Saturday, 9 May 2009

Listen carefully, because I’m only saying this once…

While some people seem to enjoy my Super Season Grid, there are those who continuously ask “What values do you use?” or “How do you get those results?” or something else along those lines. So, to set the record straight once and for all, I am going to tell you exactly how I get my average lap times.

So, let’s take Lewis Hamilton at Melbourne as an example. To work out his average lap time over the entire weekend, I use:

  • Fastest lap from FP1
  • Fastest lap from FP2
  • Fastest lap from FP3
  • Fastest lap from the entire Qualifying session (usually Q2 because of running low fuel)
  • Fastest lap from the race

Using an Excel spreadsheet, it adds the lap times altogether and divides by 5, which obviously is how many values we have to work with. This then produces the average result. Now, I work with the times by listing them in seconds rather than minutes and seconds. Doing this makes it so much easier and simpler for Excel to work out the average. So, let’s work out Hamilton’s average lap time of Melbourne as an example:

FP1 – 1’39.042 (89.042)
FP2 – 1’37.813 (87.813)
FP3 – 1’36.714 (86.714)
Fastest lap from qualifying - 1’36.454 (86.454)
Fastest lap in race – 1’39.020 (89.020)
AVERAGE LAP TIME – 1’37.809 (87.809)

But the averages don’t stop at single race weekends. Over the course of the season, I have a page which keeps track of all the average lap times from every round of the championship which culminates into an average lap time over the course of the season so far. Right now, we’ve done 4 rounds and with Barcelona tomorrow I’ll be able to finish the data for Spain and look ahead to Monaco.

And we don’t just stop at drivers! I also work out an average lap time and field spread for the teams too. For the field spread, I take the fastest lap time set by a certain car, McLaren again as an example. Now this time could have been set by either Hamilton or Kovalainen, the driver doesn’t matter. It’s the time we’re after. Then after getting the best lap over the entire weekend for all 10 teams, I work out the gap from the fastest to slowest. These times and gaps get recorded and an average is taken for both. For the latter, whatever the lowest gap value is, let’s say Brawn at the moment, this then gets subtracted from the other 9 teams’ gaps to the fastest. So this leaves the fastest team with 0.000 as a gap.

It might sound confusing and maybe a little inaccurate as it’s not taking in fuel loads and the like, but it’s my own personal way of working out how close or how apart the grid is at any given moment. I hope that’s cleared up any confusion and if it’s only made you even more so, then I do apologise!