Lap times for the 2015 F1 British Grand Prix

Since 2008 the British Grand Prix has not seen a British manufacturer —McLaren Mercedes— win the race. This year, Williams Mercedes had the chance to amend the situation but, somehow, they messed it up. The race start was superb, with Massa overtaking both Mercedes and Bottas following close behind taking P2 from Hamilton after the Safety Car went out in lap 3. But what could’ve been a 1-2 for the Grove team ended up being a 4-5 finish.

Mercedes pace has no match; but I keep thinking that Williams could have done better to protect at least one of the drivers from Hamilton’s undercut. At least while the track was dry, because Williams’s wet pace was significantly inferior. They at least had the chance to make it to the podium, but decided to stop for intermediate rain tyres a little bit too late. Vettel opted to change tyres a lap earlier on lap 43, the same as Hamilton, which turned out to be the sweet spot, allowing the German to undercut Massa.

Kimi opted to pit in too early, during the first light shower. This decision cost him the 5th place as he was the only driver in the top 5 to do so. Kvyat and Hulkenberg both delayed the move into intermediates to lap 44. The cost of pitting on lap 44 was, in the best case, about 7 seconds. A huge difference, and the key for Vettel climbing to the podium. Perez could have also posed a thread to Kimi’s position, but stopping late for intermediates and a poor performance in the wet gave him 2 points.

And 1 point for Alonso in the Driver’s Championship. The first one this season for the Spaniard. This was unexpected as McLaren Honda seemed to have taken a step back in terms of performance. Not to forget the huge impact against Button’s car during the first lap mêlée, which sent the Briton to watch the race from the Paddock.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions. You can also compare with last year’s British Grand Prix.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

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SimScale F1 Workshop, a step further

SimScale started, a couple of weeks ago, a series of workshops on F1 aerodynamics in collaboration with Nic Perrinn, creator of the open source LM P1 and Formula 1 cars. You can watch the recording of the first session on Fundamentals of F1 aerodynamics in the following video.

A really interesting workshop to understand a little bit more about the constraints that drive the aerodynamic design of a Formula 1. Concepts such as the Y250 vortex (33:00) and the whole point behind the multiple cascade wing elements and necessity to weaken and burst the outboard vortex (35:20) in order to reduce the drag of the car are briefly explained.

Post-processing is done locally in ParaView, but we have no information on how much drag and downforce the car is generating. Those are aerodynamic forces acting on the body and are due to only two basic sources (Anderson, 2007):

  1. Pressure distribution over the body surface, and
  2. Shear stress distribution over the body surface.

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Lap times for the 2015 F1 Austrian Grand Prix

The race started with an accident between Kimi and Fernando exiting turn 2. Although the McLaren mounted the Ferrari and passed by at inches from Raikkonen’s head, neither driver was harmed. This called the Safety Car out; by then Rosberg was leading the race, a position he only surrendered for a lap during his single pit stop. There wasn’t much Hamilton could do to win back the lead. The race pace of the two Mercedes is very similar, plus Hamilton carried a 5s penalty for crossing the white line on the pit exit.

Despite the penalty, Lewis had enough advantage over Massa’s Williams, the third classified. The Brazilian climbed to the podium after Vettel’s pit stop was delayed due to problems with the rear right wheel nut. Ferrari’s pace was clearly superior, but not enough to overtake the Williams on track.

Valtteri Bottas got his Williams home fifth against Hulkenberg, who had to resign himself with sixth. Seventh developed into a tooth-and-nail fight between Maldonado and Verstappen in favour of the Venezuelan. Maldonado scared the hell out of Verstappen at the main straight forcing Max’s mistake at turn one just a couple laps before the end of the race. By then, Verstappen was already struggling as his softs began to lose their edge.

Daniel Ricciardo went late pit stop on lap 50 to get a set of supersofts and climb back into the points getting very close to Sergio Perez. A great result for Red Bull, as both cars had been penalized for using a fifth power unit element, forcing them to start from the back of the grid.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions. You can also compare with last year’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading

Race charts analysis for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2015

I couple of weeks ago I tinkered with lap time data for the 24 hours of Ascari; now it is time to do the same with data from the 24 Heures du Mans, the world’s oldest active sports car race in endurance racing.

Le Mans stands for passion; it was in the 1970’s film that Steve McQueen uttered these words:

Lot of people go through life doing things badly. Racing is important to men who do it well. Racing is life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting.

Here, I will use the data from Al Kamel Systems to get some insight into the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans.

LM P1

“LE MANS” PROTOTYPE 1 is the premier category with two sub-categories: Hybrid —with energy recovery system (ERS)—, and with no ERS reserved only for privateers. Engine is free except following restrictions:

  • Only Petrol or Diesel 4 stroke engines with reciprocating pistons are permitted.
  • Engine cubic capacity is free for “LM” P1-Hybrid cars
  • Engine cubic capacity must not exceed 5500 cm3 for “LM” P1 cars.

This allows manufacturer teams adopt absolutely different approaches to the race. Porsche opted for a 2.0 litre direct-injected turbocharged V4 engine with lithium-ion battery for energy recovery in mid-mounted longitudinal configuration; Audi has a 4.0 litre V6 turbodiesel, mid-engined, longitudinally mounted; Toyota uses a 3.7 litre 90-degree V8 normally aspirated mid-mounted longitudinal configuration; and Nissan is trying to revolutionize the race car concept with a 3.0 litre direct-injected twin-turbocharged V6 engine in a longitudinal front mid-engine configuration.

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Lap times for the 2015 F1 Canadian Grand Prix

Vettel and Verstappen did both carry penalties into the Grand Prix. Vettel for a red flag infraction in FP3 and Verstappen two separate infractions for a total of 15 grid places. Button meanwhile was granted permission to start the race directly behind Vettel and Verstappen.

At the front, both Mercedes cars would lead the race from start to end. Although far superior to the rest, Nico Rosberg was still a step behind Hamilton and had no chance to challenge him despite every effort to save some electronic hybrid power for an eventual surprise attack at the end.

Ferrari were second in terms of pace this race despite Räikkönen —with the fastest lap of the race— being unable to keep P3 against Bottas, who secured Williams’s first podium of the season. Räikkönen’s mistake, a spin at turn 10 hairpin.

The spin is exactly the same story than last year. No problems in practice and for some reason both out-laps there’s something odd happening. It just gives a massive kind of throttle release and you cannot control it. So it’s not ideal but it is what it is.

On the other hand, Vettel was able to climb from 18th to fifth, despite the difficulty to progress in the early laps. Fortunately Ferrari were able to solve the problems in the F15T which showed an impressive pace; enough to grant Vettel a podium if he had made it into Q3.

Another driver who had to recover several positions was Massa. The Brazilian started the race 15th after problems in qualifying and ended up in P6 followed by an exultant Maldonado. Pastor Maldonado’s seventh place finish in the Canadian Grand Prix marks his best finish in F1 for 46 races and gives the Venezuelan his first points of the year. Hulkenberg, Kvyat, and Grosjean also made it into the points.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions. You can also compare with last year’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

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24 hours of Ascari, a Unique Driving Experience

I bet you may have seen pictures of the Ascari Race Resort at dusk, but I’m certain you have never seen pictures of the track at night, under the starry sky. Of course Ascari is not the first circuit to host a 24 hour automotive event; we are all familiar with the 24 Heures du Mans —the world’s oldest active sports car race in endurance racing— or the 24 Hours of Spa, both well established professional endurance racing meetings. As a result, only a selected group of motorsport enthusiasts of the standing of artists such as Steve McQueen and Paul Newman or, more recently, Patrick Dempsey, have had the opportunity to enjoy racing in a circuit at night.

Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.

Those words by Steve McQueen move the lives of many motorsport enthusiasts. And we [FANSI Motorsport], as enthusiasts, wanted to provide the driving experience many were yearning for. And so we did. In this edition, the third year of the 24 hours experience, we managed to gather more than 200 drivers and two score cars to live the fulfilling experience that moved the likes of McQueen and Dempsey away from the filming locations for a couple of weekends a year.

_MG_7391

But not only did we promote the event, we also raced with our very own car, a BMW E30 with three 24 hour racing experiences upon her shoulders. The first edition at the Mike G. Circuit of Guadix (Spain), the second edition at the Vasco Sameiro Sameiro Circuit of Braga (Portugal), and the third one at the Ascari Race Resort (Spain).
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Lap times for the 2015 F1 Monaco Grand Prix

Three consecutive Monaco Grand Prices for Rosberg due to Mercedes messing it up strategically by calling Hamilton in during the Safety Car period. Nonetheless, great result for Nico, as only Ayrton Senna has more wins in a row in the Principality, with 5 gold medals from 1989 to 1993.

The Safety Car was deployed following Max Verstappen’s heavy crash at Ste. Devote —he has been given a grid penalty and penalty points on his licences for his collision with Romain Grosjean—. After the extra pit stop, Hamilton was unable to overtake Vettel’s Ferrari despite the fresher tires. Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo came home fourth and fifth respectively. It is Red Bull’s best result of the season.

Following we have the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and the Force India of Sergio Perez while Jenson Button scores the first points (4) of McLaren’s revived Honda partnership. Alonso could have brought home additional points if it were not for a mechanical problem on his car. Behind Button, Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz —staring from the pit lane— completed the top ten.

Hulkenberg had to recover several positions after a first-lap stop for a new nose following an incident Alonso. Behing him, Grosjean finished in P12 after losing his eigth place in Verstappen’s crash while Marcus Ericsson brought his Sauber home 13th and Williams’s unfortunate race weekend brought them only 14th for Valtteri Bottas and 15th for Felipe Massa. In the meantime, Robert Merhi finally beat Marussia team mate Will Stevens for the first time this season.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions. You can also compare with last year’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading

Lap times for the 2015 F1 Spanish Grand Prix

Ferrari expected a better result after coming to Spain with a set of changes in the hope to catch up with Mercedes. Vettel finished third behind both Mercedes at 45 seconds from Rosberg while Raikkonen was not able to overtake fellow countryman Valtteri Bottas who finished fourth. With Massa finishing in P6, we complete the list of unlapped teams.

Ricciardo was the first of the lapped drivers to finish the race. That’s way far down the table for a top team such as Red Bull used to win.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions. You can also compare with last year’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading

Lap times for the 2015 F1 Bahrain Grand Prix

Third win in four races for Lewis Hamilton, who extends his championship lead, while Rosberg, who started from the second row of the grid, was knocked off second position by Räikkönen in the closing stages of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Even though the German managed to spend most of the race in second position, overtaking several times both Ferraris, brake problems in the closing laps for both Mercedes compromised his race and could have jeopardized Hamilton’s victory. Nonetheless, Kimi’s last stint pace-wise impressive.

Vettel, who qualified in the first row of the grid, was making a fantastic race, challenging Rosberg until he ran wide damaging his front wing which required for an extra stop, sending him back a few positions. He couldn’t save the day and had to resign himself with P5, behind Bottas.

It was a difficult weekend for Bottas’s team mate, Felipe Massa. Massa had to start from the pitlane as the car struggled to fire-up. If we add up and incident involving Maldonado damaging his car and its handling, we could agree that he was lucky to grab one point for the team.

Also very lucky, Daniel Ricciardo whose Red Bull’s Renault engine blew up out of the final corner, but still able cross the line in sixth. Behind the Australian: Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, and Daniil Kvyat rounded out the points.

McLaren in improving race by race and had Alonso finishing eleventh at just 3.6 seconds from scoring a point. Unfortunately, Jenson Button could not take the start. Although the team promised to bring substantial improvements to the next Grand Prix in Barcelona, so we hope to see them scoring their first points of the season very soon.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions. You can also compare with last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading

Lap times for the 2015 F1 Chinese Grand Prix

Hamilton was in full control of the race by the time the safety car was deployed on lap 54 given Max Verstappen’s smoky halt on the pit straight. Mercedes was dominant the whole race with Ferrari closing the gap this season with three consecutive podium finishes.

Massa and Bottas finished right behind Ferrari without offering any challenge to the Scuderia. This also reflects the Constructor’s Championship where Mercedes leads with 119 points to Ferrari’s 79 and Williams’s 48.

Next comes Grosjean who secured P7, giving Lotus their first points of the season. Maldonado could not contribute anything to the team as he yet again had to retire after an incident with Button. An opportunity that Alonso would take to slip through and claim 13th before Verstappen’s retirement.

With Verstappen’s retirement Nasr took his place and his team mate Marcus Ericcson was promoted to the points also scoring for Sauber. In between, Daniel Ricciardo, who managed to grab some points for Red Bull after a horrendous start.

Also a not so good start of the race for Carlos Sainz who dropped several positions after spinning at Turn 1 on the second lap. Later on, gearbox problems slowed him. He was able to finish 14th far ahead of the both Marussias. Will Stevens 15th and Roberto Merhi 16th finished the race two laps down.

Following, I provide some plots so you may draw your own conclusions. You can also compare with last year’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Average pace

This plot shows the difference to the average pace of the race winner. That is, the difference to the average lap time, including pit stops.

The steeper the curve, the faster the lap; and as the curves are generated from cumulative sums of lap times, a negative slope implies a lap time which is quicker that the average.

Continue reading