After a three-week break F1 returns to action and hits the ground running for the European leg of the F1 calendar with the Spanish Grand Prix.
Held at the Circuit de Catalunya since 1991, the 4.655 km track provides F1 teams and drivers with a challenging track from its variety of corner types and straights. This has made the Circuit de Catalunya one of the key pre-season testing tracks as the variety the track throws up gives the teams data that can be easily transferred for other tracks. But this comes at a price for the actual Formula One Grand Prix. As the data they collect at the pre-season testing allows the teams to turn up at the Grand Prix with a set up in mind for the cars.
Over the years the track, on the outskirts of Barcelona, has been adapted for safety measures. Such as the final sector being adapted to include a chicane at the end of the lap to slow down cars entering the final corner. This chicane was implemented in 2007. This change on safety measures has meant the cars do not attack the final corner, which they would have attacked on full throttle before the chicane.
Despite the adaptions in the final sector, and with DRS, cars will still be charging into turn 1. And providing they are close enough to the car in front, they will be able to have an overtaking opportunity. Another key overtaking opportunity will come at turn 10, after the back straight which also includes a DRS zone. With turns 5 and 14 providing drivers with a possible overtaking opportunity from the heavy breaking required to negotiate the corner.
Do not fear this will cause a boring race however, for these following two reasons.
The first reason not to fear for a boring race after my key overtaking corners is because overtaking can come from any corner. Especially in the first sector where the high-speed nature of turn 3 will allow a driver with a good package underneath him to put the throttle to the ground and with a good line can overtake cars on the inside or the outside. As back in 2013 Alonso was able to pass both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton by going around the outside of the long turn three, on the opening lap.
Secondly, because there is a three-week gap between the Chinese GP and the Spanish GP, it allows the teams to focus heavily on their upgrade programmes. This could mean teams, such as Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren or Lotus will be able to provide their drivers with a car, that has a greater chance of challenging the Mercedes. But at the same time, Mercedes will not be slacking on their development plans and could easily rock up to the track with a car able to maintain their advantage or even stretch their lead to the pack.
Speaking of Mercedes’ advantage on track. This has lead them to win every one of the Grand Prix’s so far this season. With Nico Rosberg taking the season opener in Australia, before a run of dominance from his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, taking three straight wins in Malaysia, Bahrain and China. But could that run of wins for Hamilton be over come Sunday?
I say this because the British Formula One driver, and 2008 World Champion has never taken the win at the Spanish Grand Prix. Unlike each of the other World Champions on the grid in 2014 and Pastor Maldonado. But don’t rule Lewis out of the win just yet. With the dominance shown in the Mercedes thus far this season, could this year be the one for Lewis Hamilton to take the win in Catalunya? Or will his run of victories be over and how will take the chequered flag first?
We’ll have to wait till this Sunday (11th May) to find out. And in the U.K. you will be able to watch the race live on SkySportsF1 and the BBC. Times for each channel are below:
For SkySportsF1 fans you will be able to watch all the Formula One sessions live at the following times as well as live coverage of GP2 and GP3 as the Formula One feeder series’ also make their return to action at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Friday 9th May
08:45 – Practice 1 for the Spanish Grand Prix
11:00 – GP2 practice
12:45 – Practice 2 for the Spanish Grand Prix
14:50 – GP2 qualifying
17:00 – The F1 Show
Saturday 10th May
07:45 – GP3 qualifying
09:45 – Practice 3 for the Spanish Grand Prix
12:00 – Qualifying build up for the Spanish Grand Prix
13:00 – Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix
14:35 – GP2 feature race
16:15 – GP3 race 1
Sunday 11th May
08:20 – GP3 race 2
09:30 – GP2 Sprint race
11:30 – Race build up for the Spanish Grand Prix
13:00 – The Spanish Grand Prix – Race live
As for fans of Formula One coverage on the BBC, you will be able to watch all the Formula One sessions live at these times:
Friday 9th May
08:55 – Practice 1 for the Spanish Grand Prix on BBC2
13:00 – Practice 2 for the Spanish Grand Prix on BBC2
Saturday 10th May
09:55 – Practice 3 for the Spanish Grand Prix on BBC2
12:20 – Qualifying build up for the Spanish Grand Prix on BBC1
13:00 – Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix on BBC1
Sunday 11th May
12:15 – Race build up for the Spanish Grand Prix on BBC1
13:00 – The Spanish Grand Prix – Race live on BBC1