2010 European Grand Prix Preview


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Round 9 - Valencia Street Circuit

And so we move from one semi-permanent street circuit surrounded by water to another, with the third European Grand Prix to be held at the high-speed circuit on the Valencia quayside.

Conceived to take advantage of F1's new-found popularity in Spain, the circuit utilises port roads and buildings previously used for the city's hosting of the America's Cup yacht race. Hermann Tilke supervised the construction of the new sections of road required to complete the track.

Visually, Valencia is even more characterised by the concrete walls enclosing the drivers than Montreal. The circuit is similarly relatively high-speed, with three long straights linked by a combination of right-angled turns, comparatively high kerbing for a modern track, and reasonably generous run-off areas.

The first two events were roundly criticised for a lack of racing action, as the field spread out readily and few drivers tried their luck on the dusty marbles in the notional overtaking zones. Previous European races have lived long in the memory - Brands Hatch in 1985, Donington 1993, Nürburgring 1995, 1999 and 2007; and infamously Jerez in 1997 to name but a few. Perhaps this will be the year for Valencia to step up to the plate.

The overall finishing rate at Valencia is one of the highest of all this year's circuits.
The likelihood of a driver-related retirement is lower than average.
Mechnical failures here are also very much less common than at most current tracks.
Finally, the circuit ranks as about average for first-lap retirements in the past five years.

The Last Five Years
200820171216 - Timo Glock (Toyota)
200920182005 - Jarno Trulli (Toyota)
[td]Year[/td][td]Starters[/td][td]Finishers[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Lap 1 retirements[/td][td]Most places gained[/td]

Circuit Ranking (of all 18 circuits)
Finishing Rate

1st Yas Marina 90%
2nd Monza 88%
3rd Valencia 88%
4th Suzuka 85%

Mechanical Failures
16th Suzuka 8%
17th Valencia 8%
18th Silverstone 7%

Driver-related Retirements

14th Hockenheim 6%
15th Valencia 5%
16th Monza 4%

First lap Retirements
8th Hungaroring 2.9%
9th Valencia 2.5%
10th Montreal 2.4%

Both previous Grands Prix at Valencia have been won by Brazilian drivers, with Felipe Massa in 2008 and Rubens Barrichello last year receiving boosts to their ultimately unsuccessful championship challenges. For Bruno Senna to make it three different countrymen in three years will require something beyond miraculous. Lewis Hamilton was runner-up on both occasions. 2010 F1 returnees Michael Schumacher, Tonio Liuzzi and Pedro de la Rosa have never raced at the circuit before, while Cosworth will also need to adapt to a new venue for them. Also of note is Sebastian Vettel’s reasonably good qualifying record – 6th for Toro Rosso in 2008, and 4th last season. His current team-mate Mark Webber lined up 14th and 9th, by comparison.

Despite awaiting their first win in Valencia, McLaren have picked up more points here than any other team. Conversely, Red Bull have yet to manage a single points finish in four starts. The low retirement rate has generally meant few points on offer to the smaller teams.

Current Drivers' Records at Valencia
Lewis Hamilton222nd (2)16001.5
Felipe Massa111st (1)10001
Rubens Barrichello221st (1)10008.5
Heikki Kovalainen224th (2)10003.5
Robert Kubica223rd (1)7006.5
Nico Rosberg225th (1)5008
Jarno Trulli225th (1)40012.5
Sebastian Vettel216th (1)3105
Fernando Alonso216th (1)30110
Jenson Button227th (1)20010.5
Timo Glock227th (1)20013
Mark Webber229th (1)00011.5
Adrian Sutil2110th (1)00116
Jaime Alguersuari1116th (1)00019
Sebastien Buemi10RET01015
Karun Chandhok0------
Pedro de la Rosa0------
Lucas di Grassi0------
Nico Hulkenberg0------
Kamui Kobayashi0------
Vitantonio Liuzzi0------
Vitaly Petrov0------
Michael Schumacher0------
Bruno Senna0------
[td]Driver[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]

Chassis Records at Valencia
McLaren442nd (2)26002.5
Ferrari431st (1)16107.75
Mercedes GP441st (1)120010.75
BMW Sauber443rd (1)7008
Williams445th (1)50011
Renault436th (1)30112.25
Toro Rosso436th (1)31012.5
Red Bull439th (1)01011
Force India4310th (1)00116.5
[td]Chassis[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for Mercedes GP include Honda and Brawn
Results for Force India include Spyker

Engine Records at Valencia
Mercedes-Benz881st (1)38005.75
Ferrari1071st (1)192111.9
Renault866th (1)31111.63
[td]Engine[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]

All ranking figures are expressed as a % of total starts.
"Retirements-Acc" are retirements where the reason has been listed as Collision, Accident or Spun Off.
Interesting statistic about Red Bull not scoring yet at Valencia.
I expect they'll be looking to break their duck this weekend and you would have to assume that barring unreliability issues they will do so.

Also interesting is the fact that McLaren haven't won here yet have amassed almost twice as many points as the next highest scoring constructor.
That picture of the bridge just about sums up Valencia really doesn't it. I think one of the other members on here suggested it was like Belfast with sunshine. Pit is there is a proper circuit not too far away which I'm sure would provide much better racing.

I suppose I shouldn't be too pessimistic as, apart from Bahrain, it has been a pretty exciting season so let's hope Valencia can continue the trend. The power of hope over experience...
Welcome back, Galahad. I hope that you had a terrific time at LeMans.

Valencia is one of my least-favorite races. The circuit is boring and makes me long for a return of Montjuich Park for a GP in Spain!

Having said that, I really hope that Massa wins this one to put a burr under Alonso's saddle. It would be interesting to see if that would make FA implode or raise his game.
I wish Le Mans had been this weekend rather than the same weekend as Canada!

Seriously, the circuit is so uninspiring. I can't even visualise what an exciting race would look like there! I suppose the last section leading up to the final corner is reasonably fast and looks good from the onboard cameras. There - I found something.

I'll be mainly interested in the back part of the grid, to see if one of the Lotuses or Virgins can get amongst the established teams in qualifying at last. Apparently Timo Glock's car is going to be running to the minimum weight limit for the first time this weekend. Which can only help...
Must remember to add to this weeks shopping list.

1 tin paint
1 paint brush

I have a wall all ready to paint so I can sit and watch it dry during the race.


Oh please let me be proven wrong on this !!!
cider_and_toast said:
Must remember to add to this weeks shopping list.

1 tin paint
1 paint brush

I have a wall all ready to paint so I can sit and watch it dry during the race.

Just look out the window at the grass and save yourself the money LOL
I've got a feeling its going to be an interesting race this year :)

Its had some bad rep but only 2 races, maybe its just wishful thinking however...
It's a GP so I'll be interested, but on past evidence I'll not be terribly excited. I'll be watching in the perpetual hope of being proved wrong.
Valencia is a worse circuit than Monaco for race action. The only chance for some race excitement is either a mixed up grid or a few drops of rain on the grid. Other than that, expect the running order to be set by the end of the first lap.

Pit strategy should be one stop on lap 10-15.
If this weekend's race turns out to be interesting it will be a real positive mark for the current regulations, pactically nothing to do with the circuit.

The phrase "Lipstick on a Pig" springs to mind
I'm still sceptical, the new regs couldn't polish the turd that is Bahrain so I doubt they'll be able to do the same with El Curcuit Excrementos.
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