Dr Helmut Marko has indicated that his Red Bull team will be going against the grain in Imola by bringing an upgrade despite having only one hour of practice before Friday qualifying,
For the first time in 2022, Formula 1 will undertake a sprint event at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, with qualifying taking place on Friday before a short race on Saturday dictates the starting grid for Sunday.
The top eight will all receive points during the 100km sprint, and every points is indispensable for Red Bull as they try and get back on track following a litany of reliability problems in the early part of the season.
Compounding the three reliability failures between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez has been the fact that the Red Bull car is thought to be sitting at 813kg, five heavier than Ferrari.
But Dr Marko recently suggested that Red Bull’s excess of the 798kg limit might be as much as 10kg more than their Italian counterparts, and they are thought to be introducing an upgrade in Italy this weekend that should help them lose weight and gain over two tenths in lap time.
Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has revealed that his team do not intend to implement any changes this weekend owing to the fact that highly restricted testing time will be available to them.
And it is not as though they can dispense of something that does not work and simply try something else, because the teams are all working on a $14 million budget this season, which needs to be shared between freight, upgrades, reliability, damage repairs and more.
But having fallen 49 points behind Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship after Verstappen’s wretched misfortune in two of the opening three rounds of the year, Dr Marko knows his team have to try something daring to get back in the fight.
“Ferrari has such a complex package that is easy to coordinate, everything has to be right so that we can counteract it. That’s exactly why we take this risk of bringing new parts with just one practice session,” he told RTL.
“We want to attack fully and see it our chance instead of just waiting. Ferrari and Leclerc are too strong for that.”
The Austrian is hopeful that Red Bull can achieve “some saving in weight,” but warns that it is not an easy undertaking.
“Like with people that doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a lengthy process, because we’re a lot overweight, at least significantly more than Ferrari,” he explained.
“If we get close to Barcelona, If we get to Ferrari’s level, we’re actually quite satisfied.”
It remains relatively ambiguous who might be bringing what to Imola, but Emerson Fittipaldi has tipped McLaren to continue their upwards trajectory after a stuttering start to the year and involve themselves in the podium fight with Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.