Mika Hakkinen publicly disagrees with Max Verstappen

The Formula 1 calendar has seen a sudden rise in street circuits over recent years, with the recent addition of Miami and Saudi Arabia.

Double World Champion Mika Hakkinen believes street circuits are “brilliant” for Formula 1, with tracks like Monaco giving fans the ultimate “luxury” experience that a “luxury business” like F1 can offer.

The 1998 and 1999 World Champion’s opinion on street circuits is the complete opposite to fellow double World Champion Max Verstappen, who recently told ViaPlay that driving the current generation of Formula 1 cars on street circuits is the “worst experience ever”.

With that in mind, Verstappen will likely not be a fan of the 2023 calendar, with a third of it being street circuits.

Hakkinen seemingly doesn’t understand why the likes of Verstappen are against racing on the streets of famous cities, like Baku, with the venues creating an “incredible atmosphere”.

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“We know the cities can offer so many attractions for fans,” explained the Finn, as per Top Gear.

“You have restaurants, you have shopping malls, you have beautiful hotels. People can look at the race from their balcony.

“And if people can stay in a boat, it’s a luxury. Formula 1 is Formula 1, it’s a luxury business, and people can enjoy incredible atmosphere. So to have races in the cities, I think it’s brilliant.”

In regard to the drivers, Hakkinen believes that the field are “paid” to “go flat out” on street circuits like the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, despite the obvious “challenges” that those sorts of tracks present.

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“It gives more challenges for the teams and the drivers,” said Hakkinen. 

“But you know, drivers, we are paid to take these challenges and bring a great show for the fans. Go flat out.”

The rise in the number of street circuits on the calendar has dramatically increased over recent years, with there having been a time when it was just Albert Park, Montreal and Monte-Carlo.

Nowadays, there is still Australia, Canada and Monaco, but also Azerbaijan, Miami, Las Vegas, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, with more in the future likely.

As big a fan as Hakkinen is of street circuits, he does believe the sport needs to find a “balance”, with the Finn recognising that “every race cannot be a city”.

“I think it’s just purely a balance,” added Hakkinen.

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“Every race cannot be a city, and every race cannot be out of the cities. So it has to be a balance.

“And it’s common sense: we know that street circuits require compromises, you cannot move big buildings, you cannot have huge hills and camber changes in the corners. You have to have compromises.

“Life is the same thing. We cannot have everything that we want.”