GRAND PRIX CHALLENGE: DRIVING GUIDE by Jamie Stafford/Wolf Feather FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM Initial Version Completed: March 11, 2003 Version 2.0 Completed: March 30, 2003 ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== JOIN THE FEATHERGUIDES E-MAIL LIST: To be the first to know when my new and updated guides are released, join the FeatherGuides E-mail List. Go to for information about the list and to subscribe for free. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== CONTENTS Spacing and Length Permissions Introduction Assumptions and Conventions Gameplay Modes AI Levels Race Order: 2002 Season Tuning Options Grand Prix Challenge Mode General Tips F1-speak Driving Tips: Braking Driving Tips: Cornering Driving Tips: Rumble Strips Driving Tips: Concrete Extensions Driving Tips: Coasting Driving Tips: Drafting/Slipstreaming Driving Tips: Wet-weather Racing/Driving Traction Control and Handling Options Traction Control and Tires Traction Control Tests Team Vehicle Differences Grand Prix Of Australia: Albert Park Grand Prix Of Malaysia: Kuala Lampur Grand Prix Of Brazil: Interlagos Grand Prix Of San Marino: Imola Grand Prix Of Spain: Catalunya Grand Prix Of Austria: A1-Ring Grand Prix Of Monaco: Monte Carlo (Temporary Street Circuit) Grand Prix Of Canada: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Grand Prix Of Europe: Nurburgring Grand Prix Of Great Britain: Silverstone Grand Prix Of France: Nevers Magny-Cours Grand Prix Of Germany: Hockenheim Grand Prix Of Hungary: Hungaroring Grand Prix Of Belgium: Spa-Francorchamps Grand Prix Of Italy: Monza Grand Prix Of The United States: Indianapolis Grand Prix Of Japan: Suzuka Circuit Histories Circuit History: Albert Park Circuit History: Kuala Lampur Circuit History: Interlagos Circuit History: Imola Circuit History: Catalunya Circuit History: A1-Ring Circuit History: Monte Carlo Circuit History: Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit History: Nurburgring Circuit History: Silverstone Circuit History: Nevers Magny-Cours Circuit History: Hockenheim Circuit History: Hungaroring Circuit History: Spa-Francorchamps Circuit History: Monza Circuit History: Indianapolis Circuit History: Suzuka Diagrams Wrap-up Contact Information ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== SPACING AND LENGTH For optimum readability, this driving guide should be viewed/printed using a monowidth font, such as Courier. Check for font setting by making sure the numbers and letters below line up: 1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012 ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz ============================================== PERMISSIONS Permission is hereby granted for a user to download and/or print out a copy of this driving guide for personal use. However, due to the extreme length, printing this driving guide may not be such a good idea. This driving guide may only be posted on: FeatherGuides,,, Games Domain,,,,,, RedCoupe,,, The Cheat Empire,,, Gameguru, CheatHeaven, IGN,,, Infogrames Australia,,, and Please contact me for permission to post elsewhere on the Internet. Should anyone wish to translate this game guide into other languages, please contact me for permission(s) and provide me with a copy when complete. Remember: Plagiarism in ANY form is NOT tolerated!!!!! ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== INTRODUCTION Grand Prix Challenge is the latest F1-based game to come to the North American market, and it is definitely one of the best the PlayStation2 has seen to date. EA Sports has dominated F1-based PS2 games in North America, but with its great F1 franchise coming to an end, Atari has come up to the starting grid with Grand Prix Challenge, which is both friendlier to the newcomer to F1 racing games and adaptable enough to accommodate a nice array of F1 gaming experience. This is not to say that this is the 'next' V-Rally 3, Atari's take on rally racing. V-Rally 3 is certainly excellent in its own right, but Grand Prix Challenge is not quite up to the level of V-Rally 3. Nonetheless, even casual F1 gamers should find a healthy mixture of fun and challenge in playing Grand Prix Challenge. Please note that some of the information in this guide comes from my F1 2002: Driving Guide, General Racing/Driving Guide, and Pro Race Driver: Circuit Histories Guide. ============================================== ASSUMPTIONS AND CONVENTIONS Most race circuits outside the United States name most corners and chicanes, and even some straightaways. Where these names are known, they will be referenced in the Notes section of each circuit's suggested set-up. These names have been gathered from course maps available on the courses' official Web sites, my memory of how F1 races have been called by American TV sportscasters (Fox Sports Net and SpeedVision, in 1999-2001, and Speed Channel in 2002), and/or from the Training Mode of F1 Championship Season 2000 (corner/segment names are listed at the bottom of the screen). To the extent possible, these names have been translated into English. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== GAMEPLAY MODES There are six gameplay modes available in Grand Prix Challenge. Each has its own 'quirks,' whereas some features are common to most if not all of these gameplay modes. Quick Race Here, the player can participate in a single race, but the player will automatically begin the race in last position. Beforehand, the player can select a race venue, AI and handling difficulty, a team, and a driver. In Quick Race Mode, car tuning is not permitted, which could give the player a severe handicap compared to the rest of the cars in a race depending upon the car/team and the circuit selected. Grand Prix This is a full grand prix weekend, from practice to qualifying to warm-up to the race itself. Beforehand, the player can select a race venue, AI and handling difficulty, a team, and a driver. Championship This is the entire 2002 F1 season in order; essentially, this is a set of seventeen consecutive Grand Prix Mode events. Time Trial This gameplay mode is useful for learning a circuit and for testing vehicle set-ups by racing against the clock with no other vehicles on the selected circuit. The player can select the number of laps permitted; the more laps a player chooses to use (up to Unlimited), the longer the player can stay on the circuit trying to score lower and lower lap times, allowing for the player to see how the chosen team's car will handle on long runs during a race as the fuel is depleted, the tires become worn, etc. As a player exits Time Trial Mode, the sector and total time for each lap is given. Grand Prix Challenge This gameplay mode presents ten challenges; each challenge must be successfully completed (by having the most points at the end of the challenge) in order to unlock the next challenge. See the Grand Prix Challenge section below for more specific information on each of the ten challenges in this gameplay mode. Multiplayer Here, two players can race simultaneously with split screen action. All circuits are available, and the players can choose to work through an entire grand prix weekend (practice, qualifying, warm-up, and race). Common to multiple gameplay modes are the following: 1.) The length of the qualifying session depends on the chosen AI difficulty level. Only on Hard does the player have the actual sixty minutes for qualifying as allotted in real-world F1 racing in the 2002 season. 2.) If a player chooses to qualify for a better starting position in a race, the player can still opt for a different tire compound just before the race itself. This is counter to the real-world F1 rules in 2002, under which a car can only use the same tire compound in a race which was also used in qualifying. 3.) There is a TV helicopter at each race. Its cameras are trained upon the car in the lead. Therefore, a player deep in the pack can still have some idea of the distance between the player and the leader by looking ahead for the TV helicopter. 4.) Quick Race Mode and Grand Prix Mode both begin with only the first six events of the 2002 season (at Albert Park, Kuala Lampur, Interlagos, Imola, Catalunya, and A1-Ring) initially available; all other circuits in these gameplay modes are initially locked. To unlock the other eleven circuits in these gameplay modes, the player must win races at any of the first six event venues in either Quick Race Mode or Grand Prix Mode. There is no need to proceed through the initially-available circuits in order, although diehard F1 purists may choose to do this since the circuits are presented in the same order used in the real-world 2002 F1 season. ============================================== AI LEVELS Grand Prix Challenge presents FOUR levels of opponent AI. The back of the game's case announces that four levels are available, but only three levels are initially available; the fourth level is an unlockable feature. The fourth and final level of AI is called 'Ace AI,' and is unlocked by winning Championship Mode. ============================================== RACE ORDER: 2002 SEASON F1 2002 presents the courses in the order in which they were presented for the 2002 Formula 1 season. This driving guide will follow the same convention. F1 Race Schedule, 2002 Season: March 3 Australia Albert Park March 17 Malaysia Sepang March 31 Brazil Interlagos April 14 San Marino Imola April 28 Spain Catalunya May 12 Austria A1-Ring May 26 Monaco Unnamed (Street Circuit) June 9 Canada Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve June 23 Europe Nurburgring July 7 Great Britain Silverstone July 21 France Nevers Magny-Cours July 28 Germany Hockenheim August 18 Hungary Hungaroring September 1 Belgium Spa-Francorchamps September 15 Italy Monza September 29 USA Indianapolis October 13 Japan Suzuka ============================================== TUNING OPTIONS In many gameplay modes, the player can tune the selected car to maximize its performance at each circuit. Unfortunately, there is no provision in Grand Prix Challenge to save tuning options for each car/circuit combination, so tuning will need to be done every time the player changes circuits and/or cars. Tires There are four tire compounds available in Grand Prix Challenge: Hard: These tires have the longest life, which means that the player can remain on the circuit longer between pit stops. However, hard tires have rather little pavement grip, so the player can expect the car to slide around a bit when cornering. Hard tires also provide a minor increase in top-end speed. Hard tires should ONLY be used in dry racing conditions. Soft: Soft tires have superb pavement grip, which moderately lowers top-end speed. Unfortunately, soft tires also have relatively short a lifespan, thus requiring more trips to pit lane during a race. Soft tires should ONLY be used in dry racing conditions. Wet: If racing in the rain, these are the tires to use. The vehicle's overall speed and handling will still be poorer than if using hard tires or soft tires in dry racing conditions, but the car will be better able to stay on the circuit in wet conditions when using wet tires. Intermediate: These tires are best for the 'in-between' period, when rain first begins to fall or as the circuit is drying after the rain. The trick to using intermediate tires is correctly guessing just how long the 'in-between' period will last, and judging whether it is best to waste the time with two trips to pit lane (to change both to and from the intermediate tires) or to only come to pit lane once - the latter occurring hopefully within a scheduled pit window. Downforce Downforce is what keeps these lightweight speed machines on the ground, and the amount of downforce directly affects vehicle handling. Using high downforce will lower the vehicle's top-end speed, but cornering will be easier. Conversely, lowering downforce will increase top-end speed at the sacrifice of cornering ability. Gear Box Ratio Lower gear ratios are best for fast and strong acceleration, but will reduce a vehicle's top-end speed. On the other hand, higher gear ratios raise the top-end speed at the sacrifice of acceleration. Suspension A softer suspension setting provides more pavement grip, but will reduce the car's overall speed. A harder suspension setting provides faster top-end speed but less pavement grip. Soft suspension is best for bumpy circuits or for driving styles which make heavy usage of the many rumble strips, whereas hard suspension is best for relatively smooth circuits and those driving styles which generally avoid the rumble strips. Brake Balance The brake balance can be moved closer to the front or the rear of the vehicle. Strong rear bias can cause oversteer and strong front bias can cause understeer; however, all braking should be done in a straight line as much as possible to minimize the occurrence of oversteer and understeer. Traction Control System (TCS) Traction control was re-implemented in the 2002 F1 season, beginning with the Spanish Grand Prix (held at Catalunya). This system reduces the chances of the vehicle sliding during acceleration, and is of particular importance for the standing start of a race and for recovering when the vehicle has left the pavement. For the purposes of Grand Prix Challenge, however, traction control is available for ALL events in the season. In Beginner handling, TCS is always set to high. In Intermediate handling, TCS can be toggled between low and high. In Expert handling, TCS can be set to off, low, or high. In Intermediate handling and Expert handling, TCS settings can be changed during any session or race, meaning that a player can experiment with various traction control settings for each corner or area of a circuit and make a mental note to always have the TCS at a particular setting in various parts of a lap for every lap of a race. Generally speaking, traction control works quite well for accelerating out of tight, slow corners, especially when running through consecutive tight, slow corners. Monaco is perhaps the best example in current F1 racing of a circuit where a high TCS setting is highly favorable. High-speed circuits, such as Monza or Catalunya, are generally best served by using either a low traction control setting or NO traction control at all, as this will provide a little more speed on the many lengthy straightaways. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) ABS theoretically prevents wheel-lock during severe braking. In Expert handling, ABS can be set to on or off. Unlike traction control, ABS cannot be toggled on and off during a race. Transmission In Expert handling, the transmission can be set to Automatic or Manual. ============================================== GRAND PRIX CHALLENGE MODE This gameplay mode presents ten challenges; each challenge must be successfully completed (by having the most points at the end of the challenge) in order to unlock the next challenge. As in other gameplay modes, the player is able to begin by choosing a team and driver. There are ten challenges total, each with its own specific circuits and 'constraints.' The 'constraints' listed are the official settings for each challenge. However, if the Weather setting appears with an asterisk (*), this means that the weather conditions are actually variable within the challenge. In the Hand./AI (Handling and Opponent AI) column, E stands for Easy, M for Medium, and H for Hard. As a player progresses through Grand Prix Challenge Mode, the available handling modes become fewer and fewer, thus making the races more and more difficult. Similarly, the AI options follow the handling options in Grand Prix Challenge Mode. Challenge Circuits 'Constraints' Hand./AI -------------- ----------------- ------------- -------- Passion Rosa Monza 5 laps EMH Imola Weather dry Fuel use off Damage off Tire wear off Asia-Pacific Sepang 5 laps EMH Suzuka Weather dry Fuel use off Damage off Tire wear off Deutsche Nurburgring 10 laps EMH Hockenheim Weather dry Fuel use on Damage off Tire wear on Americas Gilles-Villeneuve 10 laps MH Indianapolis Weather dry Interlagos Fuel use on Damage off Tire wear on Street Circuit Albert Park 10 laps MH Monaco Weather dry Gilles-Villeneuve Fuel use on Damage off Tire wear on Western Europe Silverstone 10 laps MH Magny-Cours Weather wet* Spa-Francorchamps Fuel use on Damage on Tire wear on Blue Skies Albert Park 15 laps H Gilles-Villeneuve Weather dry Catalunya Fuel use on Magny-Cours Damage on Tire wear on Mediterranean Monaco 15 laps H Catalunya Weather wet Monza Fuel use on Imola Damage on Tire wear on Grey Skies Sepang 15 laps H Silverstone Weather wet Spa-Francorchamps Fuel use on Suzuka Damage on Tire wear on Central Europe Nurburgring 20 laps H Hockenheim Weather wet A1-Ring Fuel use on Hungaroring Damage on Tire wear on ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== GENERAL TIPS A general tip for ALL racing games is to successfully complete ALL the license tests in any game of the Gran Turismo series. This is a great way to learn how to handle cars of all drivetrain formats and horsepower ratings in a wide variety of situations - starting and stopping, J-turns, right-angle corners, chicanes, blind turns, wet racing conditions, etc. This will all be very handy for virtually ANY racing/driving game you ever play, and the Gran Turismo games are also extremely good to have in your PSX/PS2 collection (especially GT3). Another general tip for ALL racing games is to read through my General Racing/Driving Guide, available EXCLUSIVELY at FeatherGuides ( and at GameFAQs ( This presents many of the same information the Gran Turismo license tests present in practice, plus plenty of other information ranging from judicious use of rumble strips to typical tuning options to tire management. During pit stops, the player is given the choice to change to a different tire compound, but there is also the Don't Change option available. 'Don't Change' DOES NOT mean 'do not change the tire compound;' instead, it means 'do not change the current tires.' This is VERY important to keep in mind in order to avoid any surprises later in the race. F1's standing starts can either give you a great advantage, or put you at the back of the pack. To reduce or eliminate wheelspin from a standing start, try to time the use of the accelerator with the exact millisecond the lights go out. If you use the accelerator too soon, you WILL have wheelspin, which can cause flat-spotting in the rear tires and can even cause your car to go askew so that it points in a trajectory taking you directly OFF the circuit (or into a barrier). Traction control can help reduce the amount of wheelspin and help to prevent the car from sliding during the standing starts, but one must not rely solely upon traction control to keep the car pointed forward. Also related to the standing starts, if you are deep in the pack, the car directly in front of you is likely to produce A LOT of smoke (and spray, if in wet conditions at the beginning of a race) due to wheelspin. If at all possible, swing to the edge of the pavement immediately to avoid an early accident if you can get off the line a lot sooner than the car in front. Some circuits are set up so that there is either wide pavement on the Pit Straight or an expanse of pavement unofficially part of the main circuit itself (such as the right side of the pavement at Monza and at Suzuka); making use of these areas can allow you to swing out wide to avoid incidents, and also get you clear of traffic so that you can REALLY slam on the accelerator and pass huge numbers of cars before the initial corners of the circuit. Braking is always important in racing. However, Grand Prix Challenge demands SMOOTH braking (especially if using Expert Handling), which often means braking rather early. Slamming on the brakes often results in wheel lock and/or car spin, which can induce flat-spotting on the tires and tremendously increases the risk of collision - especially with the Tire Wear option activated. Even after the standing starts, the use of the accelerator is extremely important in Grand Prix Challenge. By exercising extreme care with both the brakes and the accelerator, anyone can rapidly learn to essentially glide through corners at a rather quick speed. A pristine racing line is also important in these situations, as the changes in G-force and velocity need to be constantly kept in check if you want to remain on the official course. I personally find it sometimes easier to take tight corners WITHOUT braking. In these cases, the player can just simply let off the accelerator and coast toward and through the corner until the appropriate acceleration point (usually at or just beyond the apex of the corner). One very good place to attempt this strategy is at the initial corners at Sepang (Malaysia), although this tactic can have rather dire consequences at the start of a race with all the cars bunched together. Some circuits have distance-to-corner markers in anticipation of tight and/or (semi-)blind corners. While these markers are useful, DO NOT completely rely on them, as they may 'disappear' as the race progresses. These markers can be knocked down by a car which slips off the circuit or is forced off the pavement, and the markers are not replaced during the session. Therefore, it is highly important that the player try to use permanent objects (such as grandstands or trees somewhat away from the circuit) to judge the proper braking zone for a corner or chicane. If playing with Medium or Expert Handling, traction control can be varied during a race. In most cases, traction control should be low initially during a run. As the tires wear down (if the tire wear option has been activated), raising the traction control level can help to counteract the inherent slippage from the tire wear... but only to a certain extent. A player who relies on this strategy and does not alter the driving style in any way WILL inherently be dragging the car out of the grass and sand quite often!!!!! ============================================== F1-SPEAK F1 racing has a somewhat specialized vocabulary. Here are some of the more common terms: ARMCO: The type of barriers generally used at F1 races. Information on these crash barriers can be found at Hill and Smith Web site ( Blowed up: A car's engine has expired. This is characterized by a massive plume of white-grey smoke pouring from the rear of the car. Also, there is often oil deposited all over the race circuit, so if a blowed up car does not instantly pull off the pavement, that section of the circuit will be very dangerous for the remainder of the race. Catch: In any form of auto racing, it is quite common to see a car slide off the course, often at high speeds. Generally, this results in a car either being essentially beached in a sand trap, stuck in the grass if the area has recently experienced a significant rainfall, or a collision a barrier. Even if the car does not slide off the course, spins on the racing circuit itself also occur with relative frequency. A 'catch' is when one of the above incidents occurs, but the driver is able to either keep the car from hitting a barrier (or another car) and/or is able to keep the car from getting stuck in the sand or grass before returning to the circuit. Lollipop Man: The man holding the Brakes stick in a Pit Stop. This stick essentially looks like a long lollipop, with its long handle and rounded end with instructions for the driver. Off: A car has gone off-course. A minor off means that only one or perhaps two wheels have slipped off the pavement, and the driver can generally recover quickly. However, a major off involves a trip well off the pavement, and usually also occurs at very high speed. P#: This indicates a driver's race position. P1 is Pole Position; P6 is the final points-paying position; P22 is last place. Points-paying Positions: These are the Top 6 places in a race. At the end of a race, P1 awards 10 points, P2 awards 6 points, P3 awards 4 points, P4 awards 3 points, P5 awards 2 points, and P1 awards 1 point. There are NO points awarded to drivers not finishing in the Top 6. This also the reason why the TV Panels at the bottom of the screen update by six positions at once. Shunt: A collision, generally between cars. This term could also be used for cars swapping paint, but that is EXTREMELY difficult to do in open- wheel racing (such as F1) without inducing an accident. Team Orders: Each F1 team runs two cars at each race weekend. Team orders involve one or both drivers purposely altering driving style or changing race positions for the betterment of the team. While team orders are NOT illegal in F1 competition (in 2002; team orders are illegal in some other forms of motorsport), many generally have a strong dislike (and even a nasty hatred) for team orders, especially in those situations where team orders actually change the results of a race. The most notable incidence of team orders - and likely the most controversial use of team orders in F1 history past, present, or future - involved Ferrari's Reubens Barrichello, who had dominated the entire race weekend, pulling over in the final meters of the 2002 Grand Prix of Austria (at A1-Ring) so that his teammate Michael Schumacher could instead take the win, thus gaining an extra four points over his strong rival Juan Pablo Montoya in the Drivers' Championship. This use of team orders severely angered F1 fans at the circuit and around the world, but was justified by Ferrari by the team's desire to protect Schumacher's lead in the Drivers' Championship. World Feed: Because F1 races are televised (generally live) worldwide, FIA has implemented the World Feed system, in which the images of grand prix weekends are provided by the FIA- licensed F1 broadcaster for the country hosting each grand prix; all other F1 broadcasters must then use these images and sounds for their F1 coverage. There are provisions for the many F1-licensed broadcasters worldwide to include Pit Lane reports, but once a race begins, FIA prohibits any images from Pit Lane which are NOT provided by the World Feed system. Since each race is essentially 'televised' by a different country's F1-licensed broadcaster, the World Feed coverage between races definitely varies in quality. The World Feed for races in Malaysia is generally rather poor, with images often focusing on action away from what is most significant for the race or the overall season standings, reflecting Malaysia's F1-licensed broadcaster's lack of experience and knowledge in televising live F1 races. Races held in Western Europe - where most F1 races are held - generally have a very high quality World Feed due to extensive experience and knowledge in televising F1 races. However, each country's licensed broadcaster has the option of having its own commentary team at each event, so that the World Feed images are overlayed with commentators recognized in each country and in that country's language(s). There are still a number of countries or regions of the world which tend to use the standard British F1 broadcasts; Murray Walker was the primary commentator for these broadcasts until his recent retirement. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== DRIVING TIPS: BRAKING The first step in driving fast is knowing when, where, and how much to slow down (braking). In some games, a brake controller can be acquired or purchased, allowing the player to customize the brake strength by axle or by adjusting the bias of the brakes toward the front or the rear of the car. The use of a brake controller will affect the braking zone, as will other factors. Specifically, the car's speed on approaching a corner, the amount of fuel in the car at a given moment, the drivetrain of the car, the weight of the car, and even the car's center of gravity can all affect the braking zone. Similarly, the driving conditions - sunny, overcast, damp, wet, icy, snowy etc. - will affect the braking zone for each corner (as well as the car's ability to attain high speeds). Except for purely arcade-style games, the braking zone will differ somewhat for each car depending upon its strengths and weaknesses. It certainly helps for the player to try a Free Run or a Time Trial (if these modes exist in a given game) to learn the circuit(s) - including the braking zones. When looking for braking zones, try to find a particular stationary object near the entry of each corner; it helps tremendously if this object is far enough away from the circuit that it will not be knocked over during a race. To begin, try using the brakes when the front of the car is parallel with the chosen stationary object. If this does not slow the car enough before corner entry or if the car slows too much before reaching the corner, pick another stationary object on the following lap and try again. Whenever changes are made to the car - whether to the brake controller or to other aspects of tuning and/or parts - it would be a good idea to go back into Free Run mode and check that the braking zones still hold; if not, adjust as necessary using the method in the paragraph above. For those races which include fuel loads, the car will become progressively lighter during a race. The lesser weight can often mean a slightly shorter braking zone; however, if tire wear is excessive (especially if there have been numerous off-course excursions), that might dictate a longer braking zone. Cars with a higher horsepower output will inherently attain faster speeds, and will therefore require a longer braking zone than cars with a lower horsepower output. Try a Volkswagon New Beetle, a Mini Cooper, a Dodge Viper, a Panoz Esperante GT-1, a Corvette C5R, and an F-2002 (all in stock/base configuration) along the same area of a circuit and note how their braking zones differ. A final note on braking: To the extent possible, ALWAYS brake in a straight line. If braking only occurs when cornering, the car will likely be carrying too much speed for the corner, resulting in the car sliding, spinning, and/or flipping. (Some games purposely do not permit the car to flip, but a slide or spin can still mean the difference between winning and ending up in last position at the end of a race.) If nothing else, players should strive to become of the 'breakers' they possibly can. This will essentially force a player to become a better racer/driver in general once the player has overcome the urge to constantly run at top speed at all times with no regard for damages to self or others. Also, slowing the car appropriately will make other aspects of racing/driving easier, especially in J-turns, hairpin corners, and chicanes. ============================================== DRIVING TIPS: CORNERING Ideally, the best way to approach a corner is from the outside of the turn, braking well before entering the corner. At the apex (the midpoint of the corner), the car should be right up against the edge of the pavement. On corner exit, the car drifts back to the outside of the pavement and speeds off down the straightaway. So, for a right-hand turn of about ninety degrees, enter the corner from the left, come to the right to hit the apex, and drift back to the left on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample standard corner. For corners that are less than ninety degrees, it may be possible to just barely tap the brakes - if at all - and be able to clear such corners successfully. However, the same principles of cornering apply: approach from the outside of the turn, hit the apex, and drift back outside on corner exit. For corners more than ninety degrees but well less than 180 degrees, braking will certainly be required. However, for these 'J-turns,' the apex of the corner is not the midpoint, but a point approximately two-thirds of the way around the corner. J-turns require great familiarity to know when to begin diving toward the inside of the corner and when to power to the outside on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample J-turn. Hairpin corners are turns of approximately 180 degrees. Braking is certainly required before corner entry, and the cornering process is the same as for standard corners: Approach from the outside, drift inside to hit the apex (located at halfway around the corner, or after turning ninety degrees), and drifting back to the outside on corner exit. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample hairpin corner. If there are two corners of approximately ninety degrees each AND both corners turn in the same direction AND there is only a VERY brief straightaway between the two corners, they may be able to be treated like an extended hairpin corner. Sometimes, however, these 'U-turns' have a straightaway between the corners that is just long enough to prohibit a hairpin-like treatment; in this case, drifting to the outside on exiting the first of the two corners will automatically set up the approach to the next turn. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for a sample U-turn. FIA (the governing body of F1 racing, World Rally Championship, and other forms of international motorsport) seems to love chicanes. One common type of chicane is essentially a 'quick-flick,' where the circuit quickly edges off in one direction then realigns itself in a path parallel to the original stretch of pavement, as in the examples in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide. Here, the object is to approach the first corner from the outside, hit BOTH apexes, and drift to the outside of the second turn. FIA also seems to like the 'Bus Stop' chicane, which is essentially just a pair of quick-flicks, with the second forming the mirror image of the first, as shown in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide. Perhaps the most famous Bus Stop chicane is the chicane (which is actually called the 'Bus Stop Chicane') at Pit Entry at Spa- Francorchamps, the home of the annual Grand Prix of Belgium (F1 racing) and the host of The 24 Hours of Spa (for endurance racing). Virtually every other type of corner or corner combination encountered in racing (primarily in road racing) combines elements of the corners presented above. These complex corners and chicanes can be challenging, such as the Ascari chicane at Monza. See the Diagrams section for an idea of the formation of Ascari. However, in illegal street/highway racing, the positioning of traffic can 'create' the various corners and corner combinations mentioned here. For example, weaving in and out of traffic creates a virtual bus stop chicane (see the Diagrams section at the end of this guide). Slowing may be necessary - it often is - depending on the distance between the vehicles. See the Sample Circuit Using Some of the Above Corner Types Combines in the Diagrams section at the end of this guide; note that this is a diagram for a very technical circuit. At some race venues, 'artificial chicanes' may be created by placing cones and/or (concrete) barriers in the middle of a straightaway. One such game which used this type of chicane is the original Formula1 by Psygnosis, an F1-based PlayStation game from 1995, which used this at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve along Casino Straight (shortly after passing the final grandstands at the exit of Casino Hairpin). One thing which can change the approach to cornering is the available vision. Blind and semi-blind corners require ABSOLUTE knowledge of such corners. Here is where gamers have an advantage over real-world drivers: Gamers can (usually) change their viewpoint (camera position), which can sometimes provide a wider, clearer view of the circuit, which can be especially important when approaching semi-blind corners; real-world drivers are obviously inhibited by the design of their cars and racing helmets. Great examples of real-world blind and semi-blind corners would be Mulsanne Hump at Le Mans, Turns 14 and 15 at Albert Park, and each of the first three corners at A1-Ring. Also important to cornering - especially with long, extended corners - is the corner's radius. Most corners use an identical radius throughout their length. However, some are increasing-radius corners or decreasing-radius corners. These corners may require shifting the apex point of a corner, and almost always result in a change of speed. Decreasing-radius corners are perhaps the trickiest, because the angle of the corner becomes sharper, thus generally requiring more braking as well as more turning of the steering wheel. Increasing-radius corners are corners for which the angle becomes more and more gentle as the corner progresses; this means that drivers will generally accelerate more, harder, or faster, but such an extra burst of speed can backfire and require more braking. See the Diagrams section at the end of this guide for sample images of a decreasing- radius corner and an increasing-radius corner. For traditional road racing circuits, increasing-radius and decreasing-radius corners may not be too much of a problem; after several laps around one of these circuits, a driver will know where the braking and acceleration points are as well as the shifted apex point (should a shift be required). However, for stage-based rally racing, where the roads are virtually unknown and the driver knows what is ahead only because of the navigator's instructions (which - based upon notes - may or may not be absolutely correct), the unknown can cause drivers to brake more often and/or more heavily. For rally-based games, such as the Need for Speed: V-Rally series (PlayStation/PSOne/PlayStation2) or for World Rally Championship (PlayStation2), there is often specialized vocabulary used: 'tightens' generally designates that a corner has a decreasing radius, whereas 'widens' or 'opens' indicates that a corner has an increasing radius. This need for 'extra' braking is also tempered by the fact that in much of rally racing, corners are either blind or semi-blind, due to trees, buildings, cliffs, embankments, and other obstacles to clear vision all the way around a corner. One particularly interesting aspect of cornering is one which I honestly do not know if it works in reality (I am not a real-world racer, although I would certainly LOVE the chance to attend a racing school!!!), but which works in numerous racing/driving games I have played over the years. This aspect is to use the accelerator to help with quickly and safely navigating sharp corners. This works by first BRAKING AS USUAL IN ADVANCE OF THE CORNER, then - once in the corner itself - rapidly pumping the brakes for the duration of the corner (or at least until well past the apex of the corner). The action of rapidly pumping the accelerator appears to cause the drive wheels to catch the pavement just enough to help stop or slow a sliding car, causing the non-drive wheels to continue slipping and the entire car to turn just a little faster. Using this rapid-pumping technique with the accelerator does take a little practice initially, and seems to work best with FR cars; however, once perfected, this technique can pay dividends, especially with REALLY sharp hairpin corners, such as at Sebring International Raceway or those often found in rally racing. ============================================== DRIVING TIPS: RUMBLE STRIPS Depending on car set-up and weather conditions, rumble strips (sometimes also called 'alligators') can be either useful or dangerous. The purpose of rumble strips is to provide a few extra centimeters of semi-racing surface to help keep cars from dropping wheels off the pavement, which can slow cars and throw grass and other debris onto the racing surface (which makes racing a little more dangerous for all involved, especially in corners). Generally, rumble strips are found on the outside of a corner at corner entry and corner exit, and also at the apex of a corner - these locations provide a slightly better racing line overall. If a car is set with a very stiff suspension (i.e., there is not much room for the suspension to move as the car passes over bumps and other irregularities in the racing surface), hitting rumble strips can cause the car to jump. Even if airborne for only a few milliseconds, at speed, it could be just enough so that the driver loses control of the car. Obviously, if one or more wheels are not in contact with the ground, the car is losing speed, which could be just enough of a mistake for other cars to pass by, and the lack of contact with the ground could result in excessive wheelspin which risks to flat-spot the tire(s) when contact is regained with the ground. When the racetrack is damp or wet, however, it is generally best to avoid using the rumble strips. Since rumble strips are painted (usually red and white), ANY amount of moisture will make the rumble strips extremely slick as the water beads on the paint, so that hitting a rumble strip in the process of cornering (especially at the apex of a corner) will cause the tire(s) to lose traction and often send the car spinning. ============================================== DRIVING TIPS: CONCRETE EXTENSIONS Similar to rumble strips are concrete extensions. These are generally (much) wider than rumble strips, and may or may not be painted (at FIA-approved F1 circuits, for example, these are generally painted green). Also, whereas rumble strips protrude slightly above the level of the racing surface, concrete extensions are at the same level as the racing surface. Concrete extensions can be used in the same manner as rumble strips. However, if painted, concrete extensions should be avoided for the same reasons listed above for rumble strips n the event of wet or damp racing conditions. Players should note that in some games - especially where challenges or license tests are involved - concrete extensions are often NOT designated as part of the official track, resulting in an 'Out of Bounds' designation. This is true, for example, in EA Sports' F1-based series (F1 2000, F1 Championship Season 2000, F1 2001, and F1 2002) and in the Gran Turismo series. ============================================== DRIVING TIPS: COASTING Some players may believe that a good racer is ALWAYS either accelerating or braking. However, this is not always the best way to approach a given section of a circuit or rally stage. Coasting can sometimes be beneficial. First, consider standard street or highway driving. Street- legal cars are designed for the same foot to be used for both acceleration and braking (with the other foot used for operating the clutch if the vehicle uses a manual transmission). There is always a slight delay between acceleration and braking as the driver moves the foot from one pedal to the other; during this time, the vehicle is essentially coasting - that is, the vehicle's current momentum is the only thing moving the vehicle. In real-world racing, there are a number of drivers who use 'left-foot braking.' In other words, one foot is used for the accelerator, while the other foot is used for the brake pedal. Yet even in left-foot braking, a driver must take care to NOT be pressing both the accelerator pedal AND the brake pedal simultaneously, as this could cause the engine revs to spike and/or cause undue tire wear. Therefore, even though for a much shorter duration (perhaps best measured in hundredths of a second) than in standard 'right-foot braking,' there is always a short period of coasting. In many racing games, I find that coasting through tight corners (including tight chicanes) can sometimes be the best method to safely navigate these difficult sections - and this is true in both pavement-based games and in rally-based games. Certainly, braking properly (i.e., in a straight line BEFORE reaching the corner or chicane) is key to successfully coasting. However, using NEITHER the accelerator button NOR the brake button will cause the vehicle to coast, thus using the natural momentum of the vehicle to perhaps swing the vehicle around the corner or through the chicane. This is actually somewhat tricky to explain in words, and is really something that each player should try several times (especially on tight, technical circuits, such as Monaco and Bathurst, or virtually any stage of a rally-based game) to truly understand this technique. Once learned, however, players may easily find themselves adding this technique to their gaming repertoire :-) ============================================== DRIVING TIPS: DRAFTING/SLIPSTREAMING One very useful racing technique is drafting, also known as slipstreaming. In some forms of motorsport, especially in oval track racing such as NASCAR and IRL, drafting is essential to making passes; NASCAR even raises drafting to an art form at its restrictor plate races by forcing cars to draft off each other simply to stay in contact with the leaders. Drafting works because of the aerodynamic vacuum which occurs behind a vehicle moving at a high rate of speed. As air flows around Car A, there is an area around which the air is forced as it flows off Car A's rear end. If Car B can get close enough to Car A, its front end can get into this vacuum area. Since vacuums prefer to fill their void with anything possible, Car B is drawn closer and closer to Car A. If the driver of Car B does not do anything or does not react fast enough, then Car B will eventually crash in to the back of Car A. However, once sufficient vacuum-assisted momentum has been gained, Car B can pull out to the side, exiting the vacuum with added momentum/speed, and rocket past Car A. By using Car A's natural high-speed vacuum in this manner, Car B will emerge from the draft with a major advantage in terms of speed without ever pressing harder on the accelerator. Often, drafting results in an additional 5MPH/8KPH over Car A; while this may not seem like a lot of extra speed, it is often enough to make a successful pass. Drafting is a great tactic for oval and tri-oval courses. However, its effectiveness at road racing venues is essentially limited to just long straightaways. In this case, it is highly important that Car B safely make the drafting pass well before the braking zone for the next corner, as the added speed will require earlier and/or stronger braking. Also, cars with variable downforce - especially cars with wings, such as CART and F1 cars - seem better able to make use of the draft. Specific to F1 2002, there is a draft/slipstream meter on the right side of the screen during races and other events (such as challenges) in the game. This can be useful, with the meter lighting up from bottom to top as Car B approaches the rear end of Car A. When the meter is fully lit, the player should quickly pull out of the draft/slipstream or risk an accident. ============================================== DRIVING TIPS: WET-WEATHER RACING/DRIVING Almost everything written to this point in the guide focuses solely upon dry-weather racing/driving conditions. In fact, most racing/driving games deal ONLY with dry-weather conditions. However, simulation-based games will include at least a few wet-conditions situations. This can range from Gran Turismo 3 - which uses two circuits (hosting a total of eight races between Simulation Mode and Arcade Mode) where the roadway has A LOT of standing water, as if the races take place just following a major prolonged downpour - to F1 2002 - where in most situations, players can purposely select the desired weather conditions for a given race. In wet-weather racing/driving conditions, it is IMPERATIVE to use tires designed for wet-conditions usage. For example, in F1 2002, in a full 53-lap race at Monza, I purposely tried running as long as I could with Dry Tires, then switched to Rain Tires when I could no longer handle the car's inherent sliding about... and my lap times instantly dropped by more than five seconds. In games which offer Intermediate Tires, such as Le Mans 24 Hours, the period when the racing circuit is simply damp (at the start of a period of rain, or when the circuit is drying after a period of rain) can be tricky in terms of tires. Intermediate Tires are certainly best for these racing conditions, but the time in Pit Lane spent changing to Intermediate Tires can mean losing numerous race positions, especially if the weather conditions change again a short time later and require another trip to Pit Lane to change tires yet again. Tires aside, simulation-style games simply will not allow a player to drive a circuit the same way in wet-weather conditions as in dry-weather conditions. The braking zone for all but the gentlest of corners will need to be extended, or else the car risks to hydroplane itself off the pavement. Throttle management is also key in wet-conditions racing. Due to the water (and perhaps even puddles) on the circuit, there is inherently less tire grip, so strong acceleration is more likely to cause undue wheelspin - which could in turn spin the car and create a collision. If a car has gone off the pavement, then the sand and/or grass which collect on the tires provide absolutely NO traction at all, so just the act of getting back to the pavement will likely result in numerous spins. In general, cornering is more difficult in wet conditions than in dry conditions. To help ease this difficulty in cornering, simulation-style games will sometimes allow the player to change the car's tuning during a race (if not, the player will be forced to try to survive using the tuning set- up chosen before the beginning of the race). Tuning is covered in more detail in another section below, but the main aspect to change for wet-weather conditions is to raise the downforce at the front and/or rear of the car; this will help improve cornering ability, but will result in slower top-end speed and slower acceleration. If the car's brake strength can be adjusted, it should be lowered, as strong braking will raise the likelihood of hydroplaning off the pavement; lowering brake strength will also mean an additional lengthening of the braking zone for all but the gentlest corners of a given circuit. When the circuit is damp or wet, rumble strips and concrete extensions (which are usually painted) should be avoided as much as possible. The water tends to bead on the paint used for rumble strips and concrete extensions, making them incredibly slippery, especially if a drive wheel is on a rumble strip or concrete extension while the player is in the process of turning the car; this will cause undue wheelspin in that particular drive wheel, usually resulting in the car spinning. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== TRACTION CONTROL AND HANDLING OPTIONS Grand Prix Challenge allows the player to adjust the traction control setting, depending on the chosen level of vehicle handling difficulty. By default, the TCS can be moved to another setting by pressing the Triangle button on a standard DualShock2 or compatible controller. Some players may find it useful to practice swiping the right index finger across the Triangle button until this becomes second nature, so that the TCA setting can be changed at will without disrupting player concentration and moving the right hand out of position on the controller. In Beginner handling, TCS is always set to high, and cannot be adjusted by the player. In Intermediate handling, TCS can be toggled between low and high. In Expert handling, TCS can be set to off, low, or high. In Intermediate handling and Expert handling, TCS settings can be changed during any session or race, meaning that a player can experiment with various traction control settings for each corner or area of a circuit and make a mental note to always have the TCS at a particular setting in various parts of a lap for every lap of a race. Turning the traction control system off will provide the fastest speeds possible for a given vehicle, since there are NO checks of wheelspin to potentially slow the car. A low TCS setting will allow for a large rate of wheelspin before power is lessened or eliminated to the drive wheels, and this results in a moderately slower straight-line top-end speed. A high TCS setting will show a significant decrease in top- end straight-line speed. (All this assumes that the car's set-up is not changed, and the player's driving style remains consistent.) The traction control setting also greatly affects cornering. If set to off, the player must be EXTREMELY careful not to press the accelerator too hard too quickly, as there is nothing to counter any excessive wheelspin from harsh acceleration out of a corner (especially if this occurs when the rear of the vehicle is already sliding around the corner). Set to low, TCS will allow a long range of wheelspin before traction control takes effect, so harsh acceleration should still be avoided to the extent possible. A high TCS setting is definitely the best for those just becoming accustomed to F1-based games, as there is an extremely shallow range of permissible wheelspin before the TCS takes effect. Note that even with TCS set to high, it is still quite possible to send the vehicle into a spin, or to at least slide the rear of the car around corners (purposely or otherwise). Often, this is because one or more wheels of the car are on a rumble strip (which provides generally less tire grip than pavement), and the imbalance of tire traction across the four wheels combined with a potential awkward angle of the vehicle in relation to the pavement itself, the amount of power applied to the rear (drive) wheels at that very moment, and the vehicle's downforce setting and chosen tire compound exceed the vehicle's inherent capabilities to gain sufficient grip to remain securely on the ground. In such a case, only the player's quick experience-honed reflexes can prevent the vehicle from sliding (uncontrollably) or spinning... or potentially even flipping. Note that those with A LOT of experience with racing games (and F1-based games in particular) should be able to actually induce a slide of the rear wheels to actually ASSIST in fast, precise cornering, but this is done at the risk of accelerated tire wear (if tire wear has been activated) and a greater chance of losing vehicle control. Finally, F1 is well-known for its standing starts. The need to go from a complete standstill to the highest-possible speed in the shortest amount of space and time is crucial, as those who can consistently do this well can pull away from the field if at the front of the grid, or make numerous passes before the first corner of a circuit if starting further back in the field at the beginning of a race. Setting the traction control system to high for the standing starts is crucial for reducing wheelspin and applying maximum traction to the pavement to assist in accelerating as quickly as possible. Once the vehicle is well in motion (perhaps at about 60MPH/96KPH), TCS can generally be switched to low or off to maximize top-end straight-line speed. ============================================== TRACTION CONTROL AND TIRES If tire wear has been activated for a race, the tires will slowly lose their ability to grip the pavement. This is due to the natural tendency of the tires to shed tiny pieces of rubber during use. Tire wear is further accelerated with every excursion (intended or otherwise) off the pavement. Traction control can - at least in theory - help to slow the rate of tire wear. Since excessive wheelspin causes more small bits of the tire to wear away, traction control can somewhat reduce the rate of this inherent tire wear by its intended purpose of reducing excessive wheelspin. If the player begins a long run with traction control either off or on a low setting, raising the traction control setting late in the run can help to 'fix' tire wear. As tire wear continues, the tires' ability to adequately grip the pavement plummets, which in itself can result in excessive wheelspin. Thus, raising the traction control setting can provide a temporary 'fix' to the tire wear issue, but this 'fix' is definitely only temporary and the player will likely still need to adjust driving style between the beginning and end of the run. If the traction control setting is raised for this reason toward the end of a long run, the player needs to remember to change the traction control setting back to a lower setting once the tires have been changed. ============================================== TRACTION CONTROL TESTS I have conducted several (obviously unofficial) tests in Grand Prix Challenge to see how traction control affects a vehicle's speed and lap times. In these two tests, the ONLY change to a car's set-up is to the traction control setting; all other settings are the default settings used by the game for each vehicle. Expert handling and automatic transmission is used for all the tests below. Default parameters used in Expert Handling: Tire Type: Soft Downforce: Center position Gear Box Ratio: Center position Suspension: Five positions from the right Brake Balance: One position left of center Traction Control: Variable Anti-lock Braking System: Off Transmission: Automatic Test #1: Monza This first test uses the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher to test how various traction control settings affect top-end speed. Here, the 'test zone' runs from the flagstand on the right side about 1/4 of the way along the Curva Parabolica (the final corner) to the Start/Finish Line; the test results here are the product of the vehicle beginning from a standing start alongside the flagstand and the speed of the car with each traction control setting at the Start/Finish Line. Traction control off: 201MPH/322KPH Traction control low: 199MPH/318KPH Traction control high: 198MPH/317KPH Note that the speeds are somewhat close together at the Start/Finish Line. A total of 3MPH/5KPH separates these test speeds. While this may not be much of a difference in a single lap, 3MPH/5KPH across, say, fifty laps (for example) can make a major difference if these speeds can be attained consistently, potentially affecting the finishing order of a race. (Of course, other variables need to be considered during a race, such as Yellow Flags, tire wear, slipstreaming/drafting, pit strategy, weather conditions, etc.) Test #2: Suzuka This second test reflects the best of five hot laps at Suzuka using each of the three traction control settings (off, low, and high). This test is done using the Jordan of Takuma Sato. Traction control off: 1:40.430 Traction control low: 1:36.609 Traction control high: 1:33.803 These test results attest to the difficulty of Suzuka with no traction control used. Specifically, the initial S-curves are where time can be significantly lost at Suzuka, as each corner in this section is quite different from the others, and an extreme amount of countersteering is required exiting each of these corners in order to even have a chance of keeping the car on the pavement. With low traction control, nearly four seconds are shed, with much of that reduced time coming from the lessened amount of vehicle sliding in the S-curves section of the circuit. Using high traction control, the S-curve section is made even easier, shedding almost another three seconds from the overall lap times as vehicle slippage is nearly negated. Note that while higher traction control settings tend to bring down top-end straight-line speed, the difficulty of the S-curves section of Suzuka is a significantly greater issue in terms of vehicle set-up, with Hairpin and Chicane also causing a high level of concern. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== TEAM VEHICLE DIFFERENCES This is intended to be an overview of how each team's vehicle performs based upon the best lap time of five hot laps at Albert Park (Melbourne, the host site of the Grand Prix of Australia). These tests are all done in dry weather with the default vehicle set-up using Intermediate Handling, the handling option for which I am definitely most comfortable so as to make these tests as fair as possible. The traction control setting is generally set to High by default, but was purposely set to low for all vehicles in this test in an effort to lower overall lap times, thus hopefully more accurately simulating real-world F1 racing conditions. Also, at the driver selection screen, the team's lead driver was always selected. Results by team order (in the game): Ferrari 1:16.363 Rank: 1 McLaren Mercedes 1:18.315 Rank: 6 BMW Williams 1:17.626 Rank: 2 Sauber Petronas 1:18.018 Rank: 3 BAR Honda 1:18.219 Rank: 4 Jordan Honda 1:18.279 Rank: 5 Renault Elf 1:19.981 Rank: 10 Jaguar Racing 1:20.817 Rank: 11 Orange Arrows 1:19.230 Rank: 9 KL Minardi 1:19.051 Rank: 7 Toyota Racing 1:19.095 Rank: 8 Results by ranking (fastest speeds at top of the list): 1.) Ferrari 1:16.363 2.) BMW Williams 1:17.626 3.) Sauber Petronas 1:18.018 4.) BAR Honda 1:18.219 5.) Jordan Honda 1:18.279 6.) McLaren Mercedes 1:18.315 7.) KL Minardi 1:19.051 8.) Toyota Racing 1:19.095 9.) Orange Arrows 1:19.230 10.) Renault Elf 1:19.981 11.) Jaguar Racing 1:20.817 Not surprisingly, Ferrari came out on top, besting the next- fastest lap time by roughly 1.3 seconds. In general, the top teams in real-world F1 racing are grouped together in these tests. However, McLaren Mercedes 'finished' in the middle of the results, pointing to perhaps some aspect of the vehicle which is not very well suited to Albert Park. The middle and lower teams in real-world F1 racing are somewhat mixed together in the bottom two-thirds of the ranking, although Sauber Petronas 'finished' quite admirably in third position. Jaguar Racing never really performed well in real-world F1 racing in 2002, so it is perhaps not at all surprising that the Jaguar in this test finished last, nearly a full second behind tenth-place (Renault Elf). ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF AUSTRALIA: ALBERT PARK The 2002 F1 racing season begins with a set of 'flyaway' (non-European) races. This fast, flat, attractive circuit is built around Melbourne's beautiful Albert Park Lake, using actual city streets which generally receive little traffic during the year. There are usually plenty of trees on both sides of the track, with a nice view of Melbourne's buildings as you come through Turns 12 and 13. The Albert Park circuit features many long, gentle, no-braking corners, allowing for incredible top-end speed all around this completely-flat circuit. However, these are tempered with several moderate- and hard-braking corners, as well as many dark shadows obscuring long stretches of the pavement, especially in wet conditions. Pit Straight: The front straight is fairly long, following a moderate-braking corner (Turn 16). However, Turn 1 requires an early braking zone. Turn 1 (Jones): A moderate-braking right-hand corner. If you miss the braking zone here, there is a wide area in which you can recover. Traffic will often bunch up entering Turn 1, even beyond the start of a race. Turn 2 (Brabham): Immediately following Turn 1, this is a gentle left-hand turn which can be taken at full speed if the car had slowed enough for Jones. Excellent acceleration out of Turn 1 makes the exit of Turn 2 and the ensuing straightaway a prime passing zone. Beware the barrier on the right on exiting Turn 2; do not hit the throttle too soon exiting Turn 1. Turn 3: This is a hard-braking right-hand semi-blind corner following a long straightaway; the braking zone begins earlier than it would otherwise appear, so make use of the distance-to-corner markers on the left side of the raceway (however, the distance-to-corner markers are difficult to spot due to their coloration). Again, there is a wide recovery area here. A little speed can be made coming out of Turn 3, but the straightaway is virtually non-existent, requiring moderate braking for Turn 4. This is definitely NOT a place to pass (safely) unless you have EXCELLENT brakes and little or no tire wear. Traffic tends to bunch up here for Turns 3 and 4. Turn 4: A left-hand corner requiring at least moderate braking. To the outside of the corner is a wide, paved recovery area. The inside of Turn 4 is also a wide paved zone, but short-cutting Turn 4 by more than one car length will also result in a Stop-Go Penalty. Good acceleration out of Turn 4 can set up a good passing opportunity. Turn 5 (Whiteford): A gentle right-hand corner through the trees which leads to a nice straightaway. With a flawless racing line, no braking is necessary here; otherwise, a quick lift off the accelerator will be needed to keep the left side of the car off the nearby barrier. Turn 6 (Albert Road): A semi-hidden moderate-braking right- hand corner. Traffic will sometimes bunch up here, as drivers try to spot the corner. A wide recovery zone is available here as well, but take care not to shortcut the corner. Blasting through Turn 6 without braking will almost certainly result in loss of control (with subsequent spinning, sliding, flipping, and/or crashing) due to the angle of the rumble strips. Turn 7 (Marina): Immediately following Turn 6, Turn 7 is a very gentle left-hand corner which brings you alongside the northernmost end of Albert Park Lake. Beware the barrier on the right on corner exit. Turn 8 (Lauda): This is almost not a turn at all, as it curves extremely gently along the shoreline, but the course map on the race's official Web site lists this as a corner. Turn 9 (Clark Chicane): This corner is a tight right-hand turn which requires moderate or hard braking. Traffic almost always bunches up here. If you miss the braking zone here, you will end up out in the blue-green dust-covered area. The important thing to remember here is that the official corner is the SECOND turn of the pavement to the right; using the first turn to the right is a shortcut, and a penalty will ensue. Also, there is a white traffic line from the left- hand side of the pavement on approach curving to follow the left-hand side of the first turn to the right; this can cause significant confusion, so the driver must be constantly aware that this is not an official race marking and thus NOT follow it to the shortcut. Turn 10 (Clark Chicane): This is almost not a turn at all, as it curves extremely gently to the left and back along the shoreline. There is absolutely NO room for error on the right side of the track, as the pavement runs directly up against the barrier. Once you pass underneath the second pedestrian bridge and see the grandstands ahead on the right, drift to the right to set up the best racing line for Turns 11 and 12. Turns 11 and 12 (Waite): This extended left-right chicane is tricky. Turn 11 can be taken flat-out, but Turn 12 (Waite) CANNOT be successfully navigated at full speed without either shortcutting the corner (using the pavement inside the rumble strips) or ending up beached in the kitty litter on the exit of the chicane. Sliding even one pixel across the rumble strips on either side of the chicane generally results in a Stop-Go Penalty. A flawless racing line is crucial to success here and in the ensuing straightaway. Straightaway: The pavement runs directly up against the barrier on the left side of the course here, creating problems for cars on the left whose engines suddenly expire. Turn 13 (Ascari): This is a semi-blind right-hand corner requiring moderate braking if you are alone; traffic tends to bunch up here. The recovery area again is quite wide, with a long run-off strip if needed. This leads to a short straightaway which can be a prime passing zone if acceleration out of Turn 13 is strong. Turn 14 (Steward): A light-braking, right-hand corner with a wide recovery area. Experts should be able to take this corner at top speed (if not in traffic) with a flawless racing line, or by dropping the right-side tires onto the grass at the apex of the corner. This is a good place to pass on braking upon entering the corner. Turn 15: Do not be fooled by the run-off lane which proceeds directly ahead into an unmoving barrier; there IS a J-turn to the left here, requiring hard braking. This is also a good place to pass on braking when entering the corner. Note that the Pit Entry is almost immediately to the right upon exiting the corner, so be sure to look for cars moving slower than expected as they enter Pit Lane. Turn 16 (Prost): But, be careful with the approach and exit angles for this right-hand turn, as the barrier (and a grandstand) is just a few feet off the pavement on the left as you exit the corner. A new addition from previous versions of the game, the Pit Lane barrier begins at the entry of Turn 16, so shortcutting is not a possibility, and dropping the right-side tires off the pavement is also not a good option. This leads onto the Pit Straight. Pit Entry: The Pit Lane begins to the right shortly after Turn 15. It is possible to enter at a fairly high speed, but there will be a sharp turn to the right very quickly, requiring moderate or heavy braking. Before entering the main Pit area, however, is a tight right-left chicane, so be prepared to truly slam on the brakes, or else the nose of your car will slam into the Pit Lane barrier. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF MALAYSIA: KUALA LAMPUR Kuala Lampur includes very wide recovery zones all along the course, on both sides of the pavement, with very few exceptions. The main grandstands are nestled 'within' the course itself, as the 'back straight' and the 'Pit Straight' flank each side of the main spectator seats, linked by a tight left-hand hairpin. While the pavement is rather wide for an F1 circuit (with its width widely considered as the 'future' of F1 racing venues), it is actually more difficult to drive than it appears on television, especially the 'back' part of the course (behind the main grandstands). Pit Straight: The main grandstands are to the left as you fly down the Pit Straight. Slam on the brakes at the end of the Pit Straight, as the first two corners are VERY tight. Turns 1 and 2: Turn 1 is a TIGHT right-hand corner, followed immediately by the not-as-tight-but-still-difficult left-hand Turn 2. If there is traffic ahead, the cars will certainly bunch up here. The first corner on the opening lap of any F1 race is characterized by cars bunching up together; given the downhill slope of Turns 1 (beginning at the exit) and 2, cars are even more likely than usual to bump each other and/or the barrier here. Fortunately, the outside of Turn 2 has a wide (sand-filled) recovery area, so if a major accident takes place, it might be wise to (carefully) take to the sand to avoid the worst of the chaos and debris. Remember that Turn 2 is slower than Turn 1, so if following another car, it is imperative to allow plenty of room to keep from ramming the other vehicle. Turn 3: Accelerate hard through this sweeping right-hand corner. No braking is necessary here. The course begins a gentle uphill climb here. Turn 4: It is easy to overrun this corner, either on entry or on exit, but the wide patch of sand to the outside of the corner is available to slow you down in these situations. This right-hand corner is the crest of the uphill climb which began in Turn 3. Moderate braking will be required here. Turns 5 and 6: Turn 5 is an easy left-hand corner, followed by the similarly-shaped right-hand Turn 6. In Turn 5, the barrier comes very close to the pavement on the inside of the corner, so be careful not to roll up on the grass here. There is plenty of space for recovery on the outside of each corner, which may be important exiting Turn 6 as it is rather easy to run too wide on exit. Both corners can be taken either flat-out or with simply a slight lifting off the accelerator. Turns 7 and 8: These two right-hand corners are best taken in a wide 'U' formation. There is plenty of kitty litter on the outside of the corners here should you lose concentration and drive off the pavement. While experts with a death wish may be able to speed through these corners at full throttle, braking or significantly lifting off the accelerator would be a far better choice. Turn 9: This tight left-hand J-turn is made even more difficult by the brief uphill slope leading to the corner itself, which hides the view of the pavement as the course turns to the left here. Early braking is key, or else you WILL be caught out in the sand trap. Moderate or heavy braking will be needed here, depending on your top speed coming out of the 'U' formation of Turns 7 and 8. If you have excellent confidence in your braking ability (especially with fresh tires after a pit stop), this is a great place to pass other cars on braking, but only if attempted near the inside of the corner - otherwise, you will be far off the racing line, and any car(s) you try to pass will force you out into the sand. Turn 10: After the tightness of Turn 9, Turn 10's right-hand corner can be taken at full throttle. The course climbs gently uphill here, cresting shortly after the exit. Turn 11: The course begins a gentle downhill slope near the entry of Turn 11, then turns to the right as the downhill slope continues. Moderate braking will be needed here, as Turn 11 is tighter than Turn 10. This is also a good place to pass other cars on braking. It is also easy to overrun the corner, so there is plenty of sand to the outside of the corner to slow you down in this instance. Turn 12: After a short straightaway, the course turns to the left. If you hug the apex tightly, you should be able to take Turn 12 without braking. Again, plenty of sand awaits those who slide off the pavement here. Turn 13: This is a nasty right-hand decreasing-radius hairpin with no paved swing-out area on exit, making the corner far more difficult than it at first appears. The first 60 degrees can be taken at top speed, although some braking is greatly recommended here. After that, moderate or heavy braking is required to keep from rolling out into the kitty litter on the left side of the pavement. Strong acceleration is key on exit. Straightaway: This straightaway runs along the 'back side' of the main grandstands. This is a very long straightaway, so powerful acceleration out of the Turn 13 hairpin can provide good passing opportunities here, especially for those using a low-downforce set-up. Near the end of the straightaway, a line of pavement leaves to the right, but this is NOT the Pit Lane entry used for F1 races. Turn 14: This is the final corner of the course, and certainly the most important in a close race. Following the long straightaway on the 'back side' of the main grandstands, this is a left-hand hairpin, much tighter than Turn 13. It is key here to approach from the extreme right side of the pavement, tightly hug the apex, and accelerate strongly while drifting back out to the right on exit. The Pit Lane entry begins here about halfway through the hairpin, so beware of slower cars going in for servicing. This is also a good place to pass on braking, but be ready to block any aggressive drivers trying to pass you as they slam on the throttle on exit. Pit Entry: The Pit Lane begins halfway through the Turn 14 hairpin (the final corner of the course). Keep tight to the right entering the hairpin, to allow those passing you to dive to the left-hand apex of the corner; after the first 90 degrees of the corner, drive straight ahead along the Pit Lane. However, you will quickly find the Pit Lane curving to the left, so make sure you have slowed enough to not bang the front wing or front-right tire against the barrier. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF BRAZIL: INTERLAGOS Most F1 courses are driven clockwise; built on a steep hillside, Interlagos is driven counter-clockwise, which causes 'undue' fatigue to drivers' necks as the race progresses. The upper part of the course features two extensive segments of flat-out, full-throttle, high-speed driving. Conversely, the lower part of the course (where the most clock time is spent per lap) features tight corners and several significant elevation changes. However, despite these two very different sections of the circuit, the car set-up is not quite as tricky or as key here as at Indianapolis. Pit Straight: This is the highest point of the course in terms of elevation. There is no room to pull off the course here if there is a problem with a car, as the barriers rub against the pavement on both sides of the track. This is also the fastest portion of the course, leading into the most dangerous set of corners in all of F1 racing. There are several left-hand fades along the 'Pit Straight.' This 'straightaway' is the longest stretch of flat-out acceleration of this course. The optimal racing line is hard to the left, so be careful not to rub the left-side tires against the barriers, especially when passing the Pit Lane Entry. The Pit Entrance is also to the left; beware of slower cars entering Pit Lane. Turn 1 (S do Senna): Especially since this corner follows an incredibly long and fast 'Pit Straight,' this is by far the most dangerous turn on the course, and thus perhaps the most dangerous corner in all of F1 racing. This is a tight, left- hand, semi-blind, downhill corner requiring severe braking long before reaching the turn. Unless you have PERFECT confidence in your car's braking AND turning ability, this is definitely NOT a place to pass!!! For those who overrun the corner, there is a continent-size patch of kitty litter. Turn 2 (S do Senna): Following immediately after Turn 1, it is perhaps best to coast through this right-hand corner, with strong acceleration on exit to set up prime passing opportunities in Curva du Sol or along the following straightaway. Beware the Pit lane barrier practically rubbing up against the pavement here on the left. (Historical note: The Pit Lane used to rejoin the main course at the exit of Turn 2, but FIA and the drivers deemed that this was too dangerous, so Pit Exit was moved to beyond the exit of Turn 3.) Turn 3 (Curva du Sol): Immediately following S do Senna, Turn 3 is a gentle left-hand corner which can also be taken at top speed. Just beyond the exit of Turn 3, the Pit Lane rejoins the main course on the left. Curva du Sol leads into the second-longest straightaway of the circuit. Straightaway: This long straightaway presents a gentle downhill slope leading to the lower portion of the course. Keep to the right on exiting Curva du Sol so that cars rejoining the race from the Pit Lane can blend in without incident. Turn 4 (Lago): This corner truly begins the lower portion of the course in terms of elevation. Lago is a semi-hidden left-hand corner with a slight downward slope. Moderate braking is necessary here to keep from sliding the car into the recovery zone, especially if the track is wet. Good acceleration out of Lago sets up great passing in the next corner and along the following straightaway. Do not overrun the course, or you will be slowed severely by the sand and grass. Turn 5: A gentle left-hand turn, this can be taken at full throttle. The course begins to slope upward again. However, do not try to take this corner too sharply on the apex, as the barrier may not agree with your tactics. Straightaway: This is effectively the last straightaway before the Pit Straight at the beginning of the course. The course here slopes upward, so cars with excellent acceleration out of Turns 4 and 5 can pass those with poor uphill speed. Turn 6 (Laranjinha): This is the beginning of a pair of right-hand corners which effectively form a 'U' shape. The entry of this corner can be taken at full throttle, but be ready to touch the brakes at the exit of this corner. Turn 6 is also on the crown of a hill. Turn 7 (Laranjinha): The final corner of a 'U' shape in the course, this is a right-hand decreasing-radius corner with a gentle downward slope. Turn 8 (Curva do S): After an almost negligible straightaway, this incredibly tight right-hand corner requires hard braking. The course also begins to slope downhill at the beginning of Turn 8. Pinheirinho immediately follows. Turn 9 (Pinheirinho): Immediately upon exiting Turn 8, slam on the brakes again (or simply coast) for the sharp left-hand Pinheirinho. This may potentially a good place to pass other cars. Turn 9 is a long corner, however, so it is important to hug the apex much longer than usual. Extreme caution must be taken here if racing in wet conditions, or you will find yourself sliding into the sand. The exit of Pinheirinho leads to an upward-sloping straightaway. Turn 10 (Bica do Pato): The entrance of Turn 10 begins the final downward slope of the course, making this right-hand corner even more difficult to navigate. Heavy braking and excellent vehicle control are required to maneuver the car safely through this corner, especially in the rain. Good acceleration is needed exiting Bica do Pato to pass traffic in the next corner and ensuing straightaway. The kitty litter is available if you overshoot the corner, but then you will quickly find yourself rubbing against a barrier. Turn 11 (Mergulho): This left-hand corner almost immediately follows Bica do Pato and can be taken almost flat-out to provide good speed along the next (very short) straightaway. Good acceleration out of Bica do Pato makes this a good passing zone if you have a decent racing line, otherwise you may find yourself off the course on the outside of the corner. Turn 12 (Juncao): This is a tight left-hand corner requiring moderate to heavy braking. The final, steep uphill slope begins here, and the exit of the corner is hidden (even in chase view). It is extremely easy to run off the outside of the corner here, but a small patch of grass and another paved lane provide some run-off relief here. This corner leads to the incredibly long Pit Straight. Pit Entry: As you climb the long 'Pit Straight,' the Pit Lane begins on the left. Pit Exit: The Pit Lane once emptied onto the exit of Turn 2; it now rejoins the main course just after the exit of Curva du Sol. This makes Pit Lane extremely long, which makes it extremely important to select your pit strategy carefully in long races. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF SAN MARINO: IMOLA The Grand Prix of San Marino begins the 'European Season' for F1. The Imola circuit is challenging but rather fun. Again, this is a 'counterclockwise' circuit, but, oddly, the Pits and Paddock are located on the outside of the circuit and not on the inside. There is extremely little tolerance for shortcutting the chicanes. Due to the slope of the grass on the inside of the corner, Turn 6 (Tosa) is essentially a blind corner unless traffic is present to mark the course for you. Pit Straight: This is a long straightaway, which enables high speeds as the cars cross the Start/Finish Line. Good exit speed out of the final chicane makes for prime passing and a good show for the spectators. The Pit Straight fades to the left at the exit of Pit Lane (which is aligned with the Start/Finish Line). Once past the Pits, there is a barrier directly against the right side of the track. Turns 1 and 2 (Tamburello): This is a left-right chicane. Turn 1 requires moderate braking, but if you slow enough in Turn 1, you should be able to drive at full throttle through Turn 2 and beyond. If you try to take the entire chicane at full speed, you may be able to make it through Turn 1 fairly well, but you will quickly find yourself in the grass on the outside of Turn 2 and banging against the nearby barrier. If you completely miss the braking zone for Turn 1, there is a huge patch of kitty litter to help you recover. Turn 3 (Tamburello): Immediately following Turn 2, Turn 3 is a soft left-hand corner which can be taken at full speed. Strong acceleration out of Turn 1 and through Turn 2 makes this a good passing zone. Following this corner is a significant straightaway. Turns 4 and 5 (Villeneuve): This is another left-right chicane, though not nearly as lengthy as the first chicane. Care must be taken not to slide off the course at the exit of Turn 5. It is possible for experts to fly through this chicane at top speed (if not encumbered by traffic) by rolling up on the rumble strips, but doing so produces a significant chance of losing control of the car and crashing into the barrier on the left side of the circuit as the sandy recovery area severely narrows on approach to Tosa. The course slopes upward at the exit of this chicane. Turn 6 (Tosa): This is a semi-blind left-hand corner which continues the upward slope of the course. Moderate or even severe braking is required here, or else your car will be in the kitty litter and bounding toward the spectators. Traffic is actually a benefit in approaching this corner, as the course is largely hidden from view given the slope of the grass on the inside of the corner, but other cars are easy to see. Straightaway: The course continues up the hill here. Just beyond the overhead billboard, the track fades to the right as it begins its gentle downward slope, but then leads directly into Piratella. Turn 7 (Piratella): The course continues downward here, with the slope increasing. This is a left-hand semi-blind corner. It is rather easy to slip off the pavement here and into the kitty litter on the outside of the corner. Any passing here is best made tight to the apex of the corner, perhaps with only the right-side wheels on the pavement or rumble strip. Turn 8: Barely a corner at all but more than a fade, the course gently turns to the left here. This is a full-speed 'corner,' but the racing line is still very important here. Turns 9 and 10 (Mineralli): This is a pair of right-hand corners which effectively function as a decreasing-radius 'U' formation and are best taken in this manner. Turn 9 can probably be taken at full speed, but upon exit to the outside of Turn 9, severe braking is needed and extra steering to the right is required to safely navigate around the decreasing- radius Turn 10. The track begins another (steep) uphill slope in Turn 10. Tightly hugging the apex allows for prime passing through Turn 10. Care must be taken not to enter Turn 10 too fast, or else you will be off the course on the left. Turn 11 (Mineralli): Immediately following Turn 10, the left- hand Turn 11 continues the upward slope of the course. Care must be taken not to slip off to the right of the track on exit. Turns 12-13 (Alta Chicane): This is a tight right-left chicane. Other cars generally slow significantly for this chicane, so a full-speed maneuver here in traffic is NOT advised. In fact, attempting to take this chicane at top speed will require rolling up on the rumble strips, and you will almost certainly lose control and either spin, flip, or collide with the all-too-close barrier to the right side of the course. The barrier to the outside of Turn 13 is very close to the track, so be careful not to slip off the course. Alta Chicane, due to its placement just slightly beyond the crest of the circuit, is also 100% unsighted on approach, so it is very easy to miss the chicane and either overshoot it or turn too early. Straightaway: The course begins its final downhill slope here, fading gently first to the left, then to the right. Turns 14 and 15 (Rivazza): This is a left-hand 'U' formation. Moderate braking is required entering Turn 14, but then Turn 15 can be taken at full speed (IF you slowed enough in Turn 14), although some may feel more comfortable lightly tapping the brakes here. Caution must be taken to use enough braking entering the 'U' formation, or else you will end up in the sand on the right side of the track. Straightaway: This is the final long straightaway before reaching the Pit Straight. However, the official course fades to the right just after passing underneath the Helix banner; driving straight ahead (the pavement of the old course) and thus missing the entire final chicane results in a penalty. The end of this straightaway provides two options: 1.) Keep driving straight ahead onto Pit Lane; 2.) Turn left for the final chicane. Turns 16 and 17 (Bassa Chicane): This is the final chicane (left-right) of the course. To the outside of Turn 16 is the Pit Lane entry, so be mindful of slower cars entering Pit Lane as you approach the chicane. Moderate braking is required entering Turn 16, but then Turn 17 requires light braking. Be VERY careful riding the rumble strips in Bassa Chicane, as wheelspin on the rumble strips is likely to force the car out of control, which means either getting caught in the kitty litter inside Turn 17, or colliding with the barrier (which is VERY close to the pavement) on exiting the chicane. Pit Entry: Instead of turning left for Turn 16, keep driving directly ahead. However, there is no room for slowing once you leave the main course, so stay tight to the right side of the pavement as you slow to enter Pit Lane. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF SPAIN: CATALUNYA The Catalunya circuit is challenging, especially the two hairpins and the final corners of the race. For observers and drivers alike, plenty of action can be found at the Spanish Grand Prix. In the real-world 2002 F1 season, traction control was not permitted until the Grand Prix of Spain (EVERY event in Grand Prix Challenge permits traction control). Intertextal Note: The Catalunya circuit is also used in the PS2 game Le Mans 24 Hours. Pit Straight: As usual, incredible speeds can be attained here. Watch for cars rejoining the race from the right side of the straightaway about two-thirds of the way along its massive length. Turn 1 (Elf): This is a right-hand corner which requires moderate braking. Strong acceleration out of Turn 1 creates great passing opportunities all the way to Repsol. Attempting to take Turn 1 at top speed will either cause you to lose control as you run up on the rumble strips, or send you too far off course to survive Turn 2 intact. Turn 2 (Elf): Immediately following Turn 1, the left-hand Turn 2 can usually be taken at top acceleration. With strong acceleration out of Turn 1, this is a prime passing zone. Turn 3 (Seat): A sweeping right-hand increasing-radius corner which can be taken at full speed with a flawless racing line. This is also a good place to pass slower cars, especially if you have the inside line. Turn 4 (Repsol): This is a semi-blind right-hand hairpin corner which requires moderate or heavy braking. The barrier on the inside of the corner rests almost directly against the track, and blocks your view around the corner. This can actually be a good place to pass on braking, but only with extreme caution (and usually only if the car you wish to pass takes the wide line around the corner). Don't come too hot into this corner or else you will find yourself in the sand. After clearing the first 90 degrees, you should be able to accelerate fairly well if not encumbered by traffic. Turn 5: After a very short straightaway, this is a semi-blind left-hand hairpin, a bit tighter than Turn 4. Moderate or heavy braking will be needed here, or you will definitely find yourself in the kitty litter. Straightaway: This straightaway fades to the left. Strong acceleration out of Turn 5 can create passing opportunities, especially in the braking zone for Wuth. Turn 6 (Wuth): With a good racing line, you should be able to brake lightly to clear this semi-blind, slightly-downhill, left-hand corner. Beware the barrier on the inside of Wuth. The exit of Wuth has an immediate fade to the right, so do not commit too much to turning left here, or the front-left of the car will be shaking hands with the barrier. Turn 7 (Campsa): This right-hand corner can be taken at full speed with a flawless racing line. Note that the official circuit is to the right; do not drive directly ahead onto another patch of pavement, or you will be assigned a Stop-Go Penalty. Turn 8 (La Cacsa): Severe braking is required for this left- hand corner. While not suggested, you may be able to pass other cars on braking here. As with Wuth, stay off the rumble strips and grass on the inside of the turn, or you will risk losing control of the car. This is a 'J' turn, and the corner seems to go on forever before you reach the exit. Turn 9 (Banc Sabadeau): Shortly following Turn 8, moderate or heavy braking will be needed here for the right-hand, upward- sloping corner. This is also a 'J' turn which is nearly a double-apex corner. If you need a recovery area anywhere on the course, it will most likely be here. It is possible to pass slower cars here by tightly hugging the inside of the turn, even running the right-side tires on the rumble strips or just slightly in the grass. Turn 10: Light braking may be needed for this right-hand corner. The key here is to truly hug the inside of the turn and accelerate strongly through the exit. Watch for slow cars here preparing to go to Pit Lane for servicing. Turn 11: Entering this right-hand corner, the Pit Lane begins on the right, so be on the lookout for very slow cars here. If you take this final corner too tightly, or make a VERY late decision to go to the pits, you will certainly damage the front of the car on a barrier. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF AUSTRIA: A1-RING This course may only have seven corners, the fewest of the circuits used in the 2002 racing season, but it is still a highly-challenging technical course for the drivers. The circuit itself is built on a steep hillside, with the Paddock area and the Pit Straight located at the lowest elevation of the course. The significant elevation changes and poorly- placed barriers make this a particularly challenging circuit to safely navigate for 90+ minutes. Pit Straight: Long and straight; main grandstands to the left, Pit Lane to the right. Rather mundane, except that the entire Pit Straight has a slow uphill climb into the Castrol Curve. The beginning of the Pit Straight (coming off Mobilkom Curve) is also a bit bumpy. Turn 1 (Castrol Curve): After a rather mundane Pit Straight, the Castrol Curve is anything but mundane. This is a right- hand uphill corner which requires moderate braking. The Pit Lane rejoins the main course on the right at the exit of the corner. Because of the steep slope of the hill, it is all too easy to drive off the outside of the corner and into the massive sand trap. If you lose your concentration and forget even to slow down, you will likely find yourself airborne once you hit the rumble strip; similarly, if you try to take this corner at top speed, you may indeed find yourself fearfully looking up at the ground. Note: The inside edge of the rumble strip along the apex of Castrol Curve has a short vertical blade. Running the right-side tires up against or onto this vertical blade is likely to cut one or both right-side tires. Straightaway: There are a few fades in the straightaway as the course continues its uphill climb. The end of the straightaway (approaching Remus Curve) has a suddenly steeper grade and demands total concentration. Turn 2 (Remus Curve): This is a TIGHT right-hand 'J' turn requiring heavy or even severe braking, and complete concentration to navigate safely (even when not dealing with traffic); any speed over 30MPH is definitely too fast for Remus Curve. The uphill climb of the circuit continues through most of the turn, making high or even moderate speeds impossible here. Rolling the right-side tires up on the thin patch of grass on the inside of the Remus Curve will almost definitely result in loss of control of your vehicle. Even worse, this is a blind corner due to the barrier. Aggressive drivers will certainly end up overrunning the Remus Curve on exit and find themselves beached in the kitty litter. If you use the accelerator too soon on exit, you WILL find yourself off-course. Straightaway: Located at the highest elevation of the course, this straightaway has a fade to the right, then another to the left. After the second fade, prepare for braking before arriving at the Gosser Curve. Make use of the distance-to- corner markers, or else you risk overrunning Gosser Curve. Turn 3 (Gosser Curve): Another tight right-hand corner, heavy braking will be required here to avoid sliding off the course and into yet another sand trap. This is also a blind corner, due to the barrier on the inside of Gosser. The circuit begins to slowly descend in elevation here. Straightaway: This is actually NOT a straightaway at all; the course map does not list the right-hand turn, but it is definitely more than just a fade. If you overrun this, you will end up in the same sand trap as before - it is simply extended along the left side of the course from the outside of Gosser until well beyond this unofficial corner. Turn 4 (Niki Lauda Curve): This is a wide left-hand corner which will require moderate or heavy braking, especially since this is a blind corner due to the slope of the hill on the inside of the turn; even if you slow greatly before entering the corner, you will likely be tapping the brakes as you progress through Niki Lauda. There is another wide patch of sand on the outside of the corner, stretching almost all the way to the entrance of the Gerhard Berger Curve. A short straightaway separates Turns 4 and 5. Note that the circuit does indeed turn to the left here; the patch of pavement which continues straight forward will lead you into a barrier. Turn 5 (Gerhard Berger Curve): This is almost identical to the Niki Lauda Curve, but with an additional sand trap which begins on the inside of the corner. Straightaway: Again more than a fade but not listed as an official corner, there is a 'turn' to the right shortly after exiting the Gerhard Berger Curve. About two-thirds of the way along, the course enters a scenic forested area; this 'transition' section is also rather bumpy. Turn 6 (Jochen Rindt Curve): This is a blind right-hand corner which can be taken with light braking, or just a small lift of the accelerator; the best way to judge this corner is by using the right-side barrier as a guide. Another sand trap awaits those who run off the outside of the corner. A short straightaway follows Jochen Rindt. Turn 7 (Mobilkom Curve): This is a right-hand corner which will require light or moderate braking. The Pit Lane begins on the right just before the entry to Mobilkom, so be careful not to bump cars slowing before going to the pits. Pit Entry: Located just before the entrance to the Mobilkom Curve, the Pit Lane is to the right. This is a very long pit lane, so plan to stay out of here as much as possible!!! ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF MONACO: MONTE CARLO (TEMPORARY STREET CIRCUIT) 'To finish first, first you must finish.' The Monaco circuit is a highly daunting temporary street course, especially from the Driver View, as the barriers are FAR too close for comfort, and passing is virtually impossible for even expert drivers. If there is a problem with a car, there are extremely few places to safely pull aside, so all drivers must be constantly wary of damaged vehicles, especially slow or stationary cars around the many blind corners. The most significant key to simply finishing a race at Monaco is SURVIVAL, which means a slow, methodical, patient race. Aggressive drivers (like myself) would almost certainly end up dead - or at least driving an extremely beat-up vehicle - driving the Monaco circuit for real!!! For a comparison, the Surfer's Paradise circuit in the old PlayStation game Newman- Haas Racing is a sweet dream compared to the Monaco circuit!!!!! The circuit is extremely narrow, to the point that if a car bangs a barrier, there is a rather good chance that it will ricochet into the opposite barrier (if not into a nearby vehicle). While driving this circuit, players may want to have 'I Will Survive' playing on auto-repeat!!! Pit Straight: Not straight at all, the 'Pit Straight' fades to the right along its entire length. Near the end, the Pit Lane rejoins the main course from the right. Turn 1 (Sainte Devote): This is a tight right-hand semi-blind corner; heavy braking is required long before reaching Sainte Devote. To the left on entering this corner is one of the few areas to pull off the course if there is a problem. Overshooting the corner results in smashing the front wing against the unmoving barrier. The uphill portion of the course begins here. Straightaway (Beau Rivage): Not really straight with its multi-direction fades, the circuit climbs steeply uphill here. Because of the fades, this is actually NOT a passing zone; you may think you have enough room to pass a slower car and actually pull up alongside it, but then you and the slower vehicle will end up bumping each other and/or a barrier because of a fade. Three-wide racing is definitely NOT an option here!!!!! Turn 2 (Massanet): This is a sweeping decreasing-radius left- hand blind corner requiring moderate or heavy braking on entry and light braking (or coasting) as you continue through the turn. If you come in too fast, the corner workers will be scraping the right side of your car off the barrier at the end of the race; if you take the corner too tightly, the same will happen for the left side of the car. The exit of Massanet is the highest elevation of the circuit... which has only just begun, even if it IS 'all downhill' from here!!! Turn 3 (Casino): Moderate braking will be needed for the right-hand Casino. This corner almost immediately follows Massanet, and begins the long downward trajectory of the course. This corner is actually wider than most, to the extent that a car in trouble may be parked along the barrier on the outside of the corner. Be careful not to scrape the left-side barrier while exiting Turn 3; similarly, do not overcompensate and scrape the right-side barrier at the apex of Casino. Turn 4 (Mirabeau): Following a medium-length downhill straightaway, heavy braking is needed for this right-hand blind 'J' turn. If you miss the braking zone, your front end will be crushed up against yet another barrier. This corner continues the course's downhill slope, which adds to the difficulty of the turn. Turn 5 (Great Curve): Following an extremely short straightaway, this left-hand hairpin is one of the slowest in all of F1 racing (even 40MPH is a dangerous speed here). If you have excellent braking ability, you can actually PASS (a rarity!!!) by taking the tight inside line; otherwise, it would be best to drive through the Great Curve single-file. If there is traffic ahead, it may simply be best to fall in line, as two-wide cornering here is extremely difficult to do without damaging the car. Turns 6 and 7 (Portier): This pair of right-hand corners form a 'U' shape, but neither can be taken at any respectable speed. Between these two corners is a pull-off area on the left, with another to the left on exiting the 'U' formation. Turn 7 is the slowest of the two corners, and is the most difficult in terms of the almost-nonexistent view of the track (made even worse by the coloring of the barriers and advertisements in this portion of the circuit). Accelerating too soon out of Turn 7 means banging the left side of the car against yet another immovable barrier. Do not let the beautiful view of the water distract you from the race. The circuit is a little bumpy exiting Portier, especially if you stay tight to the inside of the corner on exit. Straightaway (The Tunnel): This 'straightaway' is actually a very long right-hand fade in a semi-tunnel (the left side provides a view of the water). However, even on a sunny day, visibility here is poor due to the sun being at a 'wrong' angle compared to the circuit, and this is made even worse should you be following a car with a malfunctioning or expired engine; even brightly-colored vehicles are difficult to see due to the inherent darkness in The Tunnel. Start braking shortly after entering back into the sunlight (assuming Dry Weather is active) for the chicane. Chicane (Nouveau Chicane): The course narrows as you come around the chicane, but then 'widens' back to 'normal' at the exit. There are several barriers in the chicane area, thus preventing drivers from simply plowing through and shortcutting the chicane. Turn 8 (Tobacco): This left-hand corner is best taken with moderate braking. Turns 9-12 (Swimming Pool): This is essentially a double chicane around the swimming pool in the classic 'bus stop' configuration. Turns 9 and 10 form a tight left-right combination, for which moderate braking is required, although little or no braking can be used if you roll straight over the rumble strips with a solid racing line and no encumbering traffic. After an extremely brief straightaway, Turns 11 and 12 form the opposite configuration (right-left), but are even tighter and require moderate braking at best. This opens out onto a short straightaway where you MIGHT be able to pass ONE car. Turns 13 and 14 (La Rascasse): This is a tight left-right chicane requiring moderate braking for Turn 13 and heavy braking for Turn 14. Even worse, Turn 14 is a 'J' turn, so the racing line is also very important here. The Pit Lane is to the right at the exit of this chicane. Turns 15 and 16 (Anthony Hoges): A tight right-left chicane, these are the final corners of the Monaco circuit. The course narrows here through the chicane, then 'widens' to 'normal' for the Pit Straight. Pit Entry: The entrance to the Pit Lane is to the right immediately after clearing La Rascasse. Given that La Rascasse is a blind section, on every lap, expect a slower car here headed for the pits. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF CANADA: CIRCUIT GILLES-VILLENEUVE This incredible circuit is built on an island, accessible to spectators only via subway. Much of the course runs along the southern and northern shores of the island. This course is also unusual in that the paddock area is to the outside of the course (as at Imola), along the northern shore of the island. The long, sweeping straightaways provide for excellent top-end speed - a much-welcome change from the slow, tight corners and the many unforgiving barriers of the streets of Monaco (the previous race venue in the season) - but there are several tight corners here to challenge both drivers and vehicles. Mind the Casino Hairpin (Turn 10), the westernmost corner of the course. Also tricky is the Senna Curve, as it immediately follows the first corner of the race. Pit Straight: This follows the final chicane of the circuit. As the Pit Lane rejoins the main course from the left, the Pit Straight fades to the right, setting up Turn 1. Turn 1 (Senna Curve): This left-hand corner will require moderate braking, and immediately flows into the Senna Curve. Turn 2 (Island Hairpin): This is a right-hand hairpin corner requiring heavy or severe braking. It is very easy to run too wide here, slipping off into the grass. Likewise, it is rather easy to overcompensate and cut the corner, which can cause the car to spin if taken too fast. Extreme caution is required here if racing in wet conditions, as the severity of Island hairpin can itself cause the car to slide. Perhaps the best tactic is to enter Turn 1 from the extreme right of the pavement, and brake smoothly all the way through to just beyond the apex of Senna Curve before accelerating again. Beware the barrier to the left on exit. A moderate straightaway follows the Senna Curve, so acceleration from the exit is important. Turns 3 and 4: This right-left chicane can provide a good passing zone. Turn 3 is tight and semi-blind, but passing on braking is an option for those who know the chicane well. Turn 4 is an easier corner, allowing good acceleration on exit, but it is still easy to overshoot the exit of the chicane and bang the right side of the car against the nearby barrier. Expert drivers MIGHT be able to blast through this chicane at full acceleration by making judicious use of the rumble strips. This chicane begins the segment of the circuit closely bounded by barriers. Turn 5: This sweeping right-hand corner can be taken at full speed, unless you are coping with traffic. Be careful not to hug the apex too tightly, or your right-side tires will be on the grass here. Turn 6: Finally coming out of the section of Monacoesquely- close barriers, this left-hand corner will require moderate braking, or you will be flying through the grass toward the spectators in Grandstand 33. This leads out to a very brief straightaway. Turn 7 (Concorde): Following a very short straightaway, Turn 7 is a light-braking right-hand corner. On the outside of Turn 7 is a short, steep hillside with a barrier, so DO NOT run wide entering the corner, as it is possible to send the vehicle airborne!!! It is easy to run wide on exit and slip off the course and into the barrier on the left, so be careful. Straightaway: The course runs along the southern shore of the island here. Unfortunately, the extremely tall barrier prevents much of a view, which actually forces your eyes to be transfixed on the road and any other cars ahead. Once you pass underneath the pedestrian bridge, begin braking for the upcoming chicane. Turns 8 and 9: This right-left chicane is similar to Turns 6 and 7 in that overrunning the chicane leaves you driving through the sand directly toward another grandstand full of spectators. Moderate braking will be needed to safely enter the chicane's tight right-hand corner. The second corner of the chicane is a gentler left-hand turn, but you might still run off the pavement on exit and grind the right side of the car against the barrier, or roll up on the rumble strips on the inside of the corner and lose control of the car. Accelerate strongly out of the chicane to set up passing possibilities along the following straightaway and into Casino Hairpin. Straightaway: About two-thirds of the way along this straightaway, the raceway fades to the left. Begin braking early for Casino Hairpin unless you really want to beach the car in the kitty litter; to begin braking after passing underneath the second pedestrian bridge is almost certainly too late for this braking zone. Turn 10 (Casino Hairpin): This is a tight right-hand hairpin requiring heavy or even severe braking, depending on when you begin braking for the corner. Somehow, this corner seems to be longer than it really is, so be judicious with the accelerator until you see clear, straight track ahead. Straightaway: On exiting Turn 10, the course fades to the right, then back to the left. However, no braking is required here. Turn 11: Officially marked on course maps as a corner, the course actually only fades to the right here, thus no braking is required. You should be fairly high up in the gearbox by the time you reach Turn 11. Straightaway (Casino Straight): The Casino Straight (named for the casino in the middle of the island) runs parallel to the northern shore of the island on which the course is built; there is not much of a view to the left, but it is not very interesting anyhow (especially when compared to Albert Park Lake in Melbourne). This is by far the longest straightaway of the entire course, so much of the time spent here will be in your car's top gear, quite likely achieving speeds over 200MPH. The Casino Straight leads to the final (right-left) chicane of the course, as well as the entry for Pit Lane. Turns 12 and 13: This is a right-left chicane which can be cleared (without traffic) with light or moderate braking. The exit of the chicane flows onto the Pit Straight. The Pit Lane entry runs straight ahead in line with the Casino Straight, so cars slowing on the left are likely heading in for servicing, and may block your optimal racing line if you are continuing on-course. Unfortunately, Grand Prix Challenge does NOT have the bright-green concrete extension at the exit of Turn 13, which makes precision cornering imperative here. Pit Entry: As you enter the final (right-left) chicane, the Pit Entry runs straight ahead. Once clear of the main course, there is very little room for deceleration before the Pit Lane's own tight right-left chicane, so it is very important to slow down on Casino Straight before reaching the Pit Entry. Keep as far to the left as possible when slowing on Casino Straight, allowing other cars to keep to the right as they prepare for the final chicane. Pit Exit: Pit Exit comes at about one-third of the way around Island Hairpin (Turn 2). Note that this configuration for Pit Exit was first used in the 2002 F1 season. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF EUROPE: NURBURGRING From a driving standpoint, the hilly Nurburgring circuit is very much characterized by its tight corners, some of which are semi-blind turns. Tire wear is a definite issue in long races here, especially in wet conditions. Even more important, however, is braking early for almost every corner; perhaps only the narrow streets of Monaco require more (early) braking than does the Nurburgring circuit. Fortunately, Grand Prix Challenge presents the new circuit configuration, first used in the 2002 F1 season. The new configuration severely changes the initial corners of the circuit so that the course briefly doubles back behind the Paddock area with a twisting section of tight, near-hairpin corners. Pit Straight: This straightaway is fairly long, but the Start/Finish Line is near the exit of the final corner. The Pit Lane rejoins the course near the end of the Pit Straight, just before the Castrol S. Mercedes Arena Turn 1 (Castrol S): This first corner is a tricky right hand J-turn leading into the Mercedes Arena. It is VERY easy to miss this corner for those with a high degree of familiarity with F1 games covering the pre-2002 season. There is a solid white line which emerges from the left- hand side of Pit Straight and forms the left-hand edge of Castrol S itself, so drivers can make use of this line to ensure that they keep to the right for the actual corner. Severe braking will likely be required for Castrol S. Turn 2: This is a left-hand corner which will require moderate braking. Fortunately, the outside of this corner and the lead-up to Turn 3 is a wide paved area, providing plenty of recovery room for vehicles sliding off the official circuit pavement and allowing those vehicles to quickly rejoin the race. Turn 3: This left-hand hairpin corner is the tightest corner in Mercedes Arena. There is not much straightaway between Turns 2 and 3, so only moderate braking should be required for this hairpin corner. Turn 4: This right-hand right-angle corner leaves the Mercedes Arena and rejoins the pre-2002 configuration of the Nurburgring F1 race venue. Light braking may be useful for Turn 4, but it should also be quite easy to power out of Mercedes Arena at full throttle. Turn 5: Light braking or a quick lift of the accelerator will be necessary for this left-hand corner. However, hard braking will be required for the Ford Curve ahead. Beginning at the top of Turn 5, the course moves downhill. Turn 6 (Ford Curve): This is a hard right-hand corner, practically a 'J' curve. The course continues its downhill slope here, which significantly adds to the difficulty of the turn, especially in wet condditions. Braking too late here means a trip through the kitty litter, while riding up on the inside rumble strips usually means losing control of the car. This is definitely NOT a place to pass unless absolutely necessary. Straightaway: The course fades to the left here. If you can accelerate well out of the Ford Curve, you should be able to pass several cars here as you continue downhill. Turn 7 (Dunlop Curve): Severe braking for this hairpin is a must, unless you really want to drive through the sand. Again, rolling up on the rumble strips on the inside of the curve may cause you to lose control of the car; however, I have several times induced slight wheelspin of the right-side tires on the rumble strip, which helped to swing the car around the corner just a little faster. The course continues gently uphill here toward the Audi S. Turns 8 and 9 (Audi S): Entering the left-right Audi S, the uphill slope of the course increases, making it very difficult to see the course more than a few feet ahead. The exit of Turn 8 is the crest of this hill. Unless traffic blocks your racing line, the entire Audi S section can be taken at top speed if you have a good racing line, so good acceleration out of the Dunlop Curve will be very beneficial for passing entering Turn 8 and/or exiting Turn 9. Turn 10 (RTL Curve): With the rise in the course entering the left-hand RTL Curve, this appears to be identical to Turn 8 on approach. However, you MUST use moderate braking entering the RTL Curve, or you will definitely be off in the grass on the outside of the curve. After a short straightaway, this corner is followed by the gentler BIT Curve. Turn 11 (BIT Curve): This right-hand curve will require light or moderate braking, depending on how much acceleration was used in the brief straightaway following the RTL Curve. Turn 12 (Bilstein-Bogen): This is a gentle right-hand semi- corner which can be taken at full throttle. From here to the Veedal S, the course makes its final and steepest upward slope. Turns 13 and 14 (Veedal S): This is an extremely tight left- right made even worse for the drivers by its placement at the very crest of the hill. For those who overshoot the chicane, there is a newly-added barrier to collect you and your car. Turn 15 (Coca-Cola Curve): A 'J' turn to the right, moderate braking is required here to keep from sliding off the course. The entry of the Coca-Cola Curve is also where the Pit Lane begins, so cars may be slowing on approach to go to Pit Lane for servicing. This is the final corner of the circuit. Pit Entry: The Pit Lane begins at the entry of the final corner. It is extremely important to slow down before entering Pit Lane; if you come in too fast, you will certainly damage the front of the car on the barrier. Keep tight to the right for Pit Entry, to allow those continuing the race to have the prime racing line to the left of the pavement. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF GREAT BRITAIN: SILVERSTONE Built on an airport site which is contracted to host the Grand Prix of Great Britain until at least 2010, this historic course features wide run-off areas in most places. The final segment of the circuit is very similar to - but also VASTLY different from - The Stadium at Hockenheim. Pit Straight: The Start/Finish Line is directly at the beginning of the Pit Straight. There is no room for error on the right side of the track, as the Pit Lane barrier is directly against the pavement. Turn 1 (Copse): This is a moderate right-hand corner which can be taken at full speed, but be careful to not run off the course at the exit of the turn. The best racing line is to tightly hug the apex, but the Pit Lane barrier is right there against the pavement, so it is imperative to keep the right- side tires from rubbing the barrier. Turn 1 exits onto a long straightaway. Straightaway: The Pit Lane rejoins the main course from the right about 1/3 of the way along the straight. Turns 2-5 (Bechetts): This is a set of left-right-left-right 'S' curves. Turns 2 through 4 can be taken at full speed or with very quick tapping of the brakes if using an ample amount of downforce, but Turn 5 requires moderate braking to keep to the pavement. Turn 6 (Chapel): This is a gentle left-hand corner which can be taken at full speed. This opens onto Hangar Straight. Straightaway (Hangar Straight): At 738.28m, this is by far the longest straightaway of the course. Powerful acceleration out of Turn 5 (the final corner of Bechetts) can lead to good passing opportunities along Hangar Straight and/or entering the almost-nonexistent braking zone for Turn 7 (Stowe). Turn 7 (Stowe): Light braking or a quick lift off the accelerator will be required here (unless blocked by traffic) in order to remain on the pavement - IF using a good amount of downforce. This is a tricky, sweeping, right-hand corner followed immediately by a left-hand semi-corner. This is the southernmost point of the course. Straightaway (Vale): If you can somehow successfully navigate Stowe without braking or lifting, then you should be able to continue passing others fairly easily along Vale, especially if they had to brake heavily in Stowe. Turns 8 and 9 (Club): There is a stretch of pavement to the left, but that is NOT the official course. The official corner is a tight left-hand turn followed by the increasing- radius right-hand Turn 9, leading out onto another long straightaway (Abbey Straight). Turns 10 and 11 (Abbey): Like the previous set of corners, there is another stretch of pavement to the left which is not part of the official course. The official Turn 10 is a tight left-hand corner, but not as tight as Turn 8. This is immediately followed by a Turn 11, a right-hand corner which can be cleared with little or no braking depending on how much you slowed entering Abbey. Be careful not to slip off the course and rub the nearby barrier on exiting Abbey. Straightaway (Farm Straight): With good acceleration out of Abbey, good passing opportunities can be made here. Turns 12-16: This final segment of the circuit is very similar to The Stadium at Hockenheim. However, these similar segments cannot be approached in the same manner. Turn 12 (Bridge): Immediately after passing underneath the pedestrian bridge, you will enter a complex similar to The Stadium at Hokkenheim. This is a right-hand corner which can likely be taken at full speed. Turn 13 (Priory): This left-hand corner will require moderate braking. Turn 14 (Brooklands): Another left-hand corner, this one requires heavy braking. There is a small sand trap for those who miss the braking zone. Turn 15 (Luffield): This set of right-hand corners essentially forms a 'U' shape, and requires moderate or severe braking to avoid sliding off into the kitty litter. The exit of Luffield can be taken flat-out all the way to Turn 5. The entry to Pit Lane is on the right shortly leaving Luffield. Turn 16 (Woodcote): Barely a corner but more than a fade, the course eases to the right here. The right-side barrier begins abruptly here (be careful not to hit it). Pit Entry: The Pit Lane begins to the right between Luffield and Woodcote. The new Pit Lane has a gentle right-hand swing, so you can come into Pit Lane at top speed and have plenty of room to slow. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF FRANCE: NEVERS MAGNY-COURS The Magny-Cours circuit is characterized by long, sweeping straightaways, and fairly quick corners. The Adelaide hairpin will almost definitely cause trouble, especially for aggressive drivers, and is one of the slowest corners in modern F1 racing. This is a very fun course to drive (admittedly a very subjective statement), but its layout can produce problems from the standpoint of hearing other cars: Three of its main straightaways are almost exactly parallel to each other with little distance and no large obstacles between them, sometimes making it difficult to determine where other cars are truly located around you as you try to anticipate where the next group of traffic that you will need to navigate is located. The circuit also has extremely wide areas along most of the main course for a car to pull aside should a major malfunction arise. This is the circuit where Michael Schumacher won the 2002 Drivers' Championship, with six races yet to be run in the season. Pit Straight: Following the tight High School chicane, strong acceleration through the Pit Straight creates good passing chances through Great Curve and into Estoril. However, the tightness of the High School chicane and the incredibly close proximity of the Pit Lane barrier requires immense caution and headache-causing concentration as you come onto the Pit Straight. Turn 1 (Great Curve): In accordance with its name, this is a sweeping left-hand corner which can be taken flat-out unless encumbered by a lot of traffic. Turn 2 (Estoril): Either light or moderate braking will be needed for entering the VERY long right-hand 180-degree Estoril; in either case, you will almost certainly be tapping the brakes repeatedly through Estoril. It is quite easy to roll the right-side tires off onto the grass, and it is just as easy to slip off onto the grass on the outside of Estoril - both can easily occur, whether navigating traffic or driving alone. Pit Exit is on the left entering Estoril. Straightaway (Golf): The Golf Straight if by far the longest of the course and includes several fades to the right. Turn 3 (Adelaide): The right-hand Adelaide hairpin is EXTREMELY tight. The key here is to brake EARLY, as you will be downshifting from your top gear to your lowest gear rapidly; if you begin braking too late, you will be off in the grass. If you accelerate too soon out of Adelaide, you will be rolling through the kitty litter and losing valuable track position. Even 30MPH is likely to be too fast here. Note: There is a crane positioned inside the Adelaide hairpin (admittedly a VERY strange location for a crane), with the apex of the corner just a few meters beyond. Using this crane is an ideal indicator of the distance to the corner to judge one's necessary braking zone. Straightaway: Acceleration out of Adelaide is important for passing other cars here. There are a few fades in the course here. Turns 4 and 5 (Nurburgring): This is a right-left chicane which will require light braking. It is possible to fly through Nurburgring without braking by making use of the bright-green extension on the inside of Turn 5; however, this extension is significantly shorter than it was in F1 Championship Season 2000. Turn 6 (180 Degrees): This is quite true - the official name of this corner is '180 Degrees' according to the official Web site of Magny-Cours. This is a wide left-hand hairpin nestled well within the Estoril hairpin. Running too wide here will put you out in the sand; running too close to the apex could put you up on the rumble strips and force you to lose control. While this corner is not as slow as the Adelaide hairpin, you really do not want to try pushing very much faster here. Straightaway: The third of the three parallel-running straightaways, this 'straightaway' has several fades before the Imola chicane. Turns 7 and 8 (Imola): This right-left chicane should require light braking, except for cars with a flawless racing line. The bright-green extension on the inside of Turn 8 is longer than in F1 Championship Season 2000, which could well be used for top-speed navigation of the chicane. A short straightaway out of Imola sets up the Water Castle curve. Turn 9 (Water Castle): Somewhere between a standard 'J' turn and a hairpin, this is an increasing-radius right-hand corner leading into the final straightaway of the circuit. Turns 10 and 11 (High School): There is a false line of pavement to the right as you near the official chicane; this false pavement runs directly up to an immovable barrier (I believe this is the Pit Entry for other forms of racing at the circuit). The official chicane requires moderate braking on entering, and allows for a VERY short burst of acceleration on exit. If you completely miss this chicane, you will blast through the sand trap and break the front end on a perpendicular barrier blocking any direct access to Pit Lane. Turn 12 (High School): On entry, the Pit Lane begins to the left. The official corner is a TIGHT right-hand turn which requires moderate or even heavy braking; wheel lock is very much a possibility here, especially in wet conditions. Speed is an extreme concern here; it is virtually impossible to go too slow, but going too fast will definitely result in a crash (with great possibility of bouncing into follow-up crashes with other cars, or with a nearby barrier). Pit Entry: The Pit Lane begins to the left at the entry of Turn 12. The Pit Lane has its own sharp right-hand turn almost immediately, so it is best to begin slowing (or rather, barely accelerating) as you leave the High School chicane. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF GERMANY: HOCKENHEIM 2002 marked the beginning of the 'new' Hockenheim. Gone is the decades-old, tradition-filled, scenic-forest, high-speed circuit with the nearly-infinite straightaways where downforce was a driver's enemy. Now, Hockenheim is a much smaller race venue, occupying not even half the total size of its former grandiose incarnation. Pit Straight, North Curve (the first turn), and The Stadium have all survived intact; everything else about the 'shortened' circuit is new. Pit Straight: This is an extremely short straightaway compared to the rest of the course. Turn 1 (North Curve): This right-hand corner will require moderate braking to keep out of the expansive kitty litter. The Pit Lane rejoins the course from the right at the exit of North Curve. Acceleration out of North Curve is of key importance due to the length of the ensuing straightaway. Turns 2-3: This is a right-hand near-hairpin corner requiring moderate braking, followed immediately by a full-throttle left-hand corner. Turn 4 (Parabolic Curve): This is not quite a corner, but is labeled as such on the official circuit map. Parabolic Curve is by far the longest stretch of flat-out acceleration at the shortened Hockenheim venue. The trees on the left side of the pavement are really all that remains of the decades-old, tradition-laden Hockenheim venue. Turn 5 (Hairpin): This right-hand hairpin corner is just about as sharp as La Source at Spa-Francorchamps, but there is no barrier at the apex to obscure a driver's vision around the corner itself. It is very easy to swing wide on corner exit, which is where the similarity with La Source comes to an ABRUPT end - La Source provides for ample swing-out room on corner exit, whereas Hairpin does not >:-( Turn 6: Light braking will be required for this right-hand corner. Turns 7 and 8: This is a pair of left-hand corners, each requiring moderate braking. Turn 9: This right-hand corner returns to the old part of the circuit and leads up to The Stadium. Turns 10-13 (The Stadium): This is similar to the final segment of the Silverstone circuit. However, do not expect to drive The Stadium the same way you would the final segment at Silverstone. Turn 10 (Entrance to the Stadium: Agip Curve): Light braking may be required here, but you should be able to pass through the Agip Curve without any braking at all (especially if your racing line began with the 'extra' pavement on the left before the Stadium). A short straightaway follows. Turn 11 (Continuing through the Stadium: Sachscurve): This is a left-hand wide hairpin turn, requiring moderate braking. Be careful not to end up in the grass, either entering or exiting the corner. Straightaway (Continuing through the Stadium): This short straightaway has a fade to the left, followed by a fade to the right. Turns 12 and 13 (Exiting the Stadium: Opel): The first right-hand corner is somewhat tight, and heavy braking will be required here; the old course rejoins the current course from the left on exit, so if you run wide in this corner, you can likely recover here using the old pavement. The final corner of the circuit is a right-hand turn which will require moderate braking. The Pit Lane entry is to the right just before the official Turn 13. Pit Entry: The Pit Lane begins to the right at the entry of Turn 13 (the final corner of the Stadium). ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF HUNGARY: HUNGARORING The Hungaroring circuit has wide run-off areas, which can be quite important, especially for Turn 1. It is imperative to qualify near the top of the grid and be (one of) the first through this corner, as traffic backs up tremendously here at the start of a race - moreso than at most other circuits due to the extremely nasty configuration of the first turn. Pit Straight: Like Interlagos, Pit Straight is the highest elevation on the course and also a very long straightaway. Actually, the highest elevation is at the very end of the Pit Straight, at the entrance of Turn 1, due to the continual uphill slope. Turn 1: It's all downhill from here, almost literally. This tight right-hand hairpin corner is downhill all the way through, making early braking a necessity; plus, you will certainly be tapping the brakes all the way through this important first turn. If you do overrun the corner, there is a huge sand trap for your inconvenience. However, if you roll up on the inside rumble strips, expect your car to spin violently and collide with anything nearby. Turns 2 and 3: After a short straightaway, Turn 2 is a left- hand 'J' turn requiring moderate braking. Turn 2 is quickly followed by Turn 3, a light-braking right-hand corner which must be taken at full throttle on exit to set up passing opportunities through Turn 3 and along the ensuing straightaway. Turn 4: This moderate left-hand corner may require light braking or may be taken flat-out. Plenty of kitty litter awaits those who overrun the corner. Turn 5: Moderate braking is necessary for this right-hand 'J' turn. Plenty of sand is available on both sides of the pavement here, just in case. Turns 6 and 7: The CPU is very touchy about this right-left chicane; virtually ANY short-cutting here results in a Stop- Go Penalty. There is plenty of sand here as well, just in case. Turn 6 is tight, requiring heavy braking. Turn 7 requires moderate braking, and beware the barrier on exit if you happen to swing out too wide. Turn 8: This moderate left-hand corner may require light braking, but may also be taken as a full speed passing zone if using rapid reflexes and a flawless racing line. Turn 9: Almost immediately following Turn 8, this right-hand corner definitely requires moderate braking to keep to the pavement. Accelerate strongly out of Turn 9 to set up good passing opportunities. Turn 10: An easy left-hand corner which can be taken at top speed, but only with a good racing line. This is a prime place to pass if sufficient acceleration was made out of Turn 9. Turn 11: Shortly following Turn 10, the right-hand Turn 11 requires moderate braking to stay out of the kitty litter on the outside of the corner. Turns 12 and 13: This is a right-left chicane for which the CPU is again very touchy concerning shortcutting. Turn 14: This is a narrow 'J' turn to the left. At first, there is plenty of sand to the outside for those who overrun the corner, but then a metal barrier rubs up against the pavement beginning about halfway around the corner, so DO NOT overrun the corner if you like having the right side of the car intact. The course begins its steep uphill trajectory here. A very short straightaway follows. Turn 15: At the entry of this final corner is the Pit Lane entry, so beware of slower cars on the right. The official corner itself is a tight, uphill, right-hand hairpin with little room for those who overrun the corner. Accelerate strongly (but not too early) out of this final corner to pass along the Pit Straight and put on a show for the spectators. Do not take this corner too tightly, or you will damage the right-side tires on the Pit Lane barrier. Pit Entry: The Pit Lane begins at the entry of Turn 15 on the right; begin slowing (rather, do not accelerate much) at the end of Turn 14 (the left-hand 'J' turn). ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF BELGIUM: SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS This is a well-storied course used for many forms of racing. The longest course used in the 2002 F1 season, the forest setting is rather scenic. This is also home to the famous Turn 1 - the La Source hairpin - which is deemed by many to be the slowest corner in all of modern F1 racing. As at Hungaroring, it is very important to be at the front of the grid on the first lap to safely navigate the first turn. Due to the forest setting, much of the circuit is perpetually shadowed, which is especially significant if racing in wet or overcast conditions. Beginning with the 2002 season, Pit Entry has been moved so that all vehicles MUST take the first left-right of the Bus Stop Chicane; Pit Entry is on the right within the too-brief straightaway of the chicane. Pit Straight: Strong acceleration out of the Bus Stop chicane allows SOME room for passing here. Fortunately, the Start/Finish Line has been moved back away from La Source. The course also slopes downward here, all the way through La Source. Turn 1 (La Source): This is an incredibly tight right-hand hairpin. Fortunately, there is plenty of swing-out room and plenty of recovery space, both paved, which can provide a great passing opportunity by taking an extremely wide racing line. The downward slope of the course is not much here, but it does add to the difficulty of this hairpin turn. Brake lock-up and the resultant flat-spotting of the tires is quite easy to inadvertently accomplish here, especially in wet racing conditions, so caution is extremely important. If a car in front of you takes the wrong racing line, passing here can be easy if you can suddenly dart either to the outside or the inside of the turn. Passing can also occur here if you brake REALLY late. Straightaway (Eau Rouge): Immediately at the exit of La Source is where Pit Lane rejoins the main course, so try to keep away from the inside of the course here, especially since the barrier prevents cars exiting La Source to see cars exiting Pit Lane (and vice versa). To the right is the Pit Lane for the 24-hour races held at Spa-Francorchamps; take care not to smash into this concrete Pit Lane barrier, especially if you are too hard on the accelerator exiting La Source and force the car into a slide or a spin to the right. Immediately after passing the 'other' Pit Lane and entering Eau Rouge (Red Water), the straightaway has several fades during a semi-blind steep uphill climb into Turn 2. It is all too easy to misjudge the racing line and wind up out in the sand and the grass on either side of the pavement here, so memorization of this segment of the circuit is just as important as perfect timing in order to keep the car on the pavement. Until this corner can be taken flawlessly, it is best to keep to single-file driving through the fades. Turn 2 (Eau Rouge): This is an easy right-hand corner at the top of the steep uphill climb. The kitty litter on either side of the course fades away shortly after the corner. Straightaway (Kemmel): The course truly enters the forested area here, with trees lining both sides of the course and casting lengthy shadows which make this area of the circuit rather dark when racing in wet conditions. Cars can easily achieve speeds over 200MPH by the end of this straightaway. The end of Kemmel is where Mika Hakkinen made 'The Pass' on Michael Schumacher in the 2000 Grand Prix of Belgium. Turns 3-5 (Malmedy): This is a right-left-right combination of corners. Moderate or even heavy braking is necessary entering Malmedy (Turn 3), but little or no braking is needed for Turn 4. After an almost non-existent straightaway, light braking is needed for Turn 5 to keep from running into the nearby grandstand. The Malmedy complex has plenty of run-off room, comprised of both sand and grass, with minor short- cutting permitted by the CPU. Entering Malmedy, be sure not to keep going straight along another stretch of pavement (part of the old circuit), which leads to a barrier. Straightaway: Between Malmedy and Bruxelles (the French spelling of 'Brussels,' the capital of Belgium), the course takes a steep downward trajectory. This can be a good passing zone for those who did not need to use the brakes (much) leaving the Malmedy complex. Turn 6 (Bruxelles): The course continues downhill all the way through this right-hand hairpin, making heavy braking a necessity before the corner as well as light braking most of the way through Bruxelles, especially if the tires are rather worn. If any corner is to be overrun on a regular basis during the course of the race, this is it (due to the downhill slope), so the wide sandy recovery area may actually be a blessing in disguise. However, due to the slope of the hill, running up on the rumble strips on the inside of the turn may well result in a spin or other loss of control; if done 'correctly,' this may also result in launching the vehicle airborne. Turn 7: Shortly following Bruxelles, this left-hand corner requires moderate braking. Turn 8 and 9 (Pouhon): These two easy left-hand corners essentially form a wide 'U' shape, and require light or moderate braking. There is plenty of run-off room here, if needed, on both sides of the pavement. Turns 10 and 11 (Fagnes): This right-left complex will require moderate braking on entry, and possibly tapping the brakes through Turn 11 as well. Accelerate well out of Fagnes to pass one or two cars on the short straightaway which follows. Turn 12 (Stavelot): This is another right-hand corner, requiring light or moderate braking. It is highly important to accelerate STRONG out of Stavelot, as you won't be using the brakes again until the Bus Stop Chicane. Turn 13 (Blanchimont): This is a long, sweeping, left-hand corner which must be carried at top speed (from Stavelot) or else you WILL be passed by others. The trees here are pretty, but keep your eyes on the road, especially due to the shadows cast over the circuit. Turns 14-17 (Bus Stop Chicane): This is a tight left-right followed by a super-short straightaway and a tight right- left. The beginning of the chicane is at the top of a small rise, so the first two turns are blocked from view on approach (especially from Driver View) unless other cars are there to mark the course for you. Moderate braking should be used for both parts of the Bus Stop, but true experts can semi-easily fly through the Bus Stop at top speed without incurring a Stop-Go Penalty for shortcutting the chicane (but be prepared to save the car should the rumble strips cause you to lose control). Pit Entry: Pit Entry is to the right just after Turn 15 (the second corner of the Bus Stop Chicane). This makes a trip to Pit Lane MUCH trickier than in previous seasons, but is safer overall. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF ITALY: MONZA This historic high-speed track hosts a highly partial pro- Ferrari crowd - affectionately known as the 'tifosi.' The 2000 Italian Grand Prix is the race in which a volunteer corner worker was killed at the Roggia Chicane, due to all the flying debris from the first-lap multi-car collision caused by Heinz-Herald Frentzen missing his braking zone. This is also the final race of the 'European' season; the final two races are both overseas, 'flyaway' races (at Indianapolis and Suzuka). Pit Straight: Strong acceleration out of the Curva Parabolica can create prime passing opportunities along the Pit Straight, the longest straightaway at Monza. The Pit Lane begins on the right shortly after exiting the Parabolica. Turns 1-3 (Rettifilio): The new chicane here is a tight right-left with a gentle right turn back into line with the original pavement. The inside of Turn 1 has a paved 'extension' which may be of benefit if there is an incident in the chicane, which would most likely occur on the opening lap of a race. Turn 4 (Biassono): This sweeping right-hand corner among the thick trees can be taken flat-out. To the left is a long, wide area of sand, but the corner is so extremely gentle that the sand should not be needed for any reason unless you blow an engine or severely puncture a tire. Turns 5 and 6 (Roggia): Despite the flatness of the Monza circuit, this chicane is extremely difficult to see on approach unless traffic is present to mark the pavement for you, so it is very easy to overrun the chicane. This is a very tight left-right chicane, so moderate or heavy braking is required; shortcutting through here at full throttle is possible by making use of the new, narrow, bright-green extensions on the inside of each corner, as the CPU us rather tolerant of shortcutting here (compared to previous incarnations of the game). There is a large sand trap for those who miss the chicane altogether. Turn 7 (First Lesmo): This right-hand corner requires moderate braking. There is a wide sand trap on the outside of the corner, just in case. Beware the barrier on the inside of the corner. About 150MPH is the maximum speed here, or you risk slipping off the course and into the kitty litter. If you shortcut the first two chicanes of the game, this will be the first time you absolutely need to use the brakes. Turn 8 (Second Lesmo): This right-hand corner is a little tighter than First Lesmo, and also has a significant area of kitty litter on the outside of the corner. Moderate braking will be needed here. Again, beware the barrier on the inside of the corner. Generally, about 140MPH is the maximum speed here to keep from sliding off the pavement. Straightaway/Turn 9 (Serraglio): This is really just a fade to the left, but the official course map lists this as a curve. Counting this as a fade, this marks about the halfway point on the longest straightaway of the Monza circuit. There is sufficient room to pull off the course here on either side if necessary, except when passing underneath the first bridge. The circuit is extremely bumpy between the two bridges. Turns 10-12 (Ascari): The Ascari chicane is more difficult than it seems. Turn 10 is a left-hand corner requiring at least light braking. This is followed immediately by a right-hand corner requiring moderate braking. Turn 12 can be taken at full acceleration if you slowed enough in Turn 11. Wide areas of grass and sand are available for those overruninng any part of the chicane. Straightaway (Rettilineo Parabolica): This is the second- longest straightaway at Monza and a prime passing zone, especially with powerful acceleration out of Ascari. Turn 13 (Curva Parabolica): This final corner is a very-wide increasing-radius right-hand hairpin. Light or moderate braking is required on entry, but after about one-third of the way around the hairpin, stand on the accelerator all the way through to Rettifilio. The outside of the Curva Parabolica has an immense expanse of kitty litter, but this really should not be necessary unless you suddenly need to take evasive action to avoid someone else's accident. After the Lesmo corners, the Curva Parabolica is the third and final place where braking is a definite MUST. Pit Entry: Shortly after exiting the Curva Parabolica, the Pit Lane begins on the right. This is perhaps the shortest Pit Lane in all of F1; there is virtually NO room for deceleration once leaving the main course, so cars going in for servicing will begin slowing at the exit of the Curva Parabolica. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF THE UNITED STATES: INDIANAPOLIS The inaugural U.S. Grand Prix was significant for two reasons. First, for the first time ever, cars were racing 'backward' (clockwise) at Indianapolis. Second, cars were racing in the rain, which is virtually unheard-of in American auto racing (CART is an exception, but only on road courses). Fortunately, FIA gave the live rights to ABC for the American audience, a very intelligent move to try to increase F1's exposure in the American market; this would not have been nearly as effective if SpeedVision had been permitted the live rights for the race, as SpeedVision is a cable- /satellite-only channel, and not all cable systems carry SpeedVision in their more affordable packages (in Tucson, I personally pay $25 extra per month just to get the package which includes SpeedVision, now renamed Speed Channel). Except the Pit Straight, the U.S. Grand Prix circuit features wide run-off areas, especially along Hulman Blvd. According to many of the drivers, part of the 'mystique' of the U.S. Grand Prix at Indianapolis is the closeness of the spectators; at no other F1 circuit are the fans literally 'just across the wall' from the cars (the main grandstands at Albert Park would come closest). The U.S. Grand Prix begins the final 'flyaway' (non-European) races of the 2002 season. Pit Straight: This is the same as the Pit Straight used for the Indy and NASCAR races here, but the F1 cars drive in the 'wrong' direction (clockwise). Expect top speeds close to or even exceeding 200MPH. Turns 1 and 2: After more than 25 seconds at full throttle, this tight right-left combination can be deadly if you miss the braking zone. Brake early and hard to safely navigate Turn 1 in first or second gear, then accelerate violently through Turn 2. Turn 3: This is a sweeping right-hand corner which can be taken at top speed. Turn 4: This is a long right-hand 'J' turn requiring moderate braking to keep to the pavement. Turn 5: Another right-hand corner, this corner requires light or moderate braking, and can be a good passing zone with good braking on entry. Turn 6: This left-hand hairpin requires good braking throughout. Accelerating too soon will certainly put you out on the grass. Turn 7: This is a right-hand 'J' turn onto the famous Hulman Blvd., which leads to the Indy Museum. Moderate braking is need here, but there is fortunately an immense paved swing- out area on exit which stretches much of the way toward Turn 8. Straightaway (Hulman Blvd.): This is the longest straightaway of the infield section of the Indianapolis F1 circuit, so strong acceleration exiting Turn 7 is key here. Turn 8: Turning to the left, this corner requires moderate or heavy braking, depending on your car's top speed on Hulman Blvd., and is rather easy to miss if not marked by traffic. However, the following straightaway is extremely short, so do not expect to accelerate much (if at all) before 'Mickey' and 'Mouse.' Turn 9 ('Mickey'): This is a tight right-hand 'J' turn, nicknamed 'Mickey' by the sportscasters at the inaugural F1 race at Indianapolis. This is a second-gear corner at best, but first gear is probably a better choice here. Turn 10 ('Mouse'): This tight left-hand hairpin corner was nicknamed 'Mouse' by sportscasters. Any dry-conditions speed above 40MPH will certainly force you off the course and into the grass. A strong, short burst of acceleration out of 'Mouse' can set up a good passing opportunity in Turn 11. Take care not to induce wheelspin on exit. Turn 11: This long right-hand corner is the final corner of the course requiring braking. It is still fairly easy to slip off the course (especially in wet racing conditions), so be careful here. From here all the way to the end of the Pit Straight, you should be fully on the accelerator for approximately 28 seconds before braking for the first corner. Turn 12: This right-hand corner brings the cars back out onto the oval used for Indy and NASCAR races, and coming back out onto the banking may be a little challenging at first. No braking is required here. Turn 13: This is the banked 'Turn 1' of the Indy and NASCAR races here, but taken in reverse (clockwise) for the U.S. Grand Prix. It is important to hug the apex of the corner tightly, but keep off the infield grass. Pit Entry: The Pit Lane begins just before Turn 13. There is plenty of room to enter Pit Lane and slow down, so keep up to speed while still on the main circuit. ============================================== GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN: SUZUKA This world-famous circuit in figure-eight style is used for many forms of auto and motorcycle racing; as such, those who have played other racing games (such as Moto GP World Tour or Le Mans 24 Hours) may already have some familiarity with the Suzuka circuit. One of the most famous sights of the 'circuit' is the large Ferris Wheel on the left behind the grandstands as cars pass along the Pit Straight. This is the circuit where Michael Schumacher won the 2000 Driver's Championship. Suzuka was once the official test circuit for Honda, with the figure-eight configuration ensuring that there were a near-equal number of both left-hand and right- hand turns; similarly, the circuit was purposely designed to include as many types of corners and situations as possible, which makes the Suzuka circuit more technically difficult than it might at first appear to Suzuka novices. Pit Straight: Good speeds can be achieved here with strong acceleration out of the chicane. The Pit Lane rejoins the course from the right near the end of the Pit Straight. Turn 1: This right-hand (almost double-apex) hairpin requires moderate braking on approach, and you will likely be tapping the brakes through the hairpin itself. This begins an uphill climb, and it is difficult to see the left side of the pavement on exit, so be careful not to run too wide and end up out in the sand. There is really no reason to overrun the hairpin on entry, as the corner is quite easily identifiable. Turns 2-5 (S Curves): This is by far the hardest section of the course - tight left-right-left-right corners. The first of the 'S' curves can likely be taken at full speed, with light or moderate braking for Turn 3. Turn 4 can be taken either flat-out (not suggested) or with light braking. No matter what, slam HARD on the brakes for Turn 5, the tightest corner of the 'S' section. This entire segment of the course continues the uphill climb, making Turn 5 particularly more difficult. There is ample recovery room on either side of the course through the uphill 'S' section. The 'S' section is a good place to pass slower cars, if you have enough confidence in your brakes to pass during corner entry. No matter what, you will NOT be surviving the 'S' curves unless you use the brakes generously - or use only second or third gear. Turn 6 (Dunlop Curve): This sweeping left-hand corner is the crest of the initial uphill segment of the course. However, it is best to brake lightly or at least lift off the accelerator to keep from sliding out into the grass and sand on the right side of the long corner. Turn 7 (Degner): Here, the course turns to the right in anticipation of the figure-eight pattern. Light braking will likely be required, but it is possible to speed through here without braking. To the outside of the course is a wide expanse of grass and sand in case you overrun the corner. Turn 8 (Degner): The final right-hand corner before passing underneath the bridge, this turn is tighter than the previous corner, thus moderate or heavy braking and a steady racing line will be required here. This is also another prime passing zone. Take care not to overrun Turn 8, or your front-left tire will be damaged. Straightaway: Accelerate strongly out of Degner and you may be able to pass one or two cars as you race underneath the bridge. The course fades to the right here before reaching the tight Hairpin. The fade is a good place to begin braking for Hairpin. Turn 9 (Hairpin): This is a tight left-hand hairpin which begins the next uphill segment of the Suzuka circuit. It is possible to shortcut a little here, but the grass combined with the angle of the hill here will really slow you down and perhaps cause you to spin and/or slide, especially in wet conditions. Be careful not to accelerate too soon, or you will be out in the grass. There is a sizeable patch of kitty litter for those who miss the hairpin completely or lock the wheels. Turn 10: Continuing the uphill run, the course here makes a wide sweep to the right. Any braking here means losing track positions. Turns 11 and 12 (Spoon): This is a tricky pair of left-hand corners, in a decreasing-radius 'U' formation. The first corner is fairly standard, requiring little braking. However, Turn 12 is both tighter AND slopes downhill, so judicious usage of brakes and a pristine racing line are both important here, especially if attempting to pass a slower vehicle. If you repeatedly misjudge any single corner at Suzuka, it will be Turn 12; fortunately, there is plenty of recovery room on both sides of the pavement here. However, do not roll up on the rumble strips or the grass on the inside of Turn 12, as that will almost certainly cause you to lose control and likely spin. Straightaway: Power out of Spoon and rocket down the straightaway, passing multiple cars. After you cross the bridge, start thinking about the chicane. (If you feel a bit cocky, try speeding through the Pit Lane for the support races, located on the right as you start uphill again - this Pit Lane will be familiar to those who have played Le mans 24 Hours.) Turn 13 (130R): Shortly after crossing the bridge, the course turns gently to the left. Light braking or - even better - a quick lift off the accelerator - is almost certainly required at 130R to keep from sliding off-course, although experts can speed through here at full throttle with an excellent racing line and no encumbering traffic. Turns 14-16 (Chicane): This is the trickiest part of the course (even moreso than Hairpin), and quite likely the one area which will determine whether or not you can execute a good lap time. The chicane begins with a moderate turn to the right, then a tight left-hand corner, then ends with a wider turn to the right and empties out onto the Pit Straight; all of this is on a downhill slope, adding to the inherent difficulty of Chicane. Fortunately, the inside of the chicane is filled with only sand, not barriers, but shortcutting the chicane will likely result in a loss of control (due to the rumble strips and the kitty litter), or at least cause you to slow tremendously. Be careful coming out of Turn 15 so that you don't go too wide and bump the right side of the vehicle on the Pit Lane barrier. Pit Entry: 2002 saw Pit Entry moved to the exit of Chicane. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORIES This section was created due to a personal inquiry, wishing to learn more about the history of the race venues currently used in F1 competition. This is not intended to be a detailed history of all the race venues, but more of a general overview of the circuits. The majority of information for this section comes from circuits' official Web sites, (, and Driver Network ( To the extent possible, I will try to update circuit wins as best as I can, although that admittedly is not initially a priority in writing this section. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: ALBERT PARK The Albert Park circuit is a beautiful tree-lined venue using real Melbourne city streets encircling the serene Albert Park Lake. The Albert Park circuit has hosted the Grand Prix of Australia since 1996, taking over from the Adelaide temporary street circuit. Over 400,000 spectators saw the 1997 Grand Prix of Australia in person at the Albert Park venue. The 2002 Grand Prix of Australia was extremely eventful from the very beginning - to the extent that only eight cars finished the race!!! Rubens Barrichello began the race from Pole Position (P1), but on slowing for the first corner of the circuit, Ralf Schumacher (brother of Michael Schumacher) rammed the rear of Barrichello's Ferrari and was sent airborne, landing in the massive sand trap at the end of Pit Straight with far too much damage to continue. The incident created a massive chain-reaction melee as the other drivers scrambled to take evasive action... but many ended up taking each other out of contention due to massive damage. Seven other drivers were forced to retire from the race due to extreme damage. Fortunately, there were no severe injuries - just a lot of bruised egos and angry tempers. Stupidly, however, the race marshals made the decision to send out the Safety Car instead of red-flagging the race; had the race been stopped instead, FIA rules would have permitted all those drivers involved in the incident to use their back-up ('T') cars when the race was restarted. Of course, those drivers whose cars were damaged in the opening-lap melee were able to take advantage of the Safety Car situation to make repairs and rejoin the race. F1 winners at Albert Park include Damon Hill (1996), David Coulthard (1997), Mika Hakkinen (1998), Eddie Irvine (1999), and Michael Schumacher (2000-2002). The official Web site of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation ( features information on Australian F1 driver Mark Webber. Interestingly, there is a movement afoot - Save Albert Park ( - which aims to prevent the relocation of the Grand Prix of Australia to a permanent race venue. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: KUALA LAMPUR The Sepang Circuit opened in March 1999 and includes three circuit formations: Race Track (used for the F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia), Go-Kart Track (using the first half of Race Track), and Motocross Track (circuit layout not yet available on the official Sepang Web site). This is the second-newest race venue in F1 competition, which began its F1 use at the end of the 1999 season. Sepang hosts F1, JapanGT, MotoGP, Merdeka Endurance, Malaysian Super Series, Motocross, and other track events (including private bookings). Two features cause the Sepang Circuit to truly stand out among all other F1 race venues. The first is the incredibly wide nature of the track itself, which has a 16m minimum width to provide plenty of side-by-side racing action. Aesthetically, the Sepang Circuit is literally dominated by the main grandstand, which is nestled snugly inside the two longest straightaways and has a roof designed to simulate Malaysia's national flower (the hibiscus, or Rosa Sinensis - known locally as the Bunga Raya). Unfortunately, with the relative newness of the Sepang Circuit, there is not much historical information to be found. The winners of the initial four Grands Prix of Malaysia: Eddie Irvine (1999), Michael Schumacher (2000 and 2001), and Ralf Schumacher (2002). See the official Web site ( ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: INTERLAGOS The Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace has hosted the Grand Prix of Brazil intermittently since 1973, but has held the event consistently since 1990. As with many race venues, the circuit was originally longer (7.914 kilometers, or 4.946 miles) than its current configuration (4.267 kilometers, or 2.667 miles). This is also an odd venue in that races are run counterclockwise. This is definitely a tricky circuit to master, built upon a steep hillside. The very end of Pit Straight is the highest point of the circuit, then the circuit drops away significantly on a steep downhill S-curve which is one of the most dangerous areas in all of current F1 racing. The majority of Sector 2 and the beginning of Sector 3 are a set of tight, twisty corners connected with VERY brief straightaways, all tempered with significant elegant changes. F1 winners at Interlagos: Emerson Fittipaldi (1973 and 1974), Carlos Pace (1975), Niki Lauda (1976), Carlos Reutemann (1977), Jacques Laffite (1979), Rene Arnoux (1980), Alain Prost (1990), Ayrton Senna (1991 and 1993), Nigel Mansell (1992), Michael Schumacher (1994, 1995, 2000, and 2002), Damon Hill (1996), Jacques Villeneuve (1997), Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999), and David Coulthard (2001). Unfortunately, I am currently unable to find any further online information concerning the Interlagos venue. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: IMOLA Used for F1 racing since 1963, the Autodromo Enzo & Dino Ferrari is actually located in Italy (20 miles - or 32 kilometers - from Bologna) even though it officially hosts the Grand Prix of San Marino. Construction of the circuit began in 1950, and three years later was officially opened with 125cc & 500cc motorbike events. However, only in 1979 was the entire venue made permanent; before this time, part of the circuit was comprised of public roads. The 1963 F1 race was an untitled race, but was indeed part of the Formula1 series. In 1980, the Imola circuit hosted its first World F1 race as the Grand Prix of Italy. Beginning in 1981, the race at Imola was named the Grand Prix of San Marino. Two notable major incidents occurred at Imola. The first was in 1989, when Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger crashed and exploded in flames. Nearly a full fifteen seconds later, the flames were extinguished and Berger saved to the delight of the concerned spectators; in fact, Berger re-entered the race!!! Five years later, during the qualifier race and the actual Grand Prix, Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna lost their lives. (There has practically been a 'cult' surrounding the death of Ayrton Senna, and there are several Web sites which include details as well as video of his tragic death.) Due to these incidents, the circuit was redesigned. F1 winners at Imola: Nelson Piquet (1981), Didier Pironi (1982), Patrick Tambay (1983), Alain Prost (1984, 1984, and 1993), Elio de Angelis (1985), Nigel Mansell (1987 and 1992), Ayrton Senna (1988, 1989, and 1991), Riccardo Patrese (1990), Michael Schumacher (1994, 1999, 2000, and 2002), Damon Hill (1995 and 1996), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (1997), David Coulthard (1998), and Ralf Schumacher (2001). Visit the official Web site ( for more information. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: CATALUNYA The Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona has hosted the Grand Prix of Spain since 1997. The circuit hosts numerous forms of racing, including FIA Sportscar Championship, Spanish Formula-1 Grand Prix, 24 HOURS MOTORBIKE ENDURANCE, 24 HOURS CAR ENDURANCE, Catalunya Motorbike Championship, Spanish GT's Championship, Truck GP, and certainly F1 Racing; Catalunya even holds courses for the preparation of racing officials. Many teams also use the circuit for practice and testing. The circuit has three configurations: Grand Prix (7.563 kilometers, or 4.727 miles), National (4.907 kilometers, or 3.067 miles), and School (2.725 kilometers, or 1.703 miles). F1 winners at Catalunya: Jacques Villeneuve (1997), Mika Hakkinen (1998-2000), and Mika Hakkinen (2001 and 2002). See the official Web site ( for more information. Unfortunately, it does not have any historical information on the circuit, nor can I find any such information online. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: A1-RING The A1-Ring has been the host of F1's Grand Prix of Austria since 1997, but also hosts Truck Grand Prix, Classic Grand Prix, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters, and motorbikes, among other racing series. The 2002 Grand Prix of Austria was surrounded by controversy following an extreme Ferrari public relations faux pas. Reubens Barrichello had truly dominated the entire race weekend, and was definitely on his way to his second-ever F1 win. In the closing laps of the race, teammate Michael Schumacher (P2) began closing in on Barrichello, but the assumption was that this move was to allow Ferrari's cars to be close enough for a photo opportunity for its sponsors. However, since Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya (Schumacher's closest expected competition) were at that point very close in points in the Drivers' Championship, Barrichello - who that week had signed a contract extension as the NUMBER TWO TEAM DRIVER behind Michael Schumacher - was ordered to pull aside in the final meters of the race to allow his teammate to gain an extra four points in his lead over Montoya (P1 awards 10 points; P2 awards 6 points). While FIA could not do anything against the team or the drivers for the team orders, the fans in the stands (and myself watching live on television at 7AM in Arizona) were FURIOUS. Michael Schumacher having officially 'won' the race was to take the top rung on the podium, but instead took the second rung and pushed the 'true' winner Reubens Barrichello to the top rung; the FIA took objection to this and sanctioned the team and the drivers at a special hearing later in the year. F1 winners at A1-Ring: Jacques Villeneuve (1997), Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 2000), Eddie Irvine (1999), David Coulthard (2001), and Michael Schumacher (the official winner in 2002 - see the note on the controversy above, as many consider that Reubens Barrichello won the race). See the official Web site ( for more information. Unfortunately, it does not appear to have any historical information on the circuit itself, nor can I find any such information online. Also, the official Web site is entirely in German, a language I cannot read. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: MONTE CARLO Anthony Noghes presented the concept of an automobile racing event in the streets of Monte Carlo in the 1920s. With the support of Prince Louis II, it was realized that the natural lay of the land provided a natural location for a superb racetrack. The first Grand Prix of Monaco was help April 14, 1929, with sixteen competitors. Since then, only fourteen years did the Grand Prix of Monaco not take place. Many of the most famous F1 drivers have won the Grand Prix of Monaco: Juan Manuel Fangio in 1950 and 1957; Stirling Moss in 1956, 1960, and 1961; Graham Hill in 1963-1965, 1968 and 1969; Jackie Stewart in 1966, 1971, and 1973; Niki Lauda in 1975 and 1976; Alain Prost in 1984-1986 and 1988; Ayrton Senna in 1987 and 1989-1993; and Michael Schumacher in 1994, 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001. Due to the narrowness of the circuit, the steep elevation changes, and the numerous tight corners, the Grand Prix of Monte Carlo is one of the most prestigious events an F1 driver can possibly win. See the official Web site ( for more information. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: CIRCUIT GILLES-VILLENEUVE Located on the Ile Notre-Dame in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the circuit has hosted the Grand Prix of Canada since 1978. The circuit is named for Gilles-Villeneuve, the first Canadian F1 driver. His first F1 victory was in 1978 at the Canadian Grand Prix on the Ile Notre-Dame track. However, following his death during a practice session for the 1982 Grand Prix of Belgium, the City of Montreal Executive Committee passed a resolution to rename the circuit in honor of Gilles-Villeneuve. Jacques Villeneuve, son of Gilles- Villeneuve, now competes in F1 (for BAR in 2002), so the Villeneuve name continues on in F1 racing. Many people attempt to compare F1 cars with CART cars. Therefore, it is perhaps not so surprising that in 2002, CART raced at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve for the first time. Based upon the popularity of this first CART venture to the circuit, CART will likely keep returning to this great race venue for many years and decades to come. F1 winners at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve: Gilles-Villeneuve (1978), Alan Jones (1979 and 1980), Jacques Laffite (1981), Nelson Piquet (1982, 1984 and 1991), Rene Arnoux (1983), Michele Alboreto (1985), Ayrton Senna (1988 and 1990), Thierry Boutsen (1989), Gerhard Berger (1992), Alain Prost (1993), Michael Schumacher (1994, 1997, 1998, 2000, and 2002), Jean Alesi (1995), Damon Hill (1996), Mika Hakkinen (1999), and Ralf Schumacher (2001). The official Web site ( has plenty of good information - including very important circuit access information, since cars cannot be taken to the island. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: NURBURGRING Originally 22.677 kilometers (14.173 miles) in length, the Nurburgring first opened in 1927 (following two years of construction) and is still going strong. The opening events featured motorcycles (June 18, 1927), with cars featured the following day. The 1939 German Grand Prix was the final race at Nurburgring for quite some time due to the beginning of World War II. The circuit itself was damaged in the closing months of the war, but racing returned to Nurburgring in 1947. However, there were no races at Nurburgring in 1948, as the circuit was being brought up to safety standards. Nurburgring began hosting F1 events in 1951. Estimates show that 400,000 spectators came to the track for the 1954 F1 race. In 1958, however, the F1 race saw the death of Peter Collins as his Ferrari went out of control. The 1968 world motorcycle championship at Nurburgring had a strange stoppage: a forest fire. The F1 Grand Prix later that year had nearly impossible visibility due to intense rain and fog. In 1970, the Northern Loop of the circuit was called into question after numerous accidents. Improvements were made for the following year, when 130,000 spectators witnessed Jackie Stewart winning the F1 Grand Prix. More improvements were demanded in 1974 (first by motorcyclists, then by F1 drivers). When Nikki Lauda was seriously injured in 1976, the Northern Loop was decommissioned as an F1 venue. A new, shorter circuit was then designed and built, opening in 1984 at 4.542 kilometers (2.839 miles) in length. Alan Prost won that year's European Grand Prix. In 1986, however, the F1 race moved to Hockenheim. 1995 saw the return of F1 to Nurburgring, and the historic race venue has produced excellent races ever since. Some of the notable F1 winners at Nurburgring: Alberto Ascari (1951 and 1952), Juan Manuel Fangio (1954-1956), Stirling Moss (1961), Jim Clark (1965), Jack Brabham (1966), Jackie Stewart (1968, 1971, and 1973), Alain Prost (1984), Michael Schumacher (1995, 2000, and 2001), Jacques Villeneuve (1996 and 1997), Mika Hakkinen (1998), and Rubens Barrichello (2002). See the official Web site ( for plenty more details about the Nurburgring. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: SILVERSTONE The world-famous Silverstone circuit - often spoken of in the same terms as Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Monza - has hosted F1 racing since 1950. This 5.110-kilometer (3.194- mile) circuit is set at an airport site, and contains several configurations. The Silverstone International circuit (used for the British TOCA series) shares much of the same pavement as the Grand Prix circuit used for the annual F1 Grand Prix of Great Britain; in fact, the pavement for the two circuits even cross at approximately two-thirds of the way around the International circuit. During World War II, the Royal Air Force chose the site now known as Silverstone for an airfield and a bomber-training base. Following the war, other circuits such as Donnington Park and Brooklands could not be used for racing due to having been converted for wartime uses. Thus, in 1948, the Silverstone site was used for its first race... with the circuit marked by hay bales. The circuit was redone in 1949 and assumed a configuration roughly equivalent to that in current use. F1 began in 1950, and held its first race at Silverstone. Guiseppe Farina won the first-ever F1 race in an Alfa Romeo. The British Racing Drivers' Club operated Silverstone until 2001, when current owner Octagon Motorsports took control of the venue; this also ensures that the British Grand Prix will be held at Silverstone for at least the next fifteen years. The world's best F1 drivers have all placed themselves into the Silverstone record books, including Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Mike Hawthorn, Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, James Hunt, John Watson, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, Eddie Irvine, Jacques Villeneuve, Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher, and David Coulthard. The track record is held by Michael Schumacher, at 1:24.475 with an average speed of 217.784KPH (136.115MPH). Silverstone hosts far more than just F1: Grand Prix motorcycles, SuperBikes, Karts, FIA GTs, European Le Mans, RallySprint, stages of the Rally of Great Britain, British Touring Car Championship, and British Formula 3 and GT. The official Web site is actually the site for Octagon Motorsports (, which owns and operates Silverstone, as well as Snetterton, Cadwell Park, Brands Hatch, and Oulton Park. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: NEVERS MAGNY-COURS Characterized by its three parallel straightaways (which can be aurally difficult for drivers while on the middle straightaway), Nevers Magny-Cours has hosted F1 events since 1991. The 4.226-kilometer (2.641-mile) circuit is also used for Motorbikes Championship, FIA GT Championship, Formula Renault 2000 Eurocup, FIA Sportcar Championship, Formula Nissan, historical races, and various endurance races. F1 winners at Nevers Magny-Cours: Nigel Mansell (1991 and 1992), Alain Prost (1993), Michael Schumacher (1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, and 2002), Damon Hill (1996), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (1999), and David Coulthard (2000). Visit the official Web site ( for more information. Unfortunately, the site does not include any circuit history in either the French- or English-language versions of the site. This information on the 1999 F1 race at Magny-Cours is provided by ViperMask, one of the biggest F1 fans I have ever met. It is edited only for formatting purposes. As for Magny-Cours, Heinz Harald Frentzen's win was a very special one. He made a BEAUTIFUL drive in the wet, in the Jordan Mugen-Honda. It was one of the races that made HHF into a superstar driver AND the Driver of the Year in 1999. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: HOCKENHEIM The Hockenheim circuit was an EXCELLENT and very high-speed race venue until 2002, when the circuit was redesigned and severely shortened while accommodations were added to bring in even more spectators than before. The former Hockenheim configuration ran almost entirely through the German forest. The circuit was designed in 1932, and hosts F1 and many other forms of motorsport. Notable F1 winners at Hockenheim: Niki Lauda (1977), Mario Andretti (1978), (1981, 1986, and 1987), Alain Prost (1984, 1993), Ayrton Senna (1988-1990), Nigel Mansell (1991 and 1992), Michael Schumacher (1995, 2002), and Mika Hakkinen (1998). The official Web site ( is unfortunately only available in German - which is a language I cannot read :-( ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: HUNGARORING Located 19.2 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of Budapest, the 3.946-kilometer (2.466-mile) Hungaroring circuit has been used for F1 racing since 1986, and represented the first foray of F1 racing into the Eastern Block (during the Cold War era). F1 winners at Hungaroring include Nelson Piquet (1986 and 1987), Ayrton Senna (1988, 1991, and 1992), Nigel Mansell (1989), Thierry Boutsen (1990), Damon Hill (1993 and 1995), Michael Schumacher (1994, 1998, and 2001), Jacques Villeneuve (1996 and 1997), Mika Hakkinen (1999 and 2000), and Reubens Barrichello (2002). The official Web site ( unfortunately does not include a circuit history. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS The Spa-Francorchamps circuit is one of the most scenic race venues in all of F1 racing (especially now that the Hockenheim circuit in Germany has been practically destroyed in its new, far shorter configuration); races here are also as much characterized by the often-changing weather as by the challenging circuit itself. The Spa-Francorchamps venue has been as long as 14.038 kilometers (8.774 miles) in length (from 1950 to 1956), but has been greatly shortened now to 6.928 kilometers (4.330 miles) in length. This is a tricky circuit, categorized primarily by the tight La Source hairpin just beyond the Start/Finish Line, and the long, snaking, steep, uphill climb up Eau Rouge to the tree-lined Kemmel Straight (the highest area of the circuit). The Spa-Francorchamps circuit hosts numerous forms of motorsport, including F1, Karting, and motorbikes. There are also two driving schools based at Spa-Francorchamps: Peugeot Driving School EPMA and RACB Driving school. Conceived in 1920, the circuit was ready for racing in August 1921... but there was no race, as only one competitor had registered :-( Three years later, Spa-Francorchamps hosted its first annual 24 Hours of Francorchamps (24 Hours of Spa), an endurance race begun only one year following the inaugural 24 Hours of Le Mans. Until World War II, the major events held at the circuit were the motorcycle grand prix races, the Belgian Grand Prix, and the 24 Hours of Francorchamps. However, by the 1970s, drivers were sincerely concerned about safety along the lengthy Spa-Francorchamps circuit. After numerous propositions, a shorter circuit was created, and the 7-kilomter circuit was inaugurated in 1979. Fortunately, the new circuit kept the main characteristics of its massive former self and also sported many safety improvements. With the shorter, safer circuit, the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium was able to return to Spa-Francorchamps. The current track record was set by Michael Schumacher at 1:43.726 (241.837KMH, or 151.148MPH) in 2002. In one of the most spectacular passes in recent F1 history, the 2000 Grand Prix of Belgium hinged upon Mika Salo drafting behind Michael Schumacher to make a pass for the race lead at the end of Kemmel Straight, using a third car as a pick on entering Malmedy-Les Combes at the highest point of the Spa- Francorchamps circuit. Notable F1 winners at Spa-Francorchamps: Juan Manuel Fangio (1950, 1954, and 1955), Alberto Ascari (1952 and 1953), Jack Brabham (1960), Jim Clark (1962-1965), Emerson Fittipaldi (1972), Alain Prost (1983 and 1987), Ayrton Senna (1985, and 1988-1991), Nigel Mansell (1986), Michael Schumacher (1992, 1995-1997, and 2001-2002), and Mika Hakkinen (2000). Please visit the official Web site ( for a lot of excellent information on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit and its many events and driving schools.. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: MONZA Originally opened in 1922 to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Milan Automobile Club, the Monza circuit (Autodromo Nazionale Monza), near Milan, Italy, has been the site of more F1 grand prix events than any other. The Monza circuit has seen numerous configurations, including the famous banked section from 1955 to 1961. Monza has always been an incredibly fast race venue... and with this speed comes even greater danger. Phil Hill's 1961 race victory (his second consecutive win at Monza) was severely overshadowed by a collision between Jim Clark and Wolfgang von Trips which took the lives of the latter driver and over one dozen spectators. A 1970 mechanical failure during Qualifying killed Jochen Rindt, so one may not be surprised that chicanes, guard rails, and reinforced fencing were added beginning in 1972 as an attempt to slow the cars and make Monza's events safer for all involved; however, the chicanes specifically were really just makeshift safety measures due to the increasing performance in virtually all realms of motorsport. In more recent years, the opening lap of the 2000 Grand Prix of Italy was seriously marred by the death of a trackside race marshal due to all the flying debris at the Roggia Chicane (the second chicane of the circuit). While there were no dangerous incidents at the 2001 Grand Prix of Italy, that particular event happened to be scheduled for the first weekend following the world- shocking terrorist attacks on the United States (September 11, 2001) AND the near-fatal accident at a new race venue in Germany (the previous afternoon) which forced the amputation of the legs of CART driver Alex Zanardi; these events cast a dark shadow over the race itself as well as the entire Grand Prix weekend. On a far more positive note, Williams driver Juan Pablo Montoya - truly making his first great impact upon the F1 world following several years of astounding success in CART - broke Keke Rosberg's twenty-seven-year record for the fastest ever F1 qualifying lap. Rosberg's then record-setting lap was 259.005KPH (161.878MPH) set at Silverstone; Montoya's new record-setting lap was 259.827KPH (162.392MPH). What makes Montoya's achievement even more impressive is that Michelin- shod F1 vehicles (led by Williams and McLaren) have generally not been able to compete with Bridgestone-shod cars (led by Ferrari). The Monza circuit has seen all sorts of motorsport events, including motorcycles and touring cars, and currently is 5.736 kilometers (3.585 miles) in length. A recent Italian telefilm on the life of Enzzo Ferrari exclusively used the Monza circuit for its racing shots using time-appropriate vehicles. Notable F1 winners at Monza: Alberto Ascari (1951 and 1952), Juan Manuel Fangio (1953-1955), Stirling Moss (1956 and 1957), Stirling Moss (1959), Jim Clark (1963), Jackie Stewart (1965 and 1969), Emerson Fittipaldi (1972), Mario Andretti (1977), Niki Lauda (1978 and 1984), Alain Prost (1981, 1985, and 1989), Nelson Piquet (1983, 1986, and 1987), Ayrton Senna (1990 and 1992), Michael Schumacher (1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002), and Juan Pablo Montoya (2001). The official Web site of Autodromo Nazionale Monza ( has plenty of great information, including a large track map of Monza's various configurations and plenty of images of racing action on Monza's banked turns. ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: INDIANAPOLIS Essentially a 'stadium circuit' located at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Grand Prix circuit is the newest race venue in F1, first used in its current incarnation in 2000. This also marks the return of F1 racing to the United States, which had been absent since 1991 (using a temporary street circuit in downtown Phoenix, Arizona). The initial 4.192-kilometer (2.620-mile) US Grand Prix was won by Michael Schumacher in 2000, followed by Mika Hakkinen (in his final race win before sabbatical/retirement) in 2001. Indianapolis Motor Speedway was purchased in 1945 by Tony Hulman (the namesake of Hulman Blvd., which connects Turn 7 and Turn 8 of the Grand Prix circuit) and restored to use after the speedway had fallen into disuse because of World War II. In 1950-1960, the Indianapolis 500 also awarded points for the F1 World Championship; winners in this era include Johnnie Parsons, Bill Vukovich, and Jim Rathmann. Tony George, the President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was almost single-handedly responsible for bringing F1 racing back to the United States. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway had to be brought up to standard in order to host the United States Grand Prix, including a new Paddock area which would allow cars to exit from the garage directly onto Pit Lane. Also, in a MAJOR concession to the traditions of F1 racing, the 2000 USGP marked the very first time that a race had been run in REVERSE (clockwise) at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 2001 Grand Prix of the United States was the first major auto racing event on American soil following the terrorist attacks on America just two weeks before. FIA and USGP organizers truly went out of their way to provide entertainment, soothing words, and patriotic moments for the thousands of spectators at a time when the nation and the world were still in shock, grief, and mourning at the terrorist events. Winners of the Indianapolis 500 during its quasi-F1 era (1950-1960): Johnnie Parsons (1950), Lee Wallard (1951), Troy Ruttman (1952), Bill Vukovich (81953 and 1954), Bob Sweikert (1955), Pat Flaherty (1956), Sam Hanks (1957), Jimmy Bryan (1958), Rodger Ward (1959), and Jim Rathmann (1960). Winners of the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis in the modern era: Michael Schumacher (2000), and Mika Hakkinen (2001). Visit the official Web site ( ============================================== CIRCUIT HISTORY: SUZUKA In operation since at least 1962 and the host of F1 races since 1987, Suzuka Circuit is the host of many forms of motorsport - including F1 and other Formula series, and motorbikes (including MotoGP) - as well as several racing schools. Suzuka comprises two different circuits: the 5.821- kilometer (3.638-mile) International Racing Course (used for F1 events) and the 1.264-kilometer (0.790-mile) Southern Course (which itself contains numerous configurations). F1 winners at Suzuka: Gerhard Berger (1987 and 1991), Ayrton Senna (1988), Alessandro Nannini (1989), Nelson Piquet (1990), Riccardo Patrese (1992), Ayrton Senna (1993), Damon Hill (1994 and 1996), Michael Schumacher (1995, 1997, and 2000-2002), and Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999). Unfortunately, the official Web site ( is almost exclusively in Japanese. Many section titles are also given in English (such as Event Calendar, Group Enjoy!, and Circuit Queen), but the only truly-English area is a single page with downloadable files of information for buying tickets to the next Grand Prix of Japan. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== DIAGRAMS This section contains the diagrams referred to earlier in the guide. Ascari Chicane (at Monza): * * * * * *** * ***************** Bus Stop Chicane (Variant I - Wide Chicane): ******************* ******************* * * ********* Bus Stop Chicane (Variant II - Narrow Chicane): ******************* ******************* *********** Decreasing-radius Corner: ->******************* * * * * * * <-************************* Hairpin Corner: ->***************** * <-***************** Increasing-radius Corner: ->********************** * * * * * <-******************* J-turn ******************* * * * * Quick-flicks (Variant I - Wide Chicane): ************* * ************* Quick-flicks (Variant II - Narrow Chicane): ************* ************** Sample Circuit Using Some of the Above Corner Types Combined: ******|****** ***** * |-> * * * * ** *** * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * ******** * ** * * * * * ************ ******* * ******* Standard Corner: ******************* * * * * * * * * U-turn: ->***************** * * * <-***************** Virtual Bus Stop Chicane: +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Car #1 ->->->->->-> Car #3 Player Path: ->->->->->->-> Car #2 ->->->->->->-> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== WRAP-UP The official FIA Web site ( has a lot of good information pertaining to F1 racing, including the current season's race schedule, rules and regulations, and links to the official Web sites of most of the courses used. The FIA Web site is available in both French and English. The Web site can be of great benefit for exploring the intricate details of traction control and other technical aspects of modern F1 racing. ============================================== ============================================== ============================================== CONTACT INFORMATION For questions, rants, raves, comments of appreciation, etc., or to be added to my e-mail list for updates to this driving guide, please contact me at: FEATHER7@IX.NETCOM.COM; also, if you have enjoyed this guide and feel that it has been helpful to you, I would certainly appreciate a small donation via PayPal ( using the above e-mail address. To find the latest version of this and all my other PSX/PS2/DC/Mac game guides, visit FeatherGuides at ============================================== ============================================== ==============================================