How the calculation of the numbers is likely to decide the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship – CONAN Daily
Since 2010, Formula 1 experienced two periods of complete domination. The first was with Red bull and Sebastien vettel, who won the Drivers’ World Championship for four consecutive years until 2013.
Then, from 2014, Mercedes have been ahead, winning both championships each season. british driver Lewis hamilton had amazing good form and would have beaten Michael schumacherrecord of seven world titles without his teammate Nico Rosberg topping it by just five points in 2016. Hamilton, however, equalized in 2020 after winning 11 of 17 races.
2021 has turned out to be very different though. After some rule changes and off-season development, Red Bull were able to catch up with the Silver Arrows and fight for the title. Hungry for his first championship, the Dutchman Max Verstappen leads the charge and leads with 12 points ahead of Hamilton after the United States Grand Prix.
The two have traded their top spots several times over the course of the year and it looks like the championship battle will be on the wire in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on December 12, 2021.
With margins this tight, a single quit or mistake might be enough to decide who will celebrate at the end of the year. It also means that strategy and counting the numbers will be just as crucial to the outcome of the title battle as driving skills.
Numbers in sport
The use of mathematics, statistics and probability is not exclusive to Formula 1. We can find it applied to strategic decisions in just about every discipline on the planet. Games like blackjack and roulette are built around probabilities and experienced players try to apply strategies that will change the odds.
Likewise, in the NBA, strategists applying complex calculations, game theory, and improving player skills have combined to increase the frequency with which teams shoot for 3-point field goals. Since the introduction of the 3-point rule in 1980, the number of attempts at this type of shooting has increased from less than 5% to almost 40% today.
In Formula 1, strategic decisions are essential to position yourself on the right track and beat your rivals.
The pit stop exceeds
There are two places to overtake in Formula 1: on the track and in the pit lane. Most of the time, everyone would prefer drivers to beat their rivals by using racing gear to overtake them on the circuit, but the dirty air that prevents cars from closely following corners means that pit passes are equally important.
We saw that come into play during the United States Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton beat Max Verstappen from the start, taking the lead in the first corner. Verstappen failed to pass on the circuit, so his team called him for an early pit stop to change the tires.
F1 cars must use at least two types of tires during a race (except when it is raining) and, therefore, must make at least one pit stop.
Drivers who stop before their rival can try to perform what is called the “undercut”, a strategic game where they stop earlier in order to have fresh rubber. This coolness provides more grip, helping cars go faster.
If the driver can then close the gap between himself and his rival within less time than it takes to make a pit stop (20 seconds in the case of the United States Grand Prix), then he will have succeeded in the relief and overtaken his opponent. .
The correct timing of pit stops in order to undermine a rival requires careful calculation, simulation and consideration. Strategists need to figure out the different permutations, predict how the other teams will counter their moves, and decide which option is most likely to work.
Teams will usually employ an entire team of people to do this calculation which will work for weeks before the race, feeding new data into their models. They will also continue throughout the Grand Prix itself, entering real data into their simulations.
Countering strategic movements requires the same effort. In the case of the undercut, it is sometimes possible to “go long”, with the defending driver waiting several laps before stopping after a rival. The reason behind this is that at the end of the race they will have cooler tires than their opponent and may be able to overtake them on the track.
But as we have seen in the USA, it is more difficult because the dirty air comes into play.
Effect on the 2021 Championship
With Mercedes and Red Bull cars and drivers tied, strategy will play an important role in deciding who wins the championship. The two would rather beat their opponent in a wheel-to-wheel fight, but the dirty air will make that difficult.
F1 in 2021 will therefore be as much a mental as a physical competition.