A story of the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix in Barcelona

A story of the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix in Barcelona

In light of the current situation that the world finds itself, there is a need for sensibility and responsibility. As the COVID-19 virus has halted travel plans for the foreseeable future. The most important thing for everyone now is to respect the measures in place and prioritize health and well-being. 

One of the best ways to pass the time, we’ve found, is by reading and researching things of interest to you. As the month of May, 2020, was meant to see the city of Barcelona hosting the Spanish Grand Prix, we thought best to dip into the archives.

As the Spanish Grand Prix has been one of the most hotly contested Formula 1 races since 1913, its historic route has seen it take place all over the country. From Madrid, to Bilbao and now Barcelona (with many more inbetween), the race has provided entertainment to many.

Even though it can’t take place right now, we can remind you of the entertainment seen in Barcelona, since the race was moved here in 1991. A year before using the tagline- the Grand Prix of the Olympic Games, in the spring of 1992!

 

History of the Barcelona Grand Prix:

A dangerous and exhilarating sport, Formula 1 had been enjoyed in Jerez, Sevilla, for a few years in the mid-late 1980s.

However, with a remote location and dangerous track, it was seen as time to change the location come the start of the 1990s. Barcelona was the location. It was seen as a logical move, given the population of Catalonia and the ease people could access the course from France by car, something that would see attendances rise.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was ready to be the new home of Formula 1 in Spain.

1991 saw the first race, one which would allow the Williams team to stamp their authority on the course, as British driver Nigel Mansell won the race. Williams would go on to win the following 3 races.The mid 90s would see a young Michael Schumacher win the race in 1994 and 1995 firstly for Benetton and then for Ferrari, marking the start of the driver’s true talent. As the 90s drew to a close, Mika Häkkinen, of Mclaren, would win the final 3 races of the decade, helping him with claiming the title of world champion in 1998 and 1999.

The start of the 2000s would see Ferrari be the dominant force through Micheal Schumacher, winning the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona four years in a row. 2006 would see Fernando Alonso win his home race for the first of two times; the second being in 2013. Many argue that the talent of Alonso, always being a good competitor, brought about a large local crowd, all wanting a Spanish winner on home soil.

From the mid 00s, there was no real streak of dominance from a team or driver, with the title frequently changing hands year on year, which gave the audience a great amount to enjoy. That is, of course, until 2014, when Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes, won his first title. In the past 6 years, he has won it 4 times, in each of the last 3 years.

 

Location:

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is located in the Montmeló part of the city, some way from the centre. This was due to it being the most ‘central’ place where there would be enough space to construct a Formula 1 course and all the parking space needed for participating teams and fans.

Only around a 25 minute drive from the city centre of Barcelona, most fans get to the course for practice and race day by coach. This journey, as you can imagine, is much less than the amount taken for the racing drivers to finish the race!

The course measures 4.655 km and drivers must complete 66 laps- it took Lewis Hamilton 1hr 35mins to win the race in 2019!

 

Most success:

As you may have been able to workout, it is of course Michael Schumacher who has the most wins at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. With 6 wins to his name, Schumacher represented two teams during his career when racing here, with 5 of his 6 with Ferrari.

Second to him, is Lewis Hamilton, who trails the German legend by only 2 wins. He would have been hoping to narrow the gap with a win this year but he will have to wait for his next chance. Third, with 3 wins here, is Mika Häkkinen of Finland, who won all 3 of his in consecutive years. 

 

Iconic Moments:

In the first race of 1991, two of the sport’s greatest drivers, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell raced the full length of the pit only two inches apart! The close nature of these two caused sparks to fly as they jousted at some 300kph, with Mansell edging ahead.

Then, in 1994, Schumacher had his gearbox to blame for finishing second, as it was broken and stuck in fifth gear for most of the race. Schumacher again, in 1996, won the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona in iconic fashion. The rain was pouring down on the Catalan Capital and the German overcame the odds to win his second Spanish Grand Prix, with many noting this as one of the most iconic races in Formula 1 history.

Finally, in 2001, Mika Hakkinen was on course for a routine 4th career win here, that was until his final lap. His clutch exploded and he was grounded just 5 corners from the finish. Giving the win to a thankful, you guessed it… Michael Schumacher!

We can’t wait for more iconic moments to come to this course in the years to come.