The 2011 world championship has seen the introduction of a number of major rule changes, most notably the implementation of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) rear wing and the return of Pirelli tyres. With international television viewing figures on the rise, the changes appear to be a popular success. But what has been the effect of the new regulations? As we approach the season’s halfway point, Mercedes bring us some pretty startling facts and figures to help you make an assessment…
Q: How many overtaking manoeuvres have been made in the first nine races?
A: The raw total of overtaking manoeuvres during the first nine races is 623, including moves between team mates, and passes by faster cars on the bottom three teams. This doesn’t include overtakes on the first lap or passes made because of damage.
Q: What is the breakdown of overtaking manoeuvres?
A: Of the 623 passes, 175 were by faster cars on the bottom three teams and 43 were between team mates. There have been 180 DRS-assisted passing moves, and 225 ‘normal’ (i.e. non-DRS) passes.
Q: Which races have seen the most passing?
A: The top three races, using raw totals, were Montreal (136 passes), Istanbul (123 passes) and Shanghai (97 passes). The fewest were Monaco (22 passes), Silverstone (29 passes) and Melbourne (30 passes). Interestingly, the race in Valencia featured 44 passes – twice as many as in Monaco. Of these, 16 occurred in the first DRS zone and six in the second.
Q: What has been the influence of DRS on overtaking?
A: DRS has accounted for 29 percent of passing manoeuvres in 2011. DRS passes have outnumbered normal passes at four races: Shanghai (33 percent of total), Istanbul (41 percent of total), Barcelona (35 percent) and Valencia (50 percent). The highest number of DRS passes was at Istanbul (50), followed by Shanghai (31) and Barcelona (29). The fewest were in Monaco (2), Melbourne (5) and Silverstone (6).
Q: What has been the balance between DRS passes and normal passes?
A: The race in which DRS passes outweighed normal passes to the greatest extent was Valencia: 50 percent of passes were DRS-enabled, compared to 11 percent of normal moves. The race at which normal passes outweighed DRS moves to the greatest extent was Monaco, with 64 percent of normal moves compared to 9 percent of DRS moves. The next most extreme was Silverstone, with 55 percent of normal moves compared to 21 percent of DRS-assisted passes.
Q: How much passing has been done on the first lap?
A: Although it could be argued that the new rules have diminished the importance of track position in the early stages of the race, a good first lap remains an important asset. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher have only lost position on the first lap on three occasions between them this season (excluding the damage Michael sustained on lap one in Melbourne). Michael has made up three or more places on the first lap on four occasions; the best was a gain of five places on lap one in Shanghai.
Q: How have the tyres affected the racing?
A: From all of the normal passes, just over 55 percent occurred when the difference in tyre age between the two cars was less than five laps, and 45 percent when it was more than five laps. Of the 180 DRS moves, 52 percent had tyre age difference of less than five laps, and 48 percent when it was more than five laps. The race where the difference in tyre age had the biggest impact was Barcelona, where ‘old’ tyres accounted for 69 percent of passes. The least influential races were the wet events in Montreal and Silverstone.
Q: How many pit stops have there been in 2011?
A: In nine races, there have been a total of 560 pit stops (this raw total includes penalties). Of these, 11 have been drive-through penalties and four have been ten-second stop-go penalties. The race with the highest number of stops was Istanbul (82 stops), followed by Barcelona (77 stops) and Montreal (76 stops). The fewest number of stops were in Monaco (43), Melbourne (46) and Silverstone (54). Two races have seen no penalties served – Barcelona and Valencia. The highest number of penalties was in Montreal, with four drive-through penalties.