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The Rise of Street Circuits

Written by Pia Vanessa Müller, Edited by Sharifah Zaqreeztrina

Source: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Street circuits have always played an important role in Formula One. But since F1 increasingly looks to make the race weekends as exciting and enjoyable as possible for the fans, these circuits have become a more frequent fixture on the race calendar.


No fewer than seven Grand Prix weekends are held on street circuits in the 2023 season. In other words, nearly a third of the entire calendar consists of street races.

Therefore, this season has more street circuits than ever before.


The street circuits on which Formula 1 will race on in this season are:

  • Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)

  • Albert Park (Australia)

  • Baku City (Azerbaijan)

  • Miami International Autodrome

  • Circuit de Monaco

  • Marina Bay Street Circuit (Singapore)

  • Las Vegas Street Circuit

However, the reason for the increasing amount of street races on the F1 calendar is rather simple. While F1 claims the main point is the comfort of the fans and other attendees, it seems that money also contributes a huge part to the evolution. Jeddah and Baku City are proven to be the two tracks on the calendar that pay the highest hosting fees. This also includes the two races in the USA, Las Vegas and Miami. This means they do not have to pay a single penny to have a Formula One race on their circuit. That is mainly because F1 is staging the event, so they can take home all the funding earned from ticket sales and sponsorship fees themselves.


Besides the extremely high hosting fees, the showcasing of the cities is another benefit to add more street races to the calendar. The teams and fans who travel to the races have to stay in hotels in the city near the track. They spend at local businesses, which provides a good income for the duration of the Grand Prix weekend. Additionally, the amount of broadcasting done during the whole event allows the increase of street races. Broadcasting produces media coverage to a certain area. City venues profit from that because they can display their landmarks and attract tourists.


In addition to that, glamourous locations such as Monaco and Miami attract and include the most influencers and celebrities. With this knowledge, many fans travel to these races specifically, to not only get to meet their favorite drivers but also to see the big names like Tom Cruise, Shakira and the Jonas Brothers.


While some drivers enjoy racing in the street settings, Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen states otherwise: “They are the worst experiences.” According to the Dutch man, circuits like Spa-Francorchamps are the ones that make the difference for drivers.


Due to the lack of chances to overtake on those circuits, they are often claimed to be rather boring than exciting to watch for the fans. As demonstrated in Monaco, the drivers who do well in Qualifying sessions are more likely to end up on the podium at the end of the race. With Red Bull Racing and Verstappen already dominating the field regardless, street races do not offer the variation of race winners.


Based on that, F1 risks shooting itself in the foot by providing an overly lengthy calendar with only six to seven exciting races. This leads to the question: Is it time to stop adding street circuits to the F1 calendar?


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