Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Barcelona, 2011

Dry start in Spain but chance of rain on race day

2012 Spanish Grand Prix weather

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Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Barcelona, 2011The Spanish Grand Prix weekend will get off to a dry start but could turn wet in time for the race.

A warm, sunny day is expected for Friday practice with temperatures reaching around 25C. it will stay dry for qualifying on Saturday, with perhaps a little cloud cover, and temperatures rising another 2C.

The forecasters are becoming increasingly confident that it will rain on Sunday, but the crucial question is whether it will fall in time for the race start at 2pm local time. Increased cloud cover will reduce temperatures into the low 20C region.

It’s been 16 years since the last wet Spanish Grand Prix, when Michael Schumacher scored his first of many wins for Ferrari.

Keep an eye on the weather radars and precipitation forecasts below to find out whether the weather will take a turn for the worse this weekend:

Circuit de Catalunya location

The Circuit de Catalunya is in Montmelo, just outside Barcelona in the north-east of Spain:

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Spanish Grand Prix articles

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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38 comments on “Dry start in Spain but chance of rain on race day”

  1. Just checked the weather forecast, Rain on Sunday! never been more happy for forecast rain… but now i say that it will be as dry as a bone.

  2. I wish it would be changing weather.

  3. I kind of don’t want a wet race because it would probably just get red flagged, or we’d see endless laps behind the safety car during intermediate conditions.

    1. I kind of don’t want a wet race because it would probably just get red flagged

      When last year’s Canadian Grand Prix was red-flagged, it wasn’t because of the water falling from the sky. It was because of the water pooling on the circuit. Because the circuit is built on an artificial island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, it has very little drainage in places. So, when then there is constant heavy rain, it tends to flood. The water around the bottom hairpin was ankle-deep, which is clearly unsafe for racing.

      Likewise, the rain at this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix caused the track to flood. Sepang is built into a natural bowl, which means that while it has plenty of natural elevation, the water tends to pool in the middle. It happened in 2009 as well. The real problem with the race was the time of day. I know Bernie wants the race on at a manageable time for European audiences – can you blame him? – but the heavy rain typically comes late in the day in Malaysia, which floods the circuit. If the race had started at the more-conventional 2pm local time, the race probably would have been over before the rain flooded the circuit.

      Barcelona, however, doesn’t really have any drainage problems.

      1. That’s good to know; hopefully we will see variable conditions, if not, hopefully we won’t see downpours that lead to dangerously low visibility (safety car laps ate such garbage to watch).

      2. I agree that drainage is important factor, but I dont think that fully answers what is a very frustrating problem for fans. Wet tyres are barely used any more, I think they aren’t fit for purpose. I believe deeper tread is needed.

        Watching a third to half a race behind a safety car isn’t acceptable either. If there is a reg flag and it takes 10 laps to clear the standing water then top the cars up and add an extra 10 laps to the race (a la BTCC).

        1. For me the cotd. Very interesting point. They could certainly change the tyres to handle huge amounts of water.

        2. Chris Goldsmith
          10th May 2012, 16:12

          There’s no problem with the grip of the tyres. The problem is visibility caused by the spray from the tyres. Spray caused because the tyres are actually great at shifting loads of water out of the way. Plus the aerodynamics of the cars literally rips the water off the tarmac and sends it into the sky. If you wanted a solution, then you could fit the wheels with fenders to stop the water being thrown into the air.

          I do agree that it could be a nice idea to add laps after safety car running, but the parc ferme rules would mean that you couldn’t refuel as you say so it’d take a rules tweak.

      3. You honestly believe that? Gee….you can hear “certain” driver do nothing but complain about how dark it is or how much watter there is.

        They just spoiled. Before, if you though it was un-drivable, well, you sit out and the rest go racing.

        Thats how James Hunt won his World Title.

  4. Light rain would be great. Heavy rain these days mean half the race behind the Safety car.

    1. Safety car in Barcelona only deployed 5 times (since 2003) in 4 races. 4 times on the first lap.

      Looking good for no big safety car issues.

      I was there in torrential rain for the final day of testing 2011 (the one that should have been in Bahrain) and the cars were running no problem. Rooster tails were amazing – about 25 feet high.

      The track is on a sloping plateau and even though we were thoroughly drenched there was no standing water on the track.

  5. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    10th May 2012, 9:57

    Bad news for Mclaren and Red Bull. Good news for Ferrari and Sauber!

    1. How so? Hamilton was 2 seconds quicker than anyone else on the full wets in Malaysia at the beginning of the race. McLaren only began to struggle when the track began to dry out. If it rains for the whole race in Spain, I don’t see it being a problem for them.

      1. Yea but if its even raining a little the safety car will be out, if the race is red flagged then it will only start again when it has stopped raining completely!

        1. @harvs exactly what I fear. In case of heavy rain, based on recent past, SC will be deployed, however, by this time of the year heavy rain is quite unexpected.

          @mclarenfanjamm, I too think McLaren would welcome cooler conditions and some water will be great for them. But on HAM being 2 seconds faster than the rest is not all due to his well known skills under rain but also because he was in the front and free of water spray.

          1. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
            10th May 2012, 11:22

            McLaren have already said several times their car doesn’t heat it’s tyres up that quickly. They prefer warmer temperatures.

            If it’s very wet or changeable weather then that’s good for Ferrari and Sauber. Not so good for McLaren.

            I’m a McLaren fan though. I hope I’m wrong.

          2. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk Mclaren or Jenson have said that?

          3. @sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk true, but they have also developed a new tyre duct which should aid with heating up the tyres immensely.
            So, I don’t really see it as being a problem. I just see RBR and Lotus having a very good day.

          4. @sean-p-newmanlive.co.uk I don’t seem to remember McLaren having a problem with heating up the tyres.
            They were slow around a hot track (Bahrain), but fastest round a very wet Malaysia, until it dried. If it’s bone dry or fully wet, McLaren has the edge.

          5. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
            10th May 2012, 17:52

            They DID have a problem because as @timi has mentioned they have developed new adjustable rear brake ducts that can help increase rear type temps.
            It can’t be adjusted whilst the car is in motion though as this would amount to a moving aero device. I haven’t seen it in action yet but I’m assuming it works in a similar way to the tape sometime put over brake ducts and sometimes ripped off at pit stops. I guess they are better aerodynamically than tape and can also work the opposite way when needed. i.e when the driver can’t get heat in the rear tyres during a race the brake ducts can be closed up a little at a pitstop.

      2. @McLarenFanJamm When was the last time we saw a race with rain from start to finish, though? :-P I can only think of China 2009, but even then I think there were patches with no rain.

  6. I hope it’s a dry race,and all the top teams have a good qualifying so we can all finally see where the teams stand in terms of race pace.Hope Lotus has a repeat of the last race performance tough.

    1. I agree @kimster381 I want to see the performance gaps in both qualification and race trim as pure as possible.

  7. Looking at the Google map of this circuit, I notice two things in regards to the safety of the track:

    1) Isn’t this not too disimilar to Mugello? I’m looking at the run-off size/use of gravel, and it’s all quite similar, despite Petrov’s fears.

    2) Look at T3’s run-off, then look at the New Holland corner they butchered – If T3’s ok, why isn’t New Holland?

  8. Smiles all around in the Fernando half of the Ferrari garage then! Hopefully he will push for a win if it rains.

  9. I think Bernie talked to God about his sprinkler plan…

    1. bernieslovechild
      10th May 2012, 15:27

      He is God, or so he thinks.

      Doesn’t bother doing the water into wine trick thought cos he’s now made billions out of F1.

  10. Im up for a bit of rain but pleeeaasse dont start it under safety car conditions!! Everytime lately that theres rain before the race all you hear on the grid is people trying to second guess as to whether its going to be a safety car start or not. I think the sport needs to man up in that area!

  11. Chris Goldsmith
    10th May 2012, 13:26

    I wonder how many of the people suggesting that F1 has gotten a bit wussy lately, have tried driving an F1 car at 200mph into a wall of spray so thick that you’re relying on the noise of the other cars’ engines to tell whether or not you’re going to smash into them, while simultaneously straining to make out the braking markers and judging the continually evolving grip levels to make sure you don’t aquaplane off the road completely.

    I suggest that unless you’re able to do that, you probably shouldn’t be telling anyone who has done it that they’re being a wuss and need to man up.

    1. Im not talking standing water here, im talking ‘oh look theres a cloud about 100miles away, perhaps we should start behind the safety car. Seems that in many other formula’s the rain doesnt stop play where as in F1 eveything has gone safety mad. Even Martin Brundle moans pre race about this at times and im only echoing his concerns. By having safety car starts due to a bit of water on the circuit not only takes the spectacle away from all the fans but also hinders drivers with skill from making up a good amount of places on the first lap. Im not being funny, these are ultra highly skilled professionals that are being paid huge sums of money to do a job they absolutely love. If it was me i would just get on with the job in hand. Ive been extremely impressed in recent years about the standards of driving in F1. Im pretty sure these guys can manage a standing start on a wet track. Theres no rule to say you have to drive like a moron into turn 1!

    2. It is a result of people wanting piece of Formula 1 and chocking Bernie as much as they can with their innovative ideas.

      I agree with you btw.

  12. I’m not concerned about the weather as much as about Pirelli rubb(er)(ish) – choose to your preference.
    When I say that Pirelli tyres are not up to the f1 standards it doesn’t resounds much. I have no problem with that. But, when the same opinion is shared by two persons who won 10 f1 championships what then!? The way these tyres degrade is critical and can lead to big time accidents… The show is there but the safety has vanished!

  13. It’ll stay dry ;0)))

  14. When was the last grand prix here which had rain during the race? It’s been so long that I can’t remember.

    1. It actually does say in the article… :-D

  15. It’s been 16 years since the last wet Spanish Grand Prix, when Michael Schumacher scored his first of many wins for Ferrari.

    What a shambolic day that was for Hill and Williams. I remember Damon Hill was at least as fast as Schumacher in the morning warm-up (when it was already raining), but they made some changes to his car on the grid and he was off into the gravel trap every five laps, until finally he couldn’t make it out of one. Schumacher was supreme, even though he ran into some small engine (?) problems late in the race.

  16. Just saw the 1996’s Spanish GP highlights on BBC sports; an amazing rainmaster Schumi drive, with a 8-9 cilinders working on his engine for half of the race. Simply superb!

  17. I want a safe race for all this kids, if its decided to stop the race so be it. If on the other hand there is no safety car, then I want them to give their utterly best and race as its their last race of their lives.

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