2022 F1 Spanish Grand Prix preview: Round of upgrades planned
Round six of the 2022 Formula 1 World Championship is on this weekend at Spain's Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Spanish Grand Prix is one of the classics on the F1 calendar, and as has often been the case in previous seasons, the race this year will see several teams introduce upgrades based on their findings from the earlier rounds.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is one teams and drivers know well, as it has been on the calendar since 1991 and is also the location where the first of the winter tests takes place. The 2.9-mile track underwent some minor changes last year and features a mix of high, medium and low speed corners, changes of direction, undulations and a long start-finish straight. There's a little bit of everything, which makes it an ideal place for testing.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, home of the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix
There are two DRS zones, one on the main straight leading to the first chicane and another after turn nine, on the back straight leading to turn 10. As always at this circuit, drivers will have to deal with changes of wind direction, which has a major effect on the balance of the cars, which explains the medium-to-high downforce levels used here. Looking at the weather, we should have fine conditions during both Saturday's qualifying and Sunday's race. Pirelli has nominated its hardest compounds: the C1 as the White hard, the C2 as the Yellow medium, and the C3 as the Red soft.
It will be interesting to see how 2022's redesigned cars will fare in Spain, especially due to the rule changes that see the return of ground effects. The changes are aimed at producing closer racing and more overtaking opportunities, though Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya isn't the easiest place to make a successful pass.
Going into the weekend, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc leads the 2022 Drivers' Championship with 104 points. Red Bull Racing's Max Verstappen is second with 85 points and fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez is third with 66 points. In the Constructors' Championship, Ferrari leads with 157 points, versus the 151 of Red Bull and 95 of Mercedes-Benz AMG. Last year's winner in Spain was Lewis Hamilton driving for Mercedes.