It's time for a shake up on the plain in Spain. This weekend we go to Catalunya for the first of the European races. It should be very interesting with in particular McLaren and Renault making significant changes to their cars.
Renault begins with a very aggressive development strategy in Spain, according to Alan Permane, head of track side operations. They are now into action in full force on the RS-16 car and intend bringing its development to a much higher level very quickly. I am sure they can put their money where their mouth is!
On the McLaren side the MP4-31 has evolved very well as far as chassis is concerned and although there is more to come on that side we can expect a boost from Honda in the engine department very soon.
The rest of the field will also be further down the development lane in Spain.
Ferrari again should be Mercedes’s chief rival and we can only hope that Sebastien Vettel’s luck will change so that the full force of Maranello’s Prancing Horse can be felt. I believe that most of the excitement will come from the Mercedes-Ferrari challenge and new blood at Red Bull with Max Verstappen taking the place of Daniil Kvyat as they swap places.
The qualifying on Saturday and the racing on Sunday will answer the truth of the story. High on the agenda at the moment are the changes that are going to take place for the new season next year and I am going to devote some time to this now.
Although the cars next year will not have a fundamental change in formula, there will be a number of detail changes to their regulation, which should make them a lot faster and more spectacular.
First of all the width of the cars is going to increase as well as bigger tyres all round. There is also an increase in the size of wings and the diffuser or 'sucker' which expels as much air as possible from underneath the car.
Will the changes lead to more interesting racing and overtaking? That is the question.
There is much controversy over this and for instance Mercedes in the name of Toto Wolff and McLaren representative Eric Boullier differ strongly on this. Boullier believes that racing will be better, Wolff says it won’t.
Whatever will be, will be, but the cars will almost definitely knock seconds of the present lap records and look more aggressive and exciting.
This weekend’s races start with qualifying on Saturday at 1.50pm on SS6 with the main race this Sunday (15th) at 2pm, also on SS6.
We are now into the thick of the season with Monaco, only a fortnight away.
Here's a fun Quiz to test your Spanish Grand Prix knowledge.