Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Teams want to keep testing at Catalunya if it loses race

2020 F1 season

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The Circuit de Catalunya is likely to keep its status as Formula 1’s preferred pre-season testing venue even if it doesn’t hold a race next year.

The Spanish Grand Prix does not have a contract to feature on the 2020 F1 calendar. The president of the Catalunya circuit told RaceFans there is a 90% chance the race will go ahead next year but Pirelli motorsport director Mario Isola is not as sure.

“We are going to lose Barcelona. It’s a pity, obviously, but that’s the decision so there is very little we can do on that,” he said following this week’s two-day test at the circuit. “We’ll lose some good reference data from this track.”

“This is a circuit that in terms of layout is quite complete because we have high speed corners, low speed corners, traction, braking, a bit of everything,” he explained. “And that’s why teams are pushing a lot to come here for testing.

“Also in the pre-season test we said many times that obviously February, March sometimes the weather is an issue but they want to come here because they have a lot of data on the circuit so they can make a lot of comparisons. And also the circuit is very representative, it’s a good layout.”

Possible other venues for testing have drawbacks compared to the Spanish circuit, said Hembery.

“If we’re talking only about tyres ideally we would like to go on a circuit where we can find conditions that are similar to what we have in the race because it is clearly a better comparison.

“If we go for example to Paul Ricard or Jerez – there’s some discussion about Jerez – Jerez is a good circuit, now also with a new Tarmac it is less aggressive than in the past. But we don’t have any reference data from racing. So we can collect useful data but it’s not the same [as] if you go on a circuit where you also have a grand prix.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it would be “a great shame if we don’t come back racing in Barcelona” when asked by RaceFans.

“But we certainly should continue to test here. I think being European-based, far enough south to have sensible weather, from a cost point of view it’s cost-efficient for the European-based teams to come and test here.

“It’s a good track. It has a combination of high speed, medium speed and low speed corners. So it’d be a shame if it doesn’t get utilised for at least testing duties.”

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Video: How the Circuit de Catalunya has changed since its first F1 race

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2019 F1 season

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10 comments on “Teams want to keep testing at Catalunya if it loses race”

  1. It is a great place for testing. It makes total sense to continue testing here.

    As long as the teams want.

  2. Pedro Andrade
    17th May 2019, 16:27

    Actually, it makes sense that pre-season testing is done in a track that does not hold any F1 races. Apart from putting the teams in a new location, it will prevent teams from having detailed knowledge on every millimetre of one of the race tracks. That is one of the reasons why Barcelona most of the time produces boring races, everyone knows the track better than the palm of their hands, so everything is much more predictable.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      17th May 2019, 19:10

      Did you watch Chainbear’s video?

      Anyway, you’re right.

      1. Pedro Andrade
        17th May 2019, 20:28

        Actually I didn’t until now!

        Time to do my own F1 podcast and become rich and famous.

    2. Personally I don’t really care about at all where f1 does those testing events. If f1 wants to test on barcelona, mugello, japan or antarctica as a spectator I don’t really see any difference (that’s a pun). I think it is perfectly fine for f1 to choose the cheapest option or the most usable and comfortable option regardless what it is. It is just testing after all and doesn’t really produce anything worthwhile for the fans except lap times which are also almost meaningless.

      As far as track knowledge goes I think teams already have that millimeter accurate data. F1 or someone associated to them directly or indirectly has that data and sells it to all teams. As such all f1 tracks nowadays are laser scanned so the teams know exactly down to millimeter what shape color and taste each millimeter of the track is. Only real data missing from that is probably about track evolution during race weekend which is the kind of data testing does not get you as 10 cars doing fuel runs in the end of winter does not rubber up the track in the same way as 20 car sessions during summer do.

  3. In my view Barcelona is an icon of F1, cradle of all new seasons, true classic.
    Replacing it with Zandvoort is an atrocity, and with the exceptions of Verstappen’s fans will not do anyone good.

    I don’t see the reasons for its owner’s to wish to stay only for testing, on their place I would have given Liberty the finger, let them suffer with tests in Bahrain.

    1. Graham (@guitargraham)
      17th May 2019, 20:16

      if you think any fascet of barcelona is going to be better than zandvoort then you are sadly mistaken. in tarzan we’re about to get one of THE great corners back and this place was always a carnival. it will be mental in a way that will put the tifosi to shame. everyone i know that went there back in the day said it was their favourite race. barcelona is a boredom fest it needed to go

  4. My personal choice would be Yas Marina Circuit, but if it had to be a European venue then why not Circuit Paul Ricard instead? That’s also far enough south to have sensible weather in February, not any warmer than Circuit de Catalunya, but more or less the same since both venues share the same climate zone, so perhaps it’d be worth to try for this purpose. Furthermore, it’d also be an excellent venue of choice, given the track layout characteristics.

  5. Sorry…..I still can’t get my head around the seemingly inevitability of no Spanish GP and the shadow of no German GP.
    It reminds me of when the French GP was dropped with seemingly only a whimper of protest from us old timers (Well perhaps a bit louder was the protest within France?)

    My question would be…..

    Should we replace a valued and historic venue with a new site which is financed by national aspirations and government dollars; all, or only, because it is a currently viable commercial arrangement?

    I, of course, know the answer to that question.

    I have a friend who reminds me that it is probably financially viable for the commercial rights holder
    to have a race held sans ANY local fans, as the real audience is reached via world wide television.

    I get it….but, I still think it is, in the long term, inadvisable to abandon the historic base of the sport.

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