Spanish Grand Prix Formula One preview
Today’s report from Formula One teams & drivers at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Red Bull Racing
What’s your best memory of competing at the Spanish GP?
The win in 2011 was very special. It was a long race and for the last 20 or 30 laps I had a lot of pressure from behind from Lewis. I had no KERS to defend, so it was good to come out on top at the end.
What’s your favourite bit of the track?
The whole Barcelona circuit is interesting as it includes all types of corners and offers a really good mix, but my favourite part is still the first sector, because it has really quick corners.
How’s it racing back in Europe?
Yes it’s good to be back in Europe, and in Spain in particular. The atmosphere is always very special at the European races and the weather is usually good too. It helps that the travelling time to and from events is shorter and there’s no need to adapt to a time difference.
What’s your best memory of competing at the Spanish GP?
My win in 2010, I qualified on pole and it was a race which I controlled from the front. I pulled a gap from Sebastian, then Lewis was behind me and put a little bit of pressure on me in the middle of the race, but he had a mechanical failure towards the end. It’s rewarding because we do so much testing there, so it’s good to go there and get a nice result. It’s always a brilliant atmosphere in Spain. After the 2010 race I threw my race helmet into the crowd as a present for the fans.
What about before you were driving?
Probably Senna and Mansell on the front straight – I think it must have been 1992. Favourite bit of the track? The first sector, I like the exit of Turn 2 into Turn 3. I also like Turn 13, which is a weird little right hander, downhill, blind corner, but I think it’s quite a nice little corner to get right.
How’s it racing back in Europe?
It’s a little bit easier; obviously the travel is very convenient and everything is within a striking distance of two hours. We all know the hotels well and the drill of how to get around. It’s much more straightforward than some of the new venues; it’s a nice time to be racing in Europe with the weather generally and it’s a good atmosphere.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
2013 Spanish Grand Prix preview
Circuit de Catalunya facts & stats
The Circuit de Catalunya is one of Formula 1’s most popular racetracks. Its eclectic mix of corners and straights provides a thorough workout for the cars, which is why the teams conducted eight days of pre-season testing at the track in February.
The 4.6-mile circuit is the fifth venue to host the Spanish Grand Prix (the others being Pedralbes, Jarama, Montjuich Park and Jerez) and it’s one of the legacies of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. The track was one of the city’s numerous building projects during the build-up to the summer Olympics and it staged its first grand prix in September ’91, just weeks after it was completed. It’s been a regular fixture on the F1 calendar ever since.
Two of the track’s standout features are its abrasive track surface and its long, high-speed corners. These make the Circuit de Catalunya particularly demanding on the tyres, which is why Pirelli is bringing its two hardest rubber compounds – Medium and Hard – to the race.
McLaren is the second most successful constructor in the history of the Spanish Grand Prix. It has won the race eight times, the last of those victories coming in 2005. Jenson has one victory in the race, in ’09, and Checo has a best result of ninth, in ’11.
- Race distance 66 laps (307.104km/190.825 miles)
- Start time 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
- Circuit length 4.655km/2.892 miles
- 2012 winner Pastor Maldonado (Williams FW34) 66 laps in 1hr39m09.145s (185.838km/h)
- 2012 pole Pastor Maldonado (Williams FW34) 1m22.285s (203.658km/h)
- Lap record Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari F2008) 1m21.670s (205.121km/h)
McLaren at the Spanish Grand Prix
- Wins 8 (1975, ’76, ’88, ’89, ’98, ’99, ’00, ’05)
- Poles 8 (1976, ’88, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’98, ’99, ’05)
- Fastest laps 7 (1976, ’88, ’89, ’98, ’00, ’10, ’11)
Car 5: Jenson Button
- Age 33 (January 19 1980)
- GPs 232
- Wins 15
- Poles 8
- FLs 8
“The start of the European season in Spain always feels like a fresh start to the year. Suddenly, you’re back in Europe, the motorhomes and transporters are all lined up in the paddock, and it feels like a second home for everyone.
“It’s been difficult for the team to make consistent progress through the first four races, but I think returning to a circuit where we undertook two of the pre-season tests will give us a useful benchmark of our progress so far.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the importance of next weekend’s upgrades; but, as with every upgrade, they’re simply part of the series of continuous improvement that are made across the season. As always, there’ll be elements of it that work, elements that perhaps work in a different way to what we’d anticipated, and elements that don’t work, or perhaps require further work. That’s life in modern Formula 1.
“So I’m pragmatic about what we’ll discover next weekend. Of course, I’m hopeful that it’ll move us a step closer towards the destination.”
Car 6: Sergio Perez
- Age 23 (January 26 1990)
- GPs 41
- Wins 0
- Poles 0
- FLs 2
“I’m looking forward to having my first European race for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
“The Circuit de Catalunya is a place all grand prix drivers know well because we do a lot of miles there in the winter. It’ll be a good place to test the car as it’s a very demanding circuit aerodynamically. We have a lot of historic data from our testing there, and we’ll get a good read on our performance when we start testing next Friday.
“It’s quite a demanding circuit aerodynamically, too, so it should be a very useful weekend for us in terms of understanding the MP4-28 and the direction forwards that we choose to take.
“I hope that the introduction of two DRS zones at Barcelona will help improve the racing. We saw in both China and Bahrain that Formula 1 cars can race really closely if they are under the right conditions; Barcelona has always been a difficult circuit for overtaking, so I hope the new regulations will improve matters. It would be great for the thousands in the grandstands if there were some spectacular overtaking along the main straight.”
Martin Whitmarsh – Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“The pace of life in Formula 1 never relents, and it’s incredible to think that our return to Europe next week will see a quarter of the 2013 championship already gone.
“As with last year, form at the start of the season is still somewhat volatile and unpredictable; last year’s Spanish Grand Prix saw an unexpected but worthy winner in Pastor Maldonado, and while it would be difficult to see another left-field runner emerging as a contender for victory, the formbook is still hard to read.
“We are pushing ahead to develop MP4-28, and will be hoping for a productive weekend that will allow us to gather a useful data set for the races ahead.”
A McLaren 50 classic moment
Spanish Grand Prix, 12 May 1968
McLaren’s first Formula 1 podium comes courtesy of Denny Hulme in the second race of the 1968 World Championship. ‘The Bear’ qualifies on the front row in his M7A, one place ahead of team-mate Bruce McLaren, and he finishes second in the race.
It’s the first Spanish Grand Prix for 14 years, but the F1 circus gathers at the 2.1-mile Jarama circuit in somber mood. Double world champion Jim Clark has recently been killed in a Formula 2 race in Germany and his loss is felt by everyone.
“I’m stunned,” says Bruce McLaren. “We all felt Jimmy was in a way invincible. To be killed in an accident with an F2 car is almost unacceptable. But tragically it’s true.”
Against this backdrop the 90-lap Spanish Grand Prix gets underway in blistering 30-degree heat. It becomes a two-hour race of attrition, with Chris Amon, Pedro Rodriguez and Jean-Pierre Beltoise all sharing the lead, but they are forced into retirement and Graham Hill inherits victory late in the race. The Englishman cruises to an easy win when Hulme’s M7A loses second gear in the closing laps and he falls 19s adrift at the chequered flag.
This race marks the beginning of a successful period for McLaren. Bruce gives his eponymous team its first F1 win a month later, at Spa, and the highlight of the ’68 season comes at Mont Tremblant in Canada, where the McLarens finish 1-2. Come season’s end, the team lies second in the constructors’ championship.
Lotus F1 Team
Kimi Räikkönen: “Let’s hope I’m happier in Spain”
After taking his third podium finish of the year in Bahrain, our Iceman looks forward to racing closer to home with the start of the European season
Yourself and the team currently occupy P2 in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships; are you pleased with how things are going?
For sure it’s an okay start and we’re in a better position that this time last year, but there’s a long season ahead and it’s too early to say if we can fight for the Championships right to the end. It’s going to be hard to catch Sebastian [Vettel] if he keeps taking good results so we need to start taking more points from him, but you never know what can happen. We’ll keep pushing to improve the car and see where we end up.
What’s required to bridge that gap to P1?
Some more wins! To catch the leaders, we have to work twice as hard as they are. It’s no secret that we want more speed from the car in qualifying; it’s so tight up there at the front and we really need to be on the first two rows to fight for victories every time. It’s good to be able to start the European season where we are as this is when you see teams starting to push on with lots of new parts for the cars. It’s still early days, but to have scored strong points since the start of the year is obviously better than not having them. We need to keep scoring points in the same way; even if it’s a bad weekend for us, we need to keep finishing as well as we can. That’s how we will fight to the end of the season.
How is the Circuit of Catalunya for you?
I have won twice in Barcelona and I was on the podium there last year too, so I really look forward to going there again; hopefully to end the weekend with another good result. It’s a circuit where you have to get everything exactly right to be at the top. All the teams have tested many times at this circuit, so to get an advantage there is not very easy. The set-up is crucial as the track changes with the wind and temperature so there’s plenty of work for the engineers too.
Is it good to be racing in Europe again?
I really like racing in Europe. We don’t have to travel that far so all your energy is saved for the weekend itself. Traditionally the real season starts when coming back to Europe. For me, it’s great.
The Circuit de Catalunya is the only circuit at which you’ve tested the E21 so far; does that help matters?
That’s true, but you have to remember that was at the end of February and the beginning of March so conditions were very different compared to what we hope to see in May. It was very difficult to get the tyres working properly when we were last there, but it was the same for everybody. We all start from zero again in FP1.
The team didn’t get so much mileage at Barcelona during testing, but reliability doesn’t seem to be so much of a concern now the season is underway?
I didn’t have that many laps there in testing as there were problems with the car and I also missed a day as I was unwell. That said, me and the team know the track pretty well so I don’t think we’ll be too surprised about which way the track goes or what setup to use on the car. Even though I didn’t get a lot of mileage in pre-season, the main thing was I felt good in the car the whole time. Our car seems to be good at every circuit so far…
You were quite reserved after the podium finish in Bahrain; were you happy with the result?
You’re never really happy if you don’t win, but I suppose second place is as close as you can get. We could maybe have been a few places higher in in qualifying which would have made things easier, but I drove to the maximum and luckily we found the pace in the car that was missing in qualifying. Let’s hope I’m happier in Spain.
Romain Grosjean: “I have the tools at my disposal”
After his first podium appearance of the season in Bahrain, our man in car #8 sees no reason why top points finishes can’t become a familiar state of play
After a start to the season which fell short of your high expectations, why did everything come good in Bahrain?
It’s no secret that before Bahrain my feeling hasn’t been right with the car. It wasn’t the chassis, the aero or anything like that, but we took a while to get everything to my liking and that’s been frustrating. We managed to put our finger on the issue and I feel much more comfortable now. I really had a good sensation behind the wheel on Sunday in Bahrain, and a podium position at the end of the race was the result. I could put the car more or less where I wanted which is all you want as a driver. Third place was a deserved reward for everyone after all our hard work.
How good was it to get that podium after your tough start to the year?
The race was really enjoyable with a lot of overtaking. There were a couple of tense moments where maybe things got a little too close, but it was a lot of fun! To come from P11 through to the podium is really satisfying. I saw P4 on the board and Paul [Di Resta] was not too far ahead, so I thought “come on, this is the podium, let’s go!” I knew I had fresher tyres but it wasn’t easy as I had to push but at the same time look after them, which is hard for a driver when you have another car in your sights. Luckily we managed to get past near the end, pull out a small gap and maintain it until the flag!
How do you feel the E21 is evolving?
We’ve been able to see progress with the lap times so we know that the upgrades being brought in are working. Last year’s car was already very competitive – we achieved a total of 10 podiums in 2012 – so it’s good to see the team has retained and developed the best performing areas of the 2012 car for the E21. For me, after Bahrain, I’m feeling much more at home with the car and I hope that there will be many successes to come in 2013.
What are your thoughts on the topic of tyre management?
Tyre management has always been part of the qualifying and race strategy. I don’t know about others, I just know that I always push as much as I can to obtain the best result possible. Of course, if you drive a certain way or adapt yourself you can get more out of the tyres than if you don’t, but that’s just part of being a racing driver; you always have to adapt to extract maximum performance.
What will be the key to a good weekend in Spain?
In Barcelona it will be important to qualify well as it will be much harder to overtake than in Bahrain. As a team, this is an area where we can still improve a little bit, but we have some ideas of how to do that and hopefully we’ll be able to make the front row.
What are your thoughts on the Circuit de Catalunya?
Everyone knows Barcelona very well from testing. The first four corners which make up the first sector are pretty fast, then there’s the slow final sector with between turns 10-15. Out of turn 15 you need a good rear end of the car with strong traction. It’s important not to overheat your rear tyres and managing degradation will be important – even with the harder tyres which are now allocated – as when you reach high degradation levels on your tyres you are nowhere on lap time. Tyre management will still be the key area for a good performance in the race.
What do you need to keep getting podium results?
To keep finishing in front of the competition! We’ve had consistency already, finishing every race in the points, but now it’s the big results we’re chasing and getting the car as I want it has been a vital ingredient. Now I have the tools that I want at my disposal I can really push. In some ways you can say my season starts now! My podium in Bahrain was a very good start to that challenge. If we keep working the way we have been so far this season as a team I’m sure we can achieve great things.
Eric Boullier: “We must not be complacent”
Coming to Europe with second position in both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championship shows that Lotus F1 Team is performing well, but it’s no time for complacency says Team Principal Eric Boullier
The team currently holds P2 in both championships; what’s the secret to sustaining that challenge?
The secret? Good strategy, a good car and two good drivers! Achieving a one-off result is one thing, but keeping momentum is a far bigger challenge and I’m pleased to say we’re doing a great job of that so far this year. It’s such a finely balanced and competitive season. If we look to our most recent race in Bahrain, on Saturday it looked like maybe we had lost our edge having qualified below expectations. Fortunately, we were always confident in our race pace and that confidence proved to be well placed.
The race in Bahrain was a pretty special one for the team: do you ever get a feeling of déjà vu?
It was just like in 2012! Having Kimi second and Romain third was a great result, but just like in 2012 there was Sebastian [Vettel] on the top step. This year’s result was much more difficult, especially after our qualifying performance, but we showed flashes of pace throughout the weekend and confirmed that speed when it mattered in the race. To come away with a double podium when the top six would maybe have been a more realistic pre-race target was a great performance from everybody involved. There was a pretty special feeling in the race team and that was just magnified when I got back to Enstone to see everyone in the factory. It was a well-deserved result.
Kimi is right there in the Drivers’ Championship battle…
Kimi is a fantastic driver and you can never rule him out in any race. In Bahrain, he drove a strong race to manage the tyres and was comfortable in second by the chequered flag. In Australia he won the race and said it was one of his easiest wins. We want to ensure he has more easy races in the future.
How pleasing was it to see Romain back on the podium?
Very. Consistency has been there already for him in the first three races, but I think fighting at the front again will come as a big relief to him after a difficult start to the year. His season really starts now.
What’s been the secret to unlocking his pace?
We sat down with Romain to assess where things weren’t quite working and the team did a good job to find a few little things which helped him get back that positive feeling with the car again. He clearly enjoyed every second on track in last race – making a solid start and pulling off some strong overtaking moves – and I think that enjoyment showed in his performance.
When could the next win come for the team?
We always want to win and our podium successes this year seem to have made us all the more hungry to taste the champagne. We know we are facing other equally competitive teams and only one team and driver get to stand on that top step at each race. Of course, it would be fantastic to start our European season with a win.
There’s always a lot of talk about the development battle; are you confident the team can match the pace of improvement of the other teams?
This is just another aspect of the sport. We have a strong development programme for the E21 and I’m confident we can continue to improve it through the year, just as we did with the E20 before it. Most teams tend to bring a fairly major upgrade package to the first European race of the season and we’ll be no exception. I’m very pleased with how the development of the this car is progressing and I think there’s plenty more to come from us.
James Allison: “We head to Spain hopeful of a good race”
After a double podium in Bahrain, Lotus F1 Team Technical Director James Allison looks optimistically towards Barcelona; a circuit with many similarities to the successful hunting ground of Sakhir…
What’s the technical view heading to the first European race of the season?
We’re pretty well placed. Barcelona is similar in many regards to Bahrain; it’s hard on the tyres with some challenging fast stuff thrown in. It’s not so obviously rear-limited as Bahrain, but is nevertheless a circuit that challenges the tyres which has been a strength of the E21 thus far. That said, the start of the so-called European season – where many teams unleash a raft of their latest upgrades – could shake up the order somewhat.
Talking of developments; what do we have in the upgrade cupboard for Catalunya?
Nothing revolutionary, but plenty which should help us go faster. We have new front wing endplate detailing, new aero around the rear drums, modifications to the diffuser and a different top rear wing so there’s plenty to help keep us in the hunt.
The tyre allocation for Barcelona is different from the past two seasons and the hard compound has been revised: your thoughts?
We’ve used Pirelli’s hard and soft compounds for the last few years, so we were slightly surprised to see them opt for the more conservative hard and medium this season; albeit with the hard compound revised from what we have been using so far in 2013. The new hard is akin to last year’s rubber; giving its best grip at lower temperatures than the one we started the year with and being more in line with the working range of the other compounds in use this season. It should work well for us in the race and the gap between option and prime in qualifying should be smaller than in previous years, giving more choices about how to tackle Q1 and Q2.
What are the performance considerations for this race?
Spain is certain to be cooler than Bahrain, but it’s not that dissimilar. It’s a circuit where the outcome of the race isn’t only determined by whether you’re on pole position, but rather by a combination of how far up the grid you are, how good your car is on race pace, how you manage the tyres and your race strategy. In pre-season we did one of the best race simulation runs at the final Barcelona test. but it’s always difficult to tell what everyone’s doing in testing and that was a good few months ago now.
It’s fair to say that the teams are pretty familiar with Barcelona: how does this affect things?
The familiarity means you’re not hunting around for things like ride heights, weight distributions, aero balance or roll stiffness as you know roughly where you want to be and it’s a matter of fine tuning rather than finding your feet from scratch. That said, we know all of the circuits pretty well…
What went wrong in qualifying in Bahrain?
We didn’t manage to reproduce our Q2 time and although Kimi felt he’d produced a decent lap. It’s so close at the front that just the smallest margin can make that difference; a slight temperature difference from the track, a small variation between sets of tyres, a change in wind direction or force, or the way a driver prepares the tyres on the out-lap can all be a factor. Fortunately it was at a track where the net result was unchanged; a podium looked possible from the front row or elsewhere.
Romain had a much better race in Bahrain – can this be sustained?
We’re confident that the step forward in Bahrain was genuine, and is something we can continue in future races to allow Romain to show what he’s got.
What can we realistically expect in Barcelona?
With our pre-season form at the circuit and our reasonably useful showing at all four races so far this season, we head to Spain hopeful of a good race.
Battling Barcelona: An Engineer’s Guide to the Circuit de Catalunya
Turns 1 & 2:
A quick part of the circuit with swift change of direction. Good pace exiting Turn 2 is important before setting a good line heading into the very quick Turn 3. The approach to Turn 1 is one of the few corners on the track where overtaking is possible
Turns 3 & 4:
The high speed Turn 3 and tighter Turn 4 put a lot of stress through the tyres, especially the front left.
Braking downhill into this corner makes it very easy to lock the inside front tyres as the road falls away from the car.
Turns 7 & 8:
A challenging uphill sequence.
The slowest corner on the track; taken in first or second gear on high fuel before a wide exit into Turn 11 which is taken flat out. Turn 10 is a good tests of the car’s traction.
Turns 14 & 15:
A more technical part of the track with some big kerbs, which drivers are advised to avoid. The car is not set-up to use these kerbs.
It is essential to have a good car through Turn 16 to maximise your run down the long straight. In qualifying it’s pretty much taken flat out, but with high fuel and a bit of tyre degradation it becomes a little trickier.
Start / Finish Straight:
Although not one of the longest straights on the calendar, effective DRS will notably assist overtaking here.
The track surface is quite abrasive here, meaning the tyres get a double whammy as the circuit layout puts them through their paces too.
Sufficient front wing is needed to eliminate understeer through the first and final turns.
Similar levels of downforce are required to Bahrain, which itself runs a little bit higher than Shanghai. A reasonably long straight means an effective DRS system helps, despite the straight not being nearly as long as that seen in China.
It’s a track we know well from testing, but the main difference for the race is that track temperatures are much higher, meaning the tyres will work differently. Setups used in winter testing to make the tyres warm up faster will not be needed. There is no particular kerb usage meaning the car can run lower than otherwise. Turn 16 is the essential corner; if you have a good car through here it will maximise your run down the long straight. In qualifying it’s pretty much flat out but with high fuel and a bit of tyre degradation it becomes a little trickier.
There are no real issues at all with braking here. The demands are not particularly heavy and we know what to expect having tested here earlier in the year. It will be a case of tuning our front and rear ducts to achieve the correct temperatures for best braking performance, with no particular concerns over wear.
Good driveability from the engine is needed, particularly through the lower speed corners in the second half of the lap.
Pirelli’s P Zero white medium and orange hard tyres will be nominated. Barcelona can be tough on tyres due to the circuit layout and track surface abrasion, while the long, fast Turn 3 puts a particularly heavy load on the front left tyre. Turn 5 can present a risk of locking the front tyres through a combination of braking and turning into the corner as the road falls away from the car. It’s worth noting also that Pirelli have changed to a new hard compound which is closer to that used last season.
Burn Yard Live – Partner Perspective: burn
On 9th May 2013, burn – the leading energy drink from The Coca-Cola Company – is taking a unique approach to their sponsorship of Lotus F1 Team by introducing an exciting new event to the Formula 1 calendar by the name of ‘burn yard live’.
The event – the first in a series – will be taking place at the Astilleros shipyards on the shores of Barcelona’s Mediterranean coast. The event will see burn bring together a collective of leading innovators from the worlds of art, music and sport to create a groundbreaking fusion of youth culture.
One of the key highlights of the event will see M-City – a street artist renowned globally for his giant monochrome murals – take an unusual canvas in the form of a Lotus F1 Team show car and apply a series of bespoke artwork live in front of an audience.
M-City is also working closely with burn to create a series of unique images that will be used on everything from limited edition cans to a giant shipping container that will take the Lotus F1 Team show car on tour around the world.
Here, the man himself talks to us more about his artwork, his partnership with burn and his unusual guest helper during the event.
Tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind the artwork for this event and how Formula 1 and burn has inspired your art?
I grew up in an industrial environment and I’ve always drawn my creativity from this world; my inspiration and style is informed by the factories, hydroelectric plants, chimneys and cranes that dominate this landscape. In many ways my style mirrors that of the Lotus F1 Team car. As with the murals I create, it is about detail and precision; small parts coming together to create something whole and beautiful. It’s also about creativity and passion; aspects which are very much a part of burn, Formula 1 and my art. The artwork I’m creating will be a reflection of my style, but it will focus on the cars and the drivers as canvases. The art will make the car come alive even more than before. When you paint on a building, it gives the building a second life and painting the car this will give it a second life.
You’re used to working on a much larger scale, some of your murals reaching up to 85 metres long; how do you feel about painting the Lotus F1 Team car?
It’s an inspiring canvas. The concept behind burn yard is all about fusing and inspiring creativity and pushing the creative boundaries to inspire others and this should certainly do that. I’m looking forward to getting started on the car; it’s much smaller than my usual works of art and something different to take me out of my comfort zone.
How will you create the art for the car?
My murals are created through stencilling, so for this project I’m creating a series of intricate stencils that draw parallels from the Formula 1 world. I’ve been inspired by the intricacies of the mechanics of the sport, the design, the energy and seeing into the future and have used this to create a series of detailed images that I will spray paint onto the car.
How long is it going to take to create this artwork?
It will take me two and a half days to complete the car. At the end of the process, I’ve got a very special guest from Lotus F1 Team – driver Kimi Räikkönen – coming along to help me put the final piece of the design to the car. It will be really cool to collaborate with him.
What do you think about burn’s philosophy that the art should inspire creativity within others?
If the kids want to paint, they should paint. I want them to be inspired by my work, to pick up a spray can and spray for themselves. I do workshops with kids back in Poland, and my advice is if you want to do something, just focus your mind on that and you can do it. If you want to paint, you must paint all the time. Also, don’t be so quick to jump in to the professional arena; stand back, maintain your individuality and develop your passion and own unique style. It’s all about creativity and self-expression and that’s what Burn stands for.
Looks Who’s Talking: Social Media in Action
There may have been a reasonable break between rounds four and five of the 2013 season, but the digital community never sleeps! The latest feature to hit the Lotus F1 Team website takes the form of an all-new facts and figures section, guaranteed to keep the stat-happy fan entertained for at least five whole minutes…
Twitter has seen perhaps the most engaging activity during the recent down-time; a particular highlight coming in the form of a fan Q&A with our very own Romain Grosjean. A truly weird and wonderful selection of questions came flooding in using the #AskRomain hashtag, to which the man himself gave some equally entertaining and typically honest responses (click here to read in full: http://bit.ly/ZOBkb0)
Facebook and Google+ have brought a combination of the humorous, informative and emotional of late; hitchhiking McLaren parts, web feature promotions and tributes to the late, great Ayrton Senna all part of the blend.
Rounding things up on a more artistic note, Pinterest and Instagram brought the Bahrain Grand Prix to life in a flourish of technicolour, with the classic mix of behind-the-scenes shots, scenic views and on-track action giving fans a taste of life on the road.
As we head on now to the cultural cocktail that is Barcelona, there’s sure to be plenty of bright and brilliant promotions in the pipeline, so stay tuned…
Inside Line: The Latest News from Enstone
Thriller in Manila
The Lotus F1 Team Formula 1 roadshow is all set to hit the streets of Manila during the weekend of 4th – 5th May 2013.
Fans and media alike will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the immense power, perfect precision and rasping noise of the most advanced racing machines ever conceived, as Third Driver Davide Valsecchi and local star Marlon Stockinger – currently enrolled on the Lotus F1 Junior Team programme – put on an all-action show for the crowd.
With rows of stalls, pit stop challenges and appearances from the two drivers adding to the tyre smoking, donut making action, it’s all set to be a fantastic weekend. Images, quotes and much more from the event will be available via the team’s website and social media feeds early on the following Monday.
Bienvenido a Enstone!
With Barcelona looming large on the horizon, preparations began at Enstone in a rather different way last week as the factory played host to 120 guests from the Spanish arm of Official Partner ‘burn’.
Taking in a tour of the facility, the crowd heard from Spanish speaking team members to discover more about life as a Formula 1 employee, pushed their reactions to the limit in the pit stop and batak challenges, and played out their racing ambitions on the team simulators & scaletrix set.
The sleepy Oxfordshire countryside may not hold quite the same glamour and style as you’ll find amongst Gaudi’s Catalan creations, but we can still put on one heck of a show…
Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team
2013 Spanish Grand Prix – Preview
The Spanish Grand Prix, Round Five of the 2013 Formula One World Championship, sees the first of the season’s seven European races take place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona
At 730 metres, the run from the start to the first corner at Barcelona is the longest of the entire season
The past two Spanish Grands Prix run with DRS saw 57 (2012) and 83 (2011) in-race passes respectively
The 2011 (75) and 2012 (65) races featured a total of 140 pit-stops, more than in the previous four years combined (130)
I’m looking forward to travelling to Spain next weekend. We know that the car went very well at the Circuit de Catalunya in pre-season testing so I am hopeful that we can have a strong weekend. We will have to wait and see how our pace compares however. I’ve been in the factory for a couple of days this week, on the simulator and meeting with the team, and everyone has been working hard to make progress on our race day performance. It will be an interesting weekend and once we see how everyone performs in Barcelona, it should give a good idea of how the rest of the season will look.
It feels like a long time since Bahrain so we’re all looking forward to getting to Barcelona next weekend and starting to get into the routine of the European season. The short break has been good however, and I’ve had the chance to catch up with family and friends, and also spend some time at the factory with the guys, working on our efforts to improve. We’ve been boosted by the results that we’ve had at the start of the season and to come away from the first four races with two third and two fifth places feels like a real achievement. I’m feeling very comfortable in the car now and we know the areas that we need to improve so a lot of effort is being put in to close that gap to the front-runners. Barcelona should be a good test as we know the circuit so well having completed most of the pre-season test programme there. The weekend should be a good benchmark of the progress we have made since then.
In the two weeks since we returned from Bahrain, there has been a lot of hard work taking place in Brackley and Brixworth to prepare for the start of the European season in Barcelona next weekend. We have focused our efforts in two key areas; finalising our upgrade package for Spain and understanding our comparative lack of race pace in Bahrain. We have made progress in the latter area and will evaluate some developments over the upcoming race weekends to help improve the situation. We’re not there yet but we are making progress and of course, performing in the race is what really counts. The Circuit de Catalunya is a circuit that we know well and we have a lot of data from the two pre-season tests to help prepare for the weekend. However in the late spring conditions, we can expect the track to be of a very different nature to what we experienced earlier this year. Overtaking is more difficult there than at some of the early season tracks and, of course, every team will be bringing new developments so the weekend should provide an interesting challenge.
The three-week break between the Bahrain and Spanish Grands Prix was welcome, as it gave us extra time to analyse in detail what happened at the last race. We have built a good picture of our varying levels of race performance and why we under-performed overall in Bahrain. In Barcelona, we will test some solutions aimed at improving our tyre management in addition to our planned upgrade package. The circuit itself is well known as a benchmark for aerodynamic performance and we performed strongly there at the end of winter testing. The track conditions and temperatures will be very different on the race weekend, though, so we must dial the car in to those circumstances. Our target is to improve our Sunday afternoon performance to match what we have delivered on Saturday in the past two races. It will certainly be interesting to see what gains everybody has made since the last time we were at the circuit and how the planned upgrade packages work from car to car.
Sauber F1 Team
Preview – 2013 Spanish Grand Prix
5th Round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, 10th to 12th May 2013
After eight months, the Sauber F1 Team’s trucks finally leave the workshop again this Sunday. Their destination will be the kick-off for the European races at the Spanish Grand Prix, which takes place on 10th to 12th May in Barcelona. Sauber F1 Team drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Esteban Gutiérrez know the Circuit de Catalunya well. However, both drivers agree that, since winter testing in February and March, many things have changed. During the first four races, the C32 has been updated. For the fifth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship the team will bring further aero updates and a modified rear wing to the race.
Nico Hülkenberg (car number 11):
“I’m looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix because it kicks off this season’s European races. Barcelona is a nice city where you can get a real feel for the Spanish life style. We know the Circuit de Catalunya well, of course, from the winter tests. However, since winter testing many things have changed and also the climate will be different from the one we had in February, which you have to take into consideration. The circuit is diverse. The first two sectors are fast with fast, long corners, which require good down force and a well-balanced car, whereas the third sector is quite technical. The aero updates we bring to this race will show how well our car is suited to this track.“
Esteban Gutiérrez (car number 12):
“The first time I raced in Barcelona was in 2008. I know the track and during the winter tests I was also able to experience driving a Formula One car there. As the first of a series of European races, I think it is going to be an exciting event and I’m looking forward to that. The track is quite demanding, especially the last sector. Tyre management will be crucial here, and, especially during a qualifying lap, you need to nurse your tyres in the first two sectors in order to get a clean third sector. You must make sure the tyres still have good grip when you approach the final corners of the lap, including the chicane. We have to wait and see if the updates will help us to catch up with the guys further up the field.“
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“Although Barcelona is a track we know well from winter testing, the higher temperatures do change how the tyres perform, so we have to adapt to that. The first two sectors are biased towards higher speed corners, whereas the third sector is dominated by a technical sequence of lower speed corners, hence the set-up is always a compromise. The option tyre will be the medium compound and for the prime Pirelli are re-introducing the 2012 hard compound for this event. We have some further aero updates, including a modified rear wing, and we will be evaluating these during Friday practice. Qualifying is particularly important here as overtaking can be difficult in the race. Our target for the race is to finish with both cars in the points.”
Sahara Force India F1 Team
2013 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix Preview
Sahara Force India looks forward to round five of the season, the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Team Principal, Dr Mallya, reflects on the team’s best ever start to a season.
The return to Europe after the first few flyaway races is an excellent moment to catch our breath and evaluate where we stand. Overall the balance is extremely positive for Sahara Force India with our best ever start to a season. In terms of points scored we are nine points up compared to last year and we’ve been up at the sharp end fighting with the big teams.
After the pit stop problems in Malaysia, points finishes in China and Bahrain have set us back on the right path, but nobody in the team is taking it for granted and we will not rest on our laurels. At both the factory and at the track, everyone is working hard to ensure we can build on these good results. We intend to hold our ground and remain in the hunt for points and podiums.
Looking at our drivers, the performances of Paul Di Resta confirm just how much he has matured as a driver. He’s delivering consistently every week and we are reaping the rewards of all his hard work. He suffered a difficult end to the 2012 season, but he’s shown great mental strength and determination to regroup over the winter and recapture his best form. He’s pushing the team on and demanding the best from everyone, which is what we need.
Adrian Sutil has also shown his speed so far but the luck has not gone his way. The last two races have been very frustrating because he’s been the victim of other drivers’ mistakes. Without these incidents he would surely have scored well in both China and Bahrain. His race pace in Bahrain was remarkable because he was one of the fastest cars on track.
Having come so tantalisingly close to the podium with Paul last time out, we head to Barcelona full of optimism. The hard work everyone is putting in is paying off and we hope to see the rewards this coming weekend.
Dr Vijay Mallya
Team Principal and Managing Director
Paul on Barcelona
Paul, you’ve enjoyed your strongest start to a season – what’s your feeling after four races…
We’ve got to feel very happy with how things are going and I want to congratulate everybody in the team. We took a very sensible approach to the winter and focussed on understanding the key areas that drive performance, which seems to have paid off. It’s important to pick up good points early in the season against our competitors and to be ahead of McLaren after four races is a credit to the team and a nice feeling. Of course we want to be on the podium and it was very close in Bahrain, but I’m sure it will come soon enough.
Do you feel you have a car that will be competitive on any type of circuit?
The car is performing well, especially in the heat, and we were also strong in the cooler conditions of China – so that’s a good sign. The key is making sure you find the right operating window whatever the conditions because that’s what makes the difference. We need to keep doing what we’re doing, but at the same time we know the return to Europe always sees every team bring more upgrades. Hopefully we can stay fighting with the big teams and keep picking up the points.
With two tests already completed in Barcelona do you feel well prepared ahead of this weekend’s race?
I guess we have more data around Barcelona than anywhere else, but at the same time the temperatures will be much higher at this time of year. So I’d expect that to change things quite a lot and impact on the tyres. Also, it’s one of those tracks where you’re constantly chasing the right aero balance to cope with the long, high-speed corners, especially turn three. But when you come to the end of the lap you need the mechanical grip for the hairpins and chicanes.
Adrian on Barcelona
Adrian, four races in, how do you sum up the start of 2013?
The start of the season was good, especially if you consider I had only two or three test days to prepare. Australia was a strong race and the best way to come back to Formula One. Since then I’ve been unlucky with being hit in China and the puncture in Bahrain, and I definitely missed out on a few good points. On the other hand there are lots of positives, especially the performance of the car and the experience of the races. It is still early in the season so there is more to come and the car is really fast. I’m sure we can recover the points we lost in the last few races.
How hard is it to accept the disappointment when you’re simply in the wrong place at the wrong time – as was the case in China and Bahrain?
These things happen all the time in Formula One – sometimes you benefit from them and sometimes it goes against you instead. They all balance by the end of the year. I try not to spend too much time thinking about the negatives, I try to move on and focus on how to do better. If something happens, I think whether I did anything wrong, learn from it and avoid doing it again.
What do you expect from the upcoming race in Barcelona?
I know Barcelona really well from all the testing we’ve done there over the years. It is important, after three difficult races without points, to finish the race without any incidents. If I do that, I should have the pace to be among the front-runners. I have to do my job, avoid mistakes and hopefully my luck will change. Wherever we have gone so far, the car has been competitive, so the next few races should see us scoring points and close to the podium.
Spanish GP Preview
- When: Friday 10th – Sunday 12th May, 2013
- Where: Barcelona, Spain
- Round: 5 of 19
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director: The Spanish Grand Prix is always one we look forward to as it is a track we all know well due to the amount of time spent there during winter testing. We also have fond memories of Pastor’s win there last season. A lot of engine and chassis decisions are also based around Barcelona as teams have so much data from there.
Track conditions can change a lot during the weekend, making it a challenge to get a good set-up. The track layout, with its high average speed, also makes it quite hard on tyres. Surprisingly it has a similar power sensitivity to Monaco, due to the long corners and demand on handling. As the first race back in Europe, traditionally many teams will bring upgrades to their cars – and we are no different. Following a successful aero test at Idiada last week, we have a number of upgrades which we will be looking to run over the coming races.
Pastor Maldonado: It will be very special to return to Barcelona after my win there last season. Whilst all the drivers know the track very well and we have some good data from testing here earlier in the year, the track changes quite a lot so you still need to familiarise yourself with the conditions during practice and set up the car accordingly. The choice of tyre compound will also be a big factor on how well the teams handle the track conditions as the track can be quite hard on tyres. We are now entering a very important part of the season because the next couple of races are quite close to the factory, so there will be more opportunities for us to react to our performance on track and make changes to the car.
Valtteri Bottas: Whilst I have never raced at Barcelona in Formula One, I know the track really well as I’ve raced there in Formula Renault and Formula 3 and I’ve done a lot of testing with Williams at the circuit. The win last year in Barcelona was a big motivational boost for everyone and was a good example of what we can achieve when everything comes together. We are working hard to get back to that level and following a good aero test last week at Idiada and a number upgrades coming for this race, hopefully Barcelona can be the start of improved performance for us this year.
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations: Barcelona is a track we know well from testing; this year we covered over 3,000km. It is used extensively as it has a very good ‘average’ of characteristics of other circuits on the calendar. There are a variety of low and medium speed corners that push the RS27 on the lower rev ranges of the engine, but there is also the 1km pit straight where the cars reach over 300kph. The undulating nature of the track also puts the engine internals under pressure so every element of the engine gets a full workout here.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: We’re introducing a new version of our hard tyre in Spain, which has been nominated together with the medium compound. The new hard tyre is more similar in characteristics to the 2012 hard tyre, with a wider working temperature window. This gives the teams more opportunities to run a greater variety of strategies in combination with the other compounds, which haven’t changed. Spain is among the tracks that put the highest lateral loads through the tyres all year, so it’s important to strike the right balance as always between performance and durability. Luckily this is a circuit that all the teams know well, so there is plenty of existing data – including from pre-season testing this year –to use when planning a race strategy. We would expect to see three pit stops during the race, as was the case last year. In a fresh departure we’re also introducing a new set of hard tyres that will be used during free practice one on Friday only, in order to encourage all the teams to run throughout the whole session.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
SPANISH GRAND PRIXVIEW
Race Laps: 66
Lateral track with high percentage of high speed corners
Maximising slow speed traction is important through sector three
Medium brake energy
Bumps at entry of T9 and braking into T10
Grip level and balance change with different weather conditions (track temp and wind direction)
Understeer is the typical balance issue in the high speed corners T3 and T9
First gear is not used on the track
Drivers usually prefer to run through T9 without downshifting
2012 Race Weather
Air/Track temp ( C): 22 / 36
Altitude (metres ASL): 121
ATM Press (HPA): 995
Hum (%): 40
Wind (kph): NNE 15
P1: Hamilton, 1.21.707 (Q3)
P2: Maldonado, 1.22.285 (Q3)
P3: Alonso, 1.22.302 (Q3)
CF1T best: P19 Petrov, 1.25.277 (Q1)
P1: Maldonado (1.27.906 L26)
P2: Alonso (1.27.390 L46)
P3: Raikonnen (1.26.930 L63)
CF1T best: P16 Kovalainen (1.28.715 L50)
Overtaking chance: medium
Kerbs: smooth / medium
Ride height setting particularity: none
Engine severity: low
Gearbox severity: medium
Lat/Long grip: lateral
Aero eff ratio: low
Safety car history: 2012 – none, 2011 – none, 2010 – none
Track grip evo during w/e: high
Aero settings: high
Brake wear severity: medium
Brake cooling necessity: medium
Charles Pic: “The last race in Bahrain was very positive for us because that was clearly the best of the first four weekends for us in terms of the pace we showed all weekend. That was a good start and even though it was still not enough to be where we want to be, it was in the right direction and that was positive for everyone. The team was happy and I’m also happy about how Bahrain went.
“Now we’re into the European part of the season and we start in Barcelona at a track we all like racing at and one we know very well! This race is usually where the European races start and it’s one where all the teams bring updates and new parts, so it’s always very interesting to see what you bring and what the others bring and how that all works out over the weekend.
“I have to say it’s a track that I like a lot. Normally the weather is great (it’ll certainly be warmer than when we were testing there in February!) and I think that with how we finished off in Bahrain it will be an interesting and, hopefully, a good weekend for us.
“As I say, everyone brings new parts to Spain but what is really important is optimising the car for the new package, for the parts you bring. Everyone at the factory and in the wind tunnel has been working really hard on the updates we brought to the last race, and what we’ll race this weekend and at the other races this year, but it’s not as easy as just putting on the new parts and going faster – we’ll continue the hard work on track by making sure we can find the best setup for these parts with the specific demands of the Barcelona circuit, using all the data we’ll generate on Friday and Saturday to put us in the best position for the race on Sunday.
“We know everyone else will have updates, so for us it’s important that we can find a little bit more than our direct rivals, and keep that momentum up all year. We made pretty good progress at the last race, and I’m confident we’ll do the same in Barcelona.”
Giedo van der Garde: “I’ve spent a lot of time in Barcelona throughout my career and it’s always a great place to race at. The weather is usually good, the Spanish people are really passionate about their racing and it’s always busy on track. The city itself is amazing and I’m doing a couple of very cool events with my partner McGregor in the city that will be really good fun. But obviously the track is really what it’s all about. I’m excited about the weekend ahead, especially as we have some more new parts on the car that should help us build on the step forward we saw from my teammate’s car in Bahrain.
“We’ll be running the new parts from Friday and we’re not going to make any predictions about what they’ll bring. The most important thing is that we get the setup right with them first, then we can start really pushing and see where we are in quali and on Sunday. I’ve been at the factory in the last week with the engineers and in the simulator and I know we’re well prepared for the week ahead. The weather forecast is good for most of the weekend, not so much for Friday but it’ll be the same for everyone and we’ll be aiming for maximum mileage to give ourselves the best chance to get the most out of the new parts all weekend.”
Marussia F1 Team
What we’re saying about the 2013 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix
The Marussia F1 Team are back on the road again this weekend as the first trucks leave the Team’s Banbury headquarters for the start of the European season, which begins next week with the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona is very familiar territory for all of the teams – a real home from home – since it is where much of the pre-season testing is conducted. It is also a barometer circuit, in that its characteristics comprise a bit of everything the remaining tracks are likely to offer up during the balance of the season, so it is a good venue at which to field the Marussia F1 Team’s next round of developments and more accurately interpret results.
For Friday’s FP1 session, the MR02-03 of Max Chilton will be given over to Reserve Driver Rodolfo Gonzalez, who will run alongside Jules Bianchi. Max will return to the cockpit for FP2.
Jules Bianchi, Driver #22
“Although my first four races have been quite positive – and a nice adventure for me personally – as a driver in my debut season it is good to be heading into the start of the European season. The tracks are very familiar to me from previous formulae and that just provides a further confidence with interpreting the information we collect and how we roll that back into performance. The Team have spent a lot of time analysing our progress so it will be good to verify our findings with the package so far and of course to explore our new developments for Spain. I’m looking forward to getting busy in the car again.”
Max Chilton, Driver #23
“It will be great to get back down to business in Spain, where there will be a lot to focus our attentions on. We’ve learned a lot in the first four races and quite a lot since, with the technical team having been hard at it in the break. What we bring to the Circuit de Catalunya is the product of four races of evaluation coupled with the next step in our ongoing development path, so it will be interesting to see how we can progress from Bahrain. On a personal level this is a track I enjoy and have raced at plenty of times, and that will also be useful as we work through a busy evaluation programme on Friday in particular. I’m looking forward to it.”
John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia F1 Team
“After a good long break since the Bahrain Grand Prix, we head into Europe feeling refreshed and prepared for the start of the next phase of races. It was a whirlwind start to the season for us in some ways and the past few weeks have allowed the drivers in particular to draw a little more breath. Barcelona is always an interesting race as it provides a very good barometer of car performance up and down the grid and also the benefit of the new upgrades most teams will bring to their cars. We are no exception and having tested here over two weeks pre-season, we’ll be taking the opportunity to use that baseline data to further analyse our progress to date, conducting some back to back work with our Bahrain package prior to fielding our new developments for this race. Bahrain has always been a race that we have struggled at so we are hoping that the Circuit de Catalunya will provide further confirmation of the positive development direction we have been following.”
Spanish Grand Prix Preview: Barcelona, 10-12 May 2013
NEW P ZERO HARD COMPOUND AND EXTRA TYRES FOR FREE PRACTICE
P Zero Orange hard compound and P Zero White medium compound have been nominated for the Spanish Grand Prix, but there will be some changes to the tyres at the famous Circuit de Catalunya this year. The P Zero Orange hard compound has evolved, with the objective of opening up even more possibilities for strategy. All the other compounds remain unaltered. There will also be an extra set of prototype hard tyres allocated for free practice to encourage all the teams to run throughout the entire length of the sessions, rather than opt to conserve tyres for the rest of the race weekend. These tyres will not be the same as the P Zero Orange hard tyres used for the rest of the weekend, but are instead a specially-created compound with the emphasis on durability so that the teams run for as long as possible. To distinguish these tyres, they will not carry any colour markings.
Paul Hembery: “We’re introducing a revised version of our hard tyre in Spain, which is closer in characteristics to the 2012 tyre. This new tyre gives us a wider working temperature window – although it delivers a little bit less in terms of pure performance – but it should allow the teams to envisage an even wider variety of race strategies than before in combination with the other compounds, which remain unchanged this year. This is a decision that we’ve come to having looked at the data from the first four races, with the aim of further improving the spectacle of Formula One. In fact this is almost a tradition with us now, as we also introduced a revised version of the hard tyre for the Spanish Grand Prix in 2011, which was our first year in the sport. We’d expect the medium tyre to still be significantly faster and this is the one that the teams are likely to qualify on, whereas the hard is likely to be the preferred race tyre. As permitted by the current regulations, we’ll be supplying an extra set of prototype hard compound tyres for free practice, which will hopefully ensure that all the cars run throughout these sessions. It’s something we wanted to do to encourage all the teams to run as much as possible right from the start, especially with the rookie drivers, to give fans the spectacle they deserve to see.”
Jean Alesi: “I think Barcelona is the place where we will really be able to assess the tyres properly for the first time, as it’s the first European race of the year on a circuit that is a well-known reference point without any particular peculiarities. It’s a circuit that I personally always liked as a driver although it is very complicated: especially Turn 3, which is extremely demanding on the tyres. I remember it always being quite hard to overtake there, and this is one aspect where Pirelli has transformed the race in Barcelona, thanks also to the DRS. Traction is a key area of performance, which also puts a big emphasis on the tyres, so this is one of the most important races of the year because it acts as a really useful indicator for the season ahead. Introducing an extra set of tyres for free practice is a very smart move, as it’s bad for the sport to have the cars sitting in the garage for a long time. It will be interesting to see as well the effect that the new specification of hard tyre has on the race. On the whole the teams should be very well-prepared for Barcelona as they have a lot of data from testing at this circuit: the big question is how much of that data will still be relevant, as ambient and track temperatures will have changed enormously since the teams were last there.”
The circuit from a tyre point of view:
Barcelona is a fast, flowing and technical track, which asks a lot from the tyres, also due to the high temperatures and reasonably abrasive surface. Most of all though, it is the high lateral energy loadings that dictate exactly how the tyres degrade. Three pit stops is expected to be the favoured strategy, as was the case last year.
The 4.655-kilometre track contains 16 corners, mostly right-handers, putting the emphasis on the left tyres in particular, which do most of the work.
Last year, the hard and soft tyres were selected – but this year’s compounds are generally softer than their equivalents last year, so the 2013 medium is broadly equivalent to last year’s soft. The top five finishers selected a three-stop strategy at last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, all starting on the soft tyre. The best-placed two-stopper came eighth, having started from last.
Technical tyre notes:
The key to a quick lap time in Barcelona is finding the right compromise between aerodynamic grip and mechanical grip. Most teams run a stiff set-up at the front, to help turn-in, but go softer at the back to gain traction.
Changing wind direction – a significant variable in Barcelona – is a factor that has an important impact on car set-up, especially during the first corner.
Nine out of the last 10 races at the track have been won from pole position. Last year was no exception. Qualifying will be crucial – which means putting the extra set of tyres in free practice to good use in order to find an optimal set-up.
The tyre choices so far:
|PZero Red||PZero Yellow||PZero White||PZero Orange|
Meet the Pirelli F1 Team: Max Damiani, F1 Chief Engineer Co-ordinator
Max was born in a small town not far from Milan, where he has lived all his life. He joined Pirelli in 1991. His first role within the Italian firm was working on Pirelli’s World Rally Championship programmes with Ford and Toyota. Subsequently he also took up a role behind the steering wheel, becoming a test driver for Pirelli’s road car products, mostly for SUVs. But such was his passion for motorsport that he continued to work on events during the weekends. Since 2001 he has worked full-time in Pirelli’s competitions department as a senior engineer, in different championships including GT racing both in Europe and America. When Pirelli entered Formula One in 2011, Max took on the role of engineer co-ordinator as well as remaining a senior engineer. Despite maintaining his youthful good looks, Max is actually the only person on the current programme who has a connection to Pirelli’s former engagement in Formula One that ended in 1991. During that final season, Max worked on three Formula One races as an engineer. In the rare moments that he has to himself, Max enjoys participating in sports – particularly a martial art named Wing Chun and downhill mountain biking – and spending time with his family. Sadly, he doesn’t have time to compete as an amateur rally driver any more: a passion he shares with Pirelli’s racing manager Mario Isola. So Sebastien Loeb can relax…
Other news from Pirelli:
Supporting Formula One, Barcelona hosts the opening round of this year’s GP3 Series as well as round three of the GP2 Series. Both of the grand prix feeder categories are supplied exclusively by Pirelli.
Pirelli’s Paul Hembery attended the opening round of the British Rally Championship last weekend: the Pirelli Richard Burns Foundation Rally, which was won by Finland’s Jukka Korhonen on Pirelli tyres. Pirelli hosted a charity evening during the event to raise funds for the Richard Burns Foundation, in memory of the 2001 World Rally Champion who died of a brain tumour in 2005.
The latest round of the Pirelli-backed FIA GT Series at Zolder in Belgium resulted in one of the closest finishes in the history of the championship. The Lamborghini crew of Peter Kox and Stefan Rosina beat the Audi of Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor by just 0.448s after an hour of racing.
Pirelli P Zero hard and medium compounds have been nominated for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Renault Sport F1
Mark’s 2013 Spanish Grand Prix preview
The European Formula One season gets underway in Spain this weekend, at a track where Mark has achieved a lot of success during his career. He won from lights-to-flag at Barcelona in 2010 and he’s hoping to kick-start his 2013 title challenge this weekend.
“The last couple of races have been pretty tough,” says Mark. “In Bahrain I was compromised early on because I damaged the floor of my car and there have been a few grid penalties at the last couple of events as well. I’m hoping to have a clean weekend here; if I can start to put away some decent results in the next few races, I still believe I can challenge for the title this year. I’m happy with the way I’m driving, I just need a clean weekend.
“I like this track in Barcelona; it’s high-speed and has a pretty good flow to it. It’s a good test of man and machine, and it’s quite fun having the tower on the start-finish straight because you see immediately where you are after a qualifying lap. Everyone will find out how good their car is here, so it’s certainly going to be interesting.”
The three-week break since the last race in Bahrain has been a busy time for Red Bull Racing. The team has been preparing upgrades for this race and it’s been doing as much homework as possible about Pirelli’s new hard compound tyre that’s due to be introduced.
“This year’s tyres have been very difficult for all of the teams to understand,” says Mark. “The new hard compound throws something else into the mix, but one team can’t say it’s more confident than another as a result of the change. Only once we’ve tried it in practice will we begin to understand how it works.”
Mark couldn’t let the build-up of this weekend’s race pass without commenting on the retirement of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I’ve been to Old Trafford many times,” says Mark. “I’ve watched Sir Alex’s team play and I’ve admired everything about him. His longevity has been impressive; his desire and ambition has been infectious and the team will miss him very much. I’m sure David Moyes will do a great job, but there’s no doubt that Sir Alex will be missed. One day I’d like to meet him and shake his hand because what he’s achieved has been phenomenal.”