European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain

Well, I found some time to write a new entry and it is all about the excitement that is preceding this new European Grand Prix venue in Spain. The twists and turns of the Valencia street circuit should be one of the highlights of the season simply due to the fact that no one has raced here before. If you have not seen the layout of the circuit, a couple of track maps are provided below. Trust me, from what it looks like there could be some big action and bigger wrecks if people aren’t careful.

Essentially the teams are saying that this is going to be a fast track, like a Monza, and not slow like most street circuits are. I wasn’t too excited about this at the beginning of the season, I have to admit. Mostly this was down to the fact that I have watched other street races on television and have been less than impressed. But this one could be different. For starters it features a very high speed section along the harbor front and contains no less than 23 corners! Most tracks feature 12 to 15, but this is almost double. And this is why it will be exciting, not just on Sunday either. Friday practice will be something to watch for once because everyone will be scrambling to get out right away and see what the track it like.

At least I hope they do. With so much traffic out there on Friday we could see a mix of fast and slow people all running around and creating all sorts of trouble. This could also really shuffle the board up some, though not too much. Whoever adapts to the track the fastest (usually Lewis unfortunately) will be the one to watch. But there may be other surprises too. Many of the teams have been scouting the locations for many months already and may be fairly familiar with the way that the turns go at least. Other teams have even launched their cars on the track (McLaren in 2007) and have probably had time to get a better look than others. Some teams have also programmed the track into their computer systems and loaded the data into simulators (Williams) for the drivers to try their hand at a game version of the same track. Will any of this make any real difference? I would say some, but there is nothing like seeing the actual track for yourself and knowing definitively how much runoff there is and where all the bumps are.

I really don’t know what to expect from this track, but I will say again, that I am excited. After seeing the layout and watching a preliminary run around the track in a slower car, I can tell you that it may get a little hairy out there at some point. Driving an F1 car around a fast track with 20+ odd corners on any day is a daunting task; doing it on a track that on one has ever driven before, should add up to a monumental challenge.

Here’s to the Valencia street circuit and the European Grand Prix. Hopefully this three week break will have energized a tiny red team from Maranello into doing something great (like a nice 1-2 finish). Hopefully it will be a great weekend.

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