Formula 1 | 2022/2021 comparison: Which F1 team has improved the most in a year? (Part 1)

Formula 1’s new aerodynamic regulations for 2022 have, as expected, upended the hierarchy within the discipline. Instead of Mercedes, Ferrari are fighting Red Bull for the world title this season, although the team from Milton Keynes have now taken a very good lead.

But beyond the feeling, it is interesting to look, from an accounting point of view, at what the statistics say, comparing the situation of the teams in the summer vacation 2021, with their current situation.

The increase in the number of races this year is taken into account in our calculations. In 2022, there were 13 Grands Prix before the summer break (two sprint races). In 2021 it was 11 (a speed race). We therefore assign a multiplier of 0.83 to neutralize this differential in our comparisons (and round to the nearest whole number), in order to establish a correct comparison point at the start of the summer break, which marks a clear stage in F1.

Team by team comparison…

Red Bull: from 291 points (2021) // up to 357 points (2022). Or + 23%.

A good quarter more points in a year – that’s the flattering stage point we can get for Red Bull. Without reaching the spectacular progression of Ferrari (see below), this clear progress is the result of three factors.

First, and of course, Red Bull was rewarded for its insight into the new aerodynamic regulations of 2022. Adrian Newey had seen porpoise above all, from which Red Bull suffered much less than Mercedes. This is despite the development of F1 2022 being deliberately scaled back last year as Milton Keynes prioritized the fight against Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton.

Second factor that explains this progress: Sergio Pérez, much more comfortable, at least at the beginning of the season, with this regulation. The Mexican also signed great results for the team. Finally, third and final factor: the high-flying form shown by Max Verstappen who seems at the top of his game, with great composure. In these conditions, everything was ready to keep moving forward, while Red Bull was already starting from quite a height.

Ferrari: 163 points (2021) // up to 277 points (2022). OR + 70%

Among the first teams, this is undoubtedly the most spectacular progression. Of course, it is easier to move forward when you start from the bottom… But nevertheless, we must also reward the Scuderia with a successful development this winter (and even well in advance) to prepare for this new aerodynamic regulations.

However, in reality, this spectacular increase, which Mattia Binotto continues to welcome, should not be the tree that spoils the forest of waste for Ferrari: among the errors of strategy, those of the drivers, and with very little reliability, the Scuderia. could and should have registered an even greater increase. To progress and raise the bar in the second half of the season, the Scuderia must also, and perhaps above all, see the glass as half empty.

Mercedes: from 303 points (2021) // up to 251 points (2022). Or – 17%.

A 17% drop? barely? Well yes: Mercedes has managed, frankly, to limit the damage in this first half of the year. If our sentiments estimated a loss well beyond 17%, perhaps it is due to the shock or psychological effect created by the end of Mercedes’ dominance in F1.

Last year, the German team chased titles, this year it is difficult for them to chase podiums, especially at the beginning of the season. However, what saves Mercedes, beyond the small advance of the car, is also and above all unfailing reliability and operational efficiency. Ferrari has thus signed as many podiums as Mercedes, with a much better F1! This says it all for both the success of the “furniture rescue” operation at Mercedes, and the litany of waste next to Maranello…

McLaren: from 163 points (2021) // up to 79 points (2022). OR – 48%.

The addition is as salty as it is easy for McLaren: the team scored half as many points in 2022 as in 2021 at the same time. Although Woking showed strong ambitions for this year, the regulatory change appears to have been poorly negotiated. At the end of 2022, the addition could even be very high at the end, since this comparison does not include the double Monza 2021 at the start. However, it should also be remembered that fears were much greater at the start of the year, following the stressful winter tests.

This decline still raises questions about McLaren’s competitiveness, at least in the short term: especially with an aging wind tunnel, can the team really aim to continue their progress? Message sent to Oscar Piastri by Alpine without a doubt!

Alpine: 77 points (2021) // up to 82 points (2022). Or + 7%.

“El Plan” advances, but not with boots of seven places… The statistics confirm this general impression of a satisfactory season, nothing more, on the part of Enstone and Viry.

However, this comparison should still encourage rather than disappoint Alpine: because it includes the 37 points scored by Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Thus, the comparison at the end of 2022 could be more favorable. Alpine seems therefore more regular to continue its progress, without haste… Who goes slowly goes safely?

The comparison: stage point in the summer break, after the 2021 and 2022 Hungarian GP.

Red Bull: from 291 points (2021) // up to 357 points (2022). Or + 23%.

Ferrari: 163 points (2021) // up to 277 points (2022). OR + 70%

Mercedes: from 303 points (2021) // up to 251 points (2022). OR – 17%.

McLaren: from 163 points (2021) // up to 79 points (2022). OR – 48%.

Alpine: 77 points (2021) // up to 82 points (2022). Or + 7%.

The rest, tomorrow at Nextgen-Auto with the second part of the table.

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