Ferrari finishes third in the championship, Mercedes second, Red Bull first dominating. This succinctly summarizes the 2023 racing campaign. The new era of F1, characterized by wing cars, has seen only one team credited with the final victory since the pre-season tests in Bahrain, an aeromechanical masterpiece forged by the brilliant mind of Adrian Newey.
During the last two years, there have been 38 victories for the Austrian team out of a total of 44 races, 26 out of 28 in 2023, considering the F1 Sprints as well. That’s a 92%. The only two setbacks in the just-concluded championship were caused by Carlos Sainz in Singapore and Oscar Piastri in the mini-races in Qatar. The Spaniard and the Australian took advantage of the wrong setup of the Red Bull at Marina Bay and the best weekend of the 2023 McLaren in Losail.
With today’s analysis, we will try to provide an overview of the gaps in Sunday races and sprint races. Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin will be compared to Red Bull. Gaps compared to the reigning world champions in qualifying will also be examined, a context in which Max and Checo left “greater joys” to their opponents.
Gap Analysis 2033/Race: McLaren improves from mid-season, Aston Martin inconsistent
The following graph shows on the ordinate (vertical axis) the gap from Red Bull in each race. At first glance, a peak highlighting Ferrari’s victory in Singapore is noticeable. In some races, the marker for a team may be missing, meaning the cars were lapped. Concerning performance, the most consistent cars are Ferrari and Mercedes, challengers in the duel for the second position in the constructor’s championship.
On the contrary, the performance of McLaren and Aston Martin is at opposite ends. The British teams “passed the baton” of performances during this championship. The papaya-colored cars, after a declared slow start to the season, brought several updates capable of enhancing performance on tracks with many high-speed turns.
Meanwhile, the Silverstone team gradually weakened after the home race, offering performances not up to the level of the first part of the championship. The reasons are known: wrong updates that caused the loss of the correct working point of the “green car,” making them unable to improve performance as other teams were able to do.
Melbourne, Silverstone, and Zandvoort ended under Safety Car conditions, so the gap between the cars is reduced, while the performances in Spa and Budapest highlight the supremacy of the Milton Keynes cars on high-load circuits where the ability to express aerodynamic efficiency matters.
Gap Analysis 2033/Qualifying: Ferrari SF-23 and Mercedes W14 capable of taking pole from RB19
Qualifying sessions represented the meager consolations that Red Bull pursuers achieved. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc showed they had a car skilled in one-lap pace but unable to carry the goodness shown in qualifying into the race. The main problem for the red cars was tire wear, an aspect that has limited the performance of Maranello’s cars for several seasons.
We must undoubtedly remember Lewis Hamilton’s masterpiece in Hungary, where he beat Verstappen by just 3 thousandths in one of the circuits most suitable for RB19. Regarding Red Bull, it is worth emphasizing, among the many poles conquered, Max’s great performance in Monaco, starting from pole by kissing all the walls in the third sector. The major problems for the Austrian team came in Singapore, where both cars failed to reach Q3.
The qualifying performance was much more fluctuating for Aston Martin. After a consistent first part of the season, with a car in Q3 every weekend until Monza, there were 8 races, the last ones of the championship, where the AMR23 could not access the last section of qualifying.
Gap Analysis 2033/Sprint Weekend: McLaren exploits the package to the fullest in the mini-races
Finally, let’s observe the gap compared to Red Bull during Sprint weekends. In the center of the graph related to the 100 km mini-races, there is a peak representing Piastri’s victory over McLaren in the Qatar race. We also notice an MCL60 very close to the Milton Keynes team in Brazil and at Spa-Francorchamps, while in Spielberg, the RB19 was able to provide a significant difference.
The gap was also very small in Baku, where between Ferrari, Mercedes, and the world champions, only a few seconds danced. As we can see from the graphs, the red car, in the 100 km race on Saturday, never managed to deliver an outstanding performance. The final gap from Red Bull, in fact, even considering the reduced mileage of the practice, was always around 20 seconds.
In the last graph, we see the only “sprint pole” brought home by the team led by Frederic Vasseur. We are talking about the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. In this competitive context, Leclerc had teased with an excellent first position on Saturday, gained thanks to excellent speed on long straights combined with sensational traction in 90° turns. Good performances in the Sprint Shootouts for McLaren, where in Qatar and Brazil, it was even faster than Red Bull, securing the pole.
Source: Formula Uno Analisi Tecnica