2017 Spanish Grand Prix Preview: Let the upgrade battle commence
Image credit: Antonio Moles/Flickr

If, after the change in technical regulations for 2017, you had said Mercedes would be leading the constructors' by a singe point, and Ferrari top in the drivers'. that would have been a dream scenario.

Well, that is exactly what Formula 1 2017 has delivered thus far. Yes, the racing hasn't been the most thrilling we've ever seen, but to see more than one colour of car fighting for pole and race wins, it makes a pleasant change.

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, is the one where the teams will truly understand their package the most. All eight pre-season days were spent here, and as the logic goes, if you are quick around here, you're quick anywhere, owing to the track featuring a wide variety of corners.

What to look out for

Upgrades. And lots of them. The Spanish GP is usually the one where the teams bring their first major technical upgrade package of the season, and this year is no exception.

The team who everyone is focused on this year is Red Bull. The RB13, has, thus far, left the team in no man's land between second and fourth, and they are hoping that a big package of upgrades will be enough to join the party up-front.

There's not much to choose from in the mid-field, with Jolyon Palmer at Renault requiring a strong weekend to kick-start his stuttering season.

After not starting in Russia two weeks ago, Fernando Alonso faces his adoring home crowd, in a car that is as slow as it is Orange.

The FIA have mandated that every car must clearly display the drivers name and race number, in a bid to help fans figure out who is who. There have been some interesting ideas.

The Track

Built for the 1992 Olympics, the track is one of the most popular destinations on the calendar. It has a series of high-speed corners, hairpins, long-radius and clumsy chicanes. It is the ideal circuit.

In testing, low-fuel times were in the 1:18m region, so expect lap-times somewhere around there.

Where will I see some overtakes?

The two main overtaking spots are at the end of the DRS zones, at Turn 1 and Turn 10, it is crucial that you get good drive off of the final corner to avoid being passed, and with these new rules, a slight lift through Turn 9, could see you punished a short straight later.

Will it rain?

Current forecasts suggest a cool atmosphere should see no rain fall, with temperatures hovering in the low 20 degree area with some cloud cover.

What tyres are Pirelli bringing?

Pirelli have opted for the hardest range of tyres this weekend, with the soft being the softest brought, with the hard tyre being the hardest compound available. The medium tyre will also be available for teams to use.

As ever, Pirelli have brought the intermediate and wet tyres to Barcelona.

For the first five races of the season, Pirelli have pre-selected the mixture of compounds that each team and driver will get.

From the Monaco Grand Prix, they will be free to mix their compounds as they did last season, but as Pirelli are not 100% sure on the loads the new tyres are expected to go through, they have decided to play it safe, until it can analyse the data from the new cars and make sure the tyres are safe.

This time out, teams will have seven sets of the soft to use, four of the medium and two sets of the hard tyres.

When is it on?

The familiar European timings are now the norm until October, Canada aside,, with FP1 underway at 09:00am UK time on Friday and Qualifying and the Race underway at 13:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

As ever, Sky Sports F1 will show live coverage of the entire weekend, as will Channel 4 for freeview viewers. The latter will also show coverage of the Formula 2 and GP3 Support races.

First Practice - Friday - 09:00am - 10:30am

Second Practice - Friday - 13:00pm - 14:30pm

Third Practice - Saturday - 10:00am - 11:00am

Qualifying - Saturday 13:00pm - 14:00pm

Race - the 66 laps of the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix get underway at 13:00 on Sunday afternoon.

All times in BST.

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