The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a motorsport race track in Montmeló, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. With long straights and a variety of corners, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is seen as an all-rounder circuit. The track has stands with a capacity of 140,700. The circuit has FIA Grade 1 license.
Until 2013 the track was known only as the Circuit de Catalunya, before a sponsorship deal with Barcelona City Council added Barcelona to the track’s title.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was built in 1991 and began hosting the Spanish Grand Prix that same year. Construction also coincided with the Olympic Games scheduled to take place in Barcelona the next year, where the circuit acted as the start and finish line for the road team time trial cycling event. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya should not be confused with the Montjuïc circuit, which hosted the Spanish Grand Prix four times between 1969 and 1975 and, unlike the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, is actually located within the city of Barcelona.
Because so much testing is done at this circuit, Formula One drivers and mechanics are extremely familiar with it. This has led to criticism that drivers and mechanics are too familiar with Catalunya, reducing the amount of on-track action.
When first used, overtaking was frequent as cars could follow closely through the last two corners and slipstream down the long straight. As aerodynamic balance became more critical, this overtaking method drastically decreased as the cars were unable to follow each other through the fast final corner due to turbulence created by the leading car. The 2007 season saw the first of the two final sweepers replaced with a slow chicane in an effort to improve overtaking.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has hosted a motorcycle Grand Prix since 1992, originally the European motorcycle Grand Prix from 1992 and later the Catalan motorcycle Grand Prix since 1996. There are at least five points on the track (turns 1, 2, 4, 10, 14) where riders are known to overtake. As in Formula 1, Turn 1 is arguably the most popular place for overtaking. The circuit is not known to produce copious amounts of overtaking, despite the long straights. Originally, the Formula 1 circuit changes were not instituted for MotoGP; however, after a fatal crash in the 2016 MotoGP round involving a Moto2 rider, the Formula 1 layout was implemented to slow down riders for safety purposes. The FIM made a further change to the chicane for 2017 by moving up the chicane to prevent riders from cutting the pit lane entrance, but that was abandoned because the motorcycle chicane had a surface change that created more safety issues with the transition. Further changes were made to the circuit in December 2017 as grandstands were removed to add additional runoff that allowed the FIM to eliminate that chicane (although the Turn 10 hairpin was kept).
The circuit hosted many other international racing series, including the FIA Sportscar Championship (1999–2002), European Touring Car Championship (2003), FIA GT Championship (2003), Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (2006–2011), European Le Mans Series (2008–2009), and World Series by Renault (2002–2004, 2006–2011). The FIA World Rallycross Championship currently visits Catalunya since 2015.
© GAVRA Racing 2018.