The FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAN PREMIO DE ESPAÑA 2022 has made its protagonists face the demands of the world championship track of Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya for the first time in this 32nd edition. And they did it in front of a crowd of 54,134 people, who did not want to miss the first day of activity on the Circuit’s track. Charles Leclerc was the best performer on this first day of testing, taking a double first position in the two free practice sessions held.
If Fridays at the Grand Prix are designed and intended for testing, today the Circuit has allowed to continue with this line, adopting a particularly important role in this mission. The FIA published early in the morning a list of evolutions and new parts brought by the teams of the World Championship. The vast majority of the teams have come to Barcelona with many improvements. Ferrari, so far the Manufacturers’ World Championship leader, has brought in a new package of upgrades, while its main rival Red Bull has also done the same, significantly lowering the weight of their car. Aston Martin, on the other hand, is presenting a virtually new car with many changes. On the other side of the coin is Alpine, which are presenting their candidature with some adaptation parts, but no evolutions.
Whether or not it is thanks to these changes, it is a fact that Charles Leclerc is continuing his intensive work. The Monegasque set the fastest time of the day (1:19.670) in the second free practice session, although he was also quickest in the morning. In the morning session, he was joined in the spotlight by Carlos Sainz, less than a tenth of a second off the pace. The usual F1 line-up was slightly modified with the participation of Juri Vips with Red Bull and Nyck de Vries with Williams. The young drivers tested only in FP1, in line with the new regulations introduced by the FIA to help ensure more mileage for the young drivers. In the morning run, Max Verstappen was also strong, in third position, followed by George Russell and Fernando Alonso.
In the afternoon, George Russell took the chequered flag in second position, followed by team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Sainz was again among the best, in fourth position, with Verstappen and Alonso behind him. It has therefore been a very positive start to the Grand Prix for the home drivers, who have not dropped out of the top six at any time so far. Both know that all eyes are on them, and that’s why they were also the protagonists of the press conference held this morning at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“The feeling is always the same, it’s very special to race at home, and only a few drivers get to experience that once a year. I feel extremely lucky for that. I’m ready to enjoy every second of it,” Fernando Alonso told the media.
In the same vein, Carlos Sainz. “I think it’s that feeling of racing at home, you have the best atmosphere around you, you’re in a good mood, there are people who want you to do well, and all that gives you an extra push. Besides, it is a circuit where I have always done well and where I have obtained some of my best results”, added the Madrid-born driver about the fact that he is racing at home.
First pole positions in the Support Championships
With the exception of Formula 1, the rest of the competitions present have already shared out their fastest laps. In F3®, Roman Stanek (Trident) set the fastest time, followed by Victor Martins and Alex Smolyar. Spaniard David Vidales was 11th, while Pepe Marti qualified 16th. In F2®, Jack Doohan (Virtuosi Racing) was the fastest, followed by Juri Vips and Frederik Vesti. The W Series were the last to take to the track and awarded Jamie Chadwick. Belén García and Marta García were sixth and seventh respectively, while Nere Martí will start 11th.
Tomorrow, the on-track activity will start at 11 a.m. with the F3® sprint race. At 1.00 p.m. it will be the turn of F1, which will complete the third free practice. The W Series will then run its only race of the weekend at 2.40 p.m., while the premier class will complete qualifying at 4.00 p.m. The F2® sprint race will take place on Saturday at 5.40 p.m.
Access to the Circuit
All the gates of the Circuit will open tomorrow from 8 a.m., as well as all ticket offices. It is recommended to arrive at the facilities by public transport in order to avoid crowds of vehicles. It is worth remembering that this year there will be no physical sale of parking tickets upon arrival at the Circuit, but only those users who have previously bought their tickets at the Circuit website will be able to access.
A sustainable management of the Grand Prix
The Circuit will promote a wide range of actions within the framework of its 3C management philosophy (conscience, commitment and coherence) in sustainability, integrating the social, economic and environmental aspects. Under the slogan “Driving for a better future”, it works to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UNEP Agenda 2030. These include the use of 100% renewable energy, the donation of food, the use of 0 km gastronomic products, waste management, sustainable forestry care of the Circuit environment or the use of circular economy to fund it with other sustainable actions.