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Spanish Grand Prix - Looking for more answers at Montmelo

Maranello 12 August 2020

The second triple-header of this frenetic Formula 1 season comes to an end with this Sunday’s 50th Spanish Grand Prix. The race takes place at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, one of the tracks best known to the drivers who generally rack up a huge mileage here in testing.

The track. The track boasts a mix of high, medium and low speed corners, with several direction changes, some climbs and drops and a long main start-finish straight and thus provides a real test of a car’s abilities. The final part used to be high speed, but now features a slow chicane leading onto the straight. Of the permanent tracks, this is one of the hardest when it comes to overtaking. With the sea and mountains nearby, changing wind direction can be tricky to contend with as it upsets car balance considerably. This year, the race is being held in the height of summer, rather than usual spring date, so air and track temperatures will be much higher. Pirelli is supplying the same three tyre compounds as those used at the first Silverstone race.

Testing venue. From a technical point of view, for Scuderia Ferrari the Spanish Grand Prix will not be too dissimilar to the pairs of races at Spielberg and Silverstone. The team will have all its data from winter testing with the SF1000, although the temperature will be much higher and will therefore allow the team to move forward with its work of evaluating the car in different configurations.

History. The first Spanish Grand Prix to count towards the Formula 1 World Championship was held in 1951 at Pedralbes, near Barcelona, and has been a regular fixture since 1968. Ferrari has won this event 12 times, the first dating back to 1954 at Pedralbes courtesy of Mike Hawthorn in the 553 F1. The race has also been held at Jarama, in the Madrid area, which brought Ferrari wins for Niki Lauda in 1974 and Gilles Villeneuve in 1981, the Canadian keeping a pack of cars behind him so that the first five crossed the line covered by just 1.24 seconds. Then came Montjuich, also in Barcelona, Jerez de la Frontera, where Alain Prost won in 1990 in an F1-90, and, as from 1991, always at Montmelo. Michael Schumacher won here five times, in 1996 and from 2001 to 2004, Felipe Massa in 2007, Kimi Raikkonen in 2008 and Fernando Alonso in 2013.


Simone Resta Head of Chassis Engineering

"We arrive in Barcelona knowing this will not be an easy weekend for us, given how testing went here in February. However, over the five races run so far, we have worked hard to try and improve our car’s performance and extract all its potential. 

We will obviously encounter much hotter weather with track temperatures expected to be well above 40°C: it will be an important factor, especially when it comes to the behaviour of the tyres, as we saw at the last two races in Silverstone. 

There will be no particular updates on the SF1000, however Sebastian will have a new chassis, because after the Silverstone post-race analysis, we spotted a small fault caused by a heavy impact over a kerb. It would not have had much of an effect on performance, but it was the logical decision to take. "


Sebastian Vettel #5

“When you get to the Barcelona track you already know it will be a race where it’s the small details that make the difference. The teams and drivers all know this track very well and that’s why, right form the start of Friday free practice, you can work on fine tuning the car.

This circuit is quite different to Silverstone and I am curious to find out how the car will feel here. We can expect very high temperatures and so it will be important to find a set-up that allows you to have good speed without causing excessive tyre wear.”


Charles Leclerc #16

"The Barcelona track is a classic. Every year we do so many kilometres here in testing and therefore we can say it has no secrets. However, this year, as we will be racing here in the height of summer it will be interesting to see how our car performs in really hot weather.

As was the case in the two Silverstone races, I thing tyre management will be very important. It’s something we worked on a lot and in England it paid off. It will be important not to make any mistakes in qualifying to try and get the most out of the car in race configuration.”

Last week in the team

Last week the team was taking part in the second race at Silverstone. Charles Leclerc finished a strong fourth, down to a particularly well thought out strategy and the driver’s ability to manage the tyres very well. Unfortunately, Sebastian Vettel had a difficult time, after spinning shortly after the start. He fought his way back from last to twelfth, hence scoring no points.

The second race in the UK was carefully analysed in the debrief on Monday, as the team prepared for the Spanish Grand Prix, setting out a work sheet for the week. The track is well known to all the teams: over the winter the SF1000 completed 844 laps, or 3,929 kilometres, equivalent to 13 race distances in the course of testing.


Ferrari stats

GP contested 996

Seasons in F1 71

Debut Monaco 1950 (Alberto Ascari 2nd; Raymond Sommer 4th; Luigi Villoresi ret.)

Wins 238 (33.89%)

Pole positions 228 (22.89%)

Fastest laps 254 (25.50%)

Podiums 772 (77.51%)


FERRARI STATS SPANISH GP

GP contested 49

Debut 1951 (José Froilàn Gonzalez 2nd; Alberto Ascari 4th; Luigi Villoresi ret.; Piero Taruffi ret.)

Wins 12 (24,49%)

Pole positions 13 (26,53%)

Fastest laps 14 (28,57%)

Podiums 38 (77,55%)


Spanish GP Facts & Figures

0.5 – Points scored by Maria Grazia “Lella” Lombardi in the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix, which was won by Jochen Mass in a McLaren. The Italian is to date the only woman to have finished a race in the points, but she only got a half point, because the race was halted on lap 29, following an accident which befell Rolf Stommelen in the Hill. The driver broke both legs, while two journalists, a marshal and a spectator lost their lives.

2 + 2 – Spanish drivers that have raced in Formula 1 for Ferrari. Fernando Alonso did so for five seasons, taking part in 96 Grands Prix, winning 11. He finished on the podium 44 times, took 4 pole positions and 8 fastest laps. He was runner-up in the world championship three times in 2010, 2012 and 2013. The other Spaniard was nobleman Alfonso De Portago, or to give him his full name Alfonso Antonio Vicente Eduardo Ángel Blas Francisco de Borja Cabeza de Vaca y Leighton, XI marqués De Portago. He raced for Ferrari in Formula 1 five times, finishing second in the 1956 British Grand Prix, sharing the car with Peter Collins and fifth in Argentina the following year. Scuderia Ferrari has also had two Spanish test drivers: Pedro de la Rosa and Marc Gené, who are still linked to the Maranello marque as ambassadors and tutors for drivers in the exclusive Programme XX and F1 Clienti.

13 – Spanish drivers have taken part in at least one Formula 1 Grand Prix. Heading the table is Fernando Alonso on 311, still the only one of them to have won a race, not to mention two world titles. Next year’s Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, along with Pedro de la Rosa and Alfonso De Portago have stood on the podium, while Jaime Alguersuari, Francesco Godia-Sales, Marc Gené and Luis Perez-Sala have scored points. Just one Spanish constructor, the Hispania Racing Team (HRT) has raced in Formula 1, taking part from 2010 to 2012, without scoring points. Its best result was a 13th place for Italy’s Vitantonio Liuzzi in the 2011 Canadian GP. In 1954, the Pegaso team made an entry to race a car called a Z-105 in the Spanish Grand Prix but it never happened.

89.65 – The percentage of wins from front row starts at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit. In the 29 editions since the inaugural event in 1991, the winner has started from pole position 21 times, while on five occasions the winner started second. In 1996, Michael Schumacher took the first of his 72 wins with Ferrari, having started third, while here in 2016, Max Verstappen scored his first ever F1 win, from fourth on the grid. The record for winning from the furthest back on the grid at Montmelo goes to Fernando Alonso who had qualified only fifth in his F138 in 2013.

1913 – The year of the first Spanish Grand Prix. It was run over three laps of the 103 km long Guadarrama track, which linked various places in the province of Madrid and Castilla y Leon, such as Villalba, Navacerrada, San Idelfonso, Segovia, Hontoria, Revenga and Los Angeles de San Rafael. It was held on 15 June and won by local driver Don Carlos De Salamanca at the wheel of a Rolls-Royce.


This week in our history

12/8 – In 2002, Luca Badoer completed 22 laps of the Fiorano track, shaking down the three F2002 Scuderia Ferrari would use in the Hungarian Grand Prix on 18 August. Rubens Barrichello won from Michael Schumacher, thus giving the team its 57th ever one-two finish.

13/8 – was the date of the 1989 Hungarian Grand Prix. Things had not gone at all well in qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari with Gerhard Berger sixth on the grid and Nigel Mansell could do no better than 12th. At a track like the Hungaroring, the mere idea of getting on the podium seemed like a mirage. But in the race, Nigel was on fire. He made up place after place and by half distance he had closed on the leader, Ayrton Senna in the McLaren. Getting past the Brazilian did not seem likely, but Mansell, at the wheel of the F1-89 with semi-automatic paddle shift gearchange was on another planet that day. On lap 58, as the two leaders came up behind Stefan Johansson in the Onyx, the Brazilian hesitated for an instant and Nigel swept past both of them to take his second Ferrari win.

14/8 – In 1988, Enzo Ferrari died at home in Modena at the age of 90 years and 178 days, leaving precise instructions as to his funeral arrangements and the way his death was to be communicated. As in life, so too in death, Ferrari left nothing to chance. As instructed, his death was only announced the following day after 8 o’clock when the funeral took place. Only a very small number of people were allowed to attend, chosen personally by Ferrari on a handwritten list. Even though use of the Internet was not widespread at the time, his death made all the headlines.

15/8 – In 2004, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello secured Scuderia Ferrari’s 68th one-two finish in Formula 1. The German was dominant claiming the “grand chelem”, namely securing pole, setting the race fastest lap and leading from start to finish. It was the Scuderia’s 179th win and Michael’s 82nd, his 63rd with the Maranello squad. The result meant that the championships could be wrapped up at the following round in Belgium and that’s just what happened.

16/8 – in 1970 the Austrian Grand Prix took place for the first time on the new Österreichring. There were two groups of fans in the grandstands, the locals rooting for their hero Jochen Rindt and the Italians who had marched across the Alps to support Scuderia Ferrari. It was the latter who got to cheer the winner, as on the mountainside not far from Graz, Jacky Ickx and Clay Regazzoni were totally dominant in the 312B, scoring a one-two finish and lapping almost the entire field. The only other car to finish on the same lap was the Brabham of Germany’s Rolf Stommelen, albeit almost a minute and a half down.