McLaren's Jenson Button has said you need to tick every box if you want to win at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
Button will be looking to bounce back in Spain after the disappointment in Bahrain, where he left empty handed [see separate story - HERE
], although he knows he will need to find the sweet spot with his MP4-27, if he is to stand any chance of repeating the form that saw him win the season opener in Australia and finish second in China.
“Barcelona can be a funny circuit: we all test there so regularly that every driver knows it like the back of his hand, yet it can still be an extremely tricky place to get absolutely right,” Button warned.
“But, because every team is so dialled in to the track, even having a well-sorted car isn't necessarily the answer because it's sometimes the smallest differences that determine the order.
“You need to have absolutely every box ticked if you're going to win at Barcelona. It's a place that punishes poor balance like almost nowhere else – if your car is understeering around here, then you're going to really struggle.
“There are no particularly stand-out corners, but the blast up the hill through Turns Seven and Eight and the fast right-hander at Turn Nine have a great flow and feel great when you nail it – especially in qualifying.”
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh meanwhile concurs that there is a fine line between getting things right and wrong at the 4.655 km track.
“I think the drivers and the engineers enjoy the tricky technical challenge of Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. You really operate your set-up on fine limits around here: every team's balance is so refined that even the slightest imperfections become highlighted. Get it right and you tend to have a serene afternoon, get it wrong and you'll be hitting trouble, and traffic, throughout the race,” he stated.
“As we've seen in the first four races though, added to that mix will be the additional conundrum of managing the tyres – Barcelona should give all the teams a clearer understanding of how the tyres behave in what's likely to be a 'typical' European race climate. But there will still be plenty to learn."