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Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix 2024

Why is the Spanish GP so important?

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya hosts the 10th round of the 2024 F1 season this weekend and will reveal a significant amount.

XPB 1211938 Hi Res
Analysis
To news overview © XPBimages

Following the traditional pause of the F1 European leg with a quick trip to Canada, the pinnacle of motorsport is back in Europe this weekend for the start of the gruelling European triple-header. 

The Spanish Grand Prix hosts the 10th round of the season, and is a very significant race for several teams to showcase its true potential. 

There is a lot weighing on the Spanish GP which will give an indication as to whether there is a title fight this year, and if its between three teams or four. 

All of the top four have something to prove at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with it being a track that every team and driver knows extremely well. It is the one venue which typically hosts almost every European junior category, and was traditionally where F1's pre-season test took place until – and including – 2022. 

Nevertheless, several teams continue to conduct tests at the home of the Spanish GP, which usually results in qualifying being extremely close. 

Read below what the top four teams have to prove and why the Spanish GP is so important!

Red Bull

Will Red Bull's advantage return? That is the question on everybody's lips after its troubling past few races. Despite Max Verstappen winning in Imola and Montreal, a genuine issue with the RB20 has been discovered which has limited its performance. 

The RB20 severely struggles to perform whilst riding over bumps and kerbs, something which was even an issue whilst Verstappen led the recent Canadian Grand Prix. 

Verstappen has been able to use his skill and talent to overcome the issues, whereas Sergio Perez has been eliminated in Q1 in the last two events. Red Bull's issues has allowed McLaren and Ferrari to catch up, raising speculation that a title fight is on the cards. 

However, several drivers expect Red Bull's advantage to return this weekend, with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya's mix of high and medium speed corners working to its strengths. 

Red Bull needs to demonstrate its superiority this weekend to showcase that it remains the best team in F1, because failure to do so and it will become clear that there is a fight for both championships.

			© Red Bull Content Pool
	© Red Bull Content Pool

Ferrari

From the highs of Charles Leclerc finally winning the Monaco Grand Prix, to the lows of both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz retiring in Canada. Ferrari must prove it can bounce back. 

Ferrari has shown this season that it has the pace to fight Red Bull across a variety of circuits, with its car having looking very balanced. Strategies have also been performed excellently on the whole, an area team principal Frederic Vasseur has clearly addressed. 

However, the Maranello-based outfit was expected to be strong at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, resulting in its poor pace being a huge shock. In the past, Ferrari has tended to struggle to bounce back from a poor weekend, which has often led to the end of its title chances. 

That cannot happen again. Ferrari usually has excellent pace in Barcelona, as highlighted in 2022 when Leclerc had a healthy lead before an engine failure caused the Monegasque to retire. 

A lot about Ferrari under Vasseur will be learnt in Spain, and whether they are now a team who have the mindset and ability to bounce back, rather than trip over further hurdles. If Ferrari want to fight for the title, they must perform in Barcelona.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

McLaren

McLaren has had the most reliably quick car all season so far, as proven by Lando Norris being the only driver to have scored points in all nine completed races. 

Both Norris and Oscar Piastri have dazzled in the upgraded MCL38, with it seemingly able to perform across any venue. Some have labelled McLaren as Red Bull's biggest threat because of this, but a message needs to be sent to confirm its title chances. 

A strong McLaren performance in Spain, at a venue Red Bull should be at its best, will send a significant message to the Milton Keynes-based outfit. 

Most importantly, it would give a further indicator as to whether McLaren or Ferrari is second in the pecking order. 

The duo has been close all season, but this weekend could give a sign as to who stands the greater chance of winning the world championship in 2024.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Mercedes

Finally, Mercedes. Are Mercedes back? Its recent upgrades and in particular a new front wing has brought the W15 to life, as proven in the Canadian GP. 

Had the race been completely dry, then there is a realistic chance that the Silver Arrows would have won, as it had the quickest car when the rain was not falling. 

Nevertheless, Montreal represented the first time in 2024 that the Brackley-based team has been able to compete with Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari, but was it a fluke event?

This weekend is a chance for Mercedes to prove that its Canadian GP pace is genuine and that they are now a contender for podiums and victories. Mercedes has a good recent record in Spain even in the current regulations, having finished second and third there in 2023. 

If George Russell and Lewis Hamilton feel comfortable and are fast at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, then it would seriously suggest that Mercedes can perform at most tracks and are indeed, back in victory contention.

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Also interesting:

Join Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding in the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast, looking ahead to this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix. 

The trio discuss how significant this weekend is in the title fight, whether Red Bull's advantage will return and if Andrea Kimi Antonelli will now make his F1 debut at just 17 years old. Much, much more is also discussed! 

Rather watch then listen to our podcast? Click here.

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