Preview: Spanish GP Welcomes F1 with Revised Track Layout
Aerial view Spanish Grand Prix track layout. Barcelona, Spain. May, 2023. Photo Courtesy: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya welcomes back the FIA Formula 1 World Championship this weekend, hosting the Spanish Grand Prix on a revised track layout.

The traditional circuit, located in Montmelo, Barcelona, is home for the eighth round of the series 2023 calendar, the Formula 1 AWS Gran Premio de Espana, set to take place on June 4.

Ahead of its 33rd edition, the Grand Prix boasts a series of changes, returning to its original two-corner design. Removing the final slow chicane aims to improve track safety.

In that regard, new TECPRO barriers have been installed in the last two turns as new fences in the first two.

Also, the run-off area in Turn 1 is now wider, featuring 70 meters of gravel, adding to the safety improvements.

Particularly demanding on an F1 car’s aerodynamics and the driver’s neck across its 66 laps, the track, spanning 4.657km (2.894 mi), comprises one of the longest runs from the pole position to the braking zone at the first corner (613 meters), a DRS straight, as a wide range of corners, 14 overall.

On Wednesday, during the launch of the event at the Formula 1 Barcelona Village, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz spoke about his home race, stressing: “It’s a circuit that has a lot of history for me, it’s where I fell in love with F1.”

Adding: “This is the ideal circuit to test an aerodynamic package. Barcelona is the place we all mark on the calendar to test certain developments on Friday and then implement them on Saturday and Sunday.

We hope to make a step forward this weekend, get past Aston Martin, and challenge Red Bull, although we know they will all bring improvements.”

The Scuderia stands fourth in the constructor’s championship standings behind Red Bull, Aston Martin, and Mercedes.

Meanwhile, Pirelli will bring a new tire specification to Barcelona, holding materials developed for the 2024 tires, which the teams will be given its first run on a Grand Prix weekend during FP1 and FP2.

Two-time F1 world champion Red Bull Max Verstappen leads the drivers’ standings with 144 points, followed by teammate Sergio Perez (105) and Aston Martin Fernando Alonso (93), who will look to step into his sixth podium of the season in seven races.

The sixth round of the season, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, got canceled for safety concerns, as the northern Italian region suffered heavy flooding.

Following the track inspection conducted by Stuart Robertson, Head of Circuit and Rally Safety at the FIA, and Niels Wittich, FIA Formula 1 Race Director and Safety Delegate, the Spanish track was homologated in both forms, with and without the chicane, as other motorsport series such as MotoGP, Moto E, Formula 2, Formula 3, or GT World Challenge Europe are stage throughout the year.

Organizers expect over 100,000 people to attend the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, boasting a capacity for 140.000 spectators.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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