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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:46 am 
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I've been thinking about this for a little while in how whenever F1 drivers are talked about by the press or on this forum their 'pace' is presented as a constant. People will say "So and so has two tenths on whats his name" which people will still use as a benchmark 5-10 years in their careers to describe where a driver sits.

We will talk about a rookie improving for a year or two but then his speed and his position in the pack, at least in how we discuss it is kind of 'set' until he nears retirement and we discuss how he has dropped off.

As we know with all things in life people continue to improve as they work harder and hone a skill. So I wanted to ask the forum if they had any accounts where they believe a driver (without being a rookie) has seemed to improve his skill relative to the same drivers around him, and effectively 'got faster'.

As always with F1, it's close to impossible to accurately compare drivers scientifically, but I'd be interested in hearing either scientific or anecdotal accounts.

Thanks guys,


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:24 am 
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I think a lot of drivers do improve their pace as they develop. I can thing of numerous examples but the one that comes to mine is the difference between Verstappen/Ricciardo last and this year.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:31 pm 
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Nico Rosberg would be the obvious example for me.

Beaten by Mark Webber as teammates at Williams, but years later takes it to Lewis Hamilton and wins the 2016 title.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:01 pm 
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Niki Lauda

Started as a pay driver, bought an F2 drive then an F1 drive with March (1972), then bought a drive with BRM (1973) without ever showing any real potential.

He won his first WDC in 1975 for Ferrari and dominated 1976 until his accident, eventually losing the WDC in the last race and then won his second WDC in 1977 winning his third WDC in 1985 beating Alain Prost by 0.5pt.

No one ever thought he was more than a rich kid playing with expensive toys, who knew he'd win 3 world championships...


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:05 pm 
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All drivers improve their pace from their first year to their second year. This is mostly down to taking the time to adapt to the unusual characteristics of F1 (namely the unbelievably powerful brakes and the tremendous amount of grip generated by downforce). Some may even see improvement in their third season if, for example, they started at an extremely young age (Max comes to mind) or if they spent their first year or two with a totally underfunded team and were just generally dealing with issues the whole time. Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.

The story of Rosberg being behind Webber and then competing with Hamilton is based solely on his being teamed with Webber as a 20/21 year old rookie while Webber was in his prime. Even then, if you actually watched that season, you'd know that Webber only had the upper hand during the first third of the season. From the 8th race onwards, they were basically even.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:27 pm 
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sandman1347 wrote:
All drivers improve their pace from their first year to their second year. This is mostly down to taking the time to adapt to the unusual characteristics of F1 (namely the unbelievably powerful brakes and the tremendous amount of grip generated by downforce). Some may even see improvement in their third season if, for example, they started at an extremely young age (Max comes to mind) or if they spent their first year or two with a totally underfunded team and were just generally dealing with issues the whole time. Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.

The story of Rosberg being behind Webber and then competing with Hamilton is based solely on his being teamed with Webber as a 20/21 year old rookie while Webber was in his prime. Even then, if you actually watched that season, you'd know that Webber only had the upper hand during the first third of the season. From the 8th race onwards, they were basically even.


I'd agree. By year 4 what's there is there in terms of raw pace.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:43 pm 
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sandman1347 wrote:
Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.


Perhaps Nigel Mansell? He was 1981-1984 solidly behind De Angelis in raw pace with occasional but rare flashes, then, at the end of 1985 he started beating some champs and ultimately becoming one.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:40 am 
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sandman1347 wrote:
All drivers improve their pace from their first year to their second year. This is mostly down to taking the time to adapt to the unusual characteristics of F1 (namely the unbelievably powerful brakes and the tremendous amount of grip generated by downforce). Some may even see improvement in their third season if, for example, they started at an extremely young age (Max comes to mind) or if they spent their first year or two with a totally underfunded team and were just generally dealing with issues the whole time. Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.

The story of Rosberg being behind Webber and then competing with Hamilton is based solely on his being teamed with Webber as a 20/21 year old rookie while Webber was in his prime. Even then, if you actually watched that season, you'd know that Webber only had the upper hand during the first third of the season. From the 8th race onwards, they were basically even.


Yes, this is what my analysis shows too with drivers joining teams too. Usually a jump in the second year, this being drivers joining a team with an incumbent driver. Kimi Raikkonen ruins this a little bit with his lack of progression from 2007 to 2008 and also being better in 2016 than 2015 when Vettel joined him.

This effect isn't as strong in years with major rule changes, so it would have been a good year to change teams in 2009, 2014 and 2017 for example.

Some examples;

Hamilton improvement 2013-2014 against Rosberg
Alonso improvement 2010-2011 against Massa
Button improvement 2010-2011 against Hamilton
Verstappen improvement 2016-2017 against Ricciardo

For this reason, I expect Sainz to improve over his performances against Hulk at the end of this year.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:41 am 
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Lt. Drebin wrote:
sandman1347 wrote:
Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.

Perhaps Nigel Mansell? He was 1981-1984 solidly behind De Angelis in raw pace with occasional but rare flashes, then, at the end of 1985 he started beating some champs and ultimately becoming one.

De Angelis was quicker than people give him credit for; I believe he could have won the same title Mansell did, and pretty easily at that.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:39 am 
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sandman1347 wrote:
All drivers improve their pace from their first year to their second year. This is mostly down to taking the time to adapt to the unusual characteristics of F1 (namely the unbelievably powerful brakes and the tremendous amount of grip generated by downforce). Some may even see improvement in their third season if, for example, they started at an extremely young age (Max comes to mind) or if they spent their first year or two with a totally underfunded team and were just generally dealing with issues the whole time. Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.


Would you say the reason for this is that by the time a driver makes it to the F1 grid they've been racing for so long and working so hard they're all subject to severely diminished returns in terms of the rate of their improvement from training/experience?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:32 am 
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veffy wrote:
sandman1347 wrote:
All drivers improve their pace from their first year to their second year. This is mostly down to taking the time to adapt to the unusual characteristics of F1 (namely the unbelievably powerful brakes and the tremendous amount of grip generated by downforce). Some may even see improvement in their third season if, for example, they started at an extremely young age (Max comes to mind) or if they spent their first year or two with a totally underfunded team and were just generally dealing with issues the whole time. Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.


Would you say the reason for this is that by the time a driver makes it to the F1 grid they've been racing for so long and working so hard they're all subject to severely diminished returns in terms of the rate of their improvement from training/experience?


Most likely - yes. Also I'm not sure how you 'train' an F1 driver beyond their normal peak, and if you can you've probably trained them to 99.5% of that by the time they get to the end of their 2nd season.

I think a lot of the big driver improvements (or drops) are on the mind. An F1 driver who is overthinking is going to do things wrong, an F1 driver not in the right mindset, an F1 driver not feeling comfortable in a team...


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:02 am 
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Exediron wrote:
Lt. Drebin wrote:
sandman1347 wrote:
Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.

Perhaps Nigel Mansell? He was 1981-1984 solidly behind De Angelis in raw pace with occasional but rare flashes, then, at the end of 1985 he started beating some champs and ultimately becoming one.

De Angelis was quicker than people give him credit for; I believe he could have won the same title Mansell did, and pretty easily at that.
I would agree. I recall an interview with Auto Hebdo after his first year with Senna alongside him instead of Mansell. From memory, Elio complained that the Lotus team had shifted all their attention to Senna, and that he could not compete on a level playing field.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:44 pm 
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Fiki wrote:
Exediron wrote:
Lt. Drebin wrote:
sandman1347 wrote:
Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.

Perhaps Nigel Mansell? He was 1981-1984 solidly behind De Angelis in raw pace with occasional but rare flashes, then, at the end of 1985 he started beating some champs and ultimately becoming one.

De Angelis was quicker than people give him credit for; I believe he could have won the same title Mansell did, and pretty easily at that.
I would agree. I recall an interview with Auto Hebdo after his first year with Senna alongside him instead of Mansell. From memory, Elio complained that the Lotus team had shifted all their attention to Senna, and that he could not compete on a level playing field.
Ironically, Mansell used to complain about the same treatment in his latter days at Lotus.
(not saying that De Angelis wasn't a very talented driver, nor that Mansell didn't have a me-versus-world complexion, but he did make reference to occasions where he supposedly had inferior equipment)

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:25 pm 
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tootsie323 wrote:
Fiki wrote:
Exediron wrote:
Lt. Drebin wrote:
sandman1347 wrote:
Beyond year three there are no examples of a driver becoming faster. Litterally zero.

Perhaps Nigel Mansell? He was 1981-1984 solidly behind De Angelis in raw pace with occasional but rare flashes, then, at the end of 1985 he started beating some champs and ultimately becoming one.

De Angelis was quicker than people give him credit for; I believe he could have won the same title Mansell did, and pretty easily at that.
I would agree. I recall an interview with Auto Hebdo after his first year with Senna alongside him instead of Mansell. From memory, Elio complained that the Lotus team had shifted all their attention to Senna, and that he could not compete on a level playing field.
Ironically, Mansell used to complain about the same treatment in his latter days at Lotus.
(not saying that De Angelis wasn't a very talented driver, nor that Mansell didn't have a me-versus-world complexion, but he did make reference to occasions where he supposedly had inferior equipment)
It makes one wonder how much the fact that a team could/can only focus on one driver, influenced careers. And more to the point of the thread, a driver's development if the team in question was his first or early enough in his F1 career.

A little side-step back to de Angelis; he took great pride in finishing third behind Lauda/Prost in 1984.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:42 pm 
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The only driver I have watched over the last 25 years that I think significantly improved was Button. He showed glimpses of his true talent between 2000-2002 but also was inconsistent and caught up in the playboy life style a bit as well as being a Benetton/Renault 2nd driver in 2001-2002 which usually meant not getting the same equipment as the main driver under Briatore.

2003 on wards he was a different driver.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:02 pm 
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How about Mika Hakkinen? My perception at the time (admittedly I was not yet a teenager back then) was that Coulthard was the better of the McLaren drivers prior to 1998 but once they produced a front-running car Mika seemed to move to another level and DC was left behind. I was new to F1 at the time and was surprised to see this 'midfield driver' suddenly become the man to beat while Schumacher languished behind.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:18 pm 
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Another vote for Nigel Mansell and Jensen Button. Each clearly improved after their third year in F1 and for different reasons.

Mansell spent the first part of his career firmly in the shadow of his teammate at Lotus as noted above. It was no secret then that the team favored de Angelis. Mansell was there just because Chapman liked Mansell personally, and the sponsor wanted a British driver. 1983 must have been a real downer after Chapman's death. The team was being run by Peter Warr, who openly did not want Mansell, and kept him only out of (Chapman's) contractual obligation. 1984 was even worse with Lotus searching for any other British driver to replace Mansell, and only keeping him when there were no other options. I think all of that had a damaging impact on Mansell's self-confidence and, consequently, his pace. Williams must have been a breath of fresh air, and you could see Mansell's confidence grow. Once he realized he was in Rosberg's class, he really came alive. Mansell at the end of 1985 was an entirely different man than he had been at the start of that year. Mansell must have relished the irony of 1986 when Williams rallied behind him despite the fact that Piquet had a "Number One Driver" clause in his contract. Williams' refusal to tell Mansell to hold station behind Piquet in the British Grand Prix that year was huge (and ended up costing Piquet the 1986 title and Williams the Honda engine after 1987). Mansell never looked back after that.

Button, on the other hand, always had the raw talent, and he never lacked for self-confidence. What he lacked at first was the discipline and focus to maximize what he did have. He may not have been the hottest of hot shoes, but he was never far from them. It just took him a while to put it all together. The Button of 2009 was an amazing contrast to his early years. I really thought Barrichello was going to finally get his Schumacher denied WDC that year, but Button stepped his game up enormously and put the full package together. He also kept it together when the lack of Brawn development allowed Red Bull and others to close the early season lead Brawn had.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:28 pm 
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j man wrote:
How about Mika Hakkinen? My perception at the time (admittedly I was not yet a teenager back then) was that Coulthard was the better of the McLaren drivers prior to 1998 but once they produced a front-running car Mika seemed to move to another level and DC was left behind. I was new to F1 at the time and was surprised to see this 'midfield driver' suddenly become the man to beat while Schumacher languished behind.

Well spotted. As well as for Button.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:13 pm 
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Button improved but did he get quicker? He was already quicker than Trulli in 02.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:29 pm 
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On track days I'm lapping at 106-110% of the lap time a pro driver has set in the same machinery, and that's in a car that I'm always conscious of crashing (A pro driver putting it in the barrier doesn't cost them £30k.), and on a tracks I know but don't know in fine detail. I reckon I could quite easily get to 103-105% of a pro drivers time, with a bit more basic tuition, practice and being a millionaire. However, like a golf handicap, it gets harder and harder to shave time. Getting to 101% would require talent, money and dedication, unfortunately I have none in abundance. That's in a road going car, single seaters are a level above still.

By the time somebody gets to F1 you are talking about the 0.1%'s of improvement available to a driver. I reckon all the drivers are within 0.5% of each other in ultimate pace. I reckon the characteristics of the formula also play a role, some drivers will cope with certain characteristics better than others. For example Vettel mastered the rear downforce of the EBD, where as Webber couldn't. The swing might only have been 0.1% improvement and 0.1% detriment, but that's 2/10ths on a 100s lap.


Last edited by Badgeronimous on Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:45 pm 
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Badgeronimous wrote:
I know on track I'm lapping at 106-110% of the lap time a pro driver has set in the same machinery, and that's in a car that I'm always conscious of crashing (A pro driver putting it in the barrier doesn't cost them £30k.), and on a tracks I know but don't know in fine detail. I reckon I could quite easily get to 103-105% of a pro drivers time, with a bit more basic tuition and practice. However, like a golf handicap, it gets harder and harder to shave time. Getting to 101% would require talent, money and dedication, unfortunately I have none in abundance. That's in a road going car, single seaters are a level above still.

By the time somebody gets to F1 you are talking about the 0.1%'s of improvement available to a driver. I reckon all the drivers are within 0.5% of each other in ultimate pace.


Within 0.5% is being within 0.5 seconds over a 1m 40 second lap. We regularly see gaps larger than that between team mates. From the best to the worst I think it is 1.5% and between the top 15 drivers is probably 1.0%.

Hulk (who isn't the fastest) to Palmer was well over 0.5% this year.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:50 pm 
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j man wrote:
How about Mika Hakkinen? My perception at the time (admittedly I was not yet a teenager back then) was that Coulthard was the better of the McLaren drivers prior to 1998 but once they produced a front-running car Mika seemed to move to another level and DC was left behind. I was new to F1 at the time and was surprised to see this 'midfield driver' suddenly become the man to beat while Schumacher languished behind.

Hakkinen was matching Senna in qualifying at points in 1993 - http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/moto ... 12756.html

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:52 pm 
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lamo wrote:
Badgeronimous wrote:
I know on track I'm lapping at 106-110% of the lap time a pro driver has set in the same machinery, and that's in a car that I'm always conscious of crashing (A pro driver putting it in the barrier doesn't cost them £30k.), and on a tracks I know but don't know in fine detail. I reckon I could quite easily get to 103-105% of a pro drivers time, with a bit more basic tuition and practice. However, like a golf handicap, it gets harder and harder to shave time. Getting to 101% would require talent, money and dedication, unfortunately I have none in abundance. That's in a road going car, single seaters are a level above still.

By the time somebody gets to F1 you are talking about the 0.1%'s of improvement available to a driver. I reckon all the drivers are within 0.5% of each other in ultimate pace.


Within 0.5% is being within 0.5 seconds over a 1m 40 second lap. We regularly see gaps larger than that between team mates. From the best to the worst I think it is 1.5% and between the top 15 drivers is probably 1.0%.

Hulk (who isn't the fastest) to Palmer was well over 0.5% this year.


I think about 1.2 seconds front to back sounds about right to me. That's roughly 1% on the average track. That sounds about right to me.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:56 pm 
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Image
http://images.slideplayer.com/42/11397648/slides/slide_14.jpg

The question is: at what age does any of these parameters actually affect an individual's performance as a driver? And due to our present knowledge on exercise and diet, we can maintain an exceptionally healthy body for many years. We age, our bodies decline in the ability to perform or recover. But balanced against that is the ability to learn, to improve as knowledge accumulates.

"Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance."

But in Formula One, the equipment has major impact on the performance of the vehicle. Any change in temperature, humidity, tire wear, the list is almost infinite in what effects lap times. Additionally, a driver's personal style may be complimented by the car, or do the reverse. Nigel Mansell is mentioned in this thread, and he is a good example. His talent is never in question, but his behavior and decision-making abilities improved. That is what happened to Massa, in his first year in Formula One he made a lot of mistakes and crashed too much. The next year was spent just being a test driver for Ferrari. And after that, he was back driving for Sauber.

Back to Mansell. Once he got into a car that perfectly suited his heavy right foot and aggressive style in the form of the Williams FW14, it was the perfect marriage. So how do we judge him, how do we compare his abilities against other drivers? What are the reference points, what is the baseline to start with an assessment? How would he do in today's cars and tires? How would he stack up against Jimmy Clark who's driving style was very different?

Now it gets even crazier. People learn. One hundred years ago drivers knew nothing about certain advanced driving techniques because they had not been tried or learned. One can identify an era in racing just by studying driving techniques. I once watched an interview by Schumacher in 2005, and he mentioned that he was pleased because he was learning trail braking. Despite the fact that at that time he was already the most successful driver in the history of Formula One (and facing the inevitable decline), he was willing to add new tools to his arsenal.

I had the great privilege of watching Gilles Villeneuve race in Formula Atlantic. He was freaking awesome. And when I watched him a few years later in his Ferrari, he was freaking awesome. He also got a lot of the crazy out of his system and only in his last few years did he begin to understand that winning each lap wasn't required, that winning the race was more important.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:04 am 
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Blinky McSquinty wrote:
Image
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The question is: at what age does any of these parameters actually affect an individual's performance as a driver? And due to our present knowledge on exercise and diet, we can maintain an exceptionally healthy body for many years. We age, our bodies decline in the ability to perform or recover. But balanced against that is the ability to learn, to improve as knowledge accumulates.

The first (power), third (reduced mobility) and the seventh (information processing) would be the main ones, and I think the loss of concentration would be the biggest. The cars are quite physical to drive however, and if a driver actually raced into their 40s I expect it would have an effect.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:44 am 
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Blinky McSquinty wrote:
I had the great privilege of watching Gilles Villeneuve race in Formula Atlantic. He was freaking awesome. And when I watched him a few years later in his Ferrari, he was freaking awesome. He also got a lot of the crazy out of his system and only in his last few years did he begin to understand that winning each lap wasn't required, that winning the race was more important.


Sir, you had a worthy privilege. :thumbup:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:49 am 
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Blinky McSquinty wrote:
Image
http://images.slideplayer.com/42/11397648/slides/slide_14.jpg

The question is: at what age does any of these parameters actually affect an individual's performance as a driver? And due to our present knowledge on exercise and diet, we can maintain an exceptionally healthy body for many years. We age, our bodies decline in the ability to perform or recover. But balanced against that is the ability to learn, to improve as knowledge accumulates.

"Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance."

But in Formula One, the equipment has major impact on the performance of the vehicle. Any change in temperature, humidity, tire wear, the list is almost infinite in what effects lap times. Additionally, a driver's personal style may be complimented by the car, or do the reverse. Nigel Mansell is mentioned in this thread, and he is a good example. His talent is never in question, but his behavior and decision-making abilities improved. That is what happened to Massa, in his first year in Formula One he made a lot of mistakes and crashed too much. The next year was spent just being a test driver for Ferrari. And after that, he was back driving for Sauber.

Back to Mansell. Once he got into a car that perfectly suited his heavy right foot and aggressive style in the form of the Williams FW14, it was the perfect marriage. So how do we judge him, how do we compare his abilities against other drivers? What are the reference points, what is the baseline to start with an assessment? How would he do in today's cars and tires? How would he stack up against Jimmy Clark who's driving style was very different?

Now it gets even crazier. People learn. One hundred years ago drivers knew nothing about certain advanced driving techniques because they had not been tried or learned. One can identify an era in racing just by studying driving techniques. I once watched an interview by Schumacher in 2005, and he mentioned that he was pleased because he was learning trail braking. Despite the fact that at that time he was already the most successful driver in the history of Formula One (and facing the inevitable decline), he was willing to add new tools to his arsenal.

I had the great privilege of watching Gilles Villeneuve race in Formula Atlantic. He was freaking awesome. And when I watched him a few years later in his Ferrari, he was freaking awesome. He also got a lot of the crazy out of his system and only in his last few years did he begin to understand that winning each lap wasn't required, that winning the race was more important.

:thumbup:

personally I think Mansell is a a very underrated driver and I think he could hold his own against most


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:26 pm 
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Exediron wrote:
Blinky McSquinty wrote:
Image
http://images.slideplayer.com/42/11397648/slides/slide_14.jpg

The question is: at what age does any of these parameters actually affect an individual's performance as a driver? And due to our present knowledge on exercise and diet, we can maintain an exceptionally healthy body for many years. We age, our bodies decline in the ability to perform or recover. But balanced against that is the ability to learn, to improve as knowledge accumulates.

The first (power), third (reduced mobility) and the seventh (information processing) would be the main ones, and I think the loss of concentration would be the biggest. The cars are quite physical to drive however, and if a driver actually raced into their 40s I expect it would have an effect.


I am 67 years old, and have gone through most of those phases. Some things, like the increased difficulty to see in the dark is something I cannot compensate for. But others I can, with power steering, a good diet and exercise regime. IMO my peak physical ability was between the ages of 25 and 30. The thing is, experience is relevant, the stuff I now know would have definitely improved my performance back when I was 25.

But we see this in all forms of athletic competition. Football is a good example. We could see a new star who is incredibly quick and fast. But can he find that gap, that clear space like an experienced star?

IMO the only way to truly understand if a driver is quicker than before is to have access to telemetry that shows such things as how much slip angle can he generate, when he gets on the gas, the fine control inputs that indicate that the driver is improving in that area.

IMO all drivers in Formula One are aliens, possessing a pace that is unworldly. But what really separates them is such things as discipline, the ability to bring your "A" game to every race, anticipating and making good decisions, the mental game. That is something that is laid out for everyone to see, the mistakes, the good decisions, the maturity, the ability to deliver results beyond what is expected of the car. And based on that, I can say to myself "wow, he sure has improved from last year".

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:58 am 
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There are two different ways that the topic question can be interpreted. One is whether a driver can improve in pace relative to other drivers and his own potential, and the other is whether natural pace can be enhanced over time. The answer to the former is 'yes', to the latter - 'no'.

First and second year drivers in top racing series often improve because they start out behind the eight ball. They are only vaguely familiar with the environment, equipment, and other important things. In essence, they underperform until they adapt. Some drivers that have the requisite pace never really adapt. Maldonado definitely comes to mind.

On the other hand, pure pace cannot be developed. If a driver doesn't have the potential, it's never going to materialize. Top drivers these days typically start out kart racing at the age of 4 or 5 and by the time they turn pro, they have as much pace as they are ever going to have. All they can improve upon is knowledge of a particular racing series' characteristic and general experience that can help with better decision making.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 3:42 am 
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I agree SmoothRide. With modern training aids and the vast amount of information available, by the time a young driver of 18 arrives in Formula One, that person already has at least 12 years of continual and intense racing experience. And even at a very early age, one can identify a natural talent, one that can hustle a kart or race car around the track very quickly. IMO they have developed to 99% of their potential for pace.

But racing is much more than that, Formula One is not a one lap time trial alone, they must deal with a heck of a lot that gets piled on top of just going fast. They must learn to navigate the politics, the head games, distractions, race strategies, another long list. And despite the fact most give allowance for a learning curve, some drivers become overwhelmed and fall to the side. We see a lot less these days because they have a very good idea what to expect. Verstappen is a good example, his father has been hammering information and stuff into his head since he was in diapers. Literally.

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