Valencia Street Circuit
The swing bridge, an important element of the Valencia Street Circuit.
|Time zone||GMT +1|
|Major events||FIA Formula One|
European Grand Prix
|Length||5.419 km (3.367 mi)|
|Race lap record||1:38.683 (Timo Glock, Toyota, 2009, Formula One)|
The Valencia Street Circuit (Valencian: Circuit Urbà de València, Spanish: Circuito Urbano de Valencia) was a street circuit in Valencia, Spain which hosted the Formula One European Grand Prix for five years (2008–2012). The first race meeting on the circuit was held over the 23/24 August 2008 weekend, with Felipe Massa winning the main event, the European Grand Prix, after starting from pole position. The circuit uses the roads skirting the city's harbour and America's Cup port area – including a section over a 140-metre-long (460 ft) swing bridge, and also includes some roads designed exclusively for racing purposes by the German architect Hermann Tilke, who also designed the infrastructure buildings for the circuit. The 2012 edition took place on 24 June and was the last to go under the name of the European Grand Prix until 2016, when the Baku City Circuit used the title for one year. It has not been used since 2013 after a deal fell through to alternate this venue with Catalunya in Barcelona to host the Spanish Grand Prix.
The deal to host the Valencia race was signed on 1 June 2007, and was for seven years. The deal was made between Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the Valmor Sport group, which is led by former motorcycle rider Jorge Martinez Aspar and Villarreal football club's president Fernando Roig. This deal goes back on comments made by Ecclestone previously stating that no European country should hold more than one race each year as Barcelona currently holds the Spanish Grand Prix each year.
Although not confirmed, the deal was rumoured to be conditional on the People's Party winning regional elections on 27 May 2007. However, Ecclestone had clarified his comments on 16 May 2007: "I said I wouldn't formalise a contract until after the elections because I didn't know who I would be signing it with." He said his statements were taken out of context. Ecclestone has since been cleared of influencing the election by the Valencian Electoral Commission.
The official track layout was unveiled by Valencia Councillor and transport counselor, Mario Flores, on 19 July 2007. The track was first used in the last weekend of July 2008, as the circuit hosted a round of the Spanish F3 Championship and International GT Open. It was first used for the European Grand Prix on 24 August 2008.
The track was 5.419 kilometres (3.367 mi) long and incorporated a total of 25 turns – 11 right-handers and 14 left-handers. It was estimated that the track had a top speed of around 323 kilometres per hour (201 mph), with a lap record of 1:38.683, held by Timo Glock, which he set during the 2009 European Grand Prix. Valencia was not as tight as Circuit de Monaco but overtaking opportunities were still scarce, due to the straights not being straight and the dust off line. Nico Hülkenberg noticed quite a bit of space for a street circuit and some corners have a lot of run-off area. Robert Kubica suggested that good traction and good braking stability were crucial to win at this circuit because there were a lot of long straight lines ending with heavy braking.
The circuit had been criticised by the drivers for its lack of overtaking opportunities. Changes in Formula One in 2011, including the introduction of the Drag Reduction System and the switch to Pirelli tyres, partially improved that with 27 passes recorded in that year's race, 22 of which were accredited to the assistance of DRS. However, the five 'normal' overtakes still represented the year's second lowest total, although the adoption of two DRS zones for that year's race limited the potential for non-DRS assisted passes. Despite this, the 2012 race was shown to have many different overtakes and became one of the most thrilling races of the season. It also had many more retirements – a total in four in 2012 compared to 0 retirements during the 2011 race.
A lap in a Formula One car
The pit straight is short and immediately leads into the flat-out turn 1 before cars heavily brake down to 60 mph for the right-left complex of turns 2 and 3, passing the Grau Metro station. A curved 'straight' leads into a left-right chicane; turns 4 and 5, by the Neptune Hotel. Drivers exit the 85 mph chicane by running very close to the wall, before sweeping through the kinks of turns 6 and 7, then braking heavily for the following swing bridge section. One of the slowest corners on the track, turn 8, with an apex speed of around 55 mph, leads drivers over the bridge before immediately braking again into the equally slow turn 10. Good traction is important out of here as the following section is a DRS zone with a top speed along the kinked 'straight' of around 200 mph, with a heavy braking zone for the 90 mph turn 12/13 chicane; a second gear, right-left complex. Turn 14 is a medium speed right-hander before another, shorter DRS zone that leads through two left-hand kinks before the turn 17 hairpin at Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe. Right-handed and a good spot for overtaking, turn 17 is taken at about 60 mph. A series of flat-out, or near flat-out sweeping curves follow, with the right-handers of turns 19 and 20 the most challenging of the bunch. Turn 25 is a hairpin, taken at about 60 mph; the run to the line following this left-hander is fairly short but requires good traction and acceleration for the best lap time.
- List of Formula One circuits
- Circuit de Valencia – another motor racing circuit in Valencia used for MotoGP Valencian Community motorcycle Grand Prix.
- "Swing Bridge Already Closed". Valencia Street Circuit. Generalitat Valenciana. 30 May 2008. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
- "Telefónica, Principal Sponsor of the Formula 1 Telefónica Grand Prix of Europe". Valencia Street Circuit. Generalitat Valenciana. 23 July 2008. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
- "Telefónica is European GP Sponsor (Translated from Spanish)". Valenciacircuitourbano.com. 28 January 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "The Official Formula 1 Website". Formula One. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
- "Motorsport: Spanish drivers eager to please home fans". The New Zealand Herald. 25 June 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
- "Fernando Alonso wins brilliantly in Valencia". BBC Sport. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "2012 Grand Prix of Europe". Formula 1™. Retrieved 31 December 2012.
- "Valencia deal done". GPUpdate.net. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
- "Valencia street race for 2008". The Official Formula 1 Website. 10 May 2007. Archived from the original on 13 May 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
- "Ecclestone seeks to clarify Valencia deal". EEMS. 16 May 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 19 May 2007.
- "Bernie Ecclestone cleared of influencing elections in Valencia, with Formula 1 announcement". bymnews.com. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2007.
- "Valencia track unveiled". Pitpass. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "Preview of the European Grand Prix". Viva F1. 23 June 2012. Archived from the original on 5 July 2012. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "Valencia Street Circuit Layout – GT Sport". GT Sport. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
- "Valencia street track – circuit information". F1 Fanatic. Retrieved 8 April 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Valencia Street Circuit.|
- The F1 Valencia Street Circuit Official Site
- More Monza than Monaco – why Valencia's no ordinary street circuit
- City limits: Toyota on what to expect in Valencia
- A lap of Valencia with Honda’s Mike Conway
- Facts and figures – Valencia and its new street circuit
- Valencia – the technical requirements