The America's Cup basin is to become an F1 race track from next year. Matthew Sheahan reports

 Formula One is coming to Valencia for the next five years. The urban circuit will run around the Darsena Harbour, Port America’s Cup, right alongside the bases before crossing the harbour entrance with a new bridge before heading back into town.

The first grand prix will start in October 2008 and will be run every year for the next seven years, subject to the Partido Popular holding power in local elections this month. The event is said to have cost Valencia 26 million Euros per year to run.

Bringing the world’s most prestigious motor racing event together with that of grand prix sailing is more than simply a coincidence, both McLaren and BMW Sauber launched their new cars here earlier this year. Even more interesting is the talk that the owner of some of the waste ground just outside the port that will be used for part of the circuit happens to be owned by Ernesto Bertaterlli.

But perhaps most significant is the hint that should Alinghi keep the Cup, the next event looks more and more likely to be held right here. With F1 on your doorstep, why would you want to move anywhere else?

Meanwhile, back in the Cup, the dust has settled, the pairings sorted and seven of the 11 teams are now starting to pack up their bases. The change in gear from round robin racing, where every team sails every other team for two points per win, to that of the semi finals is a big shift in focus.

With the Kiwis having chosen the Spanish as their partners, BMW Oracle Racing are forced to slog it out against Luna Rossa in order to make the finals.

Some see the Kiwi decision as an obvious one, picking the weaker opponent and increasing their odds of making the finals. Others are surprised at the decision – if you’re focussed on the Cup proper, surely you’re confident that you can dispatch your strongest opponent quickly.

Or perhaps it’s simply down to getting BMW Oracle to burn up more sails and more effort in a tougher slog against Luna Rossa while the Kiwis cruise to a victory. PJ Montgomery and Matthew Sheahan consider the options 


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