The Circuit de Catalunya is a motorsport race track in Montmeló, to the north of Barcelona
, Catalonia, Spain
. With long straights and a variety of corners, the Circuit de Catalunya is seen as an all-rounder circuit. The Circuit de Catalunya was built in 1991 and began hosting the Spanish Grand Prix that same year. Construction also coincided with the Olympic Games scheduled to take place in Barcelona, the next year, where the circuit acted as the start and finish line for the road team time trial cycling event.
The wind direction at the circuit can change drastically during the day, a significant factor given the importance of aerodynamics to modern Formula One cars. It is then hard to find a good setup since cars can have massive aerodynamic drag and understeer on one part of the circuit in the morning, but suffer oversteer at the same part of the circuit in the afternoon. A given tyre compound can work well when tested, but not so well a couple of months later. These changeable conditions can make for unexpected performances from some teams during the race.
The circuit has been the site of some memorable moments. In 1991, Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell went down the entire front straight side-by-side while duelling for second place, with Mansell eventually taking the position and ultimately the race itself.In 1994, Michael Schumacher managed to finish in second place despite driving over half the race with only fifth gear.