There a times when races sound like a good idea at the time, and with a promise of money, has Bernie Ecclestone ever turned down money? I know, that sounds like a silly question.
However, the street circuit around the port of Valencia sounded like a great idea at the time. At the time the Valencian Government were spending money left right and centre, in fact there were many projects around Spain which commanded the same. You only have to look at the number of ‘Ghost Airports’ in the country to see the amount of investment which has been put in, only for them to decommissioned during the downturn.
The Valencia street circuit was no different, born out of the extravagancies of the past. With a deal signed in 2007, the first race was held in 2008 and was won by Felipe Massa – then driving for Ferrari. Part street circuit, and part custom designed circuit on wasteland on the outskirts of the port, the track wasn’t a favourite of the drivers sighting a lack of overtaking opportunities, and the fans complaining of boring races.
It lasted until 2012, when funding evaporated and a deal to share the Spanish Grand Prix title with Barcelona failed.
The circuit remains though and many elements are plain for everyone to see, only if you look hard enough.
The pit complex and starting grid are unchanged, even the starting grid marks are still on the road as well as the starting line, considering this is busy road, after four years it is quite amazing they are still there.
Adjacent to this grid of course is the famous pit complex, which still stand today, locked up – even with the pit markings outside the garages:
The first half of the circuit is easy to walk around, from the start straight through to the swinging bridge, one of the iconic features of the circuit – although at the time of my visit you couldn’t walk across it. Leading from the short straight, up to the second corner chicane onto the quay front:
The other part of the near 3.5 mile circuit isn’t available by the public though, the extension designed by Formula One track guru Hermann Tilke closed off for the general public.
Although never liked, its still there if you want to have a visit…