This weekend’s European Grand Prix is held on a brand new circuit, the Valencia Street Circuit. The circuit has a contract for seven years, so we may as well try and get acquainted with it as best we can.
We won’t know exactly what to expect until the F1 cars arrive there. But for a street circuit it seems rather promising. For a street circuit, it is particularly fast. It is estimated that the F1 cars will reach 185mph at least four times during a fast lap. The top speed is estimated at an incredible 199mph, with an average speed of 140mph. Pretty quick for a street circuit.
The circuit is also said to be very smooth for a street circuit. In addition, the circuit is wide and has plenty of run-off area which should encourage overtaking. Alex Waters, who competes in Spanish Formula 3, said in the September 2008 edition of F1 Racing that there are three obvious overtaking spots. That is more than some circuits, like a certain other one in Spain. To demonstrate this, Waters reached as high as 6th position from a grid position of 18th before retiring. So the drivers should have no dodgy excuses for not being able to overtake!
Here are a few videos to help us get acquainted with the circuit.
First is Sidepodcast’s ‘Inside Track’ preview, which takes us on a virtual tour of the circuit.
Here is some on board footage taken from a Formula 3 car. This gives you an idea of the speed of the circuit and the amount of run-off there is.
And here is a video from the International GT Open race which was held on the circuit earlier on this year.
Keith also has a guide to the characteristics of the Valencia Street Circuit.
I’m looking forward to this weekend’s sessions and the liveblogs that will take place throughout the weekend will be indispensable as we come to terms with the new environment.