Mark Webber Drives the Valencia Street Circuit

How things change oh so quickly. After Monaco, the Red Bull squad – headed by Mark Webber – were on a roll. At the time, the Australian had taken two consecutive victories at Barcelona and in Monte Carlo, while young teammate Sebastian Vettel had claimed one victory and two podiums, so that following on from the race in the famed principality, Webber and Vettel headed the title hunt.
Two races on and the face of the Championship has altered dramatically. Two consecutive 1-2 finishes for McLaren, as well as a nightmare race in for the Red Bull’s in Istanbul and an anonymous one in Montreal means that Webber has fallen behind Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button on the points leaderboard, while Vettel has dropped down to 5th position and as the midway point of the season approaches, the Red Bull duo need a good result at Valencia if they want to reassert themselves at the top. 

The European Grand Prix in its modern format has existed since 1983, although this will be only the third time that the city of Valencia has hosted a Formula 1 World Championship event; however unlike Montreal, when one thinks of Valencia, rarely does good racing come to mind. Both of the previous two races were particularly dull affairs won by Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello respectively, but they were bland events that saw drivers unwilling to venture off line due to the excessively dusty nature of the venue.  Whoever thought 25 corners in a little over three miles would make for an entertaining circuit, is obviously quite mad.

The result is a long procession with little overtaking and next-to-no action and with such large run off areas (even for a street circuit) mistakes generally go unpunished, which is a shame – one of the great draws of a street event is the realisation that mistakes are punished and punished hard. Add to that, the idea that the race could have ever potentially been a “Spanish Monaco” is laughable; with its vacant concrete barriers and dusty strewn caricature coughing up spews of chalky particles , on screen the track looks like the sore edges of a car park in an empty industrial estate.

But what of Valencia itself..? Well, I am led to believe it’s a very nice city…

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