2021 Spanish Grand Prix Tyre Compounds: Just as was the case last year, when the Spanish Grand Prix was held for the first time in mid-August, the hardest tyres in the range return to the Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya: C1 as the P Zero White hard, C2 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C3 as the P Zero Red soft – the same nomination as was made in Portugal last weekend.
Although the weather conditions are likely to be considerably cooler in Spain than last year, the high-energy demands of the track remain: especially the very long Turn 3 right-hander, which puts considerable forces through the front-left tyre in particular. Not only that, but Turn 9 is also challenging for the tyres. As a result, the hardest compounds are still the most appropriate choice.
For the first time since 2014, there has been no pre-season testing at Barcelona, so the teams come to this circuit with their new cars for the very first time, not having had a chance to gather data on how the cars perform there in their latest specification.
Barcelona Track Characteristics
The track layout has changed this year, with a modified profile to Turn 10 (La Caixa) to improve safety. The result is a left-hander that is slightly wider than the previous version, which has allowed for a bigger run-off area and will shorten the braking zone, with a higher entry speed to the corner. The lap is also now 20 metres longer.
The well-known demands of the Barcelona track make a one-stopper very challenging: although the likelihood of cooler weather should help this year. In 2020, the race was won by Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton with a soft-medium-medium two-stopper, although Sergio Perez finished fifth after stopping only once from soft to medium, while Valtteri Bottas was on the podium using a three-stop strategy.
Barcelona is renowned for being a track where it’s quite difficult to overtake for most of the lap, although the long downhill straight can give a power and DRS advantage to help line up a passing move. All this makes qualifying position and race strategy particularly important to gain track position.
With a number of support races on the bill, the surface should evolve reasonably quickly with more rubber laid down, compared to some other grands prix this year where Formula 1 has been the only track action.
Mario Isola – Pirelli Head of F1 and Car Racing
“The race strategy in Barcelona was influenced primarily by the very high track temperatures last season. This year, with the race moving back to a spring date, temperatures will be cooler but should still be a key factor behind the strategy. The altered corner profile of Turn 10 provides another new challenge that could influence the way the drivers approach the lap. We’ve seen in the past that strategy has been one of the key differentiating factors at Barcelona and we would expect this to become the case once more this weekend.”