Circuit designer Zaffelli baffled by 'Frankenstein' copycat tracks

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Jarno Zaffelli, the man behind Zandvoort's recent redevelopment, says he is confused by the recent trend of copycat circuits.

For 25 years, Formula 1 has used designer Hermann Tilke to create and alter its tracks, but his end results have been mixed with great circuits like Sepang and Istanbul Park and not-so-great ones like Sochi and Abu Dhabi.

In some of his more recent designs, notably Austin's Circuit of the Americas, Korea's Yeongam and Vietnam's Hanoi street track, Tilke incorporated sections inspired by other venues.


But Zaffelli believes such an approach is misguided.

“I have never understood why people are haphazardly copying curves from different circuits, which they think ‘this is an epic corner’, without understanding why that corner was made,” he told RacingNews365.

“You can’t just copy a circuit because it becomes like a Frankenstein circuit. But it’s easier to copy than try to understand.”

Instead, Zaffelli literally takes a different angle to his work, looking at angles and particularly camber, as was evident with his work at Zandvoort.

And now more tracks, notably Albert Park, Paul Ricard and even Abu Dhabi are considering or already making changes with this in mind.

“You see now that other circuits are adopting our method where we make only minor changes to a track, instead of overhauling everything,” he added.

“Now that they do the same as us in Melbourne, I feel honoured that we are being imitated."

However, the Italian did warn...

“Now also see, for example, after Zandvoort that more circuits want that (banked corners)," he noted. "What they often do not understand is that the bend was a solution to a technical problem – they see it more as a gimmick.”