Max Verstappen
© Red Bull

The ultimate Spanish Grand Prix F1 circuit guide

With the Spanish Grand Prix fast approaching, it’s time to get up to speed with everything you need to know about this mythical circuit.
By Red Bull France
3 min readPublished on
  • Construction: 1991
  • First race in F1 : 1991
  • Location: Montmeló (Spain)
  • Length: 4.675 km
  • Number of turns: 16
  • Most wins: Michael Schumacher (6)
  • Lap record: Daniel Ricciardo (1 min 18 s)
The Spanish Grand Prix held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is set to return on May 22, 2022, for it’s 31st consecutive season. Here, twenty of the world’s top drivers will battle it out on one of the most technical, and familiar, tracks on the schedule.
“I must have done this circuit a few thousand times,” said Scuderia AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly. “For years, we have been coming here for testing for Formula Renault 2.0, 3.5, and the GP2 Series. Even between races, most of our simulator training is done at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.”
AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly drives the AT02 single-seater on the Barcelona circuit in March 2021.
Pierre Gasly knows the Barcelona circuit perfectly
However, familiarity doesn’t necessarily mean mastery, especially since the configuration of the circuit makes it exceptionally challenging. The track’s main feature is a 1.3 kilometre pit straight — where drivers reach speeds over 310 km/h — and the rest of the course is a succession of curves, hairpins, heavy brake sections, and corners that demand perfection. Catalunya also remains as one of the only tracks that is surrounded by grass and gravel, which makes going off track totally unforgivable.

A redesigned circuit

The Spanish Grand Prix has hosted only few bouncing races over the past three decades. So in attempt to increase the number of overtakings, the circuit has undergone numerous modifications.
The single-seaters race on the Barcelona-Catalonia circuit during the Spanish Grand Prix.
The circuit of Barcelona-Catalonia
In 2007, a chicane was added to Turn 12 to slow racers down and tighten leads ahead of the pit straight. Then in 2021, Turn 10 was expanded to allow racers to increase speeds from 80 to 100 km/h.
“Braking will be less strong entering Turn 10,” said current F1 leader and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. “But with a wider corner, there will be more possibilities to find different lines.”
It offers hope for more clashes on a circuit that is sorely lacking.
Charles Leclerc

A historic victory

While the circuit isn’t renowned for offering the most exciting races, it has been the scene of some of Formula 1’s most memorable events—starting with Max Verstappen’s first-ever victory. On May 15th, 2016, the 18-year-old Dutchman made history when he became the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix.
Verstappen created history in Barcelona
"Barcelona will always be synonymous with very special memories for me," explained Verstappen. “I don't often get emotional, but I was on the verge of tears that day, just like my father. My first victory was a shock and nobody expected it. It's a day I will never forget. I am so grateful to everyone who has worked with me and made it possible for me to come to this at such a young age.”
Now on Sunday May 22, 2022, Max Verstappen will return to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after a demanding win in Miami, with hopes of claiming his 24th Grand Prix victory.
"I think Barcelona can be a good track for us,” Verstappen added. “But I expect Mercedes to be very fast too, so it's going to be very close again and it will just depend on who finds the best setting.”
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