Korean Grand Prix: Long Run Pace Analysis

Posted on October 14, 2011


As forecast, it was a washout in Korea. Two wet sessions, one with a fastest time on full wets, the other with a fastest lap on intermediates. And hardly a lap on slicks. So what can we learn? Well, application of the intelligentF1 model can give us an idea of the pace where a number of consistent laps are strung together, and a few cars provided enough data to allow this to be done.

From FP2, the runs where sufficient laps (at least five) are run at reasonable pace are shown in the chart below. Many cars ran fast lap/slow lap type runs, and these are not suitable for any meaningful analysis. An example of this is Webber’s trace which is included in the chart as a demonstration (blue with cross symbols) – although this is not an extreme case. The solid lines are the data from the cars, and the dashed lines are the fits from the intelligentF1 model.

So, of the cars which provided useful data, Lewis Hamilton was the fastest, but the consistent laps were significantly slower than his session topping time, which is actually the final lap on the trace above. Vettel is only about 0.5s down, with Alguersuari another two-tenths slower. In fact, the Toro Rosso cars provided the longest, most consistent stints of all the cars. After nine laps on intermediate tyres, there was no obvious signs of degradation, but this doesn’t help us understand anything if the race is dry, as it is expected to be.

Also giving us something to go on are Petrov (+1.6s to Hamilton), Buemi (+1.8s), Senna (+2.5s) and Schumacher (+3.5s). But that’s it.

Hopefully FP3 will be dry, and something more meaningful will come out of the data. It will be particularly helpful to have some idea of the tyre lifetimes in order to get a better idea of likely pit strategies for the race. What is really needed is some long stints that can be properly assessed.