Spanish Grand Prix 2014 Preview: Start Time, TV Info, Weather, Schedule, Odds
The 2014 Formula One Spanish Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 11 May at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
It will be the 44th time the race has formed a part of the F1 championship calendar, and the 23rd time it has been held at this circuit.
The race has seen seven different winners in the last seven years—Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Pastor Maldonado and Fernando Alonso.
And it could be eight from eight. Lewis Hamilton goes into the weekend as odds-on favourite to win his fourth consecutive race. He has never won in Spain.
Read on for current standings, circuit guide, tyre and DRS information, weather forecast, odds, session times and TV times.
Nico Rosberg still leads the drivers' championship, but he now only has a four-point lead over teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Fernando Alonso is third, with Nico Hulkenberg fourth.
The current Top 10 are:
|4||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India||36|
|5||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull||33|
|6||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||24|
|10||Sergio Perez||Force India||18|
In the constructors' championship, Mercedes are a whopping 97 points clear of second-placed Red Bull. Four teams are yet to score.
The current standings are:
Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya acquired its double-barrelled "surname" in 2013, when the nearby city of Barcelona began a sponsorship deal with the circuit.
Before that, it was the plain old Circuit de Catalunya.
Featuring an eclectic mix of corners, the track has long been considered the ultimate test of a car's all-round performance. Though few circuits have seen as many testing laps, the teams will be flying blind a little bit this year—none of 2014's tests to date have been held here.
But while it's a wonderful circuit for testing, it has a habit of producing fairly dull races. Overtaking is very difficult and eight of the last 10 winners have started from pole.
Will "new F1" succeed where old F1 so often failed?
Turns 1, 2 and 3
A lap begins with a long downhill run toward the first corner.
Turns 1 and 2 make up a medium-speed right-left chicane. The first corner (right) is the slower of the two, while the second opens out a little at the exit and lets the drivers get the power down reasonably early.
Turn 3 follows immediately after. It's a very long, uphill right-hander, which in 2013 was taken at full throttle.
That may not be the case this year. Downforce levels have been cut and power delivery is not as benign as it was with the old V8s, so this could prove to be one of the most challenging corners of the circuit to get right.
Turns 4 and 5
Coming out of Turn 3 the drivers enter a tiny straight, before braking for another long corner, the 180-degree medium-speed right of Turn 4. The apex is early, and the turn opens toward the exit.
The track heads downhill along another tiny straight toward Turn 5.
This left-hand corner is tricky because the downhill slope continues all the way through the turn. It's the slowest corner so far, taken at around 100 kilometres an hour.
Turns 6, 7, 8 and 9
Turn 6 is a flat-out left-hand kink just before the braking zone for the next corner pair.
The first of the two, Turn 7, is a medium-speed left, which is downhill at the entry and uphill on the exit. It's common to see drivers running a little bit wide here over the kerbs that mark the inside of Turn 8, a flat-out right-hand kink.
But care needs to be taken, because there's a very nasty sausage kerb waiting for them if they cut it too fine.
The track heads uphill again before the very fast right-hand Turn 9. This one was easy with a little lift in 2013, but this year's cars may find it a little harder.
A medium-length straight follows.
Turns 10, 11, 12 and 13
At the end of the straight is one of the new corners introduced in an apparent effort to improve overtaking opportunities. Turn 10 is a slow left-hander with a long enough braking zone to make passing theoretically possible, but the straight which precedes it isn't really long enough.
Turn 11 is a left-hand kink immediately before braking for Turn 12, a fairly long 180-degree right. The drivers have to wait for what seems like an age before applying full throttle at the exit.
After another tiny downhill straight comes Turn 13, a medium-slow right.
It was introduced for the 2007 race in attempt to improve overtaking opportunities later in the lap, but it still looks like a temporary bodge job.
Turns 14, 15 and 16
The drivers have to quickly get across to the right-hand side of the track before braking for the first part of the final chicane, which also made its debut in 2007.
It's slow and fiddly, first left and then right, and a good exit is critical because the final corner, a right-hander (Turn 16), is flat-out and leads onto the long pit straight.
The pit lane entry is on the inside of Turn 16, and the exit is just before Turn 1.
Tyres and DRS
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is notoriously tough on the tyres. The long, quick corners like Turn 3 put lots of energy through the tyres, with the left side of the car taking the most punishment.
Pirelli consultant and former F1 driver Jean Alesi said on the company's race preview:
For the tyres, Barcelona is one of the hardest circuits of the year. The surface is quite abrasive but the main thing is all the fast corners that you accelerate through, which take a lot out of the rear tyres in particular. So this means that having the right set-up is absolutely essential to control degradation. If you don’t do that, you end up destroying the rear tyres and you lose pace very quickly.
To cope with the harsh demands, Pirelli are bringing the white-marked orange medium and orange-marked hard compound tyres. The hard will be the "prime" you'll hear commentators and drivers talking about, and the medium will be the "option."
The medium will be the obvious qualifying tyre of choice, while the hard is likely to prove the better pick for the race.
There will be two DRS zones at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The first will have a detection point just before Turn 9, and it will run the length of the short straight between Turns 9 and 10. Don't expect much to happen down here.
The second will have its detection point just after Turn 15 and will run for most of the length of the long pit straight, ending with braking for Turn 1.
Barcelona (which is a few miles from the circuit) has a humid subtropical climate. Spring temperatures are pleasant, with an average of 21 degrees Celsius. Rain is infrequent, with only five wet days in an average May.
The weekend forecast is for temperatures a touch above average, with bright sunshine on Friday and Saturday.
However, a weak weather front is expected to bring with it the possibility of rain and cooler conditions for Sunday's race.
BBC Weather will have the latest as we get closer to the weekend.
Lewis Hamilton is odds-on favourite (8-13) to claim his fourth consecutive race win. Nico Rosberg is second-favourite (13-5), with everyone else a long way behind.
Interestingly, some bookies consider Daniel Ricciardo (19-1) more likely to claim the win than his four-time world champion teammate, Sebastian Vettel (20-1).
The current favourites are:
The improvements made by Lotus in recent races could pay off, but the bookies don't think so. Romain Grosjean (2-1) is only 14th-favourite for a points finish, with Pastor Maldonado 3-1.
A safety car appearance (11-10) is considered less likely than no appearance (4-6).
And a high number of finishers is expected, with over 17.5 cars (8-13) considered more likely than under 17.5 cars (6-5).
All odds from Oddschecker, and correct at the time of publication.
Session and TV Times
As always, the Spanish Grand Prix weekend will consist of three free practice sessions, qualifying and the race.
The session times are as follows:
|Practice One||Friday||10 a.m.|
|Practice Two||Friday||2 p.m.|
|Practice Three||Saturday||11 a.m.|
All times are given in Spanish time (CEST). Formula1.com has a handy one-click tool to convert them to your own timezone.
In the United Kingdom, Sky Sports F1 and BBC One/Two (details of which in the table below) have full live coverage of all sessions. The times are:
|Day||Sky Prog. Starts||BBC Prog. Starts||Session Starts|
|Practice One||Friday||8:45 a.m.||8:55 a.m. (Two)||9 a.m.|
|Practice Two||Friday||12:45 p.m.||1 p.m. (Two)||1 p.m.|
|Practice Three||Saturday||9:45 a.m.||9.55 a.m. (Two)||10 a.m.|
|Qualifying||Saturday||12 a.m.||12:20 p.m. (One)||1 p.m.|
|Race||Sunday||11:30 a.m.||12:15 p.m. (One)||1 p.m.|
In the United States, NBCSN is showing live coverage of second practice on Friday (8 a.m.), qualifying on Saturday (8 a.m.) and the race on Sunday from 7:30 a.m. (start time 8 a.m.).
Enjoy the weekend!
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