In the middle of a three-week break between the opening two races of the 2021 season, we’ve rounded up all the biggest stories from the world of F1 from this week. 

Since F1 left Bahrain, here’s what’s been the talk of the paddock heading to the second round at Imola…

1. F1 wants sprint race plan finalised by Imola 

F1 is hopeful of finalising its sprint qualifying proposal in time for the next race at Imola, with the divisive shake-up to the weekend format set to be trailed at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos this year. 

Following lengthy discussions between the teams and F1’s bosses, a breakthrough agreement over a financial package has reportedly been made, paving the way for the plan to finally receive the green light. 

2. Allison swaps to new role in major Mercedes reshuffle 

Mercedes has announced a major reshuffle of its F1 technical department that will see current technical director James Allison move into a newly-created position of chief technical officer from 1 July. 

Mike Elliot will be promoted to takeover Allison's role after the latter steps away from his day-to-day responsibilities to concentrate on longer-term planning with F1's regulation overhaul on the horizon.

3. Mercedes fear Red Bull could keep speed advantage 

Mercedes is concerned that new rules on F1 development introduced for this year could make it impossible to overturn Red Bull’s early performance advantage.

Despite making a winning start to the season in Bahrain, Mercedes is convinced that it has no strengths over Red Bull this year, and the team fears it will be harder than ever to boost its competitiveness with the heavy restrictions on development.

4. Red Bull to push through car developments for Imola 

Red Bull says it will put as much performance as possible onto its RB16B in time for the next race at Imola to improve its 2021 F1 car. 

Its latest challenger held the edge over Mercedes at the opening round in Bahrain, but that hasn’t stopped Red Bull forging ahead with an aggressive development push in the three-week gap between races to extract more performance from its updated car. 

5. Aston Martin signs F1 ‘super-sub’ Hulkenberg as reserve driver 

Aston Martin has appointed Nico Hulkenberg as its F1 reserve and development driver for the rest of the 2021 season. 

After losing his last full-time F1 drive with Renault at the end of 2019, Hulkenberg acted as a super sub for the Aston team when it was known as Racing Point at three races in 2020 when its drivers were ruled out with positive COVID-19 tests. 

6. Grosjean has seat fitting ahead of farewell F1 test 

Romain Grosjean’s farewell F1 test has moved a step closer to happening after undergoing a recent seat fitting.

The former Haas driver is set to get a run out in one of Mercedes’ world championship-winning F1 cars to properly say goodbye to the sport. The Frenchman was forced to miss the final two races of his career due to the burn injuries he sustained in his horrific fiery crash at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix. 

 

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