Video: Valencia street track vs road course

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Video of a virtual lap of the new Valencia street circuit has been released – the track looks fast, challenging and not at all like many of the recent additions to the F1 calendar.

However some of the local residents aren’t happy and have protested against the expense (financial and environmental) of transforming part of the city into a race track, albeit temporarily.

They would rather the race were held at the Circuit Ricardo Torno, 30km to the west of the city, which is exactly the kind of venue F1 doesn’t need.

F1 teams test regularly at Valencia and the venue is perfectly adequate for those needs. But for racing F1 cars it’s a complete non-starter.

I do quite appreciate the design of Circuit Ricardo Torno, which is surrounded by grandstands that offer a view of much of the track. But the consequence of that is the circuit is squeezed into a tight space and is consequently slow and twisty:

Here’s Timo Glock driving a lap of the circuit in qualifying for last year’s GP2 race:

I cannot imagine F1 cars being able to race properly around a narrow track with many tight corners. The only straight of a decent length leads into one of the few quick corners – which as we know from the Circuit de Catalunya makes overtaking extremely difficult.

GP2 cars are designed to be able to race closely with one another, but even they typically provide a lot less close racing when they appear at Valencia compared to the other European F1 tracks.

The Valencia Street Circuit on the other hand, has a promising mix of fast and slow sections with some likely spots for overtaking:

I do wonder if the positioning if the barriers on this video is accurate – if so some of the fast sections are going to be very spectacular. Along with the new Singapore Street Circuit I haven’t looked forward to a pair of new F1 circuits in a long while. There haven’t been any such protests in Singapore that I know of…

There was a political dispute over whether the street race at Valencia was going to happen in the first place, as Bernie Ecclestone only guaranteed the race providing the incumbent President of the Valencia regional government Francisco Camps retained his place in office. He did, and the race was confirmed.

It makes me wonder how much the protests in Valencia are motivated by environmental concerns, good old fashioned nimby-ism, or sympathy for one of Camps’ political rivals.

Whatever, I suspect they’re just going to have to put up with the influx of noisy cars, anti-Lewis Hamilton banners and tourist cash…

More on the Valencia F1 circuits

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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15 comments on “Video: Valencia street track vs road course”

  1. Street cicuits – narrow not many places to remove damaged cars – sorry I will probably be wrong – but doesn’t tick my box – but not long to find out if the residents of that city – opponents of bernie’s friend or enviromental protestors have to put up with another mediocre circuit with all the hassle of trying to live – another triumph of pr from take it or leave it little big man

  2. I’m more excited about the two new street track additions to the F1 calendar in 2008 than I have been for any new track for a long time. The Valencia simulation looks fascinating but I do wonder about the exit straight into that bridge.. I suspect it wont quite be like that in reality.

    I totally agree though.. the Ricardo Tormo Valencia circuit is not suitable for F1 in my opinion. Too twisty and not enough long straights. I saw the WTCC and GP2 races there last year (ON TV) and it looked quite difficult to overtake. PLEASE F1 dont go there!!!

  3. I think the Valencia street circuit will be fantastic! Really looking forward to this one. Photos of the route being used actually make it look even better than that simulated lap does. Great surroundings.

    The road course outside the city reminds me a lot of the Beunos Aires circuit that was used in the 90’s. Very tight and very twisty. In fact it actually reminds me of an oval infield course. A ring of stands surrounding a big flat area with a lot of asphalt and gravel. Very typical sterile autodrome, in my opinion.

    I don’t see there being a problem with removing damaged cars. If the circuit is built right, there should be many access points for the marshalls to get in there and do their thing. There might be more safety cars though.

    Also, not that I’m a big Hamilton fan, but I think it would be a hoot if he won the first race there. ;)

  4. there is hundreds of circuits like Riccardo Tormo, and even better. The only option for Valencia is a street circuit, run with a F1 in ricardo tormo is stupid.

    Ricardo Tormo is said that is a motorbike circuit. The good point of this circuit is in any stand, crowd can see any part of the track.

    Valencia street circuit looks good. there is five zones over 300kmh. I’m not sure, but i’ve read, valencia street circuit is the third fastest circuit in 2008.

  5. Bruce McLaren
    30th January 2008, 22:47

    From the look of that ‘quikmap’ they bridge hasn’t been built, and a large section of the west end is yet to be developed. Is construction underway? What races will be on the track pre-F1? We’re not racing there until the 24th of August and I hope they have a couple of competitive series race prior to the ‘main’ event. Can anyone offer an insight into the first time we’ll get to see the track in a race proper?

  6. With it being a street race I’m not sure if there will be much testing done of the circuit before the race weekend. As it’s a European round I’d expect Formula BMW Europe, Porsche Supercup and GP2 (now that will be fun) as support races.

  7. The street circuits this year look really good, with none of the right angles and slow, tight undramatic racing we have seen with previous circuits. Valencia looks really good, with some actual overtaking spots and corners over 120kmh while Singapore has some extremely wide long straights lading into tight over taking spots. overall i think the street circuits this year will be really really good for f1 since they will provide us with not only the glamour, but also the racing to match.

  8. “GP2 (now that will be fun)”

    oooh, hadn’t thought of that one :)

  9. I’m so excited, especially for Singapore – I’m going there! Why are there no protests in Singapore? First, they’d love to become the Asian Monaco and beat out friendly rival Hong Kong (whose role this year will be related to the Olympics). Second, what the SG government wants, they get. End of story.

    Anyway, well, these are really good city circuits – designed by Tilke too! Glad to see he can come up with some brilliant layouts (after Istanbul).

  10. There are no protests in Singapore because the government there actually went to the trouble of consulting its people properly before commissioning the track, something that hasn’t happened in Valencia. In fact, the Valencia track constructors appear not to have followed their own environmental impact protocol, so desperate were they to put in this track against the local people’s protests…

  11. William Wilgus
    31st January 2008, 23:21

    To my way of thinking, tight, twisty tracks should provide more opportunities for passing—any driver mistakes / car bobbles in tight, slow turns are `more expensive’ than in high-speed turns. The over-taking problem is not so much the fault of tracks as it is the cars. BTW, if tight, twisty tracks are no good, why is Monaco still on the race calendar?

  12. I agree with William when he says, “the overtaking problem is not so much the fault of tracks as it is the cars.” But when GP2 cars struggle to overtake on a track like Ricardo Torno, it’s clearly not right for F1. It’s just too small – almost like an 80% scale model of an F1 track.

    As for Monaco, drivers were complaining it was too tight for overtaking in the sixties. It stays on the calendar because money talks.

  13. What can you expect from a country which already sold everything???

  14. Does anyone know when tickets for valencia will be available?

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