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”So, we’re thinking Plan B… Plan B”


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#1 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 12:44

As we sit around and wait for the CRB verdict on the Piastri case, I think there’s time to discuss some other important issues of our sport.

 

I mean, is it just me, or are the race engineers often suspiciously keen on instructing their drivers to go with “Plan B”? It seems that each race, something like 80% of the field are using what by any logical assumption would be the second option tactic wise. “Plan A” on the other hand seems so rare that it almost catches you by surprise to hear it being suggested.

 

Assuming that this is an accurate observation, what can be the explanation?

 

Some potential thoughts:

  • Some sort of broadcasting bias – The TV director hears a constant stream of messages telling drivers to stick to “Plan A”, but it’s just not news worthy, so it’s not until someone actually changes up their tactics (for instance by suggesting "Plan B") that it is of interest to broadcast the audio to the world.
  • Teams are actually using “Plan B” as the main plan in a sly scheme to foil their competitors – By telling the driver that they are thinking about “Plan B”, they may want to trick the opposition into believing that they will try something out of the ordinary, when in fact “Plan B” was “Plan A” all along.
  • Teams are useless at strategizing, and therefore often need to switch away from their original plans as soon as possible – Yes, but it’s not just Ferrari that are constantly thinking about “Plan B”

Any other ideas?

 

Also, why can’t at least one of the teams spice things up from time to time by having cooler strategy names? Like “Plan Omega” or “Operation Overlord”. Or they could at least try to connect it to their sponsors for maximum exposure. "Lance, we are considering Plan Cognizant, or would you prefer Operation Aramco?"


Edited by Rediscoveryx, 31 August 2022 - 12:45.


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#2 PlatenGlass

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 12:48

Aside from the other reasons, I think it's selection bias, and 80% is a massive exaggeration. If everything's going to plan, you're less likely to hear about it (and not just because it isn't broadcast - it might not be said at all). So while you might hear about plan B more often than you hear about plan A, it's not like you hear about it from most of the teams at most of the races. It's just that when you hear about a plan, it's often plan B.


Edited by PlatenGlass, 31 August 2022 - 12:48.


#3 mirrorboy

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 12:59

excellent topic mate!

 

Operation overlord.. hope to hear it some day lol



#4 an1res

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:06

If it's Plan A by default, the team only has to mention a Plan when a change is required. And I suppose Plan B is the next best option, so, it's the most frequent. And once the plan has been changed, a return to Plan A may be almost impossible. My two cents.



#5 Dolph

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:07

"Nelson, this is Flavio. The fox has exited the hen house. I repeat - the fox has exited the hen house. We are ready to commence with Operation Banana Peel"



#6 pdac

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:08

Maybe the "Plan A"s are often over-optimistic - assuming everything goes extremely well (which, of course, it rarely does).



#7 Dolph

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:13

"Checo, it is the last race of the season. We are midway through the race and we have noticed you have a large amount of unused defense budget. May I remind you that as the Minister of Defense, it is your responsibility to ensure the defense budget is spent. How copy?" 

 

"Copy. I will begin Operation Empty the Coffers"


Edited by Dolph, 31 August 2022 - 13:14.


#8 red stick

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:20

Sticking with a plan, or "Plan A," isn't news.

#9 PayasYouRace

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:23

You generally don’t have to announce that you’re sticking to plan A, you just continue on plan A.

Assuming the plans are labelled A, B, C etc in order of preference, plan A would be the optimal strategy and would generally require things to go exactly as expected. As circumstances around the race change (traffic, safety car, VSC) then a change of plan could be required. It’s very unlikely that circumstances will swing back towards the original optimum conditions such you’d call a switch back to plan A.

Of course the teams might be messing around with the letters to keep people guessing, but at the end of the day, the drivers have to know the plans well enough to not need them explained on the radio.

#10 noikeee

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:24

Didn't someone (Lando?) get the message last weekend to switch to "Plan F" or something along those lines.
 
How on earth can drivers memorise all that many plans, on top of all the driving they have to do. :lol: ****ing hell.


#11 red stick

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:34

Didn't someone (Lando?) get the message last weekend to switch to "Plan F" or something along those lines.
 
How on earth can drivers memorise all that many plans, on top of all the driving they have to do. :lol: ****ing hell.

My guess? McLaren only had two or three plans. B, C, D, and E all rhyme, and F avoids radio confusion. :smoking:
Alternatively, they want their rivals to think their planning runs deep.

#12 Dolph

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:35

"Fernando, we're thinking Plan B... Plan B"

 

"That's GP2 plan... I will stick to El Plan. All the time you have to stick to El Plan"


Edited by Dolph, 31 August 2022 - 13:36.


#13 pdac

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:48

You generally don’t have to announce that you’re sticking to plan A, you just continue on plan A.

Assuming the plans are labelled A, B, C etc in order of preference, plan A would be the optimal strategy and would generally require things to go exactly as expected. As circumstances around the race change (traffic, safety car, VSC) then a change of plan could be required. It’s very unlikely that circumstances will swing back towards the original optimum conditions such you’d call a switch back to plan A.

Of course the teams might be messing around with the letters to keep people guessing, but at the end of the day, the drivers have to know the plans well enough to not need them explained on the radio.

 

It would be much more interesting if they used code names rather than letters. Maybe Red Bull could use Spice Girls tags ... "Plan Ginger" being the optimal strategy.



#14 Dolph

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 13:58

Interestingly Colton Herta blew a win at Mid Ohio this year because the team used a code word to call him into the pits and he missed it somehow.

Edited by Dolph, 31 August 2022 - 13:58.


#15 jAnO76

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:05

Interestingly Colton Herta blew a win at Mid Ohio this year because the team used a code word to call him into the pits and he missed it somehow.

Resulting in not enough points for a SL, so time he needs a plan B



#16 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:05

Interestingly Colton Herta blew a win at Mid Ohio this year because the team used a code word to call him into the pits and he missed it somehow.

 

Was the word "Bee"?



#17 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:07

You generally don’t have to announce that you’re sticking to plan A, you just continue on plan A.

Assuming the plans are labelled A, B, C etc in order of preference, plan A would be the optimal strategy and would generally require things to go exactly as expected. As circumstances around the race change (traffic, safety car, VSC) then a change of plan could be required. It’s very unlikely that circumstances will swing back towards the original optimum conditions such you’d call a switch back to plan A.
 

 

Right, but when you are approaching your Pre-planned Plan A Pit window (or PPPAPW for short), wouldn't you at least want the team to confirm that they are expecting you and that you are still in fact on the original plan?


Edited by Rediscoveryx, 31 August 2022 - 14:07.


#18 PayasYouRace

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:11

Right, but when you are approaching your Pre-planned Plan A Pit window (or PPPAPW for short), wouldn't you at least want the team to confirm that they are expecting you and that you are still in fact on the original plan?


That’s when you hear the teams say “box this lap”.

#19 statman

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:11

Question? Do you want hard tires. So we will finish P5. Question?



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#20 Risil

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:13

Right, but when you are approaching your Pre-planned Plan A Pit window (or PPPAPW for short), wouldn't you at least want the team to confirm that they are expecting you and that you are still in fact on the original plan?

 



#21 BerniesDad

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:25

I think announcing "Plan B" on the radio is giving away too much information on a strategic change of direction. I'm inclined to think that they (should) code their radio messages along the lines of "Multi Twenty-One" , so that it sounds like it's an engine map preset, but in fact means "We need to pit early to go for the undercut. Don't tell <rival team>"



#22 pup

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:28

My guess? McLaren only had two or three plans. B, C, D, and E all rhyme, and F avoids radio confusion. :smoking:
Alternatively, they want their rivals to think their planning runs deep.

It was Plan G actually so there goes that theory.

I’m surprised McLaren’s Plan G isn’t a meme already, since that seems to be where they are in every aspect: engines, drivers, management, investors…

#23 cpbell

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:32

Aside from the other reasons, I think it's selection bias, and 80% is a massive exaggeration. If everything's going to plan, you're less likely to hear about it (and not just because it isn't broadcast - it might not be said at all). So while you might hear about plan B more often than you hear about plan A, it's not like you hear about it from most of the teams at most of the races. It's just that when you hear about a plan, it's often plan B.

Agreed.  That being said, I have noticed of recent that DC or whoever before the race will say "optimum strategy is a one-stop", yet almost none of the drivers actually does fewer than two, seemingly because someone behind them roots their first set early and everyone else makes an early stop to avoid being undercut.



#24 cpbell

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:34

"Fernando, we're thinking Plan B... Plan B"

 

"That's GP2 plan... I will stick to El Plan. All the time you have to stick to El Plan"

"Dolph - how many Fred memes will you include in your post?"

"Yes".



#25 RedRabbit

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:36

Question? Do you want hard tires. So we will finish P5. Question?


Ferrari were just taking the p with Charles - literally broadcast every single bit of information on every single option.

#26 GiorgioF1

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:50

Question? Do you want hard tires. So we will finish P5. Question?

Read this in his engineer voice and it immediately made my blood boil.


Edited by GiorgioF1, 31 August 2022 - 14:51.


#27 garoidb

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 14:53

"Plan B is never as good as Plan A" - David Coulthard



#28 pdac

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 15:24

"Plan B is never as good as Plan A" - David Coulthard

 

It's got to be better at some point, otherwise no one would switch to Plan B.



#29 Rediscoveryx

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 15:27

It's got to be better at some point, otherwise no one would switch to Plan B.


Which begs the question; does that mean that Plan B has thus become Plan A?

#30 garoidb

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 15:29

It's got to be better at some point, otherwise no one would switch to Plan B.

 

Plan A was better than Plan B, but Reality A was worse than Plan B  :lol:


Edited by garoidb, 31 August 2022 - 15:32.


#31 Secretariat

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 16:08

I noted in the Spa race thread that I think these plan calls (in general terms) can be interpreted as play calls and not necessarily in order. I used the analogy of the NFL and McLaren Plan G thing can be analogous to a play in a particular scenario, not necessarily the 7th option. For example, Plan D can be a pre-selected set of things to do in a given scenario that a team/driver does all the time. But in hindsight, it could also actually be the 7th option. Still, although there are many data points to assess, I think teams generally carry 3-4 different actual plans. Stoffel Vandoorne was asked about plans on the F1TV post-race show and he indicated this (his number was 4-5 if I recall correctly). PilgrimDrop made a point in the race thread regarding Ruth Buscombe appearance on Beyond The Grid. I had listened to it previously but decided to listen to it again and will second their suggestion of a listen.

 

To summarize broadly, Ruth Buscombe noted that plans/strategy is driver dependent and that Vettel can remember 17 things, but majority of other drivers cannot in her experience. She noted generally Team Principals makes the call regarding the race objective, but the Strategist implements the specific/individual "micro-decisions". She utilized a finance manager analogy and risk/reward/conservative in how that is employed. So how I interpreted it is there is an overall plan, and the strategist implements the individual micro-decisions in the context of the overall plan.  

 

In the context of all of that, my opinion is infinite plans are not effective if the plan cannot be carried out. Time and resources spend preparing for a scenario that might occur 1% of the time, is time taken away from likely scenarios. However, I will acknowledge the examples of machine learning and AI might make that worry irrelevant. I think the number of overall "plans", "strategies", "plays" (whatever term one wants to use) has to be a manageable number so that they can be carried out. However, the strategy comes full circle to being driver dependent: better more competent drivers can carry out more plans. I think of the example of Mazepin being asked to make adjustments at Monaco and saying he could not make the changes.  



#32 Beamer

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 16:18

Plan B is 2nd best after plam A unless you're Ferrari then Plan B is better then A but worse then C, which is in turn just about as bad as D so you might as well go for E thats comparable to A in the first place, so better ask your driver what he wants and when said to driver has a chance of winning go for plan G after all.

Edited by Beamer, 31 August 2022 - 16:18.


#33 AustinF1

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 17:08

As far as plan names go, I'm kinda partial to these previously-used names, esp for F1 use ...

 

- Operation Rolling Thunder

- Operation Urgent Fury

- Operation Wrath of God

- Operation Pig Bristle (for Oz)

- Operation Atilla

- Operation Cactus (in Texas or Nevada)

- Operation Longhorn (in Texas)

- Operation Nimrod

- Operation Dingo

- Operation Moolah



#34 red stick

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 17:19

Given some of the goings-on, we should borrow from Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau and go with Operation Frequent Manhood.



#35 taffer

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 17:31

It's easy, plan A for Accelerate, B for Box, C for Cruise, D for Drive, etc  :drunk:



#36 Jerem

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 18:27

 

Didn't someone (Lando?) get the message last weekend to switch to "Plan F" or something along those lines.
 
How on earth can drivers memorise all that many plans, on top of all the driving they have to do. :lol: ****ing hell.

 

I think Ferrari used Plan F a couple years ago and it turned out it was for "Fastest Lap"? or was it for "**** race strategies, we're Ferrari"



#37 HighwayStar

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 19:15

All these 'plans' remind me of the Piranha Brothers' imaginatively named rackets in Monty Python - The Operation, The Other Operation and The Other Other Operation!



#38 Cadence

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 19:37

@HighwayStar

Great handle! Shoutout to Deep Purple?

#39 Zerobyte

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 20:05

Ferrari's 2022 plan book    https://www.youtube....h?v=xEow-wh4Cg8


Edited by Zerobyte, 31 August 2022 - 20:07.


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#40 HighwayStar

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 20:06

@HighwayStar

Great handle! Shoutout to Deep Purple?

 

Thanks - yes, very much a deliberate nod to the band on my part (plan DP?). The only thing I liked about awarding pole position to the winner of the sprint race in last year's sprint weekends was that the award for the fastest qualifier was dubbed 'Speed King'!


Edited by HighwayStar, 31 August 2022 - 20:06.


#41 pup

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 20:39

Red Bull: “Keep with Plan A…seems to be working”

Mercedes: “Plan B? No, Louis. We made a plan; it is the plan.”

Ferrari: “We’re thinking…maybe…Plan B? Or maybe it could be C. What do you think? Stick with A? Box now. Box-box. Stay out.”

McLaren: “Switch to Plan G Prime, Alternate 6, 3 lap contingency to switch to H. Maintain Plan F through turns 5 and 6. Confirm.”

Alpine: “….”

#42 Gravelngrass

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 20:44

Ferrari almost always does something wrong so Plan B is practically a given. Most races I think they go to C or D at least.

#43 HighwayStar

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Posted 01 September 2022 - 20:16

Red Bull: “Keep with Plan A…seems to be working”

Mercedes: “Plan B? No, Louis. We made a plan; it is the plan.”

Ferrari: “We’re thinking…maybe…Plan B? Or maybe it could be C. What do you think? Stick with A? Box now. Box-box. Stay out.”

McLaren: “Switch to Plan G Prime, Alternate 6, 3 lap contingency to switch to H. Maintain Plan F through turns 5 and 6. Confirm.”

Alpine: “….”

 

Very good summary, especially McLaren - as a certain former team boss might have put it 'the team possesses the capability to deploy a broad variety of strategic options ranging from optimal to highly suboptimal scenarios'.



#44 TomNokoe

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Posted 01 September 2022 - 20:47

Combination of points 1 and 3. Plan A is usually one stop, which are becoming slightly less frequent.

#45 BoDarvelle

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Posted 01 September 2022 - 22:40

Red Bull: “Keep with Plan A…seems to be working”

Mercedes: “Plan B? No, Louis. We made a plan; it is the plan.”

Ferrari: “We’re thinking…maybe…Plan B? Or maybe it could be C. What do you think? Stick with A? Box now. Box-box. Stay out.”

McLaren: “Switch to Plan G Prime, Alternate 6, 3 lap contingency to switch to H. Maintain Plan F through turns 5 and 6. Confirm.”

Alpine: “….”

 

Haas: " We're discussing." three laps later; "We're still discussing."



#46 prty

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Posted 02 September 2022 - 05:24

I guess it has already been discussed and is obvious for many, but I see some also believe that McLaren must have really had at least 7 plans, so here you go: G is highly likely a mnemonic, and doesn't mean that all the letters until G were associated with plans.

#47 JBJ

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Posted 02 September 2022 - 05:40

Still think the plan G talk from McLaren at Spa was a dig at Ferrari



#48 Dolph

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Posted 04 September 2022 - 13:28

Plan A spotted!



#49 Dolph

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Posted 04 September 2022 - 13:48

Plan C. But where is Plan B?