The history of FIA Formula 1 driving metrics

Posted on Feb 28, 2019

It was the year 1906 when 32 racing drivers of Automobile Club de France started their engines at a 65-mile course near Le Mans and competed to drive under the checkered flag ahead of every other driver in the race. The average speed of the winning car, a Renault, was 62.8 mph.

From that humble start, Formula One racing was born. Throughout the years, it became the pinnacle of automobile technology where every part of the machine got pushed to new heights, whether it's the engine technology, tire technology or aerodynamics. This technological boom unquestionably contributed to the evolution of our standard,  slower cars. Car racing grew to be one of the most popular sports in the world, garnering attention from millions of fans and an array of sponsors.

One can easily say that Formula 1 satisfies our need of seeing technology at its best. The thrill of hearing the engines roar while going 200mph and taking corners at speeds that are not remotely possible even with the high-performance cars we see on the roads.

I built this visualization web-app to introduce you to the Formula 1 world. This project focuses on the history of Formula 1 as well as the driver metrics, from the first drivers to the most current ones. They are the real daredevils in this story who's been putting their lives on the line since the first days.

Here are some interesting facts about Formula 1 to get your appetite wet before you click the app link below.

  • The average cost of an F1 car is $10 million.
  • An average F1 team has an annual budget of $120 million.
  • A Formula 1 car comprises of about 80,000 components. The tolerances in building the parts are as tight as a space shuttle.
  • Formula 1 cars get ~4 miles to the gallon and the race teams use around 200.000 liters of fuel in a season. (for both testing & racing)
  • The F1 driver loses approximately 8lb during a race. To help them hydrate, F1 cockpits have drinking bottles installed.
  • During a race, F1 drivers experience up to 5G under braking and 3G under acceleration. 
  • F1 car brakes are made from indestructible carbon fiber and need to be at a minimum temperature of 500°C before they work properly.
  • Before the Monaco Grand Prix, manhole covers are welded down because  the downforce created by the cars is strong enough to throw them open.
  • The average F1 car can go from 0 to 100 mph and then decelerate back to 0 in less than five seconds. (don't try this with your Honda)
  • F1 driver helmets are amongst the toughest things in the world. During tests, the helmets are subjected to 800-degree flames for 40 minutes.
  • Lastly, F1 cars are incredibly strong. In 1977, David Purley was involved in a crash where the impact was estimated at 197.8g. In other words, his car went from 108 mph to a complete standstill in 2 seconds.

Couple things to know for the best experience in the app:

  • Do watch the video on the welcome page if you've never seen a Formula 1 race. Even for just a couple minutes. It will give you a taste of what Formula 1 is about.
  • Drivers tab includes graphs on most successful drivers, most successful countries as well as performance data of all Formula 1 drivers in the history of F1.
  • Standings tab will provide you with race-specific info. Please select a season first and then a race. If you see "Inf" in any of the info boxes, that means that I didn't have the data for that race. If so, try selecting a newer race.
  • Races tab will show you on the map what a global sport Formula 1 is. The lines follow the order of the races. Just select a season from the left drop down menu and play with the "world". 
  • Let's Race tab includes a mini simulation. When you load the page, if you see an error, ignore it and keep waiting. The visualization will load whether there's an error or not. Select a season and a race, and give it 5-10 seconds. Then hit "PLAY". This visualization represents that specific race and how the drivers raced. Any dot (representing the drivers) that's left behind during the animation means that the driver was out of race. If you're curious about what happened, you can see it it in the "Standings" tab.


Formula 1 Shiny App

About Author

Rifat Dincer

Rifat Yuce Dincer (U.J), spent the last 10 years in business development working for AT&T, Salesforce & HackerRank. He worked with companies that ranged from small startups to large enterprises by partnering with their C suite and solving...
View all posts by Rifat Dincer >

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