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Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Formula 1 circuit

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Credit: Mercedes
Vital statistics for Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
CircuitCircuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Race debut1991
Results for the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix
Pole positionLewis Hamilton
Race winnerLewis Hamilton
Fastest lapLewis Hamilton

The racing in Barcelona can leave a lot to be desired, as the teams have an enormous amount of data gathered from the Catalunya circuit over the years. Hundreds of testing miles have been completed around the twists and turns, so the challenge has been drastically reduced. The track itself featured a hugely long start/finish straight, with a long run off the line to the first corner. The fast, sweeping corners make it a quick lap, too.

F1 history

The Spanish Grand Prix heralds the start of the European leg of the F1 season, with teams returning to the Barcelona track that they know so well. Miles and miles of testing have been completed at the Circuit de Catalunya, which means both teams and tyre suppliers have a lot of data to work with, particularly with regards to pre-season testing.

Where the races have occasionally been dull, given the familiarity throughout the field, this year’s Grand Prix may have something more to it. Teams will bring their full motorhomes to the paddock, and with close proximity to most of the factories, the Spanish race will see big upgrade packages and refreshed cars on track. Driver mistakes are still unlikely, although rookie racers may not have spent as much time at the Barcelona circuit as their colleagues.

The track takes up a small amount of surface area, as it is long and narrow. The lap starts on the home straight, with drivers braking heavily into the first corner, a tricky right-left chicane. Elevation changes feature around the circuit, particularly uphill into the third corner. The second sector continues to be heavy on braking, drivers can struggle with locking up through the tight turns. The hairpin leading out of the back straight guides drivers round the final few turns before the lap is complete.

Although braking can be difficult, Barcelona is more about aerodynamic efficiency and getting the best top speed for the longer straights. With the tweaks in aerodynamic design present in the 2014 class of car, there could be yet more challenges awaiting our drivers at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Watching on from the sidelines, Spain’s passionate fans flood the grandstands. It’s a change of atmosphere compared to the preceding couple of events, where visitor numbers can be reduced.

The crowds turn out in their thousands, particularly to cheer on their double world champion Fernando Alonso, as he hunts for a return to the top of the title standings. The weather can dampen spirits occasionally, but when the sun is shining over the track, it’s a glorious spectacle to behold.

Learn more about Barcelona with the Pocket F1 Handbook.