F1 Fanatic crowdsource project: Overtaking statistics

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    Keith Collantine

    The statistics pages are getting a complete overhaul for 2011 with lots of new data in them. Much of the work on this has already been completed.

    One area I was asked for data on several times last year was overtaking, and that’s something I plan on having in the statistics section this year. But I’m going to need the help of some F1 Fanatics to do it.

    Overtaking statistics are a little complicated because you have to define what counts as an overtaking move. For example:

    • Should a pass on the first lap count? (I say no)
    • Does a ‘pass in the pits’ count as overtaking? (I say no)
    • If a driver is passed then re-passes in a single lap, does that count as two passes (one by each driver) or none? (I say two)

    This creates the added complication that it’s not possible to work out all the overtaking stats for a every driver in a race simply by using the timing data the FIA supply.

    For example, it’s difficult to remove ‘phantom passes’ where a driver appears to have made a pass, but it’s just because a driver in front of him has pitted.

    In order to create a reliable set of overtaking statistics for a race, we need to do two things.

    1. Define what counts as a ‘pass’

    2. Manually examine and correct the overtaking statistics I produce for each race based on that definition

    This is where you come in. If you’re interested in helping out with this project during 2011, please post a reply below and offer your thoughts on what should and shouldn’t count as a pass.

    You can also have a look at an early version of the overtaking statistics I’ve produced, based on the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and suggest any changes you’d make:




    I think overtakes on the first lap should count, but maybe not for the first 2 or 3 corners. For example, Hamilton passing Webber (I think it was Webber) in Germany on the first lap was a good slipstreaming move. But Petrov taking half the field in Melbourne (or Alguersuari in Spain for that matter) doesn’t count as a pass as far as I am concerned. That is simply someone getting a better start than someone else.

    Also, that Abu Dhabi overtaking sheet is very depressing. I’d say that race was worse than Bahrain.



    I doubt I’ll be able to help with the project, unfortunately, but I’ll give my thoughts on overtaking.

    A pass made whilst one driver is in the pitlane and another is on the track is a change in position, but not an overtake, same goes for when both cars are in the pit lane and leave in a reversed order from which they entered, so I’d say that anything involving the pitlane doesn’t count as an ‘overtake’, but does obviously count as a change in position.

    If a driver passes another, then gets re-passed before the end of the lap, I would class as 2 overtakes. Sure, the timing beam on the start/finish straight would count their positions the same as the lap before, but actual physical overtaking has occurred, twice, so I feel it counts twice.

    As for first lap passes, I wouldn’t say they don’t count, but certainly the first 3-4 corners are always a free-for-all. I think each track has a point around the lap where the cars will settle in a nose-to-tail order for the first time. In Melbourne, for instance, this would be on the curved back straight after the Clark Chicane. Anything before then on the first lap is just a result of the pack scrambling for position. Anything after that fast chicane is usually the result of a proper pass rather than the driver just trying to slot in. Of course this changes at each track. At Monza, I’d say the cut-off point would be after the Lesmo corners, Silverstone (from the new start-finish straight) would probably be Copse, Suzuka would be the hairpin after the crossover.

    Also you have passes where a driver goes off to consider. Is it counted as an ‘overtake’ where a driver passes another who is bobbing through the gravel? A change in the running ovder, definately, but an overtake? I’m not so sure.

    Certainly an overtaking maneuver that results in the defending car going off and the attacking car would be an overtake, because the overtake has resulted in the off, rather than the overtake happening due to one car already being ‘off’.

    Just my two cents.


    Ned Flanders

    Wow, that Abu Dhabi chart just screams the number 0!

    To your three questions, I would say: no*, no and two. The asterisk is because I think some first lap passes are genuine overtaking moves rather than the field shuffling into position, and it would be wrong to put them all in the same category. Sometimes, the first lap is so long that the cars are already quite spread out by the end of it- so a Lap 1 pass into the Bus Stop at Spa, for example, is likely to require a driver to come from a long way back to make a move.

    One example I can think of off the top of my head was Button on Schumacher at Turn 12 in Istanbul last year- that was a fully fledged overtake rather than mere field shuffling, wouldn’t you say?

    The problem with this approach of course will be judging which first lap passes occur late enough to be considered ‘genuine’- I can’t think of a very scientific way of seperating them. Maybe counting passes after the first 3 miles of a race, or the first two sectors of the first lap… but this is already getting pretty complicated!



    What program do i need to open the file??



    The 2nd and 3rd are no and 2 for the same reasons as above. However the first lap is a far trickier issue. The case for ignoring them I think has already been dealt with but surely a genuine move into the first corner should/could count ie monza starts. This leads me to think there is no hard and fast rule that can really apply, any move after the 2nd sector timing beam should count as a pass, but any move before should be decided on a case by case basis.



    I am inclined to agree with you on all three accounts.

    Trouble defining what an overtake is, will be hard. If someone goes off trying to pass the car in front and the car running about 2-3 seconds behind passes as an effect of that, is that a pass?

    I suppose for statistics we would have to do that, to make it possible. And all drivers will be affected approximately the same by that. And I agree with Ned on the first lap passes.

    Maybe we could then highlight the occasional “real” pass on the first lap in commenting on the statistics.



    I’d have to say:

    1) A pass should include including overtakes made on the first lap other than where a car has stalled on the grid or crashed on the first lap;

    2)A pass in the pits shoudn’t count as a pass; and

    3) A pass and a re-pass should count as two overtakes.

    The trouble with compiling these stats that that there are so many variables at play that it makes it nigh on impossible to get an accurate reflection of how many “overtakes” a driver makes in a season. The three you highlighted above are good examples, but what about where a car has a puncture or looses a front wing and has to slow, does a driver passing him get credited with an overtake?

    Still, its another expample of the great service you provide to us F1F’s that you are even considering taking this on in the first place!



    I pretty much agree with the consensus although I think any overtake on Lap1 after T1 or T2 should count as they are genuine overtakes for position not ‘Jostling’ as some people seem to think. Certainly after T2 on most tracks the Jostling is over and genuine overtakes happen because the cars are running so close together and drivers make mistakes.



    I agree with your points Keith apart from the first lap pass.

    I think that this should definitely count as on overtake. The driver has made the pass on track, you still need to be able to overtake and be brave to make passes on the first lap. If you get a better start than someone, you have done well and why shouldn’t this count as an overtake. It sounds a bit silly if you don’t count them. For example Jenson Button this year at Monza took 1st place from Alonso on the first lap, does this not count? He got a slightly better start and had to still make the move stick into the first chicane.

    If you are doing statistics I don’t think you can leave things like this down to interpretation, otherwise they aren’t true statistics. You’d need to have strict rules, either a first lap pass counts or doesn’t count.

    Sounds like a great idea though, and if a consensus is reached then it would be fascniting to take a look at.



    I think having guidelines as to what counts as a pass is fine. But, if these develop into strict rules well always come across unanticipated scenarios.

    So, my suggestion would be to have some broad guidelines (such as passes in the pits dont count) but leave the more subjective ones to a vote after the race.

    The subjective ones might be first lap passes, someone wobbling through the gravel or suffering mechanical problems, etc. usually not a case of genuine overtaking but there might be exceptions (such as driver error while being overtaken leading to a gravel excursion).

    A vote of some sort would give us more interactivity and discussion following the races. How you choose a voting panel is another debate, but with the right set up you should get pretty consistent results.



    I’d love to help with this and give something back Keith.

    Having a quick glance over, there are some very valid points. I’m at work at the moment but i’ll be home later where I can think about this properly and give it the time it deserves.



    The way I see it, an “overtake” only occurs when the car being overtaken has the opportunity to defend himself. This rules out passes that occur due to another car breaking down on track (stalling on the start line, punctures, etc) and also driver error (skidding of the track into gravel and being passed in the process).

    This also means that pit lane overtakes aren’t allowed either. This includes the pit lane itself, but also the pit entry and exit (even though it may technically be “on-track”).

    So long as the overtake occurs on-track (with the exception of the pit lane), the frequency with which they occur is irrevelent. So if you have two cars battling each other for a whole lap, and in that time they chop and change position 10 times, each one of them is an overtake.

    Using this definition of an overtake- occuring only when the defending car has the opportunity to prevent himself being overtaken- it pretty concise and easy to follow.



    Agree with everything GeeMac said. I think overtakes on the first lap should count (unless the car has stalled) for instance, Massa got a flying start at Hungary 08 but he still had to pull of the move. Sorry for the Massa example but he springs to mind easily for me :P



    I’d say overtakes on the first lap should count. Passes in the pit lane, or where one car cannot defend due to a car problem don’t count my opinion.

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