Valencia: Hockenheimring with walls?

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320kph between concrete walls - Valencia should be spectacular

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:

Circuito Urbano Valencia street track map (click to enlarge)

More information about the new Valencia street circuit

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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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25 comments on “Valencia: Hockenheimring with walls?”

  1. 25 corners! That’s gotta be another statistic it tops out… have fun learning that track inside & out. Seems the drivers may spend much of the first practice session just getting acclimated to the track..

  2. I can’t wait for this weekend!!!

  3. Dorian, right on ! This should be fantastic.


    McLaren are rumored to have a 25-BHp advantage from the Mercedes engine. Have you heard anything about this ? Also, if my counts are correct, Massa will be the only leading driver to have a fresh engine in Valencia. Can you confirm this ?

  4. So many corners with so little “racing” opportunities! It would appear that for the F1 cars turns 12 and 17 may be the only passing chances. But what else is new in F1 these days?

    I do look forward to a race at a new venue, as none of the teams had testing there. It should be wild and wooly with, hopefully, few safety cars.

  5. I think it’s looking like a more severe version of Montreal. And that race always has a shedload of safety cars. Could be a surprise winner, if only because the SC blows peoples race strategies apart (and on occasion makes them work perfect, a la Nelsinho in Germany).

  6. For the driver that came from hear, it may look a litle like park´s phanton train. A scare at each corner…

    Not wanting to exagerate, but it is impossible to driver that goes behind to see what happens after the blind corners, 100 or 50m in front of him. For this second driver it will be very scary to find that someone had spun or crashed shortly in front of him.

  7. I think the circuit looks terrific. I agree with others who say it’s a lot like Montreal; in fact, Montreal is the first thing that came to mind when I saw it. The thing that really adds another element to it is the barriers all around the racing surface: very little margin for error for the drivers. This race is going to produce multiple safety car periods, I can just tell.

    What also seems to be quite exciting about this new circuit is that it’s in a place (Valencia) that makes for a great vacation spot with a terrific city, nice beaches, great nightlife, etc.. The FIA really struck gold when they chose this place to host a Grand Prix. I can see Valenica becoming an absolute staple on the circuit for the long-run. (In fact, I would readily like to see the Spanish Grand Prix moved from Barcelona, an unimpressive circuit, to Valencia.)

  8. I must confess that this track scares me.

    In places as Melbourne and Montreal, plenty of data to study, all the guys already know the limits, but in a track with tops speeds around 320 km/h and too much walls kissing their sidepods, we could be have a tragedy in waiting to happen…

    Looking the other way, if it shows really safe and with one or two places to overtake in bag, I really don´t know why Barcelona should remains the Spain´s official race…

  9. This race should be amazing – I cannot wait! There seems to be a certainty for a safety car and a certainty for plenty of action! Fernando will be dying to win it and could produce something amazing!

  10. Not to reignite the “One Country, One Grand Prix” debate, but…

    I’d like to reignite the “one Country, One Grand Prix” debate. It certainly seems as though this Valencia track will be plenty spectacular, and it’s in a tremendous location that really showcases the best that Spain has to offer, which IMO makes it the perfect place to host the official Spanish Grand Prix. Thus, I think it’s time to move the Spanish Grand Prix there and place the European Grand Prix in another country as its only GP.

    Personally, I think the way to go is to take the European Grand Prix to Spa, eliminating the title of the Belgian Grand Prix. Belgium is the current host of the EU headquarters, and it has been one of the two neutrality mainstays on the continent (along with Switzerland, although Belgium has been more “neutrally active” in hosting a number of international institutions, while Switzerland has been more “leave us alone”). This makes the country a truly ideal place to host THE European Grand Prix. With this, we can open a space on the schedule for a new Grand Prix, which could be somewhere in Europe or somewhere else in the world. Some countries that could be great locations:

    U.S.- The U.S. Grand Prix should absolutely return for a whole host of reasons.
    Greece- What a fantastic country for a grand prix! Tremendous locales, great history, great glitz and glamor: it’s a natural for a grand prix home. How about a GP through the streets of Athens, or perhaps one of the Greek Islands?
    Egypt- See Greece
    Czech Republic- Streets of Prague, anyone?
    South Africa
    A Caribbean Island

  11. Paige,
    Bernie is already adding more and more GP’s, whether spain has 2 or not does not really matter. I like the Barcelona track and I also think Valencia GP will be great. Let Spain have 2 gps, it does not really matter in the grand scheme of things. With new races in Abu Dahbi, India and various other places Bernie has in store, I think it is fine to let Spain have 2. (Although if they were to put the european gp elsewere I would have to say bring back imola!)

  12. There’s no reason for one country to have two Grand Prixs, aside from maybe Germany years ago when they had two legendary tracks on the circuit. (Well, Hockenheim was legendary until Hermann Tilke, the great ******* child of Satan, came in and completely trashed the place with the new design.)

    F1 currently has a 20 GP limit. It should stay that way. They’ve added Singapore to the schedule this year, bringing it to 17. They’ll be adding Abu Dhabi next year, and then India and Korea in 2010 to bring the total to 20. I’m already operating with that assumption.

    F1 is getting to the point where the schedule max has been met, and with a multitude of tracks on the schedule and in the world who are seeking grand prixs, the FIA has a tremendous opportunity that it needs to take: an abundance of tracks of varying quality and uniqueness, from which the 16-20 best and most unique tracks should be selected for Grand Prixs that will truly live up to unmatchable pedigree of Formula One. Catalunya is a horrendous track that never provides for good racing, nor does it have any uniqueness about it. It’s about to be made even more horrendous now that great ******* child of Satan has been contracted to do a redesign. If my expectations of Valencia prove true, it will be a fantastic and terrifically scenic circuit providing great racing and action in the most glorious spot in Spain. This circuit’s worthy of a Spanish Grand Prix: Catalunya isn’t.

    The European Grand Prix should be held at the track in Europe that is most worthy of it in terms of the quality of it, the challenge of it, and the uniqueness of it. There is one circuit in Europe- and, indeed, in the entire world- that is truly worthy of hosting THE European Grand Prix, and that circuit is Spa. Scrap Catalunya, move the Spanish Grand Prix to Valencia, move the European Grand Prix to Spa (in effect scrapping the Belgian Grand Prix), and add another country and circuit to the schedule that can truly bring some great value and uniqueness to Formula One that Catalunya can’t. Mexico and Russia are begging for Grand Prixs (a race in Cancun would be positively brilliant, and that would be the week of my life; I wouldn’t remember any of the days leading up to Sunday, but they’ll certainly be fun I’m sure), and the US is a country where F1 certainly should be and where it belongs given that all of the major manufacturers see their greatest sales in the US.

  13. Beckens right, the circuit is scary! as fun as it could be to watch, it is a dangerous layout with little run-off. and like george k says, theres no guarantee it’ll be exciting, maybe just another hungary, or ‘canada dry.’ i love this sport, and have forever, but the fia left spa off the calender last year, just to make crap modifications, and now we add a track that could kill one these awesome, young, stars that gave us the kick-ass season we had last year/this year.

    who drives the safety car for the GT races?, I only ask because its an audi R8!

    Bernt must be dead jealous.

  15. Hmmm. Great circuit, fast action, SC possibilities, I wonder how much input Bernie has had in the design, since it seems to add up to what the punters want in a race…..all it needs now is a wet weekend!
    Also, just how ‘Temporary’ is it? As others have said, it does seem very similar to Montreal. Did the walls come down after the GT and F3 races? Are there any pictures of the area after the races?
    I’m not being negative about the circuit, as it is a great venue, I’m just worried that ‘Street Circuit’ is maybe the wrong term for it. Also Singapore – is that as ‘Temporary’ as we are told?

  16. @Brar – That is why we have track mashals and a flag system.

  17. This is shaping up to be a classic race… I just won’t be awake to see it :(. I live in Western Australia, and many of your Aussie readers will know just how sucky the coverage in Australia is. To top it off, my video recorder is broken…

  18. “F1 currently has a 20 GP limit.”

    Does it though? Says who?

    The Concorde agreement was for 17 races a year, and so every time Bernie wants an 18 or 19 race calendar he has to give the teams more money. I think if he offered them enough to make it worthwhile they could do 20 or 21 or whatever number. I don’t think there’s any particular limit of 20.

    The “real” limit is how far the teams can stretch their personnel. Mclaren are talking about rotating the team crews. Plus the fact that Bernie doesn’t quite give them enough extra money to make 25 races, or whatever, worth the extra hassle.

    I think in the future we are much more likely to see many races being shared. Japan and Germany are already doing so. It’s only a matter of time before other tracks do so. We could probably easily have a situation with 19 GP’s and 27, 28 different tracks. I’m sure Bernie would love it.

  19. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understood that in 2005 the teams had agreed to 18 races and they only agreed to a 19th when Ecclestone arranged for them to receive extra money. But I don’t think 20 races has been fixed as a maximum on any official way.

  20. Ron Dennis mentioned at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Bahrain this year that most teams would agree with up to 20 races, but no more than that – regardless of what was offered for a 21-race season.

    I believe that was what Paige meant.

  21. Alianora La Canta
    19th August 2008, 11:52

    The Concorde Agreement obliges the teams to accept 17 races if called upon to do so. There’s a set payment for the 18th and anything above that is negotiable. The trouble is the FIA is currently acting as if the Concorde Agreement doesn’t exist.

  22. I think all of the above are correct about the Concorde Agreement; as far as I know, it is still expired, FIA are acting like it is expired, and the drivers and teams (can we call them FOTA yet?) are acting as if it is still in effect. If the teams want the Concorde Agreement to be properly enforced, they need to force FIA back into negotiations and create a new agreement.

    So, Ron Dennis may not want more than a 20 race season, but in the current (lack of) standards, if the other teams want to race more, they can.

    Oh, and somebody should kindly explain to Paige why a certain word that started with ‘B’ was blurred out, if it hasn’t happened already.

  23. chunter,

    I understand why it was blurred out. It doesn’t change the fact that Herman Tilke is still the great ******* child of Satan, and honesty is my policy.

  24. I think Chunter is correct – Bernie has forced the teams to create FOTA to get them to sign the next Concorde Agreement, since Max and the FIA want an agreement of some description before they give any more powers to FOM.
    Perhaps FOTA will agree to more races as part of the overall package?

  25. I am really positive about this race, everything I have read so far points to it being a potential classic.
    After so many recent disappointments in terms of new circuits and their design, namely Shanghai and Bahrain, a good, fast street circuit should make up for it.
    However, looking at the circuit map, compared with Valencia, Singapore appears to be considerably slower, does anyone have any information on this please?

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