Sebastian Vettel is to use a new chassis for this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix as the Formula One season enters its European leg, but the team insist the change was scheduled rather than being made due to the champion’s difficult start to 2014.
After a problematic pre-season testing programme, the RB10 has proven to be one of the strongest cars in the field during the fly-away races, enjoying superior aerodynamic performance and challenging for the front row at every event. Although they sit 97 points adrift of championship leaders Mercedes, upgrades to both the chassis and Renault’s power-unit should give them a chance to fight with Mercedes in the upcoming races.
“Sebastian will get a new chassis for Barcelona, which was scheduled at the start of the season and then the next one will be for Dan, some time around Silverstone,” said the team’s Chief Designer, Rob Marshall.
Chassis changes such as this occur frequently over the course of a season, mainly through improvements seen in the wind tunnel and occasionally due to a defect, as seen on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari following the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“From our point of view we’d rather give them one or two new chassis during the season that we have been able to check out in the factory using various testing methods,” added Marshall.
“Normally we make four or five chassis during the year, maybe six, so it wouldn’t be unusual for each driver to change at least once or twice during the year. Normally they would use at least two.”