Car Reliability - Not what you would expect?!

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
This topic is based on a recent James Allen article, that may be found here. Data given is accurate as of data given above table, thread written after Hungarian GP.

PositionTeam% Laps Completed
1Ferrari99.4%
2Red Bull93.5%
3Mercedes93.1%
4McLaren90.0%
5Renault87.2%
6Force India86.3%
7Williams84.1%
8Toro Ross81.1%
9Lotus72.7%
10Hispania69.8%
11Virgin67.0%
12Sauber60.2%
Data as of end of Belgium GP - 2010 (1562 Laps)

Of the top 4 teams in the sport, when you think of reliability of the cars, most people would initially place McLaren towards the top of the pack. Indeed, since Adrian departed from the the Woking based team in 2006, many casual observers would believe that they have had an almost flawless performance in the reliability stakes. Certainly this year, many people would believe RedBull to be at the bottom of the pile, certainly from their performances at the start of the season.

Saying this however, the figures displayed on James' blog certainly dispute this opinion. The table to the left shows the total finishing rates for all of the teams, in terms of percentage laps completed. From this table it is apparent that Ferrari have had the most reliable car by far. Completing a total of 1471 laps, out of a total of 1474! The only retirement from that team being Fernando Alonso after his gear box failure, Massa on the other had has so far completed every lap of every race of the season.

The above figures include all the DNFs for the teams irrespective of driver or mechanical error. One would wonder how McLaren have managed to complete less laps that RedBull, on the surface this is not obvious, but as soon as one looks a little deeper it may be easily understood. Vettel's problems towards the start of the season resulted in only 1 DNF, due to the wheel failure in the first race. All other reliability problems he in particular encountered in later races, although costing him points, at least allowed him to finish the race.

The real problems come with the the McLaren team, with reliability problems really effecting their race results. Hamilton's wheel rim failure in Barcelona cost him a certain 2nd place and 18 points, with his drive train/gear box failure in the last race before the summer break costing him at least a 4th place finish, and possibly a third place finish. Mechanical failures have cost him probably a very valuable 32 points. We also have to add Jenson's DNF in Monaco, where a bung left in the air intake resulted in catastrophic engine failure.

Looking at these faults in detail, we see that the only real 'mechanical' failure was Hamilton's gear box in Hockenheim. All other faults can be at least partially attributed to the faults of the engineers. Certainly the moment a bung was left in the car, and possibly Hamilton's Barcelona retirement, with the wheel failure believed to be due to an incorrectly torqued wheel nut.

So then, are the reliability problems that McLaren have encountered not really down to an intrinsic fault within the car, rather more the poor professionalism of the team itself? One thing that is for certain, is that without these failures, Jenson would be sitting a comfortable second in the WDC, with Lewis being over 1 entire race win ahead of his nearest competitor, his team mate Button.

If a McLaren car does not manage to take the WDC this season, it is very likely going to be down to the engineers themselves, rather than a car that is not fast enough, or drivers that are not able to deliver. A poor situation for a team that tends to pride itself on its ability to deliver, and consistent professionalism down through the ranks. As many think, reliability may not actual cost RBR the title, but if things continue to progress as they have, it may certainly cost McLaren.

As an aside a brief mention should also be made for the Sauber team, lying in last place in the reliability stakes. A poor performance from them see's them with a less reliable car than any of the new teams, and by a significant margin at that.
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
Very interesting article, it definitely seems that Red Bulls (in)famy for reliability problems is mis-conceived, and McLaren seem to have more problems, particularly on Hamiltons car, (gearbox 'crash' in Hockenheim, and then Hungary), but you're right, McLarens problems result in DNFS, most of Red Bulls just result in 4th or 5th. Interesting to note how well Ferrari have done in reliability with 1 DNF, (and then Alonso was around 8th), when it comes to late-championship, that could very well tilt the championship in his favor/
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
I would suggest that Laps Raced will punish McLaren for retirements at Monaco and Hungary. If you change the data set to Kilometers Raced, you get a different result:



Though this helps McLaren because Monaco is 40km shorter than all the other races, measured in terms of actual distance raced it seems McLaren are in 2nd place with Red Bull in 4th.

So I would say it is difficult to decide what stat to use.
 

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MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
It also shows that Mercedes cars are reliable and complete pretty much all the mileage at the races, but it further highlights their lack of pace compared to Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren.
 

Grizzly

Bear
Contributor
That's pretty eye opening. Clearly, the impression i had of the RB team lagging behind in reliability stakes was unfounded.

Strange how you have an idea of various team performance aspects in your minds eye, that when put in black and white are quite far from reality.

I'd like to see a table comparing all retirements... Driver Error / Car Fault / Crew Fault.

Sadly i fear, Mclaren would be way down in the Crew Fault stakes.

Apart from the new teams and maybe Torro Rosso and Sauber who have had mechanical failures, it could be interesting to see just how Crew faults compare to Driver / Car faults this year.

The cars themselves have come on leaps and bounds the last 4-5 years, but this is partly due to them, certainly engine wise, NOT being at the pinnacle of performance
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
McLaren Supremo said:

Really, the pinnacle of performance was ironically in 2004, with aero, V10s and 19,000 RPM

I think that could be a whole new debate MacSup...
 

tooncheese

Hans Heyer
Contributor
Almost all the fastest laps on old tracks are from 04 or 05.
Montreal 04 pole position:1:13.622 Barrichello
Montreal 10 pole position:1:15.105 Hamilton
I blame Bernie/Max for this f1 is ment to be the best in the world, and they wouldnt let us :(
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Very interesting stuff MD :thumbsup:

The perception is often different from the reality in F1 and your post perfectly demonstrates that.
 

MajorDanby

Motorsports' answer to Eric the Eel
Contributor
Those alternative stats make interesting reading TBY, do they definitely include the most recent race? There just seems a little disparity between those and the lap raced. Even if you take away the extra 40k, they would still be ahead of Mercedes.

As for anyone having completed full race distance in a season. I have to say, I don't have a clue :D
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
MajorDanby said:
Those alternative stats make interesting reading TBY, do they definitely include the most recent race? There just seems a little disparity between those and the lap raced. Even if you take away the extra 40k, they would still be ahead of Mercedes.

All the other stats in the same 'series' are up-to-date.

http://www.statsf1.com/en/2010/stats.aspx?t=M

McSup, I doubt Monteiro was unlapped in 2005; so Schumi's ridiculous 17/17 podiums in 2002 would seem to be the best chance.
 

F1Yorkshire

Avatar for sale to the highest bidder
Contributor
teabagyokel said:
MajorDanby said:
Those alternative stats make interesting reading TBY, do they definitely include the most recent race? There just seems a little disparity between those and the lap raced. Even if you take away the extra 40k, they would still be ahead of Mercedes.

All the other stats in the same 'series' are up-to-date.

http://www.statsf1.com/en/2010/stats.aspx?t=M

McSup, I doubt Monteiro was unlapped in 2005; so Schumi's ridiculous 17/17 podiums in 2002 would seem to be the best chance.

http://www.formula1.com/results/season/2002/

He finished either 1st or 2nd in every race apart from Malaysia when his brother won but he still finished 3rd.

F1 was boring that season. Ferrari won every race apart from Malaysia and Monaco.
 

MCLS

Anti F1 fan
Valued Member
Shame really, it started well that year with the grand prixs upto Imola and the introduction of the 2002 Ferrari Car
 

Flood1

Rookie
teabagyokel said:
I would suggest that Laps Raced will punish McLaren for retirements at Monaco and Hungary. If you change the data set to Kilometers Raced, you get a different result:



Though this helps McLaren because Monaco is 40km shorter than all the other races, measured in terms of actual distance raced it seems McLaren are in 2nd place with Red Bull in 4th.

So I would say it is difficult to decide what stat to use.

If a car fails just one inch past the start line, is it considered to be a lap, a kilometer, or an inch?

I'm just kidding of course. Kilometers would be a better reference if everyone actually finished the lap, but they don't. Races are measured in laps, and those who are on the same lap have deltas measured by time. Others are measured by "laps behind."

Generally speaking, I think there is no good formula for measuring reliability. But Ferrari have been very good. Their wheels don't fall off, they don't run into each other, they have had no brake failures, they don't have spark plug failures, etc. They had one gearbox failure late in a race, but other than that have been pretty much flawless in terms of relaibility.

If RBR had Ferrari's lap count, they would be walkin' away with the title.

Good job Guys! This is an interesting thread.
 
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