Reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton believes that character has been lost from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya since its resurfacing during the off-season.
The circuit has acted as the home of the Spanish Grand Prix since 1991 and has emerged as Formula 1’s exclusive pre-season testing venue across the past few years.
Officials opted to resurface the entire track during the winter months, amid complaints from MotoGP riders over its bumpiness, and tweaks to spectator areas have also been made.
Hamilton, winner of the Spanish Grand Prix in 2014 and 2017, reckons the new surface has removed some of the character from the venue.
“This track has been resurfaced and there are no bumps,” said Hamilton.
“I’m not quite sure why they did a resurface as I think it is a waste of money in general because the older the surface the more character there is in a circuit.
“They’ve smoothed a lot of it out so it has lost a lot of its great character like a track like Barcelona has.
“They’ve done it at many circuits and I guess it has something to do with MotoGP, so we have that fight, I love MotoGP but they hate us because we make it bumpy and we hate them because they keep getting us to have these big run-off areas!”
A handful of Formula 1 circuits have been resurfaced in recent years, but Hamilton believes that older, bumpier tracks should be retained, in order to enhance the challenge for drivers.
“When you go to a brand new circuit it’s got no history, you don’t have the greats that have driven it in the past,” he explained.
“But I like a track that’s a bit more dated in terms of surface.
“Drivers in the drivers’ briefings are constantly complaining about bumps but you have to manoeuvre around the bumps, you can brake a little more off-line or you can brake after or slightly before them [the bumps].
“You have to set the car up to be a little bit better in terms of ride height, but that’s where the character of a circuit is. If you flatten it all out you’ve got corners but it’s missing something.”
“It’s harder, it’s trickier [with bumps]. When you are going through a corner the car starts moving a little bit more. you have to be a little more responsive and I like that challenge.
“When you are smoothing it out you are making it easier. I would say this track is much easier, driving it was the easiest it’s been in all of the 10 years that I’ve been driving.”