How much will teams be affected by the changes made in the technical regulation in full Formula 1 season? Find out from the Grand Prix of Europe 2011 (Valencia, Spain) preview.
The street circuit in Valencia is considered one of the most boring from the competition schedule, but this year the Grand Prix of Europe tend to attract more attention than usual.
The main reason is related to the last-minute changes to technical regulation, stipulating that teams starting with this stage will not be able to change engine settings between qualifications and race. Meanwhile, pilots hope that use of the DRS will help them to make more overruns.
In this context, the rivalry between McLaren and Red Bull Racing tends to reach a new level, while Ferrari sits in wait to take advantage of any favorable situation.
Which team will be the most disadvantaged by the new regulation?
Given that Red Bull Racing is the only team that started from pole position this season, it is anticipated that the Austrians will be most affected by the ban to change engine settings between qualification and race, considering that they use some specific settings.
However, Red Bull insists that all teams will be affected and that its race car RB7 performance is due to a number of factors, not a single component. Other teams potentially negatively affected will be McLaren and Renault, while Ferrari may have the most to gain from this chapter.
Valencia Street Circuit – Valencia, Spain
Valencia Street Circuit is made on the streets of the port with the same name from the Mediterranean Sea and is characterized by many slow corners. Narrow width of the track plays a significant role in dramatically reducing the chances of overtaking, but the Drag Reduction System (DRS) can help remedy the situation.
As in Canada, DRS may be activated in two distinct areas: 285 meters after the exit of turn 10 and 35 meters after the exit of turn 14, but there will be a single zone of detection set at 130 meters before the entry into turn 8.
Video RBR simulator – Here are the main characteristics of the Valencia Street Circuit:
Technical characteristics of the Valencia Street Circuit (Valencia, Spain):
Tour Length – 5.419 km (3.367 miles)
Number of laps – 57
Total distance – 308.883 km (191.930 miles)
Maximum Speed – 321,4 km/h (199.709 mph) by Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 2010
Average Speed – 205 km/h
Lap record – 1:38:683 (197.688 kph) by Timo Glock, 2009
Fastest Lap – 1:37:587 (199.908 kph) by Sebastian Vettel, 2010
Full throttle – 69%
Power loss – 6%
Tyre energy (1-3): 3
Brake energy (1-3): 1
Downforce level – Medium
Gear changes per lap – 64
Fuel use per lap – 2.9kg
Strategies for Pirelli tires
In European Grand Prix, the pilots will have the opportunity to inaugurate the medium tires, which have been used so far this season, but their composition has been modified by Pirelli to provide better resistance. The other option is represented by soft tires, which pilots know very well. Pirelli’s intention for competing teams is that strategies to target at most two pit stops, because more are confusing the fans.
Results in the last five years:
Season / Winner
2010 Sebastian Vettel (RBR)
2009 Rubens Barrichelo (Brawn-Mercedes)
2008 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
2007 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2006 Michael Schumacher (Ferrari)