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Which drivers are best at setting up their cars?


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#51 juicy sushi

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 12:30

Going on the same non-F1-centric line, I would say Alex Wurz, David Brabham, Nic Minassian, Marc Lieb. When it comes to the latter... it probably helps to be a Porsche factory driver as well as a trained automotive engineer employed by Porsche. Of course, in endurance racing the challenge of setting up the car is different, you have to set up the car to be as fast as possible as well as being comfortable enough for your teammates to drive at similar speeds.

Alex Wurz was certainly very important to McLaren for a long time. I think the loss of the Wurz-de la Rosa testing team has certainly taken away the consistency in McLaren's competitiveness.

On the contemporary F1 grid, I think Alonso stands out for me. As far as I can recall, every car he's driven seems to be more competitive relative to its rivals at the end of the season than when it started. So at the very least, he isn't leading his team down blind alleys...

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#52 boldhakka

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 12:34

First off it's extremely difficult for anyone other than an experienced race engineer to answer 'who is best' with any credibility but what is obvious that getting setup right can be the difference between winning and being nowhere, the infamous McLaren/Lewis setup twitter-gate drama at Spa this year being an obvious example. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) real F1 isn't like a racing sim where the driver can change any setup parameter at any time during a weekend. Things like rear wings have to be designed and manufactuered prior to a weekend and can't be tweaked like a front wing. A limited number of gear ratios have to be picked by the teams at the start of the season that are then chosen on friday for the whole weekend. These decisions are made by the engineers as much as the drivers which can then dictate everything over a race weekend and decide whether you'll be stronger in qualifying or the race.

The settings that the driver has open to him are relatively limited during a weekend. Front wing and are tyre pressures are probably the main ones as they are quick and easy but all the other major mechanical setup changes are so interconnected with other systems that drivers have to rely on the engineers to get this bit right and hope for the best. Drivers don't tell engineers what ride height they want, what strength ARB to use, what damping and spring settings they want, they provide the engineers feedback which is then interpreted and the engineers make the changes to the cars so in effect it's really a question of which drivers provide the best feedback that can then be interpreted by the engineers logically. Maybe back in the day when Motorsport engineering was nowhere near as scientific as it is now the driver's technical knowledge was much more important as the only feedback was the driver. Now, telemetry provides more feedback than a driver ever could and correctly interpreted this data analysis can provide a driver with a car that is 90% optimised before he has even turned a lap. The last 10% is fine tuning to the conditions and preferences of the driver.


:up:

#53 pingu666

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 14:04

when toyota where doing f1 they used to send the telemetry back to base, run it on a 7 post rig to test different settings, then they would go on the car next practise. all the big teams must do a similer process...

#54 g1n

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 15:57

No one here has knowledge to answer this. We´ll never know.


not necessary true, if you watch free practice, there are a lot more of radio transmissions than during the race, you can hear how each driver talks to his engineer. You can tell who has no clue about setting up the car and which driver go in to a lot of technical detail.

#55 BernieEc

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 16:05

its got to be Karthikeyan......uit must be hard to always have a consistently bad setup

#56 Alarcon

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 22:28

Setup skill and raw speed are obviously not mutually exclusive, they tend to go hand in hand. So what I mean is that when we see Hamilton deliver a stonking lap, there's a common misperception that it's just all raw talent, when in actual fact he's most likely got a setup which is faster in theory than others and he is merely able to access it. I believe that he is the sort of driver who will live with whatever setup is best suited to the track and car (07' & 08' cars a good example of this, as is this year's car), whereas Button requires the car to be set up for him. Sometimes the way JB wants it happens to suit the track (Spa for example), but often it doesn't and that's usually when we see the biggest gulf between him and Lewis.



Not always, raw talent sometimes is strong enough doesn´t suit setup skill. Peterson or Jim Clark they were awful with the setup (testing the car). Actually one time over Monza (don´t remember exactly where I read it) the team gave to Ronnie the car with two completely different setup but they did not say to him. He was able to score the same fastest time with both!

Seb has been extremely fast as soon as he drove a F1 by the first time, and he had no experience with F1 set up skills (and the circuit). He scored the youngest FL over a FP, 1:28.091 beating a Ferrari and that talks about raw speed. Imo Lewis is the same thing, he was as fast as Alonso on his first race (in Spain the press said he did copy the Alonso set-up) and he was fast since the beggining. That´s why i think Seb and Lewis are the most talented drivers in terms of sheer speed whatever the conditions. And while much complicated is the circuit, they shine.

I have the feeling Alonso depends much more on the setup than Seb or Lewis, that not means they are not as good choosing the right setup or Alonso is lack of raw talent. Far from this, they have proved during all along his career so far they know how to do it.;)

Edited by Alarcon, 02 November 2012 - 22:35.


#57 paulogman

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 22:31

Which drivers are best at setting up their cars?
here's a clue,

check the driver standing atop the podium at the end of the race

#58 George Costanza

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 23:16

Ayrton Senna if we'd talking about all time. Michael Schumacher was good but he would drive around the problem in his early days with Ferrari as Ross would state.

Today? Fernando, I would say. Vettel has to be pretty good.

#59 PretentiousBread

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:55

Which drivers are best at setting up their cars?
here's a clue,

check the driver standing atop the podium at the end of the race


Such insight, you're truly an invaluable member to this forum. Bravo.

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#60 motorhead

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:02

Where are all the the talks about alonso being a best developing driver? When he joined Ferrari this forum was full about it

#61 Oho

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:26

Where are all the the talks about alonso being a best developing driver? When he joined Ferrari this forum was full about it


That is a paradox now isn't it, he has been in the best funded best staffed teams and is the best at providing cues for the development engineers yet never has he enjoyed the best car....



#62 ApexOversteer

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 14:09

Ayrton Senna if we'd talking about all time.



LMAO!! Do you even know F1 ???

Senna was terrible at car setups, it was Prost who did most of the testing and setup work on the McLaren.

The Brazilian was notorious for sticking to one type of setup, his favourite setup.

It was Prost who had the vast mechanic knowledge and passion that enjoyed playing around with various different settings.

#63 mlsnoopy

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 14:10

It must be Hamilton.

#64 George Costanza

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 16:21

LMAO!! Do you even know F1 ???

Senna was terrible at car setups, it was Prost who did most of the testing and setup work on the McLaren.

The Brazilian was notorious for sticking to one type of setup, his favourite setup.

It was Prost who had the vast mechanic knowledge and passion that enjoyed playing around with various different settings.



Go read what Honda had to say about Senna... as well as Renault. They would stay he was a "human computer"

More importantly go read Brian Hart on Senna's technical skills.


There.

#65 ApexOversteer

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 16:35

Go read what Honda had to say about Senna... as well as Renault. They would stay he was a "human computer"

More importantly go read Brian Hart on Senna's technical skills.


There.


Yes I've read that before. Giving back precise feedback is different from setting up a car.
Setting up a car perfectly to tailor a driver's need requires mechanical knowledge, and the ability to play around with different settings to suit the conditions.

Senna was all about flat out with his "conservative" setup, mainly because he didn't wanted to try other settings and get adventurous, whereas Prost was the one that would gear his car differently for the best race pace.

#66 bub

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 16:54

LMAO!! Do you even know F1 ???

Senna was terrible at car setups, it was Prost who did most of the testing and setup work on the McLaren.

The Brazilian was notorious for sticking to one type of setup, his favourite setup.

It was Prost who had the vast mechanic knowledge and passion that enjoyed playing around with various different settings.


Do you really think it's possible to be that fast if you are “terrible at car setups”?

Edited by bub, 07 November 2012 - 22:28.