New Formula 1 Grand Prix that flopped. From Korea to West Berlin
This coming weekend, Formula 1 will hit Qatar for the first time in history. It is not yet known how successful the idea of holding the Grand Prix at the Losail track is, but the promoters are very serious: a couple of months ago, a ten-year agreement was signed to hold the Qatari stage, which begins in 2023. Apparently, the Queen of motorsport comes to Qatar for a long time, which can already be considered a good achievement. After all, the history of F-1 remembers a considerable number of Grand Prix projects, which did not manage to gain success.
“Buddha International Circuit” – Indian Grand Prix
In the late 1990s, the F-1 management cast their gaze on the poorly known, but terribly promising Asian market. To some extent, we can say that in those years the Eastern era began in the Royal Races. First, the Formula 1 calendar got a stage in Malaysia, then the fastest pilots in the world visited a number of other Asian countries for the first time, and in 2011 the Queen of motorsport finally made it to colorful India.
In those years, the appearance of the Indian stage looked absolutely logical, if not even mandatory. In the 2000s, the racing community unlocked new characters in the person of Narain Kartikeyan and Karun Chandhok, plus Vijaya Mallia’s relatively successful project began to stir up a stir. In other words, India simply could not be left without its Grand Prix.
In 2007, Bernie Ecclestone signed an agreement with the Indian Olympic Committee to host the country’s first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix. Local promoters sorted out a bunch of options as a site for the future track – from Calcutta to Mumbai – and ended up settling on an area 40 kilometers from New Delhi. In 2011, the “Buddha International Circuit” was put into operation, and on October 30 of the same year, a Formula 1 race was held in India for the first time in history: Sebastian Vettel became the winner, as in all subsequent Indian Grand Prix.
After the debut race, the Queen of motorsport came to India two more times, and then their history of relationship came to an abrupt end. The local taxation system, in fact, buried the prospects for the Grand Prix. According to Indian law, Formula 1 is not considered a sport, but belongs to the entertainment industry, for which it is subject to income taxes of an unheard of proportions. Ultimately, tax history determined the fate of Royal Racing in India, and in 2013 Formula 1 cars made their last tour of the Buddha International Circuit.
Korea International Autodrome – Korean Grand Prix
Unlike India, the organization of the F1 stage in Korea initially looked like an extremely dubious decision. However, the small domestic market and the extremely low popularity of Formula 1 within Korea could not frighten off Bernie Ecclestone, and in 2009 a seven-year contract was signed to host the Korean stage. Interestingly, work on the construction of the country’s first Formula 1 race track began just a year before the debut Grand Prix. The Korean side assured the F1 bosses that the track would be commissioned on time, but in reality everything turned out to be somewhat more complicated.
Already in the spring of 2010, the first rumors spread that the Korean builders were not meeting the deadlines. On the part of executive Koreans, it was a real organizational failure. All this uncertainty ultimately negatively affected the Grand Prix ticket program: local promoters had to sell tickets at the very last moment and at very low prices. As a result, the track received the green light to host the competition just 11 days before the start of the racing weekend!
Be that as it may, the circuit was ready for operation and the debut Korean Grand Prix took place on time. The historic race took place in heavy rain, which is why it turned out to be quite fun: Fernando Alonso became the winner of the first Korean Grand Prix after the rivals from Red Bull.
In the future, the circuit in Yonam will host the Formula 1 stage three more times, after which the Koreans will lose interest in the Queen of motorsport. The Korean side simply could not make money on such a costly event, which was held too far from Seoul, so it was decided to abandon the home Grand Prix.
Pescara – Pescara Grand Prix
The track, which runs on public roads, hosted extra-odd Formula 1 races back in the early 1950s. And in 1957, in search of a replacement for the canceled Belgian stage, the F1 leadership drew attention to the city circuit in Pescara. So the Italian track had the honor to host the official stage of the season.
The first and only Grand Prix in Pescara history was surrounded by a frenzied excitement: 200 thousand people watched the race live on the streets of the city. And this despite the fact that the stage was missed by local favorites in the person of the Ferrari team (Komendatore protested against the discussed law banning urban races in Italy).
Despite the wild popularity among the local population, the Pescara Grand Prix had almost no chance of entering the world of Formula 1 on a permanent basis. Still, the city track on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, even in the 1950s, was not very suitable for the Queen of motorsport: the circuit was incredibly long (25 kilometers – the highest figure in the history of F1) and dangerous. In addition, the legendary Monza has already managed to occupy its unshakable positions in the calendar of the Formula 1 season in the future, and the F1 simply did not have an urgent need for the second Italian stage (at least in those days).
American Stages: Caesars Palace Grand Prix, Dallas Grand Prix, US Grand Prix (Detroit & Phoenix)
Over the long history of Formula 1, the Americans have made several attempts to make friends with the Queen of motorsport, many of which ended in outright failure. In the early 1980s, American promoters decided that organizing the F1 stage in the United States was an incredibly promising idea, which was literally doomed to success. In the next few years, the formula public will get acquainted with four new American circuits, none of which have managed to gain a foothold in F1.
In 1981, the world’s fastest pilots came to Las Vegas for the first time to take part in a race through the casino parking lot. The second visit to the state of Nevada turned out to be the last: the track did not stand up to any criticism and quite logically left the world of Formula 1. It also failed to win the love of fans off the city track in the already fading Detroit. The same fate befell the track in Phoenix: only 18 thousand people attended the last race in Arizona.
But still, a separate line is to highlight the absolutely disastrous Dallas Grand Prix. The city track in Texas has become one of the worst in the history of the Royal Race in terms of quality. The riders criticized both the track configuration and the quality of the asphalt. A couple of hours before the start of the race, repair work was still underway on the track, and Lauda and Prost at this time generally persuaded their colleagues to boycott the race.
With grief in half, the race still took place. The only Dallas Grand Prix was won by Keke Rosberg, but the main character that day was Nigel Mansell, who passed out during a heroic attempt to manually push his car to the finish line.
“AFUS” – German Grand Prix
In 1959, the German Grand Prix hosted one of the most unusual circuits in F1 history, consisting of only two parallel lines, a hairpin and an incredibly colorful brick banking. In addition to the configuration of the circuit, its location was also unique – the racing track was located in West Berlin controlled by the American-British troops, that is, outside the FRG.
Despite its rich history, in 1959 “AFUS” (Automobil-Verkehrs und Übungs-Straße – road for traffic and exercise) hosted an official Formula 1 round for the first time. To be honest, it’s surprising that the Royal Races even got to such an original track. Indeed, due to the configuration features, the average speed of the cars during the race could reach a crazy 240 km / h! Moreover, the level of safety both for the pilots and for the spectators at the “AFUS” was extremely low. Also, due to too high rubber wear (thanks to banking), it was decided to split the race into two parts so that the riders had time to change wheels.
AFUS confirmed the status of an extremely dangerous autodrome even before the start of the Grand Prix: while participating in the support race, F1 pilot Jean Bera died while driving a Porsche. And already on Sunday, BRM racer Hans Herman got into a serious accident. Only seven pilots managed to finish in the race on “AFUS”, the fastest of which was the representative of “Ferrari” Tony Brooks. This Grand Prix for the legendary German track remained the only one held in the framework of the Formula 1 championship.