What would you take from the current crop of circuits on the calendar to create one great event?
With a blank sheet of paper and plenty of ideas in mind, we asked Hitech Grand Prix's Nazim Azman to create his dream Formula 3 weekend. Here's what the Malaysian came up with.
WHERE WOULD THE RACE BE HELD?
“Malaysia. Sepang, I think, is the greatest track in the world. It’s wide, easy to overtake, there’s lot’s of runoff so it’s safe. The sequence of corners – 5, 6, 7, 8 – is so flowing with two massive straights and hairpins, it’s the perfect style for these new era cars whether that's F1, F2 or F3.”
WHEN WOULD YOU HOLD THE RACE?
“Malaysia used to be round two after being paired with Australia because logistically, that made sense. But Singapore is next to Malaysia and they have the race later in the year but to be honest, I always liked it early in the year. Start of the year is when the hype is really there, people are interested to see the new cars and I’ve always felt more interested when F1 was held in Malaysia in the opening rounds than any other time in the season. You have the expectation and don’t know where it’s going to go and it makes it less predictable to watch.”
DAY OR NIGHT?
“I love night races, they’re the coolest thing to happen. I wish F3 had night races, I really wish we did it. It’s cooler, not so humid and hot. It doesn’t matter where it is, a night race is always better for the driver. You suffer much less with the heat while racing. And the cars just look way cooler.
WET OR DRY?
“I think I’d race in the dry. Maybe if it started wet and then got dry it would be pretty cool. In the dry it’s easier because Imola was wet to dry and was honestly the most hectic race of my life!”
STREET TRACK OR PERMANENT CIRCUIT?
“To be honest, as much as I like street tracks, I think they’re too narrow and it’s hard to overtake. I would always rather have a permanent kind of racing facility. If I were to make my own track, I would try and incorporate something wide like Silverstone or something like Hermann Tilke’s early tracks that he designed, those were really good. He designed some beautiful tracks, flowing and sweeping corners.
"Overtaking would be my number one priority, that’s the most important thing. One-kilometre straights followed by hairpins or something like that. The Red Bull Ring is a pretty good example of a nice track for overtaking. I’d have some high-speed corners and probably make it really long, 5-6 kilometres and just super sweeping.”
WHAT TYRES WOULD YOU PICK?
“High-deg. Massive degradation. It sounds bad but tyres that force maximum tyre saving I think makes racing super exciting. Super softs. If it was F3 it would have to be soft but softs on a super high-deg track is amazing for racing. I always want to race at a track where you can easily make overtakes and it’s just interesting for the fans as well to watch, it’s not just single file for the whole race.”
WHICH CELEBRITIES WOULD YOU INVITE TO THE RACE?
“I’d have Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reaves, Christian Bale. I’d get all the movie stars.”
WHICH ARTIST WOULD PLAY AT THE EVENT?
“I’d have loved to have Avicii, that would make for an insane lineup. Juice WRLD as well. Maybe some DJs like Martin Garrix."
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD INCLUDE?
“I think the Middle East has some good tracks and the night racing is amazing as well. I’d have an underground pit like in Abu Dhabi. Suzuka is pretty cool too with its crossover so if I had unlimited budget, that’s something I would incorporate as well.
“I’d have very good fan access. I think fan access is quite restricted these days which is understandable with safety and stuff but it’s something that I wish was better. Maybe if they could walk about the track on Thursdays and stuff like that, have a proper look around. Fans should have more space to roam. In Malaysia, we used to be able to ride around the circuit in buses and they’d have a GT car go by. As a kid and seeing these GT cars come flying by me at insane speeds was amazing. I’d also have better viewing, nice grandstands. Fans are the reason everything works.”