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Equal Cars performance testing in qualifying conditions.

Discussion in 'F1 2011 - The Game' started by David O'Reilly, May 26, 2012.

  1. David O'Reilly

    David O'Reilly
    A bad quali means I can go forwards in the race.

    There has been a lot of discussion about equal cars online performance. Before last season the author did some ad hoc chassis testing online and found significant performance differences. A few of us in the Xbox leagues have now taken the tests a step further.
    Methodology.
    Phase 1
    We selected Suzuka as a track that is a longish lap and we find creates a significant lap time delta and has a good mix of handling and top speed components. In essence a good overall test of car performance.
    We firstly asked 2 very fast and consistent drivers and one pretty fast and consistent driver to first get their eye in on the track with minimum 6-9 online quali sessions and start getting their best performances. This part was easy as we had spent a week at Suzuka training for our league pre quali. Drivers were performing over a quali session consistently within about 1 tenth of a second.
    Next we loaded quali sessions and had the driver change cars between sessions and note best lap times.
    The results (averaged across drivers) were (with 0 = best lap time)
    Williams =0
    Mercedes Benz, HRT, Sauber=+.2
    Mclaren =+.3
    RedBull, Ferrari, Toro Rosso +.8
    Not tested at this phase Lotus Renault, Caterham, Virgin, Force India.
    Phase 2
    We moved to Catalunya for pre quali and involved one more test driver. To be thorough we also added Lotus (Caterham), Virgin with surprising results and Force India. This test should not in theory be quite as definitive for a couple of reasons. The drivers had not reached the same level of consistency and so through say 3 quali test sessions some time might be found through driver skill. Also Catalunya does not provide as great a delta between a good and average performance. None the less there was a still a very high correlation for cars tested at both tracks with the Suzuka tests.
    Williams 0
    Lotus (Caterham) 0
    Virgin +.1
    Mercedes Benz HRT =+.1
    RedBull +.4
    Toro Rosso +.4*
    Force India +.5
    Ferrari +.7
    *Toro Rosso Driver 3 +.8, Driver 1 managed a 0. So quite inconsistent.
    Not tested at this phase: Sauber, McLaren.
    Results Summary
    If we take the known Suzuka performance gaps and then use the Catalunya session to cross reference and relate back to a comparable “Suzuka gap” for the cars that were only tested at Catalunya we think it looks like this. (In other words the dogs at Suzuka were dogs at Catalunya but by about ½ the gap, so the stars at Catalunya should be stars as Suzuka)
    Williams, Caterham, Virgin 0
    HRT, Mercedes Benz, Sauber +.2
    Mclaren +.3
    RedBull, Ferrari, Toro Rosso, Force India, +.8
    Planned Phase 3
    With the low fuel performance testing done, to complete the report we will now do race simulation testing. This will move back to Suzuka and comprise of a quali session of one stint with 30 laps of fuel loaded and primes using mix 2 and no DRS or KERS. We will try to find a way to record say a 5 lap run and analyse the results.
    With that test we will include driver comments on cars performance and handling strengths and weaknesses.
    About Ferrari and Lotus and setup. Many people will say that setup can resolve these pace issues. However one of our best test drivers campaigned a Ferrari all last season and his setups were optimised for the car and his driving attuned to the car. When in testing he went just as much faster in the “Zero cars” than in the Ferrari as anyone else. So we argue that this debunks this myth.
    Lotus Renault, we did not test this car as we unanimously agreed it was a slow car.
    About variables. Yes there is also the option of changing more stuff like gearing and setups. Or even using more tracks and different weather. In the authors view Suzuka is a great test of overall car performance. It does not favour pure straight line speed like say Monza or handling like say Hungary. The Ferrari example above tells me that a dog will not become a star with setup. Also we do not have 3 months to spare for the project. So quick and dirty it is. If you want it done differently then go your hardest we will look forward to your report!
    With thanks to test drivers who participated and forwarded data. Chris Benham, Mark Greenall, Gavin Hendley, and Peter Hooper.
     
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