F1’s latest street circuit venue is making tangible progress towards becoming a reality according to FIA technical director Charlie Whiting, who paid a recent visit to the Azerbaijan capital.
The city is schedule to host its first F1 race under the guise of the European Grand Prix on 17th July next year, and as such will become F1’s third pure street venue alongside Singapore and Monaco.
While a number of logistical challenges remain to be overcome before the race is sanctioned by the FIA, Whiting told Autosport that he is happy with the progress made by the organisers and the seriousness with which they have approached development.
“I had a meeting with Hermann Tilke [circuit designer] in Belgium and apparently it’s all good. It’s not like a normal track being constructed, of course, because it is a proper, pure street circuit, and there are a few worrying points they are doing their best to overcome, but it’s going pretty much as planned I would say.”
“There have been lots of little bits and pieces which require civil works before they start building the track itself. They’ve had to change a lot of pavements, walls, and stuff like that, as they’ve had to move them out of the way to get a better trajectory into a corner and for the run-off areas. But from what I can gather they’re doing a good job.”
F1’s decision to race in Abzerbaijan has raised a number of political questions and met with disappointment from fans, with human rights campaigners calling on FOM not to stage a race in a country with such a questionable history of equality.
The FIA will make a final decision on the safety of the circuit and the facilities in early 2016.