Posted on May 6, 2021 Tags: Daniel Ricciardo F1
McLaren’s Lando is not quite what Renault’s Daniel expected!
Daniel Ricciardo is desperate to drive himself out of the doldrums at Barcelona this weekend after a trying few weeks of the 2021 Formula One Championship. He knows precisely the mistakes he’s made, particularly overshooting his mark at the Portugal GP putting his Pit crew under unnecessary pressure with a rookie error.
His young McLaren teammate Lando Norris – the talented Brit – is clearly showing the Aussie up across the board and that does not sit easily on Daniel’s shoulders.
While all F1 teams do so much testing at the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya, for the first time since 2014 there’s been no pre-season testing here. So the teams arrive this week with no chance to gather data on how the new cars perform in their latest specification.
Nevertheless, Perth ace Daniel is super keen to get in some laps on a track he knows as well as anyone in the game.
“We pretty much know what to expect right out of the box,” an upbeat Daniel said this week.
“Having so much familiarity with the circuit and the high levels of grip here should mean I can really push the car and not have too many other factors to worry about.
“I’m feeling more and more comfortable with every race distance, so I’m really excited to see what we can do in the next few races.”
Last year’s Spanish Grand Prix was held for the first time in mid-August heat. Now, with weather conditions considerably cooler Pirelli has chosen the same tyre nomination as last weekend at Portugal – the hardest tyres in the range: C1 as the P Zero White hard, C2 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C3 as the P Zero Red soft.
Barcelona’s well known high-energy demands remain especially the very long Turn 3 right-hander, which puts considerable forces through the front-left tyre in particular. And Turn 9 is also challenging for the tyres. As a result, according to Pirelli’s Head of F1 and Car Racing Mario Isola, the hardest compounds are still the most appropriate choice.
The track layout has changed this year, with a modified profile to Turn 10 (La Caixa) to improve safety. The result is a left-hander that is slightly wider than the previous version, which has allowed for a bigger run-off area and will shorten the braking zone, with a higher entry speed to the corner. The lap is also now 20 metres longer.
• In 2020, the race was won by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton with a soft-medium-medium two-stopper, although Sergio Perez finished fifth after stopping only once from soft to medium, while Valtteri Bottas was on the podium using a three-stop strategy.
• Barcelona is renowned for being a track where it’s quite difficult to overtake for most of the lap, although the long downhill straight can give a power and DRS advantage to help line up a passing move. All this makes qualifying position and race strategy particularly important to gain track position.
• With a number of support races on the bill, the surface should evolve reasonably quickly with more rubber laid down, compared to some other grands prix this year where Formula 1 has been the only track action.
“The race strategy in Barcelona was influenced primarily by the very high track temperatures last season.
“This year, with the race moving back to a spring date, temperatures are cooler but should still be a key factor behind the strategy.
“The altered corner profile of Turn 10 provides another new challenge that could influence the way the drivers approach the lap.
“We’ve seen in the past that strategy has been one of the key differentiating factors at Barcelona and we would expect this to become the case once more this weekend.”
A new season of FIA Formula 3 starts in Barcelona, featuring Perth’s Calan Williams lining up for his second season, after an impressive debut in 2020 with Jenzer Motorsports. Image courtesy Dutch Photo Agency.
F3 is adopting the same new-for-2021 format that was debuted by Formula 2 in Bahrain consisting of three races each weekend.
Unlike F2, each F3 race during the season is the same length – in Barcelona each one will last for 22 laps. After practice and qualifying on Friday, the first two races are on Saturday, with the third on Sunday.
Barcelona also hosts the second round of FIA Formula Regional by Alpine – the stepping-stone to the F3 championship.
• Three teams: Alpine, Alfa Romeo and Red Bull. Alpine will stay on after the Spanish Grand Prix to continue Pirelli’s 18-inch slick tyre development programme for 2022,
• The opening Sprint Cup round of the GT World Challenge Europe takes place at Magny-Cours in France during this weekend. It’s the second round of the overall series, following the first Endurance round at Monza.
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