Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

F1 teams may not be able to dodge the rain in Spain

2023 Spanish Grand Prix weather

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A risk of a thunderstorm hangs over this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix as teams prepare for the first race at a permanent circuit since the season-opener in Bahrain three months ago.

After the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola was cancelled due to flooding in the region and last weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix was affected by rain in the closing stages there may be more precipitation in store at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend.

Current weather forecasts predict that there is around a 40% chance of rain to hit each of the three days of running across Friday, Saturday and the race on Sunday.

When practice begins on Friday, first practice should be dry and mildly warm with temperatures around 20 degrees. However rain is forecast to fall briefly before the start of the afternoon’s second practice, which could disrupt teams’ planned long runs in that session.

On Saturday, similar weather conditions are expected with temperatures remaining the same as Friday. The final practice session in the morning is projected to remain dry, but there is a another risk of showers in the afternoon, which could affect qualifying and make the restored, high-speed final two corners even more of a challenge than they otherwise would.

But on Sunday, eyes will again be on the skies as a drivers may be facing the second rain-affected race in two weeks. The day should begin with sunny skies but it is likely to become unsettled over the course of the day with a 40% chance of showers between 3pm and 5pm when the race will take place. This could be a powerful burst of rain, possibly bringing thunder with it and potentially strong enough to disrupt the race.

Even if the rain stays away, it’s almost certain this year’s race will be far cooler than last year’s Spanish Grand Prix, despite being held in June instead of May. The 2022 event saw the highest ambient temperatures of the season, pushing 37C on the back of a European heat wave. This year, drivers are likely to only have to deal with temperatures in the mid-20s.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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12 comments on “F1 teams may not be able to dodge the rain in Spain”

  1. RandomMallard
    1st June 2023, 14:02

    Gonna get in here quick with “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the pit lane”.

    Sometimes being a fan of musical theatre and motorsports have a crossover. Very rarely, but sometimes :-)

    1. Just you wait RandomMallard
      Just. You. Wait.

  2. More rain races please! Rain is the only thing that can make this awful track exciting. And it fits this track very well too.

    1. Yes, and hopefully these new tyres can make them race in full wet conditions, although a thing that is also a big problem is how the fia exaggerates when it comes to safety, the first car that crashes out, even with a minor incident, could cause the SC or stuff that would screw over people who changed to full wets, unless conditions stay full wet for a long time ofc.

  3. Warm as always & roughly similar precipitation probability percentages to Miami & Monaco GP weekends, so either rain can affect or not materialize, as usually is the case with percentages below 50%.
    As always, rain is okay as long as it’s relatively light.
    On a secondary note to this weekend’s running, I still don’t get where the exaggerated idea of 37 for last season’s Spanish GP race day comes, even though, in reality, the respective highest ambient temp for each track action day was in the 20s higher-end as can be seen here:

    If the ambient were well into the 30s, like, on the 2019 (also 2018, iirc) Austrian GP weekend, I’d most certainly remember that from the relevant weekend a little over a year ago (& the same with 2021 Saudi Arabian GP, if they were around 40 instead of high-20s to low-30s) because I always note ambient temps for each GP weekend, not only beforehand but also on live timing while active for any given session, so I’d definitely have noted at that point on race day at the very latest.
    High or high-ish 20s are also warmer than usual for the relevant May phase & marginal exaggeration is possible to look through fingers, but more than that, not to mention considerable exaggeration simply gives a misleading idea on reality.
    Besides, Europe’s general heat wave last year occured in July-August rather than May.

    1. After thinking about something, the 37C reference must come from a thermometer(s) affected by direct sunlight, unlike the official measurement system(s).
      I’m always cautious when looking at temps from such thermometers or when in a car, etc., because getting direct sunlight can easily mislead them to show, sometimes, a considerably higher figure than what is the true ambient at a given moment.
      Accuweather (my general choice for a long time, originally for no particular reason), official live timing, & or Meteo France (FIA’s choice of weather site) are definitely reliable sources for weather forecast purposes, so a figure roughly 10 degrees higher than what these shows can’t be accurate.

  4. So if it rains itnwill be a LOT and we get the waiting game like spa all over again. Because being american run, F1 is soooo scared being sued for accidents happening becaise of rain

    1. notagrumpyfan
      1st June 2023, 15:42

      Because being american run

      French run.
      But why waste an opportunity to blame the USofA.

      1. FIA is french, they make the rules. the organisation is done by FOM, and fom is owned by liberty media, an american company. The fake applause amd cheers are also their work ;)

        1. notagrumpyfan
          1st June 2023, 18:18

          The race director (employé par la FIA) decides on starting/delaying/interrupting the race if it rains.

          During the weekend FOM merely does the broadcasting (which includes the fake applause you refer to) and other commercial stuff.

    2. @cdfemke Not necessarily based on the last race, even if that rain was comparatively lighter.

      1. Yes, I was positively surprised they let them race when the rain intensified a bit, the italian commentators said “è un lago!” “it’s a lake!” at that point and drivers were sliding around! I’m guessing monaco being the track played a part, as it’s notorious for its slow speed and straights, so less risk of dangerous incidents than spa.

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