The performance and personality that the rider from Madrid is showing Carlos Sainz at the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season, he is driving motor sport fans from his country to pack the Circuit de Catalunya for the main event on Sunday, May 22. The estimated capacity is more than 110,000 after the sale of tickets. This has not happened since 2007, when “Alonsomanía” brought to the Circuit de Barcelona the amount of 140,700 fans, a figure that maintains the attendance record.
Although Sainz is currently in fifth place in the Drivers’ World Championship, he started the 2022 season strong with a second position in the Bahrain GP; in Saudi Arabia he managed to get on the podium as third; and although Australia and Emilia Romagna did not go well for him, he returned to the podium in Miami again as third place.
Now, Carlos returns home to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalonia to try to get his first victory in F1 before a euphoria of more than 100,000 spectators who are excited to have two compatriot drivers on the top grid of motorsport, since he is also competing Fernando Alonso with the Alpine team. This had not happened since 2003 when the “Magic” shared the grill with his compatriot Marc Gené.
“It’s an intense week, but also a lot of fun. I’m going to enjoy the Spanish Grand Prix like I haven’t enjoyed it before, with the first real opportunity to fight for the podium and win the race. The full house shows the good direction in which Formula 1 is going and the support we have in this country. It will be a unique and fun Grand Prix”, commented Carlos Sainz prior to the Spanish Grand Prix.
Carlos made his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso in the 2015 season at just 20 years old. His next team was before the end of the 2017 season with the French team Renault and then McLaren in 2019. But one of his stellar moments on the circuit began in 2021 when he arrived at Ferrari and surpassed Charles Leclerc in the Drivers’ Championship with 164.5 points.
The arrival of drivers to large teams causes a significant economic impact for their countries of origin when they visit them during the season. In 2021, for example, the so-called “Checomania”, the Mexican glare for the performance of ‘Checo’ Pérez in Formula 1, invaded the Mexican Grand Prix with Red Bull and left profits of 14,375 million pesos, a phenomenon similar to the effect Sainz with Ferrari at the Spanish Grand Prix, which is expected to leave an economic spill of 163 million euros according to estimates by the organization.
The Spanish Grand Prix was held for the first time on September 29, 1991. This will be the 32nd occasion in which Montmeló is the venue. The driver of the Mercedes team, Lewis Hamilton, is the current king of this circuit with six victories, tied with the former Ferrari driver, Michael Schumacher. On the other hand, the two-time world champion, Fernando Alonso, has two victories on Iberian soil, with Renault in 2006 and Ferrari in 2013.
The Ferrari team, made up of the Monegasque Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in this 2022 season, leads the Constructors’ Championship with 157 points, closely followed by Red Bull with 151 units. On the other hand, the fight of the new generation for the Drivers’ Championship is also tight: Max Verstappen is second, just 19 points behind the Monegasque driver, however, the former has fond memories of the Spanish GP, since there He got his first win in F1.
Czech did not run practice one
Mexican driver Sergio Checo Pérez did not start the first Free Practice session, because his team, Red Bull, made the decision to place their junior driver Juri Vips. This in order to comply with the regulations of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which determines that teams must use their rookie drivers in at least two races during the season. However, Pérez regained control of his RB18 for the second session.
“I will be making my F1 debut in Free Practice 1 with Red Bull. I can’t express how grateful I am for the opportunity I was given. I want to thank everyone who has helped me get to where I am today,” shared Juri Vips, a 21-year-old junior driver.
The Williams and Alfa Romeo teams also took advantage of the Spanish GP to comply with the regulations. Reigning Formula E champion Nyck de Vries took Alex Albon’s place at Williams, while Robert Kubica drove Guanyu Zhou’s car for Alfa Romeo.
Checo Pérez will seek to get on his first podium on Iberian soil. Of 11 participations, the man from Guadalajara managed to get into the points zone eight times, however, his strongest participation was in 2017 with the Racing Point team when he finished in fourth position.