SPANISH GP PREVIEW
When: Friday 11 to Sunday 13 May, 2012
Where: Catalunya, Spain
Round: 5 of 20
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: On the back of a busy Mugello test we are looking forward to the Barcelona race. As the first race back in Europe this is traditionally where teams bring large performance update packages so it will be interesting to gauge the relative qualifying and race performance deltas this weekend.
Barcelona is obviously a track that all the teams know intimately and one where track conditions can change significantly throughout the event. The latest forecast predicts a warm dry Friday and Saturday, with potential for rain on Sunday. The track layout, with its high average speed and long corners, is particularly severe on the tyres so tyre handling will be paramount this weekend. Pirelli are bringing the hard and soft tyres to Barcelona which is the first time this season that this particular combination has been used.
Pastor Maldonado: We have done a lot of running here pre-season so hopefully that experience will help this weekend. It is a very enjoyable circuit to drive, technical but still quick with turns three and nine a real test. It is also difficult to set the car up here because there are high, medium and slow speed corners. We have been working hard since the last race and hopefully the updates we bring will lead to some good points.
Bruno Senna: Barcelona is one of my favourite tracks and I get a lot of support there so I am really looking forward to the race. It is a very tough circuit physically and mentality, with plenty of high speed corners and a technical last sector which separates the drivers. Lots of cars will come to Barcelona with new parts so it will be interesting to see who has progressed.
Rémi Taffin, Head of Renault Sport F1 Track Operations: We covered over 3,600km in winter testing at Barcelona, so we got plenty of data for how the engine-chassis package works round this track. This will help as there are a few challenges in Barcelona. The torque delivery has to be very accurate to deal with the slower corners in the third sector, including turn ten and the new chicane, but the engine also has to give response and drive through the upper end of the rev range to deal with the high and medium speed bends in the first half of the track. There are also several undulation changes so the gear shifts have to be correctly calibrated to give effective acceleration up the hills. The long pit straight gives an opportunity to release the KERS energy twice as the counter energy resets which should increase overtaking possibilities.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli Motorsport Director: Barcelona is a track that we are all very familiar with through testing, and we are bringing the P Zero Silver hard tyre and the P Zero Yellow soft tyre to the Spanish Grand Prix. These compounds are well-suited to the heavy demands of this track, where tyre degradation is definitely a factor due to the significant amount of lateral energy going through the tyre and an abrasive track surface, as well as relatively high ambient temperatures. This is particularly notable on the front-left tyre which does most of the work at this circuit. With one whole step between the compounds there should be a lot of scope for the teams to come up with some interesting race strategies.