Kansas City – In most cases, I’d argue that when the Formula 1 circus comes to a particular country, nothing can possibly beat it in terms of media attention and popularity. However, two cases immediately stand out from the rogues gallery as exceptions to the aforementioned rule. 1. Here in the USA, because it’s America and there’s so very much always going on, and 2. Spain in May 2014, with the upcoming Derbi madrileño in the UEFA Champions League final on the 24th.
In general what I’d say should be expected from this weekend’s race in Catalonia is fairly simple: much of the same from the last race in Shanghai. Mercedes will most likely dominate the field, taking at the very least 1st place, if not 2nd as well, on the podium. What the viewer should watch most for will be how Ferrari and Red Bull fare in aiming for 3rd and the middle of the road in regards to points scoring.
My own prediction is that Fernando Alonso will drive well for his home crowd, finishing at least at 3rd place, followed close at hand by Red Bull’s Ricciardo. Given the recent trends in driver performance, I would not be surprised if Force India also drive quite well, perhaps with one of their two drivers even finishing in 5th or 6th.
Unfortunately, some clouds do hang over this coming weekend. For one thing this will be the closest race weekend to the 20th anniversary of the deaths of Germany’s Roland Ratzenberger and Brazil’s Ayrton Senna at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. On the ongoing side of things, in the period since Shanghai, the trial of Formula 1’s boss Bernie Ecclestone on corruption charges in Munich has begun. Undoubtedly the court’s final ruling will have a major impact on the sport as we know it today, possibly even advancing Ecclestone’s retirement date by a year or so.
The 2014 Pirelli Spanish Grand Prix will take place on Sunday 11 May, Mother’s Day here in the States, at 14.00 Barcelona (07.00 Chicago, 13.00 London.)