Monday, August 17, 2009

A Better European Grand Prix

This week we'll see the start of the European Grand Prix in Valencia, Spain - the first race back after the serious accident that kept Ferrari's Felipe Massa out of the Hungary GP only to be replaced by Ferrari test driver Badoer for the upcoming race.

This year we're seeing the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone host the prestigious European Grand Prix at the very boring Valencia Urban circuit...again. For those that don't know, the Urban circuit in Valencia is essentially a track that is made up of a large Mediterranean shipyard with a full circuit carved around it. It's a very dull track on which to hold a race as it comes with a very gray and blue, dull backdrop to the very fast, vivid cars. Speaking of the cars, as this circuit is so narrow, don't expect much passing around the angular 3.367 mile track. Last year, this was anticipated(by Ecclestone) to be one of the most interesting and fast circuits, excluding the Singapore GP, of the tracks added to the season last year and most critics and fans felt that wasn't the case.

Rewind to 24 years earlier to 1985 European Grand Prix at the storied Brands Hatch circuit in the United Kingdom. If you look at some of the names, they've not changed - we still see a Rosberg, a Piquet and McLaren and Ferrari and BMW-engined car on the grid. However, the race played out in a far more dramatic and interesting scene than the 2009 European Grand Prix will. In 1985, we see that Niki Lauda has just won his last world championship the year before, a young Ayrton Senna is cutting his teeth at Lotus, and Nigel Mansell manages to win his first Grand Prix victory in his new Williams-Honda after 72 starts and a career already spanning nearly 5 years. Did we mention it was full-on into the Turbo Era of Formula One? Quite the interesting time for a sport and ironically, we find the current state of F1 in such a state of flux with regulations.

Check out the video below of an enthusiastic Murray Walker and mellow James Hunt commenting on the 1985 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

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