Barcelona is well known to every team. However, that doesn't make it an easy proposition. Here's why. Franck Montagny knows the Circuit de Catalunya intimately. He has raced there many times throughout his career and his role with the Renault F1...
Barcelona is well known to every team. However, that doesn't make it an easy proposition. Here's why.
Franck Montagny knows the Circuit de Catalunya intimately. He has raced there many times throughout his career and his role with the Renault F1 Team means he has run here more than ever before. Since 25 November last year, Franck has completed more than 13,000 km in an F1 car, and most of them at Barcelona. Of all the F1 drivers, he is the man who has done most mileage over the last six months and -- as a result -- probably the best-placed man to talk about the parameters to watch out for this weekend.
The wind: "The circuit is close to the sea, and the mountains are not far away," explains Franck. "It is always a bit windy, but the direction can change from one day to the next. That means that down the two straights, the wind is either at your back or coming at you head on. You need to take account of it when choosing downforce settings and gear ratios."
Turns 13 and 14: "These are the last two corners, and they dictate your straightline speed," continues the Frenchman. "Physically, they are quite demanding for the driver as they put a lot of strain on the neck! Having said that, you can make up time here. The key to getting it right? Good aerodynamics and a chassis set-up to ride the bumps well."
Turn 1: "Critical in the race. As a driver, you cannot separate it from Turn 2 because they are linked: if you run wide in the first part, you will lose time through the second. At the start, you need to be careful of hitting other cars in this part of the circuit."
Tyres: "Barcelona includes three very quick right-hand corners, taken at more than 200 kph. And the tarmac is very abrasive. It's a real test for the tyres: the left rear is under most load, but we pay special attention to the left front. Although the front tyre is used 37% less than the rear, high degradation can have a real impact on the car's handling."
The crowd: "It's going to be crazy this weekend! Yesterday during our circuit walk, the spectators were already shouting Fernando's name and looking for autographs. This morning, it was difficult getting into the circuit becase there were so many people. It's going to be a full house for the race!"