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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gizmo's, Gadgets, & Rubber Boots

Mercedes GP have carried out a mid-season review of the impact of DRS, KERS, and Pirelli Tyres on the season so far.  See the review and make your own judgement.

They have pointed out that there were 623 overtaking manoeuvres in total with 180 DRS-assisted passing moves, and 225 'normal' (i.e. non-DRS) passes - 175 passes took place of faster cars on HRT, Virgin and Lotus and 43 were between teammates.  Of the DRS assisted passes 50 took place in Turkey, 30 in China, and 29 in Barcelona.

46.4% of all normal overtaking moves (188 of 405) occurred when the car being overtaken was on boots which were more than 5 laps older than the car overtaking but when we look solely at the non-DRS overtaking that figure is 48% (87 of 180).

So what do all of the figures tell us?  Autosport argues that the figures confirm that the rulemakers have got it right.  But what I'm seeing is that Barcelona, China, Valencia, and Turkey have all benefited from the rule changes while the classic, older circuits haven't particularly required or relied upon these gimmicks to provide good races.

109 of the DRS passes took place in Turkey, China, and Barcelona while in Valencia 50% of passes were DRS enabled while only 11% were 'normal' (no information as to how many overtakes there were but it must be the case that the other 39% of overtakes were down to new Vs. old boots).

The report says that DRS has only accounted for 29% of overtaking manoeuvres over the course of the season so far but this figure incorporates all of the 623 manoeuvres.  If we break it down that's 44.4% of all on-track overtaking (removing the moves on the slowest teams and teammates) due to DRS.

In terms of old vs new tyres this type of manoeuvre measured 60% of overtakes which were not attributable to DRS (136 of 225).

This leaves us with 89 overtaking manoeuvres in total which cannot be attributed to DRS or Tyres - or 21% of all 'normal' overtaking moves over the season so far.

Are my calculations correct? If so then we are seeing assisted passing taking place nearly 80% of the time, that's 4 in every 5 overtakes directly attributable to DRS or Tyres or both.

On the back of these figures I wouldn't feel right endorsing the new rules as fervently as Autosport, in fact I'd be looking at them with more than a little suspicion - Oh that's right, I already have (here, and here, and here and all over really).

All in all I'm surprised at Autosport.  Their story is entitled 'Analysis: the success of Formula'1 new rules' when very little analysis has taken place.  They seem to have just taken Mercedes figures and rehashed them rather than attempt to make any analysis of what the figure show.  The fact is that the figures show that the F1 Circus has actually become a circus - where it's 80% show and 20% racing.  Having a respected publication like Autosport endorse the new gizmos, gadgets, gimmicks, and rubber boots is like a seal of approval.  Bernie and the boys are laughing all the way to the bank - James, Jim, Graham, Juan Manuel, Ayrton etc. are spinning in theirs!