Formula 1 is waiting three weeks for the next Grand Prix. This is not the first time, but it offers Mercedes the unique opportunity to work an extra week on the back of Red Bull Racing. Will it work?
Long pause for F1
By 2021, Formula 1 was able to create a calendar with fewer than 23 races. An achievement. So you would say the crowd on the calendar should be high, but at the beginning of the season it is definitely not. After the opening race, teams and drivers have three weeks to prepare for the next race.
So, three races in a row last year were non-stop, Mercedes was able to use their lead and now it is lucky in a different way. In Bahrain, Red Bull Racing proved to be the fastest team by a small margin, but Mercedes now has three weeks to close that gap.
It’s been a while since there was so much time for one race to two races. In 2020, as mentioned, we had three races in a row, and between 2013 and 2019 there were always only two weeks between the first two races. In 2008, 2009 and 2012 there was only one week between the first and second races, and in 2012 there was a three week gap between the second and third races.
There were three weeks between the last two races and we had to go to 2007. After the Australian Grand Prix on March 18, drivers had to wait three weeks for the Malaysian Grand Prix on April 8. However, the red ranking between those species did not change much.
Ferrari and McLaren came out strong that year. This is a Ferrari driver in Australia and Malaysia, he can leave the pole, but the result is different. Kimi Raikkonen won in Australia, McLaren drivers Luis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, Alonso won his teammate in Malaysia and won the B3 over Raikonen.
The pace hasn’t completely changed in three weeks because it goes on for the entire season between these three drivers. It also depends on what kind of path you are driving. A route with Australia for many years is very unique compared to other seasons where Bahrain has more similarities with other tracks as a round.
Is Mercedes lucky?
So Mercedes is lucky to have a little more time to close the gap in the first year, which is no longer leading at the start of the season. However, at the same time, Red Bull will not sit still and will do everything he can to make the best use of the strong set in Imola.
However, by 2021, Mercedes will have one drawback: not everything can be fixed. This year the engine cannot be touched and the chassis cannot be replaced. Mercedes aerodynamics can only be improved with new bodywork connections, and as all teams focus on this area, the margins will be less.