The European GP comes after a 4 week break for Formula One and it feels like centuries. With the whole saga of “will he, wont he?2 with Michael Schumacher, I cannot wait for the 11th round of the season to GO!GO!GO!.
Although Valencia has a permanent racing facility used mostly for motorbike racing and occassional F1 testing, the organisers of this event decided to build a new street circuit around the historic harbour area.
Debuting last season it looked like a very fast track, and indeed was. However the circuit appeared to be in the middle of a building site with high concrete walls, little or no views and a poor turnout.
It’s long sweeping back straight and the preceeding bridge are two of the best bits of what is otherwise a disappointingly dull circuit.
A Lap of the Track
Jenson Button (Brawn) "It’s going to be great to get back racing again after the summer break and everyone at the team is looking forward to Valencia. There’s been a lot of work going on at the factory following our shutdown and with the cars at the front being so close at the moment, it will be an interesting weekend."
Luca Badoer (Ferrari) "I have a good impression and it’s obvious that there’s a difficult task waiting for me at Valencia. The first race will help me to get back into the rhythm of a Formula 1 weekend. I haven’t set myself any goals, just to end the race."
Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) "We got a good result in Hungary, which allowed us to climb back on the third place in the Constructors’ Championship. This is the team’s realistic goal for the final part of the season. Last year I didn’t end the race at Valencia caused by an engine failure. So this year I want to return and maybe even gain a place on the podium. This is our realistic goal, although we know that it will be difficult."
Fernando Alonso (Renault) "Racing at home is always special and Valencia is a beautiful city and a great place to have a race. I’ve always enjoyed racing on street circuits as they have a special atmosphere and the whole city gets involved in the race. Also, as it’s a home race for me I know that there will be amazing support from the fans and I really want to reward them with a good result. As I’ve said, I would love to fight for the podium, but the main priority is to score points this weekend."
The Renault F1 Team will be present at the forthcoming European Grand Prix in Valencia after successfully winning an appeal to overturn their suspension from the race weekend.
Renault had been banned for one race weekend after a wheel was attached incorrectly on Fernando Alonso’s car in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Mechanics released the car from the pits with a wobbling wheel which later flew off at some speed, just a matter of days after Formula 2 saw tragedy when Henry Surtees was hit by a loose wheel.
The FIA imposed the ban just hours after the race.
The full reasons for the appeal success will be released in the coming days, but some suggest it is damage limitation from the FIA allowing the Spanish son Fernando Alonso to compete in the faltering European GP, hit recently by the lack of Michael Schumacher.
An FIA statement said:
“Renault admitted to the court that it breached the sporting regulations, in that it failed to ensure that car #7 complied with the conditions for safety throughout practice and the race, and that it released the car after a pitstop when it was unsafe to do so. However, it requested the court to reconsider the severity of the sanction imposed by the stewards.
Having heard the arguments of the parties, the court has decided as follows:
1. to allow the appeal and overturn the sanction imposed by the stewards in the contested decision;
2. to issue a reprimand and impose a fine of $50,000 upon Renault”
The European GP at Valencia could become known as the Mediterranean Grand Prix from next season.
The title European GP has been used by the Nurburgring for the second German Gp, but now the event is down to just 1 german GP per season it seemed fine for Valencia to be called the European GP.
However, ADAC who own the Nurburgring do not want to buy the German Grand Prix name share from rivals AVD who run the Hockenheimring. Therefore, next season when the German event is at the Nurburgring there could not be 2 European Grand Prix.
The Mediterranean title has not been used for some time, and is owned by Adrian Campos who claims to have sold it to Bernie Ecclestone last weekend.
Tickets for the forthcoming European Grand Prix, at the new Valencia street circuit have sold out.
The organising company have shifted all 112,711 tickets, with only 8,000 left after the first day! Its a staggering turnout for the first race at this new track wedged in the harbour of the popular testing city.
Around 60% of tickets have been sold to the native Spaniards, showing there is a huge F1 following after a poor time. They will be out rooting for Fernando Alonso.
“[We’re] very happy with how tickets have sold.” Jorge Martinez, CEO of the company commented
“We knew that there was lots of expectation but frankly it never crossed my mind that a sellout would be reached in 10 days,” he added.
Builders have moved into the Juan Carlos harbor area in Valencia to begin the work on the new 5 kilometer street circuit, where the European GP will be held in 2008.
The track will see drivers getting an average speed of 200km/h from their cars, with a top speed of 320km/h.
Being a street track is draws obvious connections to Monaco, although this track is likely to be faster, with an average lap taking around 1.37seconds but covering a larger track.