Spanish GP: 5 big questions that need answers this weekend

F1 cars leave the pits in Spain

The Spanish Grand Prix takes place this weekend as Formula 1 heads back to Europe for round six of the world championship.

The Circuit de Catalunya has been on the calendar since the early 90s and is one of the most-known tracks given that fact and that it is used so often for winter testing.

Indeed, that was the case again earlier on in 2022, and the teams are going to be eager to see just what progress has been made between then and now when they compare the data.

What are the big questions as we head into this weekend that need answers, though? We take a look…

Can Ferrari strike back?

The momentum appears to be with Red Bull at the moment in the championship chase, and Ferrari need to do something about it.

The Bulls are flying along with back-to-back race victories getting recorded in Imola and Miami, whilst Max Verstappen also won the Sprint at the circuit just south of Bologna.

Can Ferrari hit back and return to winning ways this weekend, then? Especially at a circuit where they looked so strong in testing.

Who’ll be best of the rest?

Whilst Ferrari and Red Bull will likely be out in front, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be in behind them.

Mercedes were strong in practice back in Miami but dropped back before taking P5 and P6, whilst the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas looked good yet again.

McLaren had a tough time last time out but had been showing signs of improvement before Miami whilst the Alpine car has the potential to go well in Spain – it really is anyone’s guess at the top of the midfield pack.

Will Mercedes abandon their sidepod design soon?

Many are suggesting that this is a fork in the road kind of weekend for Mercedes in terms of their car design.

Back in testing in Barcelona they had a car with more conventional sidepods before revealing their aggressive ‘zeropod’ design at the Bahrain test – something they have kept up until now.

This weekend provides a good chance for them to compare the two concepts, however, and they may well discover in the data whether it’s time to stick or twist.

George Russell tests the Mercedes
BARCELONA, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 25: George Russell of Great Britain and Mercedes on track during Day Three of F1 Testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on February 25, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Will Haas remain competitive?

Haas boss Guenther Steiner has revealed that the team will not be bringing upgrades to the Spanish Grand Prix – in stark contrast to much of the grid – with him saying he wants to see just how much they can get out of their current package before making tweaks.

Indeed, he suggested it might be four or five races before they bolt on some big changes and so it’s going to be interesting seeing just whether they can remain as competitive as they have been so far without changing the VF-22 too much.

Who’s made the most progress?

As mentioned, a number of teams are going to be bringing new parts even if Haas are not and it’ll be fascinating to see who’s made the most progress in terms of that and who is looking quickest compared to their testing performances.

Of course, testing is only a vague indicator but teams have had a few races to get to grips with their cars and work on new parts, and we’ll see plenty of different bits and pieces being introduced and trialled this weekend.

Who’ll get it right and make some big leaps? Time will tell…

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