The fireworks lit up the sky and the champagne flowed as the final chequered flag came down on the 2016 Formula 1 season.
At the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg claimed his first ever championship edging out teammate Lewis Hamilton. The final race was fraught with controversy with Hamilton, knowing that Rosberg had to end in a podium finish, disobeying Mercedes orders not to back his team-mate into rivals.
However, Rosberg managed to fend off pressure from Sebastian Vettel to claim the finish which would give him his inaugural title. For Mercedes it was the team’s third Constructors’ Championship in a row. While the 2016 season may be at an end, the 2017 season will be here before you know it.
One of the highlights of the season is the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona; combine it with a holiday in the Catalan capital to make for a truly memorable experience. Here is what you need to know about this famous race.
The Spanish Grand Prix has been a regular fixture on the racing calendar since it was first held in 1913. It has moved around the country taking in circuits in the likes of Jarama, Montjuïc and the popular winter testing track of Jerez but since 1991 it has found a permanent home in Catalunya.
Built to coincide with the 1992 Olympic Games, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is situated in the Montmelo area of Barcelona. This challenging track is a mixture of straights and corners and is seen as more of an all-rounder circuit. With a capacity of 140,700 it is a real favourite among racing fans and it’s only a short journey from the city centre – perfect.
Like many other races on the calendar, the Spanish Grand Prix has been dominated by Michael Schumacher who can boast six race wins in Catalunya – three clear of the likes of Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell and Mika Hakkinen among others. It is also a big favourite for Ferrari with the Italian constructor claiming 12 wins on Spanish soil.
The 2016 edition was won by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, it was one of just two races that weren’t won by the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg last season. It was Verstappen’s first-ever race win in Formula One but it was overshadowed by a collision between Hamilton and Rosberg. While the Mercedes teammates were in position one and two on the starting grid but crashing into each other just minutes after the start of the race.
Attending the Grand Prix
With the 2016 Formula 1 season now over, it is time to start planning for the next campaign. The 2017 Spanish Grand Prix will take place on May 14th (currently a provisional date) at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. It is the fifth race of the F1 calendar sandwiched in between the Russian and famous Monaco Grand Prix.
The season will see Mercedes look to make it a fourth successive Constructors’ Championship win while the battle between drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton will surely continue. The former will be looking to build on his maiden championship win in 2016.
Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is around 30 kilometres away from the centre of Barcelona and is easily accessible by car or public transport. During the race weekend, there are numerous options to get you to the circuit.
One of the easiest ways is to catch one of the special bus transfers from Barcelona Nord bus station to the track. The service is organised by coach company Sagales with services running throughout the day.
You can also take the train from Barcelona Sants station to Montmelo station; here you can take a shuttle bus from the town to the track. The train costs around €2.50 while the bus is a maximum of €2 (both for one way tickets). Alternatively, there are plenty of parking spaces available with costs ranging from €17 to €23.
Tickets for the Spanish Grand Prix are currently available from the official Formula 1 website. Weekend tickets range from €119 for a General Admission pass to €1,709 for the top VIP packages. Single day tickets start at €50. Junior tickets are also available for all categories.
Please note that the prices quoted are ‘Early Bird’ offers and there is a price increase when this period passes.
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Check out our in-depth Barcelona holiday guide to learn more about a break in the city.