Valencia Street Circuit
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|Valencia Street Circuit|
|Active from||2008 - present|
|Major events|| FIA Formula One|
European Grand Prix
|Length||3.367 mi (5.419 km)|
|Lap record||1:38.683 ( Timo Glock, Toyota, 2009, class)|
The Valencia Street Circuit is a semi-permanent street circuit in Valencia, Spain which will host the Formula One European Grand Prix for seven years. 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 utilizes the roads skirting around the city's harbour and America's Cup port area – including a section over a 140 metre long swing bridge, and also includes some roads designed exclusively for racing purposes by the German architect Hermann Tilke who also designed the infrastructural buildings for the circuit.
The deal to host the Valencia race was signed on June 1, 2007 and is 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 now confirmed, the deal was rumored to be conditional on People's Party winning regional elections on 27 May 2007. However, Ecclestone had clarified his comments on May 16, 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 minister, 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 August 24, 2008.
The track is 5.419 kilometres (3.367 mi) long and incorporates a total of 25 turns – 11 right-handers and 14 left-handers. It is estimated that the track has 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 is not as tight as Circuit de Monaco but overtaking opportunities are still relatively few, 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 are crucial to win at this circuit because there is a lot of long straight lines ending with heavy braking.
The circuit has been criticised by the drivers for its lack of overtaking opportunites. There have only been 4 recorded overtakes since the race was first held in 2008, with none of them in 2009. There is little space for improvements to the circuit to address this problem.
2008 European Grand Prix
The 2008 European Grand Prix was held on August 24, 2008. It was the 12th race of the 2008 Formula One season. The race, contested over 57 laps, was won by Felipe Massa for the Ferrari team after starting from pole position. Lewis Hamilton finished second in a McLaren car, with Robert Kubica third in a BMW Sauber.
This was Bridgestone's 200th and Massa's 100th entry, and this makes Massa the only driver to date to win his 100th race.
2009 European Grand Prix
The 2009 European Grand Prix was held on August 23, 2009. It was the 11th race of the 2009 Formula One season. The race, contested over 57 laps, was won by Rubens Barrichello for the Brawn team after Lewis Hamilton took pole in the McLaren. Hamilton came second, while Kimi Räikkönen took third in the Ferrari car. It was notable for there not being one single on track overtaking manouvere, the first time since the controversial 2005 United States Grand Prix. It marked the first race of Frenchman Romain Grosjean in the Renault. Barrichello's victory was the 100th for a Brazilian driver.
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- The F1 Valencia Street Circuit Guide Site
- The F1 Valencia Street Circuit Official Site
- Valencia Street Circuit guide from Official F1 Site
- BBC's circuit guide
- 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
- Valencia F1 Street Circuit in Google Maps