Drivers Eye: ‘It looks like being amazing…’

Valencia Track GuideValencia Preview Quotes

With less than a week to go before the Formula One entourage makes its inaugural dash around Valencia’s hedonistic Juan Carlos I Marina, F1’s elite are, for once, unanimous: the European Grand Prix is set to be spectacular.

Lewis Hamilton (McLaren): “I ve tested at the Ricardo Tormo circuit so the city isn t unfamiliar to me. Anyway, going to a new circuit doesn t really change my preparations: everybody s in the same situation so I don t treat things very differently.

“Of course, we ve done some preparation back at the McLaren Technology Centre ahead of this race, but our main focus will still be the three free practice sessions ahead of qualifying.

“I ll be working closely with my engineers to make sure we start the weekend with a good baseline and work hard to strengthen it as we go through the weekend. I enjoy visiting new racetracks and I m looking forward to getting into the cockpit on Friday morning. It looks like being an amazing track.”

Jenson Button (Honda): “My first thoughts are that it’s a circuit that we haven’t raced at before and it’s got barriers all around it! I think the whole of Formula One is very excited about going to Valencia.”

“It’s a beautiful city and it will be great to be racing around the streets there. We have some very fast circuits like Monza, Spa and Silverstone on the calendar and then the slower circuits like Monaco and Hungary, and we’re expecting Valencia to be somewhere in the middle.

“It’s also got the added excitement of being surrounded by barriers which really focuses your mind and demands that you give full concentration around every single lap.”

Robert Kubica (BMW Sauber): “I am very much looking forward to Valencia as I am a big fan of street circuits in general. They are very demanding as they are often bumpy and the street surface changes. When you make a mistake you easily run into barriers. Anyway, Valencia will not be a complete street circuit.”

“There will be lots of run-off areas for safety reasons. The FIA puts a lot of effort into safety, which is good. On a street circuit it is of major importance to have a good basic set-up which is easy to drive.”

“The lap time improvement has to be gained step by step, you cannot drive in too wild a style. Also, in terms of the racing line you have to approach this gradually. It is very important to walk the track before driving it the first time to get a feeling for the surface and the layout.”

Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren): “It looks pretty fast, to be honest. You get used to street circuits being quite slow, with lots of slow- to medium-speed corners and very short straights, but this is almost the opposite.

“There are a lot of fast kinks and esses, a couple of decent straights and lots of high-speed stuff. It s too early to say yet whether there will be opportunities to overtake around here, but there are a couple of hairpins where it might be possible.”

Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber): “I’m always pleased when a new race track turns up in the calendar, and I’m particularly keen to experience Valencia. It will be an authentic street circuit in the sense that it runs through the town centre, unlike the Melbourne or Montreal tracks. In terms of its charms and challenges, the Valencia race will probably come closest to the Monaco Grand Prix. I really like Valencia, which I’ve visited many times, of course. We do a lot of testing on the permanent race track in Cheste and we’ve rolled out our new Formula One car in Valencia on several occasions. The first few metres in a brand new car are always a very special experience.

“Early this year I spent a few days in Valencia with my family between the rollout and the next test. We had a great time, went to the beach, and in town there’s a dried out riverbed that has nature parks and playgrounds. That was very nice, especially for the children. Valencia is also a great place for shopping and eating out, needless to say, and I love the contrast between its historic and futuristic architecture. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”

Rubens Barrichello (Honda): “The challenge of learning a new circuit is always exciting, particularly when it is an unusual venue such as the new street circuit in Valencia. Despite preparing as much as we can in advance of the race, our track walk with the engineers on Thursday and the practice sessions on Friday will be absolutely key to learning the track and assessing the grip levels.”

“A new track always opens up the field and gives an opportunity for the driver to make an impact as our feedback will be very important in achieving the correct set-up.”

“We have prepared well and I am looking forward to the weekend and the potential to score some points. We can expect the race weekend to be very hot which will add to the physical challenge for the drivers, car and team. I’m a big fan of Valencia as a city; it’s a beautiful location, and hopefully the race will bring a lot of new fans to Formula One.”