AT&T Williams F1 Preview of Spanish GP – Friday 7 to Sunday 9 May, 2010 – Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – round 5 of 19
Sam Michael, Technical Director
We spend a lot of time testing in Barcelona so we know the track well. That brings obvious advantages for the drivers, but it also enables us to spend more time working on different programmes during the practice sessions. We will have some aero updates for the car in Barcelona, including a new front wing, sidepod and revised wing mirrors. We will also be running additional test parts in order to further develop the blown rear wing that we had limited time with in Shanghai.
Most of the drivers know Barcelona inside out. It’s a great track, particularly for qualifying and that can really be the determining factor of the weekend. The circuit has a combination of high and low speed sectors but the priority is to achieve good speed going into the corners, rather than focusing on the long straight, so you have to have a strong aerodynamic set-up. Turn three is challenging and you are looking to go flat out there for qualifying. The four-through-seven corner sequence is where you can make up the most time on the lap so getting that hooked up is important too.
Overtaking is kind of limited because everyone has so much experience of the track. The biggest variable is normally the weather. I’ve raced at Catalunya plenty of times; it’s a circuit I like a lot and I think someone with experience will do better there.
I’ve enjoyed the first few races so I’m looking forward to Spain and working together with the team again. I’ve covered a lot of kilometres testing in Barcelona over the past couple of years, and I’ve raced there in GP2, so I’m confident I know the track well enough to hit the ground running. It’s a good circuit to drive and gives everyone a clear indication of how strong your aerodynamics are.
The track flows nicely and has some testing corners. The first sector is especially quick. Turn three is a fast right hander, turn nine too, and both are a lot of fun to drive. Like everyone else, we will have new parts for Barcelona so there’s some expectation to do better there than in China. I’ve been to the track so many times but I’ve never really seen the city itself. Now that I’m actually racing in F1, I doubt that’s going to change!
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