Despite being a street circuit, Baku’s well designed track layout and placement of grandstands means there are some fabulous views to be had at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Right in the heart of the city’s historic centre some of the best grandstands have backdrops that can only be rivaled by Monaco and Singapore.
Best Grandstands for F1 Fans in Baku
The Absheron grandstand is a fairly standard main grandstand affair but with the added appeal that Baku’s long, 2.2km main straight is often the scene of much action during races. With an epic slipstream and DRS its not unusual to see passes for position happen here, sometimes even seeing 3 or 4 cars abreast.
Of course there are the usual perks too like having a view into the pitlane, watching the start and the post race interviews and podium celebration. Its also closest to the main off track entertainment and refreshments area.
All round one of the better tracks to choose a main grandstand seat.
With its glorious backdrop – a juxtaposition of Baku’s finest classic and modern architecture – the AzNeft grandstand is located on the exterior of the track, at one of the many 90 degree corners of the Baku Street Circuit.
The best seats are in the left portion of the stand for the best view of the approach on the short preceding straight. Too far to the right and you’ll see is brief view of the nose of the cars before they turn their backs to you and accelerate towards the Maiden Tower and the long main straight.
Left or right side, getting a seat higher up in the grandstand means you’ll have a clear view over the catch fencing. The perfectly positioned screen at the apex of the corner makes looking back and forth between screen and track less of a pain in the neck than it sometimes is.
A good choice of grandstand for the budget conscious, Filarmonia grandstand is located on the interior of the track at turn 16. This is an excellent vantage point to see the incredible breaking ability of a modern Formula 1 car and overtaking is possible here. Catch fencing can be an irritant for fans sitting in the lower rows so try to get a seat at least mid way up the grandstand for a better view.
Directly opposite the Khazar grandstand, the Bulvar grandstand has the momentous atmosphere that comes from having a see of F1 fans either side of the track.
Sadly the view is one of the weakest at the circuit with cars flashing past you so fast you might as well have stayed at home. Simply put, this grandstand is not worth the price of the ticket and even if someone offers you money to sit here you should think about it long and hard because long and hard is exactly how your day will be. What I’m trying to say is, avoid this grandstand.
Giz Galasi Grandstand
Situated opposite Baku’s famous Maiden Tower, not an exceptional vantage point by any means but better than some, the view here is of a high speed, flat-out kink that feeds onto the main straight. Unfortunately the view of the straight is partially blocked by trees. Helpfully a large TV screen faces the grandstand.
Icheri Sheher Grandstand
This popular grandstand sells out fast and for good reason. Its a spectacular view of the cars as the drivers drift right, towards the stand in a bid to make the upcoming turn 10 as straight as possible. Then marvel at how close the drivers get to clipping the inside barrier at the corner’s apex before stepping on the loud peddle and roaring away around the Old City.
The iconic backdrop of the fortress walls is the cherry on top and sure makes those Instagram pics look pretty.
An unusual vantage point for any F1 grandstand, the Khazar is positioned at a point on the track near turn 6 where only a thin barrier and fencing separates cars beginning the lap going in one direction and cars going in the other direction towards the end of the lap.
Unfortunately the grandstand isn’t orientated well enough to have a clear view of both directions of traffic. Its great if you’re sat in the right hand side of the grandstand but most fans will be stuck with a rather uninteresting view of cars blasting down the main straight.
This is another grandstand at the point where the Formula One cars pass each other in opposite directions at what is ordinarily a dual carriageway.
Immediately in front of the grandstand is the main straight and beyond that, though not far away is the short burst of a straight between turns 6 and 7 and you’ll be able to make out the cars exiting and entering these corners. There is some fencing in your view but nothing too distracting and for everything you can’t see there is a TV large screen opposite.
Right beside Bulvar grandstand but worlds away in terms of view, the Sahil grandstand lies along the long main straight just opposite the turn 5 and 6 chicane. Though on the ‘other side’ of the track, the view is quite clear and because the main straight is inches away from you, quite close as well. The giant screen makes keeping up with whats going on even easier.
General Admission in Baku
Though most of the general admission areas are along the straight, you do feel very close to the track in places. Arrive early and have a walk around to find a spot you like before it gets too crowded. Some of the best are just after the exit of the sweeping left-hander, between the Giz Galasi and Mugham grandstands.