We’ve change into accustomed to referring to the “huge three” groups in Components 1, however in 2020 that has change into the “huge two”. And such is the power of the midfield, we now have a four-squad battle for the coveted spot of P3 within the constructors’ championship. However which ones can be occupying that spot when the chequered flag is waved to finish the ultimate race of the season in Abu Dhabi? Let’s check out the contenders…
The favourites: Racing Level
Constructors’ championship place: third
Factors within the final 4 races: 50
Given the pace of their general bundle, which bears a putting resemblance to final yr’s all-conquering Mercedes, Racing Level ought to have had this battle received a very long time in the past and as a substitute been specializing in the battle for second with Purple Bull.
Nevertheless it’s straightforward to neglect that it is a midfield crew which might be extra used to punching above their weight and excelling with little quite than working like a well-resourced crew preventing on the entrance. For that, we should always give them some leeway, however something lower than P3 can be disappointment.
They’ve been damage by not one however each drivers getting Covid 19 this yr, forcing Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll to overlook two races and one race respectively.
And whereas Perez has made essentially the most of equipment each time he’s been behind the wheel – he’s the one driver aside from Lewis Hamilton to attain in each grand prix he’s competed on this yr – his crew mate Stroll not fairly been in a position to handle the identical stage of consistency, although at the least a part of that has been right down to reliability points with the automotive.
They need to be an actual pressure on each Bahrain layouts, which if each drivers ship to the automotive’s potential ought to push P3 out of attain of their rivals, however they’ve solely scored seven extra factors than their closest rivals within the final 4 races, to counsel it will be a really shut run factor.
The chief challenger: McLaren
Constructors’ championship place: 4th
Factors within the final 4 races: 43
Of all of the 4 contenders on this function, McLaren have the smallest assets to name upon, and but they’re Racing Level’s largest risk for P3, so environment friendly have they been operationally.
They’re aided by two racers are driving higher than ever. In Lando Norris, they’ve a driver who’s coming of age and delivering on potential, whereas Carlos Sainz’s expertise is constantly making the distinction, it doesn’t matter what situations he’s confronted with.
They’ve been out-developed considerably by these round them, however their core bundle stays stable and it’s clear they’ve in latest races been focusing rather a lot on their 2021 bundle given the elements they’ve been testing – such as a new nose concept.
Together with Renault, McLaren have scored 27% of their factors tally within the final 4 races in comparison with Racing Level’s 32%, however they are often buoyed by the actual fact they need to be aggressive in all three of the remaining races and are able to huge scores – they received 26 in Austria and 30 at Monza – each greater single race totals than any of their rivals have managed this yr.
The large risk: Renault
Constructors’ championship place: fifth
Factors within the final 4 races: 37
Since Belgium, Renault have been certainly one of F1 2020’s most spectacular outfits, at instances having the second finest automotive on the grid. Daniel Ricciardo has made essentially the most of it, scoring two podiums in three race – however Esteban Ocon has struggled, principally due to unreliability.
Their growth curve has been spectacular, the French producer seemingly unlocking the potential within the R.S.20 after an inconsistent begin to the yr, the yellow automobiles scoring double digit factors in six of the final eight Grands Prix.
They have been caught out by the bizarre situations in Turkey, nevertheless it’s virtually sure they’ll be again to their latest spectacular selves within the upcoming three races when F1 returns to extra acquainted climes.
Within the 4 races earlier than Turkey, that they had scored essentially the most factors with 52, versus 42 from Racing Level, 37 from Ferrari and 28 from McLaren, so count on them to be an actual risk for P3 – particularly with the shape Ricciardo is in.
The outsiders: Ferrari
Constructors’ championship place: sixth
Factors within the final 4 races: 56
Of the 4 groups in competition for P3, Ferrari are at the moment final, 24 factors adrift, however they’re the shape crew, having scored 43% of their factors tally within the final 4 races.
A big chunk of these factors got here within the final race in Turkey, as they scored their finest haul of the season, benefiting from the tough situations, however they’ve been on an upward trajectory, after a collection of updates, including around the diffuser, have made a distinction.
Critically, Sebastian Vettel appears to be extra comfy with the present automotive and that’s permitting him to get extra out of it. That mixed with Charles Leclerc’s season-long robust kind makes means Ferrari are a formidable pressure on this battle.
It’s a outstanding turnaround given just a few races in the past they have been extra targeted on protecting AlphaTauri at bay within the battle for sixth.
And the excellent news for the crimson automobiles are that our pre-Bahrain 1 simulations counsel they would be the third quickest automotive, behind the Mercedes and Purple Bull. The battle, then, is on.