Baku welcomes F1 for the second time

Baku welcomes F1 for the second time

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The capital of Azerbaijan Baku welcomes the Formula 1 caravan for the second time. And this year the race will be for the Grand prix of the country and not the European Grand prix as it was in 2016.

The Baku track has a length of 6 km and is one of the longest and hardest in the calendar

It is part of the central seafront boulevards. But the track also passes through narrow streets around the old town and the famous Icheri Sheher fortress, the Maiden Tower and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs. The infinitely long “straight” from the last 16th to the first turn, as well as between the second and third turns, allow very high speeds (this year expected to exceed even 360 km/h).

“It’s going to be pretty exciting. I think some parts of the circuit are going to be very tight for the wider cars, but some other corners are going to be really nice to drive. Straight-line speed is going to be a bit down. I think it’s going to be a really cool track to drive with these cars”, Romain Grosjean said.

Daniil Kvyat claims it’s one of the most challenging tracks on the calendar

He also explained that the set-up is really complicated because of the urban infrastructure. The Azerbaijan Grand prix is almost like a second home race for him after the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi. Everybody speaks Russian (as this is a former republic of the USSR). The memory of the Union is still visible but quickly disappears. A large part of the older city has already been changed and the old buildings are being replaced by new, modern ones, parks and boulevards. A similar fate awaits other, even older areas of the city that have 200-years-old buildings. Locals tell that these streets remember a lot of history. But soon new constructions will appear – such as the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid.

The hosts are extremely kind and proud to welcome Formula One. Unlike other places, the whole city is adorned for the race. And it is not that small – there are over 2.5 million people officially living here. But people claim that the population is at least 4 million with just over 10 million people across the country and over 50 million scattered around the world.

The prices of the tickets are moderately high

The most expensive for the three days of the competition are up to about 700 manats – about Euros 350. The cheapest on the green areas on Sunday is Euro 75. The price of the tickets also includes the concerts – there will be 3. Tarkan will sing on Friday, Nicole Scherzinger and The Black Eyed Peas on Saturday and Mariah Carey – on Sunday. Over 80% of the hotels and apartments in the city are already filled. The organisers also expect many people from neighbouring cities – to arrive with cars at a price of petrol of about 30 euro cents per litre. Tickets for the city transport, which has many options, are 11 euro cents.

(Ivan Tenchev, Baku)

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