The first European race starts with a trip to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, a well-visited and well-loved track by all in the F1 paddock.
The 28th running of the Spanish Grand Prix not only sees the return of the team's home away from home - the buzzing Brand Centre, but a new-look pit garage, a handful of car parts to test and of course, Fernando's home race.
Look out for passionate Fernando fans with their Asturian flags, cheering on their homegrown hero and the team.
|Where||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya|
|When||11 - 13 May 2018|
|Start time||15:10hrs local/14:10hrs BST|
|How many laps||66|
|Tyre choice||White Medium, yellow Soft, red Supersoft|
Hear from the team
From home race excitement to building on our points tally, read what Fernando, Stoffel and Eric have to say ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Fernando Alonso, McLaren Driver
“It’s great to be back in Europe, in Spain, and at home! You can never beat the feeling of racing in front of your home fans. I’m very lucky that we get to race in my country of birth as not all drivers get that opportunity, and every year the support from the Spanish fans gets bigger and better.
“The Spanish Grand Prix represents the start of a very busy few months leading up to the summer break – both for McLaren and for me with my other racing commitments. I’m more than ready for the challenge and I’m really excited to see what the next few races bring us.
“I know we have some developments in the pipeline, but we also know there is no magic bullet that will propel us to the front of the grid overnight. There has been a lot of work happening at the factory and there is still a lot of work to do – so in Barcelona it’s a chance to evaluate some new things, see where we are, and determine the direction that we take with car development as we progress through the season. As always, and especially after the battle we fought in Baku, I’m really looking forward to pushing hard on track again this weekend in front of my home fans.”
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren Driver
“Heading back to European races always feels very satisfyingly familiar, especially in Barcelona. We all know the track very well and spend a lot of time there – in fact, it doesn’t feel that long ago that we were there during pre-season testing!
“Thankfully, the weather should be a little bit more reliable this time around. Although we do a lot of testing there and we have a lot of data about the circuit, we weren’t able to do a lot of representative running pre-season due to the weather conditions and the issues we had. However, I’ve spent time back at the factory in the simulator since Baku, so the key will be to translate that information to the track and get a read on our package as soon as possible on Friday.
“That package will include a few new components that we’ll be working hard to learn about and evaluate on Friday. There’ll be a lot to assess and for sure other teams will be planning the same thing, so as always we’ll need to race hard, ensure good reliability, and optimise our strategy to be able to come home with more points.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director
“The whole team is looking forward to heading back to Barcelona. It’s a great circuit – one of the classics on the calendar – and it always feels good to start the second chapter of the season as we start racing again in Europe.
“This also means the return of our much-loved Brand Centre, and having all the teams’ hospitality units back in the Paddock brings a real ‘back-to-school’ feeling. For us, being Fernando’s home race, the support we receive is nothing short of spectacular, and the fans always bring another level of enthusiasm.
“Like most teams, we’re planning to bring some new parts to the car to test on Friday and decide which of these to take forward into the rest of the weekend, and the coming races. While for logistical reasons Barcelona was the most logical time to implement these, it’s part of a season-long plan to develop the car as we always do until the final race.
“We’re taking each grand prix weekend step-by-step, and hope we can begin to address the challenges we know we face with our package. We’re all gunning for a positive weekend for both cars in front of Fernando’s home crowd.”