It’s been a while, but this weekend is the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain, and I will be ready to watch, even if the track is not that great. The big news for the Spaniards is that their hometown boy, Fernando Alonso, and the whole Renault team, will be racing. The FIA rescinded their ban on the team and instead has fined them $50,000 – which is far less than a race ban and pocket change really. The other news is that there will be two new faces on the grid this weekend. The first is for Renault in the Swiss-Frenchman Romain Grosjean. He is taking over for the ousted Nelson Piquet Jr. I would think that the most realistic expectations would be for him to simply finish the race, seeing as he has no real experience behind the wheel on an F1 car with this new in-season testing ban. The other is Luca Badoer. He is subbing for the injured Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari. He has some F1 experience, but it isn’t good. He most recently raced for Minardi in 1999 and holds the distinction of being the record holder for contesting the most number of Grands Prix – 56 – without recording a single point. His task is to simply bring the car home, and he is calling this outing a “test session.” Speaking of Felipe Massa, there is speculation that he will return this season, most likely for the second-to-final race in his native Brazil. I would love to see it, but if he isn’t up for it, I don’t think that anyone should pressure him. I think that most teams are expecting good things from Valencia. Toyota and Force India are both feeling very confident ahead of the race, while McLaren and Renault are also ramping up their expectations. The team that may be feeling the heat at the moment is the Brawn team. Since the exhilarating first seven races of the season, they have seemed to flounder. Whether they have lost their stride or not remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, Bernie is still not impressed with this points system. He would still rather see his ludicrous medals system come into effect. His reasoning is that the championship would be much tighter. How does he figure that one? As it stands, Jenson Button is ahead of Mark Webber by only 19.5 points and Sebastian Vettel by 23. With the medals system, all of Webber’s points would be irrelevant as he has the one win to Button’s six. By comparison, Sebastian Vettel has two victories on the season. I just don’t see how Vettel would ever catch Button and win four more races this season. I’m sure he can get a couple, maybe, but that still leaves him out. With the points, you can be consistent – read Mark Webber – and be in with a shot. Bernie is still messed in the head and needs to really take a good hard look at this season. I think that it will once again come down to the final races and that the points will still be much more relevant than some stupid medals will ever be.