After three weeks off, Formula One hits our screens again this weekend at a NEW European circuit in Valencia. This circuit has been described as a "modern Monaco" and a "semi-street track."
Whatever it is, it sure has got F1 fans, engineers, and even drivers talking about it over the last few weeks.
The circuit is 3.401 miles long (5.442km) and overlooks the harbour, which will remain a working harbour throughout the weekend. The paddock and pit garages are just behind the loading docks for the harbour.
The race is 57 laps long, meaning the cars and drivers will cover 193.857 miles (310.171km) and 25 corners throughout Sunday's race.
BMW Sauber's guys had plenty to say on the new circuit after Fridays free-practice. Robert Kubica said, "In the first free practice session, we concentrated on learning the new circuit. The surface was still very dirty in the morning, so we had to wait until the track picked up some grip.
In the second free practice, the conditions were better, although it was still quite slippery, and our main focus was on tyre evaluation and basic set-up work. Anyway, the track conditions were changing every 30 minutes. Because of this, it is quite tricky to make a prediction for tomorrow.
We now have to analyse the data." Incidentally, Kubica, at the time of publishing, has the lap record for the track, getting round in 1:38.754.
F1 fans have had mixed views. One un-named lady said, "The back drop is amazing. It's not Monaco, but I think it could take off." Another fan didn't like the track, saying, "We already have a track with a harbour, in my opinion, there are better places to put the European race."
Renault racer, and two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso likes the track and told UK newspaper, The Guardian, "The track is good. It's a typical street track in that the rubbered line builds up very quickly, but then off line, you have much less grip." He continued on to say, "You don't get that on a normal track, so that will make the race interesting if anyone runs wide. This morning wasn't so good for me, but we worked on the set up, and we made some improvements for the afternoon."
It look's as though this weekend will be an interesting one, hopefully for the right reasons. In my opinion, the Valencia track may take some time to persuade fans that the FIA made the right choice; however, the track has a great backdrop, and until I've seen a race run on it, I wont pass on any further comment.
You're comments on the new track are more than welcome and would be great to see.