Spanish Grand Prix 2015 Preview: Start Time, TV Times, Weather, Schedule, Odds

Neil James@NeilosJamesFeatured ColumnistMay 6, 2015

Spanish Grand Prix 2015 Preview: Start Time, TV Times, Weather, Schedule, Odds

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    The 2015 Spanish Grand Prix marks the end of a three-week break between races and the start of Formula One's European season.

    For the 25th consecutive year, the race will be held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Teams frequently bring substantial upgrades to this event, so we can expect to see new parts on all the carsthough a significant change to the running order is unlikely.

    Championship leader Lewis Hamilton won last year's race, but the men with the most victories in Spain are Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen. Each has won here twice, while Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado all have one win apiece.

    Overtaking is difficult and qualifying could decide the outcome of a number of key battles. Raikkonen versus Vettel will be an interesting one after their contrasting fortunes in Bahrain, while over at Mercedes, Nico Rosberg will be seeking to reignite his title hopes.

    Read on for a full preview of the weekend ahead including current standings, a circuit map and guide, tyre compound information, DRS zone locations, TV times, session times, weather forecast and odds.

Current Standings

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    Five trophies?
    Five trophies?Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton's win in Bahrain saw him extend his lead in the drivers' champions to 27 points. Nico Rosberg rises a spot to second, with Sebastian Vettel third.

    The current top 10 are:

    PosDriverPoints
    1Lewis Hamilton93
    2Nico Rosberg 66
    3Sebastian Vettel 65
    4 Kimi Raikkonen 42
    5Felipe Massa 31
    6 Valtteri Bottas 30
    7Daniel Ricciardo 19
    8Felipe Nasr 14
    9Romain Grosjean 12
    10Nico Hulkenberg 6

    In the constructors' championship, Mercedes are up to 159 points. Ferrari are 52 points back in second, Williams are third and Red Bull are up to fourth ahead of Sauber. McLaren and Manor are yet to score.

    The teams with at least one point are:

    PosTeamPoints
    1Mercedes159
    2Ferrari107
    3Williams61
    4Red Bull23
    5Sauber19
    6Lotus12
    7 Toro Rosso 12
    8Force India11

    Data sourced from the official F1 website.

Circuit de Catalunya

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    Will Pittenger / modified / Wikimedia Commons

    The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (formerly known as simply Circuit de Catalunya) first hosted the Spanish Grand Prix in 1991, and the race has remained there ever since.

    Long considered an excellent venue to challenge all aspects of a car's performance, the circuit has always been a popular testing location. It hosted two of the three pre-season tests in 2015, and the first of the two in-season tests will be held here starting on Tuesday 12 May.

    Turns 1, 2 and 3

    A lap begins on the pit straight with one of the longest runs to the first corner on the calendar.

    Turn 1 is a medium-speed right-hander, the first part of a wide and quick chicane. The second part, the left-hand Turn 2, follows immediately.

    The corner opens out and the drivers accelerate into the long, uphill right-hander of Turn 3. Flat-out in the past, it now requires a brief lift on the entry before the throttle is nailed to the floor toward the exit.

    This turn is renowned as a tyre-killer, putting significant stresses through the front-left as well as the rears.

    Turns 4, 5 and 6

    At the top of the hill, the drivers exit Turn 3 and head down a short straight before braking hard for Turn 4. Trickier than it looks, this broad, 180-degree right-hander has an early apex and requires careful feathering of the throttle for the best possible time.

    The circuit heads down a slope before another braking zone, this time for the slow left of Turn 5. Downhill all the way, it can be hard to get the nose into this corner, and the inside kerb is often left unmolested.

    After waiting for the corner to open out, it's back on the throttle again and through the flat-out, left-hand kink of Turn 6.

    Turns 7, 8 and 9

    As soon as they're out of Turn 6, the drivers brake for the slow-to-medium speed left of Turn 7. With the track still heading downhill, this is another tricky braking zone.

    The corner exits into Turn 8, a right-hand kink. The ideal line calls for the driver to take a wide exit from Turn 7 and attack the inside kerb of Turn 8the straightest and shortest possible route.

    However, care needs to be takenany driver cutting too much of Turn 8 will encounter the substantial "sausage kerb" on the inside.

    The track then heads uphill for a couple of seconds before the turn-in for Turn 9, a medium-speed right. A good exit here is important because it leads out onto the circuit's second-longest straight.

    Turns 10, 11 and 12

    The straight isn't especially long, but the cars are still doing somewhere in the region of 300 kilometres an hour before braking hard for the tight, slow left of Turn 10. In theory, this is an overtaking spot; in reality, it's unlikely to see much action after the first lap.

    The drivers stay wide at the exit for the best line into the left-hand kink of Turn 11. This leads immediately into the long, slow-to-medium speed right-hander of Turn 12.

    Turns 13, 14, 15 and 16

    At the exit of Turn 12, the drivers manage around two seconds of full throttle before braking for the tight right of Turn 13. This part of the track looks hopelessly out of place on an otherwise flowing circuit, having been added in 2007 in an (unsuccessful) attempt to increase overtaking on the main straight.

    The drivers swing quickly to the right-hand side of the track at the exit ready for the slow, left-right chicane of Turns 14 and 15. The kerbs cannot be attacked too hard, but giving each a hefty tap produces the best possible line.

    Accelerating out of the chicane, the cars stream into the final corner. Taken at or very close to full throttle, this medium-speed right leads out onto the long pit straight and the start of another lap.

    Pit Lane

    The pit lane entry is on the inside of the final corner, with the exit on the pit straight before Turn 1.

    Slide image: Creative Commons.

Tyres and DRS Zones

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    The Circuit de Catalunya features a number of long, fast corners, and the track surface is very rough. Moderately high temperatures combine with these factors to make this a famously difficult place to be a tyre.

    As a result, Pirelli will bring the white-marked medium and orange-marked hard compounds to Barcelona.

    Though usually a front-limited circuitstint length being determined by wear to the front tyres2014's race was rear-limited. However, Pirelli's pre-race press release states the company has made changes to the construction of the rear tyres.

    These should return us to front-limited territory, with the front-left expected to bear the brunt of the punishment in places like Turns 3, 9 and 16.

    Pirelli expect two stops to be the favoured strategy.

    DRS Zones

    There will be two DRS zones for the Spanish Grand Prix.

    The first will have its detection point between Turns 8 and 9, with the activation point coming at the exit of Turn 9. The zone will run the length of the back straight and end with braking for Turn 10.

    Zone 2 will have a detection point just after the exit to the penultimate corner, Turn 15. The activation point is soon after the exit of the final corner, and the zone will run the length of the long pit straight, ending as the drivers brake for Turn 1.

    It's likely the first zone will be little use to anyonethe straight is too short for F1 cars to overtake each other unless one is struggling badly with its tyres. The second is where the action will happen.

Weather Forecast

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate with fairly hot summers and mild winters. May is mid-Spring in this part of the world, which sees average daily highs in the region of 21 degrees Celsius. Rainfall occurs around one day in six.

    The weekend forecast is for largely clear skies and temperatures above the seasonal average. Friday and Sunday are set to be the warmest days with highs of around 26 degrees Celsius, dropping a little on Saturday.

    Wind is not expected to be a major factor.

    The charts indicate this forecast is unlikely to change, but BBC Weather will have the latest as we get closer to the race.

Odds

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton is in his usual position as favourite with Nico Rosberg considered his closest challenger. Kimi Raikkonen's odds are closer to Sebastian Vettel's than they were for the last race in Bahrain.

    The top 10 favourites are:

    DriverOdds
    Lewis Hamilton8-13
    Nico Rosberg10-3
    Sebastian Vettel7-1
    Kimi Raikkonen10-1
    Valtteri Bottas100-1
    Felipe Massa100-1
    Daniel Ricciardo300-1
    Daniil Kvyat500-1
    Romain Grosjean500-1
    Pastor Maldonado750-1

    Selected Others

    Bahrain was the first race of the year without a safety car and an appearance in Spain is considered unlikely. It's 8-13 the third Mercedes will stay away and 6-5 we see it out on track.

    Hamilton's victory margin over Rosberg last season was less than one seconda close finish is expected in 2015 too. It's 11-8 the gap between the top two is less than five seconds at the chequered flag, 15-8 it's five to 10 seconds and 15-8 it's more than 10 seconds.

    And McLaren's Fernando Alonso is 10th-favourite for a points finish at just 5-4. Team-mate Jenson Button is 13-8.

    All odds sourced from Oddschecker and correct at the time of publication.

TV Times and Session Times

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    Jordiferrer / Wikimedia Commons

    As always, the Spanish Grand Prix weekend will consist of three free practice sessions, qualifying and the race.

    The session times are as follows:

    SessionDayTime
    Practice 1Friday10 a.m.
    Practice 2Friday2 p.m.
    Practice 3Saturday11 a.m.
    QualifyingSaturday2 p.m.
    RaceSunday2 p.m.

    All times given are Barcelona local time (CEST, UTC +2). The official Formula One website has a useful tool on its homepage to convert them to your own time zone.

    TV Times

    In the United Kingdom, live coverage of all sessions will be provided by Sky Sports F1. The programming times are as follows (all times BST):

    SessionDaySession StartSky Start Time
    Practice 1Friday9 a.m.8:45 a.m.
    Practice 2Friday1 p.m.12:45 p.m.
    Practice 3Saturday10 a.m.9:45 a.m.
    QualifyingSaturday1 p.m.12 p.m.
    RaceSunday1 p.m.11:30 a.m.

    Free-to-air highlights of qualifying and the race will be shown by the BBC.

    In the United States, live coverage is provided by the NBC network across CNBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra (SLE). The times are as follows (all times EDT):

    SessionDaySession StartNBC Start
    Practice 1Friday4 a.m.4 a.m. (SLE)
    Practice 2Friday8 a.m.8 a.m. (NBCSN)
    Practice 3Saturday5 a.m.5 a.m. (SLE)
    QualifyingSaturday8 a.m.8 a.m. (CNBC)
    RaceSunday8 a.m.7:30 am (NBCSN)

    Enjoy the weekend!

    Follow me on Twitter for occasional F1-related thoughts, comments and updates on new articles.

    Slide image: Creative Commons

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