The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has produced many iconic moments over the years at the Baku City Circuit. The track is one-of-a-kind amongst the rest; find out about its history and what makes it so special.

Last updated: 12/1/23 at 11:00 am

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has only been around since 2016, but it has quickly become one of the most loved races on the F1 calendar. Every year is something different and provides a level of unpredictability and entertainment unlike any other race.

The Baku City Circuit itself is unique amongst its peers for multiple reasons, and here we list those reasons, along with what makes each race so great. Be sure to continue reading to find out about the circuit and race.

About the Baku City Circuit

Baku Cityscape with Flame Towers
Photo by Lloyd Alozie / Unsplash

Azerbaijan is a wonderful country, with the Caspian Sea to its east and the Caucasus Mountains to the west. The capital city of Baku is the commercial hub of the country. Sitting on the farthest east point of the country, it provides a beautiful backdrop for one of the strongest GP’s in Formula 1.

The Baku City Circuit is a street circuit, but unlike others of the same, like Monaco or Singapore, it comes with plenty of overtakes and exciting action. It is a very fast track, with sections where the drivers can really put their foot down and reach remarkable speeds.

Running past some of the city's most iconic features, such as the Old City, the Palace of Shirvanshahs, and the Government House of Baku, the Baku City Circuit is uniquely brilliant.

The track is the third longest on the calendar, behind Spa-Francorchamps (Belgian Grand Prix) and the Jeddah Street Circuit (Saudi Arabian Grand Prix). However, it does feature the longest straight from any circuit.

Pits for the 2021 Baku F1 race.
Image: Photo by Jacob Capener / Unsplash

Running along Neftchilar Avenue, the start/ finish straight is a 2.2km (1.4 miles) long straight, with the slight kinks that do count as corners considered as part of the straight as the drivers take the run from turn 16 up to turn 1 flat out, reaching speeds of around 220 mph - although in 2016, Williams claimed to have data that showed Valtteri Bottas reaching 235 mph.

As for the rest of the track, the Baku City Circuit consists mainly of many 90 degree corners. And then there is the castle section, featuring the narrowest corner on the calendar.

The difficult section at its tightest is just 7.6 metres wide - enough for two cars to go side-by-side, but unsurprisingly no two ever have. Turn 8 up to turn 12 is a wriggly uphill section that has seen multiple crashes, including Charles Leclerc in 2019.

As a whole, the Baku City Circuit is not for the faint hearted, and requires the utmost bravery to be able to master every corner.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix history

The first race at the Baku City Circuit was in 2016, when the GP was labelled the European Grand Prix instead of what it is known now as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Every race weekend since 2016 has featured some sort of unpredictable or uncommon event. The most iconic moment of which happened in 2018, when then-Red Bull teammates Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen had a major collision, taking both drivers out of the race.

2022 was possibly the most straight-forward Azerbaijan Grand Prix, with no major crashes and the only surprise being a double-DNF for Ferrari, as both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz had to retire from the race due to car issues.

The 2020 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was cancelled and was not part of the revised calendar, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Azerbaijan Grand Prix winners

There has been a different winner for every single Azerbaijan Grand Prix, adding to its unpredictability.

Nico Rosberg won the first edition in his title winning 2016 season, and is also the only driver to pick up a Grand Slam victory there (pole position, race win and fastest lap).

As for the split between constructors, it is an even 3-3 for Mercedes and Red Bull (if you include the 2016 European Grand Prix).

The full list of winners looks as such:

  • Nico Rosberg - 1 (2016)
  • Daniel Ricciardo - 1 (2017)
  • Lewis Hamilton - 1 (2018)
  • Valtteri Bottas - 1 (2019)
  • Sergio Perez - 1 (2021)
  • Max Verstappen - 1 (2022)

Hamilton, Verstappen and Bottas all could have been two-time race winners if it weren’t for individual incidents that happened during other editions that cost them the race win.

For Hamilton, he could even have been a three-time race winner, but unfortunately Formula 1 is often a fickle sport.

When is the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

The 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend will start on Friday 28th April, with raceday coming on Sunday 30th April. The start time for the race will be at 12:00pm UK time.

It will be the fourth Grand Prix of the season - originally meant to be the fifth, until the scheduled Chinese Grand Prix was cancelled.

Something new for the circuit this coming season is that it will be a sprint race weekend, meaning the traditional qualifying format is replaced with another shorter race on Saturday to determine Sunday's start positions.

It will be the first of six sprint race weekends this season, with the other five being:

How to get Azerbaijan GP tickets

Hopefully by now you are more informed on the Baku City Circuit and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and are excited for the F1 circus to go there in late April. If you’re thinking about experiencing the action in person, why not look at upgrading your experience by going for premium Baku City Grand Prix hospitality?

With a Baku City Grand Prix hospitality package, you will be the envy of the other fans in attendance, for you will be getting a grand experience for the raceday.

A Ferrari makes his way up the final straight to the start/ finish while a Williams passes by on the other side of the track
Image: A Ferrari and a Williams pass by on either sides of the track

Seat Unique are pleased to be able to offer these premium packages for the race, with various packages available for you to choose from.

Be sure to enquire your interest in which Baku City Grand Prix hospitality package you would like so we can contact you about further details for the package.

Enquire about Baku City Grand Prix hospitality

Be sure to check out all of our availability for Formula 1 hospitality in the 2023 season, as well as alternative motorsport hospitality and premium tickets on offer.