Spanish GP: Some changes in the pecking order as European season gets underway?
Insight
Posted By: James Allen  |  06 May 2014   |  10:39 am GMT  |  158 comments

For once, the Formula One teams have not covered thousands of kilometres of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya prior to the Spanish Grand Prix.

This year’s pre-season testing was in Jerez and Bahrain, so with these new lower-downforce, hybrid turbo cars they will be tackling blind this enigmatic circuit, which always changes with temperature and wind conditions. A car that flies in the morning can be uncompetitive in the afternoon without anything being changed on the car itself.

There is, then, plenty of scope for teams to go the wrong way on set-up this weekend and that could cost them.

As is traditional after the initial flyaway races, we can expect to see significant upgrades on all cars this weekend. The power units from Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari have become significantly more reliable since the opening race two months ago and we will see some large steps in performance, up to 10-15bhp (even though development of engines is not allowed) due to manufacturers making fixes to mapping and other areas such as torque delivery in order to optimise performance.

Aerodynamically, updates on cars will be part of a package that has typically taken 10-12 weeks of wind tunnel time. Expectations inside teams will be high and unlike previous years we could see some changes to the pecking order as a result. It’s unlikely that any team will have caught Mercedes, which has a significant advantage, but behind them there may be new contenders for podiums and points.

The Circuit de Catalunya has a bit of everything in terms of corner types and is a very good test of a car’s aerodynamic efficiency. The most important sector of the lap is the final one, which features low-speed corners. The most lap time gain and loss is here. Performance in the final sector is often taken as an indicator of how well a car will go at the next race in Monaco.

The Pirelli medium and hard tyres will be used this year. Last year saw the winner Fernando Alonso do four stops, due to high tyre degradation. This year three stops is more likely with some two stoppers.


Track characteristics – click on map to enlarge

Circuit de Catalunya; 4.65 kilometres. Race distance: 66 laps = 307 kilometres, 16 corners in total, considered the best test of an F1 car’s aerodynamic efficiency due to combination of variety of corner speeds.

Aerodynamic setup – High downforce. Top speed 317km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 305km/h without.

Full throttle – 60% of the lap (2013).

Time spent braking: 13% of the lap (quite low). 8 braking zones. Brake wear: Medium/low.

Total time needed for pit stop: 21 seconds.


Form Guide

The Spanish Grand Prix is the fifth round of the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship.

So far the season has been dominated by the Mercedes drivers, with Lewis Hamilton winning the last three races and Nico Rosberg still leading the championship due to a win and three podiums.


However Spain always sees significant upgrades and development parts on the cars; the pursuing pack, led by Red Bull and Ferrari, appear to be making progress and this weekend will be a crucial test to determine whether either is on track to mount a serious challenge. The Constructors’ Championship already looks a forlorn hope, with Mercedes almost 100 points clear of Red Bull, but the Drivers’ championship is still attainable if Red Bull or Ferrari make a step change in performance here.

Qualifying has historically been critical in Barcelona. Eight  of the past 10 grands prix here have been won from pole position. However in 2011 the race was won by Sebastian Vettel from second on the grid and in 2013 Alonso won having started fifth.

The arrival of DRS rear wings has meant a significant improvement in overtaking, which was always a problem at this circuit.

Normally a good Barcelona update should be worth around three to four tenths of a second per lap, but with large advances possible on the power unit side as manufacturers fix problems with this immature technology and allow teams to exploit more of the potential, we could see bigger gains than that; over half a second in some cases.

As far as driver form is concerned at Barcelona, Felipe Massa (2007), Jenson Button (2009), Pastor Maldonado (2012), Kimi Raikkonen (’05 and ’08), Alonso (’06 and ’13) and Vettel (2011) are all previous winners. Lewis Hamilton has never won the event.

Nico Rosberg was on pole for the Spanish Grand Prix last year.

Weather Forecast

The forecast looks good, with temperatures around 20 to 21 degrees , sunshine and a low chance of rain.

The wind is often a significant factor at this track, sudden gusts and crosswinds can upset the balance of the cars, particularly in the final sector.


Likely tyre performance and other considerations

Pirelli tyre choice for Spain: Hard and Medium.

Catalunya is a tough track on tyres, with the long Turn 3 the most difficult corner. It is taken at 240km/h and the corner lasts for four seconds, which puts a heavy load on the left-front tyre. The surface generally is also quite abrasive.

Last year there were changes to the Pirelli tyres at this race after problems in the opening races and higher than expected degradation here meant that many teams did four stops.

This year’s tyres are more stable and more durable, so we are likely to mainly see three-stop strategies. Practice running on Friday will determine the relative pace of the medium and hard tyres and the likely pattern of usage of the two compounds for the race. It’s likely that most will start the race on the faster medium tyres.

With some high energy right-hand corners, the limitation will be with the tyres on the left side of the car, particularly the front; when their performance starts to drop off it will be time to pit.


Number and likely timing of pit stops

Although last year high degradation pushed teams into doing four stops, this year we are likely to see three-stop strategies and perhaps some teams doing just two.

The first two stint lengths are vital for setting the strategy. If a car is not able to run the desired stint length at the target pace then a Plan B comes into operation.

To make a two-stop work a team needs to be able to get to lap 14 or 15, while a three-stopping driver will come in for the first time around lap 10.

Three stops is likely to be the preferred route, with stops around laps 10, 26 and 44 one possible strategy.

Chance of a safety car

There have been five Safety Car periods in this race since 2003, and four of those were for first lap incidents.


Recent start performance

At 730 metres, the run from the grid to the first corner at Barcelona is the longest of the season. This leads to quite a few changes of order on the opening lap and represents a significant opportunity for cars which have qualified lower than expected to make ground.

Starts are crucial for race strategy and can make or compromise a race. The table below is intended as an indicator of trends. Where a car has a problem on the opening lap it is noted below, while other cars will clearly benefit from its absence on the opening lap.

As far as 2014 start performance is concerned drivers have gained (+) or lost
(-) places off the start line this season, on aggregate, as follows:

Gained places
11 – Ericsson
9 – Maldonado
8 – Massa
7 – Bottas, Hulkenberg
5 – Kobayashi, Gutierrez
4 – Sutil [See notes], Chilton
3 – Bianchi, Perez [See notes]
2 – Alonso
1 – Ricciardo, Grosjean

Net Held position
Rosberg
Raikkonen

Lost places
13 – Vergne
3 Vettel
2 – Button, Kvyat, Hamilton, Magnussen

Melbourne Notes: Kobayashi, Massa eliminated in a first corner accident; Perez, Gutierrez pitted at the end of Lap 1; Bianchi, Grosjean started from pit lane.
Malaysia Notes: Perez started from pit lane, Bianchi pitted at the end of lap 1
Bahrain notes: Vergne pitted at the end of lap 1 after contact
China Notes: Sutil lost power at start and dropped 8 places, retiring soon after.


Pit Stop League Table

Of course good strategy planning also requires good pit stop execution and we have seen tyre stops carried out in under two seconds by F1 teams. However this season teams are more concerned with consistency than outright speed, so times have dropped off by half a second or so.

The league table below shows the order of the pit crews based on their fastest time in the UBS Chinese Grand Prix, from the car entering the pit lane to leaving it. Worth noting is how close it has become with just over a second separating the top seven teams.

1. Red Bull 22.246 seconds
2. McLaren 22.408
3. Sauber 22.734s
4. Force India 22.764
5. Ferrari 22.776
6. Mercedes 22.968
7. Lotus 23.022
8. Toro Rosso 23.521
9. Williams 23.639
10. Caterham 23.677
11. Marussia 23.781

 

For a useful at a glance info graphic with all the key considerations for the race, click here Infographic

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1

I don’t even know the wayy I stopped up here, hwever I assumed this post used to be great.

I do not know who you’re however certainly you’re going to a well-known blogger should you aren’t already.

Cheers!

2

Notes on Sergio Perez

He did not start from pit lane in Malasya, in fact he had a No Start.

3

do barcelona race winners go on to win the championship? if not, why is everyone claiming barcelona is the test for pace for the rest of the season?

4

Can’t wait almost like the start if the season should see interesting results.

5
kenneth chapman

talking to a close friend last night who is in barcelona who has very close to connections to mclaren, after many years with vodaphone, he told me about a discussion he had earlier on in the day.

it was based on the electronics controlling the PU and that mercedes have devised super software packages that can be tailored to meet almost any circuit they choose. now i’m sure that a lot of other teams have similar set ups but the mercedes package is extremely sophisticated and believed to be ahead of all the others. true or false? who knows but it is interesting.

in effect he said that monaco will simply be dialled in and away they go. if this is correct then what is to stop them from simply continuing to race away at the front. his contact also said that he was of the opinion that mercedes have still not shown their full hand yet and won’t unless someone gets within close proximity.

of course all this was tempered with all the unknowns that happen on the day which cannot be either planned for or even pre empted. nevertheless it is all rather ominous for the other teams hoping to close the gap.

6

which calibrated instruments were used to measure these rigs, on which day did they carry out the measurements to find out how superior the mercedes’ rig is compared it the rest of the field?

7
kenneth chapman

@ aveli….que? i haven’t got a clue as to what you are saying. ‘rigs’ and ‘software’ don’t usually go together.

i have simply posted some information that i received.if you can’t understand the general thrust of it that is your problem. there is nothing more that i can add apart from the fact that i am no ‘code warrior’ and that these new PU’s are only as functional as the software that controls the management of both inputs and outputs of the various energy sources, or so i believe. rightly or wrongly.

8

looking at changes in the top speed of the cars, redbull and ferrari are hot on their heels. it’s very likely we’ll see a non mercedes car on pole this weekend.

are the corners of the cars named alphabetically? front right and right rear?

9

Mercedes should dominate again this weekend.

The car is really good on its tyres, meaning that it will be good in Sector 1, where the Ferrari and the Lotus were so good last year.

The car will also be good in Sector 2, which will show a picture of what we have seen this year so far.

The car will be awesome through Sector 3, which is not too dissimilar to the Hungaroring.

The innovation of the turbo parts of the engine, results in a better cooling system for the car, which means much more engine power through combustion, and is an aid to eliminate turbo lag, which allows the ERS unit to be put in better use in terms of performance. The better cooling allows for smaller side-pods, creating less aerodynamic drag. With the air compressor at the front of the engine, the rear is cooler, meaning that the gearbox can be placed just about underneath the engine, giving the car a better centre of gravity, meaning the car handles better, in terms of changes of direction.

So Mercedes should and probably will dominate this weekend in Barcelona.

10
Adrian Newey Jnr

Here’s hoping Williams can get their act together. They were in a position to score a lot of points early in the season with a good car. I fear that through a series of own goals, they will be swallowed up in the points chase as the season goes on.

11

James, would you know anything about the visit of Ross Brawn to Maranello recently? There must be something to it, no?

12
David in Sydney

We will see Ross back next year.

Either as a shareholder of Williams, as team principal for McLaren (Honda) or, extremely unlikely, back at Ferrari.

As the team principal of Haas, I guess.

13

He says no, he was with friends on a wine tour – he’s a big wine buff

Knowing Ross he would be aware of the interest and it keeps his name in circulation

As for a return, Mattiacci clearly is not a racer, but would do well in the CRO role like Toto Wolff at Mercedes with Brawn as team boss like Paddy Lowe. McLaren has gone for the same model. Ross would restore pride but I’m not sure he would do it. You never go backwards in life and wht has he to prove with FERRARI?

14
kenneth chapman

i think perhaps ross brawn and LDM would have been discussing the ‘2014 vintage with the possible 2015 vintage’, followed by the ‘complexity’ and then the all important ‘nose’ over a plate of pasta.

15

At Ferrari: Nothing.

But if he goes back to Ferrari and then in a year or two they start beating the Mercs then Toto & co might feel some runny eggs on their face 😉

16

James, I think he has nothing to prove, but beating Mercedes (after he had to leave) and working with Fernando and Kimi might be just enough temptation(?)

17

Mr Allen, my apology Sir for side stepping your nominated topic,my understanding is that Mr Ross Brown was at Maranello today Tuesday the 6th and late in the day at Fiorano witnessing a Porto-type testing,Sir is there any credibility to this?.Ross Brown was supposed to be fishing,or perhaps he decided a Le Ferrari would be a better catch? be it a Ferrari Le- Mans 2015 P1 entry or F1.

Your thoughts if any.

18

Hi James,

When you say that “we will see some large steps in performance, up 10 – 15 bhp due to manufacturers making fixes…”, are you referring to Ferrari and Renault engines or does that statement include the Mercedes engines?

Do you also have any insight regarding the scope of improvement of the Mercedes engines compared to the Ferrari and Renault engines? Would Mercedes be looking at substantial improvements for the engines?

19

Yes it applies to all

Big steps this year

20
David in Sydney

Gee, those engines must be solo unreliably to require so many upgrades to make them, erm reliable.

21

Anxious to see all th updates, probably a number of nose jobs too. Apparently mclaren will trial their version of th lotus twin tusk. All eyes on RBR, if they can’t mount a challenge thn it will officially be the Lewis and Nico show for the rest of 2014

22

I agree mostly with your sentiments, but the class of 2014 hasn’t been to a bog-slow tight twiddly track yet so its not completely in the bag for Merc if they dominate at Barcelona: Monaco, Hockenhiem to a certain extent, Hungary and Singapore are all point and squirt, rear limited circuits where low speed torque, good suspension compliance, sharp steering response and a nimble, agile chassis is more important than brute power.

23

True, but the Merc engine seems to have the best driveability and torque out of slow corners as well.

24

Umm… Australia?

25

I wouldn’t call Melbourne bog slow – the average lap speed is about 126 Mph, Hungary average lap speed is about 111 Mph, and Monaco a piffling 77 Mph!

26

Thing is, once they reach budapest and singapore, mercedes will be pretty deep into thr aero development for the year.

27

It would be interesting to see McLaren trying out a new nose.

Almost anything would be better than the current giant dong (the exception being the Caterham nose).

28

I guess th best nose design is somewhere between the merc and rbr designs…

29

Agreed, although based on aesthetics as well as performance I would have to lean toward the Merc 🙂

30
Luis Pastilla

McLaren RAI

Renault ALO

Ferrari MAS

Ferrari RAI

Brawn BUT

RBR WEB

RBR VET

Williams MAL

Ferrari ALO

If mercedes slip up, this is a win for Alonso (if he wants it.)

He is happy with the car, he is getting upgrades, will be the second fastest car and not the fifth any more.

Kimi will not be in a position to fight here yet. For this reason Alonso would be foolish to repeat staying behind leading car and wait for a mistake (2012). He must attack attack attack.

Make hay as the sun is shining. Alonso.

Kimi may be back as soon as Monaco, so … ..

31

@ Luis Pastilla

Kimi will be back for Monaco. Ok so where was he for the first Five grand prix of the season? Was he absent? Or whether his twin brother have drove the first five GP’S of the season instead of kimi like LDM stated once?

Can you please enlight us?

32
Luis Pastilla

Amigo Ktischar

Kimi has not had a car suited him perfectly since the McLaren of 2005. As you know this has not hampered his career or stopped him being champ.

This year he is also asked to change his driving style to accommodate the new braking system while he is also awaiting his mechanics to provide a more precise steering for him.

Alonso is fortunate as the new car suits his driving style. He is also the most adaptable of all the top drivers and is able quickly to get a GOOD performance from the new car.

But for a FANTASTIC performance from the new car, we must wait till Kimi gets the precision he needs from the car.

I believe there was also an agreement between them that Alonso would win the first 6 races, and Kimi the rest.

Alonso is unlucky again because Merc have booked all wins for now.

33

@ Luis pastilla

You have answered the question “He is also the most adaptable of all the top drivers”

Alonso is the best pilot out there in the grid who is quick, versatile and possess plenty of guile. Simply put there is no match for Alonso in this planet

Also do not just go on with “Kimi has not had a car suited him perfectly” NO car will suit perfectly suit any pilot, notably with new regulations in 2014. Pilots need to adapt more and be versatile enough to grind out the results from given car. Kimi is not versatile nor good enough to drive the ropey cars to poduims and wins reugularly which Alonso does at ease.

Finally the Agreement bit which you posted is a good wit nothing else, given the Mercedes performance advantage no car/ pilot can think about the win atleast for the first 10 or 12 GP’S of the season.

34
Luis Pastilla

sorry about typo!

35

I’m going to disagree with you here:

If mercedes slip up, this is a win for Ricciardo – and he definitely wants it 🙂

36
kenneth chapman

@ random79 would really love to see ricci take his first win but i fear that vettel and his ‘new’ chassis [maybe with tweaks not available to ricci] will be a spoiler.

i don’t see red bull allowing ricciardo to continue beating vettel…both on and off track.

the again one can hope…..

37
kenneth chapman

@ random79…. just read the red bull pre race comments re vettel’s new chassis. two weeks ago the team, marko & horner said that they believed that the chassis on vettel’s car may have a crack in it and they would be giving him a new one.

they are now saying that vettel’s new chassis was always planned for and was part of their plan even back as far as march!!!

that’s what happens when you tell porkies! they forgot what they said just a couple of weeks back and that the decision then was a reaction to ricciardo’s excellent handling of the new car at the expense of vettel. IMO,duplicitous.

38

Maybe slightly mixed, but I agree with everything you say there 🙂

39
kenneth chapman

@random79….maybe i gave you a mixed message. i believe that ricci has outdriven vettel on merit and that RB have not assisted him individually.

my latter comment was a cynical take on RB’s previous form and i would not trust horner et al out of my sight. they need to keep vettel happy and they will do everything they can to see to it that he gets the very very best, irrespective of ricciardo.

ricciardo seems to be doing fine and so far he is definitely not vettel’s patsy by a long shot. i just hope that he can continue to rack up the great performances and take it to the ‘goldenchild’.

40

I don’t think Red Bull have been allowing Ricciardo to beat Vettel, but thus far that hasn’t stopped him 😉

Interesting that you say that Vettel will get the new toys before Ricciardo. I have no doubt that if it came to a choice RBR would still give Vettel priority (for now at least) but then again it seems that Dan is doing fine as is so we’ll see how both handle it.

41

Not with renault pu and warm weather.

42

Disqualification aside, Riccardo had a Renault PU and warm weather when he came second in Aus and since then his Red Bull will have only gotten better, so why not?

I don’t say he will do it, but I genuinely think he can do it.

43

Red Bull chassis is perfect marriage for Barcelona. I think one Red Bull will split both Mercs but I havent figured out which one tbh. Same for Ferrari- 3 weeks and a bucket load of tweaks ( hey it rhymes) and a Senna memorial.. And 3 drivers whos reputations have taken a bit of a hit lately!- this might be the most exciting Barcelona we ve seen in years. I also think Force India might shine if they can do 2 stops & with a step harder in the Pirellis this year

44

I hope you’re right – I’d love to see Ricciardo split the Mercs, so we’ll see what happens 🙂

45

I’m not so sure Random, Red Bull were a bit weak in China with race pace, they always seem to struggle slightly on front limited circuits, and unless they have had found a new front wing that eliminates the understeer that the Barcelona track usually generates, I suspect Ferrari and Fernando will be the one in prime position if the Mercs falter.

46

I don’t know Gaz Boy, RIC suffered from a poor start due to oil on the track. If he had a decent start he wouldn’t have been stuck behind VET and would more than likely have hunted ALO down, if not been in front of him from the beginning of the race. He definitely had the pace.

47

Perhaps, but it’s *just* possible that if Ricciardo had had a better start and if Vettel had moved over straight away then Ricciardo would have finished ahead of Alonso.

Of course even if everything went perfectly to plan he might still not have been able to pass Alonso on the track, but it’s still worth considering.

48

Normally I hate these 3 week breaks, especially in the early part of the season, but this year, with the gap to the Merc, I’m hoping it gives some of the teams (and engine manufacturers) a chance to tighten things up a bit.

49

I look for Raikkonen to get on top of Alonso this weekend. The weather should be warmer and qualifying should be dry. Raikkonen had better pace than Alonso in Malaysia and Bahrain. The only thing holding him back has been problems in free practice and cooler temps. I look forward to hearing from all the Alonso fans when he beaten in his home grand prix.

50

@ Brett

“I look forward to hearing from all the Alonso fans when he beaten in his home grand prix” – Like how kimi has beaten Alonso in the last four races? Hilarious at best your notions and expectations are. Alonso will completely destroy kimi like he did in china and finished a minute ahead of the Finn

These are getting tiresome and boring. Set-up issues, Practice woes, Pull rod suspension, Cooler tempratures, Driving style, Brake by wire system, Motivational troubles, Team favours Alonso. All the drivels are old and enough has been said and heard about these umnpteen times here

Can you people (like Brett & Co kimi fans) can find some other new excuses for your lead driver come the end of this grand prix. As a pure and devout Alonso Fan i like to hear new and different excuses in favour of kimi

51

to Brett: Dream On.

52

Dream on.

53
Mocho_Pikuain

Unless Alonso has some reliability issues, I think you will have to wait until next year. From all the tracks on the calendar apart from the urban ones, Barcelona is the best for Fernando.

54

Mate lets hope so !

55

No Kimi wasn’t faster than Alo only in Malaysia and Bahrain but also in Melbourne and China..Alonso was just lucky and will be fo the 15 remaining races…

56

Hi James.

You say: “(even though development of engines is not allowed)”

But the Formula 1 2014 Technical Regulations in Appendix 4 seem to suggest otherwise.

Can you clarify this?

57

performance upgrades are often masked in so called “reliability” upgrades. Other manufacturers know it, but they allow it (to an extent) because they know they might need it themselves in the future. That’s why remi taffin said renault finished V8 era with just 5% of the original parts when engines were frozen back in 2007.

Ferrari supposedly gained 8bhp in their pneumatic valves “reliability” upgrade for spain 2010.

58

The engine maps are not homologated, the hardware is. There are probably still rather large gains in mapping and most importantly the energy usage.

59

Well, that can’t be true, because Renault’s engine Guy, Remi Taffin, said there were hardware-changes:

“While there are not many visible hardware upgrades, there are significant improvements to the software that should further enhance driveability” [Remi Taffin]

See: http://grandprix247.com/2014/05/06/taffin-we-have-worked-hard-and-go-to-spain-more-confident-of-a-good-performance/

60

Performance development is not allowed. The units are homologated

Fixes for reliability, safety and cost (where a supplier has raised prices knowing the units are frozen) are allowed but all manufactures are told what the fixes are by FIA and can object

61

Well, James, that’s what the sporting regulations says in their Appendix 4, but these sporting regulations refer to homologated engines according to the technical regulations (also Appendix 4, other rule book) that give a pretty detailed description, which changes are allowed in which years, weighting every change and giving a maximum amount of “weight” for each particular year to change.

See:

http://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/regulation/file/1-2014%20TECHNICAL%20REGULATIONS%202014-01-23_0.pdf

See Page 89

Seems the following things are fixed starting with 2015:

“Upper/lower crankcase – Cylinder bore spacing, deck height, bank stagger.”

“Crankshaft – Crank throw, main bearing journal diameter, rod bearing journal diameter”

“Air valve system – Including compressor, air pressure regulation devices.”

While the following might be changed until the end of 2018:

“Combustion – All parts of parts defining combustion. Included: Ports, Piston crown, Combustion chamber, Valves geometry, timing, lift, injector nozzle, coils, spark plug Excluded: Valves position.”

But maybe I’m totally wrong in my interpretation and unfortunately I can’t ask any Formula 1 engine guru, but maybe you could?

62

Has to be Mercedes still ahead as tge track still has a long straight & Mercedes will bring something in aero to grip around corners. Think they would have learnt the lesson from last year. Still a mid range track for diwnforce.

Then its Red Bull & Mclaren & Force India then Williams.

Followed by the rest.

63

If Mclaren don’t figure out the tires, they will be at the back again. I don’t see anyone catching Mercedes, or even making much ground relatively. Mercedes will have a rather large upgrade as well.

64
Mocho_Pikuain

Ferrari wont be behind Red Bull here, their aero is very good and have improved top speed, plus the big amount of new parts coming for this GP. McLaren and Force India will suffer more, especially Force India, they will be outdeveloped.

65

I just want to second the kudos to the pit teams. 1.5 seconds seperating them all? Apparently they are not lacking in drive and commitment (see post about Marko’s driver comments).

66

I like the Barcelona track. It reminds me a bit of Estoril in its layout, a long pit straight, mega fast corners, a few tight hairpins, and long, constant radius curves. Its great to go to a proper track with character, not one of those dreary Tilke-dromes with their endless run offs, stop start, stop start layout and uninspiring backdrop.

Turn 3 is one of the best corners in grand prix racing, and very incumbent on a car’s ability to generate downforce cleanly and efficiently. High speed stability and mid range torque are the order of the day at Barcelona – in a way, a bit like Silverstone really. Also like Silverstone, Barcelona is not very hard on brakes, aero efficiency is important and both are front limited tracks, so expect lots of drivers moaning about understeer – so what’s new!

My only gripe is that silly chicane before the last corner. The last corner at Barcelona was one of THE great corners in F1, requiring lots of downforce from the car, and plenty of commitment and courage from the driver. I know there wasn’t much run off, which is probably why the chicane was put in, but all drivers worth their salt like fast corners, don’t they?

67

PS I wouldn’t read too much into the bluster coming from some of the teams about upgrades, insofar the likes of Merc and Red Bull are hardly going to arrive in Spain having spent the three weeks twiddling their thumbs and taking it easy – and also those two aforementioned teams have the biggest budgets and facilities to help them with the Euro/Canada development stage.

Having said that, you never know, perhaps Ferrari and Macca have found a miracle tweak on their car to challenge the Bulls and Mercs on race pace………..and maybe, just maybe, Pastor go on one weekend, just one weekend with binning the Lotus into the barrier?

68

Looks like just UNDER a second separating the top 7 teams 🙂

69

Just a note on the pit stop times:

It’s no good having the fastest pit stop time if you also happen to have (IMO) one of the worst records for botched pit stops.

Is it just my wacky thinking, or is it worth taking the extra .2 or .5 of a second to make sure all the wheels go on properly?

70

I’m going to open a can of worms here………….but to make pit stops safer, and also reduce the potential for a botched stop, why not have the rules mandated that just 6 mechanics allowed to change all 4 tyres? In other words, the same mechanics would have to change the fronts and the rears on each side. It would be much slower, but a lot safer, no?

Hair-brain idea? Possibly. Safer? Almost certainly. I think in sports car and touring car racing this rule is mandated.

It is very impressive seeing a bunch of tyres changed in an eye blink, but at what cost to the mechanics nerves and health????

71

Interesting, but two immediate problems spring to mind:

First, I think having the load split between 6 mechanics with many tasks each rather than approx 160 mechanics with one single task each would just put more pressure on each individual mechanic.

Second, the pit stops would take forever which is not a bad thing in itself, but the cost of a pit stop would then become so high that every team would opt for a one stop race every race with would remove a large part of the strategy.

I think a good idea that has been mentioned in the past would be to set a minimum time for pit stops – even saying 3 seconds as a minimum for a pit stop would ease some of the pressure and so make things safer for everybody.

It would also hopefully eliminate some of the silly mistakes.

72

Agree with Random 79:

“I think a good idea that has been mentioned in the past would be to set a minimum time for pit stops – even saying 3 seconds as a minimum for a pit stop would ease some of the pressure and so make things safer for everybody.”

73

but with fewer mechanics, there are fewer wheels at risk. The first 2 are secure and only the second 2 represent a flight risk, therefore twice as safe.

Nice suggestion Gaz Boy, keep that up and I may remove you from my no-fly list…

74

It will probably take 160 mechanics this season to repair Pastor’s chassis if he continues his, er, interesting deviations………amazing to think a couple of years he was THE man in Barcelona……..

75

PS – before anyone says it 160 mechanics = hyperbole 🙂

76
Dave Emberton

It doesn’t necessarily make it safer. If the driver is told to go before a wheel is properly attached, the result is the same whether it’s taken 2 seconds or 6 seconds.

I’m surprised they’re not talking about this as cost cutting. If you watch WEC, they only have two mechanics allowed. F1 pitstops do seem a little extravagant, even though it is part of the spectacle.

77

Well, hopefully Lewis takes the win, and can scratch another GP/circuit off the “to-do” list. I really need a result to cheer for, after having a horrible two weeks. LFC have well and truly blown in, that result last night was just simply nightmarish! I popped in to check the action at work every now and then, and saw it was 1-0 just after half, and then 3-0, so then I’m thinking “ok we can make a dent in City’s GD possibly” … go back to work, get caught up in stuff, then I check the final result and I was literally beside myself in shock!

The loss to Chelsea was one thing. I knew it was a possibility, but I thought LFC would get at least a draw there. It’s been sickening.

Then the Raptors (they didn’t collapse, they played well, but just came up short), and TFC (back to same ol’ mediocrity) just make it a horrible fortnight of sports for me. C’mon Lewis, cheer me up son!!

78

This isn’t a good year for the Crimson brigade, sporting wise!

79

Surely Hamilton leaving the line on 5 cylinders is worth a note under Melbourne start statistics?

80

Totally, if Sutil losing power on lap 1 in China is part of the notes. Same with Vettel’s engine in Australia.

81
Mocho_Pikuain

And the Ferrari powered cars had no ERS. I think James only puts the accidents or first lap retirements.

82

And what will be the ERS efficiency? low / med /hi power available; easy or difficult to harvest a full load in 1 lap?

83

all those.

84

Yeah that’s what I thought you knew. James’s analysis is a useful heads up to the characteristics of the track, but this year the cars have changed. I would like James, and his analysis guys to give us a heads up on the new bits of the power units and how they might contribute to performance in the race. Then we might be able to judge the different units not just on their power output, but also efficiency under different track conditions.

Similar to the way you can expect RBR to be better on hi speed corner/hi downforce tracks, or Merc at hi torque tracks. That’s part of the point of the new regs isn’t it, to give you something else to think about?

4th order low pass butterworth, anyone?

85
Matthew Cheshire

2012 was the last time Williams and the only time Maldonado won a GP. It’d be fun to see Williams do it again. But I’d eat a Pirelli if Maldonado repeats the feat.

I’m thinking the pit stop league table needs to mention Red Bull cost Ricciardo a race and ten places in the next. It probably puts them dead last if we were ranking effectiveness in the pit lane.

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