(© Ben Johnston 2015)
The Formula One road show returns next weekend following what seems like an incredibly long three week break since the last race in Bahrain. The Spanish Grand Prix marks the start of the European leg of the season and is traditionally the first event where teams bring major upgrades to their cars.
This season will be no exception. We are expected extremely high temperatures at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya next week and this is likely to suit Scuderia Ferrari as Kimi Raikkonen stated before the season started that the new SF15-T would be good everywhere and so far that has been the case as the Maranello based outfit head to Spain with four podiums from the first four Grand Prix which include a victory for Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen’s first podium since the 2013 Korean Grand Prix, and his first one with Ferrari since the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.
The Prancing Horse will have an updated power unit next weekend along with some other performance gains on the chassis side which they hope will help them to move closer to current championship leaders the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team.
The Lotus F1 Team will also have a big update for the E23 Hybrid which Technical Director Nick Chester has said will surprise the paddock.
Williams Martini Racing will also be hoping that they will be able to close the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes and it will also be great to see Susie Wolff back in the FW37. The Scot will get back behind the wheel of the car in Free Practice One on Friday however the team have yet to announce who she will replace. She will be looking to impress once again after doing a great job for the team during winter testing in Barcelona in February.
Although the Sahara Force India Formula One Team have a B spec VJM08 coming for the Austrian Grand Prix, the Silverstone based outfit will be hoping to get a good haul of points and particularly Nico Hulkenberg who heads to the Spanish Grand Prix following a fantastic debut in the World Endurance Championship in Spa Francorchamps on Saturday where he finished in sixth place. The German will be hoping that this translates to his F1 career too.
Following a frustrating start to the season, McLaren Honda saw some progress last time out in Bahrain after Fernando Alonso managed to finish the race in eleventh place.
A result which has shown that the Woking based outfit have made real progress since the first race of the season in Australia. Despite the great result for the Spaniard, on the other side of the garage, Jenson Button failed to start the race however the team are confident that they will be competitive in Spain as they will have a new power unit update from Honda along with an upgrade package for the MP4-30.
Button and Alonso have stated however that they expect the first real step to come at the following Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.
The Manor Marussia F1 Team have had a positive return to Formula One and one thing that could change next week is the look of the car as it has been reported that the outfit will have a new livery for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Sauber F1 Team head into the European leg of the season under no illusions that they will have a tough fight to score points as all of the main rivals will have major updates for their cars and it is the same story at Scuderia Toro Rosso as I reported over the weekend that Carlos Sainz has revealed that the Italian team will just have minor upgrades for their car up until the end of the season.
In contrast, McLaren Honda have confirmed that they will develop the MP4-30 right up until the final race of the season.
Infiniti Red Bull Racing are hoping that Renault will have resolved the issues that the Milton Keynes based outfit faced with the power unit in Bahrain and throughout the fly-away Grand Prix as Daniel Ricciardo is onto his fourth power unit of the season already and we are only at the fifth race of the season.
© Ben Johnston 2015