With the first stage of the season completed in distant lands, it's time for Formula 1 to head much closer to home with the first European event of the Championship taking place precisely at home for HRT Formula 1 Team in Spain. It goes without saying that the Spanish Grand Prix is a very important date for the team as nothing beats the sensation of racing in front of your home crowd. The team has taken a step at every Grand Prix so far this year and will be even keener to do so in Barcelona to give the fans something to shout about.
The Circuit de Catalunya is a haven for preseason testing given the nature of the track and mild weather conditions and that is why the teams know the circuit inside out. It's made up of a mix of slow and fast corners, which added to the bumpy surface, make the race mechanically and physically demanding. Tyre degradation is high, especially on the left side of the car since all high speed corners are right hand turns, and aerodynamics are also decisive in Montmelo.
Pedro de la Rosa: "The Spanish Grand Prix is the most important trace for a Spanish driver, but this time it will be even more special for me because I'm racing with a Spanish team in my city of birth. At this circuit aerodynamics are important and it will be an important test for our upgrades. The track is also very tough on the tyres. Not going to Mugello wasn't an easy decision but it was important to go to the headquarters for the first time and work calmly because it's the first time my car is in Europe. For the first time the mechanics have had the time to dismantle the car, build it and assemble it. In Barcelona we are going to try and do the best we can, as always, but even more so at this Grand Prix. We're playing at home in front of the best fans in the world. We're looking forward to it and it's something historic for so I'm going to enjoy it as much as possible."
Narain Karthikeyan: "Catalunya is a great all-round circuit, highly demanding and aero dependent. It is a track I know well, and it is the first time this season we have the hard and soft tyre allocated, so the gap in lap times will be significant and strategy will play a deciding role. We don't know the specifics of tyre behaviour since we didn't test pre-season, but as the compounds are softer this year, the degradation, especially on the soft, will be high because of the high-lateral loading through corners like turn three. The circuit is aero sensitive too, because of the high amount of winds which often change direction so getting the setup right early on will be crucial. There are a few upgrades coming as well which will help us unlock some more performance from the car and give us the ability to compete with our closest rivals. It is the first of our team's home races so we are motivated to do our best."
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "We're really looking forward to taking part in this Grand Prix, which is the first time we'll be racing at home this season. Showing our cars and our team in Spain is an added motivation and we're looking to have a good weekend and finish the race without any trouble to continue in our process of improving little by little. After the first four races we're heading into this one with much more calm. We arrive more organized and better prepared after having rested a bit this week. We're bringing some updated to Montmelo which we hope will take us one step forwards in terms of performance and reliability. It's the first Grand Prix we travel to after having moved into our new headquarters, starting a great new chapter in the history of the team."