Video: Valencia street track vs road course

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Timo Glock, Toyota, Valencia, 2008 | Toyota F1 MediaVideo 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