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Catching up with Formula One: Spain

Written by Sofia Costantino, Edited by Tarun Suresh 

Formula 1 is back and we might have a championship fight in our hands. Certainly; the characteristics of the Giles Villeneuve circuit and the weather conditions during the Grand Prix in Montreal didn't turn out to be the best indicators to allow us to accurately evaluate the true pace of each of the cars, nine races into the season.

However, the Canadian Grand Prix showed what can be expected in the remaining fifteen races, despite the outlying conditions the race threw at the teams and drivers.

Image Credits: Motorsport Images.

For one thing, there was no doubt that the Red Bull was neither the best nor the fastest car on the Notre Dame Island track. Still, Max Verstappen triumphed, not because of the RB20 but despite it.

Under the changing conditions of the course with intermittent rain and dry track, it ended up being declared a race for champions. Both he and his team did everything right at the right time to take the Dutchman his sixth win of the season and the 60th of his F1 career.

Instead, the mistakes of the rest eventually helped him. For starters, Ferrari - with Charles Leclerc, winner at the previous race in Monaco - was left out of qualifying for the starting in tenth place. The team made the mistake of using used tyres to finish Q2 leaving them with no chance of improving at the end when the others put fresher tyres on with a better track.

They were knocked out in Q2 and worse, both Ferraris retired for the first time from Baku in 2022. With no points added to their end of the table, just when the points deficit to Red Bull was coming down, thanks to the double podium in Monaco.

McLaren, on the other hand, had the fastest car on the track. Lando Norris could’ve won the race easily as he managed the intermediate tyres better on a drying track.

However, the team chose not to pit him with the deployment of the Safety Car - triggered by a crash by Logan Sargeant (Williams) - when they had at least 6 seconds to decide. In the end, he said, the untimely safety car that helped him win in Miami this time made him lose.

Image credits: Motorsport Images.

Mercedes showed significant improvements - for this track at least - George Russell showed great pace, getting pole position by the barest of margins. But this time, the British driver's own mistakes relegated him to third place, a podium he achieved in the latter stages by overtaking team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

On the other hand, Aston Martin after the incredible start with Fernando Alonso last season, has not been able to progress with their upgrades to the car, the Asturian driver was quite far behind the two Mercedes and McLarens.

The clearest demonstration of the parity between all the cars is how close the times are in qualifying, which showed that anyone at the front can easily sink into the lower half of the grid with a mistake or bad decision of their team, as we saw with Ferrari and also with Sergio Perez, who once again did not move to Q2 while his teammate qualified second after setting an identical lap time to polesitter George Russell.

Not a very nice way for the Mexican to show thanks to Red Bull for the renewal of his contract for two more seasons (a 1+1 contract).

Image credits: Motorsport Images.

Over the weekend in Montreal, the new technical regulations that the FIA will introduce for F1 in 2026 were presented, to be ratified at the next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council. 

Initially focused on changes to the Power Unit at the request of Audi to formalize its entry as a driver and manufacturer, it has turned out to be more extensive, basically to amend errors with the rules of 2022 and the consequences of the implementation of aerodynamic grip by suction of the floor of the car (ground effect).

In addition, the DRS will disappear and will be replaced by active aerodynamics (active modification of the wings in straights and corners) and an “override” for overtaking will be introduced, which of course will not be called “Push to Pass” as it is in IndyCar. Structurally it will be 10 cm narrower, 20 cm shorter and 30 kg lighter.


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