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Race information - Spain 2016 // F1 heads back to Barcelona for a race ahead of testing

Published by Christine

The F1 season heads back to Europe this weekend, with the Spanish Grand Prix next on the lengthy 2016 calendar. Teams and drivers know Barcelona intimately due to the vast amount of testing mileage completed there, but that doesn't mean the weekend is a foregone conclusion. Well, it probably does in terms of Mercedes, but what happens behind them is anyone's guess.

Event schedule

Nico Rosberg has decimated the competition so far this year, including teammate Lewis Hamilton. The German has rocketed to four consecutive race victories with barely a look back, so his championship campaign is off to the best possible start. Behind him sees most of the rest of the field vying for position - McLaren are gradually starting to improve, Haas are dealing with a hit and miss season, and let's not forgot the goings on at the two Red Bull teams.

Daniil Kvyat has been pushed back to the Toro Rosso squad after a difficult start to the season (that still managed to contain one podium finish, lest we forget). In his place, Max Verstappen gets the call up to Red Bull, in a mid-season swap that must have done plenty to quash the confidence of Kvyat. How their relationships and performances unfold this weekend will be one of the key talking points over the next few days.

Session timetable
DateDaySessionTimeLocal time
13 MayFridayFree Practice 109:00
GMT +01:00
10:00
GMT +02:00
Free Practice 213:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +02:00
14 MaySaturdayFree Practice 310:00
GMT +01:00
11:00
GMT +02:00
Qualifying13:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +02:00
15 MaySundayGrand Prix13:00
GMT +01:00
14:00
GMT +02:00

Support racing for this event includes GP2 Series, GP3 Series and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

Expected conditions

The forecast for the weekend involves very little in the way of Spanish sunshine, and plenty of cloud cover across the circuit. The temperatures are reasonable but cool in comparison to some of the European tracks we visit throughout the year. Humidity hovers around 60% which could mean it tips over into some rain at some point.

Partly cloudy

Barcelona, Friday

19℃

  • Low 14℃
  • Humidity 62%

Partly cloudy

Periods of sun

Barcelona, Saturday

22℃

  • Low 14℃
  • Humidity 60%

Periods of sun

Partly cloudy

Barcelona, Sunday

20℃

  • Low 13℃
  • Humidity 66%

Partly cloudy

Track information

Spain used to boast two races due to the success of one Fernando Alonso, but that has since waned somewhat. Now they have two racing drivers but just the one track - the oh so familiar Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. It's not a bad track, with a nice mix of straights alongside a variety of corners, but the sheer volume of data teams have can make strategy calls a lot easier. Wind can become an issue as it changes direction often across the track, but the track also provides a nice known area to make updates to the cars.

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya circuit map
DRS zones
DRS detection 186m before turn 9
DRS activation 140m after turn 9
DRS detection 2At the safety car line
DRS activation 2157m after turn 16

We've seen some first lap chaos a couple of times already this year, and the Barcelona track could help us with some more. The home straight dips downhill into the first corner, a third gear right hander that arcs ninety degrees. A good exit is crucial to maximise the apex of turn two and then get up a good speed to sweep around the long arc of turn three that sends drivers onto a short straight.

The track rounds back upon itself and then provides a tricky middle sector with a couple of left hand corners that send drivers onto the shorter straight before turn nine leads them onto the longer back straight. The final complex of corners includes a 180 degree arc round turn 12 before a ninety degree corner and then the very awkward chicane that sends drivers on the looping right hander back onto the start/finish straight.

Circuit history

Circuit information
CircuitCircuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
LocationBarcelona
CountrySpain
TimezoneGMT +01:00
Race debut1991
Laps66
Length4.655 km
Distance307.104 km
Line offset0.126 km

This is the 26th consecutive race held at Barcelona, host of the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991. It took over running the race from Jerez, and has outlasted competition from the European Grand Prix held at Valencia.

Given the nature of the circuit and the amount of knowledge there is in the paddock, a front row start is absolutely crucial. All but two of the race winners have started on or alongside pole position - the only two drivers to achieve a victory from further back were Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso, and neither were more than fifth on the grid.

There haven't been many changes made to the track ahead of this year's race, only a few new and improved kerbs and some improvements to the drainage. All of the changes were present during the winter testing, however, so teams should know what to expect.

Results for the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:26.828
Free Practice 2Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:26.852
Free Practice 3Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:26.021
QualifyingNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:24.681
Grand PrixNico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:41:12.555
Fastest lapLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:28.270

Tyre compounds

There's some confusion regarding the tyre situation already, thanks to Red Bull's driver switching antics. Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen chose their tyres based on what they thought they'd want for the race in their respective cars, but now they have to use each other's choices because the tyres are for the car rather than the driver themselves. Where Kvyat wanted two of the harder compound, he now only gets one, and vice versa.

It's the first time we'll see the orange compounds this season, but drivers are still tending to weight their selections towards the softer compounds. The two Haas and two Ferrari drivers have opted for the most softs, with eight each, whilst Sauber's duo have the fewest, selecting just five sets each.

Selected tyre sets per driver
Hard tyreMedium tyreSoft tyre
Lewis Hamilton157
Nico Rosberg157
Sebastian Vettel148
Kimi Räikkönen148
Valtteri Bottas157
Felipe Massa157
Daniel Ricciardo247
Max Verstappen247
Nico Hülkenberg256
Sergio Pérez256
Kevin Magnussen247
Jolyon Palmer157
Daniil Kvyat166
Carlos Sainz256
Marcus Ericsson265
Felipe Nasr265
Fernando Alonso157
Jenson Button157
Pascal Wehrlein256
Rio Haryanto256
Romain Grosjean238
Esteban Gutiérrez148

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayAttendeeRepresenting
ThursdayFernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda
Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
Daniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso
Kevin MagnussenRenault Sport F1 Team
Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso
Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
FridayCyril AbiteboulRenault Sport F1 Team
Maurizio ArrivabeneScuderia Ferrari
Robert FernleySahara Force India F1 Team
Yusuke HasegawaHonda Motor Co. Ltd
Christian HornerRed Bull Racing
Toto WolffMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
SaturdayThree fastest drivers
SundayFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process includes a former F1 driver to offer added insight. These stewards are overseeing the weekend's action.

FIA stewards
NamePosition
Martin DonnellyFormula One driver 1989-1990, demonstrates in the Lotus 102 at various events, owner of Donnelly Track Academy.
Tim MayerFIA alternate delegate to the USA and FIA Steward, son of former McLaren Team Principal Teddy Mayer, plus involvement in management of IndyCar and CART.
Radovan NovakSecretary General of the Autoclub of the Czech Republic, and World Motor Sport Council member.

All content in the series Spain 2016