Category Mathematical models

2017 Preseason analysis

2017 marks one of the largest changes in the history of Formula 1. Not since 1966, when engine sizes were doubled, have the sport’s rule-makers introduced full-format changes with the primary intent of making the cars faster and more exciting. Instead, we have become accustomed to changes designed to curb speeds and improve safety, which […]

2016 model-based driver rankings

A key question at the end of every Formula 1 season is: who was the best performing driver? There’s never a straightforward answer to this question, and usually only two or three teams could realistically win the drivers’ title, regardless of the quality of their drivers. This year, it was probably just one team, such was the […]

Experts versus models: How do we rank drivers?

Who was a greater Formula 1 driver: Nigel Mansell or Elio de Angelis? Expert panels have uniformly selected Mansell. Raw statistics of success — wins, championships, and the like — also clearly favor Mansell. Yet, every mathematical model of driver rankings developed to date resoundingly answers de Angelis. Examining the data table below helps to […]

2015 model-based driver rankings

Last year, I presented model-based rankings for all the 2014 season drivers. These rankings are derived from a mathematical model, described here, that statistically estimates the strength of driver and team performances in each year, as well as overall career performances for drivers. It achieves this by finding the best fit to all race result […]

The most dominant teams in F1 history

Recent years in Formula 1 have been challenging for viewers, with Red Bull dominance in 2011 and 2013, followed by Mercedes dominance in 2014 and 2015. Periods of team dominance are not new to Formula 1, since differences in car performance have always trumped differences in driver performance. Nevertheless, the level of dominance achieved by Mercedes […]

A reconstructed history of Formula 1

I grew up reading many Formula 1 fact books and encyclopedias. Despite their different sources, ages, and authors (all English language, I should mention), they told approximately the same story of Formula 1 history, with the same heroes and villains. Drivers with two or more titles were usually considered the “true greats”, joined by a select […]

2014 model-based driver rankings

2014 was a year completely dominated by the Mercedes team, with the barest sniff of the title for Ricciardo. But who would have won the title if all cars had been equal? Were the Mercedes drivers the year’s best performers, or would other drivers have looked even better behind the wheel of a Mercedes? That’s […]