Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

F1 Analytics (Part 1) - Points tables // Reviewing the 2008 Formula One season with a look at the championship standings

Published by Christine

With things beginning to settle down after a manic end to the season, it's time to start reviewing the year. What better way to kick things off than with some graphs? You know us, any excuse to post a geeky chart or two. This series of posts will look at some of the statistics the year has provided us with, and what conclusions we can draw from them.

Formula One 2008 Constructors Championship

Teams

The first thing to notice about this graph, is the massive gap between the top three teams, and everyone else. Renault like to think they were the third fastest constructor at the end of the season, and we can see they did make a big leap away from the mid-field, but they made no impact on the wide margin to the big three.

Amongst the bottom half of the table, it's interesting to see that a lot of teams had an initial points haul, and then their challenge levelled off for the remainder of the season. This reflects what we actually saw in terms of unusual podium lineups (Piquet and Barrichello spring to mind). A bit of luck handed them a lot of points, but it can only really be put down to a fluke.

Toyota and Renault seem to be the only teams making steady progress upwards, with Renault pulling away in the last few races. It seems like consistently getting a few points is a good way to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Toro Rosso had a poor start, but seemed to get into the points swing later in the year, especially with their win.

I wont even mention Force India.

At the top, it seems like the championship really began in Bahrain, with that being the closest all three teams were at any point. McLaren and Ferrari also came close again in Singapore, which was one of only three times during the year that the Woking team were ahead of their Italian counterparts. There’s a very clear flat line for Ferrari between Belgium and Singapore, whilst McLaren suffered earlier on around Canada and France.

In the end, I think there were two winners in the constructors championship. Ferrari won their battle by a considerable margin, while Renault took best-of-the rest honours by even more.

Formula One 2008 Drivers Championship

Drivers

The drivers chart is quite busy, but if you look closely, there are some conclusions to be drawn from the mass of colour.

It only took until Monaco for a pattern to emerge, and the driver battles to be set. By then, there were four championship contenders, in the shape of two Ferrari drivers, Hamilton and Kubica. Further down, Kovalainen and Heidfeld found themselves on a similar level, and it’s worth noting that Webber was right up with them at that time. The rest of the pack were fighting amongst themselves, and if you follow Webber’s line, he seemed to drop off, while Alonso hauled himself out of the mid-field, and joined in the fight with Kovi.

Towards the end, the top four also split up into two distinct battles, which is exactly how the championship played out. Räikkönen's points are very prominent, if only for being so erratic. There are moments of a steep upward trend, and then he can go races without picking up a single point. The tail end of the European season is a particular example of this. I find it interesting that Kubica remained in the championship battle longer than Räikkönen did, but they ended up on the same points.

Kubica has continued the BMW trend of consistency rather than brilliance, which is notable if only because Heidfeld didn’t. The German’s trend seems to echo Räikkönen's in its stops, starts and sudden jumps.

The odd podium conundrum I mentioned in the teams analysis above is very prominent in the drivers graph, with Barrichello and Coulthard barely moving since Silverstone. The one who escapes from the mass of straight lines is Vettel, his greenish trend line is lost in the crowd at the beginning, but soon makes itself visible, and obvious, even just before his win. You can easily spot when his team unlocked the potential of their new chassis.

Those are the conclusions I’ve drawn from what can be seen in the charts. I’d love to hear what you think and what else you can spot in them.