1. REAR WING
Similar levels of downforce are required to Bahrain, which is a little bit higher than Shanghai. A reasonably long straight here means an effective DRS systems helps, even though the straight isn’t as long as that seen in China.
There are no real issues with braking at all here. The demands are not great and testing here means we know what to expect. It will be a case of tuning our front and rear ducts to achieve the correct temperatures for best braking performance, with no particular concerns over wear.
It’s a track we know well from testing, but the main difference with the race is that the track temperatures will be much higher, meaning the tyres will work differently. Set-ups used in winter testing to make the tyres warm-up quicker will not be needed. There is no particular kerb usage so the car can run lower than otherwise. Turn 16 is the essential corner; if you have a good car through here, it maximises the run down the long straight. In qualifying it’s pretty much a flat out corner but with high fuel and a bit of tyre degradation it becomes more tricky.
Pirelli’s P Zero Yellow Soft and P Zero Silver hard tyres will be nominated. Barcelona can be tough on tyres due to the circuit layout and track surface abrasion. The long, fast turn 3 puts a particularly heavy load on the left front tyre. Turn 5 can also present locking of the front tyres caused by braking and turning into the corner as the road falls away from the car.
5. FRONT WING
Sufficient front wing is required to eliminate understeer through the first and final turns.
Good driveability from the engine is needed, particularly during the lower speed corners in the second half of the lap.
Alan Permane, Director of Trackside Operations gives us his insight into the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona.
TURNS 1 + 2
This is a quick part of the circuit with a swift change of direction in between the first two bends. Turn 1 is one of the few corners on the track where overtaking is possible. Carrying high speed from the exit of turn 2, combined with a good line heading into the very quick turn 3 is crucial to a good lap time.
The high speed nature of turn 3 puts a lot of stress through the tyres, especially the front left.
Similarly turn 4 is another which places heavy demands on the tyres (again predominantly the front left), with the car turning and breaking from high speed into the tight bend.
With downhill braking into this corner it’s very easy to lock the front tyres – as the driver brakes and turns inwards the road falls away from the car, so the inside front tyre can easily lock.
The slowest corner on the track, turn 10 is a good test of the car’s traction. With high fuel loads this will be taken in first or second gear, followed by a wide exit into turn 11 which is taken flat out.
TURNS 14 + 15
A more technical part of the track here with some large kerbs which drivers are advised to avoid. The car is not set-up to use these kerbs.
It’s essential to have a good car through Turn 16 to maximise the run down the long straight. In qualifying it’s taken pretty much flat out, but with high fuel and a bit of tyre degradation it becomes more tricky.
The track surface is quite abrasive, meaning the tyres get a double whammy as the circuit layout puts them through their paces too.