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Ferrari Red Bull arms race as Mercedes hit crucial marker - What to expect at the Spanish GP

Ferrari Red Bull arms race as Mercedes hit crucial marker - What to expect at the Spanish GP

F1 News

Ferrari Red Bull arms race as Mercedes hit crucial marker - What to expect at the Spanish GP

Ferrari Red Bull arms race as Mercedes hit crucial marker - What to expect at the Spanish GP

F1 returns to Europe for round six of the season in Spain and the first major upgrade window of the sport's new era.

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc remains in the lead of the drivers' standings despite reigning champion Max Verstappen's third win of the season recently in Miami.

But the running order has a chance to change in Montmélo as teams add new parts to their cars. So what should we expect at the Spanish Grand Prix?

Red Bull and Ferrari arms race

Whilst this is what should be the first opportunity for teams to apply significant upgrades, Red Bull has incrementally added to the RB18 since the first race in Bahrain.

That trend looks set to continue whilst rivals Ferrari will likely add a bigger, more rounded upgrade package to considerably aid performance.

With Red Bull holding the upper hand in the last two races despite the championship standings favouring the Scuderia, eyes will be focused on just how performant the Ferrari package will prove to be.

Gains this weekend could be championship defining.

Sainz to rebound in front of home fans

Carlos Sainz's start to the year has not been one the Spaniard would have wanted.

After spinning out in Australia, crashing in qualifying in Imola and again in practice in Miami, Sainz is firmly on the backfoot at Ferrari despite scoring a podium in each of the three races he has finished.

With Leclerc beginning to pull away, team orders will soon begin to beckon at the Maranello-based squad, underlining the importance of a positive result in front of his home crowd.

Mercedes to find answers to troubles?

The Silver Arrows have struggled all season with porpoising and tyre warm-up issues but the Spanish weekend provides an opportunity to turn around those fortunes.

Mercedes was the fastest team at the venue during the first week of pre-season testing with its old-spec W13 which housed a more traditional sidepod design.

With correlation problems hindering progress with the zeropod concept, a direct comparison - albeit with different ambient and track temperatures to consider - should assist in finding the answers the team is so desperately searching for.

If not here, progress should be seen within the next few races after a data harvest.

Schumacher to alleviate pressure

A racetrack that all European junior formula graduates are familiar with, Barcelona provides a great opportunity for Mick Schumacher to score his maiden points in F1.

That duck looked like it was going to be broken before late-race contact with mentor Sebastian Vettel in Miami, with the latest failure adding a degree of pressure on the German.

Whilst this is in no way a crisis for the former F2 champion, the ruthless nature of F1 dictates he will need to convert one of his chances for points sooner rather than later, no matter how quick he is around each unfortunate circumstance.

Freitas to make race director debut

Eduardo Freitas will finally step into the race director's seat for this weekend's event.

The first five races were overseen by Niels Wittich following the FIA's decision to appoint two race directors as replacements for the axed Michael Masi.

The initial plan was for the duo to work two races on, then two off, however, Freitas' commitments to the World Endurance Championship have thrown a spanner in those works.

So far, Wittich has proven to be no-nonsense, adhering rigidly to the rules, which has been welcomed by the teams. Will Freitas adopt the same approach?

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