Last February, pre-season testing in Barcelona were to say at least, disappointing.
Extreme weather conditions prevented teams from developing their programs according to plan.
Two months later, Formula One returns to the Circuit de Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix, a home race for Spanish drivers Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz, expecting a warmer welcome.
The popular testing venue will feature the first in-season testing post-Spanish Grand Prix with a two-day test.
MARIO ISOLA, Pirelli´s Head of car racing explains the relationship between tyres and the new surface for the upcoming Grand Prix:
“This year, Barcelona isn’t exactly like going to a new circuit for the teams: but the changes to the surface are still significant enough to alter some of the track’s fundamental characteristics. We too have made a change by reducing the tread depth on the slick tyres to reduce the risk of overheating, as we will also do for Paul Ricard and Silverstone, but it’s not a change that any of the drivers will notice in terms of performance or stint length. The teams already have some knowledge of the new asphalt from pre-season testing, but the weather is now much warmer, the cars considerably faster and there will also be some ageing of the surface. This year, we bring the supersoft to the Spanish Grand Prix – effectively, two steps softer than the softest nomination in 2017, as all the compounds are a step softer anyway – so the homework done in free practice will be particularly important”.
ROBERT KUBICA ON TRACK
Barcelona will see Williams' reserve and development driver Robert Kubica in a Grand Prix weekend behind the wheel for the first time since 2010 this Friday. He´s also scheduled to take part in the post-Grand Prix testing on Wednesday.
"We have Robert Kubica taking part in FP1 in place of Sergey; his first of three FP1 appearances this season," said Paddy Lowe, Williams chief technical officer.
The season hasn't started as the British team imagined.
After the fourth Grand Prix, the Martini Racing team finds itself 10th in the constructor´s overall standings, having scored a total of 4 points so far all scored by Canadian driver, Lance Stroll.
Teams use to bring updates to Barcelona, Williams won´t be the exception when the FW41 hits the track on Spanish soil.
The performance than Kubica is able to extract from the car along with his feedback won´t make miracles but must help improve the car for the European leg of Formula One. The team needs a reaction in the championship and Barcelona could be a starting point.
The Pole will also be taking part on the first out of two in-season testing next Wednesday right after Oliver Rowland finishes his testing duties early in the day.
THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Also on Wednesday, Renault reserve driver Jack Aitken (22), will be making his debut behind the wheel of the R.S.18 driving the car for Renault Sport Formula One team.
The ART Grand Prix Formula 2 driver is currently seventh in the championship overall standings, having scored twenty points after the first two venues in Sakhir and Baku respectively.
Other drivers confirmed for the post-Grand Prix testing are Sean Gelael testing for Toro Rosso on Tuesday, while drivers Oliver Turvey, Lando Norris and Stoffel Vandoorne will share testing duties for McLaren.
Force India has already confirmed its development driver, Nikita Mazepin will be driving the VJM11 during a testing session in the Circuit de Catalunya, he was also the first behind the wheel of the car for pre-season testing. Force India Test Driver, Nicholas Latifi is making his debut at the testing session on Tuesday.
Mercedes Junior, George Russell, will work with Pirelli on Tuesday, while Latifi will drive on the Wednesday with the Force India VJM11.
The following in-season testing will be featured in Budapest from July 31 until August 1st.