Following a nail-biting qualifying session that saw the rise of Max Verstappen and the fall of the likes of Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Sergio Perez, the field is getting ready to compete at today's Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. F1technical.net's Balázs Szabó reveals what to know ahead of Round 7 of the 2023 F1 season.
Long history – The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one of the longest serving venues on the Formula 1 calendar, having held the Spanish Grand Prix every year without interruption since it was opened in 1991.
Today’s Spanish Grand Prix will mark the 53rd time that a Formula One race takes place in Spain. The event first appeared on the calendar in 1951, and has been held at five venues.
The 1951 and 1954 races took place at Barcelona on the Pedralbes street circuit before the race moved to Madrid where the Circuito del Jarama hosted the race between 1968 and 1981.
The third venue was Barcelona’s Montjuic Park, playing host to the event in 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975. The Spanish Grand Prix had a short stint at Jerez between 1986 and 1990 before moving to the Circuit de Catalunya in the following year.
Stewards – Garry Connelly, Felix Holter, Derek Warwick, and David Domingo will form the group of FIA stewards at today’s Spanish Grand Prix.
The most successful team – Scuderia Ferrari is the most successful constructor at the Spanish Grand Prix with 12 victories. However, the Italian team recorded its most recent triumph long ago, back in 2013 when Fernando Alonso took a popular home win.
McLaren is the second most successful outfit with eight victories with Mercedes being the third most successful thanks to their seven triumphs in the history of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Average length – The Circuit de Bacelona-Catalunya features a layout that has a length of 4657m. The start line-finish line offset is 126m. Drivers will need to rack up a total of 66 laps at today’s Spanish Grand Prix, which is equivalent to 307.237km.
Pit lane – Drivers will need to adhere to a speed limit of 80 km/h in the pit lane.
Schumacher and Hamilton – The German and the Briton are the most successful drivers at the Spanish Grand Prix with six victories each. Schumacher first won in 1995 with Benetton, followed by five victories for Ferrari (1996, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004).
Hamilton won here in 2014 for the first time, and was unstoppable in the years between 2017 and 2021.
Two DRS zones – As in the previous years, two DRS zones will be in use. The first has a detection point 86m before Turn 9 and an activation point 40m after. The second detection point is at the Safety Car line, with activation 57m after Turn 16.
Modifications – The track has been updated since the field last visited the venue last May. The most significant change is that the track reverts to the previous layout that results in the removal of the final chicane. Instead, cars will take the faster route, rushing through the extremely fast second-to-last corner.
Two-stop strategy - For today’s 66-lap Barcelona round, Pirelli expects a two-stopper. This is down to the relatively high levels of tyre wear and degradation seen at the Barcelona circuit, with its abrasive asphalt and high-energy corners. Another reason is the fact that not so much time is lost in the pits, which makes a two-stopper much more viable, as well as the fact that the hard tyre is slower here.