So far this season, due to the impact of the cost cap and the logistical challenge of racing outside of Europe, none of the major teams have introduced any major development evolutions for their new cars.
The start of the European season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix should, in theory, offer the perfect opportunity to make the first major changes.
But while there is potential for big performance strides through improvements, Formula 1’s decision to hold a first weekend of sprint racing at Imola has affected Ferrari’s timelines for updates to the F1- 75.
The Scuderia considers that, with only one hour of practice before the first qualifying session on Friday, there is not enough time to evaluate the new parts that could be significant and, at the same time, get the cars perfectly configured for the rest. of the weekend.
Instead, team principal Mattia Binotto says major updates will come in the next few races as the team wants to focus on eradicating porpoising found on the car in Australia last weekend.
Asked by Motorsport.com about his update plan for Imola, with it being a sprint weekend, Binotto replied: “I think it will be a difficult weekend in terms of bringing updates and trying to assess them in practice on Friday. , because obviously we have to focus on qualifying in the afternoon”.
“If we look at ourselves, there won’t be much at Imola because, again, we think it’s not going to be the right place.”
“But we will try to mitigate the problems that we continue to have. I am thinking about the porpoising and the rebound that has affected our performance during the weekend.”
“So we’ll try again to work on that particular aspect. But the improvements and more, let me say the significant ones, will be for later in the season.”
Ferrari has opened up a comfortable points lead in both championships so far, thanks to victories for Charles Leclerc in Bahrain and Australia.
The team was already hoping to take a step up in form for the 2022 season, but Binotto admits that things have gone even better than they expected.
“I’m really surprised,” he explained. “I think we’ve worked a lot and put a lot of priority into 2022. I knew the team was a great team and in some way we had improved from the last couple of seasons.”
“I expected to have a competitive car for the start of the season… but I certainly didn’t expect such a good start to the season. I think it would be unfair to think that.”
“But I still believe that the gap between us and the others may be very small. I think the last few races have shown that and there will certainly be a big fight in the next few races.”
Although Ferrari’s victories in Bahrain and Australia have been helped by the retirement of Max Verstappen, in both events the Italian team was quicker than Red Bull.
In the first race of the season, Ferrari’s improved tire management proved key, while in Australia, Binotto believes the F1-75 was simply better balanced than any other car, as it downplayed the impact of the his team’s preference for more downforce.
“I think having a well balanced car was a key element from a tire management point of view, and the drivers managed it well,” he explained. “I think Charles did a good job on that.”
“I don’t think the level of downforce was an element because if I look at the speed on the straights, if I look at our direct competitors, I think in the end they ran with a higher level of downforce compared to what they had, for example, in Jeddah, and [there] they were much closer to us.”