Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance: Barcelona is a familiar track for all the teams and drivers and although there are some changes to the track layout for 2023, these are only reverting to a previous layout, which all teams have a lot of experience of. The reintroduction of two high-speed corners to end the lap is quite a departure from the previous layout with the low-speed chicane; this will require some changes to the car setup and will place different demands on the tyres.
Following a string of street circuits, it is useful to be returning to a reference racetrack. The requirements for Barcelona won’t necessarily suit the FW45, but it remains a useful place for us to benchmark the performance against our competitors’ 2023 cars in a wide range of corners.
In contrast to the very soft tyre compounds in Monaco, Pirelli bring some of their hardest compounds to Barcelona in a combination that we previously raced in Bahrain. The compounds suit the layout of Barcelona well, but the exact behaviour will depend on the track temperature and the car balance in the high-speed corners.
Each driver receives two additional sets of tyres this weekend, which are a preview of the new carcass construction that all teams will use from the British Grand Prix onwards. Testing these additional tyres mean that we have a lot of work to get through in the short Friday sessions, and we will need to carefully choose which of our other test items we weave into the programme.
The weather forecast is for typically warm early-June conditions but with a risk of showers during the weekend. We should get all the testing done in the dry but then the rain may start to dictate the programme from Saturday afternoon onwards.
Alex Albon: I’m looking forward to Barcelona this week, as we head to a racetrack after a bunch of street circuits. It’s a track where all the teams and drivers have done a million laps, so we’re pretty experienced around here. It’s a good track to learn what the car is like with a mix of low speed/high speed, however more high speed due to the track changes, so that will interesting. I think it will make the circuit more fun and more raceable, so let’s see where it goes. It shouldn’t be a track that normally suits us or at least it hasn’t been previously, however by removing some of the corners at the end of the lap, I think it will help us be a bit more competitive.
Logan Sargeant: I’m excited and ready for Barcelona this weekend. A track I have a lot of good memories at from the past and enjoy driving on. It should be quite tricky with conditions and generally being a high degradation track, but we are prepared for the weekend.