Can Ferrari catch up?
Mercedes have been somewhat lucky in their apparent domination of the opening four races. Charles Leclerc’s unfortunate engine failure when leading in Bahrain and his qualifying crash in Baku, which ultimately prevented him from being a major threat to victory, has arguably made Mercedes’ start to the season look stronger than it actually was. Ferrari will be hoping to claim their first victory of the season in Spain, though it may be a difficult task, with the team claiming just one victory at the track in the last ten years (Fernando Alonso, in 2013).
A series of updates may help them in their quest. A new version of the Ferrari power unit will be used this weekend
. The new specification was scheduled to be used for the first time at next month’s Canadian Grand Prix, but its introduction has been brought forward by four weeks. Early introductions of power units can be a gamble, but Ferrari need a solution to start winning back points against their title rivals. The Scuderia will be hoping their cars shows similar pace around the track as they did in Winter Testing – after which many expected them to be the team to beat in the 2019 season.
Interestingly, Catalunya is one of only three circuits on the calendar where Sebastian Vettel is yet to take a pole position. Should he do so this weekend, the Spanish Grand Prix will be the 24th
different event where he has started from pole, equalling Lewis Hamilton’s record.