Thursday, May 26, 2011

Animated Lap Chart for 2011 Spanish Grand Prix

Hello everyone! I'm pleased to introduce myself as a guest contributor to the F1 Data Junkie blog. My name is Tim and I live in the most down-under part of the land down-under.

After some discussions with Tony I have decided to share with you all the first fruits of my labours. I warn you though that it's only really viewable in high quality and full screen. Behold, an ANIMATED lap chart of 'Time to Leader' for the Spanish Grand Prix!

Hopefully that worked for you.

So... what can we derive from this graph? Well, watch how Webbers race unfolds to see without a doubt why he ended up in 4th. Just look how much time he loses behind Alonso after that second stop and then how much more he loses after the third! Mclaren should be very grateful to Ferrari for shadowing Webbers pitstops.

Also, can you see who the only driver to keep pace with the 2 leaders is after the middle point of the race? It's Mr Heidfeld!

Also, look at the pace achieved by Button between laps 30 and 35 (each verticle graticle on the chart is 5 laps)... He's supremely faster than the leaders as he hunts down and passes Webber and Alonso.

Finally, check out the way those lines tail off during the last 10 to 15 laps of the race. That's a combination of drivers conserving engines and fuel and the fact that the battle for the lead was so intense. Vettel may have said that things were under control, but as this graph shows, those guys were lapping considerably faster than the most of the rest of the field for the last 5 to 10 laps (barring Heidfeld and Button).

Feedback and your own analysis is most welcome, but keep in mind that this is my first post and I aleady know that there's plenty of things that could make this animation more interesting / intuitive etc.

Thanks again to Tony for letting me guest post.


  1. Well I conclude that Petrov's race strategy was not good! How was this animation generated please?

  2. Hi Tim -

    Great animation - welcome on board:-)

    (I wonder - maybe we could get a little competition going with people recording their own race summary/quick commentary over the animation?!)

    Many animations don't work so well without a commentary, (for example, Hans Rosling's brilliant Gapminder presentations are pretty confusing without his commentary), but in this case the data set is simple enough - and easy enough to comprehend, I think? - for it to work /without/ commentary?

  3. AJ: The animation was generated using a 4D GIS package called Eonfusion.

    Tony: I think there's a place for both versions. There's something nice in picking a driver and watching their race unfold over 70 seconds with just the data, but I love the idea of a commentary version also. Something that allows a person to get value out of watching the animation without having to think too hard.

  4. Hi Tim
    The other "Guest Post Tim" here.
    Nice graphic.

    What always gets me about time charts is the "cheese-wedge" shape - when the whole thing is presented as one, the opening few laps (which are often very interesting) are compressed into such a small vertical space that you can;t see much.

    I was wondering if you're animating it, if you could start "zoomed in" on and effectively "zoom out" as you progress. You'd want to experiment with the effect (linear zoom or dynamic, true zoom or just compress/expand a single axis, or do the same with both axes but perhaps at different rates).

    Does that make sense, and can the package you've used do such a thing ?

  5. Hi Tim
    Great to see more contributions to this subject.
    Looking forward to seeing more after this weekend's race - should be a good one.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. Tim: Ha! I didn't even realise there'd been another guest contributor, let alone that he had my name.... that's confusing!

    The package I'm working with can't do what you say but I can post-process in a different package. I had in-fact already been considering doing this so thanks for the extra encouragement. :-)

  7. As I was having another look at this while showing it to a friend, can I deduce that you can also see the effect of RedBull (Vettel) having better pitstops (inc In and Out laps) than McLaren (Hamilton)?



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