Formula 1: That’s why the Spanish GP in Barcelona is so important

The last GP in Miami may have been a hit in terms of show. But from a purely sporting point of view, the upcoming race in Barcelona (Sunday, 3 p.m. live on Sky) will be the benchmark for the new season. That’s why protagonists and experts alike are looking at the Circuit de Catalunya, which lies at the gates of the metropolis in the heart of Catalonia, at the weekend.

Ex-Formula 1 driver Marc Surer (70), who has lived in Spain for years, explains the reason. Surer on Newsabc: “The track in Barcelona offers all kinds of curves and separates the wheat from the chaff when it comes to the strength of a car. A car that works in Barcelona is also good on most other tracks. And vice versa. That’s why the track is also the engineers’ favorite course for test drives.”

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Surer continues: “On no other track do the teams have more data. And it is a yardstick and shows where the trend for the season can go. Ferrari and Red Bull were strong in the tests in winter. They then also dominated the first five races .”

Ferrari comes with a retreaded car, as does Red Bull.

What’s more at the weekend: Traditionally, all teams in Spain show further developments of their cars. Ferrari comes with a retreaded car, as does Red Bull. Mercedes is trying out a whole new aerodynamics package to get the hitherto decelerating “bouncing” (jumping) on ​​the straight under control. Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin team presents a so-called B version of the current car. In Formula 1 circles, the letter B is a quasi-pseudonym for a completely new car.

Surer knows what also makes the race so groundbreaking this year: “This year, the teams no longer have much opportunity to develop intensively due to the limited development budget. That means: The special update in Barcelona has to work. You practically have just that one shot.”

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The Spanish GP could be the most important for the Mercedes team, which has been so accustomed to success over the past eight years. Reason: The concept for next year’s car will be finalized by July at the latest. Mercedes will soon have to decide which direction to take for 2023. Sticking to the current concept, which is totally different from the rest of the field and seems perfect on paper but doesn’t yet work in practice? Or go new ways? That’s why ex-Mercedes Motorsport Director Norbert Haug (69) believes: “After the race, the engineers in Brackley will know whether they have found the philosopher’s stone for their progressive concept or whether they have to take a completely new direction for next year.”

The Spanish GP could be the most important for the Mercedes team.

Alone: ​​Haug believes that the problems of the champion team in recent years are not just about bouncing, but also have to do with the optimal use of the Pirelli tires that are so important. Haug: “On Friday in Miami you could see that Mercedes can be at the forefront if you get the tires in the window. I think the Silver Arrow is very sensitive in this area. At Ferrari, for example, the window seems to be very large. The Ferrari actually always gets the tires to work optimally. At Mercedes, that window is just a little bit wide open. And it’s extremely difficult to find exactly that.”

However, opinions differ on who will come out on top in the current duel for the top spot in Barcelona. Ferrari is the favorite for Marc Surer. “They bring a big update that should make them favorites again, especially in Spain. The track already matched the driving characteristics of the Ferrari.”

Norbert Haug, on the other hand, sees Red Bull ahead. Haug: “It seems to me that they’ve only really got going since Imola. Red Bull and especially Max Verstappen dominated both there and in Miami. I have to say that Max is driving at an extremely high level right now.”

Formula 1 on TV

In 2022, Formula 1 will run on Sky. Last year, the broadcaster introduced a new TV channel especially for the premier class: Sky Formula 1. Here there is motorsport 24 hours a day. All practice sessions, all qualifying sessions, all races are always live and without commercial breaks. In addition, Sky also broadcasts the support races Formula 2, Formula 3 and the Porsche Supercup. Historical races and special programs are also on the programme.

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