Which of the F1 Teams has improved the most over winter?

The first race of the 2021 Formula 1 season was very exciting and had some incredible stories in it. Starting with Perez who went from last to fifth in an impressive comeback! Even though Mercedes won the Grand Prix and many people might say it was foreseeable, the weekend also revealed some weaknesses of the Mercedes car while the Red Bull car looked on the soft tyres almost unbeatable but had a harder time on the medium tyres. Also AlphaTauri looked quite strong during FP and Qualifying with Gasly starting on 5th position and Ferrari seemed to be quick again after a horrible season 2020.

In order to understand, which of the constructors improved their car setup the most, let’s take a look at qualifying times of the 2020 Bahrain GP and the 2021 Bahrain GP.

Laptime distribution in Q3

Due to some changes in the car aero-design, the laptimes were not as fast as in 2020.

Improvements per constructor

The aero changes (and maybe also other circumstances like wind, track temp., etc.) caused slower lap times in 2021 – but which of the constructors was able to minimize this disadvantages and benefit of it? Following graphic shows the delta between the best laptime achieved in qualifying in 2020 vs. 2021:

It clearly shows that Ferrari could improve outstandingly compared to the other teams while also Alfa Romeo, Red Bull, AlphaTauri and McLaren managed to minimize the disadvantages in terms of aerodynamics. The other 5 teams could not take the full potential, which – in case of Mercedes – hopefully leads to an exciting battle for the championship. Of course, there is also the driver component in it which makes it not quite compareable, but assuming that at least one of the drivers could take 100% out of the car’s potential makes this graphic work.

Find the data + Jupyter Notebook on Kaggle:

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