to overtake them.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: It is just another really nice bit of track which is challenging for drivers and is therefore a great spectacle for those watching. The scenery also helps, as the entire circuit is situated entirely within water, so it gets top marks for that too.

Race 7: Canada

CIRCUIT: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal.

CORNER: Turn 13 (Wall of Champions/Quebec Wall)

VISUAL:

CAN T13
Credit: Ferrari/Encole Colombo

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is a very tight corner which is at one of the most important parts of the track. It is placed at the end of the straight which followed L’Epingle, and it is simply a kink in the track before the start/finish straight. It can catch drivers out as they come around it, as it is very easy to end up hitting the wall as they exit the corner. On the left of the image, you can see the entrance to the pit lane as well, so that adds an extra dynamic to this corner.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: It is just a really neat addition to the track design really, and the fact that it is able to claim any driver, regardless of title win numbers, who may not negotiate it correctly makes it even more exciting. It is also one of my favourite pit lane entrances on the calendar, so that adds something as well.

Race 8: France

CIRCUIT: Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet (near Marseille).

CORNER: Turns 1-2 (S de la Verrerrie)

VISUAL:

FRA T0102
Credit: My Racing Career

ABOUT THE CORNER: The corner in question is Turns 1-2 on the map, and it is in the form of an S shape, hence its name. This is a good chicane but the thing about this one is that it has a wide track, which means drivers don’t have to be as precise as they might have to be in others on the calendar. The circuit itself has Blue Zones and Red Zones, and at S de la Verrerrie, you can see there are both in that area. Whilst they look pretty, they are not areas for the cars to go into if drivers can help it. The Blue Zones are used as gravel trap equivalents, and the Red Zones are used to slow cars down with less braking distance, but they also wear the tyres out quicker which is the flip side.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: Apart from being a circuit with several interesting areas, I liked the fact that cars go around it at a relatively good speed because of it’s wider layout. It makes it different to other chicanes on other circuits in the calendar.

Race 8: France

CIRCUIT: Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet (near Marseille).

CORNER: Turns 7-10 (Mistral Straight)

VISUAL:

FRA T0710
Credit: Aleou

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is a very long straight with the chicane in the middle, which is made up of the section of the track seen in the image above. The straight allows good speed, as there is not as much kink in the chicane. This means drivers with a good speed as they entered the straight can really show their skills here.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: I really like the way this is designed, and the fact that a really long straight is broken up with the addition of this chicane in the middle. It also allows drivers to show off a bit as, again, it is perhaps wider than other chicanes on the calendar.

Race 10: Great Britain

CIRCUIT: Silverstone, Silverstone (in Northamptonshire).

CORNER: Turns 6 (Brooklands) – 7 (Luffield)

VISUAL:

GBR T0607
Credit: Autosport

ABOUT THE CORNER: For reference, the section being referred to is in the bottom left hand side of the image. It is a long sweeping right-hander, which needs a good balance between careful driving and a good exit, which will then ensure the driver is able to get a good amount of speed going up towards Turn 8 (Woodcote) and up the straight towards Turn 9 (Copse).

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: A bit like the coil at Turns 1-4 in Shanghai, it is a relatively sharp left-hander, followed immediately by a right-hander, so it requires good concentration and is and exciting part of the famous circuit.

Race 11: Germany

CIRCUIT: Hockenheimring, Hockenheim.

CORNER: Turn 17 (SudKurve).

VISUAL:

GER T17
Credit: F1i

ABOUT THE CORNER: It comes directly after a tricky hairpin and requires the utmost concentration to avoid running too wide and conceding a place just before the start/finish straight. It is also the part of the track where the drag strip is, as you can see in the right of the image.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: This was the corner where everyone was spinning off in the treacherously wet conditions of the 2019 race. It is a fast corner and also sets cars up for the straight, but it is more difficult than it looks.

Race 13: Belgium

CIRCUIT: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot (near Liege).

CORNER: Turn 1 (La Source) – 7 (Les Combes)

VISUAL:

BEL T0107
Credit: Crash.net

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is an iconic section of track that includes the famous section at Turns 3-5, otherwise known as La Raidillon and Eau Rouge, and the Kemmel Straight that comes directly after them. It is a long uphill part of the circuit, as can be seen from the image, so plenty of speed can be carried and it is always really exciting to watch the cars virtually flying up it.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: It is one of the most famous track sections on the entire Formula 1 calendar, so there is no way it can be left out of a list like this.

Race 13: Belgium

CIRCUIT: Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Stavelot (near Liege).

CORNER: Turn 10 (Bruxelles) – 11

VISUAL:

BEL T1011
Credit: F1 Tickets

ABOUT THE CORNER: For reference purposes, this is the hairpin on the left hand side of the image above that we are talking about here. It is a downhill turn that is similar in shape to Mirabeau at Monaco, in that it is tight and then immediately going down, but this time it is a left hand turn at Turn 11 rather than a right like Mirabeau is.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: It is another hairpin that requires a lot of concentration to get right. It is also a place where the very brave drivers might attempt an overtake coming out of Turn 11, so that also adds something else to this particular corner. But I mainly chose it because of it’s shape.

Race 14: Italy

CIRCUIT: Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza (near Milan).

CORNER: Turn 1-2 (Variante del Retrifilo)

VISUAL:

ITA T0102
Credit: YouTube

ABOUT THIS CORNER: This is a very tight chicane which requires drivers to slow right down in order to avoid making a mistake by overrunning it. If drivers cannot make the turn, they must go straight on though the slalom (where the arrow signs are), or take the other shortcut which has two speed humps on the road. It is a very difficult corner to get absolutely right 100% of the time.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: One reason I really like this corner is because of the escape road, which adds an extra element to an already tricky corner.  But mainly I like the way it separates the good drivers from the exceptional. It is also really good when you can see 20 cars all trying to go through the chicane at one time, like at the start of the race.

Race 14: Italy

CIRCUIT: Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza (near Milan).

CORNER: Turn 11 (Parabolica)

VISUAL:

ITA T11
Credit: Trip Advisor

ABOUT THE CORNER: Parabolica is a long sweeping right-hander, but its not as easy as it looks. The initial turn is quite sharp, as can be seen on the right of the image, before it then evens out more as it becomes the start/finish straight. It is very easy to go wrong but because it is so wide (i.e. not a tight hairpin), it allows drivers to carry speed into the straight.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: It is another very famous part of a very famous track. I chose it for that reason, but also because it is different to other hairpins because it is so wide and, as I said, that allows drivers to carry plenty of speed into and out of it.

Race 15: Singapore

CIRCUIT: Marina Bay, Singapore.

CORNER: Turn 8 (Stamford) and Turn 14 (Connaught)

VISUAL:

SIN T0814
Credit: Augustman

ABOUT THE CORNER: Singapore is a street circuit. Therefore, by day this is just the crossroads of Nichol Highway and Esplanade Drive to the North East and South West, and Stamford Road and Raffles Drive to the North West and South East (map directions – Nichol Highway is the road on the east in the image). However, when Formula 1 is in town, it becomes two separate corners with just a wall barrier between them. Turn 14, nearest to us in the image, is a tight right-hander that requires the cars to slow down a lot in order to not mess up the turn. Being a street circuit, there aren’t any run-off areas if they do get it wrong – just a barrier to crash into.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: I love the fact that you can turn a crossroads into two separate corners, and partly for that reason, it’s my favourite part of the Marina Bay circuit. There is always something really special about the street circuits, and the fact that this is a night race makes it even more iconic.

Race 17: Japan

CIRCUIT: Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka.

CORNER: Turn 3-7 (S Curves)

VISUAL:

JAP T0307
Credit: Suzuka Circuit

ABOUT THE CORNER: As can be seen from the image, the corners are made up of 5 turns in quick succession, knows as the “Esses” or “S’s”. Although they may look similar, each of them is completely different in length and angle, and that is what makes them difficult. They can’t just be treated like a slalom.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: Suzuka is one of my favourite circuits, because there are so many different parts to it. The S’s can trip drivers up if they don’t time them correctly, or don’t turn at the right moment. They are also high speed corners too, which adds to the excitement.

Race 17: Japan

CIRCUIT: Suzuka International Racing Course, Suzuka.

CORNER: Turns 13-14 (Spoon)

VISUAL:

JAP T1314
Credit: Grand Prix 247

ABOUT THE CORNER: In the above image, Spoon is the section that resembles a spoon (hence the name) in the left hand side. It has a long buildup and exit but also a tight bend at the top. It requires good speed and a good exit is required, as the long straight that follows is a DRS zone and where overtakes can be made.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: I keep saying this, but Formula 1 does have some iconically-shaped corners, and this is another one. It can’t be left out of a list of the best corners in the racing calendar. I like the design of it and the fact that it sets cars up nicely for the straight.

Race 18: Mexico

CIRCUIT: Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City.

CORNER: Turns 12-16 (Stadium section)

VISUAL:

MEX T1216
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is a unique section in the entire Formula 1 calendar, in that these turns are done in an entirely enclosed space, with stadiums all around it. The only gaps are the entrance and exit to the section, and it is also situated next to the podium area. The entry needs to be good, as there is a tight left hand hairpin followed immediately by a right hand turn. These are relatively slow corners, and need to be to ensure that they are executed properly and no mistakes are made by the drivers.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: This is one of the best parts of the calendar, because of the nature of racing inside an enclosed stadium section. It also requires complete concentration, although there are obviously kerbs to help the cars navigate through the turns.

Race 20: Brazil

CIRCUIT: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (also known as Interlagos), Sao Paulo.

CORNER: Turns 1-2 (Senna S or S do Senna)

VISUAL:

BRA T0102
Credit: Autodromo de Interlagos

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is similar to the S’s at Suzuka, in that it is a series of really tight corners coming directly after each other. They follow the start/finish straight, which is uphill, and the turns need careful driving so as not to lock up when navigating through them. The circuit also has one of the longest (if not the longest) pit lanes, which, as you can see in the image, runs alongside the S, and doesn’t actually rejoin the track until the Curva do Sol (Sun Turn) at Turn 3.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: Two reasons really. Firstly, the S is a curve that I really like, as with the S’s at Suzuka, and secondly because of the pit lane, which is unique in that it doesn’t rejoin the track on the start/finish straight, but a long way down the field. This means pit stops and tyre changes become even more tactical at Interlagos than at other tracks. This is also a good place where drivers like to overtake, which adds more to this section.

Race 20: Brazil

CIRCUIT: Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (also known as Interlagos), Sao Paulo.

CORNER: Turns 14 (Subida dos Boxes) – 15 (Arquibancadas) and the start/finish straight

VISUAL:

BRA T1415SFS
Credit: Motorsport Magazine

ABOUT THE CORNER: This is a really interesting start/finish straight, because it is on a hill, as can be seen clearly from the image. Cars can carry plenty of speed into the straight and then into the Senna S at Turns 1-2. As previously mentioned, the pit lane is also one of the longest.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: As mentioned in the previous entry to this list, the uphill bit means this is one of the best start/finish straights on the calendar, in my opinion. Turn 14, Subida dos Boxes (“Up to the Pits”), is a gentle turn but is the start of the uphill part, and Turn 14, Arquibancadas (“Bleachers”), is another slight incline inwards before the drivers go past the pits.

Race 21: Abu Dhabi

CIRCUIT: Yas Marina, Yas Island.

CORNER: Turns 21-3.

VISUAL:

ABD2103
Credit: Honda Racing

ABOUT THE CORNER: As you might have guessed from the image, Turns 21-3 is not a series of turns I want to focus on, but the part where cars enter and exit the pit lane. This lane is of a unique design – it goes under the track. On the left of the image is the part where the cars come down towards the tunnel, then they go through it, and emerge where the light is on the right of the image. Then they travel up and rejoin the circuit on the opposite side of the track to the one they entered the pit lane from.

WHY DID I CHOOSE IT: It is by far and away the best pit lane exit on the calendar. It is also interesting because, with the tunnel being quite tight, it requires concentration even here. There have been instances of cars going too fast downhill towards it, and then not turning in time and crashing, but in all honesty, it’s just the quirkiness of the exit that ensures that it makes this list.

 

So there you go – the complete list of the best and my favourite corners, turns, pit lane entrances, pit lane exits, and just about everything else that makes up the 21 circuits on the Formula 1 calendar. If all of these were to be threaded together to make one circuit, it would surely be an amazing view.

The Formula 1 2019 season concludes this weekend, in Abu Dhabi, with Lewis Hamilton already crowned champion, and Mercedes already crowned constructor’s champions, so there isn’t much to sort out, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still enjoy it, and hopefully this list allows us to revisit some of the tracks of this year, and admire the different corners that make F1 such a brilliant sport.

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