Spanish GP: BMW Sauber preview

This coming Sunday, 14th May 2006, Formula One will be rolling onto the grid of the Circuit de Catalunya for the next World Championship race & ...

This coming Sunday, 14th May 2006, Formula One will be rolling onto the grid of the Circuit de Catalunya for the next World Championship race – the sixth of 18. With such a tight schedule, teams will have to do their packing and unpacking in record time.

En route from the Eifel to Barcelona, the team trucks and motorhomes will clock up a good 1,300 kilometres. That leaves no time for a breather, let alone any testing.

Nick Heidfeld:

“Every driver is very familiar with the circuit at Barcelona because so much testing takes place there. That’s mainly because the Circuit de Catalunya is a very challenging track in terms of aerodynamics. That more or less sums up the circuit: it is fast, and in its great high-speed corners you have to make sure your aerodynamics do the job."

"In the meantime, the race has also taken on a special status from a spectator point of view – due to Fernando Alonso’s success, of course. During the last test session I noticed they’ve even built new stands and heard that it’s a sell-out event. It looks like the Spanish GP is going to be a very good race.”

Jacques Villeneuve:

“The Circuit de Catalunya is a good circuit and one where I’ve been pretty successful, having won three GPs there. And of course we all know the track like the back of our hands because we do a lot of testing there. It has a couple of exciting high-speed corners, but not too many overtaking opportunities."

"There’s quite a lot of understeer to contend with. But the race track apart, Barcelona’s a great city! It’s a happening place where people like to go out and the atmosphere is great. I love the lifestyle of the city. It’s sometimes a bit difficult to understand Catalan, but with a smattering of Spanish you can get by.”

Robert Kubica:

“This grand prix is a special one because of all the testing that takes place here. For me, it’s interesting to compare my personal performance on familiar circuits and those that are new to me. I like the circuit in Barcelona with its long, fast corners. In my opinion it’s one of the best Formula One tracks."

"It's challenging and great fun driving an F1 car there. I’m really looking forward to the weekend. Unfortunately I’ve never raced in Barcelona. My first experience there was my debut Formula One test last December. But since then I’ve had eight or nine days of testing on the circuit.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

“In previous years, Spain often failed to attract a large number of fans. Then in 2005 the organisers announced a sell-out crowd. It will be the same again this year. The euphoria that Fernando Alonso has sparked off is quite palpable."

"Spain is also a strong growth market for BMW and we welcome the burgeoning interest in Formula One. Drivers and engineers regard Barcelona as a known quantity. No other race track sees so much testing, and the wealth of data for basic set-up is correspondingly great. Nevertheless the race weekend throws up surprises time and again." Conditions on the track change almost by the hour."

"Our aim is to get both cars into the third qualifying session and to pick up a few points in the race. After the successful debut of the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park, the theme park will make its second appearance in Barcelona. But rather than at the race track, which is a long way out of town, it will be set up in the heart of Barcelona – in the harbour at the end of the famous Las Ramblas boulevard.”

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis:

“Barcelona is known for its long, high-speed turns such as T3 or the two right-handers before the start/finish straight, where the left front tyre takes most of the strain. That is why aerodynamic efficiency and tyre performance are crucial. The circuit used to be known as a bit of a tyre-wrecker, but it was resurfaced at the end of 2004, which meant softer rubber could be used last year."

"The track is very sensitive to fluctuating temperatures, which affects grip levels and consequently lap times. As a result, you constantly have to make adjustments. Another difficulty is that you can’t ignore traction, as the left-hander at the end of the back straight has been made even narrower.”


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Fernando Alonso , Robert Kubica , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber