#F1 Forensics: Brazil Lap Time and Gap charts + Part II of Ricciardo’s new ICE.

Brought to you by TJ13 technical analyst Tourdog


Maybe it was the lack of a safety car. Maybe it was the lack of rain. Maybe it’s because there were no retirements. Maybe it’s because the WDC, WCC, and most of the other positions have already been secured for the year.  Or maybe it’s because Mercedes comfortably walked away with it again this week, because no one could mount a real battle. Brazil 2015 will go down in the books for most people as a bore, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from the data.

Included this week are both Mercedes and RB cars, Vettel, Bottas, and Alonso.

Over the first two stints, Rosberg was able to keep Hamilton at bay, but just barely. He average 0.1 sec a lap faster time than Hamilton. Lewis gained about half a second back during the first pit, and this kept him just over a second off of Nico for the first half of the race. After the second pit stop however, Lewis made a big push to try and overtake his teammate. Lewis averaged 0.08 a lap faster than Nico on the third stint, getting as close as about 0.3 sec away. He was unable to make the pass however, and complained to his pit about the fact he simply couldn’t stay close enough to Nico to make it happen. After this Lewis backed off, and never really made an attempt to pass again.

Lewis also had Vettel to worry about, but it wasn’t a huge worry. Over the first stint of 12 laps on the soft, Lewis was 0.25 a lap faster than Seb. The second stint on the medium tyre, Vettel closed that margin to 0.17 sec a lap.

The third stint, Vettel ran the Soft, and Lewis ran the medium, yet Lewis was actually faster than Seb, by 0.2 a lap. Then, in the final stint, both drivers were on the Medium, and the Ferrari showed some real pace. Vettel averaged 0.23 sec a lap faster time than Lewis, and was dead even with Nico, trading the fastest lap time consistently, as you can see clearly in the Gap chart.

It is worth noting as well that both Mercedes cars lapped everyone except the Ferrari’s in Brazil.

Again I have included a Mclaren in the charts for comparison sake, this week it’s Fernando since he managed to finish the race, and was running a brand-spanking new, never-turned-a-lap-before, 12th ICE. If I were a pediatrician, I would be recommending a special school for the Mclaren boys, their lap times are so far off the mark they are ruining the curve for everyone.

Because Red Bull was running two different spec engines in their cars, I have done a comparison of the Danny’s this week. Unfortunately Ricciardo’s early pit stop put them on alternate strategies, so it is hard to get a direct comparison with the same fuel and number of laps on the tyres. Keep in mind as well that Kvyat’s current ICE has as much as 2280 Km on it, the most he has gotten out of an ICE all season.

Laps 12-27, both drivers were running the Medium Tyre, but Riccardo’s tyre were already 8 laps old when Kvyat bolted his set on. So, Kvyat was 0.36 seconds a lap faster than RIC.

Laps 28-29 Ricciardo pit for the second time, and we have 9 more laps before Kvyat pit for his second time. so Kvyat is on old tires, and Riccardo is on fresh mediums for laps 30-38, and not surprisingly Ricciardo was 0.7 sec a lap faster.

The situation reverses for laps 41-51, with Kvyat on New Mediums, and Riccardo on 12 lap old ones. Kvyat is 0.7 sec a lap faster here.

In the final stint, with what we can assume are near equal fuel loads, Ricciardo is on the Soft, and Kvyat is on the medium. Ricciardo is 0.7 sec a lap faster.

As I said in my article on Friday, where I questioned whether it was worth it for RB to upgrade Kvyat, the answer is no. While there may be improvements to the ICE as far as reliability, there was no need to use tokens to do that. Reliability improvements are allowed nearly without question according to the regulations.

However, since that article posted, there has been a clarification by Renault as to the number of tokens that were used in this new PU at Brazil. Apparently only Seven tokens were spent on the ICE, and a further 4 are intended to be used on the Turbo, however Renault had a “parts supply” issue. This explanation is highly suspect, as Renault announced before the US GP that their new spec unit was 100% ready, but RB failed to use it.

My speculation is that RB did not want to waste 4 tokens to upgrade the turbo because they have a different upgrade in the pipeline for next year. This would also go a long way to explaining why there is no improvement in the new ICE. If changes were made to the combustion chamber that rely on the improved flow and/or pressure of the redesigned turbo, failing to use the new turbo could actually decrease performance as opposed to improving it.

Enjoy the graphs, as usual, all the data is updated in the Chancery’s Archive to include the Brazil race.

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12 responses to “#F1 Forensics: Brazil Lap Time and Gap charts + Part II of Ricciardo’s new ICE.

  1. Keep up the good work TD…..


    Did you say everyone got ‘lapped’ except the Ferrari’s? So does that mean the great ‘overtaker’ that is Max son of Jos, got lapped by the man who complained about overtaking?..😳😳..😉😉…😂😂…(just having some fun people)

    • Renault will finally have a team that doesnt complain about them – only because they own it. No team principal in their right mind would say Renault did anything less than a complete failure. Red Bull were actually quite nice to them – they allowed renault to put that donkey in the back of one of the most competitive chassis.

      I heard Red Bull wanted to install a white flag in the rear that deployed every time they hit DRS.

  2. “however Renault had a “parts supply” issue. This explanation is highly suspect”
    I think this could be true – its just that it was Redbull who didn’t want to be supplied with the parts! 😉

    • Hard bargaining by RB? AIUI if the upgrade isn’t run then they lose the tokens this season and would have to take them out of the 2016 allocation. From what I gather, Red Bull are only interested in using the ICE itself, not the turbo so they have no benefit to be gained from running that part. Therefore, they can ‘refuse’ to go so unless Renault accept other demands?

  3. Hi guys feel free to correct me, but I feel that after the massive Renault upgrade (downgrade) to this engine, that it has swung the other way and there is some sympathy for RBR from the comments I have seen about a few of the sites?

    • @Larry – you are correct. Most F1 fans live about 1 year or more in the past, but some now are actually catching up to the present and realizing what a joke Renault is.

      Red Bull being a benchmark example of a proper F1 team have had the unfortunate reality of experiencing the pain of Renaults failure in real time. This was happening to them while quote-un-quote f1 fans just repeat like blank minded parrots that it’s all red bulls fault for saying naughty things.

      I’m not sure what reality these fans and journalist live in but I’m unaware of a universe where saying the truth about your engine supplier in the press actually makes your engine supplier unable to build and develop a competitive power unit. Perhaps someone could open my mind to this dilusional reality.

      Back in reality, Renault employed nearly 150 people for the 2014 PU! I know this sounds like a lot, but merc had 400 and Ferrari have about the same.

      What was red bull to do? They offered help, provided resources, and made sure their chassis stayed competitive. How they ended up in the naughty corner for saying the truth in the press is beyond me but should really open your eyes to how shallow most f1 fans and journalist are and how much they ignore the cold hard truth.

      The story of the last 2 years is: global emberrasement as Renault deliver the most epic failure in the past decade of f1.

      Alternative headline: how could Renault fail red bull, the team who delivered them 8 championships?

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