The Circuit de Catalunya plays host to the fifth round of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship with the teams returning to Europe after four fly-away events.
The circuit to the north of Barcelona is the closest that F1 has to a home track. The Spanish Grand Prix has been held here since 1991 but the track is also a favourite testing venue. Its popularity stems from the excellent facilities and a high-downforce layout that features a long straight and a combination of high-speed and low-speed cornering but otherwise provides medium tyre wear, medium brake wear and cooling, medium kerb sizes etc, This year F1 held two of its three pre-season tests at the circuit and the consensus is that a car that goes well in Barcelona will go well at most circuits.
Barcelona is a tough place to overtake, a characteristic demonstrated by the fact that the winner has only once come from beyond the front row and never during a dry race. Even with a reconfiguration in 2007 aimed at encouraging overtaking, this track still has a reputation as one of the most difficult permanent F1 circuits on which to pass. In 2011 the circuit was one of the most resistant to DRS-assisted overtaking, hence for this year the DRS zone has been lengthened.
F1 comes to Spain with Sebastian Vettel leading the Drivers’ Championship with 53 points and Red Bull Racing in front in the Constructors’ Championship with 101. The first four races of the year have been won by four different drivers from four different teams. While not unprecedented, the last time this happened was 1983, when the first four races were won by Nelson Piquet (Brabham), John Watson (McLaren), Alain Prost (Renault) and Patrick Tambay (Ferrari). The fifth race was won by Keke Rosberg for Williams and only at the sixth round did the Championship have a repeat winner.
Circuit de Catalunya
Length of lap:
4.655km Lap record
(Kimi Räikkönen, Ferrari, 2008) Start line/finish line offset
0.126km Total number of race laps
66 Total race distance
307.104km Pitlane speed limits
60km/h during practice;
100km/h during race
CHANGES TO THE CIRCUIT SINCE 2011
A one-metre strip of artificial grass has been installed around the last part of the verge in Turn Three.
The kerb on the exit of Turn Five has been extended by 50 metres.