Formula One returns to Europe this weekend (May 20-22) with the Spanish F1 GP 2022. The Barcelona Circuit will host the sixth round of this extremely exciting World Championship. As tradition dictates, the Catalan autodrome will see the release of the first major upgrade package of the season. The Spaniard event will therefore provide a reliable insight into each team’s state of form.
In purely competitive terms, Ferrari seems to have lost the strength it exhibited at the beginning of the year. Although they remain leaders in both the driver and team standings, over the last two appointments they have been clearly outpowered by Red Bull.
Weaker than its rival, Charles Leclerc has seen his advantage in the standings shrink to just 19 points. In the hope of recovering the ground lost, the Italian team will present in Barcelona its first major package of improvements of the campaign. Carlos Sainz, the other half of La Scuderia, together with his friend Fernando Alonso, will be the great protagonists of the weekend since both will be racing in their home country.
#F1 | #SpanishGP 🇪🇸 Basic 📈 Stats:
Date: May 20-22
1st GP: 1991
Race laps: 66
Circuit length: 4.675 m
🏁 distance: 308.424 km
Corners: 9 right, 7 left
Pole record: 1:16:741 – #LewisHamilton (2021)
🏁 record: 1:18.149 – #MaxVerstappen (2021)
📸 F1 & R. Bull pic.twitter.com/VsGMBbqFha
— MatraX Lubricants (@MatraxRacing) May 20, 2022
Red Bull, on the other hand, has displayed the completely opposite dynamic ahead of the Iberian battle. Following Verstappen’s second consecutive win in Miami, the Austrians continue to make ground. The constant development of their RB18 has allowed them to outperform the Italian racing car.
Meanwhile, for Mercedes, this will be a decisive weekend. Whether they maintain the radical design of their W13 or otherwise decide to scrap it, will depend on how effective are the new parts they are introducing in Montmeló.
If they do not obtain the desired results, the German team could go back to a more conventional design with larger pontoons… or even abandon the development of the current car altogether and start focusing on next season. At the very least, they hope to reduce the porpoising effect that is causing them so much pain on the track.
Ferrari: To mount their counterattack
After cruising through the initial appointments practically unchallenged, Ferrari witnessed with incredulity how Red Bull outperformed them in the last two GPs at Emilia-Romagna and Miami. The 46-point advantage that Leclerc enjoyed over Verstappen after Australia has now decreased by 27 points. In the team standings, the bleeding of points has been even worse, with Ferrari now holding onto a mere 7-point advantage over the team of the energy drink.
In their attempt to reverse this situation, they will upgrade the floor, pontoons, front-rear spoilers and brake ducts for Barcelona. In addition, the car will undergo a significant reduction in weight, so much so that in their quest to make the car as light as possible, they have even removed the transparent paint from the livery, shedding 700 grams.
El Ferrari para el GP de España
— Albert Fabrega (@AlbertFabrega) May 19, 2022
The young Monegasque will come out onto the track with every intention of winning again, after two races unable to do so, but, although he leads the table, he knows that Verstappen is going to be there to stop him…and he has the fastest car.
The Spanish F1 GP 2022 will also be momentous for his Ferrari teammate. At their ongoing civil this 2022, Carlos Sainz has been consistently outperformed by Leclerc. He must now demonstrate that he is a match for his colleague, otherwise, he could soon be relegated to the role of squire.
Red Bull and Verstappen prowling the lead
Despite having reduced the weight of their car by four kilograms ahead of Ímola, the RB18 will arrive in Montmeló five further kilograms lighter. The team from Milton Keynes hopes that by slimming down their vehicle they will also reduce tire degradation and improve their performance in slow corners, their two main weaknesses.
With their reliability problems apparently solved, excepting Checo Perez’s ‘scare’ in Miami, their goal is to continue getting closer to –or even surpassing- La Scuderia. Max Verstappen will try and repeat his success of 2016 in Catalonia when he became the youngest MotoGP winner in History. Likewise, his Mexican teammate is having a sensational campaign with two podiums and two fourth places to date.
— Formula 1 (@F1) May 18, 2022
Spanish F1 GP 2022; F1.com.