Automobile / Formula 1. Ferrari is back, Mercedes crashes, overtaking… Lessons of the first Grand Prix

Amazing comeback from Ferrari

Ferrari, which became the sixth manufacturer in 2020 after a deal with the International Automobile Federation (FIA) that casts doubt on the regularity of its engine, has scored its worst ranking since 1980.

Scuderia sacrificed 2021 to focus on 2022, which offers better opportunities thanks to the changing technical regulations of F1. With a clear lap this weekend (pole, victory and fastest lap for Charles Leclerc doubled with Carlos Sainz Jr), the bet wins.

“We fight for the championship” delights the winner. He is, for the moment, little more than his teammate, who, paradoxically, just got off the “hardest weekend with Ferrari.”

Ferrari is back and how is it with this double? This is where the team needed to be for the last two years. Hard work has paid off, so here we are.

Carlos Sainz Jr.

Red Bull is still performing well, but…

In pure performance, Red Bull trails behind Ferrari, but the constructors’ world vice-championship team suffered mechanical problems in the race until they retired two cars in the last three laps due to fuel problems.

Without this, champion Max Verstappen would have been 2nd and teammate Sergio Pérez would have been 4th. But the Dutch driver is not worried about reliability: “There is rhythm, we fought for the pole and for the victory, that’s not the problem. You need to understand the problems we have and of course work tirelessly to improve the car.”

Mercedes not yet developed

“We’re in real trouble with the car,” admits Lewis Hamilton, who could have finished far off the podium if he hadn’t left Red Bull. He and his boss, Toto Wolff, point to shortcomings in straight-line speed and aerodynamics (lack of drag and rear downforce) of single-seater cars rather than a lack of engine power.

The Austrian and his pilot seem confident they can fix this “not overnight”.

Haas and Alfa Romeo lurk

The forces behind the three “big” manufacturers have evolved to the advantage of teams backed by Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Haas, scoring 13 points and no points in the penultimate and 2021 respectively.

“The rhythm is there, it’s a good foundation,” says Valtteri Bottas, who describes fast corners as a “weakness” in his Alfa Romeo that needs fixing.

I’m not saying we’re close to the podium but during such a crazy weekend in F1, we should be able to do it.

Mick Schumacher (Haas)

McLaren is struggling

We expected McLaren to finish 4th last year and to make steady progress for three years. Unfortunately, his MCL36 is “not very fast” and “hard to drive”, I feel bad for Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris.

The Australian driver complains of a “lack of straight line speed”, which he attributes not only to the Mercedes engine but also to aerodynamics. “We’re going to try something for next week,” Norris said in Saudi Arabia on Sunday evening.

We have to start from scratch and find solutions. I’m trying to find some, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be sensational next week but we need to understand what’s going on in the next few months and how we can improve.

Lando Norris

easy overtaking

In addition to reducing the performance gap between large and small teams, the change in regulations, which mainly concerns the aerodynamics of single-seater cars, should allow them to follow each other less in order to facilitate transitions.

“It’s improved, that’s for sure. It’s still not easy, but it’s much more than before, it’s going in the right direction,” says Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine).

On Sunday, he and teammate Fernando Alonso were playing in the second half of the top 10, as were fellow tricolor Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), before his car caught fire and forced him to retire.