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NEED TO KNOW: The most important facts, stats and trivia ahead of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

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Formula 1 heads back to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend. Need to Know is your all-in-one guide for the three days of action ahead with statistics, driving pointers, strategy tips and plenty more. You can also keep track of how fans have voted using our popular F1 Play predictor game.

The action in Barcelona will begin with first and second practice on Friday, June 21, followed by final practice and qualifying on Saturday, June 22, and then the main event, the Spanish Grand Prix itself, on Sunday, June 23.

IT’S RACE WEEK: 5 storylines we’re excited about ahead of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix

Vital statistics

  • First Grand Prix – 1951 (Pedralbes)
  • Track Length – 4.657km
  • Lap record – 1m 16.330s, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 2023
  • Most pole positions – Michael Schumacher (7)
  • Most wins – Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton (6)
  • Trivia – Fernando Alonso’s most recent F1 win came at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in 2013
  • Pole run to Turn 1 braking point – 595 metres
  • Overtakes completed in 2023 – 107
  • Safety Car probability – 50%
  • Virtual Safety Car probability – 25%
  • Pit stop time loss – 22.3 seconds (includes 2.5s stop)

FAN VIEW: Events in Canada promised to spice up future Saturdays in 2024, as George Russell pipped Max Verstappen to claim pole. Verstappen leads the F1 Play voting for Spain, but only with around 40% of gamers believing he’ll be fastest over a single lap. Lando Norris (15%) and Lewis Hamilton (10%) head the chasers.

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The driver’s verdict

Jolyon Palmer, former Renault F1 driver: Barcelona is a nice circuit, but everyone knows it like the back of their hand, which kind of makes it feel like home, because it’s the one that we have historically spent a lot of time driving at.

It’s really flowing and tough on the neck and the body because of the long corners coming through Turns 3 to 4 and Turn 9. It’s also tough on the front-left tyre, with tyre wear generally high in Barcelona thanks to abrasive tarmac.

PALMER: Montreal proved Mercedes are back in the hunt – and could be back on the top step in Spain

Overtaking is pretty tricky, with Turn 1 pretty much the only spot you can pass at – it’s also the trickiest corner. Turn 4 to 5 is a nasty, downhill braking zone, which again can sucker you into braking a little bit late, but because there’s a bit of camber on it, you can miss the apex slightly and not lose a heap of time.

The previous final sector was not a pleasure to drive. You had to balance your tyre performance in the first and final sector, it felt really slow, and you squirmed your way around the final chicane trying to compete the lap. But that’s all gone since 2023.

ONBOARD: Max Verstappen’s 2023 Pirelli Pole Position Award lap at the Spanish Grand Prix

Last five Spanish GP pole-sitters

  • 2023 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2022 – Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
  • 2021 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2020 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2019 – Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

2025 F1 GRID: All the driver and team line-ups confirmed so far

Last five Spanish GP winners

  • 2023 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2022 – Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  • 2021 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2020 – Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
  • 2019 – Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)

FAN VIEW: Verstappen is dominating here, polling around 80% of F1 Play votes as he looks to follow up that victory in Canada. There is some support for Norris, though, after his terrific drives in the McLaren in recent races. The Ferrari pair of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc make up the majority of the scraps.

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Verstappen is looking to make it three wins on the bounce in Barcelona

Tyre and strategy insight

“The track is one of the most complete of any circuit in the world, not just those on the Formula 1 calendar, in terms of the challenges it presents,” reads Pirelli’s preview of the weekend.

“Apart from its straights, it boasts every possible type of corner, with some of them, such as Turn 3 and the combination of 13 and 14 which lead onto the main straight, taken at very high speeds.

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“The lateral forces exerted on the tyres, especially on the left-hand side of the car are particularly high, partly because nine of the 14 turns are to the right.

“This year’s race takes place three weeks later than in 2023 so it could be hotter and that could add another factor to tyre management.

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“This thermal issue could put the C3 at a disadvantage, whereas last year that compound had been quite competitive even in the race, chosen by 16 of the 20 drivers for the first stint.

“In terms of strategy, a two-stop should be the quickest option with all compounds possibly coming into play. If degradation is higher, then even a three-stop might be feasible, especially as last year’s race proved that overtaking is easier than in the past.

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“Another consideration at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit is the importance of qualifying. In no fewer than 24 races here, the pole-sitter has gone on to be first past the chequered flag.”

FAN VIEW: All of a sudden, Mercedes appears to be back after that hugely promising weekend in Montreal, and that is reflected in F1 Play voting here. Both Russell and Hamilton are fancied to challenge for podium positions in Barcelona, with the usual suspects (Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari) the predictable favourites.

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Barcelona features a mixture of low-, medium- and high-speed corners

Current form

We wrote about a potential three-way battle developing ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend and that’s exactly what we got in a dramatic rain-hit race, albeit with the identity of one of those outfits coming as a slight surprise.

In what was a challenging event for Ferrari, the upgraded Mercedes machines took their place to join the fight with Max Verstappen’s Red Bull and the McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri at the head of the field.

READ MORE: Wolff says Antonelli ‘definitely plays a part’ in Mercedes’ future as he hints Sainz out of running for second seat

But after the particular demands of Monaco and Montreal, F1 returns to a more conventional venue at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with plenty of teams planning to unleash more upgrades and get the most out of the triple-header.

Will Red Bull return to the fore around the fast, flowing venue? Can Ferrari bounce back after their Canada struggles? Will McLaren retain their spot as regular challengers? And are the Silver Arrows now on course for a sustained revival?

All of these questions and more will be answered over the next three days...

FAN VIEW: The Aston Martins of Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll are fancied to claim points at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while there is again good support for RB prodigy Yuki Tsunoda. Tsunoda’s RB team mate, Daniel Ricciardo, is also attracting votes from F1 Play gamers after his fine P8 in Montreal.

Race Highlights: 2024 Canadian Grand Prix

Iconic moment

After switching from Jerez, the first Spanish Grand Prix at the now-named Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya brought plenty of drama thanks to a memorable scrap involving Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna.

Needing to win to boost his championship chances, Mansell fought his way past title rival Senna on the track, only for the Brazilian to move back into the lead during the pit stops.

BEYOND THE GRID: Bruno Senna remembers his uncle and hero Ayrton Senna

There was another twist when Senna spun on the damp track, allowing Mansell back through, after which the Briton hunted down leader Gerhard Berger and secured an ultimately comfortable victory.

Check out the highlights in the video player below...

F1 VAULT: Mansell and Senna duel in Catalunya’s first race

Elsewhere in Barcelona

There's other activity featuring in Barcelona as part of the wider Sustainability Strategy that Formula 1 introduced in 2019, which includes the goal of being Net Zero by 2030 and creating a more diverse sport that reflects the world in which we race.

  • The circuit is transitioning to renewable energy sources across the track, including installing 1,239 solar panels across 2,710m2. This is in addition to 1,080 solar panels that are located on the roof of the Pit Building. The solar panels generate a third of the energy consumed by the circuit annually.

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  • First launched in 2019, the Circuit’s biodiversity programme, in collaboration with a sustainable forest management company, enters its fifth year. The project provides job opportunities for young people in forest management and utilises the 25 hectares of forest surrounding the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

  • In promotion of a more circular economy, the circuit has taken oil drums and tyres from previous years and upcycled them into new equipment, such as walling and bins. Sustainability educators will be in the Fan Zone to help fans understand sustainability activations such as this, and more.

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