Ferrari and Honda crawl back time over the winter; Mercedes loses a lot of ground

With the rule changes for 2021, the intention was that the cars would be slower for this season. However, the expectation was that the teams would regain much of this lost time in their development. For some reason, that hasn’t happened yet in Bahrain. However, one team loses a lot more than the other.

The floor, which is now cut out to reduce downforce, Pirelli tyres that still have a little less grip and perhaps the weather conditions all play a part in the fact that all the teams were a lot slower in qualifying last Saturday than they were at the Bahrain GP a few months ago.

Engine updates and high rake critical

With these race weekends so close together, a comparison gives a good idea of how the teams have developed over the winter. From this you could conclude that Ferrari has gained the most time. They came a long way, of course, but given the fact that Alfa Romeo is also doing well, we can assume that they have recovered some of the engine power lost in 2020.

The same goes for Red Bull’s teams with their Honda engines. Both Red Bull Racing and AlphaTauri have chassis that do well within the new guidelines, but engine power is undoubtedly a factor here too.

The big losers are Alpine, Mercedes and Aston Martin. All three teams that in recent years have made little or no use of Red Bull’s ‘high rake’ concept. The theory that these teams will be hit harder by the new floor therefore seems to hold water.

Times compared to Bahrain 2020

Ferrari +0.541
Alfa Romeo +1.217
Red Bull Racing +1.319
AlphaTauri +1.361
McLaren +1.385
Alpine +1.778
Williams +2.022
Mercedes +2.121
Aston Martin +2.279
Haas +2.338

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