Spanish GP: Sauber preview

After the promising first European round Sauber Petronas is now looking forward to the next challenge at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Willy Rampf (Technical Director): "We know the Circuit de Catalunya very well because it is such a ...

After the promising first European round Sauber Petronas is now looking forward to the next challenge at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"We know the Circuit de Catalunya very well because it is such a popular venue for testing. Besides the usually benign weather there is a good reason for this: the circuit has a blend of corners that show up all the performance aspects of a car. There are four high-speed corners, several medium-speed, and new for 2004 is a sharper turn at the entrance of the La Caixa bend."

"It's not particularly demanding for the brakes, for example, but aerodynamic efficiency is very important and we run close to our 2004 maximum level of downforce there."

"The other big factor is tyre degradation due to the abrasiveness of the track surface. Even though there is the long main straight, you need high downforce to stop the car sliding around and exacerbating the tyre wear."

"Another thing is that the nature of the track changes very much with temperature. This influences the balance of the car and of course the lap time. When the track temperature goes up the grip generally goes down and the tyre degradation increases. These factors, together with poor weather in the last Barcelona test, mean we will have even more work to do on tyre evaluation and selection on Friday, to find the right compromise for qualifying and the race."

"We will have several new aerodynamic components on the car for this race. I'm very pleased with the reliability of the C23 and I hope that we can carry on the trend of significant improvement that was evident in Imola."

Giancarlo Fisichella (127 GPs):

"Barcelona is a circuit I know very well from all the testing I have done there over the years. It's hard on tyres, and on your neck, especially in the last two corners that lead on to the main straight! You need a good car there, with plenty of downforce and grip. Without that you can struggle."

"In Imola we made a big step forward with our car, which has proven very reliable this season. I hope we can make a similar step for Barcelona. We are also making progress in our understanding of the best way to set the car up."

"I love the atmosphere in Barcelona itself. It's one of the best places to live and to have fun, and my best memory of all my races at the circuit is setting fastest lap there in 1997 and being very competitive until I had an accident with Eddie Irvine."

Felipe Massa (20 GPs, 1 point 2004):

"Even though I have done a lot fewer races than Giancarlo this circuit is also very familiar to me because of testing so often there. It's a very nice circuit, with some very quick corners that are not so easy. They are very challenging. There's also a mix of slow and medium-speed corners too, and the key is setting up the car for these rather than for the high-speed stuff. The surface is very abrasive so it's important to make the right tyre choice and to look after them in the race."

"Barcelona is a beautiful city. I love the place. It's one of the most beautiful that we visit. And I have a fond memory of my only race there: in 2002 I finished fifth for the team."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Felipe Massa
Teams Sauber