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Spanish Wednesday: 9th March 2011 - Nine fascinating facts about the Circuit de Catalunya and more

Published by Amandoloss

Bienvenido a Barcelona! Yep. We're in Barcelona again to follow the final testing before the new Formula 1 season kicks off. Finally! I am getting excited like a kid already.

Two weeks ago I took you on a trip to Barcelona, and today I shall concentrate on the track, Circuit de Catalunya. Some like it, some don't, but for me it's one of my favourite tracks. I don't know why, I just like it.

Ready for some rather interesting facts about the Catalan cathedral of motorsport? All right then!

  • The Circuit de Catalunya is a racetrack in Montmeló, to the north of Barcelona. It is home to the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix. With long straights and a variety of corners, the Circuit de Catalunya is seen as an all-rounder circuit.
  • The tradition of motor racing in Catalonia started back in 1908 with the first Copa Catalunya held on a 17-mile track made up of public roads which was called the Baix Penedes circuit.
  • Sitges was to be the location of the first attempt to build a permanent circuit in Spain; it was a 1 1/4-mile high-banked, but irregular oval, at Sitges-Terramar. It took 10 months to build and was opened on October 28, 1923, hosting the second Spanish Grand Prix - 10 years after the first had taken place at Guadarrama.
  • It was not until October 1986 when a Catalan organization voted to build an international standard racing circuit in the Barcelona area. Work began in February 1989 and was finished just days before the F1 trucks rolled into the circuit in September 1991. F1 teams were very impressed. The track was both safe and spectacular, and has proven that new F1 circuits did not have to be dull.
  • The Circuit de Catalunya was built in 1991 and is often called as 'Circuit de Barcelona' in the motor racing community. However, the Circuit de Catalunya should not be confused with the Montjuïc circuit, which also hosted the Spanish Grand Prix on four different occasions between 1969 and 1975.
  • Formula 1 drivers and mechanics are extremely familiar with it since they are accustomed to perform periodical testing. This has led to some criticism that drivers and mechanics are too familiar with the track reducing the amount of action. Well, they do not test there THAT often. This year was an inevitable exception.
  • The Spanish circuit is often criticized for being bland because it has little elevation change and few exciting corners. Cars are unable to follow each other through the fast final corner due to turbulence created by the leading car, therefore, overtaking is rare. This makes it difficult for a car to get close enough to the car ahead of it and to attempt a pass at the first turn. However, there are worse tracks, if you ask me.
  • Nevertheless, the Spanish circuit has been the site of incredible moments. In the 1991 Spanish GP, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell went down the entire front straightaway side-by-side while duelling for the lead, with Mansell eventually taking the position and winning the race.
  • In the 1994 Spanish GP Michael Schumacher managed to finish in second place despite he was driving over half the race with only fifth gear. Two years later, in the 1996, Schumacher took his first win with the Ferrari Team. And the German media still waffle about it!

The last short Spanish Lesson was about numbers, today I carry on with numeros ordinal.

tenthdécimo /a

Or more simply "twentieth" is internationally also known as "Adrian Sutil".

Now you can talk about the testing results, rankings and so on in Spanish. Isn't that estupendo? It sure is!

Hope I taught you something new today and you enjoyed our little excursion. Enjoy the testing, do not forget to watch Champions League tonight (yesterday Barcelona defeated Arsenal 3:1 at Camp Nou), and be nice.


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