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When will Lewis’ luck improve?
The ‘law of averages’ expresses a belief in the natural world that the outcomes of a random event will “even out” within a small(ish) sample. Unfortunately, this law is based upon bad statistical supposition or just wishful thinking rather than any mathematical principle.
Many amateur gamblers have rationalised that because the roulette wheel has landed on red in three consecutive spins, “the law of averages says it’s due to land on black!” Of course, the wheel has no memory and its probabilities do not change according to past results.
So even if the wheel has landed on red in ten consecutive spins, the probability that the next spin will be black is still 48.6% (zero is green).
The belief that numbers which haven’t appeared recently are more likely to appear soon is known as the ‘gamblers fallacy’.
How does all this relate to F1. Well, a number of fans on various websites and forums have suggested that because Lewis has had 2 DNF’s in 7 races this year, it is likely to be Nico Rosberg who gets the next one.
Given the same effort into each car’s engineering and build and assuming driving styles cause no statistical variations, TJ13 has to say this logic falls into the same category as the gambler’s fallacy.
Statistics in fact demonstrate that were a coin to be flipped 100 times, there is only an 8% chance of the results being 50 heads and 50 tails.
Empirical evidence that the ‘luck’ does not even itself out in F1 has been ‘proven’ 😉 in the analysis of the inter team battle over some years between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel. One had all the luck and 4 world titles and the other had none and none.
In probability theory however, the law of large numbers (LLN) is a theorem that describes the result of performing the same experiment a large number of times. According to the law, the average of the results obtained from a large number of trials should be close to the ‘expected value’. This will tend to become closer as more trials are performed.
So in layman’s terms, were Nico and Lewis to sign 20 year contracts with Mercedes, there may be more hope that over that time the law of large numbers may begin to
weave its magic – sorry – tend towards the expected value of….. Lewis 50% DNF’s and Nico 50% DNF’s… favouritism and driving style bias being excluded..
Next time up in Austria it’s again 50/50, which of course would be devastating for Lewis should Nico once again ‘have all the luck’ and win… and he have none… along with a DNF.
Marko: Team Mistake cost Vettel the Win and why the Champion is struggling
On paper the reigning world champion’s 2014 balance sheet looks devastating. After winning the last nine races in 2013, because everyone basically had decided not to bother anymore after the summer break, he is still waiting for his first win of the season. To add insult to injury, it was his team mate, who snatched up an unlikely win, when both Mercedes decided to throw their opposition some bread crumbs in the form of two fried electronic boxes that rendered the MGU-K inoperable. Last year that would have been called a KERS failure.
In the least surprising move ever, the German’s detractors are having a field day, proclaiming that they knew all along that he was mediocre and the car did all the winning for him. Mind you, that’s the same people, who have claimed all along that he doesn’t want to be challenged, yet unwilling to follow their script, the struggling serial winner of 2010-2013 seemed genuinely delighted for his team mate, even though he had just lost a win that was supposed to be his. The naysayers are left scratching their heads, why the champion doesn’t hate the Australian. It confuses them. Seb being gracious in defeat – that wasn’t supposed to happen.
Why is that? There are several reasons. First of all, Vettel is realistic. He has spent years carefully developing a completely counter-intuitive driving style to get the most out of the creations that came from Adrian Newey and his team of engineers. He knows that you don’t unlearn that in a matter of weeks.
As a programmer I can easily attest to that. There are programming languages that require each statement to be finished with a semicolon (;), others do not. Try switching between them. The missing or superfluous semicolons will drive you insane and slow you down for weeks! And Seb has a far taller mountain to claim – he has to unlearn and relearn complex instinctual movements.
Danny Ricciardo came in with a massive advantage. The Toro Rosso always lacked rear down-force, so he was used to driving a car with less than ideal handling. Added to that he didn’t even remotely lose as much track time through technical failures. The reason why Vettel doesn’t crack is, that he knows he still has it. He lost almost all free practice time in Barcelona, got whacked with a 10 place grid penalty, yet still finished directly behind Danny Ric. Sometimes you don’t need a win to reassure yourself that you can still cut it.
The team’s outspoken consultant Dr. Marko now reveals that normally Vettel would have been the one to grab the win that Mercedes ‘graciously’ decided to let the opposition have a fight for. Normally loathe to admit to any mistakes, the Austrian admits that the boffins behind the team wall are responsible for Seb losing his track position to his team mate.
“Something went wrong with the GPS,” the former racer explains. The teams use the global positioning tool to calculate where a driver ends up after a pit stop. This is done to avoid releasing the driver into a pack of slower or hard-to-pass traffic. But that’s exactly what they did, according to the Doctor.
“Sebastian lost a lot of time behind Hülkenberg on his in-lap and we miscalculated the GPS data, so we released him and he came back out directly behind Perez. Daniel, meanwhile had clean air as he was farther behind Hülkenberg than Sebastian.”
As a result, Vettel lost over two seconds within less than three laps, mainly because the dyson in the back of the RB10 made it impossible to overtake the Force India’s, who were faster down the straights than the Red Bull with open DRS.
“That was not Vettel’s fault. Our people behind the pit wall made the wrong call,” the Austrian confessed to Auto Motor & Sport. “We would have had to slow down Daniel deliberately to avoid him coming out in front of Sebastian.”
The last bit is especially interesting as that was exactly what aforementioned detractors always accused Red Bull of – slowing Mark down deliberately.
The German language viewers this year have the luxury of watching the ongoing hilarious verbal sparring of two Austrian loud-mouths – the Doc and Niki Lauda. The Canadian round went easily to the Red Bull consultant.
After qualifying Lauda had praised Vettel’s qualifying effort in a Sky Germany interview, but taunted Marko that in the race they would be simply too slow to challenge his Mercedes cars, to which the Doc replied. “If there will ever go something wrong on your cars, we will be there. So I wouldn’t want to be as sure of myself as you are, Niki,”
Foot firmly planted in mouth. Ten-count for Mr. Lauda…
Location, Location, Location
In the property – or real estate – market, there is a maxim which addresses the three most important considerations when valuing a property. Location, location, location. In other words the area in which a property is situated is so important, discussions about all else are relatively insignificant.
Here at TJ13, 30% of our readers are from North America, and we value their observations and input regularly. It gives us Europeans perspective on how fortunate we are with our F1 lives.
So, TJ13 embraces a USA backed team entering F1. It would be fantastic for F1 to race more in the USA, A return to Long Beach would be great and maybe to a ‘new’ Watkins Glen – who knows. One thing is for sure, the US of A is a bloody large place and could easily, and should, host 3 or 4 rounds of the F1 calendar.
Yet, may people’s first, and ongoing, reaction to the Gene Haas notion of setting up an F1 racing base in the USA, is one of shock. Clearly there has been a historic rivalry between the US and European petrol heads over who makes the best cars, but F1 is another matter all together.
Now time to upset the Europeans. Whether they like it or not, F1 is an English based sport located in “Motorsport Valley”. In any front line industry there are support industries and many personnel who are employed behind the scenes – all this provides a location specific expertise adding a huge amount of value to the industry.
The reason Silicon Valley developed is a recognised and established business concept which understands the importance of location intense expertise. Maybe, to truly understand the challenge he is engaging in, Haas should take a look at Ferrari.
Mr. Flavio Briatore believes firmly, “In my opinion, Ferrari must have a base in the UK, where all of the technology of Formula One is concentrated. At Maranello it is difficult to create an effective team and to recruit these British engineers.”
In December TJ13 reported that Ferrari had made overtures toward Ross Brawn, however, since returning from Maranello, Brawn has restated a number of times, he would not want to relocate again to Italy.
Mad dogs and Englishmen huh??? Where to live? Italy….Mmm….England…. Derr…
However, despite the national pride the Brits take in bemoaning their lot, the UK is not a bad place to live and get things done.
Ferrari recently attempted to lure Adrian Newey to their spider’s lair with a staggering offer of $30m pa, but he refused. Whilst there is no evidence this decision was location dependant; however, could Ferrari have facilitated Newy with his own UK based personal technology centre, which will soon be focusing on hulls and not bulls?
Autosprint are reporting today that another high profile F1 engineer said no to a life of Riocca, Gorgonzola and womanizing. Allegedly, Andy Cowell of Mercedes has been offered big big bucks to defect from Brixworth, but he has declined the advances from the team in Red.
Briatore sums up the situation. “Ferrari this year is in deep crisis and has lost the chance to recover. Ferrari is paying for its location — Maranello is definitely not the centre of the (F1) world, it’s England,” he told Italian radio.
Ferrari is of course undergoing a review by Marco Mattiacci and Briatore agrees, “I think that for Ferrari, it will take a major restructuring of the team”, which of course requires some recruitment. Flav knows where to find the missing Ferrari links, “We know exactly who are the best ones, and it is difficult to get them to Italy.”
Ok, so Gene Haas isn’t trying to dominate F1.The first goal for Haas racing is to deliver a car which can consistently meet the 107% qualifying rule – and there are plenty of… ‘on the way down’ … Mike Gascoyne characters who will be happy to move to the USA and help Gene achieve this target.
Whether Gene is just ‘having us all on’ at present while he drums up some US sponsors – who knows? However, it is surely farfetched to believe Haas can recruit a bunch of US engineers and auto designers who with no F1 experience will be capable of designing, engineering and building an F1 car.
The shambles that is Ferrari is a monument for all who believe the location of an F1 team is not that important. The team in Red’s most dominant era in F1 – EVER – was when they managed to recruit a happy bunch of foreigners to go to live and play in Italy; which did indeed include one rather exceptional German driver.
(OK, so who has TJ13 upset this year. Anyone who is friends with Tony Fernandes, Lewis Hamilton Fans, mates of the Red Bull F1 hierarchy, Bernie, Todt, Vijay, Rob Roy, Vettel must be in the list, but I can’t think why…. Johnnie Bloody Herbert, the BBC……plusmany more…. and now the entire Italian nation…)
The New Red Bull Ring
For those relatively new to F1, the Red Bull Ring (previously known as the A1 ring) is maybe an unknown. So here’s a quick look at the F1 circuit which in effect has just 7 corners.
The difference a brake makes
When Lewis Hamilton moved from McLaren to Mercedes he immediately became aware that the brakes on the W04 were not how he liked them. The team implemented a number of minor redesigns/reconfigurations on Lewis’ brakes over the year, but even prior to the GP in Spa Hamilton was still uncomfortable with them.
“Tomorrow, whatever package we have on, it will or will not work. I’m just hopeful that we have the right wing level, there or there abouts, and it’s competitive to others,” he said. “I think my biggest concern will be braking, so that will be my real focus – to maximise braking stability and getting the most out of the brakes.
I need that confidence to really attack them, which I’ve had for so many years, and I still don’t feel like I have that now. There’s no reason why this weekend is going to be any different but that’s just a particular point I need to focus on more than at any other weekend.”
The problem Lewis was having was not merely brake related, but in fact was due to the different designs between McLaren and Mercedes. The car had different roll and pitch characteristics from the fundamental McLaren designs Lewis was used to and this took the British driver sometime to get to grips with.
Evidence that Hamilton was getting on top of this difficulty became evident in the latter part of the season. Lewis revealed, “I think I’m [now] getting the best out of it. If you look at my brake pressure compared to Nico’s, who’s much more comfortable with it, they’re similar, but if you look over the past seven years my brake pressure was way more than Jenson’s, way more than Heikki’s and it was always more than Fernando’s. That’s the difference that I see this year but we are just trying to make improvements on it and I am doing the best I can with it.”
This year we’ve heard little or nothing from Lewis about him having difficulties with his brakes, except of course for the obvious catastrophe that was the Canadian GP.
However, it behind the scenes it has been Rosberg in 2014 who has not been entirely comfortable with his brakes. In fact prior to the Canadian GP where brakes play such a large role – this was a matter of particular concern for Nico.re
Following Friday’s practice sessions, the German driver had this to say. “It’s going to take a lot of time to get on top of that [the brakes], because it takes a long time to make changes and produce new brakes, like four months or something. But in general today it was a positive day on that front. I’m not sure why, but I felt more comfortable with them, which was nice. We tried something different with them this morning, but that didn’t work. This afternoon was a lot better.”
Mercedes have been working on a new braking solution for Rosberg since China which is believed will be ready either just before or just after the summer break. Whether this will lead to a leap forward in the German driver’s performance, we’ll have to wait and see.
Rosberg “more rounded” than Hamilton
The often outspoken and controversial ex British F1 driver has described Nico Rosberg as a “more rounded and complete package” than his team mate Lewis Hamilton. Speaking to GPUpdate he suggests, “Everybody knows [Hamilton] has brilliant natural speed – all the things you need to be quick. [But] in terms of the two people, I think Nico is more rounded and complete.
He may not – even though he proved otherwise at the Monaco and Canadian Grands Prix – be the quickest guy in the world, but he is maximising his strengths extremely efficiently and productively.
Lewis has got to win the next four events [to close the gap to Rosberg in the standings]. But it’s not easy. Rosberg’s performances at the past two Grands Prix have been very, very impressive.”
Watson believes Hamilton lost out on the last round of mind games with his team mate and now finds himself significantly on the back foot. He recommends Lewis forgets trying to get one up one his team mate in the psychological stakes and simply focuses on what he does best – being fast on track.
“Lewis is an emotional, ‘wear your heart on your sleeve’ sort of person,” Watson went on to explain. “He didn’t help himself by references to his background and upbringing. He doesn’t need to go down those routes.
He should think and not speak and let his driving do his talking, which he is more than capable of doing.”
OTD lite quiz
25 years ago today, who and what in, did what?