Famous Five... Longest Formula 1 circuits

18th August 2017
Henry Hope-Frost

Sixty years ago today, on August 18th 1957, the Pescara circuit that swept its way along the Adriatic coast and up into the surrounding hills hosted its one and only World Championship Grand Prix. And its claim to fame? The Italian venue became the longest to host a points-scoring Formula 1 race. And it’s a record that, six decades on, is surely never to be broken. 

These are the five longest circuits that have hosted races in the 66 years of motorsport’s premier series.

Pescara, Italy – 15.89 miles

Stirling Moss won for Vanwall by more than three minutes from the Maserati of points leader and polesitter Juan Manuel Fangio on this fast and challenging venue that would only host one World Championship Grand Prix.

Nürburgring Nordschleife, Germany – 14.18 miles

Perhaps the most famous of all the old-school, terrifying race circuits, the mythological Nordschleife, which wound its way round the Eifel mountains, hosted 22 German GPs between 1951 and 1976, when it was axed on safety grounds following Niki Lauda’s fiery shunt in the Ferrari. Its longest configuration was used between 1967 and ’76.

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium – 8.77 miles

The original Belgian rollercoaster that swept majestically through the Ardennes was an insanely fast road course that appeared on the inaugural World Championship calendar in 1950. After 18 races, it was replaced by the underwhelming Nivelles and Zolder venues before a much-dissected, although still, by modern standards, magnificent, version of Spa returned for 1983.

Monza, Italy – 6.21 miles

The Milan parkland circuit holds the distinction of hosting more World Championship Grands Prix than any other since 1950. On four occasions, in 1955, ’56, ’60 and ’61, drivers used a combination of the conventional layout and the steep banking in a giant, six-mile figure-of-eight. After the death of Wolfgang von Trips and more than a dozen spectators in 1961, the banking was consigned to history.

Sebring, United States – 5.20 miles

Best-known for hosting the arduous 12-hour sportscar race since the early 1950s, the bumpy Florida airfield circuit held just one Grand Prix, in 1959. Kiwi Bruce McLaren became the then-youngest winner for Cooper, while Jack Brabham secured his maiden Drivers’ Championship title after finishing fourth.

Photography courtesy of LAT Images

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