Spanish Grand Prix 31st May - 2nd June 1996 Monaco and Barcelona are relatively close geographically, but they could not offer more of a contrasted atmosphere to a Formula One race. For Round...
Spanish Grand Prix 31st May - 2nd June 1996
Monaco and Barcelona are relatively close geographically, but they could not offer more of a contrasted atmosphere to a Formula One race. For Round Seven of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the glitz and glamour of Monte-Carlo will be replaced by the intensity of the heat of the Spaniards' temperament, in a city rejuventated by the hosting of the 1992 Olympic games. But for Marlboro McLaren Mercedes drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard, the Marlborough Grand Prix of Barcelona simply represents another opportunity to perform at the highest level of their ability.
The 4.727km-long Circuit of Catalunya, situated 30km to the north east of Barcelona, is where David Coulthard made his Grand Prix debut two years ago. Having qualified ninth, he immediately showed his "getaway" talent by overtaking three cars at the start to reach sixth place. He retired later on in the race, but had already demonstrated the promise and professionalism that Marlboro McLaren Mercedes is now benefiting from.
"Obviously, the Barcelona circuit is a special venue for me as this is where I graduated to Formula One", explains David, "but we always try to do our best at every race and on every track. On current form, we'll aim for a podium finish again." Meanwhile, Mika Hakkinen, who likes the mixture of sweeping corners and long straights which characterise this circuit, will be keen to put the last few weeks misfortunes behind him and emulate his team mate's recent results.
Last week's test at Silverstone has enabled the team to determine the car configuration for this race - which will not include the midship wing at this higher speed circuit - and to continue the development of both chassis and engine.
For the first time since the Grand Prix has been held in Barcelona, all tickets for the race have been sold - a statistic which stands as testimony to the current popularity of Formula One worldwide.