23 Feb 2018

Race strategy

Fifty years ago in F1 races and sports car races teams the driver's wives and/or girlfriends kept lap charts and did the timimg with mechanical stop watches. In the long distance races things were a little more formal for the top teams with designated timekeepers.
Electronic timing and lap scoring with the cars fitted with transponders changed the game about 30 years ago and now teams have access to massive amounts of data during the race. Lap scoring and timing for every car is available in real time.
This has changed the way race strategy is formulated for the teams. In the past the team manager made the call for fuel, tyre and driver change pit stops. They did this based on experience and a limited amount of data. Now teams have full time race strategists who use the available data and scenario prediction algorithms to determine the pit stop strategy. Unfortunately the best strategist in the world cannot predict safety car deployment and so at a race such as the Bathurst 12 hours race strategy is still a mix of science and luck.
Picture above the Objective Racing Mclaren's pit during the 2018 race.

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