Testing data matters little for race - Vettel
Sebastian Vettel believes that the data gathered by the teams at the Circuit de Catalunya during testing matters little when it comes to the Spanish Grand Prix.
The majority of the teams took part in two four-day tests in Barcelona during February and March of this year as part of the pre-season schedule, with the circuit having been a preferred test location for a number of years. Despite the extensive knowledge, Vettel says the fact that the race is held later in the year will heavily affect the way the car is set up.
"The fact that you race here in May is quite different if you look at the temperatures compared to February or March," Vettel said. "That does have quite a big change on the car to the setup, so whatever you might have found out over the winter during the testing might not work the same way that it did during testing. Also you need to consider that the cars you launch are quite different to the cars you race at the first race and then you race around May or June later on in the season, so it's a bit wishy-washy because of that. But overall it's a track that we know fairly well from a driving point of view, we've done a lot of laps here so we should know our way round."
Vettel added that the most interesting thing about racing at Barcelona was the ability to compare the cars in their current form to the ones that were testing over the winter, but said even then it was tough to gain a true comparison.
"I think if you're competitive here it also means that you were competitive previously. It's a track that we usually know quite a lot about from winter testing, we have some data to compare to so it's very familiar. But it doesn't mean that if you're competitive here you are competitive everywhere, also if you're not competitive here you'll never be competitive. I think it's similar to other tracks, if you think which sector you're talking about and which speed range of the car. I think you have sectors on every track where you could get an indication but it's more the fact that we know a lot about this track.
"We've a lot of data to compare against and to see whether we did a step forward compared to the winter and how big the step was. Surely then you have to consider different temperatures - it's a different time of year - so it's also difficult to compare black and white. But I think as a rule of thumb this circuit does give you an idea simply because you have all the corners that you find somewhere else. You have tight chicanes like in the last sector, hard braking for the hairpin, fast corners in the first sector so a bit of everything."