The new Valencia street circuit has received its first seal of approval from the Formula One brigade, with the four drivers present at Thursday's opening press conference all looking forward to getting out on track in free practice.
Despite finishing touches still be applied when the recent F3/GT meeting took place on the port-side layout three weeks ago, the circuit appeared ready for the European Grand Prix weekend as the F1 circus rolled into town earlier this week, and a series of track walks have given the teams and drivers an early chance to put what they have been seeing on their simulators into a more real light.
"The circuit looks good but, obviously, we need to wait until we get into the rhythm of the weekend to understand what kind, or what type, of circuit it is, as we don't know much about it," Toyota veteran Jarno Trulli admitted, "But it looks pretty good, very well organised - and, obviously, the atmosphere seems great because we are in Spain and, for sure, we will have a lot of Spanish supporters!"
Trulli has been a key campaigner for safety in Formula One over the years, but revealed that, in his opinion, the circuit was up to standard in that department. There had been questions raised about the extent of some of the run-off areas, but all four drivers appeared satisfied that sufficient provision had been made.
"I did have a look and it's difficult to comment at the moment because we don't know exactly the speed in certain corners, but I must say it's a safe circuit," Trulli continued, "So far, I can see that they have done a pretty good job, but it's probably still a bit too early to judge."
Fellow veteran Rubens Barrichello shied away from the recent comparisons with Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, reckoning that the new venue was closer to Australia's Albert Park, but pointed to one possible area of concern.
"It's very similar to Melbourne in a way, because you have limited space on a road circuit," the Brazilian claimed, "I think it's nicely done. Obviously, if you have problems in turns nine and ten at the bridge – if a car parked there, I think you would have to stop the race because it's not even a safety car issue. You would have to take the car away and bring trucks onto the bridge.
"It might be a bit of an issue but I think, so far, as Jarno said, we have to really understand what the speed of the cars [will be]. The only corner that we were concerned about, as a team, was turn one, because you don't have a lot of run-off in that turn. But, apart from that, it looks okay to me."
Title contender Felipe Massa shared the views of his peers, but agreed that it would take the opening practice session to get fully acquainted with the track, and any possible areas of concern.