RANKED: Top 10 classic F1 circuits to experience in 2023
Despite expanding to new and exciting destinations, Formula 1 retains a strong link to many historic circuits that have shaped the sport over the past 70 years.
As Formula 1 prepares to embark on its longest-ever season (24 races in 2023!) with exciting new destinations like Miami and Las Vegas joining the ranks of host cities, it’s worth remembering that the sport still visits many of its most historic and iconic circuits. In fact, four of the seven circuits Formula 1 raced on during the first year of the modern World Championship in 1950 - Silverstone, Circuit de Monaco, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps and Autodromo Nazionale Monza - are still part of the calendar in 2023! From old favourites to modern classics, here are 10 historic tracks worth ticking off your F1 bucket list in 2023.
1. Autodromo Nazionale di Monza
The oldest circuit on the Formula 1 calendar turned 100 years old this year! The city park circuit on the outskirts of Milan has hosted a round of the modern World Championship every year but one since 1950. Today’s superfast 5.8km layout retains many of the original corners from back then, though the banked oval section hasn’t been used since 1961. The scene of so many historic victories over the years, Monza retains a special place in the hearts of F1 fans, especially the ‘Tifosi’ of Ferrari. Why go? Electric atmosphere; stunning location in the heart of a large city park with easy access to the food, culture and history of Milan. Official Ticket Packages are now on sale for the 2023 Italian Grand Prix
2. Circuit de Monaco
Opened in 1929, Circuit de Monaco has always been an unlikely and impractical venue for top-flight motor racing. Yet the race in the tiny principality on the French Riviera remains one of Formula 1’s blue ribbon events, even though wheel-to-wheel racing is a little trickier given the increase in F1 car size over the years. Despite its limitations, Circuit de Monaco remains hugely challenging for drivers and an incredible spectacle for those fortunate enough to attend. Why go? Glamour, super yachts, people-watching and the chance to see modern F1 cars on the ragged edge at very close quarters. Secure an Official Ticket Package for the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix
Built on the site of a World War II airstrip, Silverstone was opened in 1948 and held the first race of the modern Formula 1 World Championship two years later with King George VI in attendance. Despite being rather flat and featureless, the fast and flowing circuit in the English countryside has delivered many of Formula 1’s most exciting races over the years. Firmly established as the sole host of the British Grand Prix since the late 1980s, Silverstone remains a supreme test of drivers’ skills and is also one of the best-attended races on the entire calendar. Why go? Passionate and knowledgeable local fans, friendly atmosphere and an action-packed event schedule, on and off the track. Official Ticket Packages are now on sale for the 2023 British Grand Prix
4. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
The ultimate test of a driver’s skills and nerve, the original Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps comprised 15km of hilly public roads in the Ardennes mountains. The circuit hosted the Belgian Grand Prix for the first time in 1925 and has remained a part of the F1 calendar since the advent of the modern World Championship in 1950. Safety concerns have been a recurring theme at Spa-Francorchamps, which was finally shortened to its current 7km layout in 1981, but not before it briefly lost its place on the calendar. Formula 1 returned to Spa in 1983, and this iconic circuit has been a near-constant F1 fixture ever since. Why go? Formula 1’s longest circuit offers exceptional trackside views and exciting racing in a beautiful corner of Western Europe. Join us at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix
5. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
On a cold day in October 1978, Quebec native Gilles Villeneuve took a hugely popular victory in the inaugural Canadian Grand Prix at the Île Notre-Dame Circuit. Built on a man-made island in the Saint Lawrence Seaway close to downtown Montréal, the circuit was renamed in honour of Villeneuve after a tragic accident claimed the Ferrari driver’s life at the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix. An almost constant presence on the calendar for more than 40 years, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has produced many memorable races over the years, including popular one-off victories for Jean Alesi (1995) and Robert Kubica (2008), and an extraordinary last-to-first win in treacherous wet conditions for Jenson Button in 2011. Why go? Better than average chance of an exciting race; French-speaking Montréal comes alive on race weekend with street parties and a warm welcome for visiting fans. Official Ticket Packages are on sale now for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix
6. Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Interlagos)
Opened in 1940, the Interlagos circuit in the southern suburbs of São Paulo has been the main venue for the Brazilian Grand Prix since 1973. Many of the early races ran on an almost 8km long layout were dominated by local drivers Emerson Fittipaldi and Carlos Pace, but complaints about the rough track surface and lack of safety measures saw the Brazilian Grand Prix move to Rio de Janeiro during the 1980s. Formula 1 returned to a shorter and safer version of Interlagos in 1990, and the circuit has featured on the calendar every year since, aside from 2020. Interlagos has a well-deserved reputation for producing close and exciting racing, especially when it rains, and has also been the scene of many exciting championship showdowns since moving to a late-season calendar slot in 2004. Why go? Great trackside views, exciting racing and the chance to explore São Paulo, Latin America’s largest city. Secure your access now for the 2023 São Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos.
The first and only race held behind the Iron Curtain made its debut on the 1986 Formula 1 calendar and has been held every year since. Only Monza can claim a longer continuous presence on the F1 calendar than the Hungaroring! The tight and twisty circuit on the outskirts of Budapest has delivered more than its fair share of exciting races over the years, and the Hungarian Grand Prix remains a popular summer fixture on the European F1 calendar. Why go? Warm weather, excellent spectator views and close proximity to the affordable and vibrant city of Budapest. Attend the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest with F1 Experiences.
8. Red Bull Ring
Formula 1 racing on the circuit known today as the Red Bull Ring dates back to 1970 when the Austrian Grand Prix was first held at the 5.9km Österreichring. The fast and dangerous layout that F1 first raced on remained for 18 consecutive years before its safety shortcomings were exposed by the hugely powerful turbo cars of the mid-1980s. The Austrian Grand Prix made a relatively brief return to the calendar (1997-2003) on a much safer and shorter version of the circuit known as the A1-Ring, but it wasn’t until Austrian energy drinks magnate Dietrich Mateschitz took control in the late 2000s that the future of the circuit was assured. After significant renovations, the renamed Red Bull Ring made a popular return to the F1 calendar in 2014. Why go? Excellent organisation, unbeatable trackside views and a friendly welcome in the beautiful Austrian countryside. Secure an Official Ticket Package for the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
9. Suzuka Circuit
Opened in 1960 as a test track for Honda, Suzuka has been the home of the Japanese Grand Prix since 1987. A favourite among drivers and fans alike, Suzuka’s unique ‘figure of eight’ layout has produced some of the most exciting F1 races of the past 35 years. As one of the final races on the calendar for much of its existence, the Japanese Grand Prix has also been the scene of multiple championship deciders, including infamous accidents between title contenders Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna in 1989 and 1990. Why go? Excellent trackside views, passionate local fans and the chance to experience Japan’s unique history and culture. Official Ticket Packages are on sale for the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka
10. Circuit Zandvoort
Circuit Zandvoort hasn’t featured on the F1 calendar nearly as often as some of the other classic F1 tracks on this list, but there’s no denying the Dutch circuit’s outstanding pedigree. Opened in 1948, it’s still the only Dutch circuit to have hosted Formula 1. Located in the sand dunes next to the North Sea, Zandvoort staged the Dutch Grand Prix 30 times from 1952 to 1985 and was the scene of memorable drives from Wolfgang von Trips, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Zandvoort fell off the calendar in the mid-1980s and it wasn’t until 30 years later when Dutch driver Max Verstappen burst onto the scene that serious talks about reviving the classic circuit began to take place. The Dutch Grand Prix finally returned in 2021 to a rapturous welcome from the ‘Oranje Army,’ who were rewarded with a victory for their local hero. Why go? Excellent organisation, lively trackside atmosphere and the chance to spend time in one of Europe’s finest cities, Amsterdam. Secure an Official Ticket Package for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix at Circuit Zandvoort
Autodromo Imola (home of the 2023 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix) and Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez (home of the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix) didn’t quite make the top ten, but have been hosting Formula 1 racing for over 40 years. Among more recent additions to the calendar, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (home of the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix) and Albert Park (home of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix) are fast becoming modern classics.