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Before the Spanish GP: What Awaits Us in Barcelona?

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

The Spanish GP, which has been held incessantly since 1986 and has been held in Catalonia since 1991, has been the starting race of the European season for many years. Teams are bringing their first major update to Spain and can get a lot of data on their new update as the track tests many different performance parameters of the car.

In this respect, the 2022 season will not be empty in terms of the wars to develop in Spain. Since the 2022 season of the new rules, although our logic makes us think that there will be many solutions to be discovered, it is necessary to be somewhat skeptical of the effect of future updates on the performance of the vehicles, especially due to the budget constraints.

Sophisms on the struggle for development One of the most talked-about updates is the continuation of the updates that Red Bull has brought since the beginning of the season to reduce the weight of the vehicle to the allowable base limit. Red Bull, which has been struggling with weight problems since the beginning of the season, is also coming to Spain with an update. While the update is expected to reduce vehicle weight, the biggest problem is undoubtedly durability. At the beginning of the season, the durability problems that had been waiting like Damocles’ sword at the beginning of the Red Bull manifested into reality, first with the problems they had with the fuel pump and then with both the engine temperature and sensor problems they experienced in Miami. Time and the upcoming race will show us whether the continuation of these problems can be solved with the updated Ferrari. On the other hand, on the other side of the championship coin, Ferrari will bring its first major update this season to Spain. The issues of Ferrari, which made a 17-lap test in Monza on the weekend between the two race weeks, seem to be more or less clear. Although they did not have any shortcomings in terms of acceleration on the straights, they were behind Red Bull in terms of top speed (300+). Since they cannot make any performance improvement in the engine with the freezing of the engines, they must try to get the most efficiency from the straightness performance by making the adjustments in the aerodynamics package, by sacrificing their cornering performance as little as possible.

In addition, although the tire use problems they experienced at the end of the Imola weekend were given to the cold weather in Imola after the race, the problems they experienced in Miami, especially with the medium dough, show that the F1–75 is a nervous vehicle in terms of tire use. Unlike Red Bull, Ferrari, which does not spend much on the vehicle budget except for the vehicles in which Carlos Sainz crashed, is estimated to have more resources to solve these problems, and therefore it is thought to be a bit more advantageous in the vehicle development race. Barcelona will show the enthusiast enough about the car’s performance with the impact of these updates on the car, its long start-finish straight, and medium-speed and fast corners that put a serious load on the tires.

It took us a long time to believe that Mercedes’ W13, the undefeated armada of Formula 1’s last years, was a problematic vehicle. Especially at the moment, the porpoising problem not only affects the performance of the vehicle but also has difficulties in mechanical handling. This problem, which emerged prominently in Jeddah, has once again emerged clearly in the second sector of Miami. Since the beginning of the season, perhaps with the panic brought on by the lack of performance, Mercedes, which has been constantly improving, does not seem to be very successful in this area either.

Indeed, obviously, It is an undeniable fact that the updates they make are obvious when they do not understand and will sooner or later get into trouble with the budget limit. But their good performance when the track is dirty and slow, as seen in their first practice session in Miami, makes them a team to watch out for in rainy races or on tracks with poor grip. The fact that they have the 3rd or 4th fastest car despite so many problems is a fact that should make other teams nervous about how high the potential of the W13 is. So, is there any reason for this uneasiness in Spain? It does not look like it does.

Unable to meet expectations since they entered Formula 1 under the Aston Martin name, Aston Martin was showing signs of rallying in Imola and Miami after a grim start to the season. Small nuances, such as poor performances in Jeddah, where vehicle balance is crucial, and Vettel’s spin in Australia, showed that the car was a bad-tempered car. That is why they designed a car from scratch, as Aston Martin Ferrari did in 2003 and Lotus in 1969. How did they fit this into the budget cap, how did they allocate resources, these are all fundamental questions that are not easy to answer. But somehow they got this project done and it looks like they are going to drive this car on the track in Spain, even if it is for at least one driver. Although it seems like a very troublesome situation that they will compete with two different vehicles, it will provide a basis for the team to be a reference. As a matter of fact, any idea that can be conveyed for a vehicle designed from zero will be baseless, so the best thing to do would be to hope they succeed.

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