Emilia Romagna GP 2022 Preview: Leclerc and Ferrari, favourites at home

The Formula One world championship arrives in Europe this weekend (April 22-24) for the Emilia Romagna GP 2022. The legendary Ímola racetrack will host the first of the three rounds with a sprint format this season. The usual qualifying session that decides the grid order will thus be replaced on Saturday by a 100 km race

Starting this year, the scoring system has also been changed. The first eight qualified in the short race will now be awarded points and not just the best three as it was in 2021. There are also more points up for grabs.

The winner will receive eight points; the second qualified, seven; the third, six; and so on in descending order until the eight qualified, who will get one point. Last year only the first three received three, two and one points respectively. 

Maranello squad, to win ahead of his fans

Charles Leclerc and Ferrari arrive at their home event as the clear favourites. With two victories (Bahrain & Australia) in three races, this has been the best start to the season for La Scuderia since 2004, year in which Michael Schumacher claimed his seventh world title. 

On an individual level, the Monegasque diver has taken a spectacular performance leap in parallel to the renewed potential of his F1-75. The fickle driver of previous years, who alternated superb runs with unforgivable mistakes, has given way to a merciless competitor. 

Shadowed by the fight between Mercedes and Red Bull during the 2021 World Championship, the Italians were able to devote their time and efforts to building an exceptional machine. Considering their technical superiority, no big surprises are expected for the Emilia Romagna GP. 

But not all is wine and roses in the team of the Prancing Horse. On the other side of the garage, Carlos Sainz is not performing as expected. Eclipsed by his teammate in every single appointment so far, he had one of his worst Formula one weekends in Australia. Recently renewed until the end of 2024, he has to get his act together if he doesn’t want to be stuck in the role of squire. 

Red Bull: Desperate to close the gap with Ferrari  

Ferrari’s great shape appears in striking contrast with the crisis that Red Bull is going through. Weighted down by the lack of reliability of their RB18, they have suffered three abandonments so far. In the current scenario, it is unthinkable for Max Verstappen (Saudi Arabia winner) to revalidate his crown. The Dutch champion himself, currently 46 points behind Leclerc, has ruled himself out of the title fight. 

Under pressure to produce results, the team will introduce a complete package of updates in Imola, which they are planning to complete in Miami. They hope this will help them close the gap with Ferrari, a feat currently unattainable to the Austrians.

On top of its recurrent faults, the excess weight of the blue car – about 10 kilograms -, constitutes another of its great defects. That alone translates into a three-tenths of a second disadvantage per lap with their main rivals. 

Mercedes: No improvements but optimistic 

Meanwhile, Mercedes is not rolling out any significant improvements on its jumpy W13 for the Italian round. Despite the notoriously inefficient Silver Arrow suffering from a serious lack of top speed, the team arrives in Emilia Romagna in good spirits.

They trust that the medium and low speed corners of Ímola will play in favour of the clumsy German car. As for its drivers, George Russell is making the best of a difficult situation. The young Englishman is currently second in the standings (37 points), raising doubts about Lewis Hamilton’s (fifth with 28 points) competitiveness. 


Will McLaren suffer?

McLaren is pessimistic about the Emilia Romagna GP. In the team, they believe that their notable improvement in Australia was only possible because of the good match of their MCL36 to the track. Along these lines, Lando Norris himself predicted more struggles ahead for the upcoming appointments. 

Images of Emilia Romagna GP: Ferrari.

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