This weekend, Formula One will race on a new circuit for the drivers, as the Dutch Grand Prix returns at Zandvoort. But who has the best record when F1 races on new tracks?
Six new F1 tracks for drivers in last year
The 2020 calendar was torn up by the pandemic, as traditional races became unviable.
Events in the Americas were cancelled as F1 became a European and Middle Eastern championship in 2020.
As a result, in the 2020 season, six circuits were added to the calendar as some old favourites returned and F1 visited new places.
Below is look at the last 10 new circuits F1 has visited and who is the best at adapting to the new challenges.
Although F1 had previously raced at the Nurburgring, Istanbul Park and at Imola, they are included on this list.
This is because car technology had evolved so much in the intervening years between the grands prix being held and a majority of the field not racing there last time.
In the case of the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, only Kimi Raikkonen had previously raced at the circuit – doing so when it last held F1 in 2006.
Hamilton dominates on new F1 tracks
In the 2020 season, in the races that he competed in, world champion Lewis Hamilton was undefeated at the new circuits.
Mugello in Italy was the first of these.
The race featured two red flags for accidents, meaning three grid starts for the field.
At the final of these, Hamilton swooped around the outside of teammate Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1 and eased to the win.
The Nurburgring returned to F1 for the first time since 2013 in October ’20, as Hamilton eqaulled Michael Schumacher’s all-time wins tally of 91.
The Briton passed Bottas after a mistake from the Finn at Turn 1, and was untroubled thereafter around the 3.2-mile circuit.
Starting at the Nurburgring, Hamilton would go on a run of five successive grand prix victories – tying his career best.
History was made as F1 raced at Portimao in Portugal for the first time.
Starting slowly with drizzle in the air, Hamilton fell from pole in the early laps.
However, after he got temperature into his Pirelli tyres, he charged through to the lead.
Bottas put up a meek defence on the pit-straight, as Hamilton eclipsed Schumacher’s long-held tally of 91 wins with his 92nd.
Fortunate and skill
At Imola, Bottas was the stronger of the Mercedes drivers.
The Finn took pole and was looking comfortable.
However, a piece of debris got lodged in the Mercedes, costing Bottas performance.
Throw in a fortunately timed safety car, and Hamilton was able to vault into a lead he’d never lose.
Hamilton’s final 2020 appearance on a ‘new’ F1 track came at the Turkish GP.
It would go down as one of Hamilton’s finest drives.
The wet conditions on Sunday were made worse by the fact that the track surface had been recently re-laid.
This made driving conditions tricky as grip was at a premium.
Hamilton pitted for fresh intermediate tyres just once, as he nursed his worn rubber around the drying line.
He took a commanding victory to seal his seventh world title and become just the second ever septuple F1 world champion.
Perez breaks Hamilton’s F1 new track run
The only other driver than Hamilton to have won on a ‘new’ F1 track in the last five years is Sergio Perez.
Hamilton was benched for the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix on the Bahrain Outer circuit – an all-new layout for the series.
He had tested positive for covid-19, and missed the first grand prix of his career.
In the race, Perez’s Racing Point was clouted at Turn 4 by Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari.
The Mexican dropped to last and set about a history making charge.
The RP20 was soon up in the points around the 2.2-mile track, with lap-times well under the one minute barrier.
Perez was never going to climb above third place, as Bottas and Hamilton sub George Russell looked set for a one-two.
A calamitous Mercedes pitstop saw the team put Bottas’s tyres on Russell’s car – a big no no in the F1 rules.
Russell pitted for his own tyres next time by, as Perez inherited the lead behind the safety car for debris.
A late Russell puncture would remove the Williams loanee from the equation, handing Perez a maiden F1 win.
He became the first driver to win a race having been in last place at the end of Lap 1.
Rosberg and Hamilton trade new track wins
F1 returned to France for the first time in a decade during the 2018 season, as popular testing venue Paul Ricard stepped in.
First corner contact between Bottas and Sebastian Vettel allowed poleman Hamilton to escape.
He took a routine win over Max Verstappen and regained the championship lead from Vettel in the Ferrari.
2017 did not feature any new races, meaning prior to Paul Ricard, the last new F1 track was Baku in 2016.
Originally run under the moniker of European GP, it switched to the Azerbaijan GP for 2017.
In the inaugural race, Nico Rosberg dominated for Mercedes.
He took a comfortable pole and converted to his fifth win of a title-winning year.
Hamilton, for his part struggled throughout the race with engine settings.
Under rules in place at the time, engineers could not tell their drivers how to drive the car -which included engine settings.
Hamilton laboured to fifth place, losing 15 points to Rosberg.
Rosberg bounces back after title loss
F1 returned to Mexico in 2015 for the first time since 1992.
Rosberg was dominant around the Circuit Hermonos Rodriguez, which had been heavily modified since that 1992 event.
Clocking in at 2.6-miles, Rosberg took pole from Hamilton by just under two-tenths.
In the race, Rosberg only gave the lead up through the pitstop cycles.
He would take the chequered flag 1.954s clear of Hamilton, having also set fastest lap.
Having seen Hamilton take the 2015 title a week earlier in the United States, this race marked the first of Rosberg’s seven consecutive wins in a row.
Mercedes become champions at new F1 track
For the first time in 2014, Russia hosted a world championship grand prix.
Run around the Winter Olympic park in Sochi, the race has not proved itself a classic.
Indeed, in that first event, Hamilton took pole as Rosberg rode shotgun on the front row.
On the long run to the first braking zone at Turn 2, Rosberg heavily locked up and flat-spotted his tyres.
Owing to the ultra-smooth surface, he was forced to pit for fresh rubber.
Remarkably, Rosberg was able to complete the entire race on this fresh set of Pirelli’s.
Up front, Hamilton had a trouble-free day as he took another win.
His finishing P1 and Rosberg recovering to P2 clinched Mercedes their maiden constructors’ crown.
Hamilton’s points lead over Rosberg grew to 17 with three rounds remaining.
F1 winners on last 10 new tracks
Bahrain Outer 2020 – Sergio Perez
Istanbul Park 2020 – Lewis Hamilton
Imola 2020 – Lewis Hamilton
Portimao – 2020 Lewis Hamilton
Nurburgring 2020 – Lewis Hamilton
Mugello 2020 – Lewis Hamilton
Paul Ricard 2018 – Lewis Hamilton
Baku 2016 – Nico Rosberg
Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez (Mexico) 2015 – Nico Rosberg
Sochi 2014 – Lewis Hamilton