Hear from the drivers ahead of the Barcelona Grand Prix at Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
We’ve had races in parks and races on streets narrow enough to embarrass the supersized reputations of even the world’s finest racing drivers. We’ve had races in the searing heat and the dust of the desert and we’ve had races where the temperature jumped from freezing to fiery within the space of 24 hours. It’s been a topsy-turvy start to the season and it’s bout time we had something a bit more… regular.
And they don’t come much more regular than Spain’s Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. After all, this is F1’s proving ground, the sport’s test bench, a place where we’ve clocked up a whopping 13,951 test laps since 2005 – that’s 64,815km of historical data to draw upon when heading to the Spanish Grand Prix. To say we know the place fairly well might be the understatement of the year, or even the decade.
And because it’s F1’s favourite test location and because it’s close to the team’s factories, it’s also the race where teams attempt to step up the pace of development, with every outfit bringing a host of updates to this race, where, after four flyaways, you really do get to find out where you really stand in the pecking order.
So is it a case of familiarity breeding contempt in our drivers? Or are they looking forward to hooking up with an old mate and going wild once more? Let’s find out…
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – familiar friend or foe?
This is always an exciting time of the year. It’s the start of the European season, the time where you see lots of car development and in a way, the start of summer, which I love.
So you’re up for your eighth career Spanish Grand Prix?
Definitely. Last year I got my first podium of the season there, which was cool, so we’ll try and go for the same or better this year.
The Barcelona circuit is fun, we’ve done a lot of laps around there and we know it very well, nonetheless it’s certainly not boring and we always enjoy going back. The race is kind of a staple in the F1 calendar now. The track has a bit of everything, Turns 1, 2 and 3 are nice flowing corners and the last section is very technical.
Barcelona’s traditionally the race where everyone brings a major update. Is that the case for us too this year?
Everybody has done a lot of laps in Barcelona but I’m looking forward to seeing how the cars progress this year. We have many updates coming, hopefully they will be positive and we can be even closer to the front, but of course everybody else will also bring new parts.
So, do you think this weekend could shake up the pecking order?
It could be quite a defining moment for the season and I’m interested to see how everyone will perform. I believe our car is very fast, we still need a bit more top speed but hopefully that will come.
And what about the weekend in Spain? Following your 2016 win it must now be one of your favourite venues?
I am of course also looking forward to the weekend as I have good memories from my first F1 win there and I will be happy to start the European season and have the comforts of the Energy Station.