After a few weeks break, the 2015 Formula One World Championship continues with round five, the Spanish Grand Prix, taking place once again at the Circuit de Catalunya, recently renamed the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after a sponsorship deal with Barcelona City Council. This is the first European leg of the year, and it promises to be as exciting as ever thanks to the circuit’s combination of corners, all but three of which are taken at speeds in excess of 62 mph.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was one of Barcelona’s many building projects in the lead up to the 1992 Olympic Games, and it’s been a permanent fixture on the F1 calendar since 1991. A lap is 2.89 miles, and drivers will have to complete 66 during Sunday’s race. Last year’s winner was Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton.
The circuit’s wide variety of corners makes it a severe test of man and machine, which is why it’s a favorite test venue for the teams during the winter off-season. Coupled with the high-energy corners is some of the roughest asphalt seen all year, which puts even more stress on tires. Pirelli’s two hardest compounds, hard and medium, have been nominated for the race.
Overtaking is notoriously difficult. Eighteen of the past 24 races held here have been won from pole position, which is the highest ratio of any track on the calendar—including Monaco. As a result, a good qualifying performance is vital. Fortunately for teams, the weather outlook is good for the full weekend.
Going into the weekend, Hamilton leads the 2015 Drivers’ Championship with 93 points, followed by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg with 66 points and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with 65 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes is on top with 159 points followed by Ferrari with 107 points and Williams with 61 points.