After the summer break, Formula One returns to action this week with the second visit of the season to Spain. The European Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship, takes place on Sunday in the coastal city of ...
After the summer break, Formula One returns to action this week with the second visit of the season to Spain. The European Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship, takes place on Sunday in the coastal city of Valencia.
New on the calendar last year, the Valencia Street Circuit uses the permanent roads surrounding the Juan Carlos I Marina which was the base for the 32nd America's Cup in 2007. The 5.440km (3.380 mile) track closely follows the water's edge for the majority of the lap and uses a specially constructed swing bridge to cross between the north and south sides of the marina.
The lap has a challenging and innovative layout with 25 turns giving it more corners than any other circuit on the Formula One calendar. Surrounded by high concrete walls and with average speeds of 200kph, the Valencia Street Circuit has a very different feel to somewhere like Monaco, with top speeds reaching in excess of 300kph.
ROSS BRAWN, TEAM PRINCIPAL
Q. What are the engineering considerations of the Valencia Street Circuit?
"Valencia presents an unusual engineering challenge as the circuit is quite different from anywhere else on the calendar. It's not the type of street circuit that we have been used to racing around in Monaco; it's much more open and quite fast flowing with higher top speeds. The tall barriers give the lap the feel of a street circuit but the run-off areas are quite generous compared to Monaco, helping to improve safety and giving the drivers some margin for error at certain places of the lap. Traction is important here and the sectors of the lap which have a stop-start nature make Valencia tough on the brakes. Cooling is also a consideration in the high ambient temperatures but we do not expect to encounter any issues. The team has been working extremely hard since returning from our summer shutdown and everyone is looking forward to the racing getting underway again this weekend."
Q. Are you looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend in Valencia?
"It's going to be great to get back racing again after the summer break and everyone at the team is looking forward to Valencia. I've kept pretty busy over the past few weeks with the London Triathlon at the start of the month and then some time to relax with my family and friends but it's seemed like a long time without a race! Valencia is a beautiful city and the track is quite fun when it goes round the edge of the marina and over the bridge. It's quite challenging for the drivers with so many turns and the added factor of being surrounded by barriers means you have to maintain your concentration. There's been a lot of work going on at the factory following our shutdown and with the cars at the front being so close at the moment, it will be an interesting weekend."
Q. What did you think of Valencia and the new street circuit after the first race there last year?
"Valencia is a cool city and proved to be a great venue for the European Grand Prix last season. The challenge of a new circuit is always exciting and even more so this year as we should be in a much better position to challenge for a good result this time. The first part of the lap is quick with the long pit straight followed by a curved right-hander before the slower section leading up to the bridge over the marina and then you're down onto another curved straight. The second half of the lap feels more like a street circuit as you head away from the water and the third long straight ends with a tight hairpin at Turn 17 which is the best overtaking opportunity. The final part of the lap is quite fast with some sweeping corners before the tight left-hander which takes you back out onto the pit straight. It's a very different type of circuit to the classic image of a street track such as Monaco."