Spanish Steps

Cast your mind back to the days of your childhood and recall how you felt when grown-ups told you that your birthday was not simply a meaningless point in the future that required the turning of many pages of the calendar, but an actual day of the week in view. Remember how difficult it was not to break in the broadest, jawbreaker of a grin at the prospect of all those gifts, and all those sweets. Well, that's how it feels to head to Barcelona.

No disrespect to the venues we've already raced at, they have the own special appeal, but the Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona and the start of the European season always feels a bit like... well, a kid in a candy store.

The trucks will be back, we'll once again be able to relax in our amazing home-from-home, the Energy Station, the atmosphere cranks up a notch as F1 hits its heartland, and this year we have the added gift of an updated RB13. Could there be a better series of Euro season welcoming presents? Not according to our drivers there isn't...

Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel, we're on the cusp of what is predominantly the European leg of the season. What does that mean?
We'll have the Energy Station back in Barcelona so that's nice and it'll be an easier environment to prepare in. We've got it now for a few months and that means that we can actually put some things in our room that we can come back to. Little things that give us privacy and that 'home feeling' like favourite snacks, training equipment or our own shower.

Barcelona's got a bit of everything.

Apart from ready access to snacks you probably shouldn't be eating, what about the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya? Are you over it because of all the testing or does it still provide a challenge?
Barcelona is one of the better circuits on the calendar and it's got a bit of everything. Turns 1, 2 and 3 are really good flowing corners and the last section is very technical. The end of the lap is quite slow and that's where your tyres start to drop off which is why it's really hard to finish the lap clean.

We're going there with what Christian has called 'a new car'. Excited?
I hope the upgrade will give us a chance to really fight with Mercedes and Ferrari or at least get us closer. The reason we have an upgrade in Barcelona is because the data from the tests and the first races has been analysed and new parts have been designed and built. This development process takes time and everyone back at the factory is working hard to ensure that these upgrades happen as quickly as possible. 

We all hope to see an improvement and it also means that the people who do the work behind the scenes get their reward as well. It's a good feeling for everyone when the upgrades work.

Max Verstappen
Daniel's first thought about the European season was that we'll be back in the Energy Station. Does having our base in the paddock help you with your weekend prep?
It means familiar food and more of a normal, comforting driver room. You get to chill out and prepare in your own room, which is worth a lot if you're travelling as much as we do. Being back in Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix is exciting, especially so for me this year.

Being back at the Spanish Grand Prix is exciting.

Obviously, Spain has some particularly good memories for you.
Yes, around this time last year I got the call to join Red Bull Racing, which was a great feeling, and then when it got announced everything happened really fast. I spent a lot of time in the factory getting prepared in the simulator in order to get used to the car. There was a lot of media attention, but I wasn't really nervous, just happy that I was finally driving for a top team.

Last year was such a special race to me and in the end we managed to pull it off. It was an incredible feeling once I passed the finish line, especially in my first race with a new team. Going back to Spain will always mean a lot to me.

Track wise I really like Turn 3 as it's flat and quite a long corner, so that's good neck training.

What about the prospect of a car update. What are you hoping for?
We have to wait and see. I hope we can be a bit closer to the top teams or that we can at least follow them. That would already be a good step forward.