One of the more experienced drivers on the grid having made his F1 debut back in 2001, Raikkonen’s career span has seen him witness the demise of more traditional circuits on the schedule, including Magny-Cours, Imola and the Nurburgring.
With a number of new purpose-built venues taking their place, such as those in Abu Dhabi, China and Russia, though Raikkonen doesn’t outwardly criticise the modern circuits, he says they have become predictable as they bear the hallmarks of predominant designer Hermann Tilke
“When we go to a new track, we know what to expect,” he told Finnish publication Turun Sanomat. “They all look the same. There are no trees or anything else in the landscape. Of course, each track is always a little bit different, and each corner at the track is a little bit different, but ultimately the new tracks are made up of Tilke corners.”
Labelling the Korean International Circuit, home to the shortlived Korean Grand Prix, as the worst of these venues, Raikkonen was nonetheless more forgiving of another of Tilke’s creations, the Istanbul Park circuit, which hosted the Turkish Grand Prix between 2005 and 2011.
“Turkey (Istanbul Park) was a nice track,” he continued. “I liked Magny-Cours – the track was so different, and nearby wasn’t much hassle. Imola was one of the best – there was always a great atmosphere. Also the Nürburgring.”
Of the current F1 circuits, Tilke has designed and developed the A1 Ring (Red Bull Ring), Sepang, Bahrain International Circuit, Shanghai International Circuit, Marina Bay Circuit, Yas Marina Circuit, COTA and the Sochi Autodrom.
He was also responsible for former F1 venues at Istanbul Park, Valencia Street Circuit, Korea International Circuit and the Buddh International Circuit, while he has had a hand in designing the forthcoming Baku City Circuit, which will host the first Grand Prix of Europe to be held in Azerbaijan in June.