Absolute speed is good, but they're too close.

by jan Verschueren


Absolute speed is good... uncanny even, but the spread is (half) wrong. I've been looking at some real F1 timing data (from GaleForce F1 and taped from the digital TV feed) and, while the current spread works for practise/warm-up and the first laps of a tyre stint, in qualifying and after the tyres lose their "edge", the difference between the haves and the have nots deepens.

When corrected for average circuit length, the top 15 in real F1 this year qualifies within about 2.5s from pole 16 to 22 qualify between 2.5s and 5.5s from pole. Under race conditions, after the first couple of laps this about the same or slightly worse. Interestingly, Minardi consistently outperforms Benetton and Prost in this respect, the latter lapping as much as 7 seconds slower than 1st place near the end of a tyre stint.

I know the qualifying spread can be corrected, don't know about the evolution of race performance. If this gradual performance loss can't be emulated, I'd be in favour of spreading the cars out further as a matter of course (fresh tyres or not). From my experience the AI spreads out too little in our races. A couple of "gaggles" are formed, which in themselves are too close together as well, IMO.

Also, I think Williams could do with a bit of an upgrade, i.e. making them consitent front row contenders.


Posted on Apr 16, 2001, 6:17 PM
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