Our trip to Valencia will be our second visit to Spain this year after Barcelona hosted the Spanish Grand Prix back in May. Even if this week’s race is named the European Grand Prix, Formula One and Spain have always had a strong bond. The last time Formula One didn’t go to Spain during the course of a season was in 1985… 26 years ago!
Although Barcelona and Valencia don’t much resemble each other in terms of track action, one being a permanent race track and the other a street circuit, the atmosphere is always fantastic, thanks to the Spanish fans being so passionate about racing.
Valencia itself is one of the nicest cities in Spain to visit. The third largest city is Valencia is an active industrial and commercial centre producing textiles, metal products, chemicals, automobiles, furniture and toys. The weather is pretty good too with a year-round average of 18 ºC, 25.5 ºC during the summer and 11.5 ºC during the winter!
Sports-wise, Valencia is well-known for the Valencia Club de Fútbol, the third most successful football team in Spain behind FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. Valencia also hosted the America’s Cup in 2007 and 2010 at the purpose-build Juan Carlos I Marina around which the Grand Prix circuit now winds.
Food lovers will be happy to know that Valencia claims to be the birthplace of paella, and if you go there, you need to try ‘Horchata’ - a frozen drink made of tiger nuts… a great drink for the warm days ahead!
The Valencia Street Circuit is quite challenging for the drivers. They will to make almost 3,650 gear changes, the fifth highest total of the season, around the 25 corners. Valencia’s track is quite something to see with the swing bridge over the Marina and its tight corners making it visually attractive.
Last year’s race was a pretty difficult one for the team with Nico scoring one point with his 10th place finish, while Michael ended up in 15th place after being stopped by a red light at the end of the pitlane during a Safety Car period following Mark Webber’s spectacular crash.
Historically, this has not been a track renowned for overtaking: in 2008 and 2009, the two races only saw four recorded overtaking manoeuvres. Suffice to say that KERS and DRS will have to work well once again to spice things up!
Let’s hope for a good show this weekend!