Baku to host first sprint race of 2023 Formula 1 season today
Formula 1 is set for a frantic return from its four-week break as the streets of Baku will host the first Sprint race of the season at the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix today, News.Az reports.
Sprint races are generally held in F1 tracks suitable for the Sprint format with overtaking opportunities, close racing, and high-speed sections and attract a large fan base. So, it comes as no surprise that one of the fastest city races on the calendar – the Baku race is among these.
It will be the first time an F1 Sprint has been held on a street circuit.
The new Sprint Shootout set to begin at 12:30 local time, followed by the 100-kilometre Sprint race at 17:30. Today, fans will also enjoy a short Formula 2 sprint race at 15:15 that will last 45 minutes.
The first day of the F1 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix featured F1 Practice with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topping the timesheets as well as F2 Practice with PREMA Racing driver Oliver Bearman ending fastest of all in the opening session of the Formula 2 weekend.
Max Verstappen drew level with Fernando Alonso by taking his 22nd career pole position in qualifying for the 2023 Australian Grand Prix – while Mercedes’ George Russell qualified second and Sergio Perez ended up 20th after a Q1 crash.
What makes the Azerbaijan Grand Prix so unique and unpredictable is the track.
At just over 6.003km, the Baku City Circuit is the second longest circuit in F1.
It’s also F1’s fastest street circuit with drivers comfortably reaching speeds of 360km/h along the over 2km-long straight along Neftchilar Avenue, Baku city.
Moreover, many of the 20 turns are sharp, especially around Baku’s Old City, which leaves little room for error. So skill, discipline, teamwork and fortune are more important than car speed.
Designed by German engineer Hermann Tilke, the leading track designer in F1, the Baku City Circuit is an exhibition of Azerbaijan’s vibrant capital.
Weaving around the city centre, it takes in its wonderful contrasts of east and west, ancient and modern.
Spectators can admire the 12th-century walls of the Old City along with elegant streets like Istiglaliyyat built at the turn of the 20th century which are lined by an eclectic mix of architecture.
The long finishing straight runs parallel to the tree-filled Seaside Boulevard and passes landmarks including the mysterious Maiden Tower and Soviet-era Government House.
The Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix will take place on Sunday April 30, 2023, also featuring the sprint race of Formula 2 the same day.