Circuit de Catalunya
|Circuit de Catalunya|
|Location||Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain|
|Events||Formula One; MotoGP; GP2; Spanish GT|
|Record driver||Giancarlo Fisichella|
The Circuit de Catalunya [seer-kweet-da-Cataloonya] is a racetrack in Montmeló, to the north of Barcelona, Spain. It is home to the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix. With long straights and a variety of corners, the Circuit de Catalunya is seen as an all-rounder circuit. As such it is one of the sport's most important testing ground.
The Circuit de Catalunya was built in 1991 and is often referred to as 'Barcelona' in the racing community, despite the fact that it is located in Montmeló. The Circuit de Catalunya should not be confused with the Montjuïc circuit, which hosted the Spanish Grand Prix four times between 1969 and 1975 and, unlike the Circuit de Catalunya, is actually located within the city of Barcelona.
Due to the fact that so much testing is done at this circuit, Formula One drivers and mechanics are extremely familiar with it. This has led to criticism that drivers and mechanics are too familiar with Catalunya, reducing the amount of on-track action.
The circuit is often criticized for being bland, as it has very little elevation change and few exciting corners. Overtaking is rare, as cars are unable to follow each other through the fast final corner due to turbulence created by the leading car. This makes it difficult for a car to get close enough to the car in front of it to attempt a pass at the first turn, which is the only obvious overtaking point on the circuit.
However, the circuit has been the site of some memorable moments. In the 1991 Spanish Grand Prix Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell went down the entire front straightaway side-by-side while duelling for the lead, with Mansell eventually taking the position and eventually the race. In the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix Michael Schumacher managed to finish in second place despite driving over half the race with only fourth gear. Two years later, in the 1996 Spanish Grand Prix Schumacher took his first win as a member of the Ferrari team after a dominant performance during a rainstorm. In the 2001 Spanish Grand Prix Mika Häkkinen suffered a clutch failure while leading the race on the last lap, handing the win to Schumacher. Another fantastic finish came in the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix, when Fernando Alonso became the first Spanish F1 driver to win his home country's track.
See also: List of Formula One circuits
- Circuit de Catalunya
- Google Maps satellite view of the circuit
- Circuit de Catalunya History and Statistics
- Ciro Pabón's Racetracks 3D views and virtual laps of all F1 circuits, (including a CAD restitution of this one), via Google Earth.
Current circuits (2008)