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Author Topic: Merc reveals how they calculate speed of rivals from F1 testing data  (Read 236 times)

Offline John S

Mercedes has published some of its internal analysis of this week’s testing session.

They're predicting good gains for some of the midfield teams and expect a shuffle in the order from Last term, but they stop short of identifying winners or losers.

They've also noted Ferrari's below optimum power level use throughout the week compared to it's own Maranello customer teams.

Just how do they come up with these findings? Well - a bloody big computer  :D  - and a bloody good algorithm set to investigate the analytic parameters, explained by Motorsport Magazine, below.   

Testing spy: how Mercedes calculates its rivals’ true pace

“Testing times are not meaningless,” says Mercedes. “They are a goldmine, if you’re prepared to sift through them with care and caution until a clear picture begins to emerge. If you look at them long enough, they gradually give up their secrets.”       

This is how the team analyses the performance of its rivals:-
Start with what you know

Teams know every car’s lap time and the number of laps completed, as well as the performance difference between tyre compounds and the amount of fuel that’s burnt each lap.
Like a Maths GCSE question, you can start to estimate a car’s pace from this data.
Look what happened last year

In the top secret world of F1 car development, teams are surprisingly predictable when it comes to their testing runs. “They tend to do similar things each year,” says Mercedes.

 “Most people will run three fuel levels: a lower fuel load for performance, a medium fuel load for the bulk of their work, and full tanks for their race simulations. For each team, these three levels are different, but, weirdly, they don’t vary much from year to year.
“Our opening guesses will assume that each team will do the same as they did the year

Count the laps

To refine the opening guesses, strategists look at the number of laps that a car has run, and identify the minimum fuel load. “If a car does a 10 lap run, then we know that a lap consumes (say) 1.7kg, then there must have been at least 17kg of fuel in the car to do that run,” says Mercedes. “In reality, teams do not like to run down to fumes in normal testing, so it is more likely that there was at least 27kg of fuel in the car.
“If our prior assumption was that this team normally runs 50kg for general testing, then we will adjust our initial guess to say that the car was likely to have somewhere between 27kg and 50kg of fuel in the car. Once a team has done a load of running, this estimate gets surprisingly accurate.”
Watch for the pit stops

“The real insight comes when a team attempts a race distance. Doing a full race distance with pit-stop style tyre changes implies that the team must have its tanks near to full. This narrows the error in our estimates dramatically, allowing race times to be compared more or less directly.”

Tracking data

GPS tracking allows teams to see rivals’ speed and acceleration, which allows them to calculate each engine’s power and available modes.

Courtesy of Dominic Tobin,, today.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2020, 04:42:54 PM by John S »

Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Dare

I'm betting on Mercedes then Honda followed
by  Ferrari
democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those
who are
willing to work and give to those who would not."

Offline John S

I'm Banking on Macca and Racing Point spoiling the big three's party on more than one occasion this year.

That's from the gut, my supercomputer is still waiting at the design stage, I can't afford to swap my house for it at the present time.  :nono: 

Given time senility might make me forget I even own a house - anyone know if a supercomputer cabinet is big enough to bed down in?  :D
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 01:50:06 PM by John S »
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Scott

Visuals and timing are ok with me, but I'm not so sure the other teams should have access to GPS data allowing them to confirm power and engine modes...I think that is IP.  The teams should lock down their GPS broadcasts.  Too bad if can't show us their cartoon track and car positions.  Happy enough with timing and segment info.
The Honey Badger doesn't give a...


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