Where is it?
The Spanish Grand Prix is held at Circuito de Barcelona-Catalunya, which is about 20KM north east of the city of Barcelona, in a small town called Montmelo.
There are decent bus services from the city, and Barcelona El Prat airport is the closest, although you can fly into Girona Costa Brava airport, which is about 100KM away.
What’s the circuit like?
It’s no surprise that Barcelona is used for F1 testing every year in February and March, because it offers a great mix of fast and slow corners. The right handed turn 3, is a classic and rewards well balanced cars.
The main straight is long enough for the cars to max out, and there are two DRS zones, one on the main straight and the other after turn 9, before a tricky and technical section.
The circuit is 4.66Km long, but is very compact and winds around the various grand stands. The race is 66 laps long and the course record is held by Daniel Riccardo, set in a Red Bull in 2019 – 1:18:441.
The track was built as part of the preparations for the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and debuteded in 1991. It was the scene of the famous drag race down the straight between Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna at the 1991 Grand Prix.
What sort of race can we expect?
It’s a very well attended race, thanks to local lad Fernando Alonso. The pole sitter has only won here 3 times in the last 17 races, so it’s one where overtaking is very common. Michael Schumacher holds the record with 6 wins, and of the current drivers, only Lewis Hamilton with 3 wins, and Kimi Raikonnen with two, are multiple winners. Hamilton has won for the last two years.
It’s generally an exciting race, with lots of action, and strategy is important – it can be a one stop or a two stop race if dry.
Why go to this one?
It’s the start of the European season, which means that it’s not too expensive to get there, and of course, Barcelona is a fantastic city to visit, full of culture and great food and drink.
It’s also close to the Costa Brava, for anyone who wants to combine the grand prix with a beach holiday. Typically, it’s sunny and around 25 degrees during the day, falling to 14 at night.
Where’s the best place to watch?
Almost all of the track is overlooked by grandstands, thanks to clever design, so take your pick! The main straight and overlooking the pits are the most expensive. Grandstand A, on the outside of turn one will let you see the most overtakes at the end of the main straight, and the whole complex around turn 3 shows cars using their aerodynamics to best effect.
Grandstand N is a good one, as you’ll see the cars braking into turn 9, and then accelerating into the DRS zone, and there’s also a big screen right in front of it.
When is it this year?
9th May 2021.
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