How To Read F1Scope Race Summary

F1Scope Race Summary is a visualisation of Formula 1 Grand Prix. It consists of a few elements, which provide the complete overview of the top 10 action for the whole race, lap by lap.

The first part shows the grid, tyre strategy, and the situation on the finish. The distance on the finish line is proportional to the gap in seconds (every line is 5 seconds)

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Just below, you can find general race statistics. Not only leaders and fastest laps, but also the percentage of gaps below 1 second, gaps between 1 and 10 seconds and bigger than 10 seconds.  This, as well as position changes and pitstops is calculated only for top 10.

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The next part of the summary visualises all laps for top 10. The left part of the chart is reserved for the statistics similar to the above.

The next element to the right is a lap chart, which visualises a few things at the same time:Zrzut ekranu 2017-04-02 o 21.20.35

  • green ribbon = pace; the thinner the ribbon the faster pace
  • orange squares, grey dots = gap indicator;
    • orange squares: gap < 1 second; every filled square represents 0.1s
    • grey dots: gap < 10 seconds; every dot represents 1s
    • no indicator: gap > 10 seconds
  • events (pitstops, fastest laps, DNFs)

On the right side of the lap chart you can  also find

  • best time and worst time
  • and the gap chart

(The above two elements are for the current 10 laps)

All of this combined provides a lot of information on one overview.

Please find example, created for the recent Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, here. I’m looking forward to your feedback.

The gripping Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix

Last Sunday, I couldn’t escape the feeling, that the race wasn’t extremely interesting. It is true, that Vettel won a Grand Prix for the first time since Singapore 2015, and yes, Mercedes did not have superior pace as in 2016, 2015 or 2014 season. But still…

In the first stint Vettel was chasing Hamilton, but after Hamilton opened a gap to 1.1s on lap 6 Vettel never got closer than 1.2s. After that Hamilton went in too early, and the race was decided in the pit lane.

When I generated F1Scope summary for this race, my original feeling seemed to be confirmed. The gaps between Vettel and Hamilton were static.

Ham_Vet_ok

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2017 Australian F1 GP

Most gap indicators in top 10 are grey, and there are no position changes after lap 1. Lap 13 Sainz, Perez and Kvyat got promoted because of Grosjean’s DNF, and in Lap 16 things start to change because of pitstops. But I cannot find any top 10 position change not related to a pitstop or DNF.

One of the other statistics on the summary is the percentage of top 10 gaps below 1 second. And this statistic for 2017 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix was only 5% (4.5 actually).

When I compared it to F1Scope chart of Australian Grand Prix last year it was even more clear that 5% is unusually low. There were 28% of duels in 2016, 14% in 2015 and 28% in 2014. Assuming “race interestingness” is correlated with that number, Formula 1 2017 season started with a pretty boring race.

australian_gaps
Going further and looking at all races, which took place in Melbourne last 20 years, it turned out that this year Grand Prix has the lowest percentage of top 10 gaps < 1 second!

Next in the row would be 2010 Grand Prix with 12%, and the median for all races in Melbourne since 1996 is 22%. In other words, 5% is exceptional even looking at the last 2 decades of F1 races at Albert Park. Boring race, no questions asked.

Even more interesting is the comparison with all Formula 1 races since 1996. If we take all 376 Grand Prix since 1996, there are only 3 with lower percentage of duels:

Only 3 races. Isn’t it amazing ?

Two of them, 1997 Monaco and 1996 Spain are examples of extreme wet conditions and the low number of small gaps can be explained by this. But since, races in the rain are interesting by definition for other reasons (a chance for a sudden mistake) those two can be considered more interesting than Australian GP 2017.

That leaves one race – 2008 Chinese GP. Looking at its F1Scope summary, there are almost no orange gap indicators. After lap three there is one for Webber on lap 7 (0.4s). The next one from Massa on Lap 24 (0.4 s) and that’s it… There were obviously no fights of a caliber of 1979 Gilles Villeneuve vs Rene Arnoux in this race. We see here a classic 2008 pre DRS era race, when drivers were talking about “dirty air” and complaining that overtaking is very difficult. The question is, are we back to those times ?

Anyway, the comparison, not only confirms that the Australian 2017 Formula 1 Grand Prix wasn’t interesting. It proves that it was unusually uninteresting.

And that was the very moment that I understood I’m wrong. It reminded me interesting number paradox.  Which means there are basically no boring races. The most dull race is actually extremely interesting since it is so unusual as an extreme.
Following this path, I have to admit that I was completely wrong. Last Sunday Grand Prix wasn’t boring at all, just in opposite we witnessed history in the making. The Formula 1 Grand Prix in dry conditions with the gaps as big as in the rain and comparable to pre DRS times. The gripping Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

Data source: http://ergast.com/mrd/