Carlos Sainz sent a message to his fans in the Thursday press conference of his home race, at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya: “To have for the second year running a Spanish Grand Prix with so few fans in the grandstands isn’t the greatest news, unfortunately. I was dreaming of a Turn Five full of scarlet flags for me and the team, because it’s there that you usually find the grandstand with my supporters. This year, if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, given the return to the paddock of Fernando Alonso – with whom the Madrid driver shared this encounter with the media – and my own switch to Ferrari, we would have certainly packed out the terraces,” confirmed Carlos. “Knowing this gives me extra motivation to try to come away with a good result this weekend. Everyone would deserve it, not least to put behind me the race from a week ago in Portugal, which was nonetheless a useful experience as I continue to learn.”
Modifications. This year Turn 10 has been brought back to a configuration that is very similar to the original layout from 1991, while it has been decided to keep the chicane in the final sector instead of the quick double right-hander that was used until 2006. Carlos is not anticipating big differences to the track that has been used in recent years: “I think that the modifications to Turn 10 don’t change much, even if it should be possible to take it using two different potential lines. As for the final two corners, I would like to try a race without the chicane. Recently Formula 1 has changed so much and perhaps, also thinking about the DRS, to have the last section with the two quick right-hand corners would offer more opportunities for the show.”
Potential to exploit. Charles Leclerc is also keen to take to the track in Spain: “As you know the drivers know this track very well, because it is often the venue for pre-season testing. This year however it’s a bit different because the winter tests took place in Bahrain and they have also carried out modifications to Turn 10,” said the Monegasque driver. “We will have to do a detailed study of the new layout to work out how best to approach it, now that its flow has changed.” Barcelona has long been a track that acts as a reference point, showing off the technical qualities of the cars: “Compared to last year our car has improved in every area, and also because of this I am curious to see how the SF21 works on all the different types of corner that make up this track.”
Programme. The cars will take to the track for the first time on Friday, for the usual two sessions of free practice, which are scheduled to start at 11.30 CET and then at 15.00. Qualifying will take place on Saturday at 15.00, preceded at 12.00 by the final session of free practice. The Spanish Grand Prix itself will get under way on Sunday at 1500. There will be 66 laps over a circuit of the 4675 kilometre long track, for a total of 308.424 kilometres.