#F1 Forensics: Who is best utilizing Free Practice?

Brought to you by TheJudge13 Technical Analyst Tourdog

Some drivers need to practice more than others. You would also think certain teams *cough* Mclaren *cough*, would be utilizing FP1-3 to do as much testing as possible. Well, lets see how the numbers stack up.

The rookies over at Toro Rosso seem to have been using their time wisely.

Chili has covered nearly 4400 Km in practice, making him the all time leader. Verstappen is #2 amongst all drivers, with just under 4000 Km.

This of course makes TR the team with the most practice mileage, just about 8400 Km.

Interestingly, Rosberg is #3. He too has covered just about 4000 Km in practice, about 500 Km more than Lewis. Nico is either putting a lot of work into improving, or Mercedes are using him to test parts more than Lewis. The reasons as to why there is such a disparity between their practice distance is a topic we can easily debate.

The bottom end of the scale has Grosjean, Alonso and Ricciardo, covering 2600, 2500, and 2800 Km respectively. Romain doesn’t really count though, as Joylon Palmer has run FP1 in over half the weekends so far, severely limiting Grosjeans running.

So if we throw out Ro Gro, that puts Button into the bottom 3, with just 2900 Km

That means Mclaren has covered just 5400 Km in FP1-3, compared to Toro Rosso’s 8400 Km.

Most surprising of the bottom three is Ricciardo. He has only covered 2800 Km, mostly because of failures with the Renault PU. It is quite a contrast to Toro Rosso, and further  supports the theory that Red Bull has packaging problems with their engine/chassis, because the PU seems to be less prone to failure in TR’s car.


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26 responses to “#F1 Forensics: Who is best utilizing Free Practice?

  1. It seems the McLaren boys are suffering from both the high number of engine failures and said engine’s fragility (when they are working) leaving the team reluctant to risk pushing them too hard in the practice sessions.
    This contrasts sharply with ‘the Schumacher years’ when it was the teams at the front who had the lion’s share of the engine failures, due to the season-long development wars.
    How I yearn for the days of unlimited testing, qualifying engines, and spare cars…
    What fun it was to watch the drivers push their steeds beyond the limit in pursuit of the fastest route to the finish line, in a constantly evolving formula with, effectively, a completely new car every 2 weeks!

  2. Is it only Lotus who are regularly using a third driver in FP1? Any chance these drivers could be added in to give a clearer view of team running?

  3. I disagree with the comment about Red Bull vs. Toro Rosso engine packaging. Toro Rosso have used more power units than Red Bull, but this is likely a direct consequence of covering a greater distance during practice. I suspect Red Bull are limiting practice time to avoid penalties from changing engines.
    Adding to this, Red Bull have more experienced drivers, so are less likely to have a negative impact from limiting practice time to maximise engine life, whereas Toro Rosso’s drivers are new so there is more to gain from them learning the circuit.

    • And Renault can of course get engine data from Torro Rosso practice sessions, which benefits Red Bull. So they may be sacrificing Torro Rosso penalties to help the main team.

      • That is a great point.
        It also shines further light on how Red Bull are able to utilize TR for their own purposes,
        even beyond the relationship the customer teams have with the other engine manufacturers.

        What is surprising to me, is that it is a situation no other Major team has replicated.

  4. Perhaps Mercedes are testing new parts with Rosberg, or Rosberg needs more laps to understand what the car is telling him. We can draw any conclusion with statistics.

  5. So what’s the deal, Judge, we seem to have a lack on the site lately. Used to be good and the second place I went; no longer. And I don’t feel like commenting much lately. Or watching F1 for that matter.

    • for sure!!! the “dear John” letter just prior to the break spoke volumes at the time and has proven to be prophetic ever since!
      no dis respect for Tourdog because I am all about number-crunching info, but seriously and overall, this site has gone to hell in a handbasket almost over night, TJ13.

        • I can’t find it either, but was posted roughly at the start of the layoff. I think it was really close to one of Jennie’s outstanding pieces… it basically stated that many of the staff were going on vacation and there would be little new content until Spa.
          IMHO, it read more like a dear John letter than a normal “hey – we deserve a break and are taking it now” bit of PR kit.
          it was easy for me to form that OPINION because of recently prior weekend race coverage and timing had taken a serious nosedive and previous years’ breaks did not result in a loss of content on “our” site.
          trust me, I understand all of the writers have real jobs and toiled really hard day by day to provide us with amazing in-depth and thought-provoking coverage. I am forever thankful for that to each and every one!!
          I am still hopeful this is a temporary organizational blip and not a real meltdown…

        • see my reply to verstappen above. keep in mind, this is merely how I perceived the post and what has seemed to transpire since. I hope I am wrong and prefer my crow on the Barbie 🙂

    • I mentioned it to in another comments section, I said express mortgages will want there money back. Mr hippo explained he’d been ill, so hope everyone is ok, cause the site is a shadow of its former self at the moment.

    • I now understand that I shouldn’t have looked for a article called Dear John. I googled the term and I understand what you mean – but I found the article but it really is about a break and not about quitting.

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