Sunday, November 23, 2014

Maximising Team Points Hauls

With the final race of the 2014 season run, the Mercedes drivers' battle for the Drivers' Championship over, and the future of McLaren's drivers still uncertain, now may be a good time to ask how well the drivers supported each other in terms of maximising team points haul.

Let's start with the Mercedes. The following charts shows how the drivers fared in terms of ranked position in each race, and points taken. The coloured drop line identifies which driver had the upper hand and also clearly indicates how far apart the drivers were.

In terms of points, the team's points haul across the rounds of the 2014 championship can be summarised using the following chart (final race points have been halved for the purposes of this chart):

The horizontal x-axis shows the number of points taken in a particular race by the highest placed driver in the team. The vertical y-axis is shows the number of points taken in a corresponding race by the lower placed team-mate. The red line is the points maximisation line - points on the line show that the team maximised points in a race given the position of the highest placed driver in the team.

The numbers represent a count of races where a particular points combination occurred. The circle is size proportionate to this value.

If we split the drivers out and generate co-ordinate points based on the points taken across the driver pairing for each race, we get the following style of chart.

This time, we have two guides representing the points support each driver offers the other. Marks away from the dotted line show how far away a driver was from maximising the team points haul based on the the points taken by the higher placed driver in the team. If there are lots of marks in the lower right half of the chart, the driver on the vertical y-axis is the underperformer. If the marks appear in the top left half, the driver  identified on the horizontal x-axis is the underperformer. Marks on the red dotted line show the x-axis driver was better placed, but team points were maximised. Conversely, marks on the blue dotted line show the y-axis driver was higher placed, but again, given that position, team points we maximised. If the team always maximised points, the magenta best fit line would be within the two dotted lines.

Here are the corresponding charts for McLaren.

These charts are working sketches and are likely to appear in some form in the Wrangling F1 Data With R book. Data used to generate the charts was obtained from the ergast API.

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