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European Tour

27 maggio 2016

There were sporadic European Grands Prix (or Grands Prix of Europe) during the pre-and post-war periods, but it was in 1983 that the race became a fixture in the World Championship. That season, a new grand prix, to be held in Queens, New York, amid much fanfare, was cancelled with just 10 weeks to go. Brands Hatch was chosen as a replacement but, with a British Grand Prix having already taken place earlier that summer at Silverstone, the new event took on the European mantle. The penultimate race of the season, it was a huge success, prompting the FIA to continue with this new addition to the calendar the following season (the Nürburgring had the honour in 1984). However, from 1986 to 1992 it lost out to the new Hungarian Grand Prix.

It again came to the rescue in 1993, when the race was re-launched at Donington Park after plans for an Asian Grand Prix hit the buffers. Another massive turnout, another incredible race, held in the wet, with Ayrton Senna famously lapping every other driver. Barring a non-appearance in 1998, it’s been with us ever since, finding a home at the Nürburgring up until 2007 and then, until 2012, at Valencia.

Staging the race at Baku should ensure a new lease of life; a chance to reassert itself as a vital part of the Formula One calendar, rather than a hastily arranged Plan B. However, F1 does have a touch of the unpredictable about it these days, off the track at least. Don’t be too surprised if you see the Grand Prix of Europe pop up on some unexpected corner of the map next season…