May 04, 2009

F1 On Speed!: Spain 2009!

With the Grand Prix of Spain, the F1 Circus returns home in a sense.  All of the teams have their bases in either England or Europe, and Spain begins the European leg of the 'world tour', so to speak.  In fact, most teams consider the first race in Europe to be the real start of the F1 season.

Look for a lot of new modifications to appear on the cars during Friday practice.  Teams have been working on them for weeks, but instead of lugging them halfway around the world, they've waited until they've gotten home to bring them to light.  Be it a new diffuser, a revised front wing, or something as simple as a different livery, they'll always start to appear in Europe.  Of course, if the teams thought it'd make a huge difference, they'd've brought them out much earlier (winning is more important than costs in F1), but that's the way things work sometimes: you never know for sure what'll make a car a winner... or a dog.

Let's take a look at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona ("Que?"):

It's a bumpy track, the surface is abrasive, a lot of high-speed corners at one end and slow bends at the other... and the drivers know the place like the back of their hands, since a lot of offseason testing is done here.  As is usual, the best place to pass is turn 1, followed closely by turn 10, but a brave driver should be able to force the issue anywhere but turns 3 and 16... three is too long to be able to keep the car in the groove for a pass, and sixteen too important (blow the turn even a little bit and you'll ruin your run down the straight... and your whole next lap).  It's basically a medium-to-low downforce track... if your car has good mechanical grip on the chassis, you go low downforce for that straightaway.  If you don't have good grip normally, you crank on the wing for the tight twisty bits and hope it doesn't hurt you too badly down the straight.

This is HWMNBN's home track, for what that's worth, so expect to see a lot of him on the TV this weekend... even if he's 18th and three laps down, he says hopefully.

And at least here in the US, if he's on TV, he'll be on SPEED, where the Legendary Announce Team will be bringing us their usual sterling coverage, beginning with LIVE coverage of Friday's Second Practice from 7am to 840amSaturday brings us plausibly LIVE coverage of Quals from 7am to 830am.  Will BrawnGP continue their polesitting domination, or will the new fiddlybits on their rivals make enough of a difference to wrest the top of the grid away from the newbies?

Finally, Sunday dawns bright with the Grand Prix of Spain live from 630am to 9am.  There'll be a replay from 1230pm to 3pm as well, if you forget to set the VCR or whatever it is the kids use these days.

Of course, F1 Update!'ll be here with all the gnus you can use!  See you then...

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