2008 Spanish Formula 1 GP – Wolf’s Race Preview

After 3 weeks spring racing break that included a 4 day test we have another race weekend ahead of us. The first European race of 2008 F1 calendar – Spanish Grand Prix.

The Barcelona test last week did not reveal much about the new found strength of the F1 teams. We can expect the usual suspects to fight it out for the pole position. Depending on their fuel strategy any of the 6 Ferrari, McLaren and BMW Sauber drivers may claim the pole position. I would expect Ferrari to have the edge in the race with Massa (2007 winner) needing the race win more than Raikkonen. But anything can happen, we do have six drivers with a shot at the race win.

It will be interesting to see how the battle of the midfield shapes up. There are not that many places in Q3 left for grabs and even less that offer some points … But there are at least 10 cars aiming for them …

At this moment it is still unclear whether Super Aguri will race in Barcelona. The team will be present and even if they may not be able to take part in the race itself, I would expect them to do at least just enough to formally participate in the race. As long as they hope to survive and find new investor they would not want to forfeit their television money rights… Just a year ago at this race Takuma Sato scored first point for Super Aguri…

There are some reports that it may drizzle on Saturday and Sunday in Barcelona, that would sure bring some degree of unpredictability to the race. Other reports only forecast scattered clouds, so make your pick :-) .


Track technical info (ING Renault F1 data):

The Barcelona track offers a variety of medium and high-speed corners and it is acknowledged as the definitive aero circuit providing a tough test of a Formula 1 car. Few big braking zones, many high-speed corners, makes overtaking extremely difficult. Good qualifying and smart strategy are keys for success here.

Aerodynamics

Aerodynamic efficiency is always a key factor at Barcelona. The introduction of the new chicane last year however means the track is not as demanding as it once was. Even so, the circuit remains the ultimate test of a car’s aero package. Teams will run with high downforce levels to ensure competitiveness over the whole lap.

Suspension

Teams will use relatively stiff settings at the front of the car to get a good change of direction, while the rear will be slightly softer in order to get the best possible traction out of the slower corners. This will be especially important this year with the removal of traction control. Ride height is also an important parameter to consider as generally we can run the car quite low in order to gain maximum aerodynamic performance.

Engine Performance

The engine is not under particular stress at any point. Only 62% of the lap is spent on full throttle. There are relatively few hard acceleration zones from low revs as the engine spends most of the lap accelerating from the middle of the rev range.

Tyres

Barcelona is well known for being a demanding on tyres. It includes many long, high-speed corners and has an abrasive track surface. The tyres are under high loadings, particularly the front left which has to work hard in the quick right-hand corners such as Turns 3 and 9. Bridgestone will supply hard and medium compound tyres for the weekend.

Here are the top 10 in past 10 years of Spanish GP

2007
1) Felipe Massa – Ferrari – 1:31:36.230
2) Lewis Hamilton – McLaren + 6.670 secs
3) Fernando Alonso – McLaren + 17.456 secs
4) Robert Kubica – BMW Sauber + 31.615 secs
5) David Coulthard – Red Bull + 58.331 secs
6) Nico Rosberg – Williams + 59.538 secs
7) Heikki Kovalainen – Renault + 62.128 secs
8)Takuma Sato – Super Aguri + 1 laps
9) Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault + 1 Lap
10) Rubens Barrichello – Honda + 1 Lap

2006

1) Fernando Alonso – Renault – 1:26:21.759
2) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +18.5 secs
3) Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +23.9 secs
4) Felipe Massa – Ferrari +29.8 secs
5) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes +56.8 secs
6) Jenson Button – Honda +58.3 secs
7) Rubens Barrichello – Honda +1 Lap
8)Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-BMW +1 Lap
9) Mark Webber – Williams-Cosworth +1 Lap
10) Jarno Trulli – Toyota +1 Lap

2005

1) Kimi Räikkönen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:27:16.830
2) Fernando Alonso – Renault +27.6 secs
3) Jarno Trulli – Toyota +45.9 secs
4) Ralf Schumacher – Toyota +46.7 secs
5) Giancarlo Fisichella – Renault +57.9 secs
6) Mark Webber – Williams-BMW +68.5 secs
7) Juan Pablo Montoya – McLaren-Mercedes +1 Lap
8)David Coulthard – RBR-Cosworth +1 Lap
9) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +1 Lap
10) Nick Heidfeld – Williams-BMW +1 Lap

2004

1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:27:32.841
2) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +13.2 secs
3) Jarno Trulli – Renault +32.2 secs
4) Fernando Alonso – Renault +32.9 secs
5) Takuma Sato – BAR-Honda +42.3 secs
6) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +73.8 secs
7) Giancarlo Fisichella – Sauber-Petronas +77.1 secs
8)Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
9) Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
10) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +1 Lap

2003

1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:33:46.933
2) Fernando Alonso – Renault +5.7 secs
3) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +18.0 secs
4) Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW +62.0 secs
5) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +1 Lap
6) Cristiano da Matta – Toyota +1 Lap
7) Mark Webber – Jaguar-Cosworth +1 Lap
8)Ralph Firman – Jordan-Ford +2 Laps
9) Jenson Button – BAR-Honda +2 Laps
10) Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-Petronas +2 Laps

2002

1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:30′29.981
2) Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW +35.630s
3) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +42.623s
4) Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-Petronas +1′06.697s
5) Felipe Massa – Sauber-Petronas +1′18.973s
6) Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Arrows-Cosworth +1′20.430s
7) Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
8)Allan McNish – Toyota +1 Lap
9) Mika Salo – Toyota +1 Lap

2001

1) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari – 1:31′03.305
2) Juan Pablo Montoya – Williams-BMW +40.738
3) Jacques Villeneuve – BAR-Honda +49.626
4) Jarno Trulli – Jordan-Honda +51.253
5) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +51.616
6) Nick Heidfeld – Sauber-Petronas +1′01.893
7) Olivier Panis – BAR-Honda +1′04.977
8)Kimi Räikkönen – Sauber-Petronas +1′19.808
9) Mika Hakkinen – McLaren-Mercedes – Clutch
10) Jean Alesi – Prost-Acer +1 Lap

2000

1) Mika Hakkinen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:33′55.390
2) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +16.066
3) Rubens Barrichello – Ferrari +29.112
4) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-BMW +37.311
5) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +47.983
6) Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +1′21.925
7) Mika Salo – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
8)Ricardo Zonta – BAR-Honda +1 Lap
9) Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Playlife +1 Lap
10) Alexander Wurz – Benetton-Playlife +1 Lap

1999

1) Mika Hakkinen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:34′13.665
2) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +6.238
3) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +10.845
4) Eddie Irvine – Ferrari +30.182
5) Ralf Schumacher – Williams-Supertec +1′27.208
6) Jarno Trulli – Prost-Peugeot +1 Lap
7) Damon Hill – Jordan-Mugen-Honda +1 Lap
8)Mika Salo – BAR-Supertec +1 Lap
9) Giancarlo Fisichella – Benetton-Playlife +1 Lap
10) Alexander Wurz – Benetton-Playlife +1 Lap

1998

1) Mika Hakkinen – McLaren-Mercedes – 1:33′37.621
2) David Coulthard – McLaren-Mercedes +9.439
3) Michael Schumacher – Ferrari +47.095
4) Alexander Wurz – Benetton-Playlife +1′02.538
5) Rubens Barrichello – Stewart-Ford +1 Lap
6) Jacques Villeneuve – Williams-Mecachrome +1 Lap
7) Johnny Herbert – Sauber-Petronas +1 Lap
8)Heinz-Harald Frentzen – Williams-Mecachrome +2 Laps
9) Jarno Trulli – Prost-Peugeot +2 Laps
10) Jean Alesi – Sauber-Petronas +2 Laps

Photo: AT&T Williams / LAT

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  1. [...] European season starts with Spanish GP in Barcelona. There are reports that both qualifying and the race may not be entirely dry. Most of the teams [...]

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