‘Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?
Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard...’
Formula 1’s gladiators are set to battle once more at the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend, just days after duking it out in Portimão. The arena? The captivating Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. A frequent pre-season proving ground, it’s a familiar F1 haunt but, with pre-season testing only taking place in Bahrain this year, we’ve had to wait a little longer for our latest Spanish sojourn.
To learn what’s in store, look no further than our race preview. Once again, it’s got the thoughts of Lando Norris, Daniel Riccardo and McLaren F1 Team Principal Andreas Seidl. Not only that, there are pointers for what to watch out for this weekend and news of merch that’s as magical as it is functional.
How to follow
|Where||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya|
|When||7 - 9 May|
|Start time||15:00 local, 14:00 BST, 09:00 EDT|
|Follow||TEAMStream and the McLaren App for exclusive commentary and insight|
What they say
“I’m excited to go to Spain! We seem to be on good form at the moment, so we’re just trying to keep that up, keep scoring points and things like that. It’s still early days in the championship, so another weekend like Portugal would be nice. We need to keep plugging away, keep trying to get some points and another good result in qualifying. We’ll see what we can do and what the car’s like, but I’m confident we can execute a good race.”
“I’m really looking forward to getting back on track in Spain. Having been to two unique circuits in Imola and Portimão, it’ll be good to get some laps in on a circuit I know really well. All the teams do so much testing at Barcelona, so we pretty much know what to expect right out of the box. Having so much familiarity with the circuit and the high levels of grip should mean I can really push the car and not have too many other factors to worry about. I’m feeling more and more comfortable with every race distance, so I’m really excited to see what we can do in the next few races.”
“After a great recovery from a tricky Saturday in Portimão, we head into the Spanish Grand Prix aiming to have a slightly smoother weekend. Any double-header comes with logistical challenges, and the team at both the factory and the track have done an excellent job making sure we’re well prepared to go racing again so soon after Portugal.
“As always, qualifying is an important part of the weekend, but particularly so at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, where overtaking can be difficult. We’ve made a strong start to the season but we know we mustn’t get complacent, especially when we see how close the competition is. Lando has had a great start to the season and remains in good form, while Daniel is really starting to show his confidence in the car, with last Sunday’s battle back into the points proving the progress he’s making. We’re looking forward to seeing what he can do when he’s totally comfortable.
“Another weekend, another chance to score some good points. Let’s go racing!”
What the stats say
All the threes. Three races into the season we sit third in Constructors’ Championship, while Lando occupies the same spot in the Drivers’ Championship. Not only that, but Lando comes into this weekend having finished in the top five in all three previous starts this season – include his fifth place at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year and his run extends to four. Meanwhile, McLaren is the only team to have achieved a double-points finish in every race so far. Needless to say, we’ll be aiming to continue this fine start to the campaign at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. It’s a place where we have enjoyed success, with four of our eight Spanish Grand Prix victories coming at this venue. Daniel has also visited the F1 podium here: back in 2014 and 2017 – the former his first in F1.
What to watch out for
The true pecking order. After three races we’ve already got a pretty good idea of who’s where, but after this weekend things will be even clearer. With all the miles and data racked up at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over the years – from both racing and testing – coupled with the circuit’s combination of high and slow speed, and weather that looks set fair this weekend, this circuit will be a real barometer of performance.
However, the circuit teams and drivers will find this year is a little different from what they’ve grown accustomed to. Changes made to Turn 10 have seen it revert to a more gently arcing left-hander, similar to its original layout before it was remodelled by F1-circuit guru Hermann Tilke in 2004 to be a tighter bend aimed at increasing overtaking opportunities. The changes also include a larger run-off area and therefore improve the safety of the corner.
What to wear
Why pull a rabbit out of a hat, when you can pull a backpack out of your pocket?
That’s right, if you want to perform the kind of magic trick that has propelled the likes of Penn and Teller to stardom, then you need to get your hands on the McLaren F1 Packable Backpack. Not only does it fold up into the size of a wallet, it’s also one of the most stylish ways you can carry your stuff around. Just don’t try to fold the backpack up when it’s got your stuff in it – if you do and it still fits in your pocket, then that really is magic.
Got a burning question for the team? Make sure you send it over to the #TheFifthDriver in the build up to this weekend and we’ll answer the best ones during live commentary on McLaren.com and the McLaren App. If that wasn’t enough, all the questions answered will make it into our ‘Question Time’ feature on McLaren.com.
Oh, and did we mention the prizes? Yep, there are plenty of those up for grabs too. The Portuguese Grand Prix question of the week came from @hallefrisco_, who has bagged herself a McLaren Water Bottle signed by Lando and Daniel. She wanted to know whether members of the race team have the time to see the cities they travel to during race weekends. Tom Briggs, our support crew team leader, answered this one and revealed the art of ‘turbo sightseeing’.
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