Overtaking is and always has been a core part of F1 entertainment.
The number of overtakes we see over the course of a season is dependent on a number of factors, such as the current regulations (and how easy or difficult they make it for cars to follow in close proximity) and the range of tyres being used (and how they affect teams’ race strategy.)
The tracks also impact the number of overtakes we see in any given race, as the design and layout determines how many overtaking opportunities drivers are likely to have over the course of a grand prix.
Generally speaking, if a track is very narrow and has few long straights, then overtaking is quite difficult for drivers.
On the other hand, tracks with plenty of long straights, many DRS zones and inviting corners make it much easier for drivers to perform overtakes in the race.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best F1 tracks for overtaking.
Shanghai International Circuit
The Shanghai International Circuit hosts the Chinese Grand Prix, and we often see plenty of overtaking action here.
The main overtaking points here are turn one and the long straight between turns 13 and 14.
This straight is over 1.3 kilometres long, and there’s a tight hairpin at the end of it, so it’s easy to see why we often see a lot of overtaking here.
One of the oldest F1 tracks, Monza is a fan favourite, as it has the highest average speed of any circuit on the Formula One calendar and the races here are often packed with overtakes.
Its design – a few long straights joined together by just a handful of proper corners – gives drivers plenty of opportunities to try to overtake.
The tight chicanes at turns one and two see most of the overtaking action, but we also see some brave overtakes into the high-speed Ascari chicane and at Parabolica.
Spa-Francorchamps is another F1 track which is very popular among fans.
It has been on the calendar for decades, and despite its design changing quite a bit over the years, the Belgian Grand Prix – the race it hosts – often has dozens of overtakes every year.
The best overtaking spot is down the Kemmel straight in the first sector and the bus stop chicane towards the end of the lap.
It’s also possible to make a pass into turn one, but this can leave drivers exposed down the long Kemmel straight which is home to the track’s first DRS zone.
These are just some of the best F1 tracks for overtaking – and it’s important to remember that there are other factors which influence how many overtakes we see in any given race.
Also, keep in mind that not all street circuits are bad for overtaking.
For example, the Baku City Circuit, which hosts the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, is great for overtaking and has hosted some of the most action-packed races of modern Formula One.
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