Grand Prix 2017 Spanish Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Catalonia, made up of four provinces, the capital of which is Barcelona, is an autonomous community in north eastern Spain (Thanks Wikipedia). To explain its long and complicated history would take more time and effort than I currently have at almost 11pm on a Sunday evening. The one fact that should concern us however, is that since 1991 the region has been home to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and the Spanish Grand Prix.

It's hard to imagine that Spain has been one of the longest serving fixtures on the F1 calendar. Making its debut as a World Championship event in 1951, it has been in and out of the calendar on several occasions and been hosted by a number of circuits but has been ever present since 1986.

Catalunya which took over from Jerez after 1990, couldn't have got off to a better start in 1991, hosting the famous dog fight between Senna and Mansell. As the years progressed however, and car designs became more overtaking unfriendly, the track has felt it more than most of the older circuit designs. A design change to the final corner took away the sweeping right hander in the name of improving overtaking but had absolutely no effect and actually reduced the risk that the most commited drivers would take to hang the car on the ragged edge to maximise their speed onto the main straight.

Interestingly, despite the circuit's poor reputation, the race has been won by a different driver in every season since 2007. It also featured the debut wins for Pastor Maldonado and Max Verstappen.

This season, clearly there will only be two teams in the hunt for the top spots. Given Bottas' success in Russia it adds a new dynamic to the championship battle that at one stage looked set to be all about Hamilton and Vettel. So long as Mercedes keep picking up the constructors championship points they've shown in the past that they are not too concerned about which driver comes home in front of the other. Can Valteri go on to make a case for the title in his own right?

Further down the field the Red Bull's need to find something. This is the first time in a number of season that they are clearly the third best team by some distance. Of course they wil look to develop the car and have more facility than those around them to push towards the top two but it is clear that something is not quite right with the Austrian fizzy drinks maker.

Sadly, Force India almost certainly don't have the required resources to close their own gap to Red Bull but are by a distance the fourth best team. While Williams, Toro Rosso, Haas and Renault scrap it out for the remainder of the spoils.

Who would have thought, that McLaren would be about to enter the 5th race of the season on zero alongside Sauber at the back of the pack. To say that's an absolute joke for one of F1's most successful teams and one of the worlds largest vehicle manufacturers is an understatement. Like him or loath him, they have one of the best drivers on the grid kicking his heels in a car that on its last run out didn't manage a single racing lap. If you look at the other great names in F1 who have taken that long slide into failure and eventual closure, it was in every case down to a lack of money and resources, Lotus, Brabham, BRM to name a few. McLaren don't have that excuse.

Will Spain throw up another suprise this year? Strangely, the odds are, it just may do.
 

Rutherford

Podium Finisher
This is pathetic, I read it happened fifteen minutes into the session. It was a new engine with barely any mileage.

McLaren have to move to Mercedes for the remainder of the season, this isn't only damaging Hondas, but also McLaren reputation and they literally aren't moving forward in terms of development.
 

Andyoak

Champion Elect
If I were Alonso I'd be looking to leave F1.

Why waste any more years not getting a championship or even wins in the series 9he won't get them in Renault either) when you got be a champion in other series (LMP).

He's at the end of his natural career in F1.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
The Renaults can take some satisfaction from second practice.

Alonso on the other hand. Oh dear.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
i have sympathy for alonso as 3 yrs development in, Merc (2011 - 2014) were dominating F1. Honda (2014 - 2017) have trouble starting a race in sochi nevermind finishing or getting anywhere near a podium

Ermmmm Merc have run engines in F1 every year since the mid 90s. They started their own team in 2011 but had been running engines for a lot longer.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
Mercedes scored points in their first season as a supplier in 94 with Sauber.

Podiums in seasons 2 and 3 when they switched to McLaren.

Their first wins came in season 4 and they were world champions with McLaren by season 5.

The much maligned Toyota team managed to score points in their debut and had worked out where the podium was regularly by season 4.

In this spell, Honda have been in F1 for almost 17 years including a short break and that has only returned 1 win. (That performance would have been matched by Toyota as a supplier had Alonso rightly lost his Singapore 08 win).

Has there been a worse return by any engine manufacturer over such a long period of time?
 

F1Brits_90

Champion Elect
Ermmmm Merc have run engines in F1 every year since the mid 90s. They started their own team in 2011 but had been running engines for a lot longer.

True but honda are hardly newcomers to F1 mclaren or Turbos. The engines were such a reset for everyone that majority of manufactors were starting on V6 as soon as possible in 2011. As there wasnt much transferable knowledge to use bar the ers

As i put on Alonso thread honda have had more advantages than the other 3 manufacters as between 2011-14 all the other 3 had was 2 pre seasons tests. Honda have had nearly 2 cars with 45gps & 14000km of race testing knowledge thats without mentioning all pre & in season testing. They feel further off likes of competitive top 10 finishes than they have been. With rumours of them shaking itself to bits
 
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RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
All the other 3 had far more cars running than Honda.

I'm not defending Honda too much as they have done a shoddy job but I Don't think any other incoming engine manufacturers would do much better. The dominant engine suppliers have set them multiple little put falls along the way because they Don't want them to succeed.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff Member
Premium Contributor
As far as Honda goes, its clear that unlike BMW and Toyota who spent a long time testing before committing to entering, they arrived thoroughly unprepared and have been playing catch up ever since. Granted the hybrid engines are far more complex than those from the early 00's but Honda were aware of the requirements.

As I said at the time, Ron's typically Ronesque exclusive deal was always going to harm Honda's development when testing is so limited.
 

The Pits

Harumph. Again.
Valued Member
I Don't think any other incoming engine manufacturers would do much better.

I disagree.

Cosworth didn't do too badly in 2010 although this was under the Old regulations. All the current teams have had teething issues, but Honda have taken it to a whole new level.

If anyone can recall any worse performance than this from what is, lets not forget, an absolute powerhouse in the automotive arena, including high performance engines, then please inform me.

This is the 4th season of these regs, and I could accept them still being a little behind still. But they are way off in power and reliability, and they seem to have no answer.

For a company with the resource of Honda that is just not good enough.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Between 1961 and 1988 Alfa Romeo managed to win two races as an engine supplier in F1 and one of those was the infamous Brabham Fan car. Their engines included a 1.5 litre straight 4, a 3 litre V8, a 3 litre flat 12, a 3 litre V12 and a 1.5 litre V8. They scored a grand total of 139 points during those years.

I should point out that they didn't compete as either an engine supplier or manufacturer in 1964, '66 to '69 or from '72 to '75.

I see your Honda and raise you an Alfa Romeo.
 
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