Sainz, Alonso question Spanish Grand Prix upgrade relevance in street circuit surge – Football News

Sainz, Alonso question Spanish Grand Prix upgrade relevance in street circuit surge

Ahead of the upgrade-fueled Spanish Grand Prix, local drivers Fernando Alonso and Carlos Sainz Jr. have both questioned the relevance of the track when it comes to predicting potential future performance now that Formula 1 is so dependent on street circuits.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has long been a favorite venue for teams looking to debut new upgrades thanks to its close proximity to many team factories, its diverse layout, and driver familiarity with the track. Now, with the sport pivoting more to street circuits than the more traditional European venues, drivers are beginning to wonder if this is the right location for comprehensive upgrade packages that could help their teams predict performance throughout the rest of the season.

Carlos Sainz Jr.: ‘Formula 1 has changed a lot’

During Thursday’s pre-race press conference, Ferrari racer Carlos Sainz Jr. told assembled media that “Formula 1 has changed a lot,” which means the Spanish Grand Prix is no longer a reliable indicator for a team’s performance throughout the rest of the season.

“Everyone used to say, if you’re quick around Barcelona, then you’re quick around everywhere,” Sainz said. “I think now Formula 1 has changed a lot because there’s actually a lot more tracks like Monaco and Canada than there are like Barcelona.”

Sainz then pointed to the addition of street circuits loaded with “kerbs” and “bumpy layouts,” such as Singapore, Monaco, Canada, Baku, Las Vegas, and Mexico.

“I think there used to be a lot of Barcelonas, a lot of European-style tracks. I don’t think that’s anymore the case, the fact that Barcelona is dictating the rest of the year,” Sainz said.

Of course, because not every track on the F1 calendar is a street circuit, Sainz did admit that speed around Barcelona will likely translate into speed at similar circuits, like Silverstone, Hungary, and Spa-Francorchamps, but that it would be impossible to extrapolate speed at other, more diverse circuits.

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Fernando Alonso: Fewer ‘conventional circuits’

After a challenging FP2, Aston Martin racer Fernando Alonso mimicked Sainz’s concerns about Barcelona representing the rest of the season.

Responding to a post-session question from an F1TV presenter about his confidence in returning to a more conventional circuit, Alonso expressed doubt at what could truly be deemed ‘conventional.’

“It depends what you call a ‘conventional circuit,’” he said. “I think now we have a lot of Bakus, Miamis, Vegas. To come here, maybe there are six or seven venues the same as Barcelona, and 18 that are different.

“That’s always a trade-off you need to make. For sure, we seem not in the window of the car at the moment, so we have some work to do.”

However, if Sainz and Alonso are correct, perhaps there is still pace to be found for Aston Martin in other races this season at non-Barcelona style tracks.

Read next: Spanish GP: Lewis Hamilton tops tight FP2 in Barcelona as multi-team fight emerges

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