Standard Deviation

I have been requested to analyse how consistent the drivers were over a whole race and compare average lap times, with standard deviations included.  I start by copying all the lap times into a spreadsheet and taking all the laps (minus any safety car periods) and calculating the mean and Standard Deviation.

What do I mean by Standard Deviation?  Well, it’s a measure of population dispersal around a mean value.  It calculates the range in which most of the lap times fall within, therefore removing any outliers and bad laps to see how consistent a driver is. 

Take a look at the graph below:

st_dev Source: Wikipedia 

Each set of coloured bars represent one Standard Deviation.  As we can see here, if we use this range then we will be considering 68.2% of the driver’s lap times in the race – which should remove any laps that had any errors, spins or other problems which may not have been the fault of the driver. 

One final comment is that the smaller the Standard Deviation, the more consistent the driver, and usually this goes hand-in-hand with a good finishing position!

For more information, check out the Wikipedia article on Standard Deviation

One thought on “Standard Deviation

  1. Pingback: 2009 In Review – Fuel Use « Making Up The Numbers

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