I'm constantly looking to expand my analyses portfolio... and this time, I added a type of analysis which is straightforward yet highly insightful!
I present you the 'Aero Summary' analysis, which should shed some light on the aero properties of each car in a given session! It is a scatterplot of the ten teams, considering the best lap for each. I extract the mean and top speeds from that lap and plot the team as a dot on the chart. Going from left to right, we have an increase in the mean lap speed, which means a lower laptime: teams on the left are 'slow', those on the right 'quick'. Going from the bottom to the top, we have an increase in top speed: the cars at the bottom have high drag, while those at the top have low drag.
The horizontal axis tells you how quick a car is, and the vertical axis why it is quick (or slow!). We can combine the two things to get four different corners:
Top Right corner: quick car with high top speed, so a vehicle that achieves good performance thanks to high aerodynamic efficiency
Bottom Right corner: quick car with low top speed, so a vehicle that achieves good performance despite having a lot of drag; such a car must have very high downforce to be able to perform so well despite the top speed deficit!
Top Left corner: a slow car, despite its high top speed. This car will produce very low downforce, to be slow DESPITE having an excellent top speed.
Bottom Left corner: a slow car with a bad top speed. Such a car will be slow primarily due to high drag without much downforce in return (low aerodynamic efficiency)
So, how did the cars perform in Bahrain?
Ferrari and RedBull are both very efficient cars. The Ferrari has even lower drag, but it was slower despite that -> Lower downforce.
Aston and Mercedes were practically identical! (the two points are one over the other). The two cars perform similarly and for the exact same causes!
Williams is a low-drag car with very low downforce as well.
The AlphaTauri was about as slow, but for the opposite reason (very high drag and low efficiency)
McLaren and Alfa were relatively slow in qualifying, with balanced properties.
This analysis will become a staple starting from the next GP... stay tuned!