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Lies, damned lies, and BBC statistics ...


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#1 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:42

The BBC has been playing with statistics:

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk...rmula1/26464195



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#2 ensign14

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 08:55

Statistics are like a bikini.  Often very nice to look at and providing support for important areas, but the truly vital is hidden out of sight.

 

To me the most astounding statistic is Jim Clark's top two positions in WC GPs.  26 of them; 25 were wins.  If the car were capable of winning, he would win.



#3 charles r

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:00

Hill D's start/win ratio looks very respectable in hindsight and even better if you take out a wasted year with Mr Walkinshaw.



#4 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:11

Hill D's start/win ratio looks very respectable in hindsight and even better if you take out a wasted year with Mr Walkinshaw.

At one point early in his career I worked out that it was exceeded only by Fangio's. Which does of course tend to support Tim's original premise (not that I wish to take anything away from Damon's achievements).



#5 Vitesse2

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:21

Statistics are like a bikini.  Often very nice to look at and providing support for important areas, but the truly vital is hidden out of sight.

 

To me the most astounding statistic is Jim Clark's top two positions in WC GPs.  26 of them; 25 were wins.  If the car were capable of winning, he would win.

Somewhat related, I notice that all the three-letter country codes used on that page - except one - conform to ISO 3166-1. I wonder why the BBC objects to BRA? :rolleyes:



#6 Bloggsworth

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 09:56

I would have thought that, as recognised by almost every old codger on this forum, that Fangio was simply the best...



#7 Stephen W

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 10:16

Funny that they left out Luigi Fagioli as he would have been second to Fangio in a lot of those tables!

#8 Glengavel

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 10:22

My 'odd' statistic is that, if you split British drivers into Scottish and English, then England still has the most World Champions but Graham Hill is the only English driver to win it more than once. Something in the English psyche that sees multiple wins as being a bit infra dig (there's an expression you don't see much nowadays)? I'm reminded of Nigel Havers' character in Chariots of Fire, giving up his place in the 400m to Eric Liddle because "I've got my medal".



#9 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 11:13

Quote from the Beeb's blurb this morning: "Statistics are an important part of an argument about the relative merits of different drivers, but they certainly cannot provide a definitive answer. The fact is, there isn't one. And that's the fun of it."

Perhaps the lone pearl of truth within their oyster?

 

In effect, here and now in 2014, 'Formula 1' has evolved into such a different activity from its early Championship days in the early 1950s that no sensible comparison can really be applied.  The question then would be at what point did 'the activity' become so significantly and unmistakably 'different'?  Mr E, step forward - or the FIA - or Gold Leaf Team Lotus - or JYS?

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 11 March 2014 - 11:13.


#10 charles r

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 11:58

 

Quote from the Beeb's blurb this morning: "Statistics are an important part of an argument about the relative merits of different drivers, but they certainly cannot provide a definitive answer. The fact is, there isn't one. And that's the fun of it."

Perhaps the lone pearl of truth within their oyster?

 

In effect, here and now in 2014, 'Formula 1' has evolved into such a different activity from its early Championship days in the early 1950s that no sensible comparison can really be applied.  The question then would be at what point did 'the activity' become so significantly and unmistakably 'different'?  Mr E, step forward - or the FIA - or Gold Leaf Team Lotus - or JYS?

DCN

 

When did money really start to make the difference?



#11 D-Type

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 12:00

 

Quote from the Beeb's blurb this morning: "Statistics are an important part of an argument about the relative merits of different drivers, but they certainly cannot provide a definitive answer. The fact is, there isn't one. And that's the fun of it."

Perhaps the lone pearl of truth within their oyster?

 

In effect, here and now in 2014, 'Formula 1' has evolved into such a different activity from its early Championship days in the early 1950s that no sensible comparison can really be applied.  The question then would be at what point did 'the activity' become so significantly and unmistakably 'different'?  Mr E, step forward - or the FIA - or Gold Leaf Team Lotus - or JYS?

DCN

 

When they moved the engines from front to rear?  ;)

 

Actually, to be serious, that was the first step change it signalled the arrival of the 'garagistes' and instead of a Maserati,or a Maserati, or a Maserati the privateer now nad a choice. 



#12 BRG

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 13:29

Somewhat related, I notice that all the three-letter country codes used on that page - except one - conform to ISO 3166-1. I wonder why the BBC objects to BRA? :rolleyes:

Which country does the three letter code GB relate to?    ;)

 

This seems an eminently sensible bit of statistical fluff which draws some interesting conclusions (by which few here should be surprised.  Fangio the best?  Who'da thunk?)  And it might elucidate some of the casual fans at whom it is doubtless aimed.



#13 Doug Nye

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 13:58

Good points.

 

DCN



#14 D-Type

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 13:59

And to be fair to the BBC, on this occasion they seem to have got their factual basis right, correcting points to a common basis etc.

 

Incidentally, in a fit of statistical enthusiasm I once tried to produce  more meaningful wins/starts ratio by 'topping and tailing' the number of starts by subtracting the races before a driver's first win as some spent a lot of time in inferior equipment and the races after a driver's last win as some appear to have carried on too long.  I gave up as it produced its own set of anomalies, e.g.  Some drivers were penalised for mid-career dips, some had a single early career win or a single late career win separated from the main run of wins and on the other hand the 'one win wonders' like Baghetti scored 100%.  Introducing more rules simply made it more contrived. I didn't keep the figures



#15 sennafan24

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 14:06

The stat I think is most reflective of driver performance, is the "finished ahead when both teammates finished" stat.

 

It is not perfect, as it does not take into consideration driver errors that result in DNF's. It also does not account for mechanical issues that hinder a driver's race, or slow pit stops. Team orders and other variables can also distort the score.

 

What it does do though, is eliminate Mechanical DNF's from the tally. It also has the potential to represent which teammate ends an entire race weekend ahead when nothing goes wrong. It also includes a comparison between drivers who are in the same machinery (at least on paper). 

 

I found some interesting findings using this sta, when I looked at certain teammate head to heads.

 

When both finished. Senna beat Berger 18-7

 

When both finished, Senna beat Prost 15-5

 

When both finished. Berger and Alesi tied 14-14

 

When both finished, Schumi beat Rubens 56-13

 

The last one is a rough estimate.

 

Sadly most top drivers are never teammates, so it is hard to compare drivers who did not race in the exact same machinery, and in some cases under the same regulations. Which I guess is why we can only give our opinion as to who stands where in the greatness stakes.

 

Senna is still the best though guys   ;)


Edited by sennafan24, 11 March 2014 - 14:13.


#16 kayemod

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 14:14


 

Senna is still the best though guys   ;)

 

That all depends on what criteria you're judging him, most on TNF will have differing views.



#17 sennafan24

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 14:17

That all depends on what criteria you're judging him, most on TNF will have differing views.

Just a bit of playful banter.

 

I thought the last paragraph of my post established that I understand the arguments for other drivers?



#18 kayemod

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 14:38

Just a bit of playful banter.

 

I thought the last paragraph of my post established that I understand the arguments for other drivers?

 

That's OK, I'm sure we all realised that. There are a few telling lines in the BBC text, "Will shock anyone who came to F1 in the last 20 years", and I think that "How many people in the street would know that?" says it all really. We can't blame the BBC for trying to stoke up interest in the sad parody that modern "Effwun" has become, but move along chaps, nothing to see (or be taken too seriously) here.



#19 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 March 2014 - 17:22

When did money really start to make the difference?


I think that must've started in '94... 1894, that is!  ;)

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#20 Roger Clark

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 08:53

There is a huge difference between the eternal struggle to get enough money to race and the use of racing to generate huge profits for people who have no other interest in it.  That, I think, is the core of the differences between then and now.



#21 RTH

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 09:33

 

Quote from the Beeb's blurb this morning: "Statistics are an important part of an argument about the relative merits of different drivers, but they certainly cannot provide a definitive answer. The fact is, there isn't one. And that's the fun of it."

Perhaps the lone pearl of truth within their oyster?

 

In effect, here and now in 2014, 'Formula 1' has evolved into such a different activity from its early Championship days in the early 1950s that no sensible comparison can really be applied.  The question then would be at what point did 'the activity' become so significantly and unmistakably 'different'?  Mr E, step forward - or the FIA - or Gold Leaf Team Lotus - or JYS?

DCN

 

When they first started putting upside down aircraft wings on cars  and then  all the successive performance and driver aids  and add ons to a basic car which meant that  one  cars fundamental  advantage then overshadowed the drivers contribution  to such a degree  not seen before ?Comparison between 2014 and the previous 4 years outcomes  will be interesting.



#22 chunder27

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Posted 12 March 2014 - 11:40

Interesting

 

I bet a lot of people do not agree with this kind of thing.

 

Especially as two of the acknowledge greats of recent times Apain adn Ayrton are below halfway.

 

but it is of course down to the fact there were fewer races, and also fewer good cars, which is the case on and off even now.

 

Hill and vettel are interesting really as though they had success in good cars, they did spend time in cars that were not capable of winning, especially Damon, so his presence is surprising considering Brabham and Arrows.

 

I agree with Fangio though, to me he is like Hailwood on bikes, almost unsurpassable.

 

And jimmy would have to be next, because he just made everyone look silly, without being dirty, aggressive, and he drove a Lotus, so had to be that way or he would havr crashed a lot more!



#23 uechtel

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 11:10



The stat I think is most reflective of driver performance, is the "finished ahead when both teammates finished" stat.

 

It is not perfect, as it does not take into consideration driver errors that result in DNF's. It also does not account for mechanical issues that hinder a driver's race, or slow pit stops. Team orders and other variables can also distort the score.

 

What it does do though, is eliminate Mechanical DNF's from the tally. It also has the potential to represent which teammate ends an entire race weekend ahead when nothing goes wrong. It also includes a comparison between drivers who are in the same machinery (at least on paper). 

 

I found some interesting findings using this sta, when I looked at certain teammate head to heads.

 

When both finished. Senna beat Berger 18-7

 

When both finished, Senna beat Prost 15-5

 

When both finished. Berger and Alesi tied 14-14

 

When both finished, Schumi beat Rubens 56-13

 

The last one is a rough estimate.

 

Sadly most top drivers are never teammates, so it is hard to compare drivers who did not race in the exact same machinery, and in some cases under the same regulations. Which I guess is why we can only give our opinion as to who stands where in the greatness stakes.

 

Senna is still the best though guys   ;)

Have you never heard about intransitive relations?   ;)

 

See http://en.wikipedia....#Intransitivity

 

And even between teammates there can be "outside" factors that favour one driver over the other. Some are favoured by the team, some not. Or maybe one driver could make better use of traction control than the other, so after a rule change the relation could swap. Can you still 'generally' say who is the best driver?

 

Such statistics are nonsense in my opinion. My best example is always Emeron Fittipaldi. If he had ended his career after 1974 he would have a really outstanding point average. But can his efforts with the own team really affect these achievements retrospectively?


Edited by uechtel, 13 March 2014 - 11:12.


#24 sennafan24

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 17:10

And even between teammates there can be "outside" factors that favour one driver over the other. Some are favoured by the team, some not. Or maybe one driver could make better use of traction control than the other, so after a rule change the relation could swap. Can you still 'generally' say who is the best driver?

I covered that in my post when I said "Team orders and other variables can also distort the score". In general the stats I posted do not outright show "who was the better driver" but they do provide significant clues as to who the better driver was under the circumstances they raced under. Age and regulations are further variables that can distort stats, I agree..

 

You raise a decent point with the mention of "intrusive translation" .For myself it comes down to subjective opinion, as direct measurements between drivers of different eras are impossible to determine.

 

I see a driver's record against their teammates like a see a boxer's fight record. When comparing Ali to Tyson, I look at who's resume impressed me more when determining who was better. As you can probably tell, Senna beating Prost 15-5 when both finished in 1988-1989 is a stat that highly impresses me (although others are not so impressed, and that is where the debates start)


Edited by sennafan24, 13 March 2014 - 17:15.


#25 lesmo

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 19:07

The photo intrigued me.  I suppose it is a good example of 'Photoshopping', but the way Fangio has a hand on each shoulder makes me think he must have extremely long arms! 

Do you think he is going to bang their heads together?


Edited by lesmo, 13 March 2014 - 19:12.


#26 carlt

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 19:22

Schumi's  2nd career must have dented his statistics quite a bit 



#27 scheivlak

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Posted 13 March 2014 - 23:41

Somewhat related, I notice that all the three-letter country codes used on that page - except one - conform to ISO 3166-1. I wonder why the BBC objects to BRA? :rolleyes:

 

You've not scrolled down enough - at first they objected, then they succumbed 

 

Most points per grand prix start

Senna A BRA

 

and then repented    :D


Edited by scheivlak, 13 March 2014 - 23:41.