F1 Spanish GP 2021: race preview and time start
Changes in the Montmelò track for F1 Spanish 2021 GP
Spanish Grand Prix 2021 – Race schedule (UTC+1)
Friday 7th May:
- Free Practise 1 11:30-12:30
- Free Practise 2 15:00-16:00
Saturday 8th May:
- Free Practise 3 12:00-13:00
- Qualifying session 15:00-16:00
Sunday 2nd May:
- Race 15:00-17:00
Catalan circuit ‘returns’ to the past after completing new configuration of turn 10 (Caixa).
Work was completed at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on Turn 10. The Catalan track took advantage of the winter break to redo the look and make a return to the past against the ‘Caixa’. Turn 10 on the left has in fact returned to look similar to the original one, with a wider configuration and not narrower as had been seen in recent years.
Turn 10 had been modified in 2003 to incentivize overtaking in Formula 1, but was not very welcomed by racing enthusiasts who deemed it too narrow. In MotoGP they went on with the old layout until the GP Catalunya 2016, when they switched to the new configuration after the fatal accident of Luis Salom that took place in the free practice of Moto2.
The characteristics of the track – F1 Spanish GP
The track layout has changed this year, with a modified profile to Turn 10 (La Caixa) to improve safety. The result is a left-hander that is slightly wider than the previous version, which has allowed for a bigger run-off area and will shorten the braking zone, with a higher entry speed to the corner. The lap is also now 20 metres longer.
The well-known demands of the Barcelona track make a one-stopper very challenging: although the likelihood of cooler weather should help this year. In 2020, the race was won by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton with a soft-medium-medium two-stopper, although Sergio Perez finished fifth after stopping only once from soft to medium, while Valtteri Bottas was on the podium using a three-stop strategy.
Barcelona is renowned for being a track where it’s quite difficult to overtake for most of the lap, although the long downhill straight can give a power and DRS advantage to help line up a passing move. All this makes qualifying position and race strategy particularly important to gain track position.
With a number of support races on the bill, the surface should evolve reasonably quickly with more rubber laid down, compared to some other grands prix this year where Formula 1 has been the only track action.
“The race strategy in Barcelona was influenced primarily by the very high track temperatures last season. This year, with the race moving back to a spring date, temperatures will be cooler but should still be a key factor behind the strategy. The altered corner profile of Turn 10 provides another new challenge that could influence the way the drivers approach the lap. We’ve seen in the past that strategy has been one of the key differentiating factors at Barcelona and we would expect this to become the case once more this weekend.”