2021 Spanish Grand Prix – Preview
WHY WE’VE CHOSEN THE TYRES
- Just as was the case last year, when the Spanish Grand Prix was held for the first time in mid-August, the hardest tyres in the range return to the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya: C1 as the P Zero White hard, C2 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C3 as the P Zero Red soft – the same nomination as was made in Portugal last weekend.
- Although the weather conditions are likely to be considerably cooler in Spain than last year, the high-energy demands of the track remain: especially the very long Turn 3 right-hander, which puts considerable forces through the front-left tyre in particular. Not only that, but Turn 9 is also challenging for the tyres. As a result, the hardest compounds are still the most appropriate choice.
- For the first time since 2014, there has been no pre-season testing at Barcelona, so the teams come to this circuit with their new cars for the very first time, not having had a chance to gather data on how the cars perform there in their latest specification.
- The track layout has changed this year, with a modified profile to Turn 10 (La Caixa) to improve safety. The result is a left-hander that is slightly wider than the previous version, which has allowed for a bigger run-off area and will shorten the braking zone, with a higher entry speed to the corner. The lap is also now 20 metres longer.
- The well-known demands of the Barcelona track make a one-stopper very challenging: although the likelihood of cooler weather should help this year. In 2020, the race was won by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton with a soft-medium-medium two-stopper, although Sergio Perez finished fifth after stopping only once from soft to medium, while Valtteri Bottas was on the podium using a three-stop strategy.
- Barcelona is renowned for being a track where it’s quite difficult to overtake for most of the lap, although the long downhill straight can give a power and DRS advantage to help line up a passing move. All this makes qualifying position and race strategy particularly important to gain track position.
- With a number of support races on the bill, the surface should evolve reasonably quickly with more rubber laid down, compared to some other grands prix this year where Formula 1 has been the only track action.
FORMULA 3: WHAT TO EXPECT
A new season of Formula 3 starts in Barcelona, adopting the same new-for-2021 format that was debuted by Formula 2 in Bahrain consisting of three races per weekend. Unlike F2, each F3 race during the weekend is the same length: in Barcelona each one will last for 22 laps. After practice and qualifying on Friday, the first race will take place at 10:35 on Saturday, followed later the same day by race two at 16:45. Race three then takes place at 12:05 on Sunday. The P Zero White hard tyre is nominated for the Barcelona weekend: the same as in the previous two seasons. This year, with the introduction of a third race, drivers get an additional set of slick tyres (five sets as opposed to four).
MARIO ISOLA - HEAD OF F1 AND CAR RACING
“The race strategy in Barcelona was influenced primarily by the very high track temperatures last season. This year, with the race moving back to a spring date, temperatures will be cooler but should still be a key factor behind the strategy. The altered corner profile of Turn 10 provides another new challenge that could influence the way the drivers approach the lap. We’ve seen in the past that strategy has been one of the key differentiating factors at Barcelona and we would expect this to become the case once more this weekend.”
|MIN. STARTING PRESSURES (slicks)||EOS CAMBER LIMIT|
|22.0 psi (front) | 19.5 psi (rear)||-3.25° (front) | -1.75° (rear)|
OTHER PIRELLI NEWS
- As well as Formula 3, Barcelona also hosts the second round of FIA Formula Regional by Alpine: the stepping-stone to the F3 championship, which is also supplied by Pirelli.
- Three teams will stay on after the Spanish Grand Prix to continue Pirelli’s 18-inch slick tyre development programme for 2022: Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Red Bull. Alpine will run on the first day only, with the other two teams running on both days. This is the fifth 2022 tyre test in total, and the fourth one for the slick tyres.
- Pirelli recently revealed more details of the tyre allocations that will be in place for the three grands prix this year that will feature qualifying sprint races. The overall allocation of tyres goes down to 12 for the weekend (with one extra set of Intermediates if needed), but drivers will no longer be obliged to start the race on the tyres that they used to set their best Q2 times.
- The opening Sprint Cup round of the GT World Challenge Europe takes place at Magny-Cours in France during the same weekend as the Spanish Grand Prix. This is the second round of the overall series, following the first Endurance round at Monza.