The Williams team surely took a step ahead with their car being miles ahead of its predecessor the FW42, although they aren’t back to their best quite yet and are still running at the back of the Constructor’s championship with not even a single point. The FW42 was a horrible car and was “quite dangerous to drive” according to their driver George Russell. The car wasn’t even ready in time for the 2019 season testing and the aerodynamics package provided by Paddy Lowe was the worst on the grid.
2020 brought signs of relief for the Williams team as they were already 4 seconds ahead of last years’ time. The improved aero package enhanced the car, as George Russell started entering Q2 regularly. However, the team is still unable to perform on the track and hasn’t been able to convert track position into a point.
Haas F1 Team
The Haas F1 team took everyone by shock after taking 5th position in the Constructor’s championship in the 2018 season but took a huge step backwards after a disappointing VF-19 was unable to perform. It had a lot of problems such as the rear end sliding at almost every fast and long corner due to a lack of grip and downforce. It also proved to be very inconsistent as the car performed differently at similar circuits.
The VF-20 proved to be not a lot different than its predecessor as it seems to have the same problems. As one of the Haas drivers Romain Grosjean revealed, the rear suspension of the car gets overheated, which in turn creates aerodynamic turbulence making the rear end unstable. All of this combined with a weak Ferrari engine makes VF-20 the slowest car in qualifying and a car that is difficult to work with. Thus, we can say conclusively that Haas has made no progress from last year.
Alfa Romeo Sauber Racing
Alfa Romeo Sauber had a wonderful last season as it proved that it had made a strong car with Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi scoring an impressive 57 points in the C39. IN 2020, They had a strong start as Kimi Raikkonen became a regular points finisher in the first half of the season. They also finished 4th and 5th, which was their highest team finish in the recent seasons.
However, the C40 is underperforming a lot this year. The car hasn’t been able to finish in points regularly and, as described by Kimi Raikkonen, “The car has a lot of potential, but no one knows how to unlock it.” Along with the underpowered Ferrari engine, Alfa Romeo have not taken a step ahead and remain 8th as they did last year.
Racing Point F1 BWT
Racing Point made one of the biggest jumps when it came to performance index. Last year, The RP19 struggled to make an impact as it finished in the top 5 only once while all of its rivals pulled away from the team. Last year’s car was underperforming, understeered excessively and the aero package proved to be underwhelming.
However, RP20 is an entirely different story. The RP20 completely copied the aerodynamic structure of last years’ championship-winning Mercedes team’s car, W10, hence earning itself the nickname ‘Pink Mercedes’. They also went on to copy brake ducts through online published images, which earned them a penalty by the FIA. This year the RP20 showed promise as it was the 2nd or the 3rd best car at almost every track. Although they lost their momentum in between due to ineffective upgrades on the chassis, they are favourites to finish third in the championship.
Alpha Tauri F1
Alpha Tauri has been one of the stronger midfield teams with consistent results being delivered by Pierre Gasly, who took the AT01 to heights that no one ever thought would be achieved. Last year, the STR14 took two podiums in Hockenheim and Interlagos, as the team went on to overachieve and score more points than Racing Point.
They looked to continue the momentum they had in the 2019 season and hence they built a car which was much easier to drive. The AT01 looks very similar to the RB15, Red Bull’s 2019 challenger. The chassis of the car looks like it is well designed, and the aerodynamics were slightly shifted from the ones that were in the RB15. The team took its second victory ever as Pierre Gasly drove a remarkable drive to clinch the victory at Monza, proving that the car has potential.
The R.S 19 was a massive disappointment as Renault’s 5-year plan of becoming World Champions after return failed massively, even after they acquired the services of Daniel Ricciardo. A massive front aero downforce problem along with a weak engine and bad reliability massively hurt the project.
This year, the R.S 20 was a noticeable improvement from its predecessor. The different aerodynamic structure chosen by the Renault team turned out to be effective as the car was 3rd fastest at some tracks. Renault have also seemed to work on their engine as it is much more reliable this year and is giving sufficient energy. The two podiums grabbed by Daniel Ricciardo at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and the Eifel Grand Prix brought the Renault team some relief as they now focus on 2022 with the new regulations coming in place to make the racing fairer.
McLaren have been having a good season so far. After a horrible 2018 car due to bad chassis and aerodynamic design, McLaren came back stronger than ever in 2019. Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris did an amazing job to help McLaren grab 4th position in the Constructors.
This year, McLaren Racing have done a slightly better job but their car seems to be very inconsistent. McLaren picked up its 1st podium of the season in the opening Austrian GP. The car looked strong as the rear end of the car behaved perfectly. However, as the season progressed, McLaren found that the front end was not getting enough grip, for which they even introduced a front wing with a different design in Mugello but it didn’t quite do the trick. The car still performs regardless of the front-end issues as Carlos and Lando aim to take P3 in the Constructors.
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull has had a season with ups and downs. The Red Bull car has been described by both drivers as well as Team Principal Christian Horner as a ‘difficult’ car to drive. While Max Verstappen is able to control the car and it somewhat suits his style, Alex Albon has been unable to replicate the same. As a result, Verstappen has been overperforming in the 3rd best or even at times the 4th best car. On the other hand, Albon has been struggling all season with the same car. It seems to have gathered a front suspension problem which wasn’t present last year, and which has resulted in a very high vibrating car. They have definitely taken a step forward with 2nd place in the championship sealed but are still very far from the top step that Mercedes continue to hog.
This was the headline at the start of pre-season testing. Ferrari had taken a huge step backwards when they came to pre-season testing this year. Their car was 7th fastest. A very weak engine developed by the Maranello outfit proved to be one of the many problems that the car is carrying. A poor aerodynamic layout along with a chassis which can’t support it meant that the car was having issues which would remain unsolved considering the fact that next year, the cars will have more or less the same engine and aerodynamic layout.
However, as the season progressed, Ferrari started developing the car around Charles Leclerc as Sebastian Vettel plans to leave next season. This resulted in Charles overperforming in every single race while Vettel struggled to get to grips. Ferrari struggled in the races which it won last year and demonstrated just how staggered their progress has been.
Mercedes has once again blown all of their competition away as they won their 7th drivers and Constructors title in a row. Their car was two seconds faster than every other car at the start of the season. They have been unbeatable and have won 12/14 races till now. Their car possesses the best aerodynamics along with the best engine. Along with all of this, they also developed the Dual Axis System or DAS for short, in which the steering wheel is moved inwards or outwards, which corrects the angle of the wheels, which helps in longer corners and also in warming up the tires. Although the car seemed to struggle under heat, Mercedes were quick to analyse the problem and managed to fix it.
Toto Wolff and his team managed to produce the fastest car Formula 1 has ever seen. They have been the best team in the sport for quite a while now and look to continue this trend in the following seasons as well.