Report: How Barcelona achieved a shocking fan expertise this time round
Though Method One’s 53rd Spanish Grand Prix happened some seven days in the past, F1Technical.web’s Balázs Szabó takes a glance again on the Barcelona-Montmelo venue that hosted the second European spherical of the 2023 F1 season, highlighting how the race organizers, Method One and the FIA delivered a superb fan expertise on the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix.
Final yr’s Spanish Grand Prix was an odd spherical. With Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Pink Bull’s Max Verstappen having been locked in an exhilarating battle within the earlier races, it was no shock that the 2 then main contenders fought it out on the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The Monegasque delivered an attention-grabbing efficiency within the all-important qualifying session to safe pole positing for Sunday’s race earlier than escaping into the gap within the early a part of the grand prix. Nevertheless, an engine-related problem compelled him to retire from the race, handing over the result in his Dutch rival who then secured a managed victory on the venue the place he took his first ever Method One win again in 2016.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had a low-key qualifying session, however the Spanish Grand Prix was his first promising spherical in 2022, displaying nice race-pace within the second half of the 66-lap race and having fun with a a lot better stability from his troubled W13.
Nevertheless, the fan expertise was lower than superb. Barcelona is extensively thought-about as one among Europe’s most lovely cities. A metropolis by the ocean but encircled by wooded mountains, with beautiful structure, lovely church buildings, nice seashores, parks, well-known landmarks, and extra that make town really attractive.
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya can be a driver favorite with its lengthy corners that spotlight the true potential of a Method One automotive, testing the downforce stage and the aerodynamic stability of the game’s racing machines.
Regardless of the good monitor and the beautiful metropolis, followers encountered an extended lists of points to deal with ultimately yr’s Spanish Grand Prix. The excessive variety of spectators on the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix led to organizational points over the weekend, each inside and outdoors the monitor.
Final yr noticed the return to pre-Covid occasions which meant that followers might journey with out important restrictions to Spain. Furthermore, Method One has arguably turn out to be extra standard lately due to the brand new Proper Holder Liberty Media’s efforts.
Let’s put it easy: organizers might merely not address the calls for final yr. Followers complained a few lack of meals and water on the circuit, lengthy queues for facilities and even longer queues for public transport away from the monitor.
And so they had been proper to complain as we skilled the identical points personally. We took to the fan areas to verify it in particular person, and there was certainly a critical lack of meals and water with followers required to attend over an hour to get a drink or a meals.
That feels like a luxurious downside or trivial annoyance, however somebody who visited a sports activities occasion ought to be conscious that guests are normally required to throw out their meals or drink on the entrance with organizers forcing followers to purchase costly merchandise on the venue. It signifies that spectators are required to purchase what they’ll afford on the monitor.
Love was within the air on the Spanish Grand Prix! 🥰💍What a cheerful @MercedesAMGF1 fan and @ScuderiaFerrari fan couple #SpanishGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/Kiiq9CYBOQ
— Method 1 (@F1) June 8, 2023
The shortage of bathroom amenities was one other critical problem. With the occasion bought out for race day, there weren’t sufficient rest room amenities with followers constructing extremely lengthy queues, ready nearly half an hour within the warmth.
The most important downside was the site visitors. Even by an enormous occasion commonplace, there have been enormous site visitors jams across the circuit. Buses let folks out earlier than reaching their vacation spot as a result of it was simpler to succeed in even a far-away gate on foot than sitting within the bus for 2 hours.
With the monitor situated in Montemlo, some 16 miles exterior town of Barcelona, the vast majority of followers normally go for the practice to get to the monitor and return to town. Final yr, on Friday and Saturday, folks wanted to attend round three hours to catch a practice. With the group lined up in shut proximity, a number of folks handed out within the warmth. Though the scenario improved for Sunday, it was nonetheless not superb.
Following the criticism of followers, Method One CEO Stefano Domenicali said: “The large variety of followers at this occasion, each inside and outdoors the circuit, created site visitors points for the followers.
“We’ve made the promoter conscious this isn’t acceptable and have to be mounted for subsequent season.”
The scenario has considerably improved for this yr. The organizers of the Spanish Grand Prix have made a superb job to show the occasion into a shocking fan expertise for 2023.
Visitors points had been far more beneath management. It was fairly simple to get to the Montmelo practice station with the Barcelona practice stations the place trains travelling to Montmelo cease had been properly ready for the F1 followers.
Tickets machines had a particular Montmelo F1 possibility with tickets provided as return model. There have been a number of boards on the practice stations which signalled the way in which to the platform the place the Montmelo trains stopped. Furthermore, there have been assistants who helped on the ticket buy and on the platforms.
On the way in which again from the monitor, there was a comparatively lengthy queue, however safety folks and fences helped to manage the group which eradicated any potential well being hazard.
Whereas the city of Montmelo didn’t provide something final yr, the pedestrian road main from the station to the border of the city remodeled right into a fan village with followers capable of purchase not solely meals, drink and all kinds of F1 branded clothes and niknaks, however sunscreens and umbrellas with the latter turning out to be helpful at varied elements of the weekend.
Though the organisers provide a bus from the tip of the Montmelo pedestrian-street-turned-fan-village to sure gates of the monitor, the vast majority of followers opted to finish the second half of the 25-minute stroll to the monitor on foot to keep away from any traffic-related points.
Whereas security members on the monitor entrance made an incredible job to make sure a fast entry to the circuit, the monitor amenities have additionally been closely up to date. New ingesting water faucets had been put in at varied factors of the monitor. The bathroom amenities have additionally been improved, having been expanded in measurement and made extra up-to-date.
Mist gates have additionally been put in within the center part of the fan space that’s situated in between Turns 3, 4 and 5 which is the second largest spectator space behind the fan village that lies behind the principle grandstand. Organizers have additionally put in a large number of food and drinks stands, though the acquisition course of could possibly be made barely faster.
The game and the organizers have reacted brilliantly to handle the group administration points from 2022, however the circuit might nonetheless make one space higher subsequent yr. Though there are a couple of huge screens across the monitor, lots of them are situated in a not superb space. It is without doubt one of the few classes that the Spanish GP organisers might deal with for subsequent yr, rising the variety of huge screens and extra importantly inserting them on the proper space.