Formula 1’s updated calendar has confirmed that two races apiece will be held in Austria and Britain, and with it two new additions to grand prix history. The second round in Austria will officially be called the Grosser Preis der Steiermark (Styrian Grand Prix) and Silverstone’s double-header the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. MotorsportWeek.com takes a look at some other unusual grand prix names.
Pescara Grand Prix
In 1957 the Pescara Circuit, near Pescara, in Italy, hosted a round of the Formula 1 World Championship. The race took in some 16 miles of the local roads and was won by Sir Stirling Moss. In those days grands prix were held regularly but only a handful made up the World Championship. The cancellation of events in Belgium and Netherlands meant Pascara’s event status was raised and, with Monza hosting the Italian Grand Prix, the Pescara Grand Prix tag was used.
Caesar’s Palace Grand Prix – and other US adventures
Formula 1 visited Las Vegas for a street-based race in the early 1980s though it proved wildly unpopular. The race was laid out in the car park of the Caesar’s Palace hotel in the city – and thus the name was applied. In addition, seven races in Long Beach from 1976-83 were referred to as United States Grand Prix West, Detroit’s events in the 1980s were known as the Detroit Grand Prix, while the sole trip to Dallas in 1984 was called… the Dallas Grand Prix
San Marino Grand Prix
The area around Imola is rich in motorsport, with AlphaTauri and Ferrari’s headquarters located nearby, and the circuit hosted the 1980 Italian Grand Prix, when Monza was closed for refurbishment. When the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ reopened, the retained race at Imola needed a new name and used the tiny enclave microstate of San Marino, located around 100km away, though the race dropped off the calendar in 2007. A similar situation has occurred in MotoGP with Misano, although that circuit is a mere 15km from the nearest Sammarinese border crossing.
Luxembourg Grand Prix
The Grand Duchy, a concoction of French, German, and Belgian cultures, has never been visited by Formula 1, but it hosted two events at the Nürburgring in the late 1990s. The 1997 German Grand Prix was already being held at Hockenheim, while Jerez bagged the European label, leading organisers to use Luxembourg’s name for its race. With Luxembourg only around 90km from the Nürburgring, the moniker wasn’t that completely far-fetched, and it was used again in 1998, before switching to the European Grand Prix for 1999, a title it held for several years thereafter.
Swiss Grand Prix
Switzerland has not hosted circuit motor racing since the 1955 Le Mans disaster, when 83 spectators were killed. However, the Swiss Grand Prix was held in 1975 and 1982 at the Dijon-Prenois circuit in France. The 1975 running was a non-championship event, but seven years later, it was designated a Formula 1 race, due to the high French presence within the sport. With Paul Ricard holding the French Grand Prix, Dijon-Prenois, 170km from the nearest border point, was given the Swiss Grand Prix title. Keke Rosberg claimed victory, his only triumph in his title-winning campaign.
Pacific Grand Prix
Suzuka had the Japanese Grand Prix title under lock and key so when TI Aida, now renamed Okayama, held two Formula 1 races in the mid-1990s it did so under the Pacific Grand Prix tag. The title was also used for non-championship races at California’s Laguna Seca raceway in the 1960s. Has any other ‘Grand Prix’ been held on two different sides of the world?
European Grand Prix
Ah, the European Grand Prix… This was initially a title used in addition to existing race names, as a badge of honour, but from the 1980s it has existed as an event in its own right, taking place at Brands Hatch, Donington, Jerez, Nürburgring, and Valencia. In its most recent incarnation, in 2016, the race returned for Azerbaijan’s debut, provoking discussion on whether the nation hosting the event even needed to be classified as being in Europe. The event, at the Baku City Circuit, took on the Azerbaijan Grand Prix name from 2017.