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#IAMSTORIES: Elmir, Azerbaijan

As Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team prepares for this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, we’re shining a spotlight on our passionate fanbase in Baku.

#IAMSTORIES: Elmir

For Elmir, deciding to watch the 2016 Canadian Grand Prix on TV, and witnessing Sebastian’s start to the race, sparked his passion. In his own words, Elmir shares his Formula One story.

Motorsport was not very popular in Azerbaijan until Formula One turned up in Baku for the first time, back in 2016.

There was some resistance to Formula One at the beginning, but now we can’t wait for the race every season, especially when we see the construction of the circuit begin.

I was on top of the world when it was first announced, and had planned to go, but my exams prevented me from going! I was also going to come along to this year’s race, but sadly COVID restrictions mean the race is behind closed doors.

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It’s a shame, as I wanted to come and show my support for the team. I love that Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team treats its fans like family. We experience happiness and sadness together; we have the same goals, and we all love Formula One.

I am an engineering student with dreams of working for the team one day. In the shorter team, and I hope the team will be able to take advantage of next year's regulation reset to move forward.

I think Baku has become the best street circuit on the calendar, especially after the 2017 race. It was so dramatic, and Lance scored his first podium too.

The circuit is incredibly fast, and drivers have to withstand a huge amount of G-force. At times, the track is really quite wide, which helps to overtake, but when it narrows, it proves a real challenge.

A highlight of the track has to be the castle section because it’s probably the most challenging set of corners on the calendar. If you are lucky enough to visit the race in the future, travel rules-permitting, I recommend the Absheron or Icheri grandstands for some great viewing points.

If you stay beyond the race, you’ll see the city returns to normal the following day. The streets really resemble Paris, and the castle feels like you have stepped back into the 15th century.

It’s a whole other ambience and feels like another city within a city. Azerbaijani people are known for their hospitality, so make sure you ask questions – I’m sure you’ll end up having a tour!

I would also recommend going beyond Baku and making a holiday of your time here. Spend two or three days in Baku, and then visit provinces such as Quba, Qabala, Sheki, Ismayilli, and Lankaran.

You should try the local cuisine too. Our national delicacies are the Shah Plov rice dish, Yarpaq Dolmasi, Piti soup, Kabab and many more. I can also recommend Azerbaijani tea with Shakarbura pastry too.

My friends and I are always so excited when Formula One arrives in Baku, and we can't wait for this weekend.