Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Race information - Spain 2017 // Back to Barcelona for the fifth round of the season

Published by Christine

Formula One returns to Europe for the next leg of the 2017 season, with the Spanish Grand Prix set to kick things off at Barcelona. It’s a track everyone is familiar with, after mountains of testing completed in and out of season around the circuit, but it can still offer up a surprise or two. The last race wasn’t a spectacular event in and of itself, but it added to the narrative of the season – a story that is really starting to get interesting. What can Barcelona bring to the plot?

Event schedule

If you were starting to think that the 2017 season was going to be a two-horse race, then Valtteri Bottas did all in his power to prove that he’s part of the competition this season. He dominated proceedings in Russia, winning his first race in Formula One and showing that he’s not set to roll over and let Lewis Hamilton become a number one driver at Mercedes.

But both of them have some work to do to keep up with Sebastian Vettel, who is leading the world championship having two race victories of his own. And what of the rest of the field? We’ve got a superbly strong Force India so far, and a disappointing performance from Red Bull. We’ve got a Williams team desperate to show some grit and spirit, and a Renault squad that are really struggling to compete.

Towards the back, we’ve got Fernando Alonso, who will participate in his final race before heading over to IndyCar for his one-off drive. It’s his home event too, so expect plenty of passionate fans to be cheering on that ailing McLaren – if it manages to start the race.

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

Support racing for this event includes FIA Formula 2, GP3 Series and Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.

Expected conditions

The European leg of the F1 season usually brings with it some changeable weather conditions, but things are looking pretty sunny and stable for the coming race weekend. It’s forecast to be dry on Friday for practice, with the risk of showers gradually rising over the next few days, but all in all it’s expected to be sunny skies and mid-20s in terms of temperature.

Mostly sunny

Barcelona, Friday

23℃

  • Low 14℃
  • Humidity 51%

Mostly sunny

Sunny with a chance of storms

Barcelona, Saturday

22℃

  • Low 14℃
  • Humidity 58%

Sunny with a chance of storms

Scattered thunderstorms

Barcelona, Sunday

22℃

  • Low 14℃
  • Humidity 62%

Scattered thunderstorms

Track information

The first thing any F1 fan will tell you when discussing the Barcelona track is that it’s the one everyone knows the best. It’s true that teams do have a lot of data from around the circuit, but this year’s changes might mix things up a little – tyres that aren’t acting quite as expected, along with cars that run closer and make overtaking more special, well we can all do with more of that. Overtaking isn’t always easy around the Circuit de Catalunya, but the racing is usually interesting nevertheless.

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

The reason the Barcelona track is used for testing is that it has a nice mix of corners and is quite a technically demanding layout. A lap begins with the downhill ninety degree right hander, that represents the main opportunity for overtaking. Turn two sends drivers back to the left, and the circuit then arcs all the way round a long, sweeping right hander taken in fifth gear, to lead onto a short straight.

A 180 degree turn starts the second sector, leading to the more complicated mix of corners on the midfield. Drivers head up and away from the paddock along two straights joined by a swift ninety degree sixth gear corner. The final sector is even more tricky, with a mix of third to fifth gear corners, and that final difficult chicane.

After navigating that, the drivers sweep around the super fast final right hand curve to head back onto the home straight and get the speeds back up again.

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 year sees the 27th Spanish Grand Prix held at this track, with its debut coming in 1991. There are six current race drivers that have won the event, with two of them winning multiple times (that's Kimi Räikkönen and Fernando Alonso, if you're curious). Ferrari are the most successful team around this track, which may be a record added to this weekend. McLaren are second in line, and it's fair to say that probably won't be affected this weekend.

Max Verstappen took race victory in Spain last year, which saw him become the youngest race winner snatching the record from Sebastian Vettel. Barcelona is also the site of the unusual race victory by Pastor Maldonado, who won in 2012 driving a Williams. The Williams team celebrate their 40th anniversary this weekend.

Ahead of this weekend's race, there hasn't been a lot of changes to the circuit except some upkeep of the artificial grass (it's been removed at some of the corners), and some additional kerbing aimed at both the F1 cars as well as for MotoGP events.

Results for the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix
SessionDriverTeamTime
Free Practice 1Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari1:23.951
Free Practice 2Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:23.922
Free Practice 3Nico RosbergMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:23.078
QualifyingLewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1:22.000
Grand PrixMax VerstappenRed Bull Racing1:41:40.017
Fastest lapDaniil KvyatScuderia Toro Rosso1:26.948

Tyre compounds

Pirelli are bringing the hard compound to Spain, which seems like an overly cautious approach considering how durable the 2017 rubber has been. Teams and drivers are still running to the mandated number of each compound this weekend, the last weekend that happens before back to free choice from Monaco.

Motorsport boss at Pirelli, Mario Isola, says of the weekend: “While Barcelona is a well-known venue, aerodynamic evolution of the cars means that performance is increased but degredation levels could also be higher compared to testing. We can also expect weather conditions to be warmer than in February.”

Selected tyre sets per driver
Hard tyreMedium tyreSoft tyre
All drivers247

Note: From Australia to Spain, teams will have identical tyre allocations: seven sets of the softest compound available, four sets of the middle compound, and two of the hardest compound. In Australia, these are ultrasoft, supersoft and soft (in order). From Monaco, normal rules apply: teams will select 10 sets of the 13 available. Pirelli will communicate the selections on the Tuesday, 10 days before the race.

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
Marcus EricssonSauber F1 Team
Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
Carlos Sainz JrScuderia Toro Rosso
Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing
Sebastian VettelScuderia Ferrari
FridayCyril AbiteboulRenault Sport F1 Team
Maurizio ArrivabeneScuderia Ferrari
Robert FernleySahara Force India F1 Team
Christian HornerRed Bull Racing
Monisha KaltenbornSauber F1 Team
Toto WolffMercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport
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
Garry ConnellyDeputy President of the FIA Institute, Director of the Australian Institute of Motor Sport Safety, F1 and WTCC Steward, and FIA World Motorsport Council Member.
Tom KristensenEight times Le Mans winner, German F3 Champion, Japanese F3 Champion and ALMS Champion.
Nish ShettyFIA Steward and member of the FIA International Court of Appeal.

All content in the series Spain 2017