McLaren, BMW Sauber and Honda chiefs give a unique insight into the technical demands posed by the Spanish port city of Valencia, host to next week’s European Grand Prix.
Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren): “In terms of car set-up, we need to remember that, like Monaco, the track will be both green and dusty on the opening day of practice. That sometimes tempts you into playing with set-up more than you would like, so you need to resist that temptation and let the track come to the car.
“Our simulations suggest we’ll employ a downforce level similar to that of Hockenheim, but the individual demands of the track may push that window up or down. Finally, anybody who’s studied any onboard footage of the circuit will be mindful of the proximity of the concrete barriers in certain areas – clearly, we’ll be packing plenty of spares, but hoping we won’t need to use them!”
Ross Brawn (Honda): “Valencia is often thought of as a temporary race venue, however it is actually a permanent street circuit which is quite fast and flowing; it’s not like the type of street circuit that we have been used to racing around in Monaco. There has been some racing around the track already with sportscars and Spanish F3, so we have been gathering information from those races to see what we can learn in advance of the race weekend.
“Valencia is going to be a medium to low downforce track with a couple of quick corners which will present a very challenging circuit in an exciting environment. One of the key aspects is that it is going to be very windy. The America’s Cup is held in Valencia for this very reason however such conditions could make achieving a good balance on the cars quite tricky. The Valencia weekend is going to be a fascinating engineering challenge for the team and we are all looking forward to it.”
Mario Theissen (BMW): “The European Grand Prix around the port area of Valencia is new to the programme this year. We are very much looking forward to the race and the city, particularly as BMW has some close associations with Valencia.
“The Formula BMW Racing Center there serves as the training site for our up and coming young talent in the Formula BMW series around the world. Valencia is by tradition the venue for rolling out our new F1 car, and beyond that city races always make for a unique atmosphere. We await the new circuit with keen anticipation.”