Your View: Who will make it 8 from 8?

We’ve had seven different winners in seven races in 2012 so far. The big question on many Formula One fan’s minds is, who could be the eighth different winner in as many races? Valencia is a street circuit but it differs in character than the last three street circuits we’ve raced thus far.

The Challenge

The last three circuits on the calendar have been street tracks, but all have been very different in characteristics. Monaco is tight and twisty with a low average speed; Montreal has a combination of long straights and tight hairpins, while Valencia has a high average speed of around 200kph. The track is also relatively smooth in comparison to Monaco and Canada with far fewer bumps.

The average speed is increased by the long straights linking the corners, but balanced out by the high number of corners. In fact Valencia has the highest number of corners of any circuit on the calendar, 25. Of these, 10 are taken in first, second and third gear and relatively low speed, meaning the engine has to deliver good top end power without compromising on torque response into the corners.

The start-stop nature of the track and short bursts of acceleration means fuel consumption is one of the highest of the season. As a result, the starting fuel load will be one of the heaviest of the year.

Unlike most other tracks on the calendar, the first corner after the start-finish straight only curves slightly to the right rather than turns significantly. This allows drivers to build up to just under 300kph before turn 2. Drivers equipped with KERS are thus almost certain to use it to defend against or attempt to pass their rivals off the start. However, drivers may tactically choose to save their KERS usage for later in the lap, which can prove advantageous if the driver in front has already used their 400kJ allocation and is unable to respond in kind, particularly as DRS is only permitted from lap 3.

Sector two is the longest sector of the circuit in terms of time, but most of it is taken up by the 970m straight that runs between turn 10 and turn 12.

Sector three comprises two of the slowest corners on the circuit (turn 17 and 25) but also flows nicely. From turn 17 drivers build speed over the rest of the sector, maintaining around 280kph through the open corners. The final turn, turn 25, however stops this flow as drivers brake down from around 295kph to just 65kph to round the hairpin. These corners allow KERS to be fully recharged for use from the last corner to the start-finish straight and into the first corner.

The Guess

Who will it be? Who do you think could pull off a win in Valencia making it 8 from 8?

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