Most Improved Team So Far (Best Development)

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    We are into the second half of the season now, with another 1-2 for Red Bull. A lot of people assumed that McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes et al would catch up to Red Bull by this point because they are all seasoned teams who are better at in-season development. It turns out that the top order is about the same as what it was at the beginning of the year – except that Mercedes have slipped further down, Renault have improved and Ferrari are up and down.

    Red Bull have really excelled at in-season development, more than what most people gave them credit for. Does this mean that they are now a permanent ‘top team’ member , and no longer a flash in the pan? Which team has developed the best, and worst?

    A quick look at each team so far:

    McLaren: Started the year on top and with the second fastest car, but with some luck going their way are first at the moment. 2 1-2’s and a double podium in the last 3 races. Started the season with the F-Duct, blown diffuser didn’t work, Valencia update worked out ok. Horrible qualifying for JB today and an unstable car – are they beginning to go backwards?

    Red Bull: Fastest car all year. Started with the blown diffuser, introduced the F-Duct rather quickly but had problems with it. Constantly updating and staying on top. Dropping points because of bad luck and incidents. Have not seen the reliability gremlins that many predicted.

    Ferrari: Started strong, with neither an F-Duct or blown diffuser coming in 1-2 in the first race. Alonso consistently qualifying well and finishing in the points (which has kept him very close in the title fight). Massa moving backwards. Introduced the F-duct early. Valencia updates bought about worst result of the year. Much hyped updates seem to be disappointing. Not developing as quickly as what their history and potential would indicate. Only have a few races to salvage a championship fight

    Mercedes: Many tipped the old Brawn team to be a top-2 or top-3 team at the worst (many on this blog tipped them to be on top this year). Disappointing all-round. Radical airbox update did nothing, drivers complaining about the car. Only two podium finishes, at the second and third race (both from Nico). Moving backwards and development has been random, almost like they have their fingers crossed with every new update.

    Renault: More front wing updates than any other team. Jumped on the F-Duct quickly. Constant refinement has seen constant improvement from Kubica. Started the year as the 5/6th best team, in the middle of the mid-pack, but now clearly lead the ‘best of the rest’ race. Would be a WCC top-3 candidate were it not for Petrov and his inexperience (if they had a second driver as good as Kubica – or at least as consistent, they would be third). Have out-developed Mercedes, Force India and Williams.

    The Mid Pack: FI, Williams, Torro Rosso and BMW Sauber. Sauber have made great improvements in the last 3 races, going from being last in this lot with one driver out in Q1, to Kobayashi’s performance at Valencia and now a Q1 qualifying session at Silverstone. Have developed the best out of this lot. Torro Rosso have moved backwards. Williams have disappointed, again.

    New Teams: Big improvements over times set at Bahrain, Lotus looking the best in terms of ongoing development as well.

    So who do you all think is winning the development race this year? I think Red Bull deserves a lot of credit for not only starting out with the fastest car, but managing to keep it there through constant and consistent updates to their package, with only a few problems (like the new nose today, F-Duct in Turkey). McLaren have developed well, while Ferrari and Mercedes are not up to standard in terms of development. Surprise package: Renault (completely new team, doing great – most ppl have forgotten about crashgate)



    Red Bull seem to update the car this year and stay fast without making a huge thing about it. Everyone has been trying to copy their exhaust design and it hasn’t paid off.



    If Virgin Racing (designed by Wirth Research) can pull themselves up the rankings using CFD alone for aero development then this would surely be the biggest advancement for the sport. It’s a big ask, especially as I think they are running on a much lower budget than the other teams, but it’s not without precedent. The Acura ARX Le Mans prototype was designed by Wirth using CFD. In their first ALMS season Acura finished more than a hundred points behind the winning constructor, in their second season they were beaten into second by one point and in their third season they won by 70 points. Last month they won the LMP2 class at Le Mans. If they could mimic that in F1 well…..



    Nik, you are clearly carrying a bias, i’d go so far as to say it favours Redbull to the point of denial, but thats fine, I myself am a massive McLaren fan and I’m sure it regularly clouds my judgement. Point is, would you care to declare that bias and attempt to remove it when making posts because lines like “[Redbull]Have not seen the reliability gremlins that many predicted” rather destroys the crediblity of the rest of your post (also, Redbull were the last big team to introduce an F-Duct, Maybe your thinking of Ferrari?). Also don’t let your bias for Redbull cloud other teams progres, that also looks silly.


    Ferrari, second fastest in Bahrain, but it became clear their cars performance is highly circuit specific, suffered due to there distraction by the F-Duct an their development, like the car has been reactive not innovative, coupled with a faliure to pick the right battles it’s taken till Silverstone to adress a fundementally quick cars deficiencies, Turkey being the defining example. Essentially third on pace since Malaysia Alonso has been carrying the team, remains to be seen whether they can now stay ahead of McLaren after McLarens Silverstone upgrade debacle.

    Redbull, have lost an obscene amount of points through reliability an swervegate, but yet their car has been undoubtably the fastest thing in F1, all round since the begining of the season. However while there quali pace is phenomenal, Spain Q3 was really quite scary, McLaren an Ferrari have usually been there in the race, in Turkey McLaren was fundementally faster, an this was not the case in Spain. Some of this has been down to illegaly shaped suspension being removed and some of this was due to a faster rate of development from McLaren. However while McLaren have caught Redbull in many ways, Redbull have remained ahead by foucusing inferior recources intelligently, they introduced the F-Duct last of the big four, an nearly last of all, yet when it came online it worked, an without it, they just kept on getting faster by working on the most important things, have really shown up Ferrari approach.

    McLaren, start of season, clear third on pace, throughout the fly aways, worrying defficiency in quali trim. Spain outqualify Ferrari, Turkey, faster than Redbull in race trim an leave ferrari in the dust along with Redbull. That is relentless improvment. However, they’ve bitten of more than they can chew at Silverstone, Valencia was were they really proved it though, without an upgrade still they were second. This new upgrade is a huge rebuild of there rear packaging, it’s a huge amount tighter, but their suspension is in the way, it’s the first time they’ve stalled since Germany 09, I suspect there back in third for Silverstone due mainly the disruption this upgrade has caused. Certainly the most improved team till before this weekend, basically judgement must be reserved till Hockenheim, but it must be admitted that they rushed the upgrade an suffered for it here. On the otherhand, looking at the upgrade, how much further does it look like they’ve gone compared to Ferrari, huh?

    Merc, well they’ve started with a bad car, an they;ve never been more than fourth. Not a fantastic return all round. Howeverchanging hands is an upheaval an next year is when judgements can be made.

    Renault, just wow, if they’d started off with a decent car they could well be in it, hard to know how well they’d do starting from a higher benchmark “the last second is always the hardest”. Certainly annihalated their rival for the year, ie FI, an they’ve made Mercedes the new prey, bvery impressed.



    “swervegate” best name I;vbe heard for it yet.

    Mclaren or RBR. Mclaren for sheer effort because they were well off in Bahrain and yet now they’re leading the title with a mostly competitive car.

    RBR because fastest car has stayed that way.

    Lack of testing though has made it that the three big teams have all been held back and lost valuable time with development which is quite fascinating.



    My team so far have to be Red Bull, Mclaren & Ferrari, but looking at Silverstone’s performance I think that Red Bull have gone a step forward with Ferrari catching Mclaren.

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