Formula 1 teams spend millions chasing performance throughout each season, so it stands to reason that each team should be quicker this year compared to the previous.
For some those gains are marginal, while others have made significant progress compared to when they started out in the 'new era' ruleset introduced at the start of 2022.
A look at the difference between 2022 and 2023 Bahrain Grands Prix qualifying shows that Aston Martin have gained 2.4 seconds, while Williams improved by 1.2 seconds.
This pace translated during the Grand Prix when Fernando Alonso achieved a shock podium on his debut with the team, while Alex Albon finished in the points for Williams and Logan Sergeant was best of the rookies in 12th place.
Even though Red Bull continue to dominate, they have made up even more time compared to last season with the RB19 at 0.973s. Mercedes are also fourth on the list having made an improvement of 0.708s in lap time.
Concerning is Ferrari who are only 0.558s quicker per-lap, while AlphaTauri and Alfa Romeo are bottom having only gained by 0.235s and 0.117s respectively.
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Where did the extra performance come from?
Their impressive gains can be partly attributed to F1's sliding aero testing rules, designed to reduce the performance gap between the best and worst teams, which is based on where team's finish in the previous year's championship.
With Williams finishing 10th last season, they were given a 115% allowance in aero testing hours while Aston Martin were given 100% for finishing 10th.
By contrast those who finish in the top three (Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes) will only be given 70%, 75%, and 80% of aero testing allowance.
This is also coupled with improvements made to the power units, which can achieve extra performance if changes are made to increase reliability.