The inaugural Formula 1 meeting to be held around the harbourside streets of Valencia may be called the European Grand Prix for one year only – that is the hint from Bernie Ecclestone ahead of the opening race at the end of this month.
The first running of the race will be held on 24 August, marking the twelfth round of the 2008 world championship schedule. What's more, it represents the first time Spain has had two grands prix on the calendar since Jerez last hosted the European Grand Prix eleven years ago.
The circuit and its facilities have already received a positive thumbs up from GP2 stars Bruno Senna, Mike Conway and Adrian Valles [see separate story – click here
] – and have similarly made a strong impression in higher quarters still, following F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone's recent visit to see how preparations are coming along.
Complications may arise in 2009, however, when the Nürburgring returns to the calendar. The race around the Eifel Mountains circuit has traditionally been called the European Grand Prix in recent years – it cannot be called the German Grand Prix due to a rival German sanctioning body's ownership of that title for Hockenheim – meaning either the Nürburgring or Valencia will have to undergo a name change next year,
“It should have been the Gran Premio Mundial (World Grand Prix),” Ecclestone is quoted as having told Spanish newspapers on the subject of Valencia. “This is not only the best street circuit in the world; it is one of the best circuits in the world.”