The Valencia Formula One Grand Prix – or European Grand Prix as it is more correctly known – was removed from the race calendar before the beginning of the 2013 season. With so many nations competing to host one of motorsport’s premier events together with the financial crisis that has hit Spain it was no longer viable for the country to host a second grand prix. The Spanish Formula One Grand Prix continues to take place at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona in May and from 2014 it is likely that the event will be hosted in Valencia with a long term agreement to alternate between the two venues annually.
History of the European Grand Prix
The European Grand Prix is a special race in the Formula 1 championship series. Early on in the history of international auto racing, the Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR), which is now known as the FIA (La Federation Internationale de l’Automobile), granted different grand prix the honorary title of the European Grand Prix each year.
Initially it wasn’t a separate race but was a title given to one of the existing grand prix. The first grand prix to receive the honour of staging the European Grand Prix was the Italian Grand Prix in 1923 followed by France a year later. This lasted until 1930 with the last title given to Belgium. The practice was discontinued with the onset of the two world wars.
When the European Grand Prix was revived in 1983 it was an independent race which replaced the New York race at the last minute. It was held at the Brands Hatch circuit in England and was won by Nelson Piquet. Such was the popularity of the European Grand Prix that fans lobbied for the event to continue which it did for just two more years before it was replaced with the Hungarian Grand Prix in 1986.
In 1993 the European Grand Prix was revived again with a view to it replacing cancelled grand prix. It was hosted by Spain, England and Germany. From 1999 the race was held annually at the Nürburgring in Germany until 2008 when Valencia in Spain became the new home of the race.
Valencia Street Circuit
The race in Valencia resembles the Monaco Grand Prix as the track runs through the streets of the city around the beautifully redeveloped port area. The tight 5.47km track was designed by Hermann Tilke and consists of a total of 25 turns making it one of the more challenging circuits on the grand prix calendar. During the planning stage Grand Prix supremo Bernie Ecclestone insisted that the race be held within the city rather than at Ricardo Tormo which is a nearby track in Cheste. This particular venue hosts a round of the world championship MotoGP and is also a Formula One testing spot.
Whether the European Grand Prix returns to Valencia remains to be seen. The venue is available on a standby basis should any of the new venues fail to get their acts together. Otherwise it will most likely be 2014 before the streets of Valencia see motor racing when the Spanish Grand Prix (probably) comes to town.
Former Winners of the Valencia Grand Prix:
2012 Fernando Alonso
2011 Sebastian Vettel
2010 Sebastian Vettel
2009 Rubens Barrichello
2008 Felipe Massa