Saturday, March 28, 2015

F1 2015 Malaysia - Practice and Qualifying Session Utilisation Charts

Some time ago, I used to generate session utilisation charts that showed how drivers made use of the practice and qualifying session times. The charts relied on laptime data that I used to scrape from timing sheets published by the FIA.

I've started revisiting those old scrapers and tightening them up a bit, and as I was doing so thought I'd look again at the session utilisation charts.

So here, for example, is what qualifying looked like today - the horizontal x-axis is time into session, the vertical y-axis a categorical axis that identifies each driver. The circles represent the time into the session at which any particular driver completed a lap:

One of the things that we can readily see is how the session is split into two very distinct parts, (sessions 1 and 2 appear to form one group, and session three much later). Looking more closely, we can perhaps also tease apart the first and second sessions.

If we look at a session utilisation chart for 3rd practice, we see more structured patterns of activity looking across the chart, as drivers complete separate stints. As each stint is defined by a PIT event, it's easy enough to autodetect each driver's stints and produce summary statistics for them - such as a count of stints completed, how many laps in each, and so on.

We can also automate the production of summary statements such as the following: C. SAINZ completed 19 laps over 3 stints, with a longest run of 7 laps.

Returning to the session utilisation chart, we can add additional information to the chart by highlighting purple laps (that is, laps recording the fastest laptime seen in the session so far), and green laps, which correspond to each driver's fastest lap recorded so far in the session. It would perhaps be useful to use vertical guides to highlight the times at which the purple laps were recorded?

It might also make sense to arrange the y-axis labels in a more structured way, for example grouping them by team.

Identifying different phases of the qualifying session is on my to do list for the Wrangling F1 Data With R book. Forthcoming and updated chapters will also provide more detail on how to construct the various elaborations of the session utilisation charts described in this post.


  1. The MotoGP on-screen graphics do something similar to the bottom graph, I'm trying to remember what colours mean what (I think it's purple - fastest anyone has gone, red - fastest you've gone and grey no improvement over your own previous best). I also think the stint thing is very useful.

  2. @kpfssport Ah - ok; will try to look out for some of those (don't suppose you have any screenshots?)

    Re: stints, yes - sill be doing more on that. Do you have any suggestions for things you'd like to see in that context?

    Also, I've started looking at segmenting quali session times -

  3. No screenshots but I'll see if I can convince girl cousin to get one from the next race.


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