Building a legacy

It happens sometimes. An unfinished project is announced and only with a first sneak peek everybody knows is going to fail. Race tracks are usually divided between lovers and haters, unless you don’t race it and feel a big indifference about it. F1 tracks has been until recent times clearly heterogeneous, from very different mindsets and designers. A race driver improvement here, some correction there, some security addon later, etc. A living being transforming and evolving during its whole life.

Herman Tilke is well known by his designer career, more than his former racing career where he raced and won some VLN races. He along with his company has been rewarded with the privilege to design and execute most of the modern F1 tracks since mid 90’s and at least in my humble opinion his work is atrocious.

Let’s make a review of his projects:

  • Sepang
  • Bahrain
  • Istanbul Park
  • Shanghai
  • Korea
  • Valencia
  • Marina Bay
  • Yas Marina
  • Buddh
  • Sochi
  • Baku
  • COTA

He also overhaul (broke) some others:

  • A1
  • Hockeheim
  • Nürburgring
  • Barcelona
  • Fuji

These all tracks have an incredible common issue. They feel exactly the same. Same corners, same straights, same apexes, same grandstands. A carbon copy one after another. You can start a lap getting a nice flow of the next couples of corners but sooner than later spell is broken and everything blown apart and lap unfolding itself to be eternal with more and more corners coming in a nonsense sequence.

Austin (COTA) is unanimously his worst job. You can ask as many drivers and simracers as you want and there is a high chance you get same answer. Some weeks ago I found this statment in iRacing official forums:

“All those corners to not make for a great racing experience. Indeed, any track which has 20 corners probably has five or six too many. It’s not just the number of corners either, it’s their placement. The circuit layout is perhaps best described as finicky, with lots of turns squashed up against each other, then vast stretches of unbroken free space set out in straight lines. It is track design as arrhythmic and atonal free jazz composition, the designers working so hard to impress their audience with their brilliance that it becomes indecipherable. Which is really just a way of saying that the track design is a mess.”


Those first two corners are some of the most challenging on the calendar. From there, the track enters Ornette Coleman Bizarroworld. You may like that sort of thing. Myself, I’m not a fan.”

That was David Emmet from but you can find endless commentaries about madness COTA is.

I understand F1 is a private company running a broken and fake competition as a wrestling show around the world. But we need to think about legacy of all these infrastructures surviving all his creators and being a monument to the wastage of a shameful age. Unfair politics and obscure companies come and go and nothing survive eternally, I hope something left then to be rescued.

One thought on “Building a legacy

  1. Completely agree about Tilke. His tracks all feel unnatural and forced. Artificial. I understand that newer tracks, especially ones built in flat areas, can’t be as natural and free-flowing as classic circuits designed around the contours of the land itself but they can at least make an effort. COTA is one of the worst, too, with it’s baffling strings of off-camber, awkward corners that make no sense given the topography of the land they’re built on. I really do not get any enjoyment from it at all and almost always skip racing during weeks taking place there.

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