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Formula 1 Round 10: The 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

Publish Date: 06/20/2024
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
The start of the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix where Max Verstappen would emerge victorious, followed by his team mate Sergio Perez and George Russel from Mercedes completing the podium.

Fresh off an exciting race in Montreal, the F1 season is heading back to Europe. With five races in the next six weeks before the summer break, the action kicks off in Barcelona. This is the first in a triple-header that might shake up the competition again.

Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Statistics

  • Friday, June 21: First and second practice
  • Saturday, June 2: Final practice and qualifying
  • Sunday, June 23: Spanish Grand Prix

Key Stats

  • First Grand Prix: 1951 (Pedralbes)
  • Track Length: 4.657 km
  • Lap Record: 1m 16.330s by Max Verstappen (2023)
  • Most Pole Positions: Michael Schumacher (7)
  • Most Wins: Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton (6 each)
  • Fun Fact: Fernando Alonsoโ€™s last F1 win was at this track in 2013
  • Pole to Turn 1 Distance: 595 meters
  • Overtakes in 2023: 107
  • Safety Car Odds: 50%
  • Virtual Safety Car Odds: 25%
  • Pit Stop Time Loss: 22.3 seconds (includes a 2.5s stop)

Track Analysis

Barcelona is a track that drivers know very well, almost like a home circuit because they spend so much time there. It’s a challenging course with long, flowing corners that test the neck and body, especially in Turns 3-4 and Turn 9. The track’s abrasive surface also leads to high tire wear, particularly on the front-left tire. Overtaking here is tough, with Turn 1 being the main spot for passing.

Red Bull’s Challenge

We looked at Red Bull’s struggles with kerbs and bumps before the Canada race, where Max Verstappen still managed to win despite being challenged by McLaren and Mercedes at different points. Red Bull is expected to perform better on Barcelonaโ€™s smoother track, but after the close competition in Canada, it will be interesting to see how they fare against rivals like Mercedes and Ferrari, who have also had strong moments this season.

Ferrari’s Response to a Horrific Canadian Performance

Before Canada, Ferrari was seen as a serious title contender, but they struggled throughout the weekend, with both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz failing to reach Q3 and then retiring. Team Principal Fred Vasseur and Leclerc both noted some positives, but there are still questions as they head to Spain. Barcelona will be a chance for Ferrari to show if their Canada issues were just a blip.

New Upgrades All Around

Barcelona often sees teams bring major upgrades, and this year should be no different despite cost caps. The trackโ€™s location makes it easy for teams to bring new parts, and with five races in six weeks, any upgrades will get plenty of use. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a great all-round test for cars, providing a reliable setup to assess new parts.

Carlos Sainzโ€™s Future

The Spanish Grand Prix is significant for Spanish drivers Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso. While Alonso has secured his future with Aston Martin, Sainzโ€™s plans are still uncertain. His main options seem to be Sauber (soon to be Audi) and Williams, with Alpine as an outside possibility. While it would be convenient for Sainz to announce his decision at his home race, he’s focused on making the best choice for his future.

Alpineโ€™s Internal Dynamics

Thereโ€™s ongoing tension at Alpine between Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly. In Montreal, Ocon was unhappy about being asked to move over for Gasly late in the race but eventually did. The team didn’t swap the positions back, citing the presence of Nico Hulkenberg close behind Ocon. This incident has kept the spotlight on the teamโ€™s internal dynamics, and similar situations could arise in future races.

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