The Catalunya circuit on the outskirts of Barcelona is well known to the drivers and teams, following two pre-season tests where we got an early glimpse of the performance of this year’s cars.
A staple on the calendars of not just Formula One but many other motorsport series, the layout combines long sweeping corners with twisty technical sections – a key reason why Formula One chooses this circuit to give its cars a thorough workout before the season starts. Williams has managed to secure six wins at the Spanish Grand Prix, including a memorable victory in 2012.
For Spain, Pirelli has made available the soft, medium and hard tires.
Paddy Lowe: We come to the first European race of the season. After the Russian Grand Prix this is the first time that we have seen all the cars and freight come back to the factory since everything headed out to Australia in early March. It marks a new phase in the calendar as we return to the familiar surrounds of the race trucks and motorhomes in the paddock. It’s also normally the time we see the first major upgrades brought to the cars, which is even more significant this year given the new aerodynamic regulations. The circuit itself is one we are well acquainted with, having completed all of our pre-season testing there. This circuit provides a very challenging test of the car’s performance, particularly the aerodynamics through Turns Three and Nine and the suspension through the third sector. We didn’t get all the points we wanted in Russia but we can see the potential in the car and therefore our aim is to bring home two cars with points finishes in Spain.
Felipe Massa: Barcelona is a track that most of the drivers know pretty well. It’s a little bit like a home Grand Prix for everybody because we’re always testing there! You need good downforce for the high-speed sections, and you also need very good traction in the last sector. We had a good pre-season test there this year, but this is where it counts. I really hope we can have a good weekend without any unlucky incidents like we had in Sochi.
Lance Stroll: While I know Barcelona well from testing there in series like Formula Renault and Formula 3 and obviously the Formula One tests before the start of the season, I have never actually raced on the track. It is a track I love and there are particular parts of it I really like. For instance I enjoy the first sector, which is high speed for corners one, two and three and even into four and five. This part is really flowing. Then the last sector becomes tight, twisty and technical. Having said that, it is still a tricky one. On top of that I really like the city of Barcelona and look forward to staying there. It has a lot of atmosphere and some amazing areas.