The fifth round of the Formula One championship will be the Spanish Grand Prix and the teams are hoping for improvement at the Circuit de Catalunya. BAR took the challenge to Ferrari in San Marino and is aiming to do the same in Barcelona, perhaps...
The fifth round of the Formula One championship will be the Spanish Grand Prix and the teams are hoping for improvement at the Circuit de Catalunya. BAR took the challenge to Ferrari in San Marino and is aiming to do the same in Barcelona, perhaps even to clinch that first victory. Williams wants to return to the front of the field and Ferrari, of course, is looking to continue its string of wins.
Barcelona is familiar ground due to the amount of testing carried out at the circuit. "Most of the teams spend a lot of time testing at the Barcelona track so the drivers know the circuit like the back of their hand," said Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya. "We are certainly one of those teams, having completed thirteen test days already there this year and covered a total of 10,363 kilometres."
Chief operations engineer Sam Michael is confident of a step forward after recent tests. "We have made further improvements to the cars since the last Grand Prix, both mechanical and aerodynamic, while Michelin have two good tyre compounds that we have been testing," said Michael. "Combined, these steps should help us in our efforts to return to the front of the field where we obviously want to be competing."
Ferrari hasn't been idle either, the team carrying out dual tests at Mugello and Monza last week, with both Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello on duty. "We hope to go to Spain with an updated version of our car, in order to have a better performance compared to the tests carried out before Easter," said Schumacher, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport. "We need to prepare well for Barcelona, because that race appears to be the hardest of the beginning of the season."
BAR will be introducing a revised package in Spain and hopes to continue with its challenge at the front. "For this race we have a small step with the engine and a development of the Imola aerodynamic package, so we expect to be able to maintain our current momentum and continue the fight with our competitors," said technical director Geoff Willis. "If we are able to extract the true performance of the car, then we can expect another exciting race weekend for the team."
Renault has been consistent so far this year, both cars in the points every race, but Fernando Alonso fears qualifying is the team's weakness at the moment. "I know that expectations are high," said the Spaniard of his home race next weekend. "But this is a new year, and we have a new car. Over one lap, we are just not there. In the race we have the consistency but we're really struggling in qualifying."
McLaren's misfortunes continued at San Marino although Kimi Raikkonen finally saw the chequered flag for the first time this year, scoring one point in eighth. Teammate David Coulthard finished twelfth after having to pit for a new front wing early on. Team boss Ron Dennis predicted improvements for Barcelona: "We are hopeful of quite a bit coming on the car for the Spanish Grand Prix," he said earlier in the season. We will have to wait a week to see if his hopes will be realised…