Ahead of Red Bull's F1 show run in Dublin this weekend, we've dreamt up what a (very) hypothetical Dublin F1 track could look like for an Irish Grand Prix.
F1 on the streets of Dublin. It seems fanciful, but this weekend, Red Bull will bring the most spectacular show in auto racing to the streets of the Irish capital with their show run along the Quays.
David Coulthard will take their world championship winning RB7 car along the banks of the Liffey by the 3Arena, in what is sure to be a thrilling spectacle for Irish petrol heads.
It had us thinking though - in an alternate universe, where the F1 calendar moved away from its glitzy, glamorous, big money destinations in the United States and Far East, and tried to rope in more European countries onto the calendar...what would an Irish Grand Prix look like?
We've done some digging and research, and have put together a prospective map for an Irish Grand Prix - if the FIA ever decide to bring F1 to these shores.
Irish Grand Prix: Building a hypothetical Dublin F1 track
Sunday's F1 run by Red Bull will not be the first visit of a Formula 1 car to these shores. Of course, the historic Jordan F1 team brought their car to Mondello Park circuit in Kildare for a test run in the late 1990s, when they were among the sport's top teams.
More recently, McLaren and world champion Jenson Button visited Dublin in 2012 for a show run on a long stretch of track from Custom House Quay all the way around to College Green.
The map of the track published by Bavaria City Racing gives a good insight into the area used by Button and McLaren in 2012.
The now-defunct Caterham F1 team were also in attendance in 2012, and onboard footage from Dutchman Giedo van der Garde's car gives us an idea of what F1 on the streets of Dublin would look like from a driver's perspective.
The roughly 3km track was designed merely to give spectators a taste of an F1 car going at a decent showrun speed - but, of course, nowhere near racing speed.
Nonetheless, it made for a spectacular view for spectators.
The course chosen by Red Bull for this weekend's event is shorter, and doesn't involve any corners - merely giving spectators a chance to see an F1 car close to top speed on a straight stretch of Dublin's Quays.
But, let's say, in a hypothetical world where Formula 1 interest in this country returned to the levels of the era of Eddies Jordan and Irvine - how would organisers approach a potential Irish Grand Prix?
We're dreaming, we know but...indulge us. If nothing else, it's a fun thought experiment into how best to show off the beauty of Dublin on the world stage.
We've concocted a near-5km circuit that takes in some of the capital city's most iconic landmarks for the Irish Grand Prix track.
- Blue = Start/finish line
- Red = Sector markings
- Green = DRS zones
The track would open on Dublin's central O'Connell Street, with the start/finish line located just outside of the street's first of two McDonalds restaurants. The start finish straight would lead down to O'Connell Bridge before a right turn onto Bachelor's Walk. The pit lane would be located on the opposite side of O'Connell Street.
The track's first DRS zone would come on the straight down to the Grattan Bridge, along which cars would navigate a quick left-right turn before continuing down towards Christchurch. The cars would pass Dublin landmarks such as the Ha'penny Bridge and, if they fancied a party after Sunday's podium ceremony, Workman's on the Quays.
After passing Dublin City Council, the drivers would turn left before a steep uphill climb past Christchurch Cathedral. Another left turn at the top of the hill, followed by a quick left-right chicane past the famed Lord Edward Pub (where Lewis Hamilton and co. could test out some of the best Guinness in town), would lead them down to the longest flat out section, down Dame Street.
Passing by the iconic locations of Dublin Castle and the Bank of Ireland would bring the field down to the front of Trinity College, where yet another quick left-right jink would bring them to a big stop on the corner of D'Olier Street (no stopping into Doyle's for a pint allowed).
A short straight would see the cars arrive at another right hander, as we work our way towards the closing sector of the track. Another left hander across the Liffey would set up the most exciting corner on the track, a long and ultra-fast left hander all the way around Custom House, before a quick right hander and a hard stamp on the brakes to bring us up Marlborough Street.
One final blast would see the cars hurtle towards Cathal Brugha Street, before the final two corners - a right hander towards Parnell Street, followed by a tight left hander hairpin outside the Gate Theatre to bring the cars back down the start/finish straight.
Now, of course, it would be a logistical nightmare to pull this circuit off, and there are several important questions.
Isn't the track too narrow? Well, it would certainly be on the narrower side of the scale when it comes to Formula 1 circuits, but its narrowest sections (by Marlborough Street and College Green) would still be wider than the narrowest points on the 2023 calendar (found at Baku's castle section). The crucial overtaking sections, by O'Connell Bridge and the Grattan Bridge, would also be sufficiently wide to comfortably see two cars side by side.
And what of the interest from fans? Would the race be well attended?
Well, judging by the turnout for the 2012 event, and the fact that Red Bull's upcoming show run sold out in minutes, we'd hazard a guess the uptake in tickets would be speedy from Irish fans. The backdrop of Dublin City Centre would no doubt add to the race's allure.
- Stats on the Irish Grand Prix circuit:
- Track length: 4.925km
- Race length: 62 laps (305.323km)
- Corners: 20 (11 left, nine right)
- Direction: Anti-clockwise
Of course, weather is another factor - but, if the race were to take place in summer, during the traditional European section of the calendar, it would likely not be a race-defining issue. And, when it comes to F1, who doesn't love a bit of rain-induced chaos?
It's unlikely we'll ever see an Irish Grand Prix ever get off the ground, but we can dream on. And, after David Coulthard takes to the streets of Dublin in the RB7 on Sunday afternoon, we'll probably be dreaming even more of a world where Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc take their battle to the banks of the Liffey.