Apr.20 (GMM) Car upgrades may be thin on the ground this weekend at Imola.
Ferrari is the least likely to see the need for major developments at present, as its car is reliable and Charles Leclerc is dominating the drivers’ standings.
Mattia Binotto agrees that with Saturday’s first sprint race of 2022 looming, the first home race for the Italian team is “not the right place” for significant car changes.
“It could be a difficult weekend in the respect of bringing updates and trying to evaluate them on the Friday practice,” said the Ferrari boss, “because you need to focus yourself on the qualifying in the afternoon.
“If we look at our ourselves, they will not be much in Imola because, again, we believe it will not be the right place.”
Binotto admits that Ferrari still needs to keep working on the ‘porpoising’ problem, but major car upgrades “will be for later in the season”.
It’s a similar story at Red Bull, even though Honda has been put on the job of ending world champion Max Verstappen’s repeat fuel system-related failures.
Beyond that, Christian Horner says “no one should expect a large evo package” for Imola.
“Because on a sprint weekend, with just one free practice session before qualifying, you just don’t have much time to try new parts. You have to be very sure about what you put on the car,” said the Red Bull team boss.
However, he revealed that Red Bull has a “pretty good picture of where we want to go” in order to close the gap to championship leaders Ferrari.
Finally, even the struggling Mercedes team is not rushing to introduce upgrades for Imola, although strategy boss James Vowles says the team at least has to “keep up” with how Ferrari and Red Bull are improving.
“The work that takes place now is a review of what has happened in Melbourne,” he said. “An understanding of what we need to do going forward into Imola, to progress the car into a championship winner.”
Former F1 engineer Julien Simon-Chautemps told Motorlat that he thinks Mercedes’ fundamental car problems combined with the budget cap means a “B-spec” car is in the works.
“In the past they would have brought two, three or four different front wings and floors, but they can’t do that anymore,” said the Frenchman.
“They’ll probably wait until they have a whole package, that’s my expectation. Instead of one new floor, they will bring a B-spec car.
“I think that will be the case very soon,” said Simon-Chautemps.