To anyone vaguely exposed to car racing history, the tracks where F1 Grand Prix races take place are familiar names. The one just about everyone knows, is within the city of Monaco on the French Riviera. The Monaco Grand Prix first took place through the winding city streets in 1929. F1 returned when the series came into being after the Second World War, and today the Monaco race remains the centerpiece of the season.
But other tracks also resonate with history: Monza, located in a suburb of Milan, for instance, is even older than Monaco as a track, and holds as big an attraction for racing fans.
Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, less than an hour's drive from Liege, is one of the most spectacular and historic tracks. It winds through the Ardennes forest, and for the drivers it is a kind of roller coaster.
From 2000 to 2007 Formula 1 also raced at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500. That is certainly one of the most famous tracks in the world, along with Monaco, but only really for its Indianpolis 500 race. The Formula 1 race, while attracting massive crowds, was never really a huge success. Formula 1 cars are not built to race on oval tracks with banked corners. So the speedway was redesigned for the F1 race, with part of the infield being used for the track.
These days, Formula 1 has moved away from many of its traditional tracks and locations in order to become a true world series represented in every part of the world. In the past decade, tracks have sprouted up around the world, growing in size, quality and location. In fact, Grand Prix racing tracks have become phenomenal works of architecture and sporting facilities like none other on earth. From Bahrain to Shanghai and from Kuala Lumpur to Istanbul, the new tracks are a representation of the sport as it enters the 21st Century.