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2022 F1 Spanish GP: Preview and Predictions

The Spanish GP marks F1's return to Europe
The Spanish GP marks F1's return to Europe

The Spanish GP is just around the corner and the stakes have not been this high for a long time. The race marks F1's return to Europe and brings with it the sight of teams pushing new upgrades to their cars. In the first season of the new regulations, this provides an opportunity for teams to make up for the deficit, if any, that they are facing right now.

Ferrari and Red Bull have been able to steal the march over the rest of the grid this season. The two teams have been the runaway frontrunners and as a result, we have Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc emerging as title contenders. Having said that, the Spanish GP might just be the perfect opportunity for the other teams to bounce back and maybe even join the front-running group.

With that in mind, let's preview the Spanish GP and see what we can expect from the race weekend in Barcelona.


2022 F1 Spanish GP: Preview and Predictions

Key Storylines

#1 Can Mercedes script a comeback?

The Boss. πŸ€œπŸ€› Brady. https://t.co/dAfFWw73gs

The biggest question heading into the Spanish GP revolves around Mercedes. The team has been on the back foot since the start of the season. The "no-sidepod" design implemented by Mercedes has been, for the lack of a better word, a flop this season.

The car is, at best, the third-fastest challenger on the grid and is not even close to being in the same league as the frontrunners. The Brackley-based outfit is expected to bring a set of upgrades in Barcelona to help close the gap to the front of the grid. If these upgrades don't work, Mercedes might be in a whole world of trouble as its prospects to fight for a title will diminish significantly.

#2 How good is the Aston Martin Spec-B?

Your future is what you make it.πŸ’šLast week, Seb and his No.1 Mechanic, Mikey Brown, opened a new mechanics' workshop at @hmyoifeltham, heralding the launch of a programme for young offenders to learn the trade as part of their rehabilitation.Tap below to discover more.

Aston Martin is expected to bring a major upgrade to the Spanish GP that is expected to bring the team back into the midfield. Due to budgetary and operational constraints, the team is bringing the upgrade only to Lance Stroll's car.

In many ways, Aston Martin's season depends on this upgrade to work. If it doesn't, then not only is the team stuck with a bad car, but it has also exhausted a huge chunk of its budget developing the spec-B. Keeping that in mind, it will still be interesting to see how Stroll compares to Vettel over the weekend.

#3 Will the new regulations deliver?

The Spanish GP should be the first proper test of the regulations that have been introduced this season. The circuit has suffered from a lack of action and overtaking due to the nature of the previous generation of cars. Having said that, the new generation does provide an opportunity for the cars to follow other cars closer than before.

Will this provide the chasing car with an opportunity down the main straight? Theoretically, it should, but it remains to be seen if that would be the case.

Form Guide

Who is in form?

Our mood, knowing it’s race week! 😁 #SpanishGP https://t.co/41V5zGDDWS

Alfa Romeo has been a team that has surprised everyone in the last couple of races. The car had upgrades introduced to it in Imola that have helped it accentuate the advantage it had over its peers. The Hinwil-based outfit was arguably quicker than Mercedes in the last two races, with Valtteri Bottas losing out only due to driver mistakes.

At the moment, Alfa Romeo does look like a team that has the most rounded car out of all the midfield contenders and will be looking to make the most of it in the Spanish GP.

Who is out of Form?

K-Mag's scored points on two of his visits to the #SpanishGP and he's hoping he can add to his season tally of 15pts in Barcelona this weekend!Check out his Q&A here πŸ‘‰ bit.ly/3wTTiBl#HaasF1 https://t.co/zXeEqjxyr0

Haas has suffered a massive dip in form and it does appear that the team is strapped for cash and running cost-saving measures just to scrape through the weekend.

It's a common sight to watch neither of the Haas cars make it out on track for the majority of FP1 and then overall do minimal running in preparation for the race. Consequently, the team that had a car finish in the top-5 in the season-opener has seen the two drivers qualify in 15th and 16th in Miami. The team is squandering its early-season advantage at the moment and is going back to its old ways from the last few seasons.

Predictions for the Spanish GP

Race winner

Disappointed that we didn’t have enough pace to win the race today but we’ll work harder than ever to get back on top in race pace. Miami, you were incredible though, loved every seconds of this week πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έβ€οΈ https://t.co/Zro9LtMWm8

The track for the Spanish GP is a good mix of everything. It has something for everyone, especially the slow-speed, tight, and twisty S3. Red Bull was able to beat Ferrari even in those slow-speed sections in Miami.

At this race, however, with the rafts of upgrades that the Scuderia is expected to bring, the Italian squad might be able to stretch its legs in the all-important third sector. Ferrari is the better car in qualifying this season and with the propensity of the track to not support too many overtakes, we might be looking at Charles Leclerc winning the race.

Surprise of the Spanish GP weekend

Team

McLaren has been a bit of a dark horse this season. After a disastrous season-opener, the expectations for the team hit rock bottom. Ever since, the team bounced back and was able to progress to a podium with Lando Norris in Imola. As soon as the F1 circus reached Miami, however, McLaren's charge fizzled out once again.

Regardless, McLaren is yet to bring anything significant to the car this season. The team was supposedly trying to first understand and then extract the maximum possible out of its car in the first few races. Now, once that is done and the team is prepared to bring its first major upgrade, McLaren might just be looking at a potential jump to the front of the midfield.

Watch out for the Woking-based squad to leap to the front of the midfield at the Spanish GP.

Driver

Der GP von Spanien ist live auf Sky dieses Wochenende. See you there!#SkyF1 #Formel1 #Formula1 @skysportformel1 https://t.co/m0krDU7NvD

Mick Schumacher's start to the season has been rather erratic. Having said that, it did appear that the German unlocked something in Miami as he started streaking away from his teammate in terms of pace. He was on course to score his first points of the season before he was involved in that late lap crash with Sebastian Vettel.

Schumacher is a student of the game: he has shown a habit of making mistakes but learning from them fast. At the Spanish GP, we might see the German driver pull away even further from his experienced teammate at Haas.

Disappointment of the weekend

Team

Aston Martin is bringing a semi-new car to the Spanish GP. While this surely is a sign of intent that the team is willing to take such a drastic step in the face of the cost-cap, it might also be a sign of desperation. There is no magic bullet in F1. While Aston Martin is trying to find it, this might end up costing the team a lot in terms of resources with not much improvement to speak of in terms of performance.

Driver

Thanks Miami!! You’ ve been amazing. See you next year! πŸ˜ŽπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ-@ScuderiaFerrari #essereFerrari#Carlossainz https://t.co/hTRIM8FAHo

The Spanish GP is Carlos Sainz's home race. The Spaniard has not had the best of seasons with Charles Leclerc leveling up significantly. While the home race does indicate an advantage for Sainz, Leclerc is performing at a completely different level at the moment and it will be hard for anyone to beat him in the same car.

Can Sainz salvage a podium? He could, but anything lesser than a win should be counted as a disappointment for the driver who outscored Leclerc last season.

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Edited by Anurag C
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