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Following the conclusion of the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship, we review the performances of each team that participated in the Championship. This is Part 3 of a 5 Part series. For Part 3, we focus on the 2 teams who finished 6th & 5th – Ferrari & Renault

Scuderia Ferrari

Alberto-g-rovi (CC BY 3.0)

Team Personnel & Car Details:

Team Principal: Mattia Binotto
Race Drivers: Sebastian Vettel (#5, All Rounds), Charles Leclec (#16, All Rounds)

Car: Ferrari SF1000
Designers: Simone Resta (Head of Chassis Engineering), Enrico Cardile (Head of Chassis Design), David Sanchez (Chief Aerodynamicist)
Engine: Ferrari 065
Gearbox: Ferrari 8 Speed + 1 Reverse

Season Stats:

Best qualifying position: P4
Best race: P2 (x1)
Constructors’ Championship position: P6 (2019 position: P2)
Constructors’ Championship points: 131 (2019 points: 504)
Points per driver: Charles Leclerc 98, Sebastian Vettel (33)

Season in a nutshell: A truly awful season for the Scuderia.

The 2020 season should have been a year of celebration for the Scuderia, except it wasn’t to be. For the Scuderia, the 2020 season was effectively a disaster on all fronts. 2020 saw the team fall. And fall hard it did.

In 2019, Ferrari didn’t have the best chassis. But it was still a chassis that was able to fight Mercedes on certain tracks. However, when it came to 2020, the car was a step backward, and for the first few races at least, it was entirely undeveloped. But this wasn’t the real kicker that ruined the season for Ferrari. On the engine front, it was a total bloodbath. The Scuderia had been the leading PU Supplier in 2019. But after a series of clampdowns by the FIA, the engine lost a significant amount of power for 2020. The effects of this were significant. At qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, 2019 pole-sitter Leclerc was over 9 tenths slower than his pole-time for 2019…

The weaknesses of the car meant that the drivers suffered. 4-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who was unceremoniously announced to be replaced by Carlos Sainz Jr for 2021, was effectively a lower-midfield runner. Vettel failed to score points for almost 2 thirds of the season, and nearly failed to reach the podium; had it not been for a late race-mistake in Turkey for Leclerc, he would have been 4th. Charles Leclerc had a much greater season, hugely outscoring Vettel, while earning himself 2 podiums, and finishing 4th thrice. He was able to wrest the car to places it didn’t deserve to be in many instances on Saturday & Sunday, but when it came to power-sensitive tracks like Spa & Monza, he was no different from Vettel.

All in all, Ferrari’s poor 2020 season boils down to the following: A very weak engine, and a subpar chassis. For the 2021 season, Ferrari will be introducing a brand new power unit, in a bid to claw back the lost power. Given that Ferrari’s main weakness lay within the engine, as opposed to the chassis, it is safe to say that if Ferrari can claw back the lost horsepower, the 2021 season could certainly be much improved….

Season Score: 5/10

DP World Renault F1 Team

Renault R.S.20 / Daniel Ricciardo / AUS / Renault F1 Team
Image by Artes Max (CC-BY-SA 2.0)

Team Personnel & Car Details:

Team Principal: Cyril Abiteboul (managing director). Marcin Budkowski
(executive director)
Race Drivers: Daniel Ricciardo (#3, All Rounds), Esteban Ocon (#31, All Rounds)

Car: Renault R.S.20
Designers: Marcin Budkowski (Executive Director), Nick Chester (Chassis Technical Director), Simon Virrill (Chief Designer), Matthew Harman (Engineering Director), Dirk de Beer (Head of Aerodynamics)
Engine: Renault E-Tech 20
Gearbox: Renault 8 Speed + 1 Reverse

Season Stats:

Best qualifying position: P4
Best race: P2 (x1)
Constructors’ Championship position: P5 (2019 position: P5)
Constructors’ Championship points: 181 (2019 points: 91)
Points per driver: Daniel Ricciardo (119), Esteban Ocon (62)

Season in a nutshell: A breakthrough year, and a fitting finale for the revived Renault factory squad

Compared to the complete disappointment of 2019, which saw the team’s upward momentum halted, 2020 was certainly a huge leap forward. In the Coronavirus-hit season, which saw just 17 races compared to the 21 races in 2019, Renault not only outscored it’s tally from the previous season. The team actually managed to double it’s points tally.

2 droughts were also brought to an end for the team, and they certainly serve as indicators of progress the team has made since the days when it was owned by GENII Capital. For the first time since 2015, the team managed to reach the podium, with a single appearance for each driver, after a near-miss at Italy in 2019 for Ricciardo. In addition, the team managed to score it’s first Fastest Lap since 2013, when it was known as “Lotus”.

However it should be stated, that the final result of 5th in the constructors was something that really could have been better. Think 4th, or even 3rd in the constructors. It was a slow start to the season, which saw spotty performances prior to Spa, with the sole exception being at Silverstone, where both drivers got into the points.

Given the results produced by the team across the season, it should also be said that in a “normal” Formula One season, Renault could have realistically fared much worse… As was the case in 2019, Renault excelled at lower-downforce tracks, while struggling at times on higher-downforce tracks. The return to a “standard” calendar for 2021 could see Renault slip back once more…

All in all, 2020 was a fitting finale for “Team Enstone” under the guise of “Renault”, ahead of yet another rebranding in 2021. The key takeaway for “Team Enstone” in 2020, is it’s improved pace, which was a significant factor in the improved result compared to 2019’s disappointment.

With the return of Fernando Alonso to the team for a third spell for 2021, expectations are high. If “Team Enstone” can carry forward the momentum of 2020, while addressing its weakness at High-downforce circuits into the 2021 season & beyond, we could well see the Alpine F1 Team challenge for glory at the front of the pack in the near future…

Season Score: 7/10

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