Back to Baku: History of the Grand Prix - Wheel Sports
Baku Grand Prix

Back to Baku: History of the Grand Prix

The Baku Grand Prix is a relatively new addition to the Formula One calendar, having made its debut in 2016. However, the history of motorsports in Baku, Azerbaijan, dates back much further than that, and the city has a rich and storied past when it comes to racing.

Early Motorsports in Baku

The first motorsports event in Baku took place in 1929, when a group of local racing enthusiasts organized a race on the streets of the city. The race was won by a local driver named Rafael Rajabov, and it was a huge success, drawing crowds of thousands of spectators.


Over the next few years, more races were held in Baku, including rallies and hill climbs, and the city began to develop a reputation as a hub for motorsports in the region. However, the outbreak of World War II in 1939 put an end to most racing activities in the city, and it wasn’t until the 1990s that motorsports began to make a comeback in Baku.

Modern Racing in Baku

In the early 1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan began to open up to the world, and the country began to host international sporting events. In 1997, the city of Baku hosted its first international motorsports event, the FIA GT Championship, which was won by the German team Zakspeed.

Over the next few years, Baku continued to host international motorsports events, including the FIA GT Championship and the FIA Sportscar Championship. However, it wasn’t until 2012 that plans began to take shape for a Formula One race in the city.

The First Baku Grand Prix

The first Baku Grand Prix was held in 2016, and it quickly became one of the most popular and exciting races on the Formula One calendar. The race takes place on a street circuit that winds its way through the historic center of the city, and it features some of the most challenging and dramatic corners in the sport.

The first Baku Grand Prix was won by Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg, who held off a late challenge from Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel to take the victory. The race was praised for its stunning location and its challenging circuit, and it quickly became a fan favorite.

Since its debut in 2016, the Baku Grand Prix has continued to be one of the most exciting and unpredictable races on the Formula One calendar. The race has been won by a different driver in each of its first four years, and it has featured some of the most memorable moments in recent Formula One history, including a controversial collision between Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in 2018.

Final Words

The history of the Baku Grand Prix is a story of passion, innovation, and determination. From its early beginnings as a local racing event in the 1920s to its current status as one of the most exciting and popular races on the Formula One calendar, the Baku Grand Prix has played a significant role in the development of motorsports in Baku and in Azerbaijan.

As the race continues to grow and evolve, it is sure to provide fans with even more excitement and drama in the years to come, and it will continue to be a shining example of the passion and dedication that fuels the world of motorsports.