Hermann Tilke says the new Baku City Circuit (BCC), which hosts this year’s European Grand Prix, will be the “world’s fastest” street racetrack.
Azerbaijan’s inaugural Formula One race is scheduled to take place on June 17-19 – the same weekend at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Having already overseen the building of all modern F1 tracks, leading circuit designer Tilke and his team started working in downtown Baku in June 2014.
With the event now only a few months away, Tilke promises the new layout will present drivers with an unprecedented challenge.
“Baku City Circuit stands out due to many factors,” the 61-year-old told the circuit’s official website. “Baku will be the world’s fastest city circuit and the track loop around the city’s historical centre will create a unique and remarkable atmosphere for fans watching in the grandstands and at home.
“The City Circuit of Baku is located in a vibrant city. The streets are really narrow and this is exactly what makes it so appealing.”
“There is no track like Baku City Circuit, it will be one of the most exciting ones on the calendar.
“Even when compared to city circuits, [it] is unique.”
Tilke and his team expect F1 drivers to lap around Baku in the 1min41s though it will depend “on the individual set-up of the racing cars and on the developments of this year’s new cars.”
Earlier this year, falling oil price fuelled allegations that the European Grand Prix was under threat, with Azerbaijan suffering massive economic loss and its currency – the Manat – greatly devalued. BCC chiefs moved swiftly to dismiss the allegations and recently confirmed that preparations were in full swing.
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was named as an ambassador for the event and said he was confident that Baku will be “the most memorable circuit on the F1 calendar this year.”