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FORMULA 1: ALONGSIDE THE RIGHT TYRES AND FAST ENGINES, WEATHER PLAYS A KEY ROLE
The fifth Formula 1 race of the 2015 season is just around the corner – at Barcelona, Spain. UBIMET, which has been providing accurate weather forecasts for each leg of the race over the past few weeks, will be sending a team to the event.
“Though we haven’t had any extreme weather so far, the weather has proven to be exciting on the race weekends due to the different climates,” explains Steffen Dietz, UBIMET meteorologist, “from early autumn in Australia and the tropics of Malaysia to the dry climate of Bahrain, we’ve managed to experience just about everything.”
The start in Melbourne, Australia, in March was only slightly cloudy with pleasant temperatures around 25°C, so the drivers weren’t hampered by any rain as they gave it their all. On the other hand, there were some scattered clouds in Sepang, Malaysia. As is often the case in tropical regions, showers were a threat and the conditions were really exhausting for everyone at the race: “High humidity and temperatures over 30°C,” says Dietz. “The temperatures in China never exceeded 21°C, which was much nicer.”
This and other information helps the Formula 1 teams to make the right decision in terms of tyres, the HANS device and speed. The race in Sakhir, Bahrain, on April 19th could have been much more complicated for the meteorologists due to sandstorms. “In the week before the race, powerful north-westerly winds brought in a lot of sand. However by Sunday, the day of the race, there was only a light breeze”, recalls Steffen Dietz.
It will be warm in Spain
Conditions will be quite pleasant for the race weekend, so it’ll be up to the drivers to set pulses racing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. “We predict temperatures just above 25°C and dry conditions for the race day”, explains Dietz.
What’s on the horizon?
UBIMET’s equipment, which weighs about a tonne, has already arrived at Barcelona. The company has been the FIA’s official weather service provider since the 2014 season. The weather radar, track sensor, server and of course the team of meteorologists are present for each race around the world. The team receives remote support from the Severe Weather Centre in Vienna, which monitors weather all over the world. With data collected by over 28,000 weather stations worldwide and countless radar and satellite images, no sudden changes in weather go unnoticed. “The global weather conditions also often have an impact on the local weather situation,” explains Dietz, “It’s only by observing local and global events that we can produce accurate weather information for each course.”