Atlas F1

A Lap of the Circuit de Catalunya

Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

The Circuit de Catalunya is a tight, technical circuit, but has some fast corners that really sort out the men from the boys. The circuit is bumpier than most and this can really be felt in the tight confines of a Formula One car.

After travelling down the mile long straight, the drivers slam on the brakes, change down to third, and enter the tight, uphill Elf chicane at around 160kmph. The next corner, Curvone Renault, is a nearly flat uphill right hander that allows the quicker drivers to gain precious time over their rivals.

After a couple of slow hairpins, Repsol and Seat, the drivers pass through a left handed kink before changing down to third again for the tight left hander Wurth. Uphill again, and a slight dab on the brakes to prepare the car for the refined Campsa corner.

The next stretch used to contain a fast chicane but, in light of the Imola tragedies in 1994, this was replaced with a revised straight for 1995. The fact that the straight is longer means that there is now a superb opportunity for outbraking into La Caixa, a tight hairpin normally taken in second.

After another tough hairpin, where the balance of the car must be just right if the drivers are not to lose time, the cars enter the final two right handers. These corners are taken with only the slightest lift of the throttle, and have the highest measured lateral forces of the year, almost 3.5G. Cars use a lot of kerb on the final corner, and many top drivers have almost come to grief on the dust before accelerating across the start finish line to begin another fast lap.

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