Lots of useful news ahead of the Valencia Grand Prix

Posted on June 25, 2010


Formula One has had a busy week, which is good news ahead of what is likely to be a dull weekend of racing.

Valencia has never produced a decent race and there’s little to suggest it will this weekend. It’s presumably a decent enough cash cow for Bernie but that’s not a good reason to keep coming here.

Fortunately, a new tyre supplier has finally been selected and there are two big rule changes announced for 2011. On top of that, several teams have brought big upgrade packages.

It all means there’s plenty to discuss. I hope the idea of these moveable rear wings is gone, or at least the rule heavily modified, as fast as it has appeared. It looks and feels artificial for a reason: it’s a carbon copy from Mario Kart.

It’s a bad idea like the medal system was a bad idea. It undermines the very nature of Formula One. The drivers are right on this and they should be listened too.

Bringing back the 107% rule is a good change however. I worry it will make it more difficult for the new teams to survive financially if they regularly miss the cut and lose vital exposure on race day but it will give them huge incentive to improve. At the end of the day, if they can’t be within this margin – James Allen reckons it was about six seconds in Barcelona – they don’t deserve to be there anyway.

Pirelli also seems a good move overall. The new firm must though learn the lesson of Canada and be brave enough to bring fragile tyres whenever it is safe to do so.

I’m yet to see enough of practice to decide who’s got the best upgrades but the Mercedes has clearly got a decent step and I’m told Renault have a great package. It will be fascinating to see who is catching up.

For pre-qualifying predictions, I’m going to be dull and pick Vettel. This isn’t the kind of circuit the Red Bull is completely optimised for but the car remains the best all rounder. Moreover Vettel will be hungry for a result after a tough few weeks.

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