The belated F1 2020 Season Review

Constructors Review of F1 2020

Mercedes

13 Wins

25 Podiums
15 Pole Positions
8 Fastest Laps
1 DNF
573 Points
Championship Position: 1st
Average Rating Rank: 1st

Average Rating: 8.81

Fresh on the heels of six successive Constructors Championship, the challenge remained the same for Mercedes: continuing their dominance and being the team to beat. In 2020, they arguably produced the best F1 car ever taking the 5fasest lap record in Monza, leading 82.9% of all racing laps, 15 pole positions, winning13 races. Unquestionably, they won the Constructors Championship for an unprecedented and record-breaking 7th successive time by a mammoth 254 points. The margin was such they could have won it with only Lewis Hamilton’s points alone. After how long they have been successful now in the hybrid era, it must be admired how they keep pushing themselves and delivering year on year but this was arguably one of the best cars in F1 history. What prevents it from being a more perfect score is the odd mishaps. For example, the pit stop blunders at the Sakhir Grand Prix that denied them and George Russell a victory and the pit wall confusion that led to Hamilton’s penalty at Monza but despite those hiccups, they were by far and away the best Constructors of 2020.

Racing Point

1 Win
4 Podiums
1 Pole Position
0 Fastest Laps
7 DNF
1 DNS
195 Points
Championship Position: 4th
Average Rating Ranking: 2nd
Average Rating: 7.56

Racing Point were the biggest improvers from 2019 jumping from 7th in the Constructors to 4th and just missing out on 3rd. Their close relationship with Mercedes came under the microscope at the start fo the year with their car being pubbed the pink Mercedes given how close it looked like the 2019 Mercedes. The car got them in trouble with,early-season protests led by Renault and ultimately docked 15 points by the FIA. That would prove costly as they missed out on third but it was still a very positive season for them. They were hit more than most by Covid, calling on super-sub Nico Hulkenberg for three races but they were coming strong towards the end of the year with four podiums in the final four races including the first win for the Silverstone based team since 2003. As they move to Aston Martin, 2021 will be a big year. Have they made a mistake in disposing of Sergio Perez’s services and will they get enough out of Sebastian Vettel?

McLaren

0 Wins
2 Podiums
Best Finish: 2nd (x1)
Best Qualifying: 3rd (x2)
3 Fastest Laps
3 DNF
1 DNS
202 Points
Championship Position: 3rd
Average Rating Rank: 3rd
Average Rating: 7.53

It was a strong season for McLaren in their final year of Renault powered engines as they built on their 4th place finish in 2019. They started the season very brightly with a podium in the first race and another in Monza. The driver pairing of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz were closely matched and their increased levels of performance helped them greatly in their battle against Renault and Racing Point despite their rivals securing more podiums and wins. That consistency is something they will hope to build on with Mercedes engines in 2021. I am excited to see how ow that goes with Mclaren, They could well be back.

Renault

0 Wins
3 Podiums
Best Finish: 2nd (x1)
Best Qualifying: 4th (x1)
2 Fastest Laps
5 DNF
181 Points
Championship Position: 5th
Average Rating Ranking: 4th
Average Rating: 7.44

After pre-season testing in Barcelona, Renault were tupped as a potential dark horse for 2020 and while their Championship position did not change, it was a definitive improvement. After a relatively quiet start to the season, Renault soon improved and picked up three podiums during the season. Where’s your tattoo, Cyril? With 181 points to their name, it was their best points return since returning to the sport in 2016 and with three podium finishes under their belt they have a solid foundation for their rebranding to Alpine in 2021 and the incoming arrival of Fernando Alonso to replace Daniel Ricciardo.

Red Bull

2 Wins
13 Podiums
1 Pole Position
3 Fastest laps
6 DNF
319 Points
Constructors Championship:2nd,
Average Ranking Ranking: 5th
Average Ranking: 7.41

Red Bull were the nearest challengers on their day to Mercedes, at least in the hands of Max Verstappen. The difference between what the drivers could put together and the aims of the team perhaps helps explain why Red Bull were ranked only 5th of the teams in their average ranking. Reliability did not help Max Verstappen and hindered his chances but some of the race executions were poor. When Mercedes looked second best in Turkey, that Grand Prix fell from them with Racing Point taking pole position. That said, we do look set for a more competitive start to 2021 with Red Bull posing a real threat in the closing three rounds and a very strong performance in Abu Dhabi; where they ended six years of Mercedes dominance. Could they go better in 2021 with a more established line up that finished 3rd and 4th?

 

Alpha Tauri

1 Win
1 Podium
Best Qualifying: 4th (x1)
0 Fastest Laps
5 DNF
107 Points
Championship Position: 7th
Average Rating Ranking: 6th
Average Rating: 7.41

I was impressed with Alpha Tauri in 2020. They were consistent points scorers with probably the 6th or 7th quickest car and on their day were well clear of Ferrari. The Red Bull sister team had a car finish in the top 10 in 15 of the 17 races and broke past the 100 point barrier for the first time and 32 points up on their final tally as Toro Rosso. However, they still finished 7th and that can largely be put down to the performances of Charles Leclerc at Ferrari and the fact that racing Point made such a huge gain in performance. It was a good season for Alpha Tauri and they had their day at Monza where they celebrated only their first race win since 2008 which was also at Monza. The consistency in scoring points is something they will look to build on in 2021.

Scuderia Ferrari

0 Wins
3 Podiums
Best Finish: 2nd (x1)
Best Qualifying: 4th (x4)
0 Fastest laps
6 DNF
131 Points
Championship Position: 6th
Average Rating Ranking: 7th
Average Rating: 6.59

Ferrari were the nearest challengers to Mercedes for large parts of 2019 but 2020 was a painful year for the Scuderia who in terms of relative pace, went backwards. The question is what was in the agreement they came to with the FIA regarding their engines after they were investigated at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. It was not just in the engine where they were lacking but across the board. Ferrari did seem to make progress at times last year as shown by their 3rd and 4th place finish in wet conditions in Turkey but the fundamental belief now is that it will not be until 2022 when they could challenge for the championship again.

Alfa Romeo

Best Finish: 9th (x1)
Best Qualifying: 8th (x1)
0 Fastest Laps
4 DNF
8 Points
Championship Position: 8th
Average Rating Ranking: 8th
Average Rating: 6.41

It was a difficult 2020 for Alfa Romeo as they struggled for points scoring results compared to what they managed in 2019. In 2019, their cars had 13 points-scoring finishes, in 2020 it was down to five, scoring 8 points compared to 2019’s 53. Despite that downturn in points, they did not lose ground in the Championship position; finishing 8th for the second successive year. Ferrari power put them at a disadvantage to most of the midfield ahead and on their day, their drivers were ahead of a works Ferrari indicating their car was not as bad as the points tally suggests. That said, they were comfortably ahead of the two other teams behind them; Haas and Williams. With them keeping the Raikkonen and Giovonazzi lineup for a third successive year, could they use that continuity to get closer to the rest of the midfield?

Williams

Best Finish: 11th (x4)
Best Qualifying: 12th (x2)
7 DNF
0 Points
Championship Position: 10th
Average Rating Ranking: 9th
Average Rating: 6.29

Finishing on zero points, it may be surprising to see Williams not being placed bottom in this list. While that is worse than their 2019 return (1 point), it does not reflect on the wider efforts of the team. Williams actually made strides in 2020. They were closer to the teams ahead of them than they were in 2019 and got both cars into Q2 for the first time since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix in Hungary. That presented them with more opportunities to score points but for various reasons, it didn’t happen. Did enough cars retire? Did they manage their races well? It is clear though that Williams are improving in my eyes and there will hopefully be more chances for them score points in 2021.

Haas

Best Finish: 9th (x1)
Best Qualifying: 14th (x1)
0 Fastest Laps
10 DNF
3 Points
Championship Position: 9th
Average Rating Ranking: 10th
Average Rating: 6.09

‘We are not doing any development on this car’. Those were the words of Gunther Steiner after the Spanish Grand Prix in August as he indicated all focus was on the development of their 2021 car. At that stage, Haas had quite easily one of the slowest cars on the grid and had only collected points in Hungary after a late call to start on the Intermediate tyres. That was was typified has in 2020, they looked to do an alternative strategy wherever they could as put simply they did not have the pace. After not developing their car at all, it was clear by the end of the 2020 campaign that they had the worst car and their average rating ranking I think reflects that.

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