2022 Spanish Grand Prix - Preview
THE TYRES ON TRACK
- Pirelli brings the hardest tyres in the 2022 range to the race where it is title sponsor in Spain, with the C1 as the P Zero White hard, C2 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C3 as the P Zero Red soft. It’s a pretty straightforward choice – which is the same as last year, albeit using a brand-new family of tyres – with the demands of the Barcelona circuit being extremely well-known from testing and previous races. These famously include the long Turn 3 as well as Turn 9: all corners that put a lot of energy through the tyres.
- The teams were at Barcelona as recently as February, three months ago, for pre-season testing. However, there are three big differences to consider: firstly, the teams concentrated on testing compounds in the middle of the range back then rather than the hard; secondly, weather conditions were much cooler; and thirdly, the new cars were in their most basic launch specification. The cars have moved on considerably since then, and it’s going to be interesting to see how much that improvement actually is with the latest upgrades.
- With Barcelona being a very well-used circuit, there’s not going to be a huge amount of track evolution expected over the course of the weekend, thanks to a busy schedule of support races too. Temperatures should be dry and warm, adding to the heavy demands placed on the tyres. The track itself is unchanged compared to last year, when Turn 10 was modified, slightly increasing the overall length of the circuit.
- Last year’s winning strategy was a two-stopper, the traditional approach to Barcelona, with Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton triumphing from pole using a soft-medium-medium strategy. Soft-medium-soft was used by all the finishers from P2 to P8.
“It’s hard to say much about Barcelona that hasn’t been said already, as it’s possibly the best-known circuit on the calendar for the drivers, with its wide-ranging layout making it a perfect testing venue. It has a bit of everything, with the very technical final sector being particularly important when it comes to looking after the tyres. As a result, the teams will have a good opportunity to assess the progress they have made with their cars since the start of the season, although the weather conditions will be much warmer and there will probably be a lot more running on the hard tyre than there was in testing, which will perhaps be the key to the race. In the past, Barcelona has traditionally been a two-stopper, so it will be interesting to see if the new generation of tyres this year leads anyone to target a one-stopper.”
- The P Zero White hard and P Zero Red soft tyres have been nominated for round four of the Formula 2 season in Spain. This is the same nomination as the championship’s last races at the circuit in 2020, and one that has already been seen this year at round one in Bahrain and at the in-season test at Barcelona last month. Each driver has five sets of slick tyres (three hard and two soft) to use across the weekend, which includes a 26-lap sprint race on Saturday afternoon and a 37-lap feature race on Sunday morning, when both compounds must be used if it’s dry.
- The P Zero White hard tyre is nominated for the third round of the Formula 3 season. Drivers will have three sets of the hard compound plus one set of P Zero Yellow medium tyres carried over from the previous round at Imola for use in free practice only. The hard tyre was also used by F3 at Barcelona last year, as well in the first round of 2022 in Bahrain and the in-season tests held at Jerez and Barcelona last month. The sprint race lasting 20 laps takes place on Saturday morning and the feature race lasting 24 laps on Sunday morning.
The opening round of the 2022 Intercontinental GT Challenge got underway at the iconic Bathurst circuit in Australia last weekend running exclusively on Pirelli tyres. Jules Gounon, Luca Stolz, Kenny Habul and Martin Konrad headed a Mercedes one-two-three from a 20-car GT3 field after 12 hours of racing from dawn until dusk.
Rally Portugal, round four of the World Rally Championship, takes place in Porto during the same weekend as the Spanish Grand Prix, around 1150 kilometres away. This is the first gravel round of the championship, with Pirelli bringing the latest evolutions of its Scorpion gravel tyres.
The European Rally Championship resumed in the Canary Islands for round three of the championship last weekend, with Pirelli bringing its new P Zero RA5A asphalt tyre for the first time, featuring a new construction that improves performance and reliability. Nils Solans gave the new tyre a winning debut in his Volkswagen Polo.
- FROM RACE TO ROAD
Pirelli’s Flurheden winter test track in Sweden is now opening a summer facility as well, ensuring all-year round tyre testing in Sweden for the first time. The advanced facility – located less than 300 kilometres from Rally Sweden’s base in Umea – is used to develop Pirelli’s latest road car products based on the lessons learned from motorsport.