2006 Spanish Grand Prix - Race 6/18

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2006 Spanish Grand Prix - Race 6/18

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2005 Spanish Grand Prix
Grid and Results



2005 Spanish Grand Prix Grid

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2005 Spanish Grand Prix Results

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2005 Spanish Grand Prix Lap Chart

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Current Standings

2006 Drivers Championship.
Code:
[b]Pos	Driver			Nationality	Team			Points[/b]
1	Fernando Alonso		Spanish		Renault			44	
2	Michael Schumacher	German		Ferrari			31	
3	Kimi Räikkönen		Finnish		McLaren-Mercedes	23	
4	Giancarlo Fisichella	Italian		Renault			18	
=6	Felipe Massa		Brazilian	Ferrari			15	
=6	Juan Pablo Montoya	Colombian	McLaren-Mercedes	15	
7	Jenson Button		British		Honda			13	
8	Ralf Schumacher		German		Toyota			7	
=11	Rubens Barrichello	Brazilian	Honda			6	
=11	Mark Webber		Australian	Williams-Cosworth	6	
=11	Jacques Villeneuve	Canadian	Sauber-BMW		6	
12	Nick Heidfeld		German		Sauber-BMW		5	
13	Nico Rosberg		German		Williams-Cosworth	4	
=15	David Coulthard		British		RBR-Ferrari		1	
=15	Christian Klien		Austrian	RBR-Ferrari		1

Click here for a more in depth view of the Drivers Championship

2006 Constructors Championship.
Code:
[b]Pos	Constructor 		Points[/b]
1	Renault 		62 	
2	Ferrari 		46 	
3	McLaren-Mercedes 	38 	
4	Honda 			19 
5	Sauber-BMW 		11 	
6	Williams-Cosworth 	10 	
7	Toyota 			7 	
8	RBR-Ferrari 		2

Click here for a more in depth view of the Constructors Championship
 
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....And new to this race - a Video Preview of the race. :D

Click the map below for the video - yup - it's another map - shows some different information though.




It's an 11.5mb WMV file - not great but certainly watchable.

Video: WMV9 @ 320x240 @ 25fps @ 448kbps
Audio: 44.1khz Stereo @ 64kbps
 
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Webber hopes to stay at Williams in 2007

Australian Mark Webber would be happy to stay with Williams next season and hopes they want to keep him.

"There's a lot of unfinished business here I think," the driver, one of several managed by Renault team principal Flavio Briatore, told Reuters when asked about his Formula One future.

"I'd just find it better if I could make it work here, that's the natural fit.

"It always seems greener somewhere else and then the timing changes and then Williams are quick next year and I'm not here and I've been through two pretty tough years. We could still have a good finish to the year, but it hasn't been easy."

Former world champions Williams have an option on the 29-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the year, that must be exercised within the next few months if it is not to lapse.

Webber, who was linked to Toyota among other teams before he joined Williams from Jaguar at the end of 2004, has scored six points for the Cosworth-powered team in five races but has an impressive new teammate in German rookie Nico Rosberg.

Rosberg, son of 1982 champion Keke, has twice finished in the points including seventh on his debut in Bahrain.

"I think I've done a better job for the team this year (than last year), I feel much better with the tyre changes," said Webber.

"But it's up to Frank (Williams). I hope he likes what he's seen so far and I still think I'm one of the good guys out there, I keep my head up and keep going."

The next race is Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix, where Webber finished sixth last year and where Rosberg had his first test drive in a Formula One car as a 17-year-old in 2002.

Williams will be bringing mechanical updates, which they say should improve qualifying pace, as well as new hydraulic parts to prevent any recurrence of the problem that forced Webber to retire at the Nurburgring last weekend.
 
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Toyota put Vasselon as head of chassis

Toyota have confirmed that Pascal Vasselon will replace Mike Gascoyne as the head of the chassis department, sharing the role of senior general manager with engine director Luca Marmorini.

Autosport.com revealed last month that Vasselon is the leading candidate to take over Gascoyne, who was curtly dismissed by the Cologne-based team after the Australian Grand Prix.

Vasselon, who headed Michelin's F1 operation before joining Toyota, will take over Gascoyne's responsibilities in chassis design, aerodynamics, race and test engineering and team management. But unlike Gascoyne, the Frenchman will share his role with the senior management.

Toyota motorsport president John Howett explained that teamwork was the key to success and the ultimate aim of winning the championship.

"We feel this can only be accomplished by focusing less on the position of technical director, therefore we have decided to erase this position from our structure," he said.

"We are confident these changes will significantly help our long-term internal stability and ultimately our on-track performance."

Toyota have had a disappointing start to the 2006 championship after their best season in Formula One last year when they finished fourth overall and took their first pole position, podium finish and fastest lap.

Italian Jarno Trulli has so far failed to score a point in five races while Ralf Schumacher finished third in Australia and eighth in Malaysia.
 
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Honda appoint new aero chief

The Honda team have announced that Mariano Alperin-Bruvera has been promoted to the position of chief aerodynamicist, as the squad prepare for the final commissioning of their wind tunnel.

With building work on the new full-scale tunnel nearing completion, Alperin-Bruvera will now lead the efforts of a significantly expanded team of aerodynamicists and engineers.

The 40-year old Argentinian joined the team at in 1998 as a senior aerodynamicist. He had previously worked with the Durango F3000 team before a four-year spell with Minardi.

"Mariano Alperin-Bruvera has been part of this team since the beginning and a key player in its progress to date," said technical director Geoff Willis. "His new role will see him step up from head of one of our two aero development groups to a position of overall aerodynamic leadership.

"I have every confidence that in the position of Chief Aerodynamicist, Mariano will continue to play a pivotal role in our team's pursuit of its championship ambitions."

Alperin-Bruvera added: "I'm very proud to be given this opportunity to lead what I believe to be one of the strongest and most talented aerodynamics teams in Formula One.

"Our new wind tunnel represents a new technological step in aerodynamic research and I'm confident that there are some very exciting times ahead of us."
 
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Has the Button backlash begun?

The British media is well-known for helping to build the careers of stars, be they sportsmen, actors, writers or musicians, only to begin tearing them apart once the subject's fame and fortune has reached a level that is convinced, by the media's standards, 'enough'.

For years the media will fawn over the newcomer, praising each and every achievement, no matter how minor. However, once the backlash begins it is merciless, and few recover.

Over the past weekend it appears that the start of the 'Button-backlash' might be about to begin.

On ITV, which broadcasts F1 in Britain, the pre-race Button hype was as strong as ever, but following the Englishman's retirement the mood was somewhat sombre. Nonetheless, members of the ITV team appeared to spend an inordinate amount of time talking about Lewis Hamilton's back-to-back wins in the GP2 event, even holding an interview with the youngster. Not bad, when you consider that the broadcaster won't be showing highlights of the races until next weekend.

Several newspapers also appear to be growing tired of the Button/Honda excuse factory, with the (ever flowery) Kevin Garside of The Daily Telegraph, writing: "For British success in Barcelona, Hamilton is your man".

Ouch!

While in The Times, Kevin Eason, a keen Button fan, who only a few days earlier had allowed the Englishman to suggest that the competition now is tougher than it was in mid-seventies, has also become aware of Hamilton. Referring to the Nurburgring victories, he wrote: "Hamilton put on a blistering display with two dominant victories that were as good as a wake-up call for Formula One."

The British media, which is not entirely inspired by motorsport in the first place, cannot cope with two heroes, and Hamilton is closing in on Brackley's golden boy at a vast rate of knots, with growing media support.

Yes it has...
 
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Yamaha: Rossi could stick to bikes

Yamaha’s MotoGP team boss Lin Jarvis reckons Valentino Rossi could decide against switching to Formula 1 now that he has a new breed of up-and-coming rivals to race against on two wheels.

Hot rookies Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa have both given Rossi a run for his money in 2006, providing him with a fresh challenge as his Ferrari deadline fast approaches.

The Italian has until June to chose between a switch to F1 with Ferrari or to stay on bikes.

“We have an understanding together when that decision will be and we fully respect that decision which ever he chooses,” Jarvis told Motor Cycle News.

“We all know that Valentino is truly a motorcyclist at heart and I think that seeing the new young riders coming into the sport, and not having it easy at the moment is every reason to continue his motivation.

“So if anything I hope this current situation will give him more motivation to stay.”

But despite Rossi’s insistence that he still has the power to decide his future, his switch appears to depend on the movements of Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen.

Both have been closely linked to Ferrari for 2007, if they haven’t signed already, which would leave Rossi without an obvious race seat.

Another scenario could see Rossi put off his move until Schumacher retires, perhaps at the end of 2007, which would give the Italian an opportunity to help Yamaha develop its new 800cc bike and still fulfill his F1 dream further down the road.
 
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US GP post 06 - undecided

It is unclear whether formula one will return to Indianapolis following its seventh visit in 2006.

The US grand prix's existing contract is set to expire, and - with race bosses still recovering from the anger of the six-car debacle in June last year - there is no certainty about whether a new deal will even be sought.

The story has returned to the spotlight after fans were not, as usual, sent a renewal form to buy tickets for the subsequent year's race.

''If (it) is on F1's calendar for 2007,'' Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood told the Indianapolis Star, ''we'll do a renewal in (autumn).''

He thus admitted the 'uncertainty' of the race's future.

But Chitwood insisted: ''The decision for us to (host an F1 race) wasn't for seven years; it was for the long haul.''
 
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Coulthard ready for the big 200

David Coulthard can truly call himself a Formula One veteran following this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix as he will have joined that exclusive club led by Ricardo Patrese (256) to make 200 Grand Prix starts.

Coulthard made his debut for Williams Renault back in 1994 at Circuit de Catalunya taking over the late Ayrton Senna’s seat following the San Marino tragedy. Since then the Scot has made 199 starts, won 500 championship points, taken 60 podium positions and won 13 Grand Prix.

Heading to Barcelona this weekend, Coulthard and team-mate Christian Klien will be putting the misfortunes of Imola and Nurburgring behind them as they both aim to bring home valuable points for Red Bull Ferrari.

David Coulthard

“Two hundred Grand Prix is an achievement in itself, which I’m proud of, because you don’t do that number of races by accident, you do it by maintaining a certain level of performance. I reckon that 500 points from 200 Grand Prix is not a bad average. Of course, people will always talk about what might have been, but I can feel confident when I walk into the paddock knowing that there are only a few guys on the grid that have, or ever will, come close to achieving what I have. The start of my career was pretty difficult as it came about after Roland and Ayrton had died at the San Marino GP in Imola. Williams ran only one car in the following race, Monaco, as a mark of respect for Ayrton and then made me a Grand Prix driver at the Spanish GP in 1994, so my opportunity definitely came with mixed emotions. ”

“My first win came in my twenty-first GP in Portugal and I remember that the gist of what some of the British media wrote was, ‘at last he wins a race’. Seems they’ve always been impatient! I’m particularly proud of winning Monaco twice and Silverstone a couple of times. As for my best performance, that would be Magny Cours 2001. I had to overtake Rubens and Michael and I was stronger than my team-mate all weekend. Mika was a great benchmark for me because he was so fast. I had a real battle to pass Michael which resulted in me giving him ‘that hand signal’ and I’ve still got the photograph of the incident on top of the TV in my motorhome!”

“Of my twelve Pole Positions, I am particularly proud of the one in Monaco in 2001. How has the sport changed since I started? I think the young drivers are better prepared for the sport these days. When I turned up for my first race Patrick Head just said ‘good luck’. That was my briefing. When I was a test driver you would turn up at 8.45, still asleep, get in the car, do lots of laps and by 5.30 you were back in the hotel. There were none of these hours of debriefing and studying telemetry that we do today. I guess that’s why people say it’s not as much fun as it was ‘in the old days’, but I wouldn’t swap it for anything else. It’s what I love to do and looking at the numbers, I guess it’s what I’m good at!”
 
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Spanish GP Preview: Midland

Encouraged by a strong performance at the European GP that saw both cars demonstrate flawless reliability and improved pace on their way to taking the chequered flag in 12th and 13th positions, MF1 Racing arrives in the familiar environs of Barcelona ready to compete in the Spanish Grand Prix.

With more than its fair share of quick corners - four at over 230 km/h - as well as a long straight section, the Circuit de Catalunya is one of the more popular tracks among MF1's drivers.

Tiago Monteiro: "We had a good weekend in terms of pace at the Nürburgring and I would love it if we could be same or better in Barcelona, but I think it will be tricky. All the teams do a lot of testing there and are very familiar with the track and the set-ups it requires. You won't see too many of the top teams' cars going out for Friday practice, as they already have an extensive amount of data. But we will have to make the most of every opportunity we get, so expect to see us out there quite a bit. It's a good, challenging track - fun to drive, really - and it will be more physical than ever, with the higher G forces the cars are now capable of pulling. I'm looking forward to this weekend, and bringing home another good result."

Christijan Albers: "I'm looking forward to Barcelona, because it's a track I know quite well and we had a good series of tests there over the winter. Granted, it's going to be bit different under race conditions and the warmer temperatures will affect tyre choice, but I don't see that as being a disadvantage for us. The team is coming off a strong weekend at the Nürburgring and I'm hoping we can match the pace we had there in practice and qualifying. I had a bit of bad luck in that race, in that I got held up by slower traffic at various points, but overall, I still think it was a step forward for us. If we can continue to make progress the way we have been lately, we should be in good shape to reach our goals before the end of the season."

Giorgio Mondini: "Now that I have had two Fridays to become more confident with the team and the car, I am really looking forward to this weekend, knowing that the car is constantly improving. The team is putting a great effort into raising the level of the M16's performance and that has inspired me to make a similar commitment. I have been training hard over the past few weeks in order to be able to get the most out of the car. I will be driving at the next three Friday practices in a row, as well as one full day of testing in England, so I need to be in top physical and mental condition. It's always exciting to be heading into a race weekend, particularly when the people surrounding you are as motivated and hungry for success as MF1 is. Barcelona is a beautiful track, but frankly speaking, when you're behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, all the tracks are beautiful!"

Dominic Harlow, Chief Race and Test Engineer: "Barcelona is a circuit where we all test frequently, and as such, we will have a good baseline from which to start our weekend. In aero set-up terms, it will be very similar to the Nürburgring. The track is not particularly hard on brakes and rewards engine power in a similar manner to a lot of other circuits - basically, a tenth a lap for every 10bhp. Despite the one-week turnaround following the European GP, the factory has worked extremely hard to supply some updates for this event, specifically, a couple of changes to the front suspension geometry and a new damper specification. Our aim, as always, is to improve on the last event and do our best to avoid early elimination from the qualifying session. We will also be concentrating on race tyre choice for the conditions that present themselves."
 
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Spanish GP Preview: Super Aguri

Following a difficult weekend at the Nürburgring, the Super Aguri team arrives in Catalonia for the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Circuit de Catalunya was built in 1991 and is located in Montmeló, 13 miles to the north-east of Barcelona. With a lap distance of 4.627km/2.875 miles the track is considered to be well designed within the sport and as such has become the most important F1 testing facility.

Takuma Sato: Barcelona is a very high-downforce circuit featuring challenging high-speed corners that are a lot of fun to drive. On a lap of the track you need to keep a good rhythm through the first few turns then on up the hill to the unique, long corners. You need good car balance on braking and turning into turn four, then it is down and up to a fast blind apex followed immediately by the straight to the hairpin. The final two turns make up the famous high-speed last corner which is physically demanding on both the driver and the car. The Spanish Grand Prix will be another tough race for us, but the latest aero update has improved the balance of the car, so hopefully we will be able to find a good car set-up for this weekend.

Franck Montagny: I am happy to be going to Barcelona, it is a great circuit. I believe that it will be a very different experience to last weekend as the track is much harder than the Nürburgring. It is good to be back with the Super Aguri team as the first time you are with a team you try to do well and get to know everyone, but the second time, for sure, it is a bit easier to do something good. I am impatient to go there and to do well, so I am looking forward to this weekend.

Aguri Suzuki, Team Principal: The current situation with Yuji and the Super Aguri team is regretful, but we will continue to support him. We will keep trying our best during the remaining races and continue to grow as a team. In order to do so, Taku and Franck’s feedback is extremely important. Franck provided us with great feedback regarding the SA05 during the European Grand Prix and I am happy to have him with us for the Spanish and Monaco races.
 
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Spanish GP Preview: McLaren

Team McLaren Mercedes travels to Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya this week for the sixth race of the 2006 Formula One World Championship, the Spanish Grand Prix.

The race is the second of the five sets of back to back events this season, coming just seven days after the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Team McLaren Mercedes has tested at the Circuit de Catalunya a total of 20 days of car running time since the start of the year, covering 6,510km of the Spanish track.

The inaugural Spanish Grand Prix took place at the Pedrables track in 1951. Since then the event has been a sporadic fixture on the calendar, held at a number of locations including Jarama and Montjuich Park, until 1986 when it returned on a permanent basis. The purpose built Circuit de Catalunya, which is approximately a 30 minutes drive from the centre of Barcelona, has hosted the race since 1991.

Team McLaren Mercedes has won four times in the past eight years. Most recently Kimi Raikkonen took victory at the Circuit de Catalunya having led the race from pole position. From 1998-2000, Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard took three one-two victories for the team.

Kimi Raikkonen: "Over the weekend at the Nürburgring the car was definitely improving, and I am looking forward to getting straight back on track in Spain, to try and continue to find more pace. The Circuit de Catalunya is a very quick track, not in the same way as say Monza that is all about power, it is because there are a lot of fast corners that keep you flowing the whole way round. This does mean though that you can lose a bit of downforce when you are close behind another car through the quick corners and this can make it quite difficult to pass. The aerodynamics of cars are tested the most here, so set-up is crucial. This can be quite tricky as it can be quite windy on track and something that worked really well in the morning doesn't always work as well in the afternoon."

Juan Pablo Montoya: "It wasn't the best race for me in Europe, but that is racing and you have to move on. There has traditionally been quite high levels of tyre degradation at the Circuit de Catalunya, this was less last year with the resurfacing, but over the course of the past twelve months it has returned to being fairly abrasive. With all the super fast corners there are big loadings on the tyres, so tyre wear is still a consideration, particularly the front left. We have worked hard with Michelin in preparation for the race, and final selection between the prime and option will be our main focus in the early part of the weekend. I have tested at the Circuit de Catalunya for seven days since the start of the year, providing useful data. The Michelin tyre selection process for the race started in early April when we were testing at the track and we completed it at Silverstone a couple of weeks ago. Overtaking here is not easy and to do it having good traction out of the corners is a must, there is one chance, as you can slipstream along the main straight and then try to overtake at the first corner."

Martin Whitmarsh: "The European Grand Prix demonstrated that we are in a ferociously competitive Championship, and Team McLaren Mercedes has to push forward to find the extra pace we need to challenge for victories. The Spanish Grand Prix sees us race at a demanding circuit that necessitates optimum performance form the entire MP4-21. The Circuit de Catalunya is a very changeable track to run on, whether it is the wind affecting the aero efficiency or the temperature changing having a significant impact on grip levels."

Norbert Haug: "Barcelona is the circuit which all teams know best, because it’s the test track they use the most. Since the beginning of this year all teams together completed about 54000 kilometres in total here and with more than 6500 kilometres we are by far not the team which tested the most. The circuit is characterised by sweeping and mainly fast corners and a long front straight. About 62 percent of a lap will be run under full throttle. This track is the most demanding of all circuits in terms of a car’s aerodynamic efficiency and is considered the yardstick for the competitiveness of a technical package for the entire season."
 
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Spanish GP Preview: Bridgestone

After consecutive wins at the San Marino and European Grands Prix for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Michael Schumacher, Bridgestone is hoping to make it a hat trick at this coming weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. It won't be easy as the Circuit de Catalunya is regularly frequented for testing by Formula One's teams, giving them all a greater depth of knowledge of this track than of most others. The 4.627km circuit is also a high-speed, and therefore hard- wearing track on the tyres, so Bridgestone and its teams have paid particular attention to ensuring tyres have been chosen with as much grip and as much durability as possible. After competitive performances from several of the Bridgestone runners at the Nurburgring last weekend, hopes are high of more podiums and points for the Bridgestone teams this weekend.

Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Motorsport: "The huge crowd numbers and the facilities provided by the Circuit de Catalunya have made the Spanish Grand Prix one of the best races on the Formula One circuit. There is also a fantastic atmosphere. Spain is an important market for Bridgestone and we will have many guests and supporters at this race so we are very much hoping that the recent competitiveness of our teams will continue this weekend so our supporters can enjoy a thrilling weekend of racing."

The 2006 tyre regulations permit each driver seven sets of dry tyres, four sets of wet weather tyres and three sets of extreme wet weather tyres. Combined with the increased number of teams running with Bridgestone in 2006, approximately 1,200 Bridgestone Potenza Formula One tyres have been sent from the Technical Centre in Kodaira City, Tokyo, to Spain's Circuit de Catalunya.

Hisao Suganuma Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "The Barcelona track was resurfaced prior to last season but nevertheless, the track remains one of the toughest on the calendar from a tyre perspective. It has several long, high-speed corners which means that our tyres must be strong from both a compound and construction point of view. Looking at our compound selection, the Barcelona circuit has a relatively smooth track surface which would normally mean choosing compounds from the softer side of the range. However, the nature of the track is not kind to tyre compounds so our choice of a medium compound range is a compromise between getting high grip and the necessary toughness. These tyres are from the same series of constructions and compounds that have performed so well in recent races. Having tested a lot with our teams at this circuit we are confident that they can be competitive this weekend, although Barcelona is a regular test track for most of the teams so no doubt the competition will be tough this weekend."
 
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Spanish GP Preview: Toyota

Panasonic Toyota Racing will make its next stop at the Spanish Grand Prix, which is being held at the Circuit de Catalunya for the 16th time. The team will work hard towards repeating last year's race results, where Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher took 3rd and 4th place respectively. The circuit has built additional grandstands this year, and this is likely to attract record crowds. The Spanish Grand Prix is always known to be an exciting race, as the Circuit de Catalunya is a favoured testing venue. Because all teams and drivers know the track very well, it is likely to be a tight race. Panasonic Toyota Racing will also profit from its past experience with the track having already made three stops for testing this year and putting in little over 6,000 cumulated kilometres.

After having to retire just before end of the race at the Nürburgring, Ralf Schumacher is motivated to get back into action in Barcelona.

Ralf Schumacher: "We have been doing quite well during testing in Barcelona. We are in the upper middle field, better in the race than in qualifying – at least in my case – and so I'm quite happy about that. We showed that we could have a strong race performance at the Nürburgring, it was just unfortunate for the whole team that we had an engine failure. I am confident however that after analyzing the data we will find the right solution for the coming races. Although I have tested there many times, the Circuit de Catalunya is always a bit tricky due to the wind, which makes it hard to find the right aerodynamic set-up. Tyre choice is also another difficult matter, but I am sure we will be able to fall back on our testing data here from the last tests. Overall, we are certainly on the right track, a little patience is needed but when the time comes, we will pick up some points and defend our last year's championship position."

Jarno Trulli has achieved two podiums in his career to date at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2004 (3rd place) and 2005 (3rd place). This year he will be looking to turn this into a hat trick by achieving another podium position.

Jarno Trulli: "The Circuit de Catalunya is a track I know very well, just like most of the other drivers in the field. Because the track is quite demanding with four high-speed corners and few chances for overtaking, we will have to concentrate on having good aerodynamic performance. There is a long main straight but it is a fast corner coming onto it and it is quite difficult to stay close to the car in front. The overtaking situation is a little bit better since they have changed the layout of Turn 10. It all means that a lot of the lap is spent in corners and so the car's balance has to be absolutely right. Reliability and tyre wear are also two factors that are always important, especially because all the teams that go there know their set-ups already. I have had some good races here including the two podiums I have achieved the last two years and I am definitely looking to repeat this again this year."

Familiarity of the track can be an advantage for the Panasonic Toyota Racing team; however it will still be challenging to find the right set-up and strategy.

Pascal Vasselon – Senior General Manager Chassis: "The right use of previous test data is always a key and critical item within Barcelona preparation. There is usually a large change of track conditions between the last test and race event, when temperatures start to heat up. We have especially learned from the past how to handle the tyre choice and take into account the expected track evolution. It leads to two tyre specifications which are more similar than on other tracks where no test data are available. Otherwise, brakes play little role in Barcelona, which is mainly about aerodynamic efficiency of the package and we will be looking to have the best package taking all elements into consideration."
 
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Spanish GP Preview: Honda

Last weekend's European Grand Prix was a race of mixed fortunes for the Honda Racing F1 Team. Whilst Rubens Barrichello finished in the points for a second successive weekend, Jenson Button's retirement due to engine failure, whilst also in a good points scoring position, was obviously a disappointment.

With only a week before Round 6 of the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Honda Racing F1 Team's focus now switches to this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. The Circuit de Catalunya is something of a home from home for all of the teams since it is one of F1's primary testing circuits.

The Honda team has already conducted eight days and over 7600kms of testing there with the RA106 this year, and hopes that this will be one of the factors which helps the team to a successful weekend.

Rubens Barrichello: "The Spanish Grand Prix is slightly unusual because we use the circuit so often for testing, so I think we will see that reflected in the performance of all the teams. It's a track I enjoy - although I do get to see rather a lot of it! - and I think we should do well there. It was good to get some more points at the Nurburgring, although we lacked a little bit of pace. We have to work to improve on this for the weekend."

Jenson Button: "It was a tough weekend at the Nurburgring so I'm looking ahead and focusing on Spain now. It's a circuit where you need to be strong aerodynamically and I think our car is good in that respect. It's quite a demanding track for the drivers and the fast corners put a lot of strain on the neck. However we do get a lot of practice at Barcelona as we test there so often, so we know the track inside out. The weather is likely to be nice and hot which always suits us better and if we can resolve the engine problem from last weekend, I think we should be able to get a good result. I'm looking forward to the weekend."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "A home from home is the perfect description of the Spanish Grand Prix. Like many other teams, we use the track extensively for testing throughout the year. The RA106 has been competitive in the various tests there since it was launched back in January, In addition, we have the latest specification engine for both drivers. All of which makes us positive going into this weekend, despite our relative lack of pace in the last race. Barcelona itself is one of the favourite venues on the F1 calendar amongst many of our team members."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Management Board Member - Honda Racing F1 Team, Engineering Director - Honda Racing Development: "Both drivers have a fresh engine this week, with the newest, more powerful specification. We will have a countermeasure in place for the problem on Jenson's engine at the Nurburgring, and will be aiming to get closer to the front-runners."
 
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Spanish GP Preview: WilliamsF1

The Circuit de Catalunya plays host to the sixth round of the Formula One season this weekend, the Spanish Grand Prix. Falling just one week after the European race at the Nürburgring, the team will travel directly to Barcelona, a circuit at which WilliamsF1 has taken five victories since its debut on the Formula One calendar in 1991. Located just outside of the city, Montmeló is also a favoured test facility and is therefore one of the most familiar circuits for all the teams. The FW28 has covered over 6,000 testing kilometres at the Spanish track this year and it is this experience that the team is looking to draw upon this weekend to improve upon its current position in the championship.

With such a short break between Germany and Spain, none of the drivers were on call for testing or marketing activities leaving Mark, Nico and Alex to all head home for some brief respite before heading to Barcelona on Thursday this week.

The FW28s will feature several updated mechanical components in Spain which are expected to improve the team's pace in qualifying. Both cars will also run with new hydraulic parts to ensure that the fault experienced on Mark's car at the Nürburgring does not re-occur.

The Circuit de Catalunya is regarded as one of the most technically challenging tracks visited during the Formula One season. The direction of car set-up is dominated by the sweeping, high speed corners, for which the drivers and their engineers prioritise a high downforce set-up with good grip levels for optimum car stability. Aerodynamic efficiency is also crucial, although can be compromised by the unpredictable winds. In fact, the region's erratic weather conditions pose one of the greatest challenges over the weekend and force a continual evolution of car set-up to cope with the changeable conditions. Tyre selection must take into consideration the track's abrasive nature as well as the considerable loadings and energy events which occur over a lap. With only 61% of the lap raced at full throttle, engines experience a relatively relaxed race in Barcelona.

Mark Webber: "Barcelona is obviously a venue all the teams know exceptionally well because we have all done thousands and thousands of testing kilometres there. It has been a bit of a tricky circuit for us in recent years, but I feel we have made some progress in recent tests and I also think Bridgestone is putting some pressure on Michelin, which is good, so I hope we can take some of this progress to the Grand Prix. The atmosphere in Spain will be incredible because of Fernando, but it is good for the rest of us to compete when the event is buzzing. I'm looking forward to it."

Nico Rosberg: "Even though I have raced in Barcelona only once before in GP2, I know the track very well because we have done a lot of testing there, like most of the F1 teams. Since Imola, we have improved our performance and we were quite competitive at the Nürburgring, so I believe we can collect some points at Montmeló. It's an interesting and a quick track, and I like it. I scored some points there in GP2 and also set the fastest lap, but the best memory I have of Barcelona is my first test in an F1 car - a Williams, of course, back in 2002."

Sam Michael, Technical Director, WilliamsF1: "Barcelona is a unique circuit, but it is also challenging to find a well balanced set-up there. We spend some time testing at Barcelona during the winter but the weather conditions are usually so different that the teams are still tuning the set-up during the race weekend. The reduced engine power compared to last year means that two of the four high speed (250kph+) corners are now full throttle, although they still put a large loading on the car.

We will have some mechanical items to further improve the FW28 as we go into the second race on the Cosworth engines, while Bridgestone are also bringing two new tyres that we have tested extensively at Barcelona and at Silverstone a few weeks ago. Strategy has traditionally been a two or three stopper, but the revised qualifying format may affect that, but that will become evident after the practice sessions."

Simon Corbyn, Head of F1 Race Engineering, Cosworth: "Both Cosworth CA2006 Series 4 engines will continue for their second events at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. We identified no problems with either engine during the post race checks at the Nürburgring. Cosworth will now work with WilliamsF1 to optimise the remaining engine duty cycle for both Mark and Nico in Barcelona."
 
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Spanish GP Preview: BMW

This coming Sunday, 14th May 2006, Formula One will be rolling onto the grid of the Circuit de Catalunya for the next World Championship race – the sixth of 18. With such a tight schedule, teams will have to do their packing and unpacking in record time. En route from the Eifel to Barcelona, the team trucks and motorhomes will clock up a good 1,300 kilometres. That leaves no time for a breather, let alone any testing.

Nick Heidfeld: "Every driver is very familiar with the circuit at Barcelona because so much testing takes place there. That's mainly because the Circuit de Catalunya is a very challenging track in terms of aerodynamics. That more or less sums up the circuit: it is fast, and in its great high-speed corners you have to make sure your aerodynamics do the job. In the meantime, the race has also taken on a special status from a spectator point of view – due to Fernando Alonso's success, of course. During the last test session I noticed they've even built new stands and heard that it's a sell-out event. It looks like the Spanish GP is going to be a very good race."

Jacques Villeneuve: "The Circuit de Catalunya is a good circuit and one where I've been pretty successful, having won three GPs there. And of course we all know the track like the back of our hands because we do a lot of testing there. It has a couple of exciting high-speed corners, but not too many overtaking opportunities. There's quite a lot of understeer to contend with. But the race track apart, Barcelona's a great city! It's a happening place where people like to go out and the atmosphere is great. I love the lifestyle of the city. It's sometimes a bit difficult to understand Catalan, but with a smattering of Spanish you can get by."

Robert Kubica: "This grand prix is a special one because of all the testing that takes place here. For me, it's interesting to compare my personal performance on familiar circuits and those that are new to me. I like the circuit in Barcelona with its long, fast corners. In my opinion it's one of the best Formula One tracks – it's challenging and great fun driving an F1 car there. I'm really looking forward to the weekend. Unfortunately I've never raced in Barcelona. My first experience there was my debut Formula One test last December. But since then I've had eight or nine days of testing on the circuit."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "In previous years, Spain often failed to attract a large number of fans. Then in 2005 the organisers announced a sell-out crowd. It will be the same again this year. The euphoria that Fernando Alonso has sparked off is quite palpable. Spain is also a strong growth market for BMW and we welcome the burgeoning interest in Formula One.

Drivers and engineers regard Barcelona as a known quantity. No other race track sees so much testing, and the wealth of data for basic set-up is correspondingly great. Nevertheless the race weekend throws up surprises time and again. Conditions on the track change almost by the hour. Our aim is to get both cars into the third qualifying session and to pick up a few points in the race.

After the successful debut of the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park, the theme park will make its second appearance in Barcelona. But rather than at the race track, which is a long way out of town, it will be set up in the heart of Barcelona – in the harbour at the end of the famous Las Ramblas boulevard."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis: "Barcelona is known for its long, high-speed turns such as T3 or the two right-handers before the start/finish straight, where the left front tyre takes most of the strain. That is why aerodynamic efficiency and tyre performance are crucial. The circuit used to be known as a bit of a tyre-wrecker, but it was resurfaced at the end of 2004, which meant softer rubber could be used last year. The track is very sensitive to fluctuating temperatures, which affects grip levels and consequently lap times. As a result, you constantly have to make adjustments. Another difficulty is that you can't ignore traction, as the left-hander at the end of the back straight has been made even narrower."
 
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