Fast facts ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Following a three-week break after the incident-filled Melbourne race, Formula One is back in action with Baku staging Round 4 of the 2023 F1 World Championship, the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. F1Technical's Balazs Szabo picks out the key moments of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Debut - Baku made its debut in 2016, introducing a new type of street circuit compared to slow street tracks. In contrast to the twisting layout and low average speeds associated with existing temporary tracks such as Monaco, the capital of Azerbaijan built its track around an impressive 2.2-kilometre-long main straight.
Leclerc – The official track record belongs to Ferrari's Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc who recorded a 1m43. 009 when the field visited the fabulous city of Baku in 2019.
6.003km – The Baku City Circuit is the third longest race track on the current Formula One calendar, only Spa-Franchorchamps and Jeddah lying ahead.
Eighteen – Lance Stroll was 18 years and 239 days old when he claimed his first podium finish during the 2017 Baku race. The Canadian was running second in the race, but he was then beaten by Valtteri Bottas, taking third in the end.
Six– So far, Baku has hosted F1 race on six occasions. The race has been won by different drivers each time. Nico Rosberg won the inaugural event in 2016, Daniel Ricciardo emerged victorious in 2017 while Lewis Hamilton took the victory in 2018 after inheriting the lead three laps from finish when his team-mate Valtteri Bottas suffered a puncture. The Finn finally came out on top in 2019 while Sergio Perez won the Baku race in 2021 after his team mate Max Verstappen lost an otherwise easy victory due to a puncture. Last year saw reigning champion Verstappen secure his first victory in Azerbaijan.
Mercedes and Red Bull territory – Mercedes and Red Bull have been the most successful teams in Azerbaijan so far. The Brackley-based outfit have won three times in Baku while Red Bull have also clinched three victories courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen.
Winds – The Baku City Circuit is known for its eventful races – that is what has made the still fresh addition to the race calendar one of the most spectacular races in its short history in the sport. Baku has the name of the City of Winds because it is windy throughout most of the year. According to the Azerbaijani mythology and beliefs, the constant winds are related to the struggle of Good and Evil.
What's the optimal strategy for the #AzerbaijanGP? 🇦🇿— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) April 30, 2023
These are considered the best options 👇 #Fit4F1 pic.twitter.com/5i0SBv4hnO
One-stop strategy- Pirelli thinks that the 51-lap Azerbaijan Grand Prix is a clear one-stopper, under normal circumstances. But there are two ways to approach it, and also a high safety car probability, which could turn things around entirely.
The easiest way is to start on the P Zero Yellow medium and then move onto the P Zero White hard. This gives a wide pit stop window and therefore plenty of options, making it a good conservative choice. Those wishing to try something a bit edgier could use hard to soft. Stopping two times is clearly the slower approach, but those opting for a two-stop strategy is expected to start on the medium before switching to the hard compound for the last two stints.
Two DRS zones – There will be two DRS zones in today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The first will have its detection point at the SC2 line while its activation zone will be at 54m after Turn 2. The second one will have a detection point at Turn 20 with its activation point located 447m after Turn 20 which means that the second DRS zone has been made shorter by 100m for this year.
Race distance – Drivers will need to complete 51 laps in total to cover the total race distance of 306.049km. The pitlane speed limit will be 80kph during the race.
Old a new - Baku as a city mixes the old with the new and the circuit shows off this blend well. Numerous modern high-rise hotels and skyscrapers are dotted around the circuit’s perimeter. But as magnificent as some of these structures are, none of them sit quite as close to the action as the fortress walls of Baku’s old city – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Seven – Shops are open seven days a week and generally open around at 10 a.m. and close around 10 p.m. Offices and banks are generally open between 9 a.m and 6 p.m. from Monday until Friday.
Sunrise – Baku is the first European city which the sun rises in.
Caspian Sea – Baku lies on the eastern side of Azerbaijan and is surrounded by the Caspian Sea which is the world’s largest lake. At 28 metres below sea level, Baku is the lowest lying national capital in the world.
3 million – Baku is home to 3 million people which makes it the largest city on the Caspian Sea and of the Caucasus region.
Neft Dashari – The city is famous for the unique Oil Rocks which is the largest inhabited and oldest oil city in the world, lying in the middle of the Caspian Sea.
City of Contrasts’ - Baku earned this title with having perfectly combined the beauty and intrigue of its ancient past with its ambition to establish itself as a modern European city featuring award winning architecture, business centres and skyscrapers.
Tipping – It is not expected across Azerbaijan but is common in Baku. Occasionally a service charge is included on the bill, particularly in more established hotels and restaurants.
Manat – The national currency is the Azerbaijani Manat. The Manat notes come in 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 denominations. Interestingly, it is not possible to exchange other currency into Manat in countries other than Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijani – That is how the official language of Azerbaijan is called. However, many people speak also Russian, Turkish and English.