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Formula 1 shift gears towards urban circuits: Damon Hill raises concerns

Damon Hill has raised concerns over the sport's increasing focus on urban street tracks, likening the trend to the ethos of Formula E following the news of the Madrid Grand Prix joining the calendar.

The recent declaration that the Spanish Grand Prix will shift to the streets of Madrid from 2026, potentially displacing Barcelona, has stirred debates within the motorsport community. While Formula 1 has yet to officially confirm Barcelona's fate, the move signals a growing inclination towards street circuits.

In 2024, eight out of 24 races are slated to take place on street tracks, a significant rise compared to previous seasons. This trend mirrors the approach of Formula E, which prioritizes races in city centres, with plans for a new Tokyo E-Prix in their upcoming season.

Hill, who clinched the World Championship title in 1996, expressed his apprehension regarding Formula 1's shift towards what he termed "restricted circuits." Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 podcast, Hill remarked, "This kind of move towards a tighter, twisty circuit, it is going in the direction of Formula E, which has chosen to have its races in city centres and also on very restricted circuits."

He further emphasized the importance of maintaining the excitement of racing amidst evolving demands from car manufacturers and environmental considerations imposed by governments. "I hope it will be an exciting circuit," Hill remarked. "The most important thing is that the racing is exciting and that the cars can race on there."

The discussion around circuit design and the future direction of Formula 1 has been amplified by drivers' opinions. Max Verstappen, following the announcement of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, expressed dissatisfaction with the nature of circuits, indicating a preference for different racing environments.

As the 2024 season approaches, Formula 1 enthusiasts eagerly anticipate the competition's evolution. Teams and drivers will reconvene after a hiatus, gearing up for the official pre-season testing at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir. The Bahrain Grand Prix circuit will host the first glimpses of the season's potential, as teams strive for dominance from February 23-25.

Read More: Mercedes reveal gruelling journey behind unveiling W15 for 2024 Formula 1 season (planetsport.com)

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