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Formula 1: from worst to best, we have ranked the 24 circuits of the 2024 season

The great Formula 1 circus resumes.

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Formula 1: from worst to best, we have ranked the 24 circuits of the 2024 season

The great Formula 1 circus resumes. The 24-stop world tour begins in Bahrain. Never has an F1 season lasted so long. Should we be happy about this? Very fast circuits will be followed by more demanding tracks; urban settings - more and more numerous - will precede eccentric playing fields; the old glories of asphalt resist the nouveau riche of bitumen; the madness of the night prepares the afternoon naps. A Formula 1 season is a patchwork of colors, sensations and emotions.

However, not all circuits are worth raving about. There are the boring ones, the overly selective ones, the routine ones. Conversely, tracks provoke exhilaration, madness and pleasure. 24 circuits for 2024 and a ranking to help you find your way. Le Figaro has grouped and prioritized all the Grand Prix thanks to a clever mix of three sectors rated out of 20: the history of the race, the technicality of the circuit and the spectacle offered.

To comment on our choices, we asked the voice of F1, Julien Fébreau, who is entering his 11th season on Canal. His judgment is fierce and teasing: “It’s a disaster. You’re bad,” he laughs in an interview he gave us. This is called a head to tail. Do like him and don’t hesitate to stop by the comments booth.

“Bling-bling”, “fake” and “boring”. This could be the definition, in English, of one of the latest born wanted by the American owner, Liberty Media. Responding more to marketing needs than sporting desires - increasing the popularity of the discipline across the Atlantic, the Miami GP was put on the calendar in 2022. A failed asphalt, turns without great difficulty - a less sexy Sochi - and no suspense (two victories for Max Verstappen in two editions, including one after starting in 9th position...). Nothing to do with Miami (sorry) - its rating of 9.3 out of 20 proves it. The spectacle is rather before the race: international stars on the starting grid, arrival of drivers in boxing fight style and fake marina. In the realm of “Entertainment”, you might as well prefer Las Vegas and Monaco...

A nighttime Grand Prix perfect for falling asleep.

Americans are lucky. They have had three races per season for the past year. If Miami is very overrated, Austin shines with its boredom. The circuit itself has qualities: a significant difference in altitude, a first blind corner and a series of difficulties in a dizzying first sector. A giant “Roller Coaster”. And yet... The race, placed at the end of the season, is not exciting: we don't overtake, there is never rain and there is no symbolic force. We much preferred Indianapolis and its famous “banking”. “Austin no power.”

“Mexico, Mexico, under your singing sun, hi. Time seems too short to enjoy the happiness of each day.” Luis Mariano offers the best soundtrack for this colorful GP where the fans only have eyes for the local boy, Sergio Perez. Lots of straights, slow turns and a triumphant entry into the stadium. The start is THE big moment of the race. In 2021, Verstappen achieved the feat of the century by overtaking the two Mercedes thanks to an ultra-late turn. And in a GP, when you only remember the start, it's often a bad sign...

Sainz won a very intelligent victory there by lowering his speed to protect himself from his competitors. Apart from that, we will note a big cheat by Renault: Nelson Piquet Jr. intentionally crashes his car to encourage the recovery of his teammate Fernando Alonso. Singapore or against.

The atmosphere there is exceptional, the public being committed to the cause of the native of the country, Max Verstappen. He is undefeated on this circuit since the return of Zandvoort to the calendar in 2021. Despite an interesting “banking”, the circuit is dispensable. The gate to Zandvoort.

Its 18th place is explained by its absence from the calendar since 2019, due to Covid. However, on closer inspection, this fast circuit, with the longest straight of the year, offers great overtaking opportunities. Its first two very demanding sectors take a toll on the tires. And it's one of the favorite tracks on the official F1 video game of one of the authors of this ranking.

Opening the season since 2021, the Sakhir circuit is the first highlight: the single-seaters compete with real performance, without pretense. Pre-season testing takes place on this track. The pilots are therefore regulars. The hairpin bend before the third DRS zone is one of the most difficult of the season. For the memories, apart from the Homeric battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen in 2022, we still wonder how Romain Grosjean was able to emerge alive from his terrible accident in 2020. 28 seconds of hell: in a vital impulse, he manages to extracted from a burning single-seater and cut in two. A good reminder that despite the “show”, the glitter, F1 is a dangerous discipline.

The latest addition to the great F1 circus, Las Vegas is a promise and a revelation. First of all, the promise of a great magical show. Stars, lights, entertainment... It’s Disneyland! A revelation: if the circuit is rather classic, its first edition impressed: overtaking (including a final by Leclerc on Perez), suspense (despite the victory of the Vegas Ace - do you get it?) and the fight. What more ? To see over time... but we bet it will last.

Best moment of the Monaco GP? The qualification where the drivers take the maximum risks between the rails to take pole and the sides where the stars rush. It’s stress and glitter. For the rest, boredom is often present. It is almost impossible to double (no overtaking in 2003 and 2021). Sometimes the rain adds a little spice to a very bland dish. There are of course fantastic memories: the straight 400 meters from the finish of Brabham in 1970, the victory of Beltoise in 1972, the demonstrations of Senna (and his crash in 1988), the triumph of Panis in 1996. .. Despite the low suspense, the routine and the competition from newcomers (Miami or Las Vegas), Monaco, with its legendary Sainte-Dévote, Mirabeau, Rascasse, wins every time. And for good reason: for drivers, a victory in the principality is equivalent to a world champion title.

Fast and nervous circuit, this Austrian GP is a roller coaster from which you come out of breath. Long straight lines, slow turns, elevation gain and a second twisty sector. A real pleasure for viewers, even if it is difficult to produce a memorable race, except when the rain gets involved like Vittorio Brambilla's victory in 1975. The only memory that stands out immediately: the GP of shame. In 2001, after leading the entire race, Rubens Barrichello let his teammate, Michael Schumacher, pass during the last lap, who took the victory. Embarrassed, the German puts the Brazilian on the first step of the podium. In Spielberg, very bad cinema!

Also readCarlos Sainz and Sergio Pérez: the “Iznogoud” of Formula 1

If it had ten more editions, Jeddah would definitely be in the top ten. The 2021 edition is on everyone’s minds. The daggers drawn duel between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen offered an XXL inauguration to this umpteenth city circuit. Verstappen's mutant qualifying lap - who hit the wall at the last corner -, the three crazy starts and the clash between the two competitors for the title. A baptism of fire for a very demanding circuit, fast and with blind turns (27 in total).

A legendary track, particularly with its “Wall of Champions”. Located after the last chicane, the “Bienvenue au Québec” wall saw a number of cars smashed. His victims, illustrious world champions: Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. Three DRS zones, slow corners, quite a few chicanes, the circuit is one of the best across the Atlantic. There is fighting, sometimes complicated starts (the huge crash of 1998 with the Wurz rollovers) and daring overtaking. But also tension: unfairly sanctioned, Vettel rebels in 2019 by reversing the position signs at the finish. The icing on the cake: for some time now, the Canadian GP has been scheduled during French election evenings. Enough to win all the votes.

The eye-catching GP. It's early when the 20 cars set off on this Formula 1 classic. The start and first lap are often spectacular: you have to warm your tires well during the formation lap. Many drivers abandoned their ambition for victory in the gravel at the first corner. Old-fashioned gravel traps, which leave the clumsy no chance: stuck in the sand, the car is lost for the race. A fast and rhythmic circuit, where the “undercut” pays off, Albert Park has often opened the season and set the tone for the year.

For years, the Barcelona circuit served as a test track for drivers who could race almost with their eyes closed. The arrival of Bahrain changed the situation. After a long straight, the first sector is a demanding whirlwind with an uphill mini-chicane, a long fast corner and two demanding braking stops. We keep in mind turn 4, witness in 2016 to a frank camaraderie between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, putting an end to the little cordiality that remained between the two Mercedes drivers fighting for the title and offering Verstappen his first victory in F1 . The second sector is simpler and the third has been redesigned with the removal of the last chicane. One rule is simple with Barcelona: if the car runs fast and well on this circuit, then it is a natural candidate for the title.

One of the craziest races of the season. Overtaking, accidents, safety cars... The Azerbaijan GP, ​​on the calendar since 2016, offers its share of spectacle. We remember the clashes between two Red Bull drivers in 2018, the explosion of the tires of Stroll and Verstappen in 2021, the straight from Hamilton or the fantastic resistance of Gasly against Leclerc. It's an atypical circuit: built in the city, it combines speed (a huge almost straight line to hurtle down hard for more than 2 kilometers), technical (the cars brush against the rails) and slow (the second sector is very winding). This year, the big thrill of Baku will take place in September to add some pep to the season.

Watch out for stiff necks. Slow circuit that goes around and around and around. Real physical tests, these 4.4 kilometers swallowed 70 times are exhausting. There is only one real straight line making overtaking difficult. “Hungaboring” though? No, because there is always something happening in Budapest. The exploits of Senna, Mansell, Hill or Ocon - who signs a memorable victory in 2021. Performances which alternate with spectacular accidents like Barrichello's exit from the track in 2003, Bottas' strike in 2021. Without forgetting this crazy image of 'a Lewis Hamilton, eight-time winner here, starting the race alone that same year.

Abu Dhabi, December 12, 2021. Without doubt the GP of the century. At the start, two drivers tied before the final race. Tension throughout the weekend. A nail-biting clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen with muscular overtaking, dedicated teammates (we need to review the heroic defense of Sergio Perez) and a never-before-seen outcome. After the tension, the drama and the exhilaration. On new tires, the Dutchman overtook the Briton, on worn tires, and won his first world championship title in the last lap. For this unique moment alone, Yas Marina deserves to be in the top 10 of our ranking.

And to think that F1 did without this race for more than 14 years... Among one of the rare pieces of good news from Covid, the return of this legendary race in 2020 - the GPs took place in Europe. From the top of 3,337 kilometers, 19 legendary bends gaze down at you. The names click like the exhaust of an MP4: Rivazza, Acque Minerali, Piratella or Tamburello. Ah, Tamburello... On the 1st of 1994, the circuit turned into drama, the unreal but also the legend. Ayrton Senna, the darling of Brazil and Formula 1, left the track and lost his life at the age of 34. Very demanding, narrow, slow and fast at the same time, Imola offers a return to the saving past. On May 19, emotion will be at its height: we will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of the icon of the discipline.

The temple of speed and history. Monza is always an event. The bursts of speed are dizzying, the two legendary chicanes and a final parabolic that gives you chills. Memories come rushing back and forth. The coronation of Lauda or Stewart, the first victory of Prost with Ferrari, the first success of Schumacher with the Reds, the triumph of Charles Leclerc within the Scuderia. Because Monza rhymes with Forza. The transalpine public only vibrates for this event making the Grand Prix unique. The podium above the crowd on the starting line is full of emotion. And let's not also forget Pierre Gasly's victory in 2020, the first by a Frenchman in 24 years. A moment of rare jubilation. Italian countryside as we like them.

Perhaps the regret of this ranking. Why is this legendary Grand Prix which saw Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost scrapping to the point of excess or Mikka Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher exchanging their world champion titles not on the podium? Beyond the history, the circuit is undoubtedly one of the most demanding tracks in the paddock. The first sector, fast turns with lots of elevation changes, sets the tone. The last sector and its cult chicane, where Senna hit Prost in 1989 - he will be disqualified - is one of the most beautiful of the season. Every mistake comes at a high price and the weather can add to the madness. Or drama. In 2014, Jules Bianchi hit a tow truck and died from his injuries. He was 25 years old.

There is something unreal and irrational with this GP. Is it the fact that it spins counterclockwise? Should we explain it by its position as the last race of the season for a very long time? Or the fervor of the Brazilian spectators and the soul of Senna who roams the 4.3 kilometers? A little bit of everything at once. This race suits these F1 fanatics perfectly: madness, uncertainty and passion. The 71 laps go by at breakneck speed. The rain, recurring during this period, brings fury to madness. It's the slide. Here the titles are made and broken: Alonso against Schumacher in 2006, Raikkonen against Hamilton and Alonso in 2007, Hamilton against Massa in 2008 (while the Brazilian thinks he will be titled before Hamilton overtakes a final car in the last sector), Button against Vettel in 2009. And what about the victories of the children of the country Senna in 1991 and Massa in 2006 and 2008. The “S of Senna” but also “S” for sublime.

In the Holy Trinity of classic and historical circuits, Spa occupies a special place. The longest circuit of the season offers a roller coaster of thrills: the start is spectacular and dangerous (like in 1998), the steep slope is frighteningly fast (you are prohibited from removing your foot from the accelerator pedal), the straight de Kemmel which leads to Les Combes is an invitation to be daring, the second sector is a succession of technical turns, the last part of the track is more classic - although with a very complicated chicane. Spa has been the scene of incredible Grands Prix. We will cite Schumi's misfortunes: a spectacular accident with David Coulthard in pouring rain and an incredible overtaking of Mika Häkkinen three abreast with Ricardo Zonta as a privileged spectator. Have you never watched a GP? Sit in front of your screen on July 28. As for the drivers, the American Dan Gurney explained that Spa-Francorchamps made it possible to differentiate “between men and little boys”.

The total circuit. Silverstone (rated 18.7 out of 20) is history, glory, spectacle, madness, suspense. On the F1 calendar since 1950, this 5.9 km circuit is a compendium of rhythm, speed, demands and technique. The names of the turns are memory boxes. Woodcote, Copse, Maggots, Becket, Becketts, Chapel, Stowe. Rarely does a circuit accumulate so many qualities. Is it any wonder that each edition offers incomparable moments of emotion. The British drivers are celebrating (eight victories for Hamilton). Alain Prost has triumphed there five times. The accidents are numerous and impressive: the pile-up caused by Jody Scheckter in 1973, the broken leg of Michael Schumacher in 1999 (which cost him the title), the puncture and the incredible finale of Hamilton in 2020, the muscular mano a mano between Hamilton and Verstappen in 2021, Zhou's dramatic surge in 2022... The rain brings an additional dose of uncertainty. To the delight of (tele)viewers. This British GP is a real drug: “Stone, the world is Silverstone!”

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