Formula 1 teams will lack the usual data useful for devising a basic setup for the simulator as the Miami International Autodrome is ready to host its first Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend. Fortunately for them, there will be a return to the classic format, with three free practice sessions before the entry into force of the parc fermé regime. However, arriving on the Miami track with an already good base will certainly give an advantage to the team which will then be able to work more on the small details that can make a difference in any close battle, as seen between Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull in this start of the 2022 F1 season. Some teams will also bring part of the planned developments for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Barcelona circuit.
The venue of the first winter tests is in fact chosen by everyone in order to have a comparison with the basic configuration of their cars and – taking advantage of the amount of data already available – is chosen as the ideal appointment to bring large development packages.
Among the teams that will certainly anticipate part of the updates in Miami (as admitted in recent days by Andrew Shovlin, trackside engineering director at Mercedes) there will certainly be Mercedes. The Brackley team is still struggling with the analysis of the porpoising phenomenon – which on this track could be an important factor given the long straights and the many fast corners, the real problem of the W13; in Brackley they worked hard to find a solution, also thanks to a ‘forced’ data collection during these first races of the season: “We have found several development solutions in the factory and in Miami we will conduct tests to see if we are on the right path” confirmed Toto Wolff, Team Principal of Mercedes a few hours ago.
Experimenting and having the first answers in Miami will be useful to understand if the direction taken, with the further corrections to be introduced in Barcelona, (where Mercedes will also be possible to make a comparison with the first W13 specification that suffered less from porpoising), will indeed be correct.
The characteristics of the Miami circuit seem to better suit those of the Red Bull RB18 and the Alpine car, which makes efficiency and agility its strong point, but suffers from a certain lack of load – which affects their performance in the slow sections and especially the management of the tires, while in qualifying the extragrip of the new tires make this problem disappear.
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Scuderia Ferrari will try to respond with the introduction of the low-downforce package and with the Power Unit number 2 which will be able to give a few more HP compared to the first power unit. McLaren hopes to have further confirmation of the progress seen after Bahrain, with Alfa Romeo also counting on being able to still be one of the top forces in the standings by exploiting the Ferrari engine and the overall competitiveness of the C42.
AlphaTauri and Haas are also looking to hit back after the difficult appointment at Imola, in case they manage to find a better setup and not make any mistakes. Haas technical director Simone Resta admitted that the team has not been ale to extract the maximum potential of their car because “as compared to our competitors we suffer a little in the fastest sections of the track”; it will therefore be an interesting comparison for them. Williams will be able to exploit its efficiency in all the sections of the track and try to find out how much actual potential remains in the car, while Aston Martin, after a good race at Imola, will continue to collect data and work, waiting for important updates as they attempt to recover the gap to the midfield.