Formula 1

Azerbaijan Looking Set For ‘Sell-out’ Grand Prix

3 Mins read
Credit: Getty Images/ Red Bull Content Pool

With the always unpredictable Azerbaijan Grand Prix preparing to host Formula 1 on 10-12 July, the venue is looking set to ‘sell-out’ with fans to be in attendance for the first-time since 2019.

The 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix saw Sergio Pérez claim his maiden-victory for Oracle Red Bull Racing, after team-mate Max Verstappen experienced a high-speed tyre blowout down the main-straight. The 2021 race also saw Lance Stroll experience a high-speed blowout, with both Stroll and Verstappen crashing as a result. Lewis Hamilton also locked-up at Turn One at the race restart, following a red flag for Verstappen’s crash.

The Baku City Circuit has hosted five Grand Prix’s, with each race resulting in a different winner. The race has become a fan favourite due to how unpredictable races have been at the circuit over recent years.

Baku City Circuit Executive Director, Arif Rahimov, explained why he believes the circuit is one of the most exciting and popular on the ever-expanding calendar.

“One of the reasons this circuit produces such exciting races is that it has the right balance between a slow and twisty section and long, flat-out straights. We also have gradient and a variety of different corners which makes it difficult for teams and drivers to find the right setup. It might explain why we have had five different winners in the five races we have hosted so far. And I think we’re in for another new winner this year!

“The Azerbaijan Grand Prix is always full of surprises, whether it was the famous clash between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton in 2017 or both Red Bull drivers colliding a year later. Don’t forget we also had the drama of last season’s race when Max Verstappen retired with his puncture and we had a two-lap sprint to the finish. Formula 1 fans know this race is unmissable as anything could happen. It’s the most unpredictable race of the season which also makes it the most exciting!”

Credit: Francois Nel/ Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

One of the biggest changes for this year has been the new-generation of Formula 1 car, this has seen drivers being able to race much closer to one-another. Rahimov is expecting the incredibly long main-straight to provide more excitement than ever before.

“I’ve no doubt this year’s Grand Prix will be an amazing spectacle. We have seen already in the opening rounds of the year that the DRS effect [the opening of the Drag Reduction System on the rear wing to improve top speed] has been much stronger.

“When you consider the long run out of the final corner here, I think there will be plenty of overtaking into Turn 1 and also into Turn 3 after the second DRS zone. We have seen that the new regulations have enabled the cars to follow each other more closely and that has produced exciting racing. Our circuit has already proven it is possible to overtake so I can only imagine this year’s race will be even more fun.”

Many circuits on the calendar have recently undergone layout changes to make the racing more exciting, Rahimov doesn’t think fans will be seeing any change to the layout of the Baku City Circuit anytime soon though.

“Well, we’ve had five races now and in 2022 this will be our sixth. To be honest, I don’t think we need to change a lot. We are happy with the layout of the circuit — it’s challenging, exciting and as we said, showcases the city of Baku really well. For the same reason we’re not interested in holding the race at night, as we want people to see the beautiful city we have in Azerbaijan.

“When the demand comes we could look at trying to increase capacity. It’s not something we will do this year, even though it looks as if we’re on course for a sell-out, as you have to remember there isn’t the infrastructure to suddenly build more grandstands as we’re surrounded by buildings in this historic city centre. We are happy to continue for years to come.”

Credit: Getty Images/ Red Bull Content Pool
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