Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix 2014
Circuit de Catalunya, also known as Circuit de Barcelona, is situated only 32 kilometers from Barcelona and 18 kilometers from the Barcelona-Maresme Coast. With long straights and a good blend of corners it is seen as an all-rounder circuit. The circuit layout tests every aspect of a cars performance, aero, mechanical and engine. It is very often used for testing during the winter, so the teams know the circuit quite well. This have led to criticism that drivers and mechanics are too familiar with Catalunya, reducing the amount of on-track action.
Circuit de Catalunya is a very different kind of circuit. The erratic weather conditions, particularly the prevailing winds, can destabilise the car’s aerodynamic balance, so the teams are continually trying to find the perfect set-up. Even the slightest change in the weather or track conditions, due to the amount of rubber laid down, has a big impact. The tyres are under high loadings, particularly the front left tyre which has to work hard in right-hand corners such as turns 3 and 9. It is very important to find the perfect balance to look after the tyres.
The track is 4.65 kilometers long with a total of 16 corners, 9 right turns and 7 left turns. Minimum track width is 11 meters. The direction is clockwise. The engines will spend each lap of the race at about 57 percent full throttle, so top end speeds are important. This is most crucially on the start and finish straight which will see the drivers flat out for almost 1,000 meters. Overtaking is not easy, therefore a good qualifying performance is vital. Statistically, it is more important to start from pole position in Barcelona than it is at other circuits because many Spanish Grand Prix have been won from the pole.