Spanish GP: Sauber preview

Barcelona is the second European stop for the Formula One teams. Due to the high familiarity of the track to all teams it is expected to show a particular close competition. Once again the right choice of the race strategy will be a very crucial...

Barcelona is the second European stop for the Formula One teams. Due to the high familiarity of the track to all teams it is expected to show a particular close competition. Once again the right choice of the race strategy will be a very crucial factor.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Its location in Europe and the clement weather that is usually one of its best characteristics has made the Circuit de Catalunya hugely popular with the Formula One teams, as a venue for winter testing, and testing between races."

"This can be a two-edged sword, however. On the one hand it means that everyone is very familiar with its numerous foibles; on the other, for that very reason it is one of those places on which everyone usually manages to optimise their cars so teams tend to line up two-by-two on the starting grid. That may change this year, however, because of the revised regulations which place more importance on race strategy by obliging teams to qualifying in the same trim in which they will compete the next day."

"The setting at the Circuit de Catalunya concentrates on the dominating medium and high-speed corners. That makes aerodynamic efficiency very influential on lap times. You tend to use high downforce despite the very long start/finish straight."

"The surface of the track is pretty abrasive, which means that tyre wear is a key factor for the race. For the setting, the car balance is the most important factor at this circuit."

Nick Heidfeld (1 point 2003):

"I like the Circuit de Catalunya. I like the fact that set-up work assumes even greater importance because so many teams are so familiar with the place. I also like the fact that you have to look after your tyres - especially the left front - because of the track's abrasive surface. Traction control helps to an extent, but the driver still needs to be sensitive to the car's needs.

"Because everyone knows the track so well I don't expect any surprises, but I think we should go well there this weekend."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (7 points 2003):

"This is a track that I know well and like. It is an interesting combination of medium and fast curves, with those two very quick right-handers at the end of the lap which have a significant influence on your lap times. I like the challenge of the place, and I like the enthusiasm of the fans and Barcelona city centre itself. This is an enjoyable place to stage a Grand Prix.

"The nature of the track surface means that you have to set the car up carefully and to look after your tyres, and there are some ripples in places that create interesting factors to take into account. Despite the long start/finish straight and the relatively tight first corner, braking isn't a factor you have to be too concerned about, unlike, say, Imola. Like I said, looking after your tyres is one of the most important things."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Nick Heidfeld
Teams Sauber