It’s becoming clear from what the drivers are saying about the Circuito Urbano Valencia that it’s not a typical street track.
Here’s a look at a lap of the circuit and some of the ways in which it seems more like Montreal than Monaco and other famous street circuits.
The Circuito Urbano Valencia is expected to see a top speed of 320kph and an average lap speed of 225kph. That would make it the fastest circuit F1 has visited so far this year:
2008 fastest race laps
Melbourne – Heikki Kovalainen – 218.385kph
Sepang – Nick Heidfeld – 209.244kph
Bahrain International Circuit – Heikki Kovalainen – 209.062kph
Circuit de Catalunya – Kimi Raikkonen – 205.191kph
Istanbul – Kimi Raikkonen – 222.144kph
Monte-Carlo – Kimi Raikkonen – 156.789kph
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal – Kimi Raikkonen – 202.871kph
Magny-Cours – Kimi Raikkonen – 207.224kph
Silverstone – Kimi Raikkonen – 200.842kph
Hockenheimring – Nick Heidfeld – 216.700kph
Hungaroring – Kimi Raikkonen – 194.243kph
McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh gives an idea of the downforce levels needed:
Our simulations suggest we’ll employ a downforce level similar to that of Hockenheim, but the individual demands of the track may push that window up or down.
The high speeds are partly down to the fact that this isn’t a conventional street circuit with bumps, manhole covers and a steeply crowned road (as you can see from the onboard video laps): the surface is new and it’s more like a racing track than a normal road. F3 driver Alex Waters, quoted in this month’s F1 Racing, explains:
It doesn’t feel like a normal street circuit. There’s freshly laid asphalt, so there aren’t the bumps and rain covers – it’s a fantastic track.
But what it does have is a lot of barriers. Yes, in some places there’s a lot of tarmac run-off. But there are still many sections where the kind of mistake that would only cause a moment’s delay at the Hockenheimring will instead end in a heavy crash.
Crashes could lead to safety car periods, which can cause all kinds of other problems because of the poorly thought-out rules.
Here’s a map of the circuit along with the anticipated corner speeds in kph:
More information about the new Valencia street circuit