Setting the scene for Barcelona

Setting the scene for Barcelona

The Barcelona circuit doesn't have the greatest reputation for entertaining races in recent years, but it's still one of Formula 1's most atmospheric arenas. Edd Straw explains its appeal

As the first 'old world' venue to welcome Formula 1 in 2010, there's something reassuringly permanent about the Circuit de Catalunya. Aesthetically, it has the look of a late-20th century European circuit and its no-frills functionality is a refreshing counterpoint to the Shanghai International Circuit that hosted F1 three weeks ago.

You don't see the Spanish littering motorhomes around an archipelago that requires a map to navigate and a canoe to find the quickest route from A to B. There was a bigger crowd in the main grandstand today too – and this is on a Thursday! Spain might be the nouveau riche of European grand prix racing, but the enthusiasm is very genuine, especially coming off the back of a Chinese Grand Prix that few in the host country seemed to care about.

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