2010 Spanish Grand Prix Preview


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Round 5 - Circuit de Catalunya

This year sees the twentieth running of the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya, often generously described as being near Barcelona. This is the fifth circuit to have hosted the event, following two street circuits actually in Barcelona (Pedralbes and Montjuïc), Jarama near Madrid, and Jerez de la Frontera.

The circuit is well-known to the teams and drivers due to its popularity as a winter testing venue, and Catalunya was the only current race circuit used for pre-season testing this year. The layout features a long, undulating main straight, and a series of medium- and high-speed curves, a severe test of a car's aerodynamics. Since the loss of Imola from the calendar, the Spanish race has opened the European season, and teams often have substantial packages for this race to boost the performance of their cars. As such it represents perhaps the best form guide for the remainder of the season - though only 13 of the 19 previous winners went on to become world champion, real surprises have been rare.

The first race in 1991 provided an iconic image as Senna's McLaren and Mansell's Williams went wheel-to-wheel down the length of the main straight. Probably the best-remembered event was held in 1996, however, as Michael Schumacher scored an extraordinary dominant first victory for Ferrari in torrential rain that claimed all but six of the starters.

The overall finishing rate at Catalunya is lower than the average for most circuits.
The likelihood of a driver-related retirement is higher than average.
Mechnical failures in the Spanish GP are more common than at any other current track.
Finally, the circuit ranks third for first-lap retirements in the past five years.

The Last Five Years
200518134207 - Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) & Nick Heidfeld (Williams)
2006221751010 - Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber)
200722146207 - Adrian Sutil (Spyker) & Christijan Albers (Spyker)
200822133629 - Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India) & Takuma Sato (Super Aguri)
200920142446 - Nick Heidfeld (BMW Sauber) & Giancarlo Fisichella (Force India)
[td]Year[/td][td]Starters[/td][td]Finishers[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Lap 1 retirements[/td][td]Most places gained[/td]

Circuit Ranking (of all 18 circuits)
Finishing Rate
15th Singapore 73%
16th Catalunya 68%
17th Melbourne 68%

Mechanical Failures
1st Catalunya 19%
2nd Singapore 18%
3rd Sakhir 17%

Driver-related Retirements
4th Spa 15%
5th Catalunya 14%
6th Interlagos 13%

First lap Retirements
2nd Interlagos 7.7%
3rd Catalunya 5.8%
4th Sakhir 5.7%

This season's grid can claim a total of nine previous Spanish Grand Prix victories, though Michael Schumacher on his own accounts for two-thirds of those. The German is the only current driver to have taken part in the first Grand Prix held at Catalunya. Several of this season's likely title challengers have yet to taste victory in this event, including Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Felipe Massa has qualified in the top four for the last four Spanish Grands Prix, winning from pole in 2007.

Ferrari have an outstanding record at the track, and their cars have both qualified in the top five on the grid for every event since 2000, save 2005 when tyre issues relegated them to the midfield. With Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard at the wheel, McLaren dominated at Catalunya, but since Mika's last-lap retirement in 2001 the team have only won once - Kimi Raikkonen leading every lap in 2005. Jenson Button's Mercedes-powered Brawn took victory in 2009, a two-stop strategy moving him ahead of team-mate Rubens Barrichello, who had led from the start. The Red Bulls of Vettel and Webber were trapped behind Massa's fast-starting KERS-equipped Ferrari for a large part of the race and were unable to take the fight to the Brawns.

Current Drivers' Records at Catalunya
Michael Schumacher16151st (6)98102.88
Fernando Alonso871st (1)41105.63
Felipe Massa771st (1)28107.14
Rubens Barrichello16112nd (2)28327.82
Jenson Button971st (1)172010.22
Jarno Trulli13103rd (2)17228.15
Mark Webber763rd (1)151010.63
Lewis Hamilton332nd (1)14007.67
Robert Kubica334th (2)10006.33
Sebastian Vettel214th (1)50110
Nico Rosberg436th (1)41012
Heikki Kovalainen317th (1)22010.67
Timo Glock2210th (1)00010
Pedro de la Rosa4111th (1)00319.25
Adrian Sutil3113th (1)00219.67
Vitantonio Liuzzi3115th (1)02114
Sebastien Buemi10RET00115
Jaime Alguersuari0------
Karun Chandhok0------
Lucas di Grassi0------
Nico Hulkenberg0------
Kamui Kobayashi0------
Vitaly Petrov0------
Bruno Senna0------
[td]Driver[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]

Chassis Records at Catalunya (since 2000)
Ferrari19151st (6)104404
McLaren20141st (2)58437.6
Renault20171st (1)53328.35
Williams20162nd (2)36519.1
Mercedes GP18141st (1)35319.33
Red Bull20123rd (1)224413.05
BMW Sauber20164th (3)214111
Force India20114th (1)55415.5
Toro Rosso18711th (1)06618.05
[td]Chassis[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for Renault include Benetton
Results for Mercedes GP include BAR, Honda and Brawn
Results for BMW Sauber include Sauber
Results for Red Bull include Jaguar
Results for Force India include Jordan, Midland and Spyker
Results for Toro Rosso include Minardi

Engine Records at Catalunya (since 2000)
Ferrari45311st (6)1129610.17
Mercedes-Benz24171st (3)76448.13
Renault24201st (1)72428.13
Cosworth28126th (1)511614.86
[td]Engine[/td][td]Starts[/td][td]Finishes[/td][td]Best result[/td][td]Points[/td][td]Retirements - Mech[/td][td]Retirements - Acc[/td][td]Average grid pos.[/td]
Results for Ferrari include Petronas and Acer
Results for Cosworth include Ford

All ranking figures are expressed as a % of total starts.
"Retirements-Acc" are retirements where the reason has been listed as Collision, Accident or Spun Off.
About the same as the number of consecutive "Rain Dance" Prayer meetings held at FIA Headquarters since Bahrain.
teabagyokel said:
How many is the record for consectutive rain-affected weekends?

I'm not sure but I hear there's some rain hanging around Monaco.
teabagyokel said:
How many is the record for consectutive rain-affected weekends?
Not sure on the whole race weekend but just for races it's 3 in 1993:
2. Brazil - Interlagos
3. Europe - Donington
4. San Marino - Imola
Well, we were expecting a record after Belgium and Italy in 2008, but Singapore stayed dry. As did China, for the only time since 2006!
Some wet race stat's for seasons with 3 or more wet races.

Season	Races	Wet	%
1981 15 6 40.00%
2000 17 5 29.41%
2008 18 5 27.78%
1954 9 4 44.44%
1975 14 4 28.57%
1976 16 4 25.00%
1993 16 4 25.00%
1995 17 4 23.53%
1952 8 3 37.50%
1966 9 3 33.33%
1968 12 3 25.00%
1974 15 3 20.00%
1988 16 3 18.75%
1989 16 3 18.75%
1991 16 3 18.75%
1992 16 3 18.75%
1996 16 3 18.75%
2007 17 3 17.65%
I'm not holding out too much hope for much action at this weekends GP. Spain is usually as dull as dishwater...maybe even wet cement. :disappointed:
I'm going to stick my neck out here :embarrassed: in the full knowledge that Catalunya has without doubt an exceptionally dull race history. But for one reason or another I believe this race is going to be exceptional, something extraordinary is going to happen this weekend, even if it is dry! :o

My reasoning (if you can call it such) is that this circuit is usually such a known quantity to all the teams, they test here so much and their cars are usually known quantities by this point in the season. However this year there was less dry testing than ever and the major players are all bringing significant upgrades to cars that have only driven one dry race. If Friday is wet that too will have a major impact on the teams understanding of the circuit and the cars on it. Throw in the perfected McLaren stallable rear wing, a less developed one for Mercedes, an embionic one for Ferrari and none for Red Bull. I can see the potential for some heroic battles for the lead positions in this race.

There is no new addition of a mickey mouse section of track with a ludicrous bump as there was in Bahrain to upset the teams, and the only way anyone is going to rest a position from another is going to be on the track. No one is going to be waiting for a pitstop! :popcorn:
There have been 3 wet races at Catalunya: 1991, 1992 and 1996.

Generally it is considered that a wet race results in more overtaking and in the case of 1991 and 1992 that is true, with 61 and 32 passes respectively.

1996 however only had 4 passes and it was at this race that Michael Schumacher produced one of his best drives, finishing 45 seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher Jean Alesi.
Brogan said:
1996 however only had 4 passes and it was at this race that Michael Schumacher produced one of his best drives, finishing 45 seconds ahead of 2nd place finisher Jean Alesi.

It was his first "epic" race for a new team. Maybe history repeats itself this weekend? :thinking:
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