Euro GP: view from the ground

The Valencia race was as boring to watch from trackside as Bill Thomas assures me it was from his armchair. I was there (at the track, not Bill’s armchair) and after a couple of laps it was apparent that this was not going to be a classic event.

However, the atmosphere in the marina was awesome. Well, I say ‘marina’ but what I really mean is ‘grubby docks’. On raceday, most walked to the track through Valencia itself, which meant a great wave of colourfully attired fans converging on the circuit.

To be part of this noisy, exuberant crowd was an unforgettable experience, and to stop at a street corner bar for a spot of people watching, before heading to our seats, equally unforgettable.

There were problems, of course. The whole area stank of sewage and when I got to the grandstand I was told row 20 – the seating position on my ticket – did not exist. The rows went up to 18. The cockup was sorted, but not before I had missed the first half of quali. Honda sorted me out a ticket, but if I had paid the €240 ticket price I would’ve subtly murdered someone for the error until they were dead.

The vibe in the grandstand was superb. The fans booed Hamilton but were good-humoured when I cheered him, and the public address system blared out pop and rock between the excitable commentary. Alonso’s early retirement deflated the crowd considerably; perhaps the organisers should have sent him out in the safety car to finish the race.

So, the European Grand Prix at Valencia has everything going for it… bar a few organisational cock-ups. Oh and that other thing. What is it again? Oh yeah: the racing.

To lambast the track, as even the Spanish press have, is missing the point. The problem is with F1 and it’s aero-biased grip characteristics and grooved tyres.

Next year we have slick tyres (hopefully) and a reduction in aero, which means the 2009 European Grand Prix at Valencia shouldn’t be the snoozathon we saw at the weekend.

Probably.

Comments are now closed

Has any noticed how much like ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ Top Gear is?

Jeremy Clarkson is the tall one, with a view on everything – like Foggy, or maybe in this case Cloggy.
James May is the nervous one who gets picked on by the other two – Clegg or maybe we can call him Megg.
Richard Hammond is the scruffy, fisty little one – Compo or maybe Hampo

In every episode of ‘Last of the Top Gear’ all these three do ridiculous things with vehicles – often ending up with Hampo in an accident after rolling down a hill too fast.

It will be on our screens forever with only the cars changing over time. Though when ‘Cloggy’ goes off on one of his rants it seems more like ‘ Top Whine’.

Paul Wareing

Report this comment

What? :S

Report this comment

no crashes damn

Report this comment

A poor race alright. Maybe the track is another Monaco but not the venue! Perhaps Valencia should consider putting up some lights & running the race at night instead??

Report this comment

at least next year when the BBC takes coverage, they’ll be no adverts to spoil the action. Valencia was quite boring, tbh no real accidents could of occured for one main reason- you need straight line speed, and the teams with that are at the front fighting for the championship- they’re not going to risk 8 valuable points for 2 more, the guys at the back cannot overtake at all!!!

Report this comment

@ Charlie – the BBC will also show it in HD presumably?

Report this comment

Haven’t heard about hd transmission yet but, more importantly will the current ITV team be recruited over to the BBC? Not sure if I could watch it otherwise.But then we said the same thing when Murray retired!!
Hey hold on, what am I thinking the BBC already have a certain trio who could take it on – JC on the commentary with RH & JM in the pitlane gathering vital info throughout the race. Ok,James might get a bit carried away in the detail & the Hamster might get a bit annoyed but JC would hold it all together wouldn’t he?!!!

Report this comment

Fascarri – you couldn’t watch the coverage *unless* the ITV team are recruited over to BBC?! Are you mental? Or did you just get it backwards by mistake? Martin Brundle, yes – would be rubbish without him. Steve Ryder is adequately non-annoying. But the rest of them? Seriously?! It’s finally time to stop the cock once and for all – If James Allen is employed by the BBC I will be demanding an immedate refund of my license fee. And an apology. And an explanation.

Report this comment

James Allen should NOT be taken on by the bbc. Steve Rider is not too bad, niether is Ted Kravitz or Martin Brundle, but the other can go. Actually Louise Goodman is alright as well. I say get JC to commentate, that would be interesting.

Report this comment

James Allen is a dick.

Report this comment

Since DC’s out next year maybe the BBC could entice him to take a commentator job there instead of consulting for Red Bull <–which we all know isn’t going to be a contender anytime this decade

Report this comment

Boring it may have been but it still beats going to mother-in-law’s. I agree Nick, F1 is the problem although the circuit is too fast. No overtaking opportunities other than braking zones and we all know how difficult that can be with these cars. Just ask DC.

Report this comment

JAMES ALLEN FTW – shud be commentator next year with brundle. he just knows so much and has a wealthy amount on everything f1. the commentary would be far less interesting without him!

The circuit is rubbish and i dont think it’ll be much better next year :( they should scrap the GP and insure that there is definitely a brit GP.

Report this comment

All we want is to see is a head to head battle but F1 rarely has one really close, at this point watching the WRC is much better.

Report this comment

Ok as far as I know,
No HD, pictures come from Bernie TV, and they don’t do HD (they only went 16:9 2 years ago!!)
Steve Rider is an ITV contract, the rest I think are with the sub con, so some may make it across.

And my tuppence, take Brundle, Goodman, and Kravitz; dump the rest (I like Mark Blundel, but the “what” instead of “that” grows wearing…..)

Report this comment

Was indeed a boring race, very disappointing.

I wouldn’t take any of the ITV team over, but would consider Brundell and Blundell

Report this comment

Next year should be better. Less aerodynamic parts = cars following each other more closely. Uninterrupted TV coverage = On the occassion someone does manage a brilliant overtaking manouver you see it as it happens, not in the bloody replays you usually get with ITV.

Also, its not the organizers fault the track was crap. It’s that idiot who has the monopoly on all F1 tracks called Hermann Tilke. He’s changed Hockenheim from the massive challenge that it gave the cars to a stupidly narrow and boring shortened version, removed some of the barriers at Monaco so its safer (primarily on the run off area on the inside of turn one, no more crashes there anymore), he got rid of the bus stop at Spa (which I think would be great as the last race of the year to be honest as there’s been some cracking races there). He also designed this track which is rubbish for F1 cars (GP2 had a good crack but its still wasn’t all that good). This is an architect who started off well with Malaysia, Bahrain and Turkey but with every new track or track modification gets more and more boring. He seems to think the only time cars can overtake is at the end of a long straight at a very tight corner, but frankly, I’d rather the tracks were challenging, lots of high speed corners where its incredibly easy to make a mistake.

Maybe next year with the new regulations this idiots tracks will be a bit better, somehow, I don’t think so. They’ve gotten rid of all the aero parts, brougth back slick tyres, now its time to get a new track designer ! Or at least have more than one and make them compete with their designs ffs.

Report this comment

James Allen told us all (with some authority) that when Lewis braked into the chicane it created 5G of force that pinned his body & head back into the seat!

I wonder what other laws of physics are in James’s World!

Report this comment

I was on holiday and missed the race live – videoed the coverage… sat down on Wednesday after avoiding all the news broadcasts, internet and papers with much anticipation… what a disappointment from a brand new track. On screen the walls looked grey and uninviting, the cars seemed to whip round the corners without any drama, with few close up shots. When the entertainment comes from Ferrari’s own doing, namely mishaps, one of which we missed due to those adverts, it is a sad sign. Especially as Hamiliton bleated on about being ill and having a sore neck (try coming to work with me then you spoilt precious premadonna) and settled for second because they are focused on the long game (not that the car was too slow then?).

James Allen I cannot stand, Steve Ryder is too smooth and too far up Hamiltons backside, there are other drivers and teams…and what about that hair. I hate all of the ITV website links and competitions, the repeated asking of the same questions to so called ‘experts’ who get it spectacularlt wrong at times; adverts for other events in my F1 airtime; chatting about nothing to Mark Blundell who has no understanding of English. Dont mind Louise or (Lenny) Kravitz though. I always video GP’s now just to keep continuity with racing action by forwarding adverts, James Allens commentary of the qualifying, and the mark Blundell/Steve Ryder waffle.

Report this comment

Race was a borefest. James Allen aint as bad as people make out. The commentary box would be dull without Allen or Brundle. James Allen and Martin Brundle should go to BBC coverage next year.

Report this comment

The ITV team are fine, except for James Allen who talks like Andy out of little britain. Also, good as Clarkson may be on top gear, i think he would hate commentating. Just please, please don’t use the touring car commentators, bbc men.

Report this comment