Pre-Season Testing Championship 2013

sushifiesta

Champion Elect
Contributor
2012 Version: http://cliptheapex.com/threads/pre-season-testing-championship-2012.4559/

You may also want to look at Greenlantern101 's sandbagging thread here: http://cliptheapex.com/threads/can-testing-tell-us-anything-about-next-season.5817/

So basically last year I made this pre-season testing championship table to give a different view of how testing is going for each of the teams and to maybe give an indication of how everyone will rank come the start of the season.

Using the points system used in races (1st = 25pts etc.) I award points to the teams for both the fastest lap they complete on each day and the number of laps they completed on each day. The idea is that the balance of the two should give a truer indication of who's made the best progress - teams running with low fuel will tend to have more points from their times and reliable teams running with more fuel will tend to have completed more laps and have more points on that side.

Note that I'm awarding points to teams not drivers, so it is only the fastest time set by a team in each day and the total number of laps (completed by any driver) that counts. I also exclude any teams that use old cars at a test, e.g. Williams at Jerez.

Here are the results from this week:

JEREZ

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So Force India take the victory this week, which I think shows how this system gives quite an interesting and different view to common opinion. We all tend to be influenced by the headline times and everyone is talking about Force India not having confirmed their second driver yet but despite trying a couple of different options this week they have been the most consistent team, winning 3 out of 4 days. Red Bull, ominously, are in second despite having what has seemed like a quiet week. Caterham and Marussia still seem to be a decent chunk behind the rest in my opinion.

I've also shown the difference to the Jerez test last year. The biggest gains (excluding teams that have missed tests) are made by Force India and Sauber, perhaps suggesting an even stronger midfield this year. Lotus make the biggest losses despite seemingly having a good week, but they absolutely dominated the first test last.

I'll post these for the Barcelona tests as well, along with giving a round up at the end and making some predictions. I was relatively pleased with how my predictions for last year turned out so we'll see if it makes some sense this year too.
 

sushifiesta

Champion Elect
Contributor
FIRST BARCELONA TEST

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So, despite the gloomy comments from Hamilton yesterday, Mercedes take the spoils from the second test with usual suspects Ferrari and McLaren occupying the remaining steps on the podium. Williams managed to complete a lot of laps with their new car which sees them 4th ahead of Red Bull. Down towards the bottom Lotus are hit by their reliability issues and are 8th overall despite being 4th in terms of fastest times. Just 9pts separate the remaining midfield teams (Toro Rosso, Force India and Sauber). Caterham pick up more points than Marussia thanks to completing more laps and setting the 6th fastest time on the wet last day, but Marussia in fact set a faster lap than them in the other three days.

In terms of differences from last year Lotus make the biggest gains because although they had serious reliability issues they were nowhere near as damaging as the problem that meant they had to abandon the second test last year. Mercedes and Ferrari are the other teams that make substantial gains, which makes sense considering last year Mercedes missed the first test and Ferrari were pretty lost with their car. Sauber make the biggest losses having had quite a low key test.

Championship Standings
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Mercedes take the championship lead thanks to gaining 50pts over Force India in the second test. Red Bull still lead the "big 3" ahead of Ferrari and McLaren. McLaren are ahead of the other two in terms of time so far but a long way behind in terms of laps and similarly Ferrari and Red Bull are similarly matched in terms of times but Red Bull have picked up more laps points. Lotus have the most time points overall but their reliability issues sees them down in 7th in the table. Williams are already ahead of Caterham and Marussia despite having completed half the number of test days with their new car.
 

sushifiesta

Champion Elect
Contributor
SECOND BARCELONA TEST

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Mercedes absolutely dominated this test, not only in headline times but also in terms of lap count and their total of 162pts sees them smash the previous record of 138pts set by Lotus at Jerez last year. Interestingly, behind them it is McLaren that sneak in to 2nd despite many doom and gloom type stories appearing during the week. In reality they were always there or thereabouts and had no major reliability issues, although concerns about tyre degradation will be worrying. Ferrari will be happy with how their test went, I think, and slot in to 3rd only a point behind McLaren.

To round up the other teams in the "big 5", Red Bull end up 5th at this test but they are in fact ranked 2nd in terms of time but only 10th in laps. Lotus' reliability issues continued, picking up the least laps points of any team and they rarely set table topping times to compensate which leaves them down in 8th.

Sauber had a very consistent week, all their time and laps ranks in each day are between 4th and 6th, which is enough to see them lead the midfield. Caterham drove very slow around the track very often (11th time rank, 5th laps rank), which was even enough to put them ahead of Toro Rosso on points at this test. They should enjoy that small victory whilst it lasts because Marussia outscored them on times.
 

sushifiesta

Champion Elect
Contributor
OVERALL CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

Overall Standings and Points Breakdown:
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Individual Laps and Time Points:
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So as you'd might expect Mercedes become pre-season testing champions 2013 :1st: ! The rest of the top four consists of the usual suspects Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull and are followed by the midfield teams of Force India, Sauber and Williams (with points scaled by 12/8 to account for the test they missed). There's a slightly bigger gap between Toro Rosso and Lotus, who are dragged way down by their reliability issues, and the rest of the midfield. Caterham have a healthy lead over Marussia thanks to their ability to mix it with the big boys in terms of laps completed, but there is very little to choose between them in times.

I think this is all useful in terms of giving a vague indication of how testing has gone for each team but this season it is even more difficult to use it to make any sensible predictions. Maybe some information can be gained by looking at the comparison with last year. Mercedes and Lotus both see points swings of over a hundred (a gain for Mercedes and a loss for Lotus), but then Mercedes were out of sync with everyone last year as they missed a test (note that I'm comparing scaled points here, accounting for missed tests) and Lotus' reliability has been BAD this year. In fact, even if you don't scale Lotus' points from last year to adjust for them missing the second test they still end up with 50pts less this year. Marussia obviously make big gains since they didn't test with their new car last year. Out of the rest I think most are broadly similar, although it would appear that Sauber and Toro Rosso might have lost some ground. That's a bit worrying for Toro Rosso if it is the case.

If you force me in to some vague and meaningless predictions I'd say that:
  • Mercedes will have a year like Lotus had last year.
  • Lotus will have a year like Mercedes had last year.
  • Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari will be very closely matched.
  • Force India, Sauber and Williams will be very closely matched.
  • Caterham and Marussia will be very closely matched.
  • Toro Rosso will be very lonely.
 

sushifiesta

Champion Elect
Contributor
Well, let's see how it worked...

  • Mercedes will have a year like Lotus had last year. Probably!
  • Lotus will have a year like Mercedes had last year. Probably not!
  • Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari will be very closely matched. Not McLaren!
  • Force India, Sauber and Williams will be very closely matched. Nope!
  • Caterham and Marussia will be very closely matched. Maybe, Marussia ahead though.
  • Toro Rosso will be very lonely. Nope!

So, that went well...
 

sushifiesta

Champion Elect
Contributor
Well this is just a bit of fun, not really a proper analysis of testing. By looking at lap times, tyres, track condition and fuel loads in detail you definitely could learn something but that is a mammoth task...
 

sushifiesta

Champion Elect
Contributor
Sorting the teams by the difference to their 2012 testing score maybe gives a better indication of who is more/less competitive than last year:

1) Mercedes, +124
2) Marussia, +63
3) Ferrari, +12
4) Force India, +4.5
5) Red Bull, -1.5
6) McLaren, -11.5
7) Williams, -19
8) Caterham, -30
9) Sauber, -34
10) Toro Rosso, -49.5
11) Lotus, -138

Or maybe not, but at least I think it's easier to find explanations for why the results of this don't match how the teams have actually lined up. Lotus, for example, had terrible reliability in testing but they seem to have managed to fix their issues and have been rock solid so far. McLaren and Williams have maybe lost more compared to last year than this table suggests, but they both appeared very strong in testing at certain stages and then seemed to lose their way. Toro Rosso is the main exception that I can't find an explanation for, they're stronger this year but I can't think of any particular issues they had in testing to explain why they would get less points. Maybe they decided to completely forget about headline times and just focus on understanding the car with sensible amounts of fuel on board.
 
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