F1 strategy to be decisive this year
F1 strategy to be decisive this year
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  23 Mar 2011   |  10:12 pm GMT  |  28 comments

There has been a lot of interest in the F1 Strategy Content I mentioned yesterday, which we will be producing this season, supported by F1 sponsor UBS.

The Strategy Brief and Report will be cutting edge and incisive content which brings fans and anyone interested in Formula 1, closer to the sport. Anyone who saw last season’s final Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi will know the importance of strategy in F1; one bad strategy call cost Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso the world championship.

This year, with new tyres from Pirelli set to change the way the races unfold, understanding the split-second decision making and the strategic thinking behind all the key moves will be crucial.

The pre-race content will analyse the key considerations when planning the race weekend, such as the weather, the track characteristics, likelihood of a safety car (at Albert Park it’s 57%. The average number of safety car interventions for the race is 1.7. In 2006 there were four). This will be live shortly at UBS.com F1

Post race content, posted here on the JA on F1 site, will decode the action, explain how and why the key decisions were taken by teams and drivers and look at where the right and wrong moves were made.

F1 is a sport that can be enjoyed on many levels, but to really get close to the sport and understand the key moves, the Strategy Briefing and Report are a must.

Strategy Insights
Strategy Briefings
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  1. goferet says:

    In the strategy game, I can only see Mercedes doing well as they have the mighty Ross Brawn in their corner.

    Mclaren’s strategist are as bad as they come, China 2007 – anyone?

    Red Bull strategist are amateurs who’s only strategy is to plant it on pole & disappear.

    Ferrari’s strategists all run on emotion with emotional drivers & that’s where the likes of Rob Smedley come in – to calm everybody down with sweet words & reassurances.

    So if the Mercedes car is decent, they (Schumi to be exact) will do really well, yes sir!

    1. Damian J says:

      Ferrari’s race strategy at Abu Dhabi in 2010 was a shocker.

      I believe it was McLaren’s race strategy that kept them in the hunt for the title until the last few races given that their car was not the best of the pack in 2010.

  2. jonrob says:

    Is the strategy report on the same/normal RSS feed James?
    Yesterday the UBS/Strategy Ad took me to the UBS site but today it comes back here.

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes the Strategy Report will be a normal post which will be on RSS

  3. Aaron Parsons says:

    This will be awesome. The best thing about Formula 1 recently is just how accessible it is to get into every area of the sport. Even though the sport travels the globe, the internet, live timings, access to drivers thoughts and feelings before and after a race make this sport one of the most accessible in the world.
    It is not “just” cars travelling around a track. Melbourne here we come. Bring. It. On.

  4. Galapago555 says:

    Sounds fantastic, James.

    Have you planned a timing for when you’ll be posting the pre-race contents? Are you doing it on Friday, after first FPs, or will you wait till Saturdays, after Q3 session? Probably that would be the best moment, as the key decisions will be made once the grid order has been decided. Or maybe you’ll simply decide it on a race by race basis?

  5. Jonty says:

    I predict the inevitable (!) Rebull performance advantage to be less significant than last year with the unpredictability of strategy, rear wing and kers.

    I get the feeling Webber and Vettel are worried. Fernando has to be in a stronger position than last year.

    But the great thing is you can almost guarantee there will be unpredictability in the performance order of the teams. Testing result analysis is more than unreliable..

    1. StallionGP F1 says:

      From my years of watching F1 testing data always become accurate as the season progress when brawn won the title they came into the last test all guns blazing and ppl said it was a publicity run only to be surprised as the season begun
      Also all this Alonso this Alonso that i dont buy it ferrari’s greatest prob since brawn left is strategy and wont be any diff this year
      Alonso was close to the title because of redbulls reliability if the bull is bulletproof they would have won both titles mid-way also they were the fastest non-kers car in 2009 so dis ferrari and also stuff would only work if massa has a dismal season again

      1. Jonty says:

        The Ferrari last year was supposed to blow everyone away but didn’t. Sauber were putting in fast laps on low fuel to try and get sponsors.

        I’m not a Ferrari fan or an Alonso fan for that matter. They had reliability issues last year with engines, Mclaren had a few issues also which lead to DNFs in high point scoring positions.

        In my opinion if Alonso or Hamilton had a Redbull last year they would have won the season with around five to six grand prixs earlier than Vettel WITH the same reliability issues.

        It will be interesting to see this season with potentially more overtaking (and contact) whether Seb will live up to his nickname of the crash kid! Webber also had more than a couple of avoidable crashes (as all drivers likely will over a season) too being fair but on the whole came out luckier.

      2. rick says:


      3. James Allen says:

        No capitals-only posts please.

  6. auski says:

    The weather in melbourne is cool, about 21 degrees with a cool wind all weekend. From a tyre point of view is this the same condition as it has been in testing in Spain?

    James we live 10mins from the track, let me know if you want an aussie bbq. Wife and kids love to me you.

  7. Tom from Adelaide says:

    Great stuff JA, and great to hear that you will be working with 1HD here in Australia again in 2011.

    Slightly off topic – does anybody have an update on the iPad app that was floating around last year? Is it going to functional during the 2011 season? Any other good iPad F1 apps?

    Great blog and great reader-base. The comments are often as informative as the article’s themselves.

    Enjoy Melbourne James! Next year I’ll be making the short trip over myself and will hopefully catch up with you for a few quiet beers (and then some noisy ones!)

  8. PaulL says:

    Given that last year, 80-90% of the runners stopped on the same lap (once), why wouldn’t there just be 3-4 stops on roughly the same lap this year?
    We’ll see how it goes this year, but I wouldn’t confuse “more pitstops” with “strategy”. Of course, I’d argue you need refueling to have real strategy.

    1. Roger says:

      Why? Lots of reasons… testing showed that there are wide variations in how each car and driver treats the tyres, and the degradation will be different for someone chasing hard versus someone pacing himself, etc – so it seems almost inevitable that pitstops will be more spaced out.

  9. Rudy Pyatt says:

    James, sorry to go off topic, but I thought you might know about this – Bernie’s latest NYC strategy:


    In the meantime, I’m psyched up for Melbourne! No DVR for me, I’ll stay up late and watch live.

  10. Red5 says:

    Can’t wait to see how this evolves throughout the year.

    Teams will be on a steep learning curve to understand how to get the most from the new tyres, DRS and return of KERs.

    I suggest some drivers will find the vast array of buttons and dials on the steering wheel a little distracting and perhaps we will see a few more driver mistakes at the end of each stint when tyre performance has dropped off and drivers are defending their position.

    I am yet undecided whether strategy will play a bigger or smaller part of the race weekend. Could all be decided on the track not the pitwall.

    Roll on Sunday morning.

  11. Alex W says:

    I can’t wait to see who pits early, who plays follow the leader, and who can stay out alone. One thing I think would make it even better (and more chaotic!) would be one way comms, driver can speak at any time, but can only get info via the pit boad, it would just be an extension of the current system where engineers cannot communicate with the car directly, and it would really seperate the smarties from the robots!

  12. Mario says:

    Strategy is decisive every year, isn’t it? I’d say driver input to be decisive this year.
    Hopefully we’ll see some drivers go ‘I know better’ way and make their own calls based on gut instinct, like I wish Alonso had done in Abu Dhabi last year.

  13. JohnBt says:

    With the predicted three to four stops there will surely be high dramas. If every driver pit 4 times that’ll be 96 pit stops, wow!
    But my guess will be 60 to 80 plus stops as some will only need 3 stops. Also not forgetting some might not go beyond a couple of laps too.

    Live timing will be even more important to follow this year as it will get confusing.

    Another piece of F1 history to be made for pit stops.

  14. Harvey Yates says:

    I can’t wait to have the strategy gone over post race. It is the black art of F1. When the difference between fixed items, like drivers, chassis and engines is around 1%, a clever bit of strategy can make that up and considerably more.

    I can’t help thinking that the team that guesses right with the tyres is going to have a distinct advantage in the first few races. On that theme, is tyre management the reason Mclaren have made their 11th hour changes?

    Who would be a strategist? Every decision to be mulled over once the circumstances are clear. But there is little doubt that it is exciting. It is often a case of he who dares.

    My Sky+ box stopped recording yesterday. How did it know the F1 season had started?

  15. Stevie P says:

    My strategy’s good thanks… day off tomorrow (the 25th)… I’m now switching to Aussie time (from UK time), thus sleeping during the day and glued to the feed during the night :-)

  16. james b says:

    So true. I will never forget schumi’s 4 stop at magny cours!!! It was genius and the onlytime i can remember 4 stops working. Also, i’m sure you called it before brundle and he dismissed the idea!!

  17. Janis says:

    this post-race strategy decode could be a real killer feature of this site as you are extremely well positioned to provide it.
    Can’t wait!

  18. Edward Valentine says:


    I can see some “recovery drives” taking place among the likes of Hamilton and Vettel regarding poor strategy calls around safety cars. They will for sure be racing eachother to three pitstops and possibly even four stops. I just hope the we get a clean first corner so we can get some sort of picture of what’s what.

    Good luck + enjoy the season James

  19. StefMeister says:

    For whatever reason Im not looking as forward to this season as I have most others.

    I don’t like KERS, Hate the ARW & am not keen on the tyres & combined they have all kinda taken away most of my enthusiasm I would usually have going into a new season.

  20. RickeeBoy says:

    I have a new application for my TV.

    It has a louder volume control so I can hear what’s going on over my screaming ..

    ” Who is on what tyres ”
    ” How many tyres have they left”
    ” Who’s really leading”
    ” What car/driver is really going well”
    ” I thought this was a GP and driver skills not changing tyres skills ”
    ” Press the wing button, you doughnut ”
    ” Coultard ….. Stop talking up RBR”

    ” What the **** is happening ????? “

  21. RickeeBoy says:

    PS – As soon as a Safety car comes out then we are going to see virtually every car ” Always ” dive in for new tyres – so expect a very full and mad and dangerous pit lane a few times this year.


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