Efficiency was the key word for the RB18's dominance, but how much more efficient was the car from Milton Keynes compared to Ferrari's and Mercedes' challengers throughout the 2022 season? Thanks to a long work of data analysis and some help from @F1DataAnalysis, this is this year's season analyzed through efficiency. Multiplying the average corner speed and the average top speed (of straights with top speed over 290kph) of Quali laps I ended up with a value of aerodynamic efficiency of the RB18, F1-75 and W13!
🇧🇭Bahrain, R1: with Mercedes' initial issues, Red Bull's overweight issue and Ferrari's power turned up, the RB18 was the most efficient car with a 0.51% advantage on Ferrari, and 1.75% advantage on Mercedes. As we go on in the thread you will have context to these numbers 🇸🇦Jeddah, 🇦🇺Melbourne: no upgrade packages for these rounds, the gap between Red Bull and Ferrari decreases slightly to 0.30% and 0.33% respectively, while the gap to Mercedes' shoots up to 2.89% and 4.10%. I give this two interpretations: first of all, Red Bull and especially Ferrari improved the setups of their cars thanks to the understanding of their concepts, while Mercedes didn't have this due to correlation issues in the wind tunnel and also did not introduce new rear wings to either races, unlike Red Bull and Ferrari
🇺🇸Miami, R5: Mercedes' first package of the season came in Miami, a race after Red Bull's first package in Imola (where rain affected Qualifying therefore data was not representative). Mercedes' efficiency went to -0.68%, more than Ferrari's -0.77% compared to Red Bull 🇪🇸Spain, R6: Here Mercedes' new floor and Ferrari's first seasonal package were introduced. Ferrari's value went down to -0.33% compared to Red Bull, Mercedes' gap to the benchmark grew to -1.71%, but with a step in performance. 🇲🇨Monaco, 🇦🇿Baku: street circuits surely give us less valuable data, but it cannot be ignored. For the first time Red Bull wasn't the most efficient car, Ferrari was +0.31% and +1.71% in these races but these values were disproven in following races. On the other hand Mercedes' efficiency started to disappear as the gap went from -0.90% (still much less efficient than the others) in Monaco to -2.20% in Baku. In these races the traits and strengths of the W13 were constantly changing as the engineers started to understand the car In Canada and in Britain the two wet Qualis don't allow valuable data to be recorded, in Silverstone all three teams brought upgrade packages with Mercedes making the biggest step, while Ferrari's and Red Bull's were of similar value.
🇦🇹Austria, R11: In Austria once again we saw similar values to Bahrain, with Ferrari -0.63% to Red Bull (less efficient), and Mercedes -1.75% to the RB18, the same exact gap we saw in Bahrain ten races prior to this. The next race saw some big upgrades once again 🇫🇷France, R12: Together with Belgium, the turning point of the season technically speaking. Let's start with Ferrari: the new floor seemed to work very well in the first weekend, and in Qualifying the F1-75 was flying: +0.26% to Red Bull in efficiency not on a street circuit, and it seemed as if Ferrari found the trick to match Red Bull's efficiency. Unfortunately for Maranello, as Red Bull's engineers then revealed: the tricky part with these cars is combining efficiency with aerodynamic stability. And in the next races Ferrari paid this. Mercedes found competitiveness with their France package, but lost every last bit of efficiency found before this race: the gap to Red Bull shot up to -3.98%, and this was the trend for the following races aswell. 🇭🇺Hungary, R13: Ferrari already paid the consequences of their new update package, as aero efficiency value dropped to -0.61% compared to Red Bull. Mercedes' value still sky high at -2.85% despite Russell's pole position at the Hungaroring
🇧🇪Spa, 🇳🇱Zandvoort: the second technical turning point of the season, as the TD039/22 was introduced and saw Red Bull become unstoppable. Ferrari's efficiency dropped to -0.98% and -0.83%, lowest of the season by far. Mercedes still sky high at -4.04% and then -2.09%, an abyss 🇮🇹Monza, R16: a singular track as layout, Ferrari (with the PU turned up for their home GP and a smaller wing) were more efficient than Red Bull, only slightly (+0.03%). Mercedes kept up their trend and found themselves at -4.46% but still snatched a podium in Italy. 🇯🇵Japan, R18: Ferrari's new floor here technically helped them find efficiency again but this time they kept it, -0.15% to Red Bull and improving. Mercedes made a huge leap, despite being still far away: -1.01% to Red Bull 🇺🇸Austin, R19: Mercedes' efficiency dropped again but only for this round to -1.91%. Ferrari on the other side were more efficient than Red Bull on a "real" track for the first time since France(0.34%). But the following race in Mexico, with setup and PU issues, set them back 🇲🇽Mexico, R20: Ferrari's value dropped again to -1.09% due to the issues mentioned above, Mercedes on the other side thanks to the thin air found their best efficiency of the season at -0.46%, still a big value normally. 🇦🇪Abu Dhabi, R22: In the last race of the season Ferrari confirmed their steps forwards, 0.43% more efficient than Red Bull. Mercedes on the other side fell to -1.12% from the RB18, confirming the W13's main issue and showing a realistic value again.
On average Red Bull was obviously the most efficient of the three, with an avg. 0.20% advantage on Ferrari, and a mind blowing 2.22% advantage on Mercedes which shows both how efficient the RB18 was and how draggy the W13 was! Above you see the graph of the values and moving average
With not many rumours on the new 2023 cars, we can only imagine who will be the most efficient car next season: Red Bull confirming themselves, Ferrari with their improved PU, or Mercedes with a huge comeback?