Which Formula 1 teams are bringing their first raft of updates to Baku?
After a long break between races, it is time for some Formula 1 teams to bring their first major updates. Below is an overview of what is planned for each team.
It is expected that many will bring a special low downforce package in Baku, as top speed in the streets of the Azerbaijan capital is important where most of the lap is spent at full throttle.
All eyes are on Mercedes as they enter the first stages of their complete redesign of their W14, following a disappointing start to the 2023 season.
Team boss Toto Wolff has already said they need to completely change their car concept, he followed up by saying that there will be multiple updates spread over the next couple of races.
“We’ve tried to maximise this period, bringing planned development to the car and extracting as much as possible from our learnings so far,” he said.
“Over the next races, we want to keep on making small steps forward. The car will continue to evolve in the coming weeks, as we steadily bring performance and upgrades to the track.
Wolff caveats any changes by managing fans’ hopes: “We’re excited to see their impact, but we know there is no magic bullet.”
It is unknown whether Red Bull will bring any significant updates to Baku, however it is expected that the team will introduce a special package to cater to the high speeds at Baku.
Alpine is playing catchup as they look to improve their fortunes and fulfil their expectations of challenging regularly for podiums.
Technical director Matt Harman has pointed to several updates that the team will be bringing to Baku to help turn around the tricky start.
“We are taking a new floor to Baku, and introducing some aerodynamic and mechanical changes,” he said. “We will develop these further in the races after, such as Miami and Imola. It is important that we continue the speed of these developments.”
No major updates are expected at Ferrari. Team boss Fred Vasseur made that known earlier in conversation with media, including RacingNews365, how they have adjusted their development path to take on Red Bull.
“We have some updates coming, but not in Baku,” he confirmed. “There we have a low downforce package and also because of the Sprint it is a difficult weekend for the updates.”
Of all the teams in desperate need to turn around their start to the season, it is McLaren. They will bring their first updates of the season after the team missed development targets over the winter, which contributed to much of their troubled start.
CEO Zak Brown indicated back then that the team’s progress was not on track: “We set a number of targets for the development of the car, which we did not meet.
Technical Director Andrea Stella talks about a three-step plan: “We have three moments where we are going to look at the development of the car. This will happen in Baku, before the summer break and after the summer break. We hope to gain a few tenths each time.”
Among other things, there is already talk of a ‘B-spec’ car. This will undoubtedly focus on developing the floor of the car, as that is where the most time can be gained today because of the ground effect.
Aston Martin has already made a big step compared to last year, but there are still some updates in the pipeline.
Team boss Mike Krack reflected on their performance so far after Australia: “We have come very far in a short time and that shows how quickly situations can change.”
However, there will be no major update in Baku confirmed Krack: “We have some new parts for Baku, Imola, Montreal and Silverstone.”
This is because the team has decided to go through smaller updates race by race, rather than come up with a big update package.
Alfa Romeo, Haas, AlphaTauri, Williams
Of these teams, it is as yet unknown exactly what updates they will bring with them to Baku, except that there is a good chance that they too will bring a special low downforce package.