Why the Turkish GP turned out as it did: Strategy Analysis
Why the Turkish GP turned out as it did: Strategy Analysis
Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  10 May 2011   |  11:50 am GMT  |  156 comments

The Turkish Grand Prix featured 82 pit stops, a new record for Formula 1 and some spectacular overtaking moves. It was quite a confusing race, which requires some decoding and there are some clear trends emerging which will have a big effect on the way the races happen from now on.

It was also another race which was all about strategy; not just in terms of pit stops on race day, but further back than that, it was also about planning a strategy for the whole weekend and particularly for qualifying.

After four races with new rules and new tyres, we are seeing some clear patterns which strategists are building into their plans. For a start, the DRS wing aiding overtakes means that it is possible to go for what the computer model tells you is the optimum strategy for your car’s pace, because you know that you can overtake, you won’t have your race completely ruined, as Alonso’s was by Petrov in Abu Dhabi last year, for example.

However we are also seeing that being stuck in traffic can still lose you vital time, as it did for Jenson Button on Sunday, and this is harmful to anyone trying to get away with making one less stop than the opposition.

We have also learned that having even one set of new soft tyres for the race makes a vital difference, as much as 5 to 6 seconds over the course of a typical stint.

Another lesson is that it is preferable now to slant thinking very much towards the race and not qualifying. It’s not just about saving a set of tyres, it’s also about setting the car up for the race and prioritising that above all else.

With the Pirelli tyres the ideal balance for qualifying and race are far apart. In the past it was generally a case of add a bit more front wing for qualifying and take it out at the first stop in the race. Where you qualified was often where you finished.

Now it is about setting the car up to preserve the tyres, which isn’t compatible with single lap performance. So you are looking to preserve the tyres, by dealing with the limitations. In China the tyres were front limited, in Turkey they were rear limited.

Although both Ferrari prioritised a race balance, they failed to save a set of soft tyres from qualifying, which was very odd, especially after Hamilton won the race in China using that tactic. So the Alonso strategy was right, but not perfect. Massa even used up a set of new soft tyres in Q1, when there was no risk of dropping out because Kobayashi had stopped. No-one in the pit lane can understand how that mistake was made.

Teams are also still finding surprises on race day, despite gathering tyre data on Fridays. In China the surprise was that the wear on the hard tyre in the final stint was bad because the track hadn’t rubbered in. In Turkey the traack did rubber in and the surprise was that the lap time difference between the soft and hard was only 3/10ths of a second, much less than at any race so far and less than the 1 second/lap it looked like on Friday.

Another point to make is that, even if they have a margin, some drivers are making a final stop for new tyres to cover themselves should a safety car be deployed in the closing laps. Vettel did it with his fourth stop, which wasn’t really needed, but if there had been a safety car he would have been a sitting duck at the restart.

Why were there so many pit stops in Turkey?
There are a number of reasons for this. Mainly it is because the tyre degradation was severe. The track temperatures were higher on Sunday than during practice and tyres didn’t last as long as expected. Also the pit lane in Turkey is relatively short and so you lose less time (just 16 secs) making a stop there in comparison with other tracks. Also the high peak loadings on the tyres through Turn 8, as much as 1,000 kilos, take their toll on tyres.

Why planning to stop four times was the winning strategy
Many teams set out to stop three times, but told their drivers in the early laps of the race that they were moving to “Plan B”, which meant four stops. The tyre degradation was huge and that was clear from five laps into the race. It was at this point that many teams switched to four and those who didn’t (Button, Williams drivers) lost out.

Pre-race simulations said that a three stop strategy would lead a four stop by eight seconds after the fourth stop. But then the four stopper overtakes the three stopper as his tyres are a second a lap faster.

So teams who set out on Friday to run the race as a four stop strategy did well on Sunday. Ferrari were a case in point with Alonso, who set the car up to be optimised for four stops. He also benefited from a good start, which put him clear of the squabbles over position. We’ve learned that intense battles speed up tyre degradation.

Why didn’t Jenson Button make three stops work?
The limitation for trying to do three stops in Turkey was the front right tyre, which is the one that is punished most by Turn 8. Button found that by running longer stints, he developed understeer in all the left hand corners and that meant he couldn’t defend.

Button was racing against Rosberg and Hamilton, both of whom stopped four times. His goal was to do one less stop than them and to have enough of a margin over them when they came out from their fourth stop (around lap 46) for them not to be able to catch him in the 12 remaining laps, despite their newer tyres. His strategy began to unravel on his third stint, when he was on his new soft tyres. This was the moment to build a cushion, particularly as Rosberg was on hard tyres at this time. But on lap 30 Button got held up by Massa. Button’s laps 30 to 39 should have been in the 1m 31s and 32s, instead they were in the 1m 33s.

This meant that when Hamilton and Rosberg came out from their fourth stops Rosberg was only 8 seconds behind and Hamilton two. On tyres that were older and therefore a second a lap slower, Button was a sitting duck.

Similarly Buemi did well to make his tyres on a three stopper last so that he was in seventh place with four laps to go. But the two Renaults on fresher tyres went past him at the end and he wound up 9th, which is still a good result from 16th on the grid. So again we see midfield cars such as Toro Rosso and Sauber, which are gentle on their tyres, can run one less stop than rivals and get into the points.

Kobayashi copies Webber’s China strategy
Kamui Kobayashi was his usual ebullient self on Sunday, making some spectacular overtakes and working his way up from the back of the grid to finish 10th and claim a point. He did this by running on new tyres all race and by getting the hard tyre out of the way at the start, when his progress was limited anyway by traffic. He was helped by the hard tyre being faster than expected.

Kobayashi’s race again goes to show how much progress you can make if you run as much as possible on new tyres. It is likely to encourage midfield teams to consider throwing qualifying in order to have new tyres for the race.

Photos: Red Bull, McLaren

* The UBS Strategy Briefing is created by James Allen with input from strategists from several of the leading F1 teams

Below is the race history graph.

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I wonder if Alonso last stop was a wise move.

Knowing that Webber stopped for Hard tyres, maybe the best option was to carry on until the end.


If he kept running on that set he would have to use it for 22 laps. Button pitted 3 laps later, drove carefully and went "off the cliff" at the end. Look at the graph.

Not only there was the risk of safety car but there was the risk of being overtaken by Webber even without the safety car IMO.


He had to, Webbet stopped first so was going to pass him anyway and if there had been a safety car Alonso would have been a sitting duck to Hamilton and others at the restart.


Safety car.... that is a rare sight lately!

How more chaotic races can get if we see safety cars? Barcelona and Monaco can be the ultimate test for the race strategists.


I am excited to see the impact of safety cars on the "new style" F1. It had not occurred to me until this article just what a huge impact closing up the field with the different levels of tire wear will have. Add DRS in the mix and we are going to see some heady action at some point. Can't wait.


I do quite like this graphical representation of the race.

It's easy enough to relate certain features to events in the race; Webber chasing and catching Alonso in the final stint etc.

I don't fully understand the construction though. What time difference is being referred to? Why does Vettel's line not just run all the way across the 0 line?

Why do certain drivers fall off the bottom and some stop before full distance? I presume it's some function of them being 1 or more laps down?


I am with Dan here. Infographics is a topic I am very interested in. Any graphical information to add to the blog is more than a welcome addition.

As a suggestion, extra information could be add to the graph, for instance when S/H tyres are used adding a dot/square.

I am with Jo Torrent explanation, the inclination of the line give us how quick/slow that particular lap was.

I wonder if anybody could post or link the raw data in Excel.


I've written a Perl script that downloads the FIA's timesheet PDFs and extracts the text into a light-weight database. Here's a link to a CSV file of the Turkey lap times from the database that Excel can load:


James' charts have created a lot of interest so if I can make the script more robust I'll try to make it available to anyone who's interested in time for Barcelona.


I don't know how you'd get it into Excel, but you can get the timing data for the last Grand Prix as PDF from: http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Pages/timing.aspx


I already posted the way the graph is made IMO in the last strategic report by JAF1. It's a bit hard to put in words

Let's take Alonso as an example. After one lap he spends T1 time on track, after too laps T2 time and so on…

Vettel is the winner so he is the reference. His average laptime during the race is Awinner=1:33.406. To calculate the average laptime it's simple : race duration divided by the number of laps 58. The average laptime has the pitstops included of course.

To calculate Alonso curve as you see it on the graph we do the following operation :

After 1 lap : Awinner – T1

After 2 laps : 2*Awinner – T2

After 3 laps : 3*Awinner – T3


and the operation is done for each driver. The reason Vettel goes back to 0 after 58 laps is

because after 58 laps he manages the average time of the winner who is none other than himself. That’s way all the cruves are negative (below zero) and only the winner manages to hit it at the end.

Why Vettel is not always matching the 0 reference eventhough he is the reference, it is because at the start he is heavy in fuel and so his laptimes are below the average laptime. Afterwards, his laptimes are faster than the average value but the pitstops make him loose time.

Back at the times when refueling was allowed the curves will be above 0 many times for the best drivers. It is no longer possible unless it rains during the race.

I'm not sure it is very clear but that's the best way I found to explain it


The way the graph works is as follows.

The 0 line represents the duration of the race, if every lap was exactly the same (the average). The "curve" shows how far away, at any given moment, a driver is from the average duration. For example on Lap 21, Vettel was 20 seconds behind what he would have been had every lap been the exact same as the average.

If we take Vettel's as an example and we split it based on the pitstops we get 5 distinct sections. The first section shows him moving further away from the average, because his laps were slower. Each pitstop puts him even further from the average. But after each stop, his lap times improve to become better than the average laptime, thus he moves closer to the expected duration shown by 0.

Simples 🙂


Spot on. And it also follows that when the gradient of any individual is descending (negative) they are doing lap times slower than the average lap time of the winner(including pit stops).

When the line is horizontal they have just done a laptime equal to the average lap time (of the winner including pit stops)

When the line is rising (positive gradient) they are copleting laptimes faster than the average lap time (of the winner including stops)

The steeper the + or - gradient the faster or slower the lap has been completed compared to the average lap time of the winner including pit stops


maybe if you put "best average lap time" as graph history of the line across 0, it would be easier to understand.


Thanks very much Jo Torrent for trying to explain it. However, I don't think your explanation is right, and I'm with Dan on this one.

Vettel's race time was 1h 30m 17.558s and the race lasted for 58 laps - this makes his average lap time 1m 33.406s, as you say. Every driver except for d'Ambrosio, Karthikevan and Liuzzi (plus Glock, who did not start) set a fastest race lap faster than this time but, again as you rightly say, the average time includes pit stops and laps when fat with fuel and/or running old tyres, so it should be no surprise that drivers managed to beat this time on individual fast laps.

However, over the last 10 laps of the race, Vettel's lap times grew slower as his tyres grew older and he managed the race as he knew he had it in the bag. This would therefore mean that his average lap time actually grew over the last 10 laps - meaning that he would have been above zero on the graph with 10 laps to go, according to your explanation. Similarly your explanation seems to wrongly suggest that his average lap time would have decreased over the last 10 laps to get him back to zero on James's chart.

James - any chance you could please explain how you get from the Race History data to the graph you show?



However, over the last 10 laps of the race, Vettel’s lap times grew slower as his tyres grew older and he managed the race as he knew he had it in the bag.


Yes but... His laptimes did not drop enough to look slower than his average laptime, hence the line keeps climbing to the end, but the rate of climb does slow down when he is saving tires/controlling.

The reason is that 4 pitstops has a big impact on average laptimes. 4 pitstops taking 16 seconds each add 64 seconds to the racetime, or over a second a lap. Assuming a somewhat Gaussian distribution of 'normal laptimes' (i.e. those not affected by a stop), this means he would have had to lap 2+ seconds slower than his fastest laps at the end, which was clearly not the case.


Right here goes! This is my understanding of it.

As you correctly say Vettels lap times got slower over the last 10 laps. However they were still faster than his average lap time 1:33.4 so therefor he was making up time on his own average.

Lets break this down.

If you imagine the Horizontal line across the top as an imaginery car doing 1:33.4 for the whole race you see that everyone looses time to it during the 1st stint (high fuel). Just beacause the lines are sloping down it doesnt mean the drivers are lapping slower and slower (because they werent), it just means they are loosing more and more time to the imaginery car doing 1:33.4.

After the 1st stop the front runners are generally gaining on the imaginery car (i.e. lapping faster than 1:33.4) and the line slopes up, but they loose time at every subsequent pit stop.

The gradient of the line for each stint gets slightly steeper as the race goes on, this is because the lap times are getting faster as the race progresses (less fuel onboard) and therefore they are catching the imaginery car more quickly.

Vettel finishes equal with the imaginery car becuase the average lap time was his average lap time. You could base it on any of the drivers average lap times if you wanted to but then you would have the horizontal line in the middle of everyone and it would all get a bit messy. Its clearest if you base it on the winners average lap time.

Its a bit confusing but if you know how to read it it tells you an awful lot of information.

p.s. theres been a lot of discussion about people making the 4th stop to cover the possibility of a safety car. Are you allowed to use DRS straight after a safety car or is it 2 laps like the start of the race?



Could you give us a hand with that chart as it is very useful but at the moment rather confusing to say the least and it is detracting from your hard work.



In his last stint all Vettel times were in the 1:

30s or 1:31s which is 2s to 3s faster than his average laptime : that's why he keeps gaining on his average laptime curve till he joins it at the end.

Get the data from the FIA website and try to do it on matlab, excel or whatever using my formula.

James why don't you tell us if what I explained is correct or false. And how did you get the idea to make such a graph because it is the best graph based on laptimes and the one who came with the idea did a fantastic job.


This is time difference of all the drivers to all the other drivers incl. the leader, in this case Vettel. Some lines fall off the bottom because time difference is greater than the span of the graph. Hope this helps.


James, have a couple questions I've been dying to ask. Where can fan get access to lap time data like the graph you have above? I'm an engineer and they only ever show the personal best times, but that's not enough for me. I want an entire data set to analyze, practice, qualy and race! Is this data available anywhere?

Can F1 cars use their KERS units as starter motors? In the event they stall on-track.

Also, I think F1 teams need to have a few more sets of tires available this year. I think Pirelli have done a great job and the racing has been spectacular, but it killed me to see Vettel and Webber sit out the final run in qualifying. That's just not the way it's supposed to be.


The graph is the based on figures from the race history, which is also published on the FIA website


Two points:

1.) A set of new tyres worth 5 to 6 seconds? How so? From what Adrian Newey suggested a set of new options simply gives you 1 lap more window in the race, as the warm up and cool down laps in qualifying take minimal life from the tyre. That's not 5 to 6 seconds. ???? Perhaps 1 second yes.

2.) Buttons race really fell apart when McLaren got itchy trigger finger and called him in a couple of laps early on his first stint. To make a three stopper work they have to ensure the hard tyres in the final stint don't have to do a monster amount of laps. They got the balance wrong in this instance, just as RBR did with Vettel in China. It's worth noting that JB agreed that his tyres were still good when he was called into pit. Track position as you correctly point out isn't the be all and end all, ergo McLaren should have left him another 2 laps on the first stint softs, and another 2 on the second stint softs and then he'd have suffered significantly less drop off in the final stint. The issue the teams have is that it's easy to think 'we must pit now because x driver is 1s a lap quicker than us' and then you end up in trouble. The same applies for McLaren in Malaysia with Hamilton, pit too early on a 3 stopper and the compromise in the final stint is huge. Obviously Button in turkey was also compromised by Massa, but perhaps that wouldn't have proven the case if McLaren had dared to space his pit stops at laps 15, 30 and 45 rather than 13, 26 and 39.


On 2) point Button strategy wasn't going to work anyway.

1st : the optimum strategy was the 4 stopper which Button didn't use

2nd : I agree that in order to optimise the 3 stopper the 1st and 2nd stint had to be longer but they must have considered other factors such as traffic and finding a decent gap to use new tyres. Had Button waited 2 more laps he would have exited behind the Heidfeld Petrov battle which would have further compromised his race. He would have overtaken them eventually loosing time and damaging tyres in the process which is far from ideal for a longer stints strategy.

You have to take all factors into accounts. If strategies were down to only optimum tyre usage it would be easy and Ferrari wouldn't have hired Mr. Strategy from RedBull.


Maybe. But as it was he was held up behind Massa, so they didn't get his stops right for traffic either. Are the strategists just a bit behind in being more concerned with track position than tyre wear, or is Jenson wrong ?


Yeah, from what James says, it's strange that Newey said that. When I heard him say it, it surprised me at the time as well.


First lap is 1 sec to 1.5 sec faster than old set, then over next 13 or 14 laps you are still faster as both tyres degrade. The info comes from F1 engineers based on the data from the races.


James, Do you have any info on the effects of tyre wear while drivers are racing for a postion and overtaking?

Vettel's tyres seemed to last much longer than Webber and Alonso, was this because they had to push harder to get passed Rosberg and were battling for 2nd most of the race?

Or is Vettel just better at looking after them?

I notice that when Vettel had to push harder to get passed the Mclarens in China, he had tyre problems.


Yes, it certainly takes more out of them, according to the engineers. Hard to put exact numbers on it, but you can look at the lap time drop off over a stint for cars who've been through a battle




That makes sense, it just Newey didn't seem to think it was a great advantage from the way he talked.

For those in the UK it was 34mins into the BBC coverage on race day.


I'd also add that those sort of figures suggest that doing more stops than your rivals will always result in a theorectical victory. So whilst I appreciate the tyres are always 1 lap older theory and they are slightly less optimal on each of those laps, I'm still unconvinced that it's as much as 5 or 6 seconds (not having a pop at you James, you're just relaying the info).

The other Ian

This is one of the reasons why I was surprised that both McLarens decided to go again in Q3. I thought maybe it would of been better to just do the one run, and hope that they don't loose too many places.

I really do think, that the top teams should start thinking, "Only do one run in Q3".


Overall Button was just too slow.

Take a look at the sector ties here, you will see button between 11th and 14th fastest.



I thought maybe it would *have* been better to just do the one run.


Sort of like the turbo era when you had an engine just for qualifying that was good for one shot.


Perhaps they thought they had a chance to beat Vettel for pole, if so, hats off to them.

Next time though, they'll do only one run.


All I read was tyres, tyres, tyres. Welcome to the new F1 where it is not about cars or drivers anymore but about tyres, tyres, tyres.


About tyres


did you notice that the tyre situation is starting to settle. Chinese grandprix gave lessons to many teams and most of them :

1- the Rosberg lesson : it's always better to pit earlier than the guys you're fighting with. Rosberg over-delivered in China thanks to earlier pit stops than most oppenents which put him on better tyres in every stint but the last one. This piece of strategy reminds us of last year when whenever someone pits everyone follows in his footsteps.

In Turkey, whenever someone pitted all those fighting with him followed in the pits to be on tyres as fresh as his. Only Vettel thanks to a comfortable margin managed to pit a bit later.

2) The extra pit-stop lesson : If you hesitate to do an extra pit-stop, take that route because it's the safest option - no risk of "off the cliff" tyre behaviour

- no risk of safety car ruining your race

- ability to overtake/defend with fresher tyres if facing traffic

So to go for one less pit stop, you really have to be sure.


less serious


3) The Williams Lesson : If you have absolutely no idea how to do it right, look at Williams and take the opposite route.

4) The Ferrari Lesson : If you don't know how to do it right, hire the people who can do it right.

5) The McLaren Lesson : If you don't know how to do it right, build a bigger motorhome than a bigger HQ than copy the others ideas. If it still doesn't work steal the others ideas. Photocopy shops are highly inadvisable

6) The Virgin Lesson : If you're really depressed with your current form, remember there's Virgin in F1.

On last race technical review, I wrote that Virgin almost fell off the graph. In this race, they indeed fell off it.


The Ferrari Lesson: If you have the biggesy cheque because Bernie gives you the a whopping pay off compared to all the other teams put together, use that money to poach the engineers form ribval teams to transfer knowledge. Not any better than using a photocopier!


The issue of sharing the F1 proceeds between teams was not about a pecking order of entitlement based on years served in F1.

What upset all the other teams in F1 was the disproportionate income going to one team!

The BBC reported, "Ferrari would get more of F1's commercial revenue if they finished last than any other team would if they won the world championship."


Are you claiming that the earnings that Ferrari receives from Bernie correspond at minimum to that received by all other teams combined? Here I was thinking that the percentages of revenue distributed was a confidential matter! I was under the impression that Ferrari received the largest percentage, followed by McLaren and Williams. However, I never knew that Ferrari's payment corresponded to at least 50% of the total. Do you know what percentage each of the other teams receive as well?

As for Ferrari poaching employees from other teams, it is something that every team does.


Not too bad, as during the last couple of years it's aero - aero - aero, and finally, aero!

At the end of the day, races are much more amusing this year than 2009 and 2010, aren't they?


Not to me. Sure the moment is better as you watch an overtake or pit stop, but at the end of the day (season) the new gimmicks are benefiting the best cars more and therefore there is zero chance we will have a championship challenge esp with redbull #2 getting a get out of jail free every race due to DRS.


Not to me, fake and contrived as they come.

Everyone pretending this is real racing is like watching a bad comedy.

F1 should be about making everything as good and fast as possible. Not limit the quality of the tyres, fix the tyres for entertainment purposes and watch cars pass each other like on public roads while the guy in front is a sitting duck not able to defend.

It seems the lowest common denominator got what they wanted this year.


If you have completely unrestricted rules then it becomes a money race. The winner is the team who were best at making deals with sponsors, which is hardly "real racing" either.

If you want to bring engineering skill to the forefront then you need some bounds to work within, so that poorer teams can compete. It starts with things like engine capacity and car dimension rules. If that's not enough, you get complicated aero rules, rev limits and, ultimately, control tyres. It's all part of a continuum. In my eyes, as long as the rules are the same for everybody all the time then it's fair racing.

If you're mainly interested in driver skill, then you need to watch a spec series, ideally one where all the cars are centrally prepared like Formula Palmer Audi.


mate if you want it to be purely down to the drivers and nothing else then go and find a go kart track and watch them. This is F1, it's a complicated, technical sport with literally hundreds of variables in each competitor. What about when there were 2 tyre manufacturers? That must have pissed you right off?


F1 has always been about technical innovation, agreed, but if we chose to just say "go as fast as you can" then there would never be ANY passing. Quali would be everything and then there would be no point in having a race at all. there has to be parameters within which they operate and I for one think that shifting those parameters regularly helps keep things fresh and encourages greater innovation.

Admittedly, having both KERS and DRS as options is a little bit of overkill. (What if teams had to choose one or the other on a race by race basis?)

I think the tyres this year have mainly done the job of keeping races exciting up until the final lap or two, whereas in the recent past if you were ahead at final scheduled pitstop, barring rain, you would win. That's no fun for anyone.

Having people on different strategies and different rubber makes for more unpredictable and I would say exciting races.

Who can say Mansell closing in on Senna at Monaco wasn't exciting?


So why limiting the revs of engines, for example? Is that real racing? Or why is refuelling banned?




This is just madness, it's not what F1 should be about.

How so many are getting so excited by this false current formula is just beyond me.

I want to see genuine overtaking on great tracks and not this silly nonsense.

Many it seems to me want F1 to akin to NASCAR - well I don't.


I guess this story will never end... Too many overtakings, too few overtakings, DRS artificial, KERS useless....

In the meantime, everyone forgets that the little German with the pointing finger (which Andy C likes so much) is blowing them all away. He had a disappointing race in China because he finished 2nd. Alonso is happy because he finished 3rd in Turkey.

It became so desperate that JB is calling the Aussie -not much- Grit for help to stop his team-mate.

Why do Germans always destroy the opposition !


I'm a fan of seb as a driver, but personally the finger wagging and the "now thats what I'm talking about" catchphrase.

Its a bit ted rogers for me (for those UK fans of dusty bin)


I know, I'm trying to like him but he makes it difficult. Was very nice to see both he and Webber showing some real warmth to each other.

I wounder what will happen if Webber beats him?


I hate the "that's what I'm talking about". It irritates me to the highest point. Webber kick his a** please


I tend to agree. I'm reminded of what Pat Symmonds said, at least I think it was him, "overtaking should be like scoring a goal in football not like scoring in basketball". At the moment I think it's gone too far in the basketball direction.

Also taking a quote from Mark Webber from an earlier article, "“You come up against drivers like Fernando, Jenson and Nico, you catch them at 2.5 seconds a lap it’s nice but it’s not rewarding because they’ve got nothing to fight back with.” Neither is it really rewarding to watch, it's ok at the moment because of the novelty factor but that will wear off and then I think people will find F1 has devalued itself.

Looking back at great overtaking moves from the past like Hakkinen at Spa in 2000 and Montoya on Schumacher at the US GP in 2001, they'd be worth next to nothing in todays F1 thanks largely to DRS.

Personally I think F1 needed more drivers like Montoya, Kobayashi, Hamilton & Alonso more tracks like Interlagos, Spa & Montreal & tyres from Michelin.


Did you ever watch two top NBA teams go at it?

You get four quarters of quality play and the last minutes of the fourth quarter are packed with drama.

Those wonderful football goals you speak about aren't so beautiful when the score is 5:0.


To be honest I don't like football or basketball. I just love motor racing, cycling & boxing.


Like Alonso on Petrov...... Ohh dear me no that was not, because despite having a car that was close to 2 seconds a lap quicker, he could not over take could he.

Even in last years exciting competition, baring accidents how many were decided after the first lap of the race, and yet people keep going on about "genuine" overtaking.


Defending is also an art. The way Alonso was held up just shows how well Petrov drove and he should (rightly) be given due credit for it.

That said if Ecclestone chose to only race on tracks that were worthy we'd probably have seen Alonson after some time overtake him and Vettel wouldn't be F1 champion.

AGAIN for anyone who cares to listen - F1 is NOT NASCAR!!!!!!!!!

It won't be long before many are turned off by too much and too easy overtaking, I mean, for heavens sake Vettel even used DRS to pass cars he was lapping what on earth would Senna think of that (the master or taking backmarkers and negotiating traffic).


Hear hear. I lived in the US for several years and give me real F1 anyday over nascar.

Watching just how easy so many passes were on Sunday was both a bore and everything F1 shoul not be


But at least we saw Alonso try really hard to overtake, that was real racing.

Now when a car is close to the other, they just breeze passed while the other can't defend. How people can enjoy that is beyond me.

If you want the fastest cars not 'stuck' behind slower cars (which is the reasoning most of the pro crowd use), why even let them race? Let them just run on a test bench and decide the race result that way?

Remember Monaco, Senna/Mansell? Was that boring too? No, it was a classic fight and the guy with the slower package won because of his driving skills.

Gone are those days of classic fights.

Aaron Parsons

Actually, the reason that scenario came about was because Mansell was on...fresh tyres!! Any other track than Monaco he would have breezed past.

Jack, I agree. The reason I mentioned it above is because it involved different tyre strategy and that is what brought us the classic race.


would people shut up about that one race?? Yes that was 1 interesting race without an overtake, but what about the dozens of unbelievably dull ones? that is not an argument.


What do you propose then?

Most of what you can think of we've seen in the past few years. There is no silver bullet Dale.

It is "Formula 1" we're watching. No one said the formula has to be constant. This year's formula has changed, and most seem to agree that it changed for the better. Even "Steamroller Seb Show" isn't as boring as it would otherwise likely be without these tires, DRS and KERS. At least the man has to work for it in the race.

On another note, can you believe the reliability this year? We'll be telling our kids about the days when 5 cars finished a race.


The reliability will come in as they start to recycle engines etc. later in the year....


Overall James the analysis is great and I love this level of detail post race, the graph is really nice but needs better labelling, to make it a bit clearer.

How soon do you think the teams will get to grips with the number of stints required to be fastest?

Not too soon I hope, as the 'strategic mistakes' and number of variables are giving us great racing, the best in years.

I am firmly in the camp that thinks F1 is great fun to watch right now, it is a shame you find it confusing, it is just more complex, and that is not the same thing.

I'm really hoping that the processional bore-athon that we fondly call the Barcelona GP is enlivened by the new rules.


[quote]After four races with new rules and new tyres, we are seeing some clear patterns which strategists are building into their plans. For a start, the DRS wing aiding overtakes means that it is possible to go for what the computer model tells you is the optimum strategy for your car’s pace, because you know that you can overtake, you won’t have your race completely ruined, as Alonso’s was by Petrov in Abu Dhabi last year, for example.


[quote]Kobayashi’s race again goes to show how much progress you can make if you run as much as possible on new tyres. It is likely to encourage midfield teams to consider throwing qualifying in order to have new tyres for the race.[/quote]

I think those two excerpts go to show why what we're currently seeing isn't erally the great racing we think it is.. yeah we're seeing lots of cars pass each other but there's not really much fighting for position going on.

What i read out of it is that the tyres are providing the opportunity for good racing that is then squandered by the DRS system enabling faster cars to push to pass, rather than earn it.


Button/Hamilton multilap, multisector racing. Button/Massa/Petrov multicorner racing. Various other 3 wide passing moves. Schumacher/Barrichello, Schumacher/Massa multicorner racing. There is a lot of passing outside of the DRS zone.

Barrichello's description of why the DRS zone was miscalculated on a curved straight is the best explanation of why it was "too extreme" for some people. If you can, rewatch the race and notice that the following car closes in on the leading car *before* DRS activation. It is an uphill, very wide radius corner which generates G-force in a downward direction; equivalent to extra downforce. The leading car is punching a hole in the air ahead facilitating slip-streaming however the following car doesn't suffer the usual "dirty air 1 second behind effect" because of the nature of this corner. Even if DRS disappears next year, Turkey again highlights restrictive regulations are, and have been strangling F1 for more than a decade.

A question to those who say tires aren't a part of F1 - when did you begin watching/following F1? I'm working off the assumption that you began in the Bridgestone single supplier era. As recently as the mid 2000s races were decided by virtue of your supplier, Michelins or Bridgestones. It changed race to race. The 2005 USGP being an severe example. Go back 20 years for qualifying tires and the option to run different compounds on fronts and rears. The 1986 championship was literally decided by tires that were not durable.

Quote from http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2008/oct/29/formula-one-motor-sport-mansell-1986" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2008/oct/29/formula-one-motor-sport-mansell-1986

http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2008/oct/29/formula-one-motor-sport-mansell-1986" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2008/oct/29/formula-one-motor-sport-mansell-1986">

The key twists in the grand prix plot were provided by the Goodyear tyres on the Williams and McLaren cars. In the 34th lap a puncture had forced Prost, then second behind Rosberg, into the pits for a 17-second tyre change. It was some measure of Prost's cool mastery that he could make that up and get back to the leaders.

When the Goodyear officials saw the state of Prost's tyres they decided the cars would be able to get through the 82-lap race without a change, and advised team officials accordingly. Rosberg, whose tyre lost its tread in the 62nd lap, and Mansell, whose tyre blew a lap later, had cause to regret that they did not change.

I'll reserve judgement on DRS until the year is over, but the tires and KERS are a step in the right direction.


It's pompous to reply to your own comment before it has even been moderated, but it was too much of a tangent to include.

Re: restrictive regulations.

If you have 100 options for development, but are only allowed to develop two then you will quickly achieve a high level of development across the field. All of these guys are highly talented despite all the poking HRT receives from armchair-aficionados. Just look at the numbers. If HRT can achieve 107% of the time at 1/10th the budget, it doesn't take Warren Buffet to calculate the diminishing returns of investment the top teams endure for the final few percent of performance.

It would be a paradigm shift for F1 to embrace the following, but it's their only option to find a non-DRS solution to overcoming the dirty air phenomenon.

Certain aspects would remain as they function on all cars or exist as safety precautions for drivers and staff.

Materials which are hazardous to the health of staff during manufacturing, like exotic metals included.

Both the standard ECU being and a single supplier of tires would be acceptable given a few conditions - the artificial requirement to run both compounds during a race was removed and extra channels were

introduced on the ECU to allow for electronic innovation. The channels would still be recorded and audited for obvious reasons.

Outside of that, allow for the RRA or FOTA agreements to shelve KERS last year for cost reasons but allow every form of innovation outside of ABS and traction control because the driver is still important. Active suspension might fall under a FOTA agreement, but there is little evidence of it being a driver aid rather than a piece of engineering.

Teams would be given a fixed volume of fuel for the race. Current races are around 3mpg to 4mpg depending on track layout and now blown diffusers. Any type of fuel would be allowed as long as it adheres to the Miles per Gallon restriction.

Any layout of engine would be allowed. If di Montezemolo really wants to run his V12 as he has said recently, he could. But I believe Ferrari made a move away from that architecture by choice in the early 90s. The engineers might not agree when it comes to actually designing the car.

KERS would not be restricted on output or exist as a push-button technology. Teams that could design lighter systems for equivalent power might choose that path. Teams that could build systems which wouldn't overheat would have more power, but they might be heavier. They might not. But we won't know until they're allowed to try.

Remove gearbox limitations. What is technically wrong with CVT? "Green" has no place in F1 regulations as a moral imperitive, but as a technical challenge it surely does. If you are given a fixed amount of fuel, CVT could be an answer. Should we reprimand engineers that build control systems so precise that the use of a clutch is rendered archaic? Would a team would want to lose power and torque by using a torque converter?

Aerodynamics could still be regulated within the "box dimensions" paradigm but flexible wings, moveable wings and ground effects all need to come back. That would achieve what DRS sets out to achieve without being DRS.

The first two objections to these ideas will come from a safety perspective. First, that speeds will be too high. If that's the case, increase the MPG required per race. The cost of that change in regulation to teams? $0. Why? All of their systems will still work. No need to cut off cylinders, or change the length of the car dramatically. Second, that there will be more component failures placing drivers into dangerous, uncontrollable crashes. This holds a certain amount of validity but bypasses the positives of this problem. The leading cars inherently push the limit. In order for them to suffer mechanical failures and have unexpected race results, they need to be struggling with technology. What has happened once Red Bull got their KERS under control?

That segues into the other justifications for the opening of development. The low hanging fruit phenomenon. There is very little area for innovation at non-grandee teams except during massive regulation changes. See Brawn and Red Bull in 2009. If a smaller team can innovate and score a few points before it's technology is co-opted, bag a new sponsor and grab a few new staff, how is that hurting F1? Also, what of the brains at smaller teams? Yes, they'll eventually shine through with current regulations, but not at a speed that would be possible with unrestricted regulations. This is much like rookie drivers struggling to cope in the non-testing era of F1.

Some testing needs to be allowed. Nothing like the free for all that it once was. But two or three sessions throughout the year with audience, TV access on formula1.com or perhaps a B2B deal with youtube/vimeo/google. Just like the regulations F1 needs to move away from the 90s in other aspects.

The final complaint will come in the form of costs. That these regulations would create astronomical costs. First, there would be no limitations to FOTA temporary bans or RRAs. Second, because it's impossible to apply budget caps F1 would introduce a hour logging system, just as it has a standard ECU, that would track the hours by individuals working on the car. Contractors would have to submit their times as well. If a team uses more people than allowed, then they would be disallowed the equal number the following year. This would operate within the same spirit as the punishments during the 2006 Italian Football(Soccer) Scandal where teams were relegated or docked points for the following season. This would be audited and would allow all the lawyers who would lose their jobs creating convoluted regulations to continue in another capacity. If Team XYZ are using the maximum number of employees but a few worked 300 hour weeks, then that might raise a few eyebrows. The auditors would have to be granted license like team members are granted post Singapore crash scandal. The result of leaking technical data or helping to fudge numbers would result in civil penalties.

Thirty years and hundreds of pages of drivel erased with one(two) overenthusiastic post(s).




too much informations mate. I noticed some though :

- I agree on overtaking

- CVT impossible in F1 nowadays because this technology struggles with big torques and big power let alone F1 levels. Needs a lot of development but clearly the future of automobile be it road or race

- limited fuel and free technology. The idea is good for the environment, for technology, for everything. The problem is the cost, not necessarly for big teams but for midfielders. They need to buy the engines from established teams which spend a lot on development. Can they afford it and if they can what remains for developing the aeros, the dynamics, etc... Free engine means weak midfield teams.


Curious James, how can a midfield team throw in qualifying and still make the 107% of the pole rule? Will they argue and use practice times as their race weekend pace determinator to the FIA? If so, isn't it a risky tactic if the weather changes from rainy during practice to dry for the qualifying sessions?


Because they are all a long way into the 107% rule, just look at the practice and Q1 lap times… all the detail is published by the FIA.

The other Ian

Good point. Although if say half a dozen do this, will those in charge say "No, you can't race", and have a race with that many not running.

Imagine, if half the grid do it! 🙂


I noticed that the qualifying aren't as useless as suggested afterall. Nico Rosberg held both Webber and Alonso for a few laps which proved critical to allow Vettel a comfort gap allowing him to manage his tyres, to choose his pit stops, etc...

In the same fashion, Hamilton stuck behind Button lost both time and his tyres ruining his 1st stint. His speed afterwards looks very competitive but the damage was already done.

If those drivers couldn't manage to overtake so easily, it proves that DRS didn't make overtaking too artificial. Why overtaking looked so easy IMO is because it is already decided by the way the guy defending handles himself through 9 & 10 corners. With degrading tyres the exit there might be heavily compromised and the momentum gained by the chasing driver is further enhanced by DRS which makes it look so easy. Don't forget that drivers managed to overtake there even during the boredom years.


I agree Jo, for me Turkey was all about tyres... Alonso, for example, didn't breeze past Rosberg using his DRS during the early stages of the race. Fernando had to wait a few laps for Rosberg to "use up his tyres" and then he could pounce. And as James explains in his piece (above), Ferrari had focussed on setting their car up for the race. Merc did too, except they didn't do as much running on heavy fuel loads - Ross Brawn admitted this after the race. Rosberg was much more "racy" when his fuel load came down, as his setup was more balanced for mid-to-low fuel levels.


Did someone else noticed that Ferrari pace relative to other cars is better on heavy fuel load. Their 1st stint is always extremely fast and the more the race advances the more they loose pace compared to the others. It's as if the Ferrari's balance worsen as the fuel burns out.

Their issues are further compromised by their weak qualifying form which put them behind slower cars when their pace is at its best. This Sunday Alonso had the least hurdles to overcome given that only Rosberg was slowing him and it resulted in a podium.

The proof was when Alonso overtook Webber mid-race and got overtaken back afterwards. Maybe that they're unable to make good use of the harder compound too.

does someone have an opinion on this ?

Anyway not bad for a team unable to calibrate its windtunnel and to innovate


"when Alonso overtook Webber mid-race and got overtaken back afterwards"

Were they (Web and Alo) on different tyres at this stage? i.e., when Alonso got past Webber, was Fernando on "softs" and Mark on "hards"? And vice versa for when Mark got back past. I can't recall.


when Alonso overtook both were on Soft

when Webber overtook both were on Hard


Cheers Jo. I knew you'd know 🙂


I think Webber had the pace relative to Alonso which is why he managed to take him back. As I said the other day it looked like the only reason Alonso got close enough to overtake Webber was because Webber stayed out a lap or so too long on the second and third stop. Whether the drop off was traffic or tyre wear I can't say (the TV coverage was elsewhere). Thanks to CH1UNDA for the link.

Vettel Weber Alonso

19 33.05 33.51 33.53

20 32.74 33.82 33.51

21 32.90 34.77 33.48

33 32.13 32.50 32.23

34 31.91 33.03 32.47

35 31.62 33.32 32.49


Well, if you look at Massa, for the past two years he has had trouble on the hard tires, but excelled with softer ones. Perhaps this is a characteristic of the car, but one that Alonso can minimize but that Massa isn't.


You're right Jo Torrent. I've also noticed it even in china where Massa was able to catch Lewis on the first stint. Ferrari's pace relative to other cars is better on a heavy fuel load. Their 1st stint is always fast and the more the race advances and when fuel loads drop, the more they loose pace compared to the others. I think its usually the last 1/4 of the race where they really slow down. With regard to Mclaren, my observation is that on a heavy fuel load they suffer more compared to ferrari and red bull. But as the race progresses, they can almost match red bull and also take care of their tyres more.


Is it because of the heavy load of fuel or down on a better management of soft tyres? Or maybe they're worse warming up the hard ones...



I've heard they've been down to Toyotas windtunnel in Cologne.

The amount of F1 teams who've been to use the tunnel there, Toyota must be making a decent amount of money.

Certainly more profitable than their time in F1...

From what I've heard Ferrari are making some additional changes in the coming month to rid them of their wind tunnel issue.


Andy as far as I know they used Toyota WindTunnel mainly to calibrate their own rather than to develop their car. Not sure though !


Buttons race wasn't trashed by his strategy, it was due to Massa not being able to overtake Petrov despite DRS.

When Button arrived behind Massa, Massa was already <1s behind Petrov so could use his DRS. Therefore Buttons DRS wasn't effective as he was chasing someone else with it activated.

If Massa wasn't crap at overtaking he would have DRSed passed Petrov depsite similar tyre wear. Allowing Button to get them both with DRS and fresher tyres. He could have stayed in front of Rosberg at the end and Massa would have finished 8th ahead of Petrov.

Massa needs to learn how to out brake someone.


did u not see massa overtake heidfeld into turn 1 on lap 2 by outbraking him or michael into turn 1 much later and many many more. this is just more nonsense massa bashing because he is a easy target. massa drove a very good race imo and would have finished 4th if ferrari hadnt messed 3 of is pitstops up and put him out in traffic everytime. open your eyes more next week in spain instead of favourtism.


Anyway, its not "Massa bashing". The Heidfeld pass was at the start of the race when the cars are tightly bunched passing is relatively easier and anyone can pass Schumacher these days.

Yes Ferrari messed up the stops but with DRS that shouldn't be as big a pentaly previously, if you can outbrake people! If Massa's team mate can pass Webber on similar tyres using DRS Massa should be able to get past Petrov and the others that Massa was stuck behind during the race.


When Button was behind Massa, on the BBC coverage I noticed at least one example when he didn't use his KERS on the back straight when he had actviated the DRS (when Massa did use it) - did anyone notice this? Did he have an issue? Or had he decided that this was his phase where he needed to be "lean" on fuel? Or maybe he just forgot!...


Maybe Button was keeping his KERS for another part of the race-track? He always seemed to have good traction onto the pit straight.

The Beeb's commentary alluded to 1, KERS harvest being difficult at Turkey (well, that's how I took it - anyone know if this was true?) and 2, that as a consequence you might only have full KERS available every other lap. So for example, Button vs Hamilton... when they were "jousting" did Button have full KERS on the odd laps and Hamilton on the even laps - so at different points they had different KERS levels to utilise. 'tis just a thought built on supposition 🙂

Stephen Hughes

I wonder if James or anyone else can shed any more light on comments I have heard a few times that Pirelli tyre life appears to be purely mileage-limited and not a lot to do with how 'gentle' the driver is? We do seem to be getting the odd exception to this rule although it appears to be more car-based (Sauber, Torro-Rosso) rather than driver (Button for example).

I wonder if after a few races we will see everyone doing the same number of stops and this being either 3 or 4 depending on the circuit and tyre choice. If the fall-off is that steep and the benefit of new rubber so great, plus DRS allowing passing then there seems little tactical reason to try and stay out if driving carefully doesn't actually make much difference to your performance.

One thing that does puzzle me though, Pirelli have said they will be taking the softer range of compounds to Monaco. Surely with the small and fairly dangerous pit-lane there they should be taking the harder selection to keep the number of stops to a minimum? This really is the trouble with the 'new' F1 - it is fantastic on wide, open circuits but I have a nasty feeling it could turn in to a demolition derby in Monaco... I share the concern some of the drivers have expressed about the use of DRS but then I suppose also it is a difficult precedent to set to not have it available at all when it is in the rules. Maybe only a short activation section will be used?


If Pirelli doesn't take the softest compounds to Monaco they won't be taken anywhere. Monaco is the kindest circuit on tyres by a margin.

As for DRS, I don't know if many drivers complained but I know Barichello did but Barichello complains about pretty much everything.

Stephen Hughes

I suppose it will go towards solving the question of whether tyre life is anything to do with 'kindness' or if it is purely mileage.

I'm fairly sure Webber has chimed in about DRS as well but again he can be very vocal. The impression I get is that the drivers aren't that in favour of it as high closing speeds on such a narrow 'straight' (that isn't) could be a recipe for disaster.


I'm really looking forward to Monaco.

The race there tends to follow a similar pattern each year, and we might see something different this time around. Should be interesting!


It's always well worth watching Ted Kravitz's behind the scenes report usually he does this as the teams are packing up. In the turkey report he mentions that Pirelli were surprised that many teams had to go to four stops, they (Pirelli) feel that is too much and will adjust compounds to try and allow 3 stop races as the norm.

For some reason the BBC fail to put all Teds reports on their own site but they can be found here on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=ted+kravitz&aq=0&oq=ted+Kr. Some other interesting info there too in the Turkey report which explains why Jensen did not do as well as he should. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbMbLaHkC4Q


did he mention the Pirelli calendar girls ?


No but he mentioned the vast amount of money Pirelli have spent on their Mobile suite (to call it merely a motor home is an injustice) in the paddock.

Ted often gets information from team members never interviewed on tv and has a different perspective. In the Turkey piece it was a bit of a surprise about Jensen's times.


Andy C

must get some of that carbon fibre paint for my Xantia.


Thanks Stevie for the direct link, but I still cannot find it on the bbc site via their menus or links on it's parent page.


Its actually the one that Jaguar racing had I believe.

With a coat of darth vader paint.


It's on the Beeb site jonrob... it just doesn't receive the fanfare that other blog\reports do, thus it's tucked away... but it's there and it is interesting stuff. James (above) covers why Button lost out on a 3-stopper...



Personally, I am surprised that no upper-midfield drivers have attempted to use one set of tires in Q1, and then use the *same* set in Q2, just to set a time somewhere mid-pack (between 12th and 16th or so). Then they wouldn't have to bother with Q3 and have lots of tires available for the race.

...or will we see that at Barcelona?


+1 on that. I think the rules don't force any driver to go out in Q2 or Q3. After Q1, they can go home.

Maybe, it has to do with sponsors too. If you're among the big boys your car will be shown during the race. If not, Qualifying is still the best occasion to show your sponsors.

With so much going on during races, back-markers don't even have the chance to be shown during their pit stops.


If they don't go out in Q2 they will start from P17 [I'm obiously I assume they pass through Q1]. Can't see the advantage.

Btw, that's what Alguersuari did in Turkey. He stayed on the pit during Q2, therefore he started from P17.


That's why I am suggesting using the same tires from Q1 in Q2. Obviously at a disadvantage, but it might get them up to 12th or so, if they have a quick car.

Then, of course, there would be a big advantage starting 12th with far more unused tires available for the race. Basically, they could use the strategy that Webber had, but starting five places further up.

Sounds good to me, even if it's a little ambitious! 😉

David Turnedge

Funny, I thought it was quite a straight forward race.

I didn't, unfortunately, watch the TV for a change and just watched live timing on the official site. You could see gaps widen and shorten, the windows opening for pit stops for those teams who could choose their strategy wisely, and see that Vettel was untroubled for the race, seemingly opening gaps to second at will.

Good race. But honestly, the result would be virtually the same circa 1999, just more action in the middle to confuse or excite fans. Entertainment for entertainment's sake.

It's still a sport, right?


Hi James,

Any chance of an analysis of the increased gap between Webber and Vettel this year? Last year they were almost identical a lot of the time. I remember hearing that it is something to do with Webber being unhappy with the new tyres.

I'd love to hear your take on it.


Matt Cheshire

I'm looking at Vettel's line and it looks like he would have been an extra 10 seconds ahead without the fourth stop (if he were to run his forth stint like his third).

There has been no mention of Red Bull KERS so I'm assuming thats a problem they have sorted now.

Surely the 2011 championship is now just about Webber, Alonso or Hamilton for 2nd.

A small irony is that Webber may be the no.2 driver but his sponsorship must have 10 times the value. Vettel will need to slow down if Red Bull want any air time for him.


He may have lost time in the last few laps...

Vettels KERS fine, Webbers failed late in the race, so situation normal.

Looks like it.

Instead of slowing down he should try speeding up and lapping the field!



I'm curious, is it possible for a driver to 'DRS' back other driver who had 'DRS'ed him previously (or I shall say fight DRS with DRS)?

And why the DRS still opened even when the car behind has already passed the car at the front?


I know someone out there will love this comment:

From the 2010 Formula One Technical Regulations:

"3.18 Driver adjustable bodywork

3.18.2 The adjustable bodywork may be activated by the driver at any time prior to the start of the race and, for the sole purpose of improving overtaking opportunities during the race, after the driver has completed a minimum of two laps after the race start or following a safety car period. The driver may only activate the adjustable bodywork in the race when he has been notified via the control

electronics (see Article 8.2) that it is enabled. It will only be enabled if the driver is less than one second behind another at any of the pre-determined positions around each circuit. The system will be disabled by the control electronics the first time the driver uses the brakes after he has activated the system."

So the answer is yes, he will be able to do that at least one lap later, if he can stay less than one second behind the other driver at any of the pre-determined positions around the track (one per circuit so far). No way DRS will be enabled just after being overtaken, as "pre-determined positions" and overtaking areas are at different points of the circuits - so far at least.

Regarding why the DRS is still open after the overtaking: because it will not be disabled by the control electronics until the first time the driver uses the brakes.


I loved it!

However: Cars A, B and C are together within one second of each other as they pass the detection point. B and C can use DRS. C overtakes B (possibly, or more likely tries to but can't,) B then retakes C both B and C still have DRS active, so overtaking each other on the straight is unlikely but theoretically possible. Meanwhile A has escaped with a smile at the amateurs behind.


My bad!! I sit corrected!! Jonrob, that's true, thanks. 😉


hi james, its been 4 races already but we havent seen or heard about LG tech reports.. thats always been my favourite topic every race weekends especially last season.. other sites will just show you pictures and little bit of tiny info about car developemnt without going to details.. please james,bring it back..


I've just looked at the pit stop summary and RBR guys are really fast. Vettel's four pit stops (total time) were faster by 5 seconds when compared to e.g. Alonso's. If the racing is close, 5 seconds is a lot of time. Williams came close to that with Maldonado's pit stops being only 0.5 second longer.

Red Bull is really working pretty flawlessly this year, standards raised high and the rest must really practice if they want to stand a chance.

Tnanks for the analysis James :).


Mercedes too, 2 of fastest six pit stops by Mercedes guys


James can you please tell Ferrari on behalf of their fans that they have to sort out their pit stops. I keep repeating this but this can't go on for so many years without addressing.

It really starting to annoy me !


They are not too bad I'd say....quite consistent with fast pit times....and of course every team suffers from the occassional gremlin with tackling a stuck-fast wheel.

....it's not Ferrari are like a Laurel and Hardy outfit in the pits, losing wheels and then seeing them bouce down the pit lane.


So Schumacher did a more 3 than 4 stop strategy?

3 stops to change tyres, loosing 30 seconds because of Petrows too late braking, another 4 because of another collision, ...

If i count right he could have been 7 on a 3 stop, not bad for an old man.

82 pit stops

82 pit stops, now add rain and it will get too confusing for me. I can't watch full races live and whenever i return to the screen just too much happened to be quickly catched up- i am really considering to stop live watching.


While all of this strategy analysis is interesting, I feel that this is not Racing. The formula appears to have been tilted to the hankering of new F1 fans, the desire for continuous action, at the expenses of what made F1 interesting.



The FIA has made a lot of effort in the past to promote the Formula One "Weekend" experience, tweaking the qualifying rules time and again to ensure a good turnout on Saturday. Do you think that with qualifying losing its importance, with the need to save tyres for Sunday, a rethink might be needed, especially if attendance declines for qualifying?


Great article James, thanks.


Hi James,

You mentioned that the time spent in the pit lane was about 16 seconds, but if you add on the 3 1/2 or 4 seconds for the pit stop for tyres, then the whoile time spent is about 20 seconds! The timing that the FIA give on their timing screens on the TV shows the complete time in the pit lane and how much time was taken up by the pit stop.

Another really interesting article.



James said that a pit stop costs about 16 seconds. Yes, the car spends about 20 seconds in the pit lane, but it only costs the driver about 16 seconds because the rest of the field spends about 4 seconds covering the length of the pit lane at full speed on the track.

And BTW - I just love the live timing the FIA provides.


Alonso did not have a good start. He had a mediocre start from the clean side. In fact Button was side by side with Alonso into turn 1. Alonso managed to stay ahead because he had the racing line.


Considering the number of positions he's lost off the start this year, a mediocre start was a good achievement!

Steven Pritchard


A vital element of four stop being quicker than three is reduced time-loss for being in the pits in Turkey....

I agree, it seems the key is now to almost not bother with qualifying, and save as many sets of softs as possible.

I'm wondering that once teams all suss this out, then we'll get less difference in tactics (and therefore less overtaking).




Speaking of strategy, I just read alonso,s comments on autosport. He reckons he is still in the tittle hunt and despite the massive gap to vettel he has scored more points out of these specific races than last year. Ok the man has to say he can still win it. But it is already sounding so desperate. There is a good chance that after next two races he'll need to think about next years strategy!


What do you want him to say? That 4 races into the year and it's over? How de-moralizing is that for the guys at the factory working to get the car to the top of the podium...

Also remember how Alonso said at SIlverstone last year that he was going to win the championship. Everyone laughed at it but he looked like a seer when it all went his way and he almost got it.


I agree with you he has to say what he said (or say nothing perhaps.

Point I'm trying to make is that with Vettel nearly scoring 100% of the points, the fact they so far ahead in terms of performance and that they now are reliable as well means there has to be little hope if in 2 races time Vettel added 2 more victories. And that is totaly different from last year.

So alonso can say, he I'm doing alright compared to last year so all is not lost but he does not mention the fact that compared to red bull it is pretty disaterous.


amazingly if i have read the graph right michael had almost caught rosberg by lap 37. with both still to do one stop.

of course michael was having to eek out the stops(do more laps on each set) due to his early error meaning he was always going to lose due to more excessive tyre wear.

but even so, not all that bad really!

positive. esp as had been through lots of traffic as well.


James, Are you very sure that Massa used up extra set of soft tyres in Q1?

I think he did that in Q2 to get in Q3 and then didn't run any qualifying lap to compensate for that. So effectively he had a scrubbed soft on hand and he started race on Fresh Tyres since he didn't put any qualifying lap in Q3.


he used a soft set to get trough Q3 thats why he was fastest in Q1.

he then in Q3 out braked himself on his lap i think so come in.


Per James' post he wasted a set of softs in Q1, hence my post seeking clarification. I think he lost that extra set of softs in Q2 trying to get into Q3, where he aborted his qualifying lap


I can never understand the top teams going out more than once in Q1 when they only need to stay out of the bottom seven which is pretty near guaranteed, especially if they wait until halfway through the session to see the times being set. What is the point in being fastest in Q1? It just wastes tyres.


they are only wasting hards that they are very unlikely to use anyway,, and it gives extra tracktime.



Regarding the Comment about Petrov runining Alonso's race last year, I think that Petrov can't be blamed for Ruining Alonso's race, Petrove jsut drove incredibily well and didn't give alonso the oppourtunity he required to get past, so it say he runing Alosnos race I think is a we bit harsh


I agree Justin, it's a very negative atmosphere that's created when you start saying drivers in front are 'in the way'. Much like Alonso was saying Rosberg ruined his chance of P2 because he got ahead at the start.

Well done to Rosberg for the great start but unfortunately the strategy wasn't there and the race pace of the Mercedes wasn't good enough.

As James said, the DRS wing means that if a 'slower' car is in front, rather than holding you up the DRS will allow you to overtake.

Considering how 'easy' the DRS wing made overtaking in Turkey it's incredible that any driver could seek to complain that his race was thwarted by being stuck behind a slower car.

I've read that for Barcelona the DRS zone will be the start/finish straight. Another case of too many overtakes?


There are more interpretations than that one suggesting that negativity is created by the driver's commentaries about difficulties in taking over on a time in the race. When speaking like that, I don't believe drivers are negative or accusing other drivers of 'being in the way'. What about <>? Too long.


Sorry, in the former post I had included a ironic commentary between those , forgetting that the contents enclosed in signs as such would not eventually appear. I meant to say that when a driver says that some other driver has been in his way I don't think that driver is promoting negativity or accusing the other of anything incorrect. Drivers know well the stuff of racing. That driver probabley is just saying "He was in my way. It could have been a better result for me if he wouldn't be there." Period. Like saying 'I love the rain. Raining is a natural phenomenon. Yet raining ruined to a point my garden party last week-end.'


Well said, why so many don't see or aren't able to see or acknowledge that defending is just as much an art as attacking is beyond me.

The real problem with that race was simply the useless track and in my view had it been Hamilton behind he'd have found a way past in any case.


Just in case you didn't watch the final race of 2010,Hamilton was stuck behind another Renault who was doing similar pace as Vitaly and the Faster McLaren couldn't get past Robert


Yes but Hamilton wasn't in with a chance of being F1 champion was he?

I reckon he would have given it his all in at least trying in a way Alonso didn't with the prize being F1 champion.

Regardless to that I think we both probably agree it was and is a useless track!


Totally off topic.

There is a picture today in the UK newspapers of Button and Hamilton with Cameron.

And I have to say the two of them look incredibly gaunt. Normally with their racing gear they look padded out a bit but next to a "normally" proportioned man they look famished. I know this is to get their weight down and so help with the weight distribution of the car, but it seems to have gone to an extreme.

From what you have seen which driver do you think has lost the most race on last season?


Webber looks particularly scrawny, even compared to last year and this is a driver that outright refused to lose more weight in the buildup to the 2010 season. Now I can see why.

I remember thinking he looked borderline ill in Australia before they even started racing. Extremely thin, pale faced and seemingly drained of energy reserves.

As far as I know, most of the drivers fall within the 60-70kg range which indeed seems quite extreme, especially when I compare that to my own weight and appearance.

The tallest drivers in F1 such as Mark Webber (6'1) and Jenson Button (6'0) are essentially the same height as me but these guys weigh about 10kg LESS than I do which is shocking in my opinion, considering that I'm a young (early twenties) lanky guy with a low body mass index who hasn't frequently participated in sporting activities for years.

The taller minority of drivers have typically looked the most gaunt in recent years but the weights of some of the shorter drivers are even more shocking, for example Nick Heidfeld: 59kg!!!


They are a modern day jockey, the car was built for Vettel. So Webber needed to loose weight to be competitive.



I wonder if theres a stat out there for how many overtakes have been made so far, especially compared to this time last season?


Any chance of a link to the chart please James?

It does not show on my browser at all, not even as a place holder. (I have even tried turning NoScript off completely to no avail)


James thanks for the race history graph, it helps make sense of a seemingly chaotic race. What first stands out is how closely Alonso's race matched that of Webber and Vettel. It is also interesting to see those three grouped towards the top and then the rest are all jumbled in the middle with another lonely three or four at the bottom. What is most facinating is that Alonso's race charts almost identically to Vettels. Heidfeld and Petrov are also very similar.

Most especially it gives us a picture of the performance toward the end of the race, with the drivers in the points tending to move upwards in the last laps. Particularly telling is Barichello's race in which his pace drops off significantly at about lap 50 on a plot that never seems to improve.


I find one thing strange which can be looked at from a strategy point of view. Would Webber have been better off qualifying 3rd and placed on the clean side of the grid, giving him a chance of getting to second sooner? Its obviously difficult to control, but may explain why he did not go out again in Q3, even if he knew Vettel was quicker.

If being on the dirty side is such a disadvantage, perhaps the grid spacing should be looked at.

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