Spanish Grand Prix Preview

Preview the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, as Formula One returns to its European homeland.

Barcelona, the home of the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991 plays host to the next round of the 2016 Formula One season. But as F1 kicks off the European leg, can someone other than Rosberg claim victory?

Formula One racing in Spain began in 1951 at Pedralbes, with the race off & on the calendar for many years before the Grand Prix moved location. Since 1991 however, the Spanish Grand Prix has found its home at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The 4.655km circuit utilises 16 corners since its redesign to include a chicane at the end of the lap, in order to reduce the speed drivers took through the final bend. The remainder of the track though remains challenging with fast and slow corners aplenty.

Particularly the long and fast turn three as sector one winds to a close. Then through the second sector, the elevation level drops and rises before ending with the first of the two DRS zones.

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya track guide

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya not only plays host to the Spanish Grand Prix, but also Formula One’s pre-season testing. The added knowledge of the track and how the cars perform here allows teams to bring upgrade packages to the race with a better understanding of what gains they will see. Further testing of these parts also follow, with two in-season test days following the Grand Prix.

The knowledge of the track will also come to the aid of Max Verstappen as he makes the step up from Toro Rosso to Red Bull, at the expense of Daniil Kvyat. Daniil on the other hand will be finding himself back with the Toro Rosso crew, with whom he began his F1 career.

Max Verstappen - Victor Belisle

The Spanish Grand Prix comes on the back of another Nico Rosberg win, with his last coming in Russia. The race on the Black Sea resort saw Nico extend his championship lead and his winning streak to seven. But things could be trickier for the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix winner.

As for the last nine outings in Spain, nine different men have stood on the top step of the podium. Only a few realistically have a chance of continuing this theme, or rolling it on in the case of Massa. For Felipe was the last man to step onto the top step of the podium and not yet return there following his victory in 2007.

Kimi Raikkonen then followed in Massa’s footsteps in 2008 for victory, Jenson Button claimed P1 in 2009, Mark Webber in 2010, Vettel in ’11, Pastor Maldonado for Williams in 2012, home favourite Fernando Alonso in 2013, Lewis Hamilton in 2014, and Nico Rosberg from pole in 2015.

Before that Fernando Alonso wowed his adoring fans with the win in 2006. But the most remarkable victory over that period was Pastor Maldonado for Williams in 2012 as he claimed their most recent win to date at the expense of Alonso.

Maldonado (Williams) at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix - Credit E.R.R

Maldonado (Williams) at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix – Credit E.R.R

For the win this year, Williams’ two drivers – Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas – may find it hard to take the win, as Maldonado achieved four years ago. But when Pastor soared to victory, he was an unlikely victor himself. Should Bottas take the win on Sunday too, he can make it 10 winners at the Spanish Grand Prix in as many races.

Red Bull’s racers – Daniel Ricciardo and now Max Verstappen – also have the same prospect as Bottas on their hands. However the outstanding Silver Arrows should be set to end the streak the Spanish Grand Prix has seen.

Mercedes have come to 2016 with a car unmatchable on pace by their closest rival Ferrari. Although reliability in Lewis’ camp has left the three-time World Champion chasing Rosberg with a mountain to climb.

An photo Nico Rosberg shared via Twitter of himself during the 2016 AusGP

Nico Rosberg during the 2016 AusGP via @nico_rosberg

The return of Formula One to Europe marks the return of GP2 and GP3 as F1’s support series’ kick off their 2016 seasons.

Europe’s return also marks the return of live Formula One on terrestrial TV in the UK with Channel Four broadcasting the race live alongside Sky Sports. Coverage begins with Sky’s F1 Report on Wednesday evening, all the way through to paddock live following the race.

Wednesday May 11
20:30 – F1 Report: Spanish GP Preview

Thursday May 12
14:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference – Live
20:45 – Paddock Uncut

Friday May 13
08:45 – Spanish GP Practice One – Live
08:55 – Spanish GP Practice One – Live (Channel 4)
08:55 – Spanish GP Practice One – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
11:00 – GP2 Practice – Live
12:45 – Spanish GP Practice Two – Live
12:55 – Spanish GP Practice Two – Live (Channel 4)
14:50 – GP2 Qualifying – Live
15:30 – Team Principals’ Press Conference – Live
20:00 – The F1 Show – Live

Saturday May 14
08:45 – GP3 Qualifying – Live
09:45 – Spanish GP Practice Three – Live
09:55 – Spanish GP Practice Three – Live (Channel 4)
09:55 – Spanish GP Practice Three – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
12:00 – Spanish GP Qualifying – Build up
12:00 – Spanish GP Qualifying – Build up (Channel 4)
12:55 – Spanish GP Qualifying  – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra)
13:00 – Spanish GP Qualifying – Live (Sky/C4)
14:35 – GP2 Feature Race – Live
16:15 – GP3 Race One – Live
18:40 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday May 15
08:20 – GP3 Race Two – Live
09:30 – GP2 Sprint Race – Live
11:30 – The 2016 Spanish GP – Track Parade – Live
12:00 – The 2016 Spanish GP – Pit Lane – Live
12:00 – The 2016 Spanish GP – Build up (Channel 4)
13:00 – The 2016 Spanish GP – Race – Live (Sky/C4/BBC Radio 5)
15:30 – The 2016 Spanish GP – Paddock Live
18:00 – Spanish GP highlights
19:00 – Ted’s Notebook
23:00 to 00:10 – Highlights (Channel 4)

Times stated above are for Sky Sports F1 unless stated