Quite a while ago I analysed the fuel consumption in the races over the season so far to see whether the fuel consumption figures quoted by the F1 Yearbook were correct. At the time, I found that the F1 Yearbook figures were overestimating the stint lengths by about one lap on average.
So, now it’s time to revisit these figures. This post forms the first of a series of posts reviewing the 2009 season with the other posts on teams and drivers – hopefully I will find the time to write them all before the 2010 season begins ;)
As a bit of background on the calculations, please click this link. If you trust my numbers however, read on! :D
To eliminate erroneous data, all stints shorter than expected by more than three laps were removed because when I looked at the data, this seemed to be where most of the stops happened. Anything more than three laps short was deemed to be a strategic stop or a repair stop and was removed from the data. In addition, any race that was wet or had a safety car before the first pit stop was not considered as wet races lower fuel consumption and safety cars usually force drivers to pit early.
However, even with a clean dataset, when we align the predicted stints with the actual ones from the races, there seems to be a difference, as shown by the graph below:
This graph shows the average figure calculated from all the data collected vs. the F1 yearbook data.
The graph below shows the difference between the two datasets, by calculating the difference between the actual data and the F1 Yearbook data:
The weird thing is that some races were predicted spot on and some were way off. Suzuka (Japan) and Germany were one of the largest difference. Fine, you might say, these circuits have not been used since 2006 and 2007 respectively and the engines were not frozen until the end of 2008. But then Monza (Italy) was, along with all the others, so there must be something more to it.
Incidentally, the range of values mean that the average difference is almost identical to the average F1 Yearbook figure, so I plotted the differences on a histogram using the mean and standard deviations as my ‘bins’. The mean was 0.05 laps difference and the standard deviation was 1.38 laps difference. Here is the histogram:
So we can see that most (9 out 12) values lie within –1.33 to 1.43 laps difference from the F1 yearbook values, with the rest a bit further out.
What does this tell us? Well, it means that the F1 Yearbook figures are pretty accurate, because even after a large regulation change which changed all the aerodynamics, included KERS, slick tyres and froze the engines, the figures are still very accurate!
As a part of this, I tried to find out which team was the most frugal and therefore which engine, using the same dataset as before. For the teams we have the following:
And for the engines:
On the teams, it is worth noting that all the customer engines use more fuel than the ‘works’ teams do. Maybe this is where KERS comes into play – as Ferrari, McLaren and Renault used it while the customer teams didn’t? Although, personally I am not sure that a power boost device can save fuel, but if you have some thoughts on the matter please do let me know in the comments!
The Renault is the most frugal by about 0.05kg/lap over the Mercedes, which is the same over Ferrari. Put it this way – with an average stint of 23 laps, this means that an extra lap can be gained with such an advantage.
So with an equal amount of fuel in the car, the BMW would have to pit about 3 laps earlier than the Renault, as shown on this graph:
Looking at it this way, you can see that Red Bull would have used it to an advantage over Brawn and Mercedes cars over Ferrari too – so in theory if one was close to the other they could use the extra lap as a hotlap and hope to make a big enough gap after they have made their stop. Sadly, the rules forbid this in 2010 but with frozen engines, you can see that Ferrari are going to have to run bigger tanks (and therefore a heavier car) to be able to fuel up until the end of the race. Apart from making the laptimes a little slower, it also helps wear the tyres and brakes faster as they have to do more work (and maybe the transmission too?).
Last month James Allen referenced an Auto Motor Und Sport article on his website (here) which used acoustic analysis and GPS to determine which engines were the most powerful. The article concludes that the Mercedes engine is the most powerful with apparently 755hp and there is a 2.5% spread between the engines, making the least powerful engine 18hp down or about 3 tenths of a second per lap. This can be enough to knock you out of qualifying so it is important…
Anyway, the balance of power was Mercedes (most powerful), BMW and Ferrari close behind, then Renault and Toyota. This means that frugality does not necessarily equate to lesser performance – and makes the Mercedes one heck of an engine as it powerful and frugal. No wonder Christian Horner of Red Bull wanted to swap the Renault engine they use for one!
This would also make the Toyota the worst engine as it is down on power and not frugal – I would suppose that even if Toyota did continue in 2010 that Williams would not have renewed their contract with them. Ferrari and BMW could get away with wastefulness with the extra power they had in hand too.
So which engine would you choose for 2010 and which will you miss? How do you think Cosworth will fit in to this data? As always, let me know in the comments ;)
Note: at the time of writing, only Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault have engines entered into the 2010 championship with a few teams running Cosworth engines, as mentioned in the James Allen and Auto Motor Und Sport articles referenced above.