Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SPANISH GRAND PRIX 2013

The European leg of the season is upon us and some say this is where the real order will be known and where the real racing for the championship will start (for some teams at least). Why is that? Well, the reason is because for the last 4 flyaway races, the teams have had to pack whatever they needed for those races and make do with what they have. It's too far away to design something, test it and put it on the car say between Melbourne and Sepang. So most teams learn as much as they can from those races in order to redesign the car for Barcelona. Hence sometimes the cars at Barcelona can be called chassis B.

Circuit de Catalunya aka Circuit de Barcelona is situated to the North of Barcelona in Montmel√≥, Noth-East Spain. It is most famous for annually hosting the Spanish F1 Grand Prix although is also home to Moto GP, and GT racing competitions as well as other racing events. At 730 metres, the run from the grid to the first corner at Barcelona is the longest of the season.

Barcelona is also a very familiar circuit to all the teams as it is one of the actual circuits used in races and for testing. However, this Spanish GP circuit is still a hugely challenging track, with its own idiosyncrasies which have been known to throw drivers in the past. It is also a very good indicator of a car's abilities, if a car goes well here it would probably go well for the rest of the season. The track has a bit of everything in terms of corner types and is a very good test of a car’s aerodynamic efficiency. So Barcelona is a very important race for us fans to gauge the form of the field.

The circuit also famous for its unpredictable winds. Their strength and direction is hugely changeable and given the emphasis on aerodynamics in modern Formula One racing, finding an optimal setup for the Formula One cars will prove difficult. The aerodynamic drag generated by these winds means that F1 drivers tend to understeer or oversteer as the conditions change, which makes for some unexpected performances.

Track characteristics

Circuit length : 4.65 kilometres
Race distance : 66 laps (307 kilometres)
Corners : 16 corners in total
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce
Top speed : 317km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 305km/h without
Full throttle : 60% of the lap
Total fuel needed for race distance : 154kg (quite high)
Fuel consumption : 2.34 kg per lap.
Time spent braking : 12% of the lap (quite low)
Braking zones : 8
Brake wear : Medium/low
Total time needed for pit stop : 19.8 seconds
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.40 seconds (high)
Lap Record : 1:21.670 Kimi Raikkonen (2008)

Weather Forecast

The forecast for Catalunya Circuit this week is predicting the average daytime maximum temperature will be around 21°C, with a high for the week of 25°C expected on Wednesday afternoon. The mean minimum temperature will be 11°C, dipping to its lowest on Monday morning at 9°C. Expect the coming week to have mostly dry days although Friday 10th and Saturday 11th are likely to see a significant amount of rain. Predictions are Friday will have the most precipitation with an accumulation of around 8.0mm. On the whole winds are likely to be moderate. Sunday is expected to be cold, a bit wet with some sunshine. Should be interesting.

Tires

Pirelli tyre choice for Spain: Hard and Medium. The difference between the medium and the hard should be around 0.5s to 0.8s per lap.

The track surface of The Catalunya Circuit tends to be quite rough and will take its toll on the F1 tires. Those Formula 1 drivers who have been struggling with tire wear over the course of the Formula one Grand Prix season may find this a challenging track.

Chance of a safety car

There have been 5 Safety Car periods in this race since 2003, and 4 of those were for first lap incidents.
 
DRS

This year the trend is to have 2 DRS zones per race except for Monaco and Suzuka. For Barcelona, DRS zone 1 is between Turn 9 and 10 with the detection zone between turn 8 and 9. DRS zone 2 is on the main straight between turn 16 and 1 with detection between turn 15 and 16.


It has been an interesting season so far with the new tires and shuffling of the drivers around. Barcelona will be a tough test and a good indicator of the pecking order. This is gonna be a cracker of a race.

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