Below you will find the F1 Manager forecast for the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Montmelo, Spain, a race to be held on Sunday, from 1 p.m GMT time. We start, as usual, with the technical characteristics of the circuit and single seaters, continue with the evaluation of teams, and finally we will give you the chance to analyze the fight between two pilots of a team.
|Length of lap||4655m|
|Number of laps||66|
|1st place on the grid||starts from the left side of the circuit|
|Fastest lap in the race||1’21.670 Kimi Raikkonen 2008|
|DRS zones||First and third straight line|
|Distance from the start to the first turn||730m|
Single seater requirements
|Maximum acceleration||on 60% of the circuit length|
|The longest period of acceleration||1310|
|Speed changes per lap||45|
|Fuel used per lap||2.5kg?|
|Gain per lap by fuel consumption||0.075s|
Most wins: Michael Schumacher – six.
Available tires: medium and hard.
What could the outcome be?
From the 23 races seen on the Montmelo circuit, 17 were won by the one starting from the first position of the grid. The percentage is high, and, given Mercedes’ dominance in this season, we do not see how this could change, other than by a fight between the two drivers: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.
If we are to look at the team leaders’ statements, we see that they contrast sharply with those of drivers who are members of the same team, except for the Mercedes team, where the drivers are more confident than the technical team. And if we were to develop a ranking following these statements, the first place would go to the Red Bull and McLaren teams. Both Horner and Boullier are extremely confident in the progress they will achieve during the three weeks elapsed since the last race in China, and both say they will and must win. Horner in Spain, Boullier this year. Hmm.
Red Bull has proven that it develops the single seater during the year like none other, while McLaren did this some years ago. And if Boullier, the British chief, is confident, Jenson Button admitted after the race in China – where he had a disastrous result – that he does not know in which direction his team is heading.
The situation is not better with the Red Bull team, where the four times in a row world champion does not know how to refrain from exploding and openly criticizing his team. Perhaps his teammate’s much better results prevent him from doing this.
However, considering the characteristics of the circuit, we say that after Mercedes – unmatched so far – will come the Red Bull team. The Montmelo circuit has maximum aerodynamic stresses, a chapter in which the Red Bull team excels, and we credit them with a second chance.
Watching Ricciardo getting close to Alonso in turns in China and how the Spaniard would already be far when coming out of the turns, we would say that the Ferrari team has an impressive traction, a chapter in which it did not excel in recent years. Or anyway, they have a better traction than those at RB. So the circuit suits the Italians, too, plus they are at Fernando Alonso’s home, and the pressure for great results is huge. When we say huge, we are thinking about a place on the podium.
For the third place, we see a close fight between Ferrari and Williams, the first chance, however, going to the Italians, and the Williams team, if it managed to maintain a normal development rate, is very likely to be somewhere in front. The Williams single seater also seems well designed, able to cope with the aerodynamic stresses. Let’s not forget that 3 of the 4 qualifications in this season took place in the rain, a condition under which the British team has difficulties.
We are not sure what Force India’s budget looks like, which largely determines the leap made by teams over the year, and especially until the first European race. If they progressed, then the ‘Indian’ team is a favorite.
McLaren could easily occupy the 6th place, and, although Eric Boullier seems to be a serious man, we cannot give him full credit when he says he’ll come to Barcelona with spectacular innovations. He should come up with about one second per lap gain to make things hard and defeat the Ferrari, Williams and Force India teams.
Lotus would follow, who, due to the circumstances, have the chance to win their first points of the year, and who said that they wanted to work at 100% capacity until the Montreal race.
Then come the Toro Rosso team, which could be mistaken for the Swiss team Sauber, a team that comes with a new chassis and many other innovations.
Caterham and Marussia will close the platoon, probably in this order.
The tires also play an important role. The lateral forces acting on both left tires are the highest in the entire year. Last year, Fernando Alonso won the race for Ferrari with a four-stop strategy, defeating Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) who came second, and who stopped three times. Alonso also managed a new record, becoming the only driver to win a race at Montmelo starting from fifth position of the grid.
Well, for the fight within the team, we are letting readers make predictions and offer a F1 Manager T-shirt to the people who will guess – until the beginning of qualifications – the correct fight within teams: Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Force India, Williams. That is, tell us who will rank first in the race between Rosberg and Hamilton, Vettel and Ricciardo, Alonso and Raikkonen, Hulkenberg and Perez, Bottas and Massa.
It is said that whoever has a good car in Spain has a good car on any circuit. It remains to be seen.
F1 Manager prediction for qualifications: Rosberg, Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso, Ricciardo.*
F1 Manager prediction for the race: Hamilton, Rosberg, Ricciardo, Alonso, Vettel.*
Possible surprise: Nico Hulkenberg, a place on the podium.
Possible disappointment: Kimi Raikkonen, far behind his teammate.
* this is not necessarily the order