There’s no question which team had the fastest car of 2010. With 15 pole positions in 19 races Red Bull were clearly the team to beat.
But which was the second-fastest car of 2010? McLaren recently argued it was their MP4-25 but a look at the data suggests a Ferrari F10 was the thing to have if you couldn’t get your hands on an RB6.
Over the course of the 2010 season, said Tim [Goss, chief engineer of the MP4-25], our qualifying pace was just 0.001s per lap slower than third-placed Ferrari – negligible. On race pace alone, he asserted, the MP4-25 was actually 0.136s per lap quicker than the Ferrari.
Overall, then, this means our car was 0.074s per lap faster than the Ferrari.
McLaren haven’t shown how they worked this out so pulling their numbers apart is a little tricky.
To get a clear picture of the relative differences between all the cars, the chart below compares the fastest lap time of every car at every race weekend – including practice, qualifying and the Grand Prix.
That is converted into a percentage to give a simple and reasonable accurate view of who had the quickest car at each stage of the season:
Some trends are easy to spot (use the select none/all and teams buttons to compare different lines). For example, Force India and Toro Rosso gradually lost ground to the leaders whereas Williams generally reduced their deficit.
As for Ferrari and McLaren, the pendulum swung back and forth between the two all year. But, more often than not, it was Ferrari who were ahead.
This simple graph shows the difference in the best lap times set by the two cars at each race weekend:
To illustrate how dominant Red Bull were, here’s how many laps each team led in 2010:
A car’s performance is only one part of the story. And when it comes to reliability, Ferrari were the best of all the teams.
Had it not been for Fernando Alonso’s crash at Spa and Massa’s at Suzuka, Ferrari would have had both cars classified in every race this year.
Alonso’s engine failure in Sepang was the only instance of a Ferrari breaking down during a Grand Prix, but he was still a classified finisher.
Here are all the teams’ non-classifications, broken down into mechanical failures and other problems:
This data can’t tell us about occasions where drivers nursed a car problem to the end of a race. This happened to Red Bull on several occasions – Sebastian Vettel was hampered by such problems at Bahrain, Spain and Canada to name a few.
Sauber struggled with reliability the most and completed the fewest racing laps of any team:
Got any observations on the performance of the different cars in 2010? Any other data you’d like to see? Have your say in the comments.
2010 F1 season review
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2010 season review
- Lewis Hamilton voted best driver of 2010
- The best guest contributions of 2010
- F1 Fanatic’s 50 best articles of 2010
- The 2010 F1 season in 100 pictures
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part four: the top three
- Vote for the best F1 driver of 2010
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part three: 8-4
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part two: 17-9
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part one: 27-18