Formula 1 enters a period in which the word “stop” is not included in its vocabulary. Having played the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimao, the world-class Circus immediately moves to Barcelona, to be precise to Montmelò, where the Spanish Grand Prix will be held this weekend, the fourth round of the 2021 World Cup.
For the Catalan race, Pirelli will bring the following compounds:
Pirelli PZero Hard C1
Pirelli PZero Medium C2
Pirelli PZero Soft C3
They are the same used for the Portuguese Grand Prix, namely the three hardest in the 2021 Pirelli range which goes from C1 – the hardest – to C5, the softest.
Why Pirelli named those compounds
- although the temperatures will most likely be lower than last year, the important loads that the Spanish circuit imposes on the tires remain unchanged, especially for Curva 3, a long curve to the right that mainly stresses the front left. Curva 9 is also particularly demanding on tires.
- For the first time since 2014, this year Barcelona did not host the pre-season tests, so the teams will take to the track with the 2021 cars without any reference performance data.
Characteristics of the route
- The layout has been changed this year, with a different profile in Curva 10 (La Caixa) to increase safety. The result is a slightly wider left-hander than the previous one, with a larger escape area and a shorter braking distance, for the benefit of a higher corner entry speed. As a result, the lap length has increased by 20 meters compared to the previous version.
- The famous loads imposed by the Barcelona track make a one-stop strategy really challenging, although this year’s cooler temperatures might help. In 2020, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) won with a soft-medium-medium two-stop strategy, while Sergio Perez finished 5th with a soft-medium stop. Three pit stops for Valtteri Bottas, 3rd at the finish.
- On the Barcelona track it is generally quite difficult to overtake, although the long straight downhill and the DRS area can help. For this reason qualifying and race strategy are two crucial aspects to gain positions.
- Given the presence of some support races during the weekend, the evolution of the asphalt could be quite rapid, with a more rubberized track than other races so far held this season that have seen only Formula 1 on track.
Mario Isola, head of car racing at Pirelli: “In 2020 the race strategy in Barcelona was mainly influenced by the high asphalt temperatures. This year, with the return to the calendar in a spring date, the temperatures should be lower but will still be a key factor The changes to the profile in Turn 10 add a new challenge that could affect the way drivers approach the lap. We have seen in the past that the tactical aspect is one of the factors that really make a difference on this track and it should be like this also this weekend “.
Minimum pressures at the start (slick)
Front: 22.0 psi
Rear: 19.5 psi
Front: -3.25 °
Rear: -1.75 °