A regular test venue, this track, which currently measures 4.655 kilometres, first appeared on the Championship calendar in 1991. The layout demands that drivers are extremely precise. Up until a few years ago, it had no slow corners and was famous for its abrasive surface. Now, things have changed with its double final corner, which is split by a chicane, while the track surface has been improved. Teams and driver know its corners perfectly well and it’s difficult to come up with something to gain an edge, although the venue has often thrown up spectacular races. Scuderia Ferrari has won 12 times in Spain, the first win dating back to 1954, at the Pedralbes circuit with Mike Hawthorn. The Scuderia’s first win at the Catalunya Circuit coincided with Michael Schumacher’s first victory in red, in 1996. The German repeated the feat four more times. Other winners here are Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.
Here, at the start of the 2013 GP, Fernando Alonso pulled off a master stroke: starting from 5th on the grid, he managed to pass Kimi Raikkonen’s Lotus and then the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. From then on, the Scuderia strategy helped the Spaniard to win.
The key to a good lap time is to exit this turn and get onto
the straight quickly, for the run down to the first corner, where DRS
can be used. It was on this very straight in 1991 that Nigel Mansell
overtook Ayrton Senna, after they had raced neck and neck down the