Hakkinen supports rising number of 'brilliant' city races in F1

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Two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen has voiced his support for the rise of "brilliant" city races in Formula 1.

Since Valencia and Singapore were added in 2008, the F1 calendar has seen the number of city-style circuits increase with the inclusion of events in Baku, Jeddah and Miami in recent years.

This year, eight races will take place on street-style tracks with the new Las Vegas Grand Prix promising to be one of the wildest yet.

And Hakkinen thinks it is only a good thing for the fans, in particular.

“We know the cities can offer so many attractions for fans,” the 'Flying Finn' told Top Gear.

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“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 an incredible atmosphere. So to have races in the cities, I think it’s brilliant.

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

But the shift towards city-based circuits hasn't been universally popular due to the lack of overtaking at places like Monaco and Singapore, while Max Verstappen was particularly vocal about his preference for purpose-built racetracks.

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

As for the aforementioned new race in Las Vegas for 2023, the circuit is set to be one of the fastest on the calendar with many long straights, including one down the famous Strip.

And that will be great for today's DRS-dominated style of racing in F1, George Russell admits the track may not be as thrilling for the drivers.

“It’s never simple driving a Formula 1 car around a circuit that’s as fast as this,” he told the crowd at a launch event last year. “I don’t think this is going to probably be the most exciting one to drive.

“But for you guys watching I feel like this race is designed for good racing, for overtakes, good racing, entertainment. And I think the race for us is going to be super-exciting. But to be honest, I don’t really care as long as we’re at the front.”