Formula One returns home to Europe for this next leg of the 2014 calendar. Starting with Fernando Alonso’s home track, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Ferrari come to Barcelona with a lot to prove after their more than impressive showing in China. However, many of the teams will be bringing new parts to this weekend’s race as they all start their aggressive upgrade programs during the European races.
McLaren have already spoken about their intention to bring several upgrades in the next few races, in hopes to amend the balance in performance on their car, alleviating the troubling tyre wear that they have been struggling with in the opening events this year. Where as Mercedes need to insure they keep ahead of the pack by making improvements to an already near perfect package.
Williams come to Spain with a fire in their belly too having had solid yet disappointing races so far, where they believe they should be making podium appearances and not contending with middling in the points.
Time will tell if the other teams can match Mercedes balance and speed but Catalunya has a reputation for unsettling even the most confident of drivers just when they least expect it.
Catalunya is a familiar track to F1 teams as, apart from having raced in Barcelona since 1991, it has become a mainstay in the practice schedule for many years. However Barcelona’s mix of high and low-speed corners, plus its abrasive and rather bumpy track surface, makes for a physically and mechanically taxing race. Tyre wear is particularly high and the varying winds that cut across the circuit mean an optimum set-up can be hard to find.
Though we can expect Mercedes to have an edge on the long straight it is likely we will see more of a challenge for the lead than in the previous two races. Who will provide that challenge is yet unclear though given Ferrari and Alonso’s pace in the last race in China, I would predict red to be on the podium again.
Race Date:11 May 2014
Circuit Name:Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
First Grand Prix:1991
Number of Laps:66
Circuit Length:4.655 km
Race Distance:307.104 km
Lap Record:1:21.670 – K Raikkonen (2008)
Roger Baillie (@Rojn8r)