Friday, May 9, 2014

SPANISH GP 2014

The Spanish Grand Prix (Spanish: Gran Premio de España, Catalan: Gran Premi d'Espanya) is a Formula One race currently held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona. The race is one of the oldest in the world still contested, celebrating its centenary in 2013. The race had modest beginnings as a production car race. Interrupted by the First World War, the race waited a decade for its second running before becoming a staple of the European calendar. It was promoted to the European Championship in 1935 before the Spanish Civil War brought an end to racing. The race was successfully revived in 1967 and has been a regular part of the Formula One World Championship since 1968 at a variety of venues.

For once, the Formula One teams have not covered thousands of kilometres of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya prior to the Spanish Grand Prix.

This year’s pre-season testing was in Jerez and Bahrain, so with these new lower-downforce, hybrid turbo cars they will be tackling blind this enigmatic circuit, which always changes with temperature and wind conditions. A car that flies in the morning can be uncompetitive in the afternoon without anything being changed on the car itself.

The Circuit de Catalunya has a bit of everything in terms of corner types and is a very good test of a car’s aerodynamic efficiency. The most important sector of the lap is the final one, which features low-speed corners. The most lap time gain and loss is here. Performance in the final sector is often taken as an indicator of how well a car will go at the next race in Monaco.

Mercedes have enjoyed an advantage of around six-tenths of a second per lap over their principal rivals Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of raw speed, though their race pace has been even better. And they are determined to pull further ahead here.

Track Characteristics

Location : Montmeló, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Track length : 4.65 kilometres
Race distance : 66 laps (307 kilometres)
Corners : 16 corners in total, considered the best test of an F1 car’s aerodynamic efficiency due to combination of variety of corner speeds
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 (2013)
Time spent braking : 13% of the lap (quite low). 8 braking zones
Brake wear : Medium/low
Total time needed for pit stop : 21 seconds
Lap record : 1:21.670 (Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, 2008)

Weather Forecast

The forecast looks good, with temperatures around 20 to 21 degrees , sunshine and a low chance of rain. The wind is often a significant factor at this track, sudden gusts and crosswinds can upset the balance of the cars, particularly in the final sector.

DRS

The two DRS (Drag Reduction System) zones used in 2013 will be in use again at the Circuit de Catalunya this year. The first one will have a detection point just before Turn 9, and it will run the length of the short straight between Turns 9 and 10. Don’t anticipate much to happen down here.


The second will have its detection point just after Turn 15 and will run for most of the length of the long pit straight, ending with braking for Turn 1, with activation 157m after Turn 16.

Tyres

Pirelli tyre choice for Spain: Hard and Medium.

Catalunya is a tough track on tyres, with the long Turn 3 the most difficult corner. It is taken at 240km/h and the corner lasts for four seconds, which puts a heavy load on the left-front tyre. The surface generally is also quite abrasive. Last year saw the winner Fernando Alonso do four stops, due to high tyre degradation. This year three stops is more likely with some two stoppers.

Safety Car

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

Mercedes have enjoyed an advantage of around six-tenths of a second per lap over their principal rivals Ferrari and Red Bull in terms of raw speed, though their race pace has been even better. And they are determined to pull further ahead here.

The circuit meanwhile is largely unchanged from last year, apart from minor work on kerbs and asphalt replacing the gravel run-off at Turn 11. This will be a very important race as it starts the European season and will show the real pecking order for the rest of the season.

If you enjoyed this posting, please do share it with your network so more people can enjoy it as well. Also, check out my t-shirt design for Fernando Alonso fans below (designs for other teams and drivers also available), click on image.


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