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Grand Prix Track Barcelona

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Sports: Motorsport / Sport Topic: Motorsport Venues

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    • More +
      17.05.2012 11:38
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      Good season so far

      So, five races five different winners, an unpredictable and exciting start to the season. Four teams have already registered a win and the Williams victory at Barcelona was their first for 9 years, celebrating a little too hard afterwards by setting fire to their garage, perhaps Frank Williams cigar a little too big. Pastor Maldonado's stunning victory from start to finish after being gifted pole when Lewis Hamilton was again demoted down the grid for a technicality was the first for a Venezuelan national in the sports history. Why just about anyone can win the world championship this year is a mystery although its clear the new regulations on the design of the cars has leveled things up big time and we have to be all for that, no more precessions and tedious domination by certain teams, overtaking on corners with the new aerodynamics and KERS system design encouraging thrilling action.

      The Spanish Grand Prix always kicks of the European season and one of the cheaper races to watch for spectators, the Barcelona circuit, although 20k out of town, very welcoming and attracts big British crowds, only Euro2.20 from the airport/city one-way to the circuit an example why. A three day ticket is about Euro200 and a race day one about Euro120. I have been once and it cost me about one hundred pounds for a three day pass, the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao a fun trip, if it's calm. The carparking is good ad the road out there not too dagerous unitl it becomes the N1, Europes most notorious road for fatal crashes.

      It's a very twisty track with all types of corners, not great for overtaking but a long start/finish straight to rev them up and slingshot the cars into the first big corners always a thrill. Pole position tends to win here and so when Maldonado was priced 9/1 on race day to win from pole I lumped on and made good money, the best bet of the season so far. The bookies also had local boy Alonso at 4/1 to make the podium, which I cleaned up on to! Checkout F1 betting prices this year as they are struggling to price correctly and that means money for you and me.


      Cheapest: Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang - £18.29 ($29.78 / Euro20.98)
      Dearest: British Grand Prix, Silverstone - £130 ($211.71 / Euro149.11)




      The race itself was solid and great to see Lewis carve his way through the throng from last to eighth, Button finishing behind him in ninth when starting seventh on the grid, a shocking performance. Alonso briefly threatened victory but the young South American kept the race line and his pit lane strategy and took the 25 points. Wonder kid Vettell, who leads the drivers championship with Hamilton, was back in sixth, one of six world champions racing this year. One of the six, Michael Schumacher, is looking rather sad out there as what seems to be a test driver role for the German with Mercedes, a moving billboard to help flog their luxury high street cars. The return of the crackpot Kimi Raikkonen in the Lotus has been great fun and the Flying Fin immediately on the pace. Kimi, of course, who was the man who told Martin Brundle on live TV just before the race start that he had disappeared briefly from the grid to 'take a s**t'.


      The current betting to win the drivers championship with Betfair is also unsure. Bare in mind the European tracks favor the Ferrari and McLaren the Williams win suggests it could win races in Europe, Maldonado's 67/1 price to be the champion a decent e/w bet. My fancy remains Alonso and Button with a late charge as Hamilton is too wild on the track and Vettell clearly off the pace.

      Lewis Hamilton 3.75
      Sebastian Vettel 3.75
      Fernando Alonso 5.5
      Jenson Button 8
      Kimi Raikkonen 8
      Outsiders:
      Mark Webber 26
      Nico Rosberg 29
      Romain Grosjean 34
      Pastor Maldonado 67
      Michael Schumacher 101

      Sky and the BBC have split coverage this year, which means the BBC will dump the whole lot at the next contract meeting. Sky does working-class sport well but I'm not over impressed with their F1 stuff yet. Brundle jumped ship as did others, the rather awkward six-foot-four Jake Humphries staying on with Coulthard. It's silly for anyone to show races live at 5 am and so Sky can keep those races as far as I'm concerned. The 6pm slot is the best for F1 live races for me.

      The Track: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/8041052.stm

      Result of the Spanish GP

      1 - (Venezuela) Pastor Maldonado Williams ----Renault
      2 - (Spain) Fernando Alonso ----- Ferrari
      3 - (Finland) Kimi Raikkonen ----- Lotus-Renault
      -------------------------------------------------------------

      4 - (Switzerland) Romain Grosjean ----- Lotus-Renault
      5 - (Japan) Kamui Kobayashi ----- Sauber
      6 - (Germany) Sebastian Vettel ----- Red Bull-Renault
      7 - (Germany) Nico Rosberg ----- Mercedes GP
      8 - (Great Britain) Lewis Hamilton ----- McLaren-Mercedes
      9 - (Great Britain) Jenson Button ----- McLaren-Mercedes
      10 - (Germany) Nico Hulkenberg ----- Force India-Mercedes


      ----------------------------------------------------
      WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
      ----------------------------------------------------

      1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull-Renault) 61 Pts
      2 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 61 Pts
      3 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) 53 Pts

      4 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus-Renault) 49 Pts
      5 Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) 48 Pts
      6 Jenson Button (McLaren-Mercedes) 45 Pts
      7 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes GP) 41 Pts
      8 Romain Grosjean (Lotus-Renault) 35 Pts
      9 Pastor Maldonado (Williams-Renault) 29 Pts
      10 Sergio Perez (Sauber) 22 Pts


      --------------------------------------------
      WORLD TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
      ---------------------------------------------

      1 Red Bull-Renault (109 Pts)
      2 McLaren-Mercedes (98 Pts)
      3 Lotus-Renault (84 Pts)
      4 Ferrari (63 Pts)
      5 Mercedes GP (43 Pts)

      6 Williams-Renault (43 Pts)
      7 Sauber (41 Pts)
      8 Force India-Mercedes (18 Pts)
      9 Toro Rosso-Ferrari (6 Pts)
      10 Marussia-Cosworth (0 Pts)

      -----------------------
      -----Calendar -----
      -----------------------

      Monaco Grand Prix - Monte Carlo, 25-27 May

      Live on BBC TV, radio and online



      Canadian Grand Prix - Montreal, 8-10 June

      Extended highlights on BBC TV and website, live on 5 live



      European Grand Prix - Valencia, 22-24 June

      Live on BBC TV, radio and online



      British Grand Prix - Silverstone, 6-8 July

      Live on BBC TV, radio and online




      German Grand Prix - Hockenheim, 20-22 July


      Extended highlights on BBC TV and website, live on 5 live


      Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring, 27-29 July

      Extended highlights on BBC TV and website, live on 5 live



      Belgian Grand Prix - Spa-Francorchamps, 31 August - 2 September

      Live on BBC TV, radio and online



      Italian Grand Prix - Monza, 7-9 September

      Extended highlights on BBC TV and website, live on 5 live


      Singapore Grand Prix - Singapore, 21-23 September

      Live on BBC TV, radio and online



      Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka, 5-7 October

      Extended highlights on BBC TV and website, live on 5 live



      Korean Grand Prix - Yeongam, 12-14 October

      Live on BBC TV, radio and online



      Indian Grand Prix - New Delhi, 26-28 October

      Extended highlights on BBC TV and website, live on 5 live



      Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Yas Marina, 2-4 November

      Live on BBC TV, radio and online



      United States Grand Prix - Austin, 16-18 November

      Extended highlights on BBC TV and website, live on 5 live



      Brazilian Grand Prix - Interlagos, 23-25 November

      Live on BBC TV, radio and online

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      • More +
        02.05.2002 03:24
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        I used to live in Barcelona with a rather attractive Catalan girly. She would drive me up to the Nou Camp or this Grand Prix while I was well behaved for it. Its one of the less expensive ones on the circuit and second only to Monte Carlo which is by far the cheapest. The track is about out from the city and isnt on the end of their excellent metro system. That tends to keep attendances down on race weekend which begs the question why they didnt make it more accessible. For cars there are tons of dusty parking spaces, although their security in those areas is not guaranteed. The three days passes back then were around one hundred and ten pounds with race day around forty-five. The facilities on the internal and external campsites are fair, as are the toilet blocks and eateries on the circuit. The hamburgers are as expensive as you would expect with lots of tapaz bars and porto bars for the Germans and English.:> This years race was yet again all about the hard heat and cruel turns that just couldnt stop Michael Shumachers relentless surge for the championship. Nope, he pi**ed! it with ease and now has an unassailable 25 point lead, even at this stage of the season in that spanking new Ferrari. His teammates luck is not so good as he failed to get on the grid after breaking down in the garage. Its funny how it always seems to be the number two car that has all the problems. Well we cant have the ultra competitive ego getting in the way of the Germans. Times are really bad for Jordan who are based near me. They are laying off forty people from their two sites with their 2002 car yet to bag a point. When a team scores its first point of the season they get all of their transport and logistics paid for. This tidy sum is near 15 million bucks and is often the savior and lifeblood of the team. Another outfit that is on the breadline are Arrows Racing who picked up their useful point with a sixth place. Heinz Harold Frent
        zen will be glad of that small mercy as his reputation is disappearing like Kosovas dole queues. There was another great showing by the ever-improving Sauber who are now looking to be Germanys number one team. The equally promising Hiedfield and Massa taking forth and fifth. And that wasn?t due to breakdowns further up the tarmac, but race preparation. Not so good set ups for the Maclarens as the wing decided to fly of as and when it pleased like a no thrills airline flap over Luton on Rikonens car. Coulthard yet again battled hard for a podium with a groovy third. This was Schueys record forth win in Spain and he has now a 24 point lead that means he cant be caught if this continues until the British Grand Prix at the current ratio. His little brother and Montoya did their best in the Williams but conspired to muck it up. The Colombian decided to run over his mechanics foot whilst the German preferred to drive on the grass at corners. I think Bernie Ecclestone will be planning a few red flags to slow the great one down soon or we will all be heading to the lucrative American and Far East with the championship done and dusted. I cant see Indianapolis being impressed with that second year in a row. Its not that the German is so dominant but theres only Williams catching up. Clearly Ferrari are way ahead in development and practice facilities than most and have the run of the European tracks in winter testing. Maclaren are going backwards as are Jordan with only Sauber coming up. So how do we slow him down. Well we don?t as hes showing just how boring and money greedy the sport has become with the cars reduced to rather quick advertising boards. In truth, the best bit of the race was when that guys foot got squashed.

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        30.04.2001 00:09
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        Changes afoot in the write up format. No longer will I be identifying driver and team hero and villains, just simply heroes and villains. And I won’t fix myself to three of each either. Hopefully this more flexible layout won’t leave me scrambling for villains like I was last week. * The Results – Baby it ain’t over till it’s over* “Anything can happen in Formula One and it often does”. How many times have we heard Murray spout that phrase? Well, today it did happen and I’m fairly sure he didn’t say it. Anyway, the results don’t really tell the story of the race but here they are anyway. 1st - Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) – Qualified 1st 2nd - Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) – Qualified 12th 3rd - Jacques Villeneuve (BAR) – Qualified 7th 4th - Jarno Trulli (Jordan) – Qualified 6th 5th - David Coulthard (McLaren) – Qualified 3rd 6th - Nick Heidfeld (Sauber) – Qualified 10th * The Race – Hope you kept watching till the end * Even before the race started the drama began. David Coulthard failed to get away for the parade lap which relegated him to the back of the grid. As the field got away several people made dynamite starts, including Montoya, Ralf Schumacher and Coulthard. At the front of the grid Michael and Mika pretty much maintained station while behind them Ralf and Rubens jostled for position with Rubens eventually winning out. Meanwhile at the back Coulthard’s hard charge was brought to an end as he ran into the back of another car. As this event occurred off camera, I neither know who it was or where the fault lies. Anyway, this dislodged the McLaren’s nose but didn’t actually remove it entirely from the car. The wing was stuck underneath the car, apart from the impact on handling there must have been a safety concern for David, with all that loose carbon fibre
        flapping round just looking for something to cut. David returned to the pits and rejoined the race once more in last position. Unsurprisingly he cruised up to the back of 21st placed Enrique Bernoldi and yet only managed to pass him several laps later when Bernoldi’s Arrows decided it had had enough. However David had no such problems passing other cars as he made his way forward towards the single figure positions. Back at the front Michael and Mika were involved in a high speed driving demonstration. Every time Michael set a fastest lap Mika immediately responded and the gap remained around 1.8 seconds until the first pit stops. Michael was the first to pit and Mika immediately responded by setting a fastest lap. It looked like Mika was going to get the lead but when Michael came out on new tyres he was immediately fast and set a new fastest lap, Mika dived into the pits on the next lap still with a chance of getting ahead of Michael. However a slightly fumbled pit stop meant Schumacher got ahead. It was at this point after the first round of pit stops that it all went a bit boring, so I’ll just fast forward to when we are approaching the second round of pit stops. Again Michael was first to pit but this time Mika stayed out much longer than Michael and emerged out on the track ahead of both Michael and the slower traffic which Michael had landed himself in. McLaren pulled a fast one on Ferrari tactically. Now the final chapter begins to play out, first we will deal with Coulthard. Having scrambled and fought his way up to seventh place, one outside the points he had Nick Heidfeld in his way. After pressurising the German for two laps he made his move on the main straight. Taking full benefit of the Sauber’s slipstream David pulled out to overtake but Nick moved to the inside to cover the line. Unperturbed, David moved back to the racing line to take advantage of the slipstream of an about to be lapped Benet
        ton to further increase his speed before slicing between both cars to move into the points. Up at the front Schumacher was dropping back, driving at almost seven seconds slower than his fastest lap, Mika disappeared off into the distance leaving Montoya, who had now made it up to third hoping that Schumacher would fall into his grasp. However the drama was not over, on the last lap Mika’s McLaren began slowing before emitting first sparks and then smoke. His speed kept reducing despite my friends and I willing him to roll over the finishing line and with but a few corners to go he pulled off leaving the way clear for Schumacher to take a victory. * Random Facts * I only managed to find one truly random fact about this race. Minardi have two new race transporters, not particularly interesting in itself but one of them was build by a company called Spectra for the use of Sultan of Brunei at Polo matches but he never took it. Minardi got it cheap and commissioned a second one to match. * Heroes and Villains * * Heroes * Juan Pablo Montoya: The Colombian is becoming a regular hero it seems and deservedly so, getting the rather struggling and traction control-less Williams from 12th to 2nd was a good drive, even if he did gain a few places by retirement. Jacques Villeneuve: Some luck finally falls the way of Jacques as he takes BAR’s first ever podium. Not a particularly stunning drive in terms of overtaking but the job was done and done well. Mika Hakkinen: Nice to see the old Mika back, very nice. It’s also nice to be able to write something positive about the Finn. One thing that particularly struck me about the Finn was the way there was a veritable queue of drivers offering him a lift back to the pits after his last lap failure. He ended up getting a lift with his team mate, but it just goes to show that he’s a nice guy. David Coulthard: Covering m
        y eyes for the first two or so laps allows me to give DC a place in the Heroes. Drives from the back are always exciting to watch, indeed, I was looking forward to watching Montoya rise from 12th but with all the other action going on the only Montoya action we saw was in the pit lane. Bouncing Girl: Just before the drivers took to the podium there was a lingering shot of a girl in what I think was a BMW top jumping up and down. That sort of cheered me up after the Schumacher victory, so I just want to say thanks! * Villains * David Coulthard: The jury is out of what caused the car to stall, especially with all the new electronic gizmos but it would be a fair bet that loosing his front wing was down to a case of red mist. Ron Dennis: Will you please be nice to both of your drivers, after one of your drivers has gone from last place to fifth you don’t accuse them of having brain fade! Ferrari: It was seemingly obvious to the world and a few of their dogs that Rubens suspension had had enough, sure Rubens called it wrong and said it was a puncture but it was all there on the TV for them to see. Sending out a formula one car with damaged suspension is a very, very dangerous move. Remember Damon being retired in the pits at Adelaide after Schumacher rammed him into the wall? That was due to damaged suspension so if it’s not worth it for a championship why is it worth it for third place? McLaren: Don’t ever, ever make me relive Hungary 1997 again, you hear! Although your running Mika long enough to allow him to pit and rejoin ahead of slower traffic was good. * Rubens Barrichello Award for Dumbest Moment of the Race * The word on the street is that the ‘Ruby’ award was missed when it was originally not in the opinion. So here we go. Pedro De La Rosa, you win the Ruby for the Spanish Grand Prix 2001. I felt that your “Driving with eyes closed” mome
        nt with Frentzen deserved the award. How could you not see Frentzen? His car is bright yellow and was almost in front of you when you squeezed in and removed both of you from the track * Murkey Talker * Just a couple here, but they’re good ones. During qualifying Murray was talking about some of Michael Schumacher’s less than sporting tactics that he has used whilst being weighed. He was sufficiently moved to comment “All’s fair in love and war and this is a revolution!” And after Coulthard stalled on the grid Murray did spout “It’s the worst thing that David Coulthard could have hoped for”, though as we all know it went on to get worse. More in two weeks.

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          29.04.2001 01:48
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          This track is so well known by the teams that there is the fear that they will just treat it as another practice session rather than a race. Most of the teams practice extensively at Catalunya because of the variety of features on this track and also its convenience of being in the centre of Europe. The track includes quite a long straight, where cars can almost reach 200 mph, some very long curves and some slower corners. With this variety of features you would expect some good racing, but unfortunately this track rarely produces any outstanding races. The track is quite bumpy and this combined with the abrasive nature of the track surface means that there is a significant amount of tyre wear and this usually dominates the race strategy, with the driver that preserves his tyres the best normally being successful here. Because the drivers are trying to look after the tyres on the car this means that through the long corners they are loathe to follow too close behind another car as the air disturbance reduces their aerodynamics and therefore increases the tyre wear. This results in very few overtaking moves and so the race is not normally one of the most exciting of the year. The tactics and pit stops normally determine the winner rather than the actual racing. The 65 laps of this 4.7km track are also quite demanding on the drivers as there are a lot of “G” forces through the long corners. The bumpy track shakes the cars around a lot as the suspension is kept very tight to try to maintain the grip on the road, which again is very tiring for the drivers. From the spectators point of view most of the track looks very similar as there are no outstanding features such as grandstands, bridges, buildings or landmarks. When you are watching the race on TV this gives the race the appearance of a procession which does not help this normally mediocre race. The only feature that can liven up the race is the weather. Cata
          lunya is renown for unpredictable weather and if it rains it is normally with very little notice and the rain is very heavy. Admittedly the interest is again on the tactics rather than the racing, but it does normally liven things up. The Spanish race officials try each year to make this track better and although the facilities for the teams are apparently superb perhaps they ought to be thinking about a major re-design of the track layout.

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