Formula One got its start almost a century ago, tracing its roots far back into motoring history with the races that were held amongst the inter-war years in Europe, according to espn.co.uk, and its history is a long and storied one, rich with countless milestones that have changed the face of the car industry drastically, forming it into what we see today. Over the many decades, and especially since the mid-'40s, has Formula 1 seen quite the bumpy road to success.
Many car manufacturers entered the race, but due to high prices, according to espn.co.uk, Ferrari remains the only manufacturer to have consistently raced every year since the beginning. Pair that with the high injury toll, especially early on in the history of Formula 1, and it really is a tribute to the persistence of passion when it comes to all things motoring, especially racing. Lotus was one of the biggest contributors to the advancement of the F1 car, having consistently made huge improvements over the years, especially in regards to downforce and cornering speeds.
From about the '70s on, according to espn.co.uk, Bernie Ecclestone rearranged the commercial side of the races, turning it into a billion dollar global business. This massive financial success had further led to the improvement of F1 cars, alas the sport no longer became about the drivers and more about the teams with the most money. In any case, it's a phenomenal sport, and the tracks that have been abandoned are of great interest to many, so let's take a look at 15 abandoned F1 tracks.
15 Abandoned Fuji Track
This wide banked turn is a typical feature of F1 tracks, but there's no way that an F1 car would be able to drive on this wide abandoned turn, it's too destroyed by the rigors of time and the elements.
The moisture year after year has created cracks in the pavement, and then green plants have started growing within those cracks, only making them wider. The result is a paved surface much too uneven to be driven on at racing speeds. To do so would be quite dangerous, perhaps even lethal.
14 Broken Down Street Circuit In Valencia
This F1 street circuit in Valencia has seen better days, as it has been fenced off and left behind, to be abandoned and forgotten, as if it never even happened at all. A street circuit is a lot different than the tracks specifically built for F1 races.
Street circuits are often set up only for one part of the year when they actually hold the race. The most famous and well-known street circuit is the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. But the street circuit in Valencia has sections of it that are closed off from the public, which have fallen into ruin.
13 Dilapidated Colorful Curves
Sections of the Valencia street circuit are left in complete ruin, with areas like this one falling apart into pieces, with the shrubs and foliage growing in the shoulder, collapsing it into disrepair.
Valencia is a pretty awesome city in Spain. There's a bunch of pretty incredible restaurants and people, as well as some awesome architecture in the City of Arts And Sciences along the river in the center of the city. When I visited I didn't know there was an abandoned F1 track, if I did I probably would have explored it.
12 Empty Champagne Circuit
No, this circuit doesn't have free champagne, nor is it a part of the races that every driver drink champagne while they're racing. No, this F1 circuit is found in the Champagne region of France, which is inland from the north coast, pretty close to the center of the country.
This extensive architecture built up around the start line of the race has since been abandoned, but seems to be kept pretty well preserved, despite the fact that the track is no longer used in F1 races.
11 Forgotten Viewing Rooms France
This viewing room pavilion lies just off-set from the track of an abandoned F1 track in France, lit up in the evening glow and golden light of a European sunset. It's clear that the pavilion is in disrepair.
The paint is all faded and chipping with cement showing through in most places, the glass is broken out of a few windows, and there's no one or anything in sight, in any direction. Indeed, the beautiful roar of F1 engines has scarce been heard on this track in the last few decades.
10 Ghostly Remnants Of Reims Gueux
While this abandoned Grand Prix track has long since been left behind to fall into disrepair, the fact is that it was once one of the most influential and well-loved circuits of them all, having seen a number of changes over its lifetime.
According to circuitsofthepast.com, "The long straights were a test for these engines, but the twisty part with some very fast sweeping corners and elevation was a real challenge for the drivers. This combination made the circuit very popular."
9 Here Lies The Sudschleife
Almost everyone who is even slightly familiar with cars or the motoring industry will have heard of the Nurburgring, one of the longest and most challenging racing courses that the world has yet seen.
But, most will not have heard of the Sudschliefe, the smaller cousin of the Nurburgring, as it has been closed down for quite a while now, and since been erased in many parts, making it difficult to track down. Pun intended. But when it was open it was used for F1 training and such.
8 Closed To Cars
This F1 track has been in ruins for quite some time now, never open for any races or any driving, but it has remained open as part of a tourist attraction, where you can view the track from above or from the ground.
The fences are up to keep cars from driving on the track, as the banked turn could prove to be quite dangerous, no longer smooth but warped and bumpy. A big enough bump could easily send any car, F1 or not, spinning and crashing down to the bottom of the embankment.
7 Long Bank Of Sitges Terramar
Sitges-Terramar circuit is an old F1 track that is no longer in operation as a race location but has been abandoned and left behind, to rot and decay and fall into ruin. This one is located near Barcelona in Spain, and much like the Valencia circuit, if I had known that it existed I would have visited it when I was in Sitges.
According to circuitsofthepast.com, "In 1923 the Autodrome was the scene of the Grand Prix of Spain. The race was won by Albert Divo in his Sunbeam after a stunning wheel to wheel fight with Louis Zborowoski." His average speed was 97.5 miles per hour.
6 More Of The Sudschleife
The folks at speedhunters.com took the time to explore the virtually unknown and abandoned track located just next door to the Nurburgring, the Sudschleife, which was once used for Grand Prix events when it was still a functioning track.
There are certain parts, according to the article on speedhunters.com, that is almost impossible to find, and it's extremely easy to get lost trying to trace the route of the original track. In fact, parts of it are next to roadways or completely erased.
5 Old Monza Bank
The old Monza Grand Prix track has fallen into ruin in recent times, though once it was one of the greatest F1 tracks that had been made, and one of the most famous. It's the home of the Italian Grand Prix, according to circuitsofthepast.com, and a truly iconic course.
But, this section of it from the original circuit has not kept up with the times and fallen into disuse and disrepair. If you'd like a taste of racing history, set foot on this wide abandoned embankment.
4 Quick Laps Around Clermont Ferrand
The Clermont-Ferrand circuit is one of the many tracks that have been built and then abandoned in France, the country that many consider the birthplace of motor racing. According to speedhunters.com;
"Clermont-Ferrand is located in the center of France, deep in the mountainous Massif Central region. The surrounding landscape looks like it’s been forged by Vulcan himself, savagely ripped through by a sawtooth chain of dormant volcanoes." Talk about a fun place to lap an abandoned circuit.
3 Rusted Out Barriers
This picturesque photo of an abandoned F1 track depicts the large bank that's part of the old Monza track, in a section that has been sent into disuse for many years. The barrier has rusted out, and the concrete has taken a host to vegetation.
This would be a stunning walk in the evening, and a great opportunity for some great photographs. This person thought just so and captured the angle and swoop of the huge embankment flawlessly, all backset by vibrant green foliage.
2 Sanctioned Off For Abandonment Monza
This part of the Monza track has clearly been abandoned, not only because of the state of the cement, which is sprouting all kinds of vegetation and plants amongst its many cracks and holes but also because of the huge fences blocking the way.
These fences prevent anybody from racing on this track, as doing so would be quite dangerous, with the warps and uneven surface. In a large embankment going a hundred miles an hour while sticking to the side of a steep wall, there's no room for bumps, as they'll send you careening off the top, or crashing down to the bottom.
1 Crumbling F1 Valencia
The Valencia street circuit has not been used for a race in quite a long time, nor has it been used for really anything at all. Closed off with fences, the only people who get into here are the ones willing to.
Anyone else just carries on with their day, never bothering to know what this abandoned circuit has to offer, dilapidation and ruin aplenty. These street lights are both fallen over, perhaps due to vandals. It makes for a fascinating scene.
Sources: ESPN UK, Speed Hunters & Incrediglobe