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Will we see an open World Cup between Red Bull and Ferrari?

Will we see an open World Cup between Red Bull and Ferrari?

( – Ferrari managed to break Red Bull's streak with a double win in Australia, but what does the teams' data tell us? The most important numbers of the weekend will be available to us from our technical partner PACETEQ And the focus is primarily on Pirelli tires, which have turned the balance of power upside down.

The start of the 2024 Australian Grand Prix

If you look at the qualifying numbers first, the Red Bull RB20 is the fastest car to set the fastest lap. Max Verstappen took pole position, but if each driver had put their best divisions together, Carlos Sainz would have been 0.09 seconds behind the Dutchman. Ferrari had a small respectable gap of 0.27 seconds with McLaren (+0.4).

Qualifying paces for Aston Martin (+0.8) and Mercedes (+0.81) were disappointing, but both Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll were slower in Q3 than in Q2, so George Russell was able to beat the two Astons. In the midfield, Racing Bulls driver Yuki Tsunoda (+0.87) caused a big surprise by finishing eighth.

Race pace: Ferrari disappointing, just ahead of McLaren, Red Bull and Mercedes

In the race, Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc set the tone after Max Verstappen's retirement. But how fast would the world champion have been? A more in-depth analysis suggests that Ferrari would still have had a slight advantage, more on that here.

The two McLarens (+0.1) were the Scuderia's closest rivals, while a large gap formed behind them. Sergio Perez (+0.54) finished fifth, nearly a minute behind race winner Sainz; Red Bull RB20 had major problems with the tires. Mercedes (+0.61) and Aston Martin (+0.88) didn't stand a chance either, as both cars didn't handle the fast corners well, of which there are plenty at Albert Park after the track was rebuilt.

Interestingly, in the midfield, Valtteri Bottas showed the best race pace (+1.26) after the strong Sunoda (+1.1). However, the Finn's first pit stop lasted 31 seconds, ruining his chances of points. Before the tire change he was ahead of both Haas drivers, who both finished in the points.

Tire wear: Red Bull with big problems

It was clear before the weekend that tires would play a bigger role in 2024 than the year before, as Pirelli opted for a step softer tire compounds. While C2 to C4 were used in 2023, this year teams had to opt for C3 to C5, favoring a two-stop strategy.

The softer tires led to increased grain, which particularly affected Sergio Perez at Red Bull in the race. No team had more tire management problems in Melbourne than Red Bull, with an average tire wear rate of 0.110 seconds per lap. McLaren (0.044) led the category, with Ferrari (0.063) making a strong impression.

The hard tire was the most popular compound in the race because it allowed the C3 to avoid grain. As the tire becomes softer the grain of the tire surface becomes more pronounced. So it's no surprise that the C3 showed the least wear (0.073), but the medium isn't entirely bad with a value of 0.087. The soft tire was only used by a few drivers in the first stage, but neither speed nor durability (0.158) was convincing.

Why must everything be the same again in Japan?

If you consider the special conditions in Australia, Red Bull's weakness will be short-lived. The Milton Keynes team has historically looked poor in Melbourne and on tracks with slick tarmac and soft tyres.

For the upcoming race in Japan, drivers can expect hard asphalt and hard tire compounds C1 to C3. Grain should no longer be an issue, which suits the Red Bull in combination with medium-fast and fast corners. High-speed tracks have suited McLaren in recent years, so Suzuka will be dangerous for Ferrari.

The track will be a real balancing act for the Scuderia. Last year we had problems with fast corners and strong winds, which is always an issue in Japan. With both Mercedes and Aston Martin faltering in fast corners, there is likely to be another battle for fourth power between the two teams.

Detailed analysis of data from the Formula 1 weekend in Australia is there On top of that YouTube channelWith data expert Kevin Herman OneTiming from PACETEQ Presents the most important innovations and supports the resurrection of Ferrari and the lack of speed in the numbers of Mercedes.