2011 F1 season review
Red Bull’s performance advantage in 2011 was never as large as it was last year.
But the RB7 kept them ahead of their rivals more consistently than its predecessor.
Compare the performance of all the teams’ cars, plus their reliability and how quick their pit crews were.
This chart compares the fastest lap time set by each team at each race weekend, expressed as a percentage. The fastest team at each weekend is shown at zero percent, and the other teams’ lap times are shown as a percentage of their time.
As usual you can hover over each data point to see the value and toggle different lines on and off using the control below:
A few clear trends are visible in the data:
- Red Bull set the fastest lap time at every weekend with two exceptions: Korea and Abu Dhabi
- Although they were never as far ahead as they had been in Hungary last year, Red Bull were the fastest team even more regularly than they had been in 2010
- McLaren cut Red Bull’s advantage over the final races of the year
- Ferrari improved their performance over the first half of the season before dropping back again, presumably as they diverted more resources to their 2012 campaign
- At the beginning of the season Renault were the fourth-quickest team but they dropped back over the course of the year
- Whereas Force India made clear progress throughout the season
- HRT and, to a lesser extent, Virgin, were regularly more than 7% slower than the fastest runners. So why did they not fall victim to the 107% rule more often? This was usually because the quicker teams used hard, slower tyres in Q1.
- See last year’s chart to compare the team’s performance this year and last
Performance: 2011 vs 2010
This table compares each teams’ performance this year and last year.
This reinforces the view that the front-running teams are pulling further away from the midfield. In particular Renault and Williams were more than one percentage point slower than the fastest car this year than they were last year.
Even teams that finished higher in the championship than last year, such as Force India and Sauber, had fallen further back from the front runners.
Lotus reduced the gap between them and the midfield. Here a word of warning about the data: because Lotus rarely progressed to Q2 they will generally have set their lap times in less favourable track conditions. Therefore, the gap between them in the midfield is likely to be slightly exaggerated.
And of course keep in mind this reflects performance over a single flying lap better than it does race stint performance. In Spain, where Red Bull enjoyed their greatest margin of superiority all year, Sebastian Vettel ended the race under pressure from Lewis Hamilton.
Formula 1 continues to see exceptional levels of reliability. This year’s European Grand Prix set a new record as all 24 starters were classified.
Some teams have made considerable strides in this area: last year Virgin saw 13 retirements due to car failures, which they cut to five this year.
Had it not been for Sebastian Vettel’s tyre failure in Abu Dhabi, Red Bull might have gone the season without a single retirement due to a technical fault. However they were not without other problems during the year, such as numerous KERS failures during the races, and Vettel’s gearbox problem in Brazil.
This chart shows how each team’s quickest pit stop in each race (in seconds) compared to the quickest pit stop of all in the same race:
Red Bull and Mercedes were consistently the two quickest teams in the pits. The world champions were fastest in eight of this year’s races, while Mercedes were quickest seven times.
Of the rest, McLaren turned around the quickest pit stops three times, including the last two races, and Ferrari did so just once.
HRT were conspicuously weak in this area: they were only quicker than another team once all year.
2011 F1 season review
- The 2011 F1 season: The complete F1 Fanatic review
- Your 2011 F1 predictions revisited
- 2011 F1 statistics part 3: Stats and facts highlights
- 2011 F1 statistics part two: Vettel’s domination
- 2011 F1 statistics part one: car performance
- New 2011 rules produced best racing of last four years
- What F1 Fanatics really thought of the 2011 season
- Sebastian Vettel voted F1 Fanatic Driver of the Year
- F1 Fanatic’s article highlights of 2011
- Dominant Red Bull join F1′s top teams
Image © Red Bull/Getty images