The best corners in Formula 1

Monaco. (Photo by Andrew Hone/Getty Images) Formula 1 is the most popular racing sport on the planet.

It is where the very elite, world class drivers compete. The Grand Prix tests every aspect of a driver’s ability and the car’s mechanics. It forces top speeds. It requires perfect cornering and the right tyre technique. It has everything. That’s why the F1 calendar is so exciting. Every course offers something different and a new challenge.

Formula 1 doesn’t just test the drivers. It tests the ability of the mechanics to craft the perfect racing vehicle. It tests their ability to create a car with the fastest acceleration. They need to design the best possible handling through the corners and perfect braking. Once the car is handed over to the driver, it’s down to their ability and their bravery. The single biggest challenge in Formula 1 is the corners.

Most think that F1 races are won and lost on the straights. They think it’s how fast your top speed is and how much time you make up on fastest parts of the course. The complete opposite is true. Races are won and lost on the corners. Lap times depend not on how fast you take the straight, but how fast you take the corner. The perfect cornering technique requires skill, judgement and guts. Corners are usually one of the crucial parts of the course for overtaking. For that reason, they are the ultimate test.

Below are the six most testing corners in Formula 1. They are legendary. They have seen some of the best overtaking manoeuvres. At the same time, they have seen some of the most devastating crashes. Each one is testing, and each has its own history. If you are that way inclined, you can test these yourself in some cases. Many tracks open their doors and you can take your own RRG Suzuki. Follow in the tyre tracks of your favourite racers and see how fast you can take these corners.

Eu Rouge (Circuit Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium)

So called because of the bloody history of the course. In World War II, the area was famous for one of the bloodiest battles. The history of which is remembered around the Grand Prix. The Eu Rouge corner (Red Water), is perhaps the most famous corner in F1. The difficulty of its right, left squirm is only matched by the gradient of the hill. It is a true test of nerve to complete this at high speeds. Not only must you take the downhill corner blind, you must then come back uphill on the opposite turn. It is a test of skill and guts like no other on the F1 calendar. It has been the scene of some of the worst crashes in F1. It is feared and respected like no other corner.

The Parabolica (Monza, Italy)

Monza is adored because it is one of the fastest courses in Formula 1. What would you expect from the Italians who also brought us Ferrari and Lamborghini? The course is affectionately nicknamed the Cathedral of Speed. This is mostly thanks to its huge finishing straight. This particular straight has seen nail biting finishes and devastating overtaking manoeuvres. However, the straight is only so iconic because of the corner that precedes it. The Parabolica is the final turn before the finishing straight and it is one of the longest. Drivers take the long turn at around 200kph and it requires serious skill to get it right. The exit speed here is crucial to pulling the highest possible speeds down the straight. Get it wrong, and you’ll be overtaken on the line. The pressure to take this corner perfectly is phenomenal.

Turn Eight (Istanbul Park, Turkey)

One of the newest courses in the F1 calendar also boasts one of the more difficult corners. Although many bemoan Istanbul Park because of its boring course, this corner is a highlight. In fact, the course was designed by Hermann Tilke, who many claim has designed many a boring course. Turn Eight is an argument against this, however. Turn Eight is probably the longest corner in F1. Drivers’ experience 5G for up to seven seconds. It must be executed perfectly with the right amount of drift. Get it right, and you make up some serious ground. Get it wrong and you’ll lose race position.

130R (Suzuka, Japan)

The Japanese Grand Prix is always a thrill. This is most due to its positioning in the year. More often than not, championship titles are decided in Japan. It leads to a tense race with a lot riding on every single corner. None more so than 130R. The corner was originally so difficult and so dangerous, that it was redesigned. It still remains the fastest corner in racing and one of the most dangerous. With so much pressure on the drivers at the Japanese grand Prix, this corner is a true test of champions. It is still highly dangerous and has seen many horrific crashes.

Mirabeau (Monaco)

Monaco is loved and hated by racing fanatics. The iconic track is stunning with its luxurious yachts, casinos and hotels littering the track. In fact, most turns are named after the luxury hotels that stand over them. However, Monaco can be a tedious race. Overtaking options are limited and racing positions rarely change from the qualifications. However, there is one small gem in the course and that’s Mirabeau. It is one of the only places on the course that you can overtake. For that reason, most of the difficult manoeuvres are attempted here. If you can get to Monaco to watch the race, this is where you want to be. It is the corner where the Grand Prix is won and lost. Monaco has its fair share of good corners. The Fairmont Hotel Hairpin, for example, is the slowest corner in racing. Many racers love it for this reason.

S do Senna (Interlagos, Brazil)

This corner is a particular testing one for drivers. This is because it requires true skill. The corner sits at the top of a long, uphill slope. The entry positioning is crucial as entry speeds are generally slow. Drivers often struggle with the understeer and collisions are frequent.

In Formula 1, the straights might offer the tight finishes, but all the excitement is in the corners. They are where the best overtaking manoeuvres happen. It is where the drivers are under most pressure. It’s where races are won and lost. These six are the best corners in F1 and probably the best corners in racing.

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