Moving on up - 2009 vs 1984


Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
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The two tables below show the number of places a driver gained or lost relative to his grid position. I have compared the 1984 season which we know from our data saw the most number of overtakes, with the 2009 season which was on course for the lowest number of overtakes since our records began.

What these tables show are all the drivers who finished in the top 6 in both 1984 and 2009 and in all 16 races in 84 and in the first 16 in 09, that way we can get a good comparison.

These charts do not show how a driver gains a place (an overtake or passing cars due to mechanical failure or due to penalties). These charts are just designed to show how many places were gained or lost.

The score is calculated by taking the total number of points finishes and dividing that by 16 for the number of races and then multiplying that by the total number of places gained. The reason for that is simple, it weights the drivers who finish in the points more often against those who have a one off finish.

1984BrazilRSABelgiumSMRFranceMonacoCanadaDetroitDallasGBRGemanyAustriaNedItalyEuropePortugalTotalsNumber of top 6 points finishesScore
De Angelis-3~0866-13-10~~-1~~0171111.69
Fabi T~~~~~~~20~~~35~~~2835.25
De Ceseris~9~~~~~~~~~~~~~~910.56
Net total per race334613312121535362120391664179427

2009AustraliaMalaysiaChinaBahrainSpainMonacoTurkeyGBRGermanyHungaryEuropeBelgiumItalySingaporeJapanBrazilTotalsNumber of top 6 points finishesScore
Net total per race131013824791217618713140180

What can we see from these charts?

1) If you qualify on poll in 1984 you have a 50 percent chance of a top 3 finish
2) If you qualify on poll in 2009 you have a 81 percent chance of a top 3 finish
3) Suprisingly Japan saw the smallest movement up the order with just 1 net move in 2009
4) There were almost 2 1/2 more net moves up the order in 1984 than 2009
5) Lauda failed to score a single pole in 1984 but still won the title.
6) Button and Lauda gained more places than anyone else in the last 4 races.
7) Both Button and Lauda gained 9 places to win the title in the final race.
8) Before he was injured Massa had a good run of form.
9) Vettel lost the most places between qualification and finish with -6 and Rubens was 2nd with -5
10) Lauda gained the most places in 1984 and was WDC, Button and Vettel finished on equal terms in the number of places gained. The difference for Vettel though was that he lost more places in total. On such things championships turn.
11) In 1984 Nelson Piquet put the car on pole 9 times but only managed to stay there to the flag twice
12) Everytime both Prost in 1984 and Jenson in 2009 put the car on pole they kept it there to the finish.
13) Brazil 2009 was a return to 1984 style racing.
Nice work c_a_t.

What this does is reinforce the overtaking data and shows that these days if you start at the front you're more likely to finish at the front.
That is probably to do with the qualifying format to a certain extent which has cars qualifying in order of fastest first.
It's no surprise then that the cars lead off in order and it largely remains that way throughout the race.

Hopefully with the removal of refuelling for next year we might see a return to 1984 style results.
Thanks for this, but there are a few mistakes - if I've understood your table correctly - for instance, Button, who won in Bahrain starting from 4th position should have gained 3 rather than just 1 position. - I've not gone through the full list though. - I think you've just mixed up Button and Vettel here.
Thanks for that "the Artist...."

As a result of an error in my original table (I mixed up Vettel and Buttons stats from Bahrain) Button has now moved on to 17.25 and on equal terms with Vettel.
Does your 1984 table include Tyrell's disqualification for the season? By this I mean, are the postions moving up all to do with race day finishing, rather than a mid-season retrospective disqualification? How much of an effect does this have on your charts?
An interesting question TBY. My 1984 table is based on the final standings after Tyrells disqualifiaction are taken into account. This obviously had some effect on the placings at the time (e.g. Brundle managed a third place at pheonix (I think)). The same can be said for Hamiltons disqualification in the 2009 Australian GP. For the tables to be accurate I decided to do it after the disqualifications because they then reflect the true results as recorded for history.
As the study is about places made or lost during the race then perhaps some disqualifications should be factored out?

After all, Hamliton was only DSQed on the basis of lying to the stewards and not for having an illegal part on the car.

If DSQs are related to illegal parts which enhance performance then they should be kept as they will skew the results.
Right - O. I will have to go back and take another look at it again and check the original finishing positions before they were disqualified. That could be a bit tricky for 84 as the results have been pretty much wiped from most records.

It may take me a few days to confirm all the relevent facts.
Some of these might help cat.

Brazil - Martin Brundle finished 5th
Monaco - Stefan Bellof finished 3rd
Detroit - Martin Brundle finished 2nd
I can see the logic in that but the Tyrell question kind of muddies the water. Also, I agree that Hamilton would rightly be classified 4th if it weren't for a lie (and numerous other things involving Moseley and Dennis) at the Australian GP.

However, if someone moves up a position because a Tyrell was disqualified 6 months later then it cannot be considered a legitimate racing pass, particularly if he started behind the Tyrell.

For the 1984 Hypothetical GP:

Quali:  Prost Lauda Piquet Brundle Rosberg Mansell
Finish: Prost Lauda Piquet [s]Brundle[/s] Rosberg Mansell

Mansell and Rosberg would be considered +1 despite not moving, hence the figures are skewed.
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