Posted on April 8, 2014

The Strategy Report

The Bahrain Grand Prix was one of the most exciting races for many years, featuring wheel to wheel battles throughout the field and lots of interesting strategy work, which affected the outcome. There was a Safety Car, which is a rare occurrence at this circuit and it made for a thrilling climax after the restart, with cars using a mixture of different strategies. But even without the Safety Car, this was a fascinating race from a strategy point of view and here we will analyse and explain some fundamental details which led to the race turning out as it did. More…

Posted on March 24, 2014


The Malaysian Grand Prix is the second round of the 2014 FIA F1 World Championship and – from a reliability point of view – far more of a challenge for the teams than Melbourne. The intense heat and humidity will stretch the cars’ cooling systems to the limit. With the new hybrid turbo power units and the powerful batteries in the Energy Recovery System, cooling is critical this year. We may see several teams being forced to open the bodywork to improve cooling, which will hurt their aerodynamic performance and in some cases the stability of the cars in the More…

Posted on November 19, 2013

The Strategy Report

Not by any means a classic race, the 2013 US Grand Prix, but an interesting one from a number of perspectives. The strategy was quite clearly defined by the conservative tyre choice made by Pirelli. There was little variation across the field with only Jean Eric Vergne starting the race on the hard tyre, while everyone else went with mediums and made one scheduled stop. But there are some interesting talking points and indicators of future trends, which are worth considering from this race. Pre-Race Strategy Expectations Pirelli once again announced the two hardest tyres in the range for the More…

Posted on November 5, 2013

The Strategy Report

Although Sebastian Vettel made a mistake in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his rivals were not able to press home their advantage and control him on race day, as he took the lead at the start from team-mate Mark Webber. Any chance of his rivals being able to work with strategy to prevent Vettel from taking his seventh consecutive victory went out of the window there. Vettel was able to pull out a lead and preserve the tyres at the same time in the opening stint and then, because he had not used the medium tyres at all More…

Posted on October 30, 2013


This weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has many points of interest, despite the 2013 drivers’ and constructors’ championships already having been decided. There is a tight battle for second, third and fourth places in the constructors’ race between Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus, which is worth a significant amount of money to the teams involved. Force India and Sauber are also fighting for sixth position. Race Strategy has always been crucial to the outcome of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Last year’s race was a fascinating one from a strategy point of view as Sebastian Vettel had to start from the More…

Posted on October 29, 2013

The Strategy Report

The Indian Grand Prix was all set up to be a fascinating strategy battle with four of the top ten cars starting the race on the more durable medium compound tyres and six on the soft compound, which was short-lived. Everywhere there were different tactical approaches and possibilities, although some yielded good results, others didn’t work out. Sadly incidents at the start meant that the fastest two of the outliers, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso were not able to show what they might have done. A strong result for Sergio Perez, however, made the strategy look worthwhile and one wonders More…

Posted on October 22, 2013


Pre-event strategy content: Buddh International Circuit, October 25-27 Although the new Buddh International Circuit, just outside Delhi has proved popular with drivers in its two seasons on the calendar, the event will not take place next year and its place on the calendar from 2015 onwards is in doubt for financial and administrative reasons. This is a shame, as it is a great circuit for F1 cars with a challenging mixture of fast corners and slower technical corners, which really shows a good car from a bad one. Strategy wise last year was a bit flat as the tyre choice More…

Posted on October 20, 2013


There has been significant interest among F1 fans around the world regarding the way Red Bull managed its two drivers in the Japanese Grand Prix. Mark Webber was ahead of Sebastian Vettel, then was switched onto a three-stop strategy and ended up finishing behind him. Red Bull got a 1-2 finish. With the help of JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, who headed Williams’ track operations last year, we’ve got a fuel corrected graph, which expresses the lap times of the three leading drivers during the race. There are several conclusions we can draw from this and some useful More…

Posted on October 2, 2013


The Korean Grand Prix is working to establish itself in the F1 calendar and win a place in the hearts of the participants, but it is an uphill struggle. However the circuit does tend to provide quite a good race and there are important decisions to be made on car set up and strategy which can affect the outcome. This year with a big step between tyre compounds, it should make the race more interesting, as Singapore was. With Sebastian Vettel 60 points clear of Fernando Alonso in the championship and with a car which is now fully optimised, the More…

Posted on June 11, 2013

The Strategy Report

What made the Canadian Grand Prix unusual was the fact that after a wet qualifying session, where no dry running was done at all, teams had all new Pirelli slick tyres to race on. This meant that potentially less stops would be possible as the tyres had more life. Against that the track was green because of the rain, so no-one knew what the tyre life would be like in the first stint. The result was a fascinating strategy battle with lots of different approaches taken by the various teams. Although it was a runaway win for Sebastian Vettel, the More…

Posted on May 28, 2013

The Strategy Report

The Monaco Grand Prix was similar in many ways to last year’s event; a race of managed pace, but this year with interesting consequences. It showed a wider strategy on the part of the championship contenders in particular. If you analyse the way they conducted their races, it appears that they were focussed on the championship rather than on challenging for the race victory. Nico Rosberg was the dominant figure in Monaco across practice and qualifying, but he wasn’t well placed in the championship going into the event and he wasn’t challenged in the race as he might have expected More…

Posted on May 20, 2013


The last few Grands Prix have been decided by race strategy; good planning and execution. And Monaco looks set to be the same. Mercedes has taken three poles in a row, but lost out on race day. Will Monaco offer them a chance to hold on and win the race? If the race is a marginal one or two stop race, will Lotus and Ferrari be able to play a strategic game to get the win? Ferrari hasn’t won Monaco for 12 years. From a strategy point of view the Monaco Grand Prix is a very tricky race as cars More…

Posted on May 14, 2013

The Strategy Report

This race may come to be viewed as a tipping point in the ongoing debate about whether the high degradation Pirelli tyres are good for F1 or not, as two of the three drivers on the podium did a four stop strategy. Pirelli has indicated that they have been “too aggressive” with the construction of the 2013 tyres and will make changes from the seventh round, Montreal, onwards. However against this backdrop, the strategy battle at the heart of this race was fascinating. And it showed that the teams who came out on top were the ones who had the More…

Posted on May 7, 2013


The Formula 1 engineers have a love/hate relationship with Circuit de Catalunya; it is the track they know the best from the pre-season testing that has been held there for many years, but it is an enigmatic circuit, always changing with temperature and wind conditions. A car, which flies in the morning, can be uncompetitive in the afternoon, without anything being changed on the car itself. As the first European race of the season it is also a track where teams bring their first major technical update package to the car, which will have taken 10-12 weeks of wind tunnel More…

Posted on April 17, 2013


This weekend’s Bahrain promises to be another tense race and is likely to be decided on race strategy, if last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix are anything to go by. And one important detail to note is that Pirelli has changed the tyre specification for this weekend from the soft compound tyres which proved short-lived in China, to mediums, which have been used in every race so far. Alongside this tyre is the hard compound, which was used in Malaysia. Due to lead times and logistics, this decision will have been made before the Chinese More…

Posted on April 16, 2013

The Strategy Report

The UBS Chinese Grand Prix was another tense race and the outcome was once again decided by race strategy. What made it particularly interesting was that there were different approaches among the leading teams, forced by the disparate performance levels of the soft and medium Pirelli tyres. Team strategists had to find a way to do the fastest race, which meant spending the least amount of time on the weaker tyre and running in clear air as much as possible. Here, with the help and input of several team strategists as well as JA on F1 technical adviser Mark Gillan, More…

Posted on April 9, 2013


After the dramas of the first two Grands Prix, the tenth running of the Chinese Grand Prix should provide another very open contest, with strategic decisions likely to be the deciding factor once again. After the high temperatures and high tyre degradation of Malaysia, Shanghai will see a less extreme picture, as far as tyre wear is concerned. Whereas Sepang was all about managing the rear tyres, Shanghai is all about getting the front tyres at the optimum temperature for qualifying and then managing them in the race. The first sector of the lap features a series of slow corners; More…

Posted on March 26, 2013

The Strategy Report

The Malaysian Grand Prix provided some extraordinary talking points with the dispute between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber the main focus. Although this was primarily a dispute over trust and team orders, some curious race strategy decisions created the circumstances for the Red Bull drama and the Mercedes team orders, as we shall see. Pre-race considerations After the practice sessions the feeling among team strategists was that tyre degradation would be very high, while wear was expected to mean that medium tyres would last 15 laps with the hard lasting 18 laps. But the decisive data would be the degradation More…

Posted on November 27, 2012

The Strategy Report

The Brazilian Grand Prix was a rollercoaster of a race, with positions and fortunes changing from lap to lap as intermittent rain caused chaos. Sebastian Vettel managed to survive a first lap collision, a broken radio and four pitstops to fight back from 17th place on lap one to sixth at the end to secure the points he needed to win the world championship for the third time. Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, went from seventh on the grid to second at the end, but did not have the pace in the Ferrari to challenge Jenson Button for the win, which would More…

Posted on November 2, 2012


Ferrari will need no reminding of how painful the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was for the team; it highlighted how critical Race Strategy really is and how a bad call can cost the world championship. Following a strategic blunder by the Ferrari engineers, Fernando Alonso came out of a pit stop behind a slower car, which he could not then overtake. It cost him the world championship, which was won by the man he challenges again this year for the title, Sebastian Vettel. Yas Marina is tough circuit on which to overtake and so qualifying and race strategy are More…

Posted on October 11, 2012


The Yeongam circuit, in South Korea, was new to the calendar in 2010 and it is a mix of different concepts, with a long straight and some high-speed corners early on in the lap, and then a series of tight blind bends at the end, around which the organizers hope to build a Monaco-like cityscape with a harbour. The slow sections contribute to making this one of the slowest average speed laps of any permanent circuit. This makes it quite a tough track to set the car up for, with a debate over whether straight line speed should be prioritized More…

Posted on October 9, 2012

The Strategy Report

The Japanese Grand Prix this year was a fairly straight forward race, largely due to the lack of competition at the front, after Fernando Alonso was eliminated at the start and Mark Webber and Romain Grosjean were thrown down the order following their collision. Nevertheless strategy played a central part in Felipe Massa’s break-though result and led to some of the other talking points of the race, like the Perez vs Hamilton battle and Schumacher’s challenge for points from the back of the grid. Pre-race thinking Before the race, the thinking was that two stops was the way to go, More…

Posted on September 11, 2012

The Strategy Report

The Italian Grand Prix was one of the most exciting races of the 2012 season so far, which is unusual for Monza. The track has a high-speed character and opportunities for overtaking, but doesn’t always provide excitement. However this year’s race was brought alive by the strategy decisions made by some of the teams and the bold gamble taken by many of them to try to do the race with only one pit stop. It was marginal in terms of tyre life. Some of the tyres that came off the cars at the end had no more than a lap More…

Posted on July 31, 2012

The Strategy Report

The Hungarian Grand Prix was far from being a thriller in terms of on track action with hardly any overtaking after the first laps. But it was a very interesting tactical race which leaves a lot of questions to answer, like could Lotus have won the race if they’d done things differently? Why did Button and the Red Bulls make three stops? And how close did Hamilton come to not winning? Pre-race expectations, On Sunday morning most of the strategists were saying it would be a wet race. The forecast had not changed for five days and rain would fall More…

Posted on July 25, 2012


The choice of the soft and medium compounds, rather than soft and supersoft Pirelli used last year, is quite conservative and has surprised some teams which would have benefited from the supersoft tyre. Pirelli say it’s because the medium operates well at lower temperatures, like we had last year, but it will also suit teams who run well on mediums. Perhaps there has been some lobbying there…It means that the strategy will probably come down to fine margins with two stops being the target. It will be interesting to see whether the medium tyre turns out to be the better More…

Posted on July 3, 2012


So far this season we have seen quite a number of races won on race strategy and with uncertain conditions forecast for Silverstone and cool temperatures making the behaviour of the tyres unpredictable, it should be another interesting weekend. As always there are many things for the teams to consider when planning how they attack the weekend. Here’s how we see it: Silverstone is loved by the drivers and engineers because of the many high speed corners it offers. It provides a rigorous test of aerodynamic efficiency, like Barcelona. The track was built on a wartime airfield and is in More…

Posted on May 8, 2012


[Updated] Last year’s Spanish Grand Prix at Barcelona was widely heralded as one of the most exciting race finishes of the season, largely due to the way race strategies played out, with an intense battle for the lead in the final laps of the race between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Vettel managed to hold on to take the win. However tyre degradation was very severe last year and after the recent Bahrain Grand Prix there were complaints from Michael Schumacher, as well as from many fans, that the racing is suffering from drivers not been able to push to More…

Posted on April 24, 2012

The Strategy Report

The Bahrain Grand Prix was another example of close racing with uncertain outcomes, dependent on race strategy, which has already come to characterise the 2012 F1 season. Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull became the fourth different car/driver winning combination in four races, showing not only how closely matched the teams are, but also how delicate the balancing act is in getting the strategy right on the Pirelli tyres. In just four races we have already had eight different drivers on the podium, more than in the whole of 2011. Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit provided the sternest test yet of the tyres, More…

Posted on October 11, 2011

The Strategy Report

The Japanese Grand Prix was all about race strategy. With tyre wear much more tricky to manage than expected, throughout the field the drivers who succeeded were the ones whose teams got the strategy right, not just on race day but on qualifying day too. There were some pretty contrasting races at the front. Of the top three, Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull had the worst tyre performance and Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari had the best. Alonso was nowhere near as quick as Vettel at the start of each of the stints, but he was always the quickest of the three cars More…

Posted on May 31, 2011

The Strategy Report

Each race we look in depth at the strategies and analyse the decisions taken in the heat of battle and sometimes we see teams and drivers taking big risks. We also see the part that luck can play in the outcome. Both are particularly true when you are trying to get a good result in Monaco. All the strategists know that there is a 71% chance of a safety car here and if it falls at the right time it can make your race – as it did this year for Sutil and Kobayashi. But if it falls at the More…

Posted on April 14, 2011


In Malaysia, observed Felipe Massa, there was “a lot of overtaking in the final laps. That is why the strategy is even more important now, in order to get the tyre change sequence just right, so that you can avoid finding yourself fighting for position in the last few laps, while dealing with tyres that are no longer at their best.” This weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix takes place on another track where the effects of KERS, the DRS wing and the tyre degradation will be transformative, as they were in Sepang. Interestingly, the FIA is considering single detection, double activation More…



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