Barcelona: It's time for an upgrade...

Barcelona: It's time for an upgrade...

8 May 2013 – The opening European leg of the 2013 Formula 1 campaign kicks off at the Circuit de Catalunya this weekend, the location for eight days of pre-season testing earlier in the year. Now it’s time for a series of upgrade packages to be applied, ones that hold the potential to significantly change the pecking order come Sunday afternoon.

Three different teams and drivers sharing the spoils over the course of the first four race meetings; it’s fair to say Formula 1 2013 has been entertaining thus far. But this is where everything can change in an instant, with teams bringing their first serious modifications to Barcelona in a bid to uncover vital tenths of a second. It will also give us a clear indication of who is in the driving seat for the middle phase of the campaign.

One team attempting to claw back a championship assault at this phase of the year is McLaren. Martin Whitmarsh’s squad has long targeted the Spanish Grand Prix as its recovery point, having struggled for pace with its MP4-28 chassis. The situation has undoubtedly improved on a race-by-race basis, but this is where we are due to see the first true impact of the team’s traditionally strong development drive.

Will the outfit be able to join the front-runners on a consistent basis? It is too early to tell, but we’re set for a fascinating weekend as various parts are evaluated up and down the pit lane. To help all 11 teams in their respective performance quests, an extra set of Hard compound tyres have been made available by Pirelli for Friday practice, although predicted poor weather looks likely to spoil programmes…

Having notched up three of the four victories on offer so far this season, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen are currently the men in charge of proceedings. However, with Lotus announcing the departure of technical chief James Allison earlier on Wednesday, a sizeable hole has been left in the Enstone engineering department at a crucial stage of the season, not only for 2013 but as the paddock prepares for a massive regulation overhaul in 2014.

And there are plenty of hunters in the field, with Ferrari and Mercedes - who both have eyes on Allison - eager to recover from a handful of costly car failures. While the Scuderia is searching for qualifying pace, the Silver Arrows will be hoping for reduced tyre degradation, and an array of updates could be enough to shake up the order.

Meanwhile, you have to take your hat off to Force India, with the squad taking full advantage of much improved pace and rivals’ pain to pick up a mass of points from the opening flyaways. Although a double retirement in Malaysia was extremely painful, both Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil could be in with a chance of achieving maiden podium finishes if the team’s relatively small resources can be utilised efficiently.

In the midfield, Williams has endured a similar start to its woeful 2011 campaign, with last year’s recovery a distant memory. If the team is to bounce back, Barcelona would be the prime location given Pastor Maldonado’s maiden triumph 12 months ago, and points will be a minimum target given the fact that the Venezuelan and rookie team-mate Valtteri Bottas have been unable to make the top ten thus far. Ahead of the fifth round, only Marussia and Caterham trail as fellow outfits yet to score.

Speaking of the battle at the back of the field, securing tenth place in the Constructors' standings has taken on a new meaning. Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone recently announced that only the top ten teams will receive a prize money boost at the end of the year, so Heikki Kovalainen’s continuing practice appearances could just prove vital for Caterham if it is to regain the position it dramatically stole in 2012.

On all fronts, a crucial weekend lies ahead.

As with all 19 Grands Prix on the 2013 Formula 1 calendar, you can follow practice, qualifying and the race via the interactive GPUpdate.net live report feature

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Thursday 22 June 2017

  2. Smith poised for return at Dutch TT 17:32

    Smith poised for return at Dutch TT

    Bradley Smith says he is ready to return to action at this weekend's Dutch TT, having sat out the previous race at the Circuit…

    MotoGP
  3. Ocon 'all good' with Pérez after tension 17:22

    Ocon 'all good' with Pérez after tension

    Esteban Ocon says he has cleared the air with Force India team-mate Sergio Pérez off the back of a tense situation at the…

    F1
  4. 17:02

    Follow us on Instagram for the best photos!

    F1
  5. 16:22

    Latest Formula 1 photos: Thursday at Baku

    F1
  6. Baku track gets second DRS detection point 16:02

    Baku track gets second DRS detection point

    A second DRS detection point has been added to the Baku City Circuit for this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The two DRS…

    F1
  7. Gutiérrez confirmed at DCR for rest of 2017 14:08

    Gutiérrez confirmed at DCR for rest of 2017

    Esteban Gutiérrez will replace the injured Sébastien Bourdais at Dale Coyne Racing for the remainder of the IndyCar…

    Indy
  8. Bottas relaxed over 2018 Mercedes contract 13:42

    Bottas relaxed over 2018 Mercedes contract

    Valtteri Bottas says there is "no rush" for him to secure his Formula 1 future with Mercedes for 2018, and insists his current…

    F1
  9. Räikkönen: 'No issues' with aiding Vettel title 13:08

    Räikkönen: 'No issues' with aiding Vettel title

    Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen has insisted that he has "no issues" with assisting team-mate Sebastian Vettel's title push, if and…

    F1
  10. Vandoorne also set for Baku grid drop 12:24

    Vandoorne also set for Baku grid drop

    Stoffel Vandoorne says he is set to join McLaren-Honda team-mate Fernando Alonso in taking engine-related grid penalties at this…

    F1
  11. Alonso expects open 2017/18 driver market 12:00

    Alonso expects open 2017/18 driver market

    Fernando Alonso says he expects there to be "a lot of changes" in the Formula 1 driver market across the coming months, and he…

    F1
  12. Pirelli goes softer for Belgium, Japan 10:25

    Pirelli goes softer for Belgium, Japan

    Formula 1 tyre supplier Pirelli has moved one step softer with the compounds it has selected for events in Belgium and Japan…

    F1
  13. Blue flag rules modified for Azerbaijan 10:11

    Blue flag rules modified for Azerbaijan

    Formula 1 Race Director Charlie Whiting has confirmed that blue flag rules have been tweaked for drivers ahead of this weekend's…

    F1
  14. Miller to make Suzuka 8 Hours debut 09:48

    Miller to make Suzuka 8 Hours debut

    MotoGP rider Jack Miller will make his debut at the Suzuka 8 Hours next month with Honda, the Japanese manufacturer has…

    MotoGP
  15. FIA outlines minor Baku track changes 09:39

    FIA outlines minor Baku track changes

    The FIA has outlined minor safety-related changes to the Baku City Circuit, ahead of this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand…

    F1
  16. Video: Button on esports driving skills 09:34

    Video: Button on esports driving skills

    F1 champion Jenson Button talks about esports and the precision driving skills required by gamers.

    F1
  17. Webber: Alonso's situation is a 'travesty' 09:02

    Webber: Alonso's situation is a 'travesty'

    Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber says it is an "absolute travesty" that Fernando Alonso is enduring a third successive season in…

    F1
  18. Domenicali: Lowering junior costs a priority 07:12

    Domenicali: Lowering junior costs a priority

    FIA Single Seater Commission chief Stefano Domenicali says lowering the cost of competing in junior formulas – especially…

    F2
  19. Video of the Day: Azerbaijan GP preview 05:28

    Video of the Day: Azerbaijan GP preview

    Azerbaijan Grand Prix organisers look ahead to this weekend's event with a preview teaser video.

    F1
  20. Wednesday 21 June 2017

  21. Sauber confirms Kaltenborn's departure 23:04

    Sauber confirms Kaltenborn's departure

    Sauber has confirmed that Monisha Kaltenborn has relinquished her role as Sauber's team boss, due to "diverging views of the…

    F1
  22. Sauber insists drivers being treated equally 22:50

    Sauber insists drivers being treated equally

    Sauber has hit back at media reports suggesting that its drivers are not being treated equally, in the wake of Monisha…

    F1
  23. F1: UK's 2019-24 pay TV deal 'immutable' 16:22

    F1: UK's 2019-24 pay TV deal 'immutable'

    Formula 1's new commercial chief, Sean Bratches, has made clear that the sport will not be shown on free-to-air (FTA) TV in the…

    F1
  24. Viñales: Yamaha 'needs' podium finish 15:42

    Viñales: Yamaha 'needs' podium finish

    Maverick Viñales says that he and Yamaha "need" to record a podium finish at this weekend's Dutch TT, following the team's…

    MotoGP
  25. Rins gets green light for Assen comeback 14:15

    Rins gets green light for Assen comeback

    Suzuki has confirmed that Álex Rins will return to racing at this weekend's Dutch TT. Rins stepped up to the premier class…

    MotoGP
  26. 13:38

    Latest F1 photos: Preparations in Baku

    F1
  27. In photos: Baku gears up for Azerbaijan GP 13:36

    In photos: Baku gears up for Azerbaijan GP

    F1 will make its second visit to the Baku City Circuit this weekend, this time under the Azerbaijan Grand Prix banner.…

    F1
  28. Todt wants 12 teams on Formula 1 grid 12:01

    Todt wants 12 teams on Formula 1 grid

    FIA President Jean Todt has stated that he hopes to increase the size of the Formula 1 grid again in the near future, with 12…

    F1
  29. Crutchlow sticks with LCR through 2019 11:05

    Crutchlow sticks with LCR through 2019

    Cal Crutchlow will continue to race for LCR Honda for the next two MotoGP seasons, after the outfit extended its deal with the…

    MotoGP
  30. Kaltenborn departs as Sauber team boss 10:42

    Kaltenborn departs as Sauber team boss

    Monisha Kaltenborn has left her role as Sauber's team boss, GPUpdate.net understands. Back in 2012, Kaltenborn became Formula…

    F1
  31. Video: Baku City Circuit virtual flying lap 10:12

    Video: Baku City Circuit virtual flying lap

    Get a refresher of the Baku City Circuit with a virtual lap on last year's official Formula 1 game.

    F1
  32. Carey: Liberty will not 're-do' F1 calendar 09:02

    Carey: Liberty will not 're-do' F1 calendar

    Earlier this week, F1 unveiled its 2018 calendar, the first under Liberty Media. GPUpdate.net got CEO Chase Carey's view, plus…

    F1
  33. Pérez reckons 'big points' possible in Baku 08:26

    Pérez reckons 'big points' possible in Baku

    Sergio Pérez believes Force India can target "big points" at this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, due to its 2017 form and its…

    F1
  34. Preview: Formula 1 heads back to Baku 07:22

    Preview: Formula 1 heads back to Baku

    After Formula 1's recent voyage to North America, the sport now heads to the other side of the world, for the Azerbaijan Grand…

    F1
  35. Video of the Day: Ferrari previews Baku 05:30

    Video of the Day: Ferrari previews Baku

    Ferrari previews this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix by analysing the key parts of the Baku City Circuit.

    F1
  36. Tuesday 20 June 2017

  37. Wolff: Mercedes won't rush Bottas decision 17:42

    Wolff: Mercedes won't rush Bottas decision

    Toto Wolff says that Mercedes "will not rush into a decision" over Valtteri Bottas' future, despite his largely competitive…

    F1
  38. Video: Kubica's Formula 1 test at Valencia 16:42

    Video: Kubica's Formula 1 test at Valencia

    Watch an extended cut of Robert Kubica's recent Formula 1 test at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia.

    F1
  39. Mercedes 'won't interfere' with McLaren/Honda 15:53

    Mercedes 'won't interfere' with McLaren/Honda

    Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has stressed that the marque will not interfere in the McLaren/Honda relationship, amid the Woking…

    F1
  40. World Cup final played role in triple header 14:18

    World Cup final played role in triple header

    Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey has explained that football's World Cup final played a role in the sport introducing its first 'triple…

    F1
  41. Mallya: SFI pair will continue to race freely 13:04

    Mallya: SFI pair will continue to race freely

    Force India Team Principal Vijay Mallya has insisted that Sergio Pérez and Esteban Ocon will continue to be allowed to race…

    F1
  42. Williams eyes repeat of Canada pace in Baku 12:01

    Williams eyes repeat of Canada pace in Baku

    Williams chief Paddy Lowe reckons the team can carry its form from the most recent event in Canada through to this weekend's…

    F1
  43. Formula E gets power increase for 2017/18 11:11

    Formula E gets power increase for 2017/18

    Formula E's power output during races will be marginally increased for the 2017/18 campaign, amid several rule modifications…

    FE
more news