Binotto reveals plans for Imola upgrades as Red Bull poised to go ‘on par’ with Ferrari

The development race is set to become a fascinating one as Formula 1 heads into the European season.

Much of the talk in Formula 1 in recent weeks has been that of upgrades as we venture into the European season, but it is now understood that Ferrari will not be bringing anything major as was first anticipated.

Recent reports have suggested that Ferrari’s car sits at around 208kg, five heavier than Mercedes and Red Bull, but adviser for the latter, Dr Helmut Marko, has sine indicated that his team may be up to 10kg heavier than the Scuderia.

In a bid to counteract the excess weight on the car, Red Bull are planning an upgrade that could improve their lap time by just over two tenths of a second, and the Austrian is confident that, if it works, they can diminish their pace deficit to championship leaders Ferrari.

“We will indeed be entitled to an evolution at Imola,” Dr Marko told

“If it works as well as the first one and if we can reduce the weight, we can put a package on par with Ferrari.”

What the Milton Keynes side are desperate for though is reliability, and Max Verstappen labelled his two reliability-related retirements in the opening three rounds of the year “unacceptable.”

Despite being significantly faster than Mercedes, Red Bull trail the Silver Arrows by 10 points in the Constructors’ Standings, leading Auto Motor und Sport journalist Michael Schmidt to affirm that “the championship train has left without Red Bull.

In a bid to understand why the Dutchman’s engine gave out on him in Australia last weekend, Schmidt confirms that it has been sent back to the Honda engineers for examination.

“They have sent the engine to Japan. That’s where they’re going to see if it’s broken,” he added.

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Red Bull appear to have eradicated the “porpoising” that has been brought about by the new ground effect aerodynamics due to the upgrades they introduced between the pre-season tests in Barcelona and Bahrain.

“There they won two seconds and had solved porpoising in one go,” Schmidt explained.

If the upgrade they are planning to bring to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix has the same effectiveness, it could well signal the beginning of their fightback in 2022.

There will only be one practice session in Imola due to Friday qualifying as F1 embarks on its first sprint event of the season, so Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto indicates that his team will hold off on significant upgrades having been touted to arrive at the track in just under two weeks with a lighter car.

“Imola is not the right weekend to bring upgrades,” he said, as quoted by the Italian edition of

“We have decided to not bring anything significant. We are working on porpoising as it has a small impact on performance in Melbourne.

“If we have something ready, we will try it in the practice session.”

Mercedes were anticipated to bring a new rear wing to Melbourne, but they too stuck with their original design, leaving intrigue as to what they may or may not bring to Italy.