Winding through the city’s harbour and docklands, Hermann Tilke’s 5.440km lap of Valencia consists of 25 turns, 11 left and 14 right, but, unlike Monaco’s tight and twisting street layout, the majority of Valencia’s turns are long and sweeping which has created a fast and flowing race track. Drivers will reach top speeds in excess of 300kph around the streets of Valencia and will spend 62% of the lap at full throttle, the longest period at which being 12 seconds between turns 10 and 12. With an average lap speed of 200kph. Tilke’s circuit stretches to 14 metres, and only drops to 12 metres at its narrowest, so overtaking opportunities won’t be short on ground.
Circuit mapping has determined that Valencia will demand a low downforce set-up to optimise the cars through the high speed lap, while the numerous braking events will escalate brake wear. Due to its coastal location, sea breezes could also cause some balance problems and a lack of grip in the initial stages of practice will be an inevitability. Factory simulations can only achieve so much, however, so the teams and their drivers will go into this weekend having to quickly learn the track during the Friday and Saturday morning practice sessions to set themselves up for a successful qualifying session and subsequent Grand Prix on Sunday.
What is clear is that it has been designed to include all of the advantages of a street circuit while also incorporating all of the expected specifications and safety elements provided by a permanent venue.