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GP Week : Issue 25
5 Minutes with ... Carlos Moreno So Bernie Ecclestone turns round and says he wants a street track in Valencia, in two years’ time. Where would you start?WILL BUXTON asked Carlos Moreno, General Manager of Valmor Sports, exactly that GPWEEK: It must be a great feeling to finally see the Grand Prix in Valencia. CARLOS MORENO: Yes. To have the F1 Grand Prix here in Valencia is amazing for the city and for sure for the whole country. To have two Grands Prix is something very important for Spain, and we are very proud of it. We have the opportunity to show what we have here in Valencia, and to show that we have the capability to create something which has been quite complicated. I think the result is fantastic and the citizens of Valencia, the F1 teams and the media have been happy. This year we have been at 95% of our capability and next year will be even better. How long ago was the idea for a street track first brought up? It was less than two years ago. Mr Ecclestone came to the permanent circuit and the President of the local government, Francisco Camps, showed him the city and Mr Ecclestone said he preferred the city. So the President said, ‘OK, we’ll try,’and two years later here we are. So how do you start from zero to build a street circuit? The first task was to find the right design for the track. Both Mr Ecclestone and Mr Camps wanted it to be around the marina, so first we had to decide what to change. We created a new bridge to have the track crossing the channel and originally the idea was to go past the Ciudad [de las Artes y las Ciencias] (Valencia’s Centre for Arts and Science), but in the end we decided that this shape, like a duck, was the best. We had to adapt much of the circuit because it was filled with old warehouses, railway stations, we had to design a totally new area, but on the other hand the local government did not want us to disturb the people who live in the area. So it’s been very difficult. We have had to renew the ‘tinglados’where the team garages are now, and we have made good use of the America’s Cup port. 20 The America’s Cup buildings belong to them, so for these days we have reached an agreement where these buildings are shut. We had to find a solution to work with America’s Cup Management, and they tried to help us a lot. There has been five months of work on the normal roads, but for most of the circuit, one year ago it did not exist. The duck’s head is completely new. We had to be careful with some old buildings here. We have demolished the back but kept their façade, and in the future this land will be developed into a neighbourhood. The main aim for the surroundings of the track is to turn it from being an industrial area into a commercial one. So how many races will you hold a year? Just Formula 1. The deal is to have just one race a year so we don’t disturb the city. We ran an F3 race because we knew if we didn’t run a race before F1 arrived we would suffer. We had this race but it was general training for the marshals and all the people. The marshals and race direction comes from the permanent circuit, Ricardo Tormo, and without them it would be impossible to do this race. What lessons have you learned this weekend? The aim was to have a wonderful circuit for teams and drivers and I think that when you watch it on the TV, it is very, very nice. We have to think about the people who come as spectators. At the end, this business must be done for them. We have to try to improve day by day so that at the next Grand Prix the access, the signage, the grandstands and everything will be for them. I think that for professionals we have done a very good job. But we have to improve year by year for them, but especially for the fans. Finally, how proud are you to see the first F1 race on your track? When we had the F3 race, and the Safety Car went out and I heard the engine, I had goosebumps. It was a fantastic feeling. Now, during this weekend, with Mr Ecclestone and all the Formula 1 drivers, this is something for us as a team to be very proud, and also for us as a city and a country. I think in the future this will become not only one of the most beautiful circuits in the world, but one of the best, too.