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  • Writer's pictureJ Green

Formula One’s Dastardly Dangerous Race Circuits

Formula 1 is becoming increasingly safer with innovations like the life-saving halo, but this wasn’t not always the case. J Green looks at v

The Beast of Berlin

The Avus circuit in Berlin is known as one of the most terribly designed tracks in Formula One, having only been used once in 1951. The reason why it was abandoned was because the track only had four corners and the absurdly large corners at each end of the track had a 43 degree bank with no cage to stop the cars from flying off. 

The track had just a single crash within its one year lifetime, when Hans Herrmann crashed his BRM P25 on the fifth lap; his car rolled violently over 6 rotations! During the crash, Hans was launched out of his car and onto the racetrack which may have actually saved his life. He watched as his car was torn apart right before his very eyes just mere centimetres above his head. The Formula One governing body (FIA), decided the track was unfit for use. Subsequently, on the 23rd of November the track was shut down.           

“Herrmann’s car rolled violently over six rotations!”

Leaving Las Vegas… in a Hurry 

One of the strangest  tracks was Caesar's Palace car park which was a Formula One track between 1981-1982. The venue didn’t catch on with race fans, as only 30,000 attended the US F1. In the 1980s Formula One was not as popular in America as it is now. 

The Las Vegas citizens were shocked by the strange looking cars racing around a car park at 200 mph. The track's surface was cracked and torn with the tarmac breaking up more with every race. Also, the layout of the track was seen as dull but this is not a surprise when you take into account that it was just a car park. The track's Formula One life lasted only two years; there were no crashes on the old Las Vegas track which was good, however, due to the lack of interest the track was converted into an urban living area.

Monza Mayhem

We all know Monza with its tight chicanes and long turns, but you most likely have not heard of the old Monza track. The first sector of the track layout was like the Monza we still know today, in the second half it takes a rather unusual twist with some regions being only separated by a few cones. The track also had 30 degrees of banking which at the time was ludicrously dangerous. 

The track was used between 1922 and 1970 where the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) called the track unsafe. There were three fatal crashes in 1933 with the cars being launched into the air, killing thre drivers instantly. The track was then redesigned to the layout we know today with the old layout of the track being abandoned.

“69 spectators were killed as cars flew off the race track”

The Nasty Nurburgring

The Nurburgring or as it was called in Germany Grüne Hölle (Green Hell) with its violent history making the track's name well earned as it took the lives of 52 drivers. The late and great Niki Lauda was involved in a horror injury but somehow managed to get out in time. What’s more, 69 spectators were actually killed as cars flew off the race track. 

The track was used from 1951 to 1976 which means that it is the longest lasting track on the list but it also holds the title of the largest death count of any track on the Formula One calendars, past and present. The track was deemed as unsafe for Formula One cars having crazy inclines and declines, including a straight with a 30 degree incline. This was a travesty of a track with the FIA saying that it was “threatening to life”. Now the track has been left to decay in the forests of South West Germany.  

With Formula one having many deadly and outright stupid track ideas, the turbulent history of tracks you wonder if the dangerous years are over. However, with the advanced safety features and better track regulations and conditions, the future looks bright as we move into a new era of Formula One! 


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