5 Reasons why Baku's contract extension is good for F1
It was announced that the Azerbaijan Grand Prix will remain on the F1 calendar until at least 2023. The controversial Baku Street Circuit has been a part of the Formula 1 season since 2016, first as the European GP, and then the Azerbaijan race from 2017.
The Street Circuit is located in the centre of the Azeri capital and has attracted criticism because of its Turns 8-11 "Castle" section, which is deemed as too tight for modern F1 cars. There have been a lot to complaints, not least after the boring 2016 race, but the last two years have provided thrillers.
Some would like to see the Azerbaijani race removed from the motorsport calendar, but here are five reasons why this extension is good news for the pinnacle of motorsport.
#1 It's an unpredictable Grand Prix
It's a fascinating factoid that Force India's Sergio Perez is the only Formula 1 driver to has finished in the top 3 twice during the event's brief history. That means that Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo etc... haven't achieved this feat in the three years the Grand Prix circus has been visiting.
This is despite the Mexican not driving for a top team, and he was the only man who didn't drive for Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull to finish on the podium in 2018. That was in Azerbaijan, a late puncture for Valtteri Bottas and a mistake for Vettel handing the now-Racing Point driver third place.
Other eye-catching moments have been Vettel and Hamilton's clash, Lance Stroll's podium, Ricciardo's epic triple overtake in 2017, Hamilton's first win of the season and Romain Grosjean's embarrassing crash, both in 2018.