Formula 1 Racing

Have Red Bull’s rivals made an upgrade breakthrough? Five talking points for Imola · RaceFans

George Russell, Mercedes, Miami International Autodrome, 2023

This weekend’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola could be a pivotal point in the course of the 2023 season, with many teams planning to bring substantial upgrades to their cars.

As the opening race in the first triple-header of the 2023 season – followed by rounds in Monaco and Spain – the effectiveness of the upgrade packages brought to Italy this weekend could have a major impact on teams’ final placings in this year’s championship.

Here are the talking points for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Upgrades galore

Although it is only round six of this year’s world championship, the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix is set to effectively mark the start of the second phase of the 2023 season.

The opening five rounds of the championship were dominated by Red Bull, who claimed every chequered flag first every time to storm to a commanding 122-point lead over their nearest rivals Aston Martin in the constructors’ championship. In the drivers’ standings, Max Verstappen leads team mate Sergio Perez by 14 points, courtesy of his third win of the season in Miami.

But this weekend in Imola marks a key point of the season. Many of the ten teams have been building to this round to introduce their first major upgrade packages of the season, not least of which Mercedes, who will be looking to make progress in their efforts to chase down the runaway Red Bulls.

George Russell, Mercedes, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
Mercedes are planning a change of development direction

Team principal Toto Wolff has said Mercedes’ W14 will receive a new floor, new body work and new front suspension in what he described as a “large operation” for their 2023 car. Although he emphasised the need for his team to “manage our own expectations” of the impact the upgrades will have on their performance, it could still be an important first step on their mission to establishing themselves as Red Bull’s main rivals.

AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo are also among the teams planning important new parts for their cars in Italy this weekend. The fight in the midfield so far in 2023 has been as close as it has possibly ever been, with the bottom six teams all covered by just 14 points. With this weekend’s race the first of a triple-header, points gained over the next three weeks could be critical to the final championship order at year’s end.

However, the nine teams chasing Red Bull could be in for a rude awakening. The world champions themselves have no intentions of allowing themselves to be caught and may well have new parts of their own just…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at RaceFans…