Monthly Archives: July 2010

Inside the Race – Round 11: German Grand Prix

THE DATA SET

“Inside the Race” features performance-based analysis of selected races during the Formula 1 season. The data set utilized for the Inside the Race features are the official timing tables supplied by the FIA’s official timing and scoring reports. Typically, only representative race laps are included in the analysis as the focus is primarily on evaluating on-track performance; therefore, laps skewed by pit stops, safety car periods, or significant on-track incidents are not included.

QUALIFYING

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  • The table above represents the top 10 drivers on the starting grid from left-to-right, with the best sector times, fastest optimal lap, and fastest actual lap going from top to bottom for each entry. Bold numbers indicate fastest sector, fastest optimal lap, and fastest actual lap.
  • Another qualifying session and another Red Bull Racing pole position. Same old story right? Not quite. Sebastian Vettel bested a resurgent Ferrari pairing of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa; in the case of Alonso, the margin was a scant .03 of a second. Because of a driver error on his last lap in Q3, Mark Webber was only able to manage 4th place on the grid for Sunday’s race. So how did Ferrari do it? Alonso posted the fastest times in Sectors 1 and 2, with Vettel making the Red Bull RB6 work well enough in Sector 3 to barely beat Alonso to pole-position. While Webber’s error may have made Ferrari’s single lap progress look that much more impressive, Ferrari were as close as anyone has been to matching Red Bull’s pace in Germany since Lewis Hamilton’s pole position for McLaren back at the Canadian Grand Prix.
  • Before taking a closer look at the numbers, it’s important as always to scrutinize the layout and characteristics of the Hockenheim circuit. The circuit map is provided below:

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  • Hockenheim’s layout is the closest Formula 1 will get to the kind of short track racing North Americans are used to seeing on NASCAR’s schedule; an ironic twist considering the extensive layout of the original Hockenheim before the circuit’s revision several years ago. While Hockenheim is short and tight, it’s layout is fairly straight-forward with only a handful of demanding corners connected by one long, and several medium length straights. Sector 1 is the shortest sector on the Formula 1 calendar at just over 16 seconds in qualifying, and consists of a high-speed right-hander in Turn 1, and a straight-forward low speed right-hander in Turn 2. Sector 2 is all about top speed and mechanical grip, with the long curved straight into the hairpin Turn 6, followed by a flat-out Turn 7 and a slow to medium combination of Turns 8-11. The also-short Sector 3 is the most challenging on the circuit, with the high-downforce Turn 12, a difficult banked entry into Turn 13, and balance/downforce-dependent right-handers in Turns 16 and 17.
  • It’s no secret by now that the strength of the Red Bull RB6 is its performance in medium to high speed corners, of which there aren’t many at Hockenheim. Although certainly not an Achilles Heel, the RB6 is weakest by comparison to its competition in reaching top speed. Modest performance from the Renault engine coupled with the high downforce and accompanying drag produced by the RB6 result in the Red Bull machine being one of the slowest in the speed traps race in and race out. It comes as no surprise then that Red Bull was bested by Alonso and Ferrari in Sectors 1 & 2, and that Vettel was able make up the difference and grab pole position by setting a blistering Sector 3 split.
  • One of the story-lines from the German Grand Prix weekend was the pace, or lack thereof, of dual championship leaders McLaren. Qualifying their drivers 5th and 6th is certainly nothing to sneeze at, but the pace from McLaren was not what we have come to expect over the first half of the 2010 season. The explanation for McLaren’s comparative lack of performance was that McLaren have fallen behind Ferrari and Red Bull in the mid-season development race since the European Grand Prix. McLaren was able to ride the wave of having introduced a fully-optimized F-duct from the beginning of the season, but recent rounds have seen Red Bull and Ferrari add F-ducts of their own, as well as downforce producing bits such as flexible front wings and optimized exhaust-blown diffusers.

LINE PLOTS

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  • Per the usual, the top 5 finishers of the German Grand Prix are represented in the 1st line plot. Immediately noticeable is the fact that neither McLaren pilot could compete with pace-setters Massa, Alonso, and Vettel for the duration of the race. The only bright spot in an otherwise dull race for the boys from Woking was Jenson Button running long on the option tires and leap-frogging Webber during the pit stop period. Was McLaren’s performance in Germany a track-specific anomaly, or a sign of further struggles ahead in Hungary?
  • Before evaluating the Ferrari drivers in light of the team orders controversy that erupted on Sunday afternoon, lets quickly take a look at the Ferrari/Red Bull race development. On the super-soft option tires both Ferrari drivers were clearly quicker than Vettel, and the same could be said for the first 20 laps on the hard prime tires as well. However, beginning on Lap 41, Vettel was able to turn up the wick and reel off laps that were on pace or faster than those of Massa and Alonso ahead.
  • In regards to the duel of teammates at the Prancing Horse, the main question to come out of Sunday’s controversial result which saw Massa move over to allow Alonso by, was whether or not Alonso was truly quicker than Massa? On the option tires, the line plot reveals that Alonso was convincingly faster than Massa beginning on Lap 5 and extending to the round of pit stops; a fact which Massa readily admitted after the race. Following the pit stops and a switch to prime tires, Massa started off quicker again before it became clear that he was struggling with the harder tires as has often been the case for the Brazilian in 2010. From this point on Alonso was able to slowly eat into Massa’s lead and by Lap 40, the evidence suggests that Massa was indeed holding Alonso up. Whether or not Alonso was fast enough to rightfully take his teammate’s position is up to the reader to decide. However, based on the pit-to-car radio communication between Ferrari race engineer Rob Smedley and Felipe Massa, it’s clear that there was at least some pre-race planning at Ferrari that made a 3-second gap significant in terms of triggering team orders. Alonso was able to get well within this 3 -second window by Lap 40, and as they say, the rest is history.

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  • The second line plot shows finishers 6-10. Like teammate Sebastian Vettel in the British Grand Prix, an out-of-place Mark Webber struggling with an auxiliary oil tank issue was still much faster than the others in this group. His presence amongst the Renaults and Mercedes did provide a valuable marker from which to evaluate the pace of the aforementioned teams against the front-runners on Sunday.
  • In-season car development is one of the more entertaining facets of Formula 1 racing. To illustrate, in the space of one race weekend’s time Mercedes and Renault went from running a driver in the top 3 at the British Grand Prix, to being completely off the pace of the leaders in Germany. Mercedes and Renault don’t have the same amount of resources to develop their cars as Ferrari or McLaren, and it would appear that this fact is beginning to show itself in earnest on the track.

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  • The third line plot represents the chase for the final points-paying position captured by Renault’s Vitaly Petrov. The lap times for this group indicate that the mid-field was largely decided on the first lap as no driver differentiated himself from the rest in terms of pace.
  • Note the subtle differences between each driver’s line plot despite the wide array of tire strategies employed in this group. Petrov and Barrichello ran the conventional short option stint followed by a long run to the finish on prime tires. Hulkenberg ran much longer on the options with surprising consistency, until his times deteriorated rapidly as his tires went away before his stop. Pedro de la Rosa did the opposite, starting on primes and running long before changing to the options; a strategy which was scuppered by a coming-together with lapped traffic late in the race. With all of that in mind, the largely homogeneous line plot shows that the two-step tire allocation issued by Bridgestone didn’t produce the kinds of strategy wild-cards we hoped to see in Germany.

BOX PLOTS

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  • The first box plot displaying the top 5 finishers only confirms the general conclusions drawn from the line plots. However, one particularly interesting piece of analysis to come from the box plot is the relative consistency of Felipe Massa’s times for the duration of the race despite his struggles with the prime tires.

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  • The second line plot confirms just how much faster an ailing Red Bull RB6 is at this point in the season than a fully-healthy Renault or Mercedes. Outside of Webber, the bottom half of the top 10 finishers were remarkably even on pace and consistency.

posted by Trey Blincoe

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BPR Charts – Round 11: German Grand Prix

As a supplement to the regularly posted BPR tables, bprf1.com will chart the progress of the BPR POWER rating throughout the season.

The drivers line plots are broken down into graphs displaying: (1) the entire POWER rating range (0-100); (2) POWER ratings denoting possible points scoring performance (75-100); (3) POWER ratings denoting possible podium performance (85-100); and (4) POWER ratings denoting possible race-winning performance (90-100). A positional ranking plot is also provided, and is based on the rankings contained in the BPR table following each round.

For the teams line plot, the POWER ratings of both drivers are combined from each round to compose a team rating. A positional ranking plot is also provided for the teams as well.

DRIVERS – FULL RANGE (o-100)

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DRIVERS – POSSIBLE POINTS SCORERS (75-100)

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DRIVERS – POSSIBLE PODIUM FINISHERS (85-100)

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DRIVERS – PROBABLE RACE WINNERS (90-100)

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DRIVERS – RANKING

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TEAMS – FULL RANGE (0-100)

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TEAMS – RANKING

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Don’t understand what’s going on here? The Blincoe Performance Rating (“BPR”) is a statistical motorsport performance rating system that monitors driver/entry performance during each Formula 1 season. For more information: see this explanation.

posted by Trey Blincoe

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BPR Update – Round 11: German Grand Prix

2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship – BPR Through Results of Rd. 11 : German Grand Prix

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Don’t understand what’s going on here? The Blincoe Performance Rating (“BPR”) is a statistical motorsport performance rating system that monitors driver/entry performance during each Formula 1 season. For more information: see this explanation.

posted by Trey Blincoe

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Comment – Alonso’s British Grand Prix Penalty

No, you aren’t experiencing a severe case of deja vu. Another grand prix weekend has come and gone and in its wake we have yet another rules-related controversy involving Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.  Three weeks ago the focus at the European Grand Prix was on Formula 1’s safety car rules following a series of events which involved effectively the entire field; the most notable of which was an incident involving McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, Alonso, and his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa. At last week’s British Grand Prix, the topic du jour was a pass for position between Alonso and Renault’s Robert Kubica on Lap 18, which you can see below:

Thereafter, Alonso stayed ahead of Kubica and did not cede the position back; Ferrari’s obvious interpretation of the events being that Alonso went off-track to avoid a near-certain collision. Alonso quickly opened up a gap after having passed Kubica, who retired shortly thereafter with a mechanical failure. Some 7 laps later, Alonso was handed a drive-through penalty for gaining position off the track. Compounding Alonso’s woes was the fact that the timing of the penalty’s issuance required Alonso to serve the penalty immediately following a safety car period, which saw the Spaniard drop from 4th to 16th position. From there, Alonso only managed to finish well out of the points in 14th place.

As with any significant racing event that involves one of the Scuderia’s cars, especially when that event includes rules interpretations, the story wasn’t over at the checkered flag. Following the race, Alonso issued his stance on the Kubica pass and the subsequent penalty:

“There will be a lot of opinions from people watching on TV while having a beer, saying we should have let Kubica by in a moment when, first, there was nothing to do – if there’d had been a wall instead of grass I would have crashed against it and they would have penalised Kubica most likely. So it depends on how you look at it. We thought it was fine. A few laps passed and there were no news and then if we had wanted to let him by, Kubica had retired already so there was nothing to change.”

Alonso referenced the obvious decision those on the Ferrari pit wall were left with after their driver passed Kubica: either let Kubica re-take the position, or let Alonso continue-on and hope that Ferrari’s interpretation of the pass coincided with the race stewards’ interpretation. Ferrari chose the latter course of action, and the stewards didn’t agree. Case closed? Of course not.

Two days after the race came the news that FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting quickly advised Ferrari that in his opinion, Alonso should give back the position:

“We told Ferrari three times that in my opinion they should give the position back to Kubica. And we told them that immediately, right after the overtaking manoeuvre. On the radio, I suggested to them that if they exchange position again, there would be no need for the stewards to intervene.”

Days after Whiting’s comments became public, Ferrari issued a chronological detail of Sunday’s events:

13:31:05 The overtaking move takes place at Club and after one second [Massimo] Rivola (Ferrari team manager) calls Whiting, who replies after 11 seconds. Rivola asks: ‘Have you seen the pass? In our opinion there was no room to overtake.’

26 secs after the pass, Whiting asks to be given time to watch the TV footage.

13:33 Ferrari makes a second radio call – 1m55s after the pass. Alonso has completed another lap plus one sector, and is behind Nico Rosberg and Jaime Alguersuari, while Kubica drops further back.

Whiting tells Ferrari that the stewards think Alonso could give the position back. Rivola asks: ‘Is this the decision?’

Whiting replies: ‘No, but that’s how we see it.’

Rivola informs the team while Rosberg overtakes Alguersuari. On the GPS screen that shows the position of the cars, Ferrari sees Kubica dropping further back. Meanwhile, Alonso overtakes Alguersuari at Turn 2.

13:33:22 Ferrari makes a third radio call.

Rivola tells Whiting: ‘Alonso doesn’t have only Kubica behind. He would have to concede two positions now.’

While they discuss the matter Kubica is overtaken by Barrichello so Alonso would have to now give up three positions.

Whiting replies: ‘We have given you the chance to do it or not. Things being this way, the stewards will hear the drivers at the end of the race, but I understand your position.’

13:35:30 Kubica stops so Alonso can no longer give the position back.

13:45:31 The stewards investigate the Alonso/Kubica incident. The monitors then display ‘car number 8 under investigation’, 14m26s after the pass.

13:46:26 Just 55 seconds later the stewards decide that Alonso should have a drive-through penalty.”

Whether Whiting took seconds or more than a minute to respond to Ferrari’s prompt for his opinion is ultimately irrelevant. Whiting isn’t a steward and any opinion issued by him was merely advisory in nature. Given the immediacy of Ferrari’s inquiry to the FIA following Alonso’s pass, Ferrari knew full well thedecision they had to make. It is important to highlight that if any team has first-hand knowledge and experience with the treatment of off-track passing maneuvers, its Ferrari. Back during the hotly-contested 2008 season, a similar controversy erupted after Lewis Hamilton gained an off-track advantage on then-Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages of the Belgian Grand Prix.

That there has been debate over the Alonso/Kubica incident following the British Grand Prix comes as no surprise given the parties and stakes involved. However, what is surprising is the confusion of the issues that has occurred during this debate. Many pundits, fans, and even Ferrari have mixed the two distinct issues to come out of the Alonso/Kubica pass:

  1. Alonso exited the racing surface to avoid a near-certain collision with Kubica; and
  2. Alonso gained a position off the racing surface.

Alonso was not penalized for avoiding a collision with Kubica; he was penalized for gaining a position by going off-track.

In regards to the first issue, it is quite clear that Kubica intentionally swung wide to the natural racing line after the first left-hander to squeeze Alonso out of the right-hander that immediately followed. We’ve seen these kinds of aggressive defensive maneuvers before from certain drivers; Lewis Hamilton, Adrian Sutil, Mark Webber, and even David Coulthard immediately come to mind. Driving defensively in this manner is “dirty” in every sense of the word, and moves such as Kubica’s are one of the many reasons why we don’t see more overtaking during F1 races. There was more than enough room for Kubica to make the left-hander without swinging wide into Alonso; but as Kubica undoubtedly knew, that would have surely let Alonso get by in the next turn. But that’s racing isn’t it? Just as Alonso couldn’t rightfully move prematurely to the inside as he pulled alongside Kubica, the converse is true as well. The FIA should look closely at maneuvers like Kubica’s in the future as they are bad for the show and are becoming ever more prevalent in recent seasons.

All that said, Alonso wasn’t thereby allowed to take Kubica’s position in a manner that is clearly not allowed under the Sporting Regulations. While Kubica’s driving was subjectively reprehensible, passing for position off-track is simply not allowed. Period.

Hindsight or not, by keeping Alonso ahead of Kubica, Ferrari went for the long-shot that the stewards would not correctly apply a simple rules interpretation. By allowing Alonso to race off into the distance, Ferrari foreclosed any chance that the stewards could reprimand Kubica, placing the focus squarely on Alonso just as Charlie Whiting had warned. The obvious question then is why would Ferrari risk so much for a relatively modest gain?

The answer is that after the recent European Grand Prix debacle, on top of what has been a decidedly underwhelming first half of the 2010 season, Ferrari are feeling the pressure to perform, now. Despite Alonso’s claims to the contrary, Ferrari are acutely aware that the 2010 season is slowly slipping from their grasp. It’s not the points-spread from Ferrari’s drivers to their counterparts at McLaren or Red Bull that’s concerning, its the fact that regardless of luck, Ferrari aren’t performing at the same level of the aforementioned contenders. Red Bull have been quick but self-destructive, and McLaren haven’t been the quickest but they’ve nabbed the results. By comparison, Ferrari have done nothing well. Following a decades-long rivalry, Ferrari know that if there’s one thing McLaren are good at, it’s in-season development. It’s therefore quite ominous for the Prancing Horse that on top of trying to catch the ultra-quick Red Bull RB6, McLaren are also leading both championships with a car that by many accounts is the third quickest on the grid.

As they say, desperate times call for desperate measures…

posted by Trey Blincoe

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BPR Charts – Round 10: British Grand Prix

As a supplement to the regularly posted BPR tables, bprf1.com will chart the progress of the BPR POWER rating throughout the season.

The drivers line plots are broken down into graphs displaying: (1) the entire POWER rating range (0-100); (2) POWER ratings denoting possible points scoring performance (75-100); (3) POWER ratings denoting possible podium performance (85-100); and (4) POWER ratings denoting possible race-winning performance (90-100). A positional ranking plot is also provided, and is based on the rankings contained in the BPR table following each round.

For the teams line plot, the POWER ratings of both drivers are combined from each round to compose a team rating. A positional ranking plot is also provided for the teams as well.

DRIVERS – FULL RANGE (o-100)

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DRIVERS – POSSIBLE POINTS SCORERS (75-100)

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DRIVERS – POSSIBLE PODIUM FINISHERS (85-100)

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DRIVERS – PROBABLE RACE WINNERS (90-100)

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DRIVERS – RANKING

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TEAMS – FULL RANGE (0-100)

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TEAMS – RANKING

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Don’t understand what’s going on here? The Blincoe Performance Rating (“BPR”) is a statistical motorsport performance rating system that monitors driver/entry performance during each Formula 1 season. For more information: see this explanation.

posted by Trey Blincoe

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Filed under 2010 Season, BPR

Inside the Race – Round 10: British Grand Prix

THE DATA SET

“Inside the Race” features performance-based analysis of selected races during the Formula 1 season. The data set utilized for the Inside the Race features are the official timing tables supplied by the FIA’s official timing and scoring reports. Typically, only representative race laps are included in the analysis as the focus is primarily on evaluating on-track performance; therefore, laps skewed by pit stops, safety car periods, or significant on-track incidents are not included.

QUALIFYING

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  • The table above represents the top 10 drivers on the starting grid from left-to-right, with the best sector times, fastest optimal lap, and fastest actual lap going from top to bottom for each entry. Bold numbers indicate fastest sector, fastest optimal lap, and fastest actual lap. Red numbers indicate a ‘red-hot’ lap in which the driver’s fastest optimal lap matched his fastest actual lap set in qualifying.
  • It came as no surprise that Red Bull Racing once again locked-out the front row of the grid during qualifying for the 2010 British Grand Prix. As was evident during the 2009 edition of the race, the Silverstone’s high-speed and downforce-dependent layout is particularly suited to the design of Adrian Newey’s most recent creations. The level of Red Bull’s dominance is impressive in that the fastest two sector times in all three sectors were set by either Sebastian Vettel or Mark Webber.
  • From the sector times, the strengths of the Red Bull RB6 in comparison to its competitors are evident in the 2nd and 3rd sector times set by both Red Bull drivers. While the RB6 only maintained an advantage of a few hundredths in the 1st sector, the RB6 dominated its rivals by several tenths of a second in the 2nd and 3rd sectors. Silverstone’s layout can go a long ways towards explaining this phenomena:

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  • Sector 1 features the ultra-quick Turn 1 to Turn 6, Copse-Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex that is one of the most thrilling series of corners on the Formula 1 calendar. This series of high-speed corners is custom-tailored to the RB6’s superior level of downforce. However, the mid-speed exit of Becketts through Chapel and onto the Hangar Straight features acceleration and top-speed components that don’t particularly suit the RB6 and its Renault engine. While Red Bull have been working hard to optimize their wing-stalling F-Duct, the Renault engine is by all accounts at least 30-35 HP down on the offerings from Mercedes and Ferrari. (Note the relative strength of Ferrari and Mercedes-powered runners in the 1st sector). Therefore, Vettel and Webber were able to maintain a slight advantage through the 1st Sector based primarily on the speed of the RB6 through Copse and into Becketts.
  • The 2nd and 3rd Sectors allowed the RB6 to particularly shine due to the lack of long straights and mid-speed acceleration points that featured in the 1st Sector. The revised Silverstone layout including the new Abbey complex beginning at Turn 11, as well as the faster entry into Brooklands at Turn 16, are where the Red Bull drivers really ate their competitors for lunch. The maximum speeds reached by Vettel and Webber at the Sector 2 line just after Turn 11 clearly indicates the prowess of the RB6 in downforce-dependent corners:

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  • Behind the Red Bull’s superiority in medium and high-speed corners is a special ignition retardation system used in conjunction with the RB6’s exhaust-blown diffuser. The RB6’s specialized exhaust system was first reported by James Allen following the European Grand Prix and explained in detail by Craig Scarborough. This would go a long way towards explaining how the RB6 is able to maintain the ultra-impressive entry and mid-corner speed that is at the root of the car’s superior pace.
  • One final aside regarding the sector times chart at the top of this section is that Michael Schumacher was slower that teammate Nico Rosberg in every sector on Saturday. Schumacher just can’t get the Mercedes to work for him this year; and unlike other years in which the 7-time champion has struggled with his ride (1996 and 2005 come to mind), he’s consistently slower in the car than his teammate in just about every way possible.

LINE PLOTS

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  • The top 5 finishers are represented in the 1st line plot. While Lewis Hamilton’s race pace was much closer to that of Red Bull’s Mark Webber than the nearly 1 second gap between the two in qualifying,  Mark Webber was clearly the faster driver of the two on Sunday. Webber maintained only a slight advantage on the option tire up until both drivers made their only pit stops on laps 16 and 17 (note the gradual drop-off in times which prompted each driver to pit for fresh rubber). Webber was then able to run away with the race following the end of the safety car period on lap 30. Of likely concern to McLaren is the fact that Webber was able to pull away from Hamilton so convincingly for a 10-lap period on the harder prime tire, something that hasn’t been a strong-suit of the Red Bull by comparison to the McLaren in recent races. While the layouts of the upcoming events at Hockenheim and the Hungaroring will likely suit the MP4-25 more than the RB6, after the Canadian and European Grand Prix, we know that the Red Bull performs well on every circuit type.  McLaren will need to get on with their update packages with haste if they want to stay ahead of Red Bull in both Championships. (Red Bull in-fighting aside, of course…)
  • A particularly entertaining development during the race was Jenson Button’s climb from 14th on the grid to 4th at the checkered flag. In the modern F1 era, making such a dramatic jump under relatively normal race conditions is a massive achievement. Jenson’s result was especially impressive considering that he qualified down the grid because of an ill-handling car that was the same car he raced on Sunday. So how did he do it? Let’s first take a look at the position chart from the British Grand Prix:

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  • The key to Button’s climb was clearly a fantastic start. After climbing from 14th to 8th by the end of the 1st lap, Button’s strategy was then to run longer on the option tires than the group of cars immediately ahead of him, which were Schumacher, Barrichello, Alonso, Kubica, and Rosberg. One-by-one the drivers ahead of Button pitted for prime tires; first Schumacher on lap 11, then Barrichello and Alonso on lap 12, then Kubica on lap 13, and finally Rosberg on lap 15. After initially conserving his tires behind this pack of cars, Button set off on a consistent string of laps in clear air from laps 16 to 21. As you can see from the line plot above, Button’s fast laps actually peaked on lap 14. Therefore, the key to making the strategy work was the ability to run faster than the cars who had pitted ahead of Button during this 5 lap run. Looking at the lap time lines of Rosberg and Barrichello, Button was able to do just that.
  • With this strategy in place, even the most optimistic of calculations still resulted in Button coming out of the pits on lap 21 behind Rosberg, so the target at this point was gapping Barrichello. I’ve highlighted the relevant lap charts to show exactly how the gap between Button and Barrichello developed:

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  • By staying out on the option tire, Button was able to turn what was effectively a 20 second gap to Barrichello on lap 13, to a 25 second gap on lap 20. Those 5 seconds were the difference between coming out ahead of, instead of behind, the Williams driver. With Kubica’s retirement and Alonso’s drive-through penalty, Button was able to make the move from 8th to 4th. Button’s result proves that a little bit of luck, effective strategy, and good, consistent driving can still go a long way over a Formula 1 race distance.

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  • The second line plot represents finishers 6 through 10. Following his 1st lap puncture, Vettel was a fish out of water in this group, running laps on a single set of prime tires that were head and shoulders above the rest until the safety car bunched up the field.
  • Michael Schumacher’s performance, or lack thereof, by comparison to his teammate’s in the first grouping is just another example of the ominous lack of pace exhibited by Schumacher during his comeback season. At no point in the race did Schumacher differentiate himself from the likes of Sutil or even the rookies Kobayashi and Hulkenberg. While the Mercedes is not on the same performance level of the Red Bulls, McLarens, or even the Ferraris of the world, it was certainly a more capable package than the Force India or Sauber offerings at Silverstone.
  • A positive story to come out of the British Grand Prix and exhibited in the line plot above was the pace of the Sauber drivers after a decidedly lack-luster season so far. Following Kamui Kobayashi’s impressive performance at the European Grand Prix, Sauber could have very easily come back down to earth at the British Grand Prix. However, Sauber supported Kobayashi’s result in Valencia by putting Pedro de la Rosa convincingly into Q3, and running both cars into the points before de la Rosa’s coming-together with Adrian Sutil on lap 26. Even still, Kobayashi’s second-straight 6th place finish was the result of impressive pace as shown in the line plot above. This was especially true in the final stages of the race when the Sauber’s tire-friendly characteristics allowed the young Japanese driver to set several personal best laps.

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  • Now just past the halfway point in the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship, I thought it was high time that we re-examine the development of the F1 newcomers in 2010. With HRT racing essentially the same car they started the season with, the only entries worth looking at were the Lotus drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen, and Virgin Racing’s Timo Glock. These three drivers’ line plots were set against the two slowest finishing drivers on Sunday; that dubious honor went to Force India’s Vitantonio Liuzzi and Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Buemi.
  • Compared to a similar analysis run for the Malaysian Grand Prix, the Lotus and Virgin line plots now represent the kind of proper race pace that we are accustomed to seeing from the rest of the established F1 field. While the newcomers posted inconsistent times that didn’t improve linearly as fuel burned off during the Malaysian Grand Prix, the pace set in the British Grand Prix was much more consistent and correlated to fuel burn-off. Without a doubt the likes of Lotus and Virgin still have a long, long ways to go before they catch up with the best of the rest on pure race; especially during the second half of races on prime tires. That being said, Lotus and Virgin have come a long way since the beginning of the season.

BOX PLOTS

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  • The first box plot displays finishers 1 to 5, and the second shows finishers 6-10. The upper and lower ‘T’ lines on a box plot show minimum and maximum lap times. The upper and lower reaches of the bars show the first and third quartiles of the lap time data set (or in other words, a 25-75% range), while the center ‘+’ denotes mean lap time.
  • The box plots are just further evidence of what has already been stated regarding the pace of the various drivers during the British Grand Prix. Amongst the front-runners, the bulk of the laps posted by Webber and Hamilton were far and away better than those set by the likes of Rosberg, Button, and Barrichello.
  • It’s also clear from the second box plot that the Sauber C29 has come alive in the last two races based on Kamui Kobayashi’s performance by comparison to Sutil, Hulkenberg, and even Schumacher in the Mercedes. It would appear that hiring James Key away from Force India might wind up being the best money Peter Sauber has ever spent.

posted by Trey Blincoe

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BPR Update – Round 10: British Grand Prix

2010 FIA Formula 1 World Championship – BPR Through Results of Rd. 10 : British Grand Prix

(click to enlarge)

Don’t understand what’s going on here? The Blincoe Performance Rating (“BPR”) is a statistical motorsport performance rating system that monitors driver/entry performance during each Formula 1 season. For more information: see this explanation.

posted by Trey Blincoe

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Filed under 2010 Season, BPR