ERJ staff report (TP)
Milan, Italy – Formula One returns to Europe this week for what Pirelli sees traditionally as a key race: the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Montmelo circuit is familiar to the teams and they frequently use the return to Europe to introduce significant car upgrades, designed to improve performance and increase downforce. This often adds to the demands placed on the tires at what is already a high-energy circuit because of the fast, sweeping corners that put extreme forces through the tires. As a result, Pirelli will bring the two hardest compounds in the Formula One range.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director, said: “It’s often said that Barcelona provides the most accurate representation of the form a season will take, because a car that performs well in Barcelona should perform well everywhere.”
While Barcelona has traditionally been used for pre-season winter testing for as long as most drivers can remember, this was not actually the case this year, when pre-season testing took place in Jerez and Bahrain. As a result, the teams and Pirelli come to Barcelona (9-11 May) with no information about the new generation of cars on the circuit.
The hard tire is a high-working range compound, designed for the hottest and most extreme conditions of the year, while the medium tire is a low working range tire, designed to work effectively in an ample variety of conditions. This combination ensures that there is always a solution for the wide range of conditions that can be seen in Barcelona.
Eight of the last 10 races in Barcelona have been won from pole position, underlining the importance of qualifying and the difficulty in overtaking at the Spanish track. As a result, strategy can be crucial to gain track position, as the 2013 race showed.
Last year, Fernando Alonso won the race for Ferrari with a four-stop sprint strategy, defeating Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) in second, who stopped three times. Alonso set a new record, becoming the only driver to win a grand prix at the Montmelo circuit from as far down as fifth on the grid.
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Press release from Pirelli