PREVIEW: 2018 FIA Formula 2 – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

by Aaron Gillard

Round 3 of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 championship takes us to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. After a dramatic weekend in Azerbaijan where new winners were crowned, here is our rundown on what to expect in Barcelona this weekend.

What Happened In 2017 In Barcelona?

Charles Leclerc took the feature race win ahead of Luca Ghiotto and Oliver Rowland rounding off the podium. The Monegasques driver maximised his strategy with the safety car to grab his second win of the series in his run towards the eventual F2 title.

The sprint race turned dramatic when Nicholas Latifi lost a strong lead at turn 5, following a trip to the gravel and handing the lead to ART Grand Prix‘s Nobuharu Matsushita and allowing his DAMS team-mate Rowland pass. Matsushita would go on to win the race ahead Rowland and Latifi. It would be the Japanese driver’s second win in the series, his first under the Formula 2 brand.

You can read the full race reports from last year here – Feature Race ¦ Sprint Race

What Should I Look Out For This Year?

With four races into the 2018 season, we have seen four different winners so far in Bahrain and Baku: Lando Norris, Artem Markelov, Alexander Albon and George Russell have all won races this year. All four will be aiming to get back onto the top step again this weekend or will we see new winners to make it six different winners in the season so far?

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has recently been resurfaced over the past year, meaning the track will be less sensitive to the tyres. Often Pirelli brings the hardest compound tyres here to withstand the high energy but this year could be different with the fresh surface.

Lando Norris will make his first track appearance at the Barcelona circuit, having never raced around the 2.8 mile track in his career. The Carlin Motorsport driver is the championship leader heading into this weekend but Alexander Albon and team-mate Sergio Sette Câmara are not far off from the Bristol-born driver.

Last year’s GP3 Series race 1 and 2 winners around Spain currently race in F2 this season, hoping to repeat their success from the previous year. BWT Arden‘s Nirei Fukuzumi and Trident‘s Arjun Maini won around the Barcelona track and will be hoping to taste victory again, but the pair have only scored in one so far this season.

Both DAMS drivers will be aiming for glory this weekend after an impressive round of results last time out in Baku. Alexander Albon secured his first win and will be hoping to capture another winner’s trophy as he bids to catch Norris for the championship. Nicholas Latifi on the other hand will hope he can finally secure a win around Barcelona and not repeat his misfortunes of last year’s trip to the gravel.

There will be only one Spanish driver the locals will be cheering on this year. Roberto Merhi for MP Motorsport will be hoping to deliver a decent result around his home track. The Spaniard made his Formula 2 debut here last year with Campos Racing, but finished in 19th and 12th over the weekend in 2017.

Roberto Merhi - MP Motorsport - Baku

Roberto Merhi is the only Spaniard on the F2 Grid. Credit: Zak Mauger/LAT Images/FIA Formula 2

What Is The Schedule For The Weekend?

Friday 11 May

Practice: 13:00 (local time)/12:00 (GMT+1 time)
Qualifying: 16:55 (local time)/15:55 (GMT+1 time)

Saturday 12 May

Feature Race Start Time: 16:40 (local time)/15:40 (GMT+1 time)

Sunday 13 May

Sprint Race Start Time: 11:30 (local time)/10:30 (GMT+1 time)

Where Can I Watch FIA Formula 2 in Barcelona?

You can watch the sessions live on Sky Sports F1 over the weekend in the UK and Ireland. Re-runs of the shows will be shown over the course of the weekend.

How Can I Keep Up To Date With All Of The Action Over The Weekend?

The Checkered Flag will provide you with the latest news from the 2018 FIA Formula 2 championship this weekend and throughout the season.

Lando Norris - Baku - Castle Section - Carlin Motorsport

Lando Norris leads the championship by 14 points ahead of Alexander Albon. Credit: Andy Hone/LAT Images/FIA Formula 2

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