- Full name Hermann Tilke
- Birth date December 31, 1954
- Birthplace Olpe, Germany
- Current age 60 years 150 days
Few outside the inner circle would recognise Herman Tilke, but for such a low-profile figure he attracts opprobrium from fans like few others. The favoured designer of circuits for the last decade or more, he is, depending on your stance, either a brilliant designer who has made modern tracks safe but entertaining, or the man who has done more to make F1 a dull procession than almost anyone.
He founded his engineering company in 1984 and got involved in track design after carrying out minor works at the Nurburgring, moving on to make changes to existing circuits and then as F1 expanded, became the designer of choice (some would say the only choice) for new tracks. By 2012 he will have designed almost half the circuits in use. His trademark circuit is a mixture long straight and tight hairpins, most at the beginning of his tracks, which is supposed to encourage overtaking.
"Some races have a lot of action, others not. That is the same in every sport," he said in 2010. "Racing is very dangerous, and nobody wants dead or injured drivers. Fans always want fast curves. But these curves are counterproductive for passing. For sure, you need fast curves. But for passing, the best design is to have a slow curve, a long straightaway and then another slow curve."