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Spa-Francorchamps 2016

The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of the oldest tracks in the racing calendar, having held various forms of Grand Prix as far back as 1924.  The original track was by far the longest in the calendar, standing at a huge 14.9km, and featured a variety of dangerous corners. Over the years, the track has been shortened and some of the corners eased for safety reasons.

In 1983 the track was revised down to its current length, - though this still makes it the longest track of this year's calendar. It sticks out as a favourite for many drivers, in part due to the incredibly picturesque setting, which sits in the far east of Belgium.

Track Fact
The sheer size of the track presents its own issues, and it is left open to the variable European weather. This means it could be raining on one side of the track and completely dry on the other - a nightmare for any team. 

Hungary 2016

Though Budapest and Hungary have roots in motorsport dating back to the 1930's, it wasn't until 1983 that Budapest were entered in to the sport. At first, a street race was proposed through the country's capital, but eventually it was decided that the best option would be an entirely new circuit 19 miles away. Set in the deep valleys of Mogyoród, the Hungaroring provides spectacular views for spectators and a thrilling race due to the twisty,turning nature of the track.

The first Grand Prix, held here in 1986, was a huge success with over 200,000 visitors through the weekend. Since then, the track has gone on to provide many memorable races, such as in 1990 when Thierry Bousten beat Ayrton Senna by a margin of just 0.288 seconds.

Track Fact:
There are plenty of interesting stats surrounding the Hungarian Grand Prix - for example the last driver to win here who went on to win the Championship here was Michael Schumacher in 2004. And, if Lewis Hamilton secures pole position this weekend it will be his 18th in a row - the second most ever secured by a driver.

Britain 2016

The Silverstone circuit started life as an aerodrome, like many of the racing circuits in England. After the end of WW2, the interconnecting runways and taxi roads formed the basis of the Silverstone track. The first British Grand Prix was held here in 1948, and the very first World Championship took place here two years later.

Over the years, the event has been held alternately at Aintree and Silverstone, and then Brands Hatch. In 1971, the entire 720-acre plot at the site was bought by the British Racing Drivers' Club, and redeveloped to add in a new chicane and pits.

Silverstone had a reputation for being one of the fastest circuits on the calendar, and in 1991 overhauls were made to the track in order to make it safer.

Track Fact
Nigel Mansell won an emphatic victory here in 1987 after beaing Nelson Piquet. On his slowing down lap, the car ran out of fuel on the track and ecstatic fans couldn't help but mob the exhausted Mansell.

Austria 2016

The first Austrian Grand Prix was held in 1970, at the Osterreichring in Spielberg. However, the origins of the track stretch back around 20 years before, on a track created in the local town of Zeltweg by motor racing enthusiasts.

Eventually, a purpose-built track was constructed to hold the Grand Prix, and the Grosser Pries Von Osterreich was born. The sport proved immensely popular in Austria thanks to successful superstar drivers such as Jochen Rindt and Nikki Lauda.

The track was removed from the racing calendar in 1987 and fell in to disrepair, until it was reopened under the A1 Ring name almost 10 years later. Since then the track has undergone numerous redevelopments, it is known today as the Red Bull Ring.

Track Fact
Despite the popularity of Austria's two famous drivers, neither won a Grand Prix on their home turf until 1984, when Nikki Lauda won the race upon return from his retirement.

European Grand Prix 2016

June 2016 will bring the first race in Azerbaijan, with the capity city of Baku hosting what is said to be the fastest street circuit of the season.

The track has been designed by renowned architect Hermann Tike who expressed that they wanted to create a track that was unique which showcased the city of Baku with the beautiful seaside promenade and the impressive government house all combining the perfect backdrop for a spectacular new track.

Canada 2016

The track for the Canadian Grand Prix was construction in 1977, built on the incredible success of the late Gilles Villeneuve (whom the track was later named after). As both a time and money-saving solution, the track was put together by connecting up sections of road on the Notre Dame Island, an artificially -built island in the middle of Montreal's Saint Lawrence River.

The first race to be held at the newly constructed track was won by Gilles Villeneuve in a memorable race. It was his first race with new team Ferrari, and his first ever victory. The finish line to the circuit now bears the words, 'Salut, Gilles'.

Despite Villeneuve winning his first grand prix here, Michael Schumacher holds the track record, with seven victories to his name.

Track Fact
Groundhogs can sometimes cause a problem at the track, and before the grand prix starts city officials catch as many as they can and retreat them to safety.

Monaco 2016

Monte Carlo is a track the truly separates the men from the boys. The twisty, serpentine nature of the Monaco-based course requires hawk-like reactions and an unprecedented level of bravery. It brings out the technical skills of each and every driver, and for that reason it has become the most notable track in the racing calendar.

The tight street-based set up has a number of implications. Firstly, there's little room for error. Unlike most tracks there is no run-off area, just row upon row of Armco barriers which clad each wall of the track - and one mistake means that you're out of the race. Secondly, overtaking becomes next to impossible, ensuring that qualifying becomes more important than ever.

The track is also renowned for its jaw-dropping surroundings. 50 metre-long superyachts line the marina, baking in the Mediterranean sun, whilst the rich and famous populate the winding streets.

Track Fact
The key to achieving a competitive lap time at Monaco lies at Portier corner.  It precedes the famous tunnel, which is the only flat-out section of the track in which to make up important ground. 

Spain 2016

The Spanish Grand Prix circuit is one of the most widely recognised circuits, having been used consecutively since 1991. The track also serves as a testing area for teams over the colder months - probably in no small part down to the warmer climate - but also because of the track's challenging nature.

A bumpy, uneven surface and an eclectic mix of high and low-speed corners means the drivers never have an easy run, no matter how familiar they are with the track. It's a nightmare for the teams, as the abrasive surfaces and strong cross-winds that plague the track means that tyre wear is higher than normal. One of the best overtaking opportunities resides in the final turn at Elf Corner, a location that the crowds love for its great views.

Track Fact:
In the 24 races which have been held there over the years at the Barcelona-based circuit, the most successful driver has been Michael Schumacher, who has claimed six victories.

Russia 2016

One of the newest circuits in the calendar, Sochi held its first Grand Prix in 2014. Work on the track began in 2010 after a 30-year campaign to get the Grand Prix held in Russia, in an area which runs through the Olympic Park. The Sochi winter Olympics were also held in the same year as the first Grand Prix.

However, don't be fooled though by the 'newcomer' label. Drivers found themselves pushed to their limits thanks to plenty of wide, high speed corners. On the longest straight the cars reach upwards of 330 km/h (205 mph), whilst Lewis Hamilton averaged a speed of 213 km/h during qualifying.

Track Fact
Because of construction issues, the surface of the track wasn't laid until the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympics had ended - giving them just over six months to get the circuit completed.

China 2016

Opened in 2004, the site of the Chinese Grand Prix was built to be at the very height of technology, with a unique and symbolic architecture. Modern it may be, but the track has firm ties in Chinese heritage.

The track itself is shaped like the character 'shang' which means 'above' or 'high' - and even the team buildings are shaped like pavilions to resemble Shanghai's ancient Yuyan-Garden. The twisting shape of the track means that there are areas of rapid acceleration and deceleration, which places a huge demand on the drivers. They are interspersed with two long straights, on which drivers can reach in excess of 300km/h.

The main grandstand of the Shanghai International Circuit makes the Grand Prix fantastic for spectators, and gives a view of almost 80% of the entire circuit. 

Track Fact:

The Shanghai-based circuit was the most expensive track to build in the race calendar so far.

Australia 2016

The Melbourne Grand Prix circuit has been a popular destination in the racing calendar since 1996. This season, the track is of crucial importance as it holds the first race of the 2016 schedule - it's the first chance to see the new cars in action. Melbourne is renowned for having a fast, smooth run, and is a great proving ground for the cars which have just come out of development over the winter period.

The track is contained within Melbourne's picturesque Albert Park, and parts of the public path are even used on the track - one reason why lap times can be so quick. Around 400,000 people turned up to watch the inaugural race in 1996.

Track Fact
During the race, Martin Brundle launched his car into the air in a spectacular crash three turns in to the first lap, giving the track instant worldwide attention as drivers (including Brundle) dashed back to the grid to restart the race. Interestingly, the Melbourne Grand Prix has never been won by an Australian.

Bahrain 2016

Similar to the Chinese Grand Prix, the first race was held here on the calendar in 2004. It offers a unique driving experience thanks to the way that the width of the track varies at the end of each straight. The 15 corners on the track provide three genuine overtaking opportunities - making for an exciting race.

The track visits varied terrain - heading out on to an external desert area, before heading back to the oasis-style infield and grandstands. There's even a purpose-built media centre which can accommodate around 500 journalists. The grandstand can hold over 100,000 spectators over the course of a race weekend.

Track Fact:
During the build, over 12,000 tonnes of stone were used to construct the track. Around 4,000 tonnes of this was Welsh Granite, which is known for its adhesive qualities that make it ideal for use on a racetrack. The same material is used at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Abu Dhabi

The first twilight race in the history of the sport, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has certainly made an impact since its introduction in 2009. One of the most advanced circuits of its type, the Yas Marina paves the way for future races with the latest techniques and track design. In fact, the track has seen top speeds of 320 km/h and average speeds of 195 km/h, which make it one of the fastest races in the calendar.

The longest straight in the calendar, combined with a series of tight corners ideal for overtaking, means the Abu Dhabi is last but certainly not least. The epitome of comfortable viewing, each grandstand is fully covered from the burning desert sun, and the circuit's 40 garages are fully air conditioned.

Track Fact: Over 4,000 tonnes of rock and stone aggregate was shipped over 4,000 miles from a quarry in Shropshire to create the track surface!


The Brazilian Grand Prix was first held in 1973 at Interlagos, as Brazilian driver Emerson Fittipaldi began to have success on an international scale. A permanent fixture in the calendar from then on, Interlagos went on to hold the next five races, before switching to the Jacarepaqua circuit in Rio de Janeiro until 1990.

A race often late in the calendar, Brazil is always known to throw up a few surprises. In fact, of the 32 Grand Prix events held here, only 11 have been won by the driver in pole position. In 2013, Sebastian Vettel was crowned champion after the race - and every world champion in the current line-up has clinched one of their titles here.

Track Fact:
Over the years, five Brazilian drivers have triumphed at Interlagos: Emerson Fittipaldi, Jose Carlos Pace, Ayrton Senna, Nelson Piquet and Felipe Massa. Fellow Brazilian Rubens Barrichello had 19 attempts at winning, but recorded 11 DNFs in the process.


The Mexican Grand Prix - held at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez - was built upon the success of brothers Ricardo and Pedro Rodriguez, pioneers on the Mexican motorsport scene. It was often the final event in the race calendar throughout the late '60s, popular for its long straights at turns 14 and 3. Many championships were decided here, such as a three-way title fight in 1964 which made it a firm favourite.

The challenging circuit returned from a 16-year hiatus in 1986. The rough surface of the track still proved a difficult one to master, and led to a number of crashes throughout the years on the notorious banked Peraltada corner. Returning for the 2015 season, the surface has been upgraded, and corners altered to meet the demands of today's extremely technical cars.

Track Fact
Despite its history, the track will be a first for every driver at the 2015 Grand Prix. The oldest driver on the grid, Kimi Räikkönen, only began his career in the sport in 2001 nine years after the last Mexican Grand Prix.


The USA Grand Prix returned to the racing calendar after a five year break in 2012. Back with an all-new track, the Circuit of the Americas, the USA GP promised one of the most dramatic races in the calendar with over 20 turns. The shape takes inspiration from tracks all over the world, and takes advantage of the drastic elevation changes in Travis County of up to 40 metres. A huge crowd of over 115,000 watched the track's inaugural Grand Prix.

There is a steep incline towards the first turn, where the track's signature hairpin bend helps to separate the oncoming pack. Other noticeable features include the 1 Km straight between turns 11 and 12, allowing driver to build up significant speed before a sharp right-angle turn. Jensen Button described the track as 'spectacular'.

Track Fact: The COTA borrows elements from famous tracks such as Hockenheim's stadium section, and Österreichring's Sebring-Auspuffkurve. The approach to corners is deliberately wider to encourage different racing lines among drivers.


The historic Suzuka Circuit was built by Honda in 1962 as a test facility. One of the more recognisable track layouts, Suzuka has been in the racing calendar since 1987 (with a couple of exceptions in 2007/8), and has proved popular with both spectators and drivers alike. This is thanks to some of the most challenging corners in the calendar, including the notorious 'spoon curve'.

Famous incidents here in the past have included the collision between bitter rivals Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in 1990. The corner collision took the top two drivers out of the race, securing the 1990 World Championship for Senna in an instant. A theme park stands in the middle of the track, with the park's famous big wheel taking pride of place.

Track Fact: Suzuka is one of the few tracks in the world to feature a 'figure of eight' layout, with the track crossing over itself via an overpass.


One of the newest circuits in the calendar, Singapore held the first ever night race in 2008 and went on to become a firm favourite with drivers and fans alike. Driving at night means the entire track is illuminated by daylight-recreating artificial light; a real visual spectacle amidst the stunning backdrop of Singapore.

The grandstands and spectator areas can seat up to 80,000 fans. Based on city streets in the Marina Bay area, the course features several testing hairpin bends and a number of straights. A safety car (which has always been a Mercedes-AMG) has been deployed in every Singapore Grand Prix to date due to how closely knit the drivers can be early on in the race.

Track Fact: At 23 laps, the Singapore Grand Prix has more corners than any other track, which results in it being the longest race in the calendar at an average of almost two hours. 


Part of the inaugural season in 1950, Monza has been hosting various forms of Grand prix since 1922 and was the third permanent race track in existence today.  A course that combines speed and skills, Monza is known affectionately as La Pista Magica - or the magic track.

For many, the iconic 'L'-shaped course is the embodiment of the Grand Prix. Monza has played host to some of the most spectacular victories in the sport, as well as some of the most well-known disasters. It's no coincidence that it has been a permanent fixture on the calendar for over 50 years (with the exception of 1980, when Imola was used instead).

Track Fact: Italian manufacturer Ferrari have claimed the most home wins at Monza over the years, with 19 victories overall.


The Kuala Lumpur Circuit, as it currently stands, has been in use since 1999. The track, which is designed as one of the most technical circuits in the calendar, was constructed to be the envy of the world over at the time of its production.

The track is very much one for the drivers. Designed by Herman Tilke, who has designed such circuits as the Shanghai international Circuit, the track mixes a combination of four high-speed straights and a number of tight bends. Importantly, it's also extremely wide which makes it great for overtaking. This, mixed with the heat and humidity of the Malaysian weather that drivers have to endure, makes for an interesting spectacle.

Track Fact
In 2009, the race was ended early due to torrential rainfall. It ended up lasting just 55 minutes - the shortest Grand Prix at the track so far. Sepang is constructed almost like a stadium, with large areas of crowd seating which give the circuit an 80,000 seat capacity.