Sunday, 28 September 2014

Japan 2014 (Round 15) - F1 Prediction League

Suzuka, Japan. One of the best tracks on the calendar - it's always a joy to watch cars attack here, around the S's, the Degners and the Spoon curbs.

For updates on the team hiring situation see the previous post (results from Singapore).

The battle for the championship will be intense here - Rosberg needs to stop Hamilton's momentum (just like at Monaco) but Suzuka has never been his best track. In 2013, he qualified 6th compared to Hamilton's 3rd and in 2012, he qualified 14th compared to Schumacher's 12th. Arguably he needs to be on pole to put doubts in Hamilton's mind but that's going to be very difficult to do.

There are many other thoughts - who will be second best...Red Bull? Williams? Ferrari? Any could feature around the technically demanding Suzuka.

The current championship standings are:

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Singapore Results and Championship Standings (14/19)

Sorry for the delay! This has been an incredibly hectic week and I wanted to think on the most appropriate method of how teams will judge/hire drivers.

If you want to battle for a seat, please post here. See later on in the post for details of team responses and current progress.

Singapore was just the tonic Hamilton needed after a season of ill luck and qualifying mistakes. The qualifying mistake was almost there but he did enough to edge Rosberg and set up a tantalising race. Unfortunately Nico had to retire from mechanical problems. Aside from the luck becoming more equal (it's always great when the better driver wins the championship) the beginning of the race was dulled by the lack of Rosberg's presence.

Cue Perez and Sutil (two of F1's more likely crashers) and the safety car comes out. How Sutil didn't receive a penalty for putting another driver in the wall is beyond me - despite the initiative to let drivers race, in clear cut cases like this penalties should be applied. 

The safety car took 7 long laps (it felt like 100) to sort itself out (way too long and I agree it would be better to make lapped cars fall to the back of the pack - it could be done instantly and would solve so many problems). 

The race from that moment was exciting - Hamilton had to push, on reasonably old super softs, in an impressive display of driving. This was remniscent of Vettel last year at Singapore or some of Schumacher's race stints in the past.

So all-in-all we had another good race. There have been so few bad races this year which is positive for the sport!

Onto the prediction league, congratulations to Sangan (2nd win), ediglo (5th podium) and Aled Lewis (4th podium)!

This was one of the closest weekends in prediction league history with 8 drivers separated by one point at the top. There were multiple ways to get to that score with the relatively unfavoured Ricciardo winning qualifying and relatively unfavoured Vettel winning race.

Sangan's strong weekend extended their advantage out in front for both the championship standings and constructors.

Here are the championship standings:


Sunday, 14 September 2014

Singapore 2014 (Round 14) - F1 Prediction League

Welcome to the Singapore prediction league thread! Things are heating up at the top of the PL with only five points separating first and second. 

Singapore is always a spectacle, not always completely entertaining but there have been enough exciting races to merit its place on the calendar. The night lights and the intensity of driving the cars here adds something different to many other locations.

There are many questions: Can Hamilton keep up the pressure on Rosberg? Or will this be a decisive blow to his title hopes like 2010 and 2012? Also will Ferrari fare better on a track less dependent on engine power? Di Montezemolo has stepped down so they will be hoping their fortunes turn soon.

2015 Contracts

It's that time of the year again, it is time to claim your stake in your preferred Constructor next year. Please see the table below for team moods:

Either post in the comments below or in the speculation thread. This can be a re-iteration of your commitment to your current team (with potential wage increases) or an offer to drive for another team. Typically once an offer has been made to take another seat, there will be a battle between the current driver and the offerer over three or so races. Depending on the current situation within a team the incumbent driver sometimes will have a positive handicap so the offerer needs to do something special to take their seat.

Teams will often decline offers straight off if they are very happy with their current drivers (e.g. Lotus) so you'll need to balance how realistic the bid is (based on your constructors points and past year performances) versus how happy each team are with their drivers.

Note: it's possible to make a maximum of two offers at once, including your current team. Each team will only consider three offers at once.

Without further ado let’s introduce the championship standings:



Thanks to everyone who has helped so far on random this year - please feel free to post suggestions here for other races. Michael helped with the random this time.

Predict the order of the full qualifying grid by highest classified car (e.g. Williams will finish ahead of Red Bull if they qualify 3rd and 17th while Red Bull qualify 4th and 5th) per Constructor. For each Constructor predict the driver who will do better across the weekend and whether the Constructor will finish higher, lower or the same in the race. 

For example:

1. Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton, Same
2. Red Bull, Sebastian Vettel, Same
3. Williams, Felipe Massa, Lower
4. Ferrari, Fernando Alonso, Higher


Qualification order

3 points will be scored for predicting the position of a team exactly right, 2 points for being one away and 1 point for being two away.

Driver prediction

1 point for finishing higher in qualifying and 1 point for finishing higher in the race. Both cars must set a time in qualifying and finish the race for the respective points to count. 

Race prediction

2 points will be scored if correct, 1 point if the outcome is one away from succeeding e.g. if same is predicted but the Constructor gains one place.

Note: If neither driver sets a time in qualifying for a team or neither driver finishes in the race then they will be ignored in the calculation. For instance, in the example above if neither Mercedes driver sets a time in qualifying then anyone who stated Red Bull 2nd (with Mercedes 1st) will score maximum points.


What will the gap be between a) Hamilton and Rosberg and b) Alonso and Raikkonen in qualifying? 



Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes banned.

Feel free to post picks in the following format:


[Constructor, Driver, Higher/Same/Lower]
[Constructor, Driver, Higher/Same/Lower] etc.

Tie-break: HAM/ROS: X seconds, ALO/RAI: X seconds


I'm looking forward to this weekend. As always with the title battle nicely poised (both around evens on most bookmakers) there is plenty of excitement left in this season.

As always picks are due before Free Practice 1.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Italy Results and Championship Standings (13/19)

Everyone should start thinking about what team they want to join next year. This is a rough guideline of team moods and comments (just for fun).

If you want to battle for a seat, please post here. Typically they'll be competition over a period of three or so races (the incumbent driver may have a positive handicap) or the request may not be accepted at all. For example, the Lotus drivers have been extremely loyal and lead the WC therefore Lotus won't hear anything about replacing their drivers.

Of course, you can sign for a different team and we'll try to find you a teammate next year.

Monza saw another mistake for Nico Rosberg - had he won that battle he'd have been significantly ahead. Hamilton would have been in big trouble and almost certainly needed a retirement to pull this gap back. 

The fighting down the field was incredible especially between 4th and 9th. This new Formula is serving up some really exciting races so plenty to be positive about! Another great charge through the field for Ricciardo, who looked completely out of it a third of the way through the race.

Onto the prediction league, congratulations to Kim, Sangan and Nat! Our deserving podium finishers - random proved to be critical again although Sangan's Massa pick almost proved to be the winning way to go.

Despite finishing 2nd the lead at the top of the championship narrows.

Here are the championship standings:



Friday, 5 September 2014

Friday Analysis: Bottas speeds his way to best of the rest


Our first-ever Friday analysis at Hockenheim was so ground-breaking that it’s taken two races and seven weeks for us (and probably you guys too) to suitably recover. In it we boldly predicted that Red Bull, and particularly that of the smiling Australian Daniel Ricciardo, would be the ones putting the heat on Mercedes. We even recommended bets based on that – which hopefully you had the wisdom not to follow. So shocked were we by Williams’ pace come Saturday that the Formula One Analysis team called a crisis meeting to understand how it happened – a bit like the one at Mercedes last Friday but probably more important. The not inconsiderable magnitude of this meeting partly explains the delay in putting our next analysis together.

It came to our attention that rather a few analysts (including us, of course) had noted the tendency of Ferrari to look particularly strong on a Friday, only to fall back over the rest of the weekend. But what about the relative change in performance of the other teams? Do Williams always hide their pace on a Friday? Was it this that caught us out?

What does Friday show?

Such questions are like red flags to a bull here at Formula One Analysis (and we are very much like bulls), so of course we felt compelled to go and investigate. What we found was, it would be fair to say, rather illuminating. The investigation spawned the creation of what has since been christened ‘The Super-duper Friday Form Adjuster’, which is somewhat comparable to a Doctor Who gadget, but more mysterious. Note that the Adjuster (oh yes, the ‘a’ requires capitalization) may need some re-calibration over the next few races as it gets put through its paces.

If you look below, the table below shows the relative performance change from Free Practice 2 through to the rest of the weekend (qualifying and race) between all the teams, with Red Bull as the barometer i.e. net zero change. We believe that the variation in performance is due to:
a) Fuel levels
b) Engine settings
c) Ease of finding optimum set up
d) Jacques Villenueve’s mood/The drivers’ dinner plans

Now such calculations, which some may consider a form of black arts, are by no means exact. The margin will be affected by the factors mentioned above and the effectiveness of overnight setup changes. So we suggest leaving a margin of 1-2 tenths when using the Adjuster. Also we’ve only taken into account the quickest car for the timings to suggest optimum performance, but it’s highly unlikely that both drivers will achieve this on any given weekend.

In terms of the top teams, what’s clear is that Williams gain significantly from a Friday through to Saturday and Sunday, whilst Ferrari fall back rather a lot relative to the competition. We’ve lost track of the number of occasions Williams have been discounted on a Friday, whilst Ferrari have been deemed to look the best of the rest behind the monstrous Mercs (like this current article on the Official Formula One site, for example).

So enough of the preamble – it’s time to put this Adjuster to use and see what bombshells it comes out with. We know the question that is on your minds; who looks to have mastered the mighty Autodromo di Monza?

One lap pace analysis

Thanks again to Macofan for their headline lap chart showing best sector times for each driver (if only the McLaren MP4-29 was as effective as their chart), which we’ve kindly borrowed. This shows the times by drivers on the qualifying simulation runs around halfway through FP2.

This is fairly self-explanatory, although it is worth pointing out that a few drivers struggled to get a clean lap time in, such as the McLaren drivers and Hamilton – owing to difficulties heating the tyres up and traffic. Hamilton was held up on both of his flying laps in sector 3 and, having been very strong there in FP1 this morning, would likely have matched or beaten Rosberg, giving him the edge overall over one lap.

Now it’s time to unholster the Adjuster and see what it can do. Buckle in and, when you feel ready, look at the chart below.

We’ve taken the quickest time for each car, and Adjusted it based on previous FP2 form change to give us new lap times. You’ll notice there are a few immediate changes – Williams move comfortably into second place and Ferrari fall back quite a bit from their FP2 times. More on that later.

Race pace analysis

Here we’ve put together a couple of graphs, showing the lap times done by drivers on their long runs later on in FP2 (excluding outliers). There’s typically been quite a big difference between the medium and hard tyres, and so we’ve done the first graph showing the times on the medium tyre, and the second graph shows times on the hard tyre. Teams have struggled to switch the hard tyre on this season (which is one step harder than last year’s compound), and with Monza likely to be a one-stop race, getting the hard tyre to work well could be key to the race.

What we’ve then done is calculated average lap time across a stint. We’ve done this for the whole stint and also for the first 8 laps only – due to the stint lengths this is often a more representative comparison. These average lap times have then felt the full force of the Adjuster, to provide what we feel is a more accurate picture of Sunday race pace. Again we’ve separated the medium and hard tyre runs.

Looking at Adjusted average lap time, it’s Valtteri Bottas who really catches the eye. Adjusted or unadjusted, he has a distinct advantage over the rest. Massa’s lap times on the hard tyre weren’t too shabby either. What to conclude from this? Are Williams genuine contenders for the win this weekend? We’re on the fence. We know from Rosberg’s post-practice comments that he was struggling over the long runs, and seemed to be suffering with degradation a lot more so than the Williams drivers. It’s been a pattern of the season that Rosberg has appeared underwhelming though in FP2 and sorted it out overnight, and we daresay he’ll do the same here. In addition, Hamilton’s long run times (which were in short supply) looked very strong. That all said, Williams really took it to Mercedes in Austria, and this could be the closest Mercedes are pushed in genuine pace since then or perhaps Monaco.

McLaren once again appear to be struggling to maintain their strong qualifying pace in race trim, whilst the smooth Force India is the opposite. They could be a force (a pun!) in the race, with a top 6 not impossible. Red Bull’s long run pace looked similar to Force India, and a little better than Ferrari, but not a match for Williams. It’s quite a big step back from the top 6 teams to Toro Rosso, followed by the closely matched Sauber and Lotus teams.


Friday practice suggests that the Mercedes W05 once again is the class of the field, although their margin over the best of the rest (Williams in this case) is too close for comfort. Indeed this is the first FP2 session we can remember this year where they’ve not had a clear edge in race pace, and it’s Williams who could give us a genuine 2 horse race this weekend. That’s not even taking into account the Mercedes team’s recent tendency to find new and colourful ways to sabotage their weekend. Indeed we’ve been speculating over the possible methods Mercedes might employ Monza, ranging from changing their driver line-up mid race, to Lewis leaving a potent stink bomb in Nico’s car. We all wait with baited breath.

Behind these two it looks pretty tight between Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Fore Incida. McLaren tend to go well in qualifying, but aren’t as strong in the race – as borne out by our long run analysis. The opposite is the case for Force India. In Ferrari’s favour compared to the Bulls is that their power unit is supposedly a little better than the Renault one, and according to one senior engineer (we obviously know several) the rumours that Luca Di Montezemolo may be departing Ferrari has given them an extra two tenths of a second per lap. Nonetheless Red Bull lead Ferrari an astonishing 11-1 in qualifying and appear to have a slight edge in race pace. It should be a great

Behind these big boys it’s a bit of a gap back to Toro Rosso, who aren’t quite as strong as previous weekends, with Sauber then leading the Lotus, which appeared unable to brake today without creating a huge lock-up. Unsurprisingly Marrussia continue to have the edge on pay-as-you-drive Caterham.

So what does all this mean for the title race, and what, we hear you whisper excitedly, of the surprise winner of the last two races – Daniel Ricciardo? Well, D-Ric as he may be known by some of his friends (us) looks in for a tougher weekend this time out. Red Bull pulled a masterstroke in strategy and setup in Spa, allowing them to grab a win which probably should have belonged to Williams. We also heard unconfirmed rumours that they sacrificed one of Seb’s troubled power units to the rain Gods that weekend. A repeat of that performance looks incredibly unlikely this weekend though, and Dan should come away happy with a top 5 result.

It’s hard to call between the two Mercedes title rivals, as Lewis’ troubled FP2 session makes comparisons nearly impossible. He looked mighty quick though in FP1, and was hindered significantly in FP2 by traffic on his quick lap, so adding this to the troubles Nico was having on his long runs, we give Lewis the edge this weekend. Let battle commence.

Top 3 surprises which shocked us to our core

1) Lewis Hamilton having car issues
2) Felipe Massa getting shown up by his teammate
3) The Lotus car handling like a lawnmower

Best of the bets

Bottas best without Mercedes @ 3.25 with Skybet, Betvictor and Ladbrokes
Best classified Force India to beat Toro Rosso in qualifying @ 1.6 with Bwin
Best classified Williams to beat Red Bull in qualifying @ 1.7 with Bwin
Perez to finish top 6 @ 5.5 with Bwin

Monday, 1 September 2014

Italy 2014 (Round 13) - F1 Prediction League

Welcome to the Autodrome of Speed! The Mercedes drivers clashed in Spa causing a huge media fall-out. Eventually Nico Rosberg was disciplined by the team and admitted that he was in the wrong. Ultimately he still takes a 29 point lead into the last 7 races so it may have been worth it.

After Red Bull's great performance in Spa, can they reproduce in the most unlikely of places? Or will the Mercedes engines cars or Ferrari be the closest challenger's to Mercedes?

Without further ado let’s introduce the championship standings:



Thanks to everyone who has helped so far on random this year - please feel free to post suggestions here for other races. Nat has posted a suggestion for random in this race and I think it's excellent so here goes.

Risk vs reward
Q1: Name a driver who will qualify in the top 4
Hamilton/Rosberg – 1 points
Bottas/Ricciardo – 2 points
Massa/Vettel – 3 points
Alonso/Magnussen – 4 points
Any other – 5 points

Q2: Which driver will qualify the most positions in front of his own teammate? (Penalties do not count - result based on provisional grid before penalties. A team with a disqualified driver counts as 0 points regardless of which driver is disqualified. Tie-breaks decided by highest position).
Best answer - 4 points
2nd, 3rd - 3 points
4th, 5th - 2 points
6th or lower – 1 point
Driver picked out-qualified - 0 points

Q3: Pick one Driver A (e.g. Hulkenberg) to beat their Driver B (e.g. Sutil) in the race. A retirement in your pairing results in 0 points being scored. I've used a random generator to generate 12 random options - I've assigned points to each of these options.
Hamilton - Gutierrez - 1 point

Raikkonen - Button - 3 points
Alonso - Gutierrez - 1 point
Ricciardo - Vergne - 1 point
Alonso - Bottas - 3 points
Gutierrez - Raikkonen - 6 points
Bianchi - Hulkenberg - 6 points
Sutil - Vergne - 3 points
Bottas - Rosberg - 4 points
Grosjean - Massa - 5 points
Magnussen - Vettel - 3 points
Button - Alonso - 3 points

Q4: Name a team which has both cars in the top six at any point in the race at the same time (must be at the end of a classified lap)
Mercedes 1 point
Williams/Red Bull/Ferrari 2 points
Force India/McLaren 3 points
Toro Rosso 4 points
Any other 5 points

Yes or No?
Self-explanatory! 2 points for each correct answer

Q1: Will the podium be entirely Mercedes engined cars?
Q2: Will Alonso finish ahead of Vettel in the race? (Both must finish)
Q3: Will at least five Renault-powered cars finish the race? (Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Lotus, Caterham)
Q4: Will at least seven Mercedes-powered cars qualify in the top ten? (Mercedes AMG, Williams, Force India, McLaren)

Q5: Will any driver exceed 357kph/222mph in qualifying?

Tie-break: What will the gap be between the leading Mercedes car in qualifying compared to a) the leading Ferrari powered car and b) the leading Renault powered car?



Hamilton, Rosberg and Mercedes banned.

Feel free to post picks in the following format:


RvR - Q1:
RvR - Q2:
RvR - Q3:
RvR - Q4:
YN - Q1:
YN - Q2:
YN - Q3:
YN - Q4:
YN - Q5: 

Tie-break: Ferrari - X; Renault - X.


I'm looking forward to this weekend - it may be crucial in the championship battle especially given the crazy fall-out after Spa. 

As always picks are due before Free Practice 1.