This unfortunately means that I’ve been thinking about the 2007 season in a rather pessimistic way.
Yes, it promises to be the most interesting F1 season for a long time and I cannot wait for it to start. But, as we all know, modern F1 is flawed, and in particular I am not looking forward to 2007 for one reason – the Circuit de Catalunya.
In an era when overtaking moves in F1 are rarer than sighting a tiger in the wild, the Spanish Grand Prix has always stood out a triumph of the turgid.
I can remember three good races at the Catalunya circuit – 1991 when it rained, 1992 when it rained and 1996 when it rained. The highlights footage from the dry races is even shorter than the book of French military victories.
So why is the Spanish Grand Prix so consistently dull? As far as I can tell there are two main reasons.
Second the track design prevents overtaking almost perfectly. At a push I’d say there are two places you could get through in a Formula Ford car, and one where you could make it stick in an F1 racer (if you’re feeling brave and the guy in front is either asleep or Jarno Trulli).
This is all particularly unfortunate as F1 is rapidly becoming the Spanish national pastime and there is increasing talk of a second race. And the overwhelming majority of the tracks in Spain are painfully dull.
Valencia is pitiful excuse for a racing circuit. It may have fantastic facilities for teams and spectators alike but the track – the thing that matters – is too slow, unimaginative and twisty for 125cc motorbikes, let alone F1.
Jerez, the former home of the Spanish GP, produced a couple of memorable races, notably in 1986 and 1997.
But this should both be taken with a hearty pinch of salt. The dicing seen at Jerez in the late ’80s simply could not be replicated with modern cars (the twists would ensure they ran nowhere near each other). And the 1997 title finale was something of a one-off.
It is a cruelly ironic situation. The Spanish have fallen in love with F1, but have no circuits that can produce the sport at its best. My preferred option of building a replica of Spa outside Madrid is unlikely to be successful, but with the both F1 and Moto GP’s huge popularity there is surely a case for building facility that can do the cars and the fans justice.
In the meantime when this year’s Spanish race rolls around, I’m going to pull out a cold beer, put my feet, take the phone off the hook, and watch some British Superbikes.
As for the Grand Prix, I’ll watch the first corner and pick up the result on the radio later, although I doubt the order will change.