GP2 Series Barcelona, Spain Preview

What's at stake at Circuit de Catalunya?


The 2011 season opened with a bang two weeks ago in Istanbul and saw two men take control of the rest of the field: it started with GP2 Asia Series Champion Romain Grosjean who snatched pole position and stayed ahead of the pack to take the first win of the season. But the Dams’ ace did not sail to victory as Sam Bird put pressure on the Frenchman all race long until the chequered flag. The iSport International driver valiantly fought his way to a second podium finish the following day and pocketed enough points to match Grosjean’s total of thirteen.

In the sprint race, GP3 Series graduate Stefano Coletti confirmed his good form by scoring a victory for Trident Racing after winning last February during the GP2 Asia 2011 campaign. The Monegasque driver is currently third in the drivers’ standings on ten points – the same number of points as Giedo van der Garde whose strong performance in Turkey, along with teammate’s Charles Pic, has put Barwa Addax Team at the top of the standings.

The Circuit de Catalunya puts a lot of stress on tyres.

Mario Isola

Two weeks have gone by and it is back to business for the GP2 Series’ twenty-six young guns. The Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona welcomes this weekend the second round of the 2011 season. It is a track well-known by drivers and teams alike – they took their last trip to Spain last April for a two-day test session. The Series sole tyre supplier Pirelli brought their hard compounds as Racing Manager Mario Isola explained:

“The Circuit de Catalunya puts a lot of stress on tyres, due to the combination of different factors such as track layout, aggressive asphalt and the hot weather conditions expected for the race weekend. This presents the drivers with many big challenges along the way. Because of the characteristics of the track and the likely weather conditions, we have opted for the hard slick tyres. When racing in hot ambient temperatures we need to put the accent on durability, which comes though at the expense of grip. It’s a tough compromise but an important part of racing.”

Podium: winner Fabio Leimer, second place Luiz Razia, third place Pastor Maldonado
Podium: winner Fabio Leimer, second place Luiz Razia, third place Pastor Maldonado

Photo by: xpb.cc

Last year, it was Jules Bianchi at Lotus ART who scored the first pole position of the season, but it was Pic at Arden International who became the victor in the feature race and Fabio Leimer at Ocean Racing Technology who won in the sprint race. After two first action-packed events in Turkey, all eyes are turned to Barcelona as the second round of the 2011 GP2 Series season promises another heart-stopping show!

There will be two driver changes this week: Kevin Ceccon replaces Davide Rigon at Scuderia Coloni. Alvaro Parente returns to GP2 Series at Racing Engineering as Christian Vietoris had to skip this round.

-source: gp2