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Gear ratios for qualy or for the race?


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#1 MrMontecarlo

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:15

How do the teams choose their gear ratios? If they choose them thinking about the race they will hit the limiter in qualy, with empty tanks and DRS. If they choose the best for qualy, in the race it will surely be a disadvantage, as they will have too long gear ratios.
They have to make a compromise, in which way do you think they are doing it at the moment?

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#2 TheWilliamzer

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:51

If the team is aiming to start at the front and have the pace for that, the shorter 7th is set to add some sort of acceleration advantage to pull away from the pack.

But if the team is in the midfield, they need the long 7th as it's important for overtaking.

#3 engel

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 11:33

Gear ratios are by and large pre-set by computer models before the car even reaches the circuit and generally the compromise is between quali speed and race speed, that's the sweet spot they try to hit. The running at the front/midpack bit is an oversimplification. Teams aim to complete the race distance in the shortest amount of time, helping your driver overtake is nice but the general assumption is that you still need the pace to stay ahead of the guys you overtake. And do keep in mind performance varies from car to car, the RedBull will for example lose more performance by going long and Ferrari will lose more performance by going short, it's never as simple as oh I will qualify 6th lets put on long ratios or whatever.

#4 paulrobs

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:50

What has become evident is that if you set the final gear ratio too low you invariably run into difficulties in passing other cars. It's a big gamble, even when on pole, to go with ratios that don't allow you to pass another car at racing speed, ie not one that has been shown a blue flag and moves over/slows down. Any delay in a pitstop or untimely safety car or losing positions at the start then become really telling when you can't overtake. The computer says a certain set of ratios is the fastest way round a lap and that's what they go with leaving no margin for when things don't turn out in the manner predicted.

Much has been said about Vettel's drive from the pitlane last weekend but I think the single biggest thing that helped him to do this, apart from the obvious safety car incidents, was the fact that they took the car out of parc ferme and changed the gear ratios so that he could overtake.

I'm always amazed that F1 cars seem to be on the limiter for a large part of the straight(s) where DRS can be employed. I know there's a balance between performance over a lap copmpared to speed down a straight but it seems to me that most teams seem to gear their cars too low for race conditions leaving little opportunbity to overtake in race conditions.

Edited by paulrobs, 08 November 2012 - 12:51.


#5 MrMontecarlo

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 14:29

Good posts :up:
My opinion is that they find the sweet spot closer to race performance than qualifying performance. It has its logic because points are given in the race and most of the laps are without DRS, but that decision often bites them when they need to overtake a car and hit the limiter too soon.
Also, could a team that desperately wants to get pole position for marketing reasons set up the car exclusively for qualifying with long gear ratios to suit DRS? That combined with putting max downforce in the wings since in the straight they have the DRS open so the drag penalty doesn't affect them. I think we might see that one day.

#6 BillBald

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 14:55

Gear ratios are by and large pre-set by computer models before the car even reaches the circuit and generally the compromise is between quali speed and race speed, that's the sweet spot they try to hit. The running at the front/midpack bit is an oversimplification. Teams aim to complete the race distance in the shortest amount of time, helping your driver overtake is nice but the general assumption is that you still need the pace to stay ahead of the guys you overtake. And do keep in mind performance varies from car to car, the RedBull will for example lose more performance by going long and Ferrari will lose more performance by going short, it's never as simple as oh I will qualify 6th lets put on long ratios or whatever.


If you compare speed trap figures for FP2 vs Quali, you will often find considerable differences.

It's quite complicated because teams have to guess the likely top speeds of cars they expect to be racing against, as well as maximising the performance of their own cars.

I think Red Bull don't normally worry too much about overtaking, their approach works best when Vettel takes the pole and the lead at the start. But as we saw in Abu Dhabi, it is possible for them to change the setup and still have reasonable race pace.

Red Bull seem to be confident that if their man can't overtake on the track, they can get him ahead using good strategy. They've done that for Vettel a few times.



#7 Tenmantaylor

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 15:07

"They have to make a compromise, in which way do you think they are doing it at the moment?"

Completely depends on who they are. Not everyone is doing it the same. If you know you have the fastest car in Q trim (which RB now have) it makes sense to shoot for pole, try and pull a lead in the first few laps and make sure you are out of the DRS zone of the guy in 2nd then hopefully use your lap time advantage in clear air to hold the lead.

If you know, at best, your car in Q trim is only good for 10th on the grid it makes more sense to setup a bit more race orientated as you are more likely to need to overtake someone. This will mean lengthening 7th to take advantage of the tow but the offset is losing a couple tenths on your Q lap because you spend less time at peak power like you would in a tow. This might mean the difference between getting into Q3 or not. this is why often RB suck in the speed traps and midfield teams like Toro Rosso often top.

Edited by Tenmantaylor, 08 November 2012 - 15:09.


#8 August

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 16:40

I think free DRS use in qualy has brought ideal qualy gear ratios closer to ideal overtaking gear ratios.

#9 Lazy

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:15

I must admit, the logic of allowing free use of DRS in qualy alludes me.

#10 MrMontecarlo

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:46

I must admit, the logic of allowing free use of DRS in qualy alludes me.


I don't get it either.

#11 Shiroo

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 10:56

+ it might be quite dangerous if they want to get a great lap time, like trying to get a corner with DRS open. Imo it shouldnt be allowed at all in qualifications, OR max only in DRS zone.


About ratios, for race you've longer gears, for quali shorter, as smn mentioned above, it depends what are your predictions for quali, if your car is great for race, but you won't have good single lap time, they might on purpose set a car with longer gears (for example Lotus in Bahrain). Also it is worth mentioning that short gears give you a way better acceleration out of the corners, which one is profitable for frontrunners. Midfielders most of the time have great top speed (look at FI, TR, Williams, Sauber) they all have great top speeds usually, and it is due to their starting postions, when front runners (with exception of Ferrari) are usually slowest in top speed (Lotus, RBR, McLaren) as it was in last race (Hamilton and Raikkonen were last but it was also due to not using DRS which would give them maybe 6-7 more km/h).

About Ferrari, they are int he middle between settings for front guys, and midfielders, I believe due to nature of a car. They know that they dont have raw pace to be in top 2 rows, so they are set to share 5-8 places with Lotuses most of the time. Due to their great long pace but way inferior quali pace (on par with Lotus I believe) they are setting car to have 5-6km/h faster than frontrunners to have a chance to win or get a podium (and so far it is working pretty fine). You could say that Lotus should do the same, but I believe it is about engine now. Lotus has Renault which has inferior bhp vs Ferrari. They need shorter gear to have similar acceleration, and as result they have smaller top speed, but similar acceleration.


At least I think that's how it is :)

#12 paulrobs

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 20:22

I must admit, the logic of allowing free use of DRS in qualy alludes me.


:up: Agreed. I've been a bit uneasy about this from day 1. During practice and qualy you have so many cars on slow out laps or slow in laps and haveing unrestricted DRS just makes the speed differential and possibility of a big accident even greater. I'd like to see DRS only used in practice and qualy in the same point(s) it can be used on raceday. The reasoning for unrestricted use of DRS during practice and qualy just eludes me and it's only a matter of time before someone has a real big one because they tried one fast corner too many with DRS open.

#13 KnucklesAgain

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 18:03

I must admit, the logic of allowing free use of DRS in qualy alludes me.


It's very simple. It adds incentive to run a long seventh gear because you gain from it on every long straight in quali. Hence, cars are less likely to run into the limiter early in the race's DRS zone.

If DRS in quali were forbidden (or if the rules were the same as in the race), teams would optimize for acceleration by running a short 7th gear and sacrificing top speed in the DRS zone (just like RBR are doing because they expect to lock out the front row and have no need to overtake). This would make DRS pointless as everyone would be on the limiter when they can use it.

Edited by KnucklesAgain, 10 November 2012 - 18:04.


#14 MrMontecarlo

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 18:12

It's very simple. It adds incentive to run a long seventh gear because you gain from it on every long straight in quali. Hence, cars are less likely to run into the limiter early in the race's DRS zone.

If DRS in quali were forbidden (or if the rules were the same as in the race), teams would optimize for acceleration by running a short 7th gear and sacrificing top speed in the DRS zone (just like RBR are doing because they expect to lock out the front row and have no need to overtake). This would make DRS pointless as everyone would be on the limiter when they can use it.


You're right, but it's not enough. I think every team is hitting the limiter in qualifying.

#15 tarmac

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 18:24

Coanda exhaust work better with shorter seventh gear according to AMUS

#16 Baddoer

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 18:58

Coanda exhaust work better with shorter seventh gear according to AMUS

It doesn't make sense at all, 7th gear is not used in the corners.

#17 tarmac

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 19:05

It doesn't make sense at all, 7th gear is not used in the corners.


lol.. really.

#18 BillBald

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 01:19

It doesn't make sense at all, 7th gear is not used in the corners.


If you run shorter 7th gear, all ratios will be shorter therefore closer.



#19 Requiem84

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 01:53

You lose a bit of HP with coanda exhaust, therefore you need a shorter 7th gear.

Sometimes it's just very simple.


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#20 solochamp07

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 02:34

I must admit, the logic of allowing free use of DRS in qualy alludes me.


A little OT but I'd like to see them reverse the DRS policy altogether. Let the drivers open the wing whenever they dare but lock it shut if there is a car less than 1.0 behind in the designated zones. Obviously, it should still close automatically when the brakes are pressed.

Imo, that little tweak would make the races orders of magnitude more exciting. It would bring back the type of driver errors we haven't seen since they shifted their own gears; errors that facilitate the type of close-combat scenarios I believe have been largely lost in the age of "dirty air". Wouldn't cost anything either.

Is there any reason not to do this? I can't think of one. Well, maybe the added danger but that could also be construed as a positive thing.

#21 Baddoer

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 09:07

You lose a bit of HP with coanda exhaust, therefore you need a shorter 7th gear.

No, it doesn't mean that. Engine HP is not always relevant to torque, so it doesn't make sense too.

Edited by Baddoer, 11 November 2012 - 09:15.


#22 SpeedyTimer

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 15:02

A little OT but I'd like to see them reverse the DRS policy altogether. Let the drivers open the wing whenever they dare but lock it shut if there is a car less than 1.0 behind in the designated zones. Obviously, it should still close automatically when the brakes are pressed.

Imo, that little tweak would make the races orders of magnitude more exciting. It would bring back the type of driver errors we haven't seen since they shifted their own gears; errors that facilitate the type of close-combat scenarios I believe have been largely lost in the age of "dirty air". Wouldn't cost anything either.

Is there any reason not to do this? I can't think of one. Well, maybe the added danger but that could also be construed as a positive thing.



So let's see. If there is a long q at the DRS zone than only the last car in the Q would be allowed to use it. So they would pass the second last car and then he would be allowed to use it on the next lap and probably repass the car in front because he would not have made any head way on the car in front of him because his DRS was no longer available.

I thought this may have been a good idea but I am having second thoughts. Unless you see another scenario.