Old Continent, new-ish circuit! Okay, so the Catalunya track, on the outskirts of Barcelona is hardly new for the drivers, but it is for their 2014 cars. This year, the F1 circus hasn’t made it’s usual stop-off in Montmelo for winter testing, which means this first race in Europe is also a “premiere” for the new turbo cars and their tyres.
Indeed, we can expect the Pirelli tyres to play a major role this weekend in Barcelona, as the Catalunya track is one of the hardest on rubber because of the forces exerted on them and because of the track surface. And the tyres will also be to the fore for two days after the Grand Prix when teams stay in situ at the track for another in-season test session. It’s the left hand side of the car, to be specific, that comes under particular stress, with all the traction demands on the rear left. The tyres therefore see plenty of energy go through them, seeing their temperatures rise as high as 130 degrees centigrade. On top of that, with only one, albeit long, main straight, the tyres don’t get that much time to cool down on each lap.
On the logistics front, the team travels to the Catalan capital in “European Trim,” enjoying the benefits of getting all the equipment down to Spain by road rather than the long-haul flights necessary to move things around for the first four races in the Antipodes, Asia and the Middle East.
As mentioned, Jev and Daniil and a large proportion of the team personnel will stay on in Barcelona for the fifth test of the year, the second in-season. Our French driver will be first on track on Tuesday 13 May, when he will test the 2015 season Pirelli tyres. Daniil will take over on the Wednesday for the final day.