Formula One extends contract with Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya until 2026

As part of the agreement, improvements to the track and facilities will be made ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix scheduled for 2022.

Spain's Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. (Image: Twitter)
PUBLISHED: Nov 26, 20213 MINUTE READ

Formula One has renewed its contract with Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, extending the Spanish Grand Prix’s stay at the track until 2026. As part of the agreement, improvements to the track and facilities – which were first used by Formula 1 in 1991, ahead of the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona – will be made ahead of the 2022 race, which is scheduled for May 22. Part of the funds raised will go toward the circuit’s ambitious sustainability plans.

“We are delighted to announce this deal with Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya,” said F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali. It was this track where Lewis Hamilton won a thrilling battle against Max Verstappen earlier this year.

“I want to thank the promoter and the authorities for their enthusiasm and commitment to keeping Formula 1 in Barcelona, with improvements that will be made to the track and facilities, and continuing our long history together. The teams and drivers always look forward to racing at the circuit and visiting Barcelona, and the Spanish fans will continue to see their national heroes, Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz up close,” said the F1 President.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SPANISH GP THIS SEASON

Lewis Hamilton notched up his third race win of the 2021 Formula 1 season with a tactical win in the Spanish GP on May 9 this year. Starting the race from pole, Hamilton was overtaken by Max Verstappen on Turn 1 of the first lap itself. The Red Bull then led the race for all but the remaining 6 laps. Yet it was always a case of when and not if Hamilton regained the lead. Mercedes opted for a two-pit stop strategy to ensure Hamilton could have a better chance of overtaking Verstappen. Red Bull, for their part, looked content with a one-stop strategy. Yet in the end, it didn’t work out.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third. Charles Leclerc did well to finish fourth with Ferrari, with the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez in fifth. Daniel Ricciardo brought his McLaren home in sixth, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in seventh and Ricciardo’s teammate Lando Norris in eighth. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon came in ninth, while AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly rounded up the championship points winners.

Mercedes may have taken the win, but this was a case of fine strategy rather than merely pure pace. Verstappen showed plenty of speed and guts to overtake Hamilton early in the race. Hamilton kept up the pace but couldn’t do enough to get in position for an overtake. He even stayed out long after Verstappen pitted, with the aim being of keeping the tires fresh towards the end.

Again, Hamilton did well to keep up the pace. But with an overtake seeming unlikely in a Barcelona track known to favour race leaders, something different was needed. That happened with around 20 laps left in the race. Mercedes surprised everyone by calling Hamilton in for another stop, putting him on fresh tires.

Red Bull chose to keep Verstappen out, confident that he could hold out on deteriorating tires till the end. Yet Hamilton caught up quicker than anticipated. Eventually on Lap 61, Hamilton got within DRS range and smoothly passed the Red Bull. The team responded by calling Verstappen in, putting him on fresh tires in a bid to get the extra point in hand for the holder of the fastest lap.



WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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