How many points have drivers lost in 2012?

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Guillermo Solares wrote in to ask how many points different drivers have lost in incidents:

I’m wondering if you may thought about keep statistics analysis of points dropped or missed by drivers.

For example points dropped due a race penalty (seconds added to final time) like what happened to Pastor Maldonado in Canada; points missed by accidents [when the race is almost finished], like Maldonado in Valencia; and points dropped due to technical review failures, like what happened to Sergio Perez in his first race in 2011.
Guillermo Solares

This isn’t something I produce statistics on regularly (see the F1 statistics section for those). The reason is because it can be difficult to say with certainty how many points a driver would have scored in a given scenario.

Sometimes there is little doubt how many points a driver would have scored, as in the case of Guillermo’s first and third examples involving post-race penalties. There is also a clear knock-on effect: if we move one driver up a position someone else has to move down.

But when we get into the area of drivers having problems during races, such as in Guillermo’s second example, things become more complicated. We can assume Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton would not have retired in Valencia – but which of the two do we assume would have finished ahead?

This is the point at which the analysis becomes subjective. And when you try to perform it for multiple drivers in the same race you quickly find yourself in a mire of intangible questions producing answers of doubtful value.

However when it comes to the battle for the championship it can be useful to look at results this way. We often talk about drivers ‘throwing away points with mistakes’ or ‘losing points due to misfortune’ and attempting to quantify that is worthwhile.

By limiting the analysis to the drivers in contention for the title the whole process becomes much simpler and yields results which, though they should obviously not be considered definitive, can tell us useful things. For this reason I have produced one-off articles along these lines previously.

The most recent example was in the closing stages of the 2010 season when Sebastian Vettel had several car problems, some of which cost him likely victories, and lost further points due to incidents. Note that it pre-dates the Korean Grand Prix where Vettel lost another likely win with a technical failure while he was leading:

Inevitably this sort of analysis involved making assumptions. These should err on the conservative side of realistic. For example:

  • Using a driver’s position relative to other drivers at the point they retired to work out where they’re likely to have finished
  • Not assuming a driver would have overtaken any other drivers
  • Making sensible assumptions about where a driver would have finished had they qualified higher

Case study: Pastor Maldonado

Guillermo made a few references to Maldonado’s season so far so let’s use it as an example. This will highlight some of the difficulties in making this sort of calculation and also reveal the kind of insight we can gain from it:

  • Australia: Eight points lost after crashing while chasing Fernando Alonso
  • Malaysia: One point lost due to engine failure
  • Bahrain: One point lost due to grid penalty for changing gearbox and puncture (was running in front of Schumacher, who finished tenth, before his puncture)
  • Monaco: Six points lost due to grid penalty for hitting Sergio Perez, gearbox change penalty and collision with Pedro de la Rosa (assuming he would have started ninth without penalties and gained positions from Romain Grosjean and Michael Schumacher’s retirements)
  • Canada: Zero points lost due to grid penalty for gearbox change (would have started 17th)
  • Europe: 12 points lost due to collision with Hamilton
  • Britain: Six points lost due to collision with Perez (assuming he would have remained behind Perez but ahead of Grosjean)
  • Hungary: Zero points lost due to collision with Paul di Resta (assuming he would have finished behind the Force India)

It’s important to stress the conservative assumptions behind this. Maldonado could realistically have scored better in Bahrain, Monaco, Canada and Hungary. But even this puts his total points lost this year at 34 which, had he scored them, would have more than doubled his actual tally of 29.

On top of the points Maldonado would have gained, it is also necessary to factor in the points other drivers would have lost as a result. Having done this we see Maldonado would move up two places in the drivers’ championship, ahead of the Sauber pair and Williams would pass Sauber in the constructors’ – a position potentially worth tens of millions of dollars.

This shows how this kind of analysis is problematic because it involves a degree of subjectivity.

But it’s useful because it helps us see the full picture of why a driver may have underperformed during a season, which is always a potent area of discussion. In this case, while Maldonado’s collisions and penalties have received much attention, this reminds us he’s had some technical problems this year too.

So it’s something I may look at in more detail for the championship contenders later this year. As always, suggestions on how to do it better are welcome so please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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71 comments on “How many points have drivers lost in 2012?”

  1. Even with 34 points being conservative, I would’ve dropped seven from that… and perhaps added three afterwards. Don’t think we can go by his qualifying position to see how many points the guy lost – his race pace hasn’t been quite as good as his quali efforts most of the time.

  2. My baised point of view with regards to Raikkonen:

    Australia: 4pts loss, due to quali. Otherwise would have been in pack with Alonso, prly faster.
    Malasiya: 0pts, too unpredictable to call with the weather.
    China: 10pts due to strategy, had enough time to cover for eventual 10pts if pitted instead of waiting for cliff. Also could have fought for a win if Button did slow whole pack down and let Rosberg get away.
    Bahrain: 8pts due to quali, his own fault, he was too fast on both compounds even if had just one fresh set of softs.
    Spain: 0pts, I dont remember if he made a mistake on pole lap.
    Monaco: 4pts at least, total disaster by team again, plus his quali performance, can blaim the waiting game with rain, but in RAI’s case, it was retarded how much time he lost on first stint and eventually gave pit window to front runners.
    Canada: 6pts, coupled with bad grid position team lost places on every single pit stop.
    Europe: 0pts, wise move not to fly into Maldonado in the first corner also set him behind. But should be pleased with 2nd all things considering.
    Great Britan: 2pts, proly more, but main problem was Massa and it took him too long to handle him so more than 2pts would be a stretch.
    Germany: 3pts, hard to predict, but grid position again put him out of contention for win.
    Hungary: 0pts, if he started on pole I would say he lost the win there, but he didn’t.

    1. That would put him on 153 and obviously Alonso would have had less. Some one should do a summary on how many points Alonso have gained if it wasn’t for others bad luck :D:D

    2. Your point of view seem obscure & you’ve made some clear human errors.

      Australia: Lotus’ pace was decent but not enough to challenge the McLarens & Red Bulls, 5th was probably the maximum even If he had a better grid position.

      Malaysia: We’ll leave Malaysia as like you said, the race was too ridiculous to predict.

      China: If Lotus were to put Kimi on a three-stop strategy then yes, a potential 10 points were lost, possibly 12 If the car was capable of challenging Webber or had he got ahead of the latter after the 1st stint.

      Bahrain: 1st Alternative: Higher grid position would have given Kimi more opportunities to challenge Vettel for the lead assuming he stuck with his original strategy, that was I believe, based on his original grid position (P11), otherwise the same strategy as his team-mate would have left him finishing further behind Vettel than he did.

      2nd Alternative: Had he committed to his one & ultimately only opportunity to pass Vettel, then he would’ve opened the gap until the end of the penultimate stint & assuming he came out ahead of the Red Bull, then he would’ve maintained If not had a slightly reduced gap given that Vettel was slightly quicker in the final stint. So 7 points potentially lost there.

      Spain: Despite making an extra pit-stop, which saw Kimi catch the leaders at the latter stages of the race, it was still too little too late to challenge the front-runners, Lotus left their anticipated strong pace towards the end, something that would become somewhat of a common occurrence.

      Silverstone: Again difficult to predict due to wet qualifying, If anything Lotus were slightly slower than the Ferraris & Red Bulls in the race, though mixing it in in the form of getting ahead of Massa was possible had he not ran wide before Loop on the penultimate lap, so yes a potential 2 points lost.

      Germany: Again question is whether he would’ve been able to match Alonso, Button & Vettel up in front or even close up to them, If it weren’t for Lotus putting him on options for his 2nd stint. Points could’ve been lost to some extent If Vettel didn’t deliberately overtake Button off the track.

      Hungary: Different strategy would’ve been deployed If he had a better grid position, therefore meaning he didn’t get stuck behind Alonso & Co in the 1st & 2nd stints, still regardless even If he had the same strategy as his team-mate, Hungary is a difficult circuit to overtake on & it’s fair to concede that Kimi wouldn’t have passed Hamilton at some point of the race.

      I ignored Monaco to Valencia because he either didn’t lose points or I didn’t study his race at the time.

      Like Keith mentioned in the article, there are many compilations in almost lamenting what should have & would have been (we’ll never find out If we’re certain or not), the past is the past (what’s happened has happened & maybe for a reason), the future is always changeable. It’s all part of not only racing but also sport & to a greater extent, life.

      1. Just in regards to you comment about Lotus in Australia, how can you say the could not compete with the Red Bulls when Grosjean qualified 3rd, ahead of both of them.

        1. I agree with @nick-uk , at least in Grosjean’s hands the Lotus was fundamentally quick enough to beat the Red Bull’s (but not the McLaren’s). However Vettel’s race pace was very good, so there’s no guarantee he would have beaten the Red Bull’s in the race.

        2. Qualy performance and Race performance are two different things. You can get a snapshot of the pace on Saturday, but the cars behave much differently on full tanks of fuel over long stints versus a 1-or-2 lap blast…. Unless you’re Red Bull and have adjustable ride height ;)

        3. @nick-uk yes but dont forget race-pace can be completely different to qualy pace. especially this year. In Aus, Vettel had about the same race pace as Hamilton!

  3. I try not to dwell on these types of stats. As is pointed out in the article, to add points to one driver means deducting them from others. You can’t fairly apply changes to one person, you have to do it to them all. In such a situation everyone has points added and everyone has them taken away… The end result could be that the standings look more-o-less the same, or they flip it about all over the place. At the end of the day though the points are what they are and cannot be changed.

    I doubt the drivers will continue to think about the points they ‘could’ have won as it is counterproductive to their season, they need to focus on what is ahead not what has happened. Kimi is perhaps the best example of this mentality. Whenever he is asked the question ‘Could you have won today?’ he simply replies; ‘Well, I didn’t’.

    That said, these fruitless ponderings always give us something to do in August…

    1. @nick-uk Nicely said, this kind of calculation quickly makes people crazy because it’s very hard to agree on that kind of things and it’s quite subjective … So you should use margins, but that makes it even more complicated to compile the “could be ranking” thus I’ll gently keep waiting for the next race coming every day on F1fanatic though but trying not to go crazy about this …

    2. I think the best way to go about this would be to create something like “a perfect season”. We would have to make an in-depth analysis of every Grand Prix and try to come up with a realistic result (read:guess), but with the underlying assumption that all the drivers would cross the finish line. Then we would have to make an alternative championship table and compare driver’s standings “before” and “after”.

  4. Here’s my attempt at Lewis Hamilton’s season.

    Australia: Clutch problems at start put him behind Button, without which he probably would have won, but with so many laps to go and a slight lack of pace compared to Jenson makes it a bit too uncertain, therefore, just the 3 points lost due to the unlucky safety car dropping him behind Vettel. (+3)

    Malaysia: Again, possibly another win, losing crucial track position to Alonso and Perez in the pit-stops, but he also lacked a bit of the pace of the front two so its too optimistic to give any extra points (0)

    China: The 5 place grid penalty put him behind Button, but eh had equal of faster pace when they were in clean air, so he probably would have fought for victory without it. The win is too much of an unknown, but without the penalty he would have at least been ahead of Button. (+3)

    Bahrain: Before the dodgy pit stops he was running ahead of Webber, and with similar clean air pace we can assume he would have stayed in 4th (lost to Raikkonen) without the errors. (+8)

    Spain: Team lost him an almost certain victory. (+21)

    Monaco: Team’s lack of communication lost him a place to Vettel. (+2)

    Canada: He won! (0)

    Valencia: Crashtor Mal-D’oh-nado whacked him off from 3rd, but he probably would have lost the position anyway. However, the pit stop lost him crucial track position to Alonso, which could likely have led to victory, but as we must be conservative, we’ll just give him 4th (+12).

    Silverstone: Nothing really I can think of (0)

    Germany: Again, probably a 4th place lost due to the puncture based on the pace of the other Mclaren. Maybe would have done better as he has been far better then Button this year, but we can’t be sure, so 4th it is (+12).

    Hungary: He won again (0).

    So that conservative view gives him an extra 61 points. This would have him leading the championship by a reasonable margin. But what about an optimistic view:

    Aus: +10
    Mal: +10
    Chi: +10
    Bah: +8
    Spa: +21
    Mon: +2
    Can: 0
    Val: +25
    Bri: 0
    Ger: +12
    Hun: 0

    That would be an extra 98 points and a complete domination of the championship. So this may be optimistic, but it is definately a possibility, and these are all points lost through no fault of Hamilton himself.

    1. This could go the opposite way too, if Ferrari has the same strategy as Ham in Canada, ALO could have won, he was lucky in Hungary, that the faster Lotus couldn’t overtake on the Go-Kart circuit. (If you catch someone from a 15 sec gap, you are CLEARLY faster, so your +98 points is a JOKE, specially that none of it was HAM’s fault. You could have just wrote 11x25pts and get over with it. Val +25? how did you come up with that?, and he didn’t have the pace in Germany. He matched alonso for 10 laps or so, cos he used up all his fresh tyres, and gave up the race after. Malaysia +10? Are you kiddin mi? He didn’t have pit problems, he had a much faster car than Fernando (in the dry, in the wet, it’s more the driver), and ALO just went away from him easily, HAM didn’t have a problem, he was just sloooooow, how is it McLaren’s fault again?, yes, spain would have been a clear victory, and a few places lost due to pit stops here and there, he had more bad luck thus far than an avarage driver this year, but hey, that’s life. The way he won in 2008…, Massa’s two lost win (Hungary, singapore) didn’t bother you back than. So your 98 pts is a JOKE, hypotethically even, i’d give him 40 tops. But just as well you could give ALO Canada, or 2 places at China, better strategy at Spain, etc etc.

      1. My focus was on Hamilton’s, in the same way Keith’s solely focused on Maldonado so your comments about Alonso in Canada etc are irrelevant to what I’m saying.

        Val +25? how did you come up with that?

        If you read my whole comment you would know where I got that from. His pit stop problem cost him track position to Alonso, and if he had been ahead of Alonso when Vettel and Grosjean retired it is possible he would have kept that, especially considering the advantage having clean air gives when it comes to maintaining tyre life.

        Malaysia +10? Are you kiddin mi? He didn’t have pit problems

        I think you need to re-watch the race, he lost track position to many drivers, including Alonso and Perez in his first stop after the safety car.

        he didn’t have the pace in Germany. He matched alonso for 10 laps or so

        His car had sustained damage from the puncture, and even if he didn’t have the pace of Alonso, that wouldn’t be necessary for 4th would it now?

        I clearly said that the 98 points was an optimistic view, and I notice that you conveniently ignored my more serious, conservative comments.

        1. Hamilton said after VAL, that he clearly didn’t have the tyre life at the end of the race, he couldn’t have held his current position, how is that +25?, and in MAL, after the pitstop he was 4 or so sec behind alonso, which grew to more than 15-20sec, not even close on pace to first two. Well, the damage is possible in germany, i give you that, but the rest is VERY optimistic

          1. I did say they were optimistic, hence why I didn’t include them in my proper analysis. Remember though, track position (particularly being out front in clean air) is key this year.

      2. I sense a lot of anger towards Hamilton, you need to calm down!
        Australia – Clutch problems that cost him the win it’s simple as that 25 points lost
        Malaysia – Two messed up pit stop and bad strategy cost Hamilton the win, before the safety car Alonso was nowhere NEAR Hamilton & Button so 25 point lost

        China – Penalty cost Hamilton at least 18 point lost
        Bahrain – Bad pace and two messed up pit stop cost him a 4h place 12 points lost
        Spain, Catalunya – Penalty cost Hamilton an 100% win 25 points lost
        Monaco – Clutch problem and bad communication cost Hamilton at least 12 points
        Europa – Spain, Valencia – Bad pit stop (11+ sec.) cost Hamilton a potential win (Hamilton is NOT easy to overtake) but let’s keep it 3th place 15 points lost
        Silverstone – simply no pace
        Germany, Hockenheim – definitely lost a podium due a puncture

        So in total Hamilton lost 132 points due Penalties, neglected strategy and bad pit stop

        1. the problem there is that you are ignoring the points that Hamilton still got in the races. So in Aus he got 15, so the most he could have lost was 10, not 25.

    2. your argument is faulty at point 1 – saying it was a “cluth fault” for hamilton. how do you know he did not make a mistake, which seems more realistic. and button was faster throught the race any how, so blaming the start for his loss to button is pretty lousy. Button was faster, and hamilton made the “faulty clutch” start which button did not do.

      1. I had heard somewhere it was a clutch problem, but can’t find it now, so you may be right. But I actually didn’t give any points for that in my initial argument.

      2. Because Hamilton said his race engineer advice him to do so and in Monaco also

    3. Valencia +25 points is unrealistic. Even Hamilton admitted he failed with his tyre wear. he would have lost places in last 2-3 laps even if he had not collided with Maldonado, as his tyres were over the cliff. he had no chance of a podium with his tyre wear, and that is why he is unlikely to win this years championship – he qualifies high, but stumbles on race day.

      1. ”he would have lost places in last 2-3 laps even if he had not collided with Maldonado, as his tyres were over the cliff” – Say’s who ?, look how much effort it took both Grosjean and Raikonen to overtook Hamilton while they both where clearly faster then Hamilton, they both needed 5+ laps to overtook Hamilton, it’s simply as that. And the case with Maldonado is there was 1 more lap to go and that does not guarantee Maldonado would overtook Hamilton

    4. LOL The most loyal LH fan!

      1. yet you fail to come up with a single argument with what I have said…

        1. For the record, I like your analysis – like you I am a Hamilton fan, but in your more conservative analysis it does give a good idea of the POTENTIAL swing that some of the issues he has suffered could have contributed to.

          It would be very interesting to see the whole championship organised in this manner! But as Keith said, that’s too difficult and too subjective.

          Still, keeps August interesting.

          More amusing is the fact that fans of different drivers will NEVER agree on what the potential gains are for the opposition ;)

          1. Thanks, I have no trouble admitting I’m a huge Hamilton fan, but I try to be subjective with my comments. Just because I support one driver doesn’t mean I am blind to everything else going on. Get’s a little tedious when everything you say is disregarded just because you support a certain driver!

    5. @jleigh i too like your analysis. but in Valencia, HAM pretty much hit the cliff 2 laps from the end. now even if he had clean air and was ahead of ALO, i doubt that would be worth 2 laps of saved tyre deg. if u get what i mean…

      otherwise, yeah HAM would be sitting pretty comfy going into Spa. maybe around 180-190 points or so. shame Mclaren let him down.

      1. @sato113 I agree it’s a long shot, but not impossible.

  5. how foolish of me, ofcourse i mean Bashtor Maldona-D’oh

  6. I try not to really look at this kind of stuff. Points lost are meaningless anyway, and it’s easy to say Alonso should’ve pitted in Canada with the outcome in hand already. But at the time, it wasn’t clear.

    Of course, in cases like this with Maldonado, it’s clear to see that he should and would have scored a lot more points if only he had not crashed into everyone every single time. Afterall, he just scored twice this year which is quite lame already.

    1. precisely my thinking. This is why we have rules and regulations, and all teams and drivers agree to abide by them at the beginning of the year. Also pointless to say “Hamilton could have had more” or “Driver X could have had more” because this is a team sport, so despite no fault of the driver, the results they get stand, and their performances are relative to that.

      Interesting to read, but fairly silly to even try to argue one way or another.

      Just shows how bored we all are when there’s no F1 for a few weeks…

    2. and maldonado who is a terrifically fast driver has gained a bad reputation through his faults this year. just like hamilton did last year with his amatuer wheel to wheel driving incidents and crashes. i wonder how Maldonado will drive in the future, he is obviously fast, but will he learn from his mistakes? if he has 1 or 2 good seasons everyone will forget his indiscretions. people are already forgetting hamiltons last year. when you are fast, you are fast – and maldonado is fast, so he will have good spells as well in his career. if you cant forgive him, look at the biggest crook in our sport, schumacher, almost everyone has forgotten his far more terrible indiscretions.

  7. …. this is a terrible idea, you could probably spend years on the permutations and still not have a satisfying answer. I don’t blame Guillermo for suggesting it though, this summer break is driving me a bit mad too :(

    1. I agree. After all, Narain could be leading the WDC if the others had all crashed!
      The summer break is deadly though, I nearly resorted to doing some work out of sheer boredom.

  8. Europe: 12 points lost due to collision with Hamilton

    That should be 15, Keith. Let’s be honest here, Lewis’s tyres were shot and if Pastor had been more patient he would’ve breezed passed on the next lap via DRS.

  9. Amazingly, Maldonado lost 31 points (34 if you he passed Lewis in Valencia) due his own mistakes and bad luck. He has lost more points than he’s won!

    1. Only 2 of those were bad luck too- shows how costly his driving is.

      1. but also shows that he is a great talent, he is losing points like grosjean through inexperience and youthful impetus. one day Maldonaco could be a champion dominating, and his haters will bring back this years incidents to chatergorise him every year.

        1. And last years incidents. And probably next years. And his awful attitude throughout. He’s fast, but he needs to do a lot of work to show that he can put this driving behind him- more than Hamilton for instance, who in his worst season had at least shown prior to that that he could drive cleanly and spectacularly.

  10. Fernando Cruz
    21st August 2012, 13:34

    Maldonado and Grosjean are the drivers that lost a lot of points with incidents. Maybe more the former than the latter. Most of Maldonado’s incidents were his own fault, some of Grosjean’s were also due to bad luck. Futhermore, while Maldonado had costly mistakes everywhere since his win in Spain (counting with some in practice or qualifying), some of them didn’t cost him points (Canada was an example of this, the Williams was simply not good enough there).

    Let’s now remember Grosjean’s incidents: (not all his fault or costing him points)

    Australia – incident with Maldonado led to retirement
    Malaysia – incident with Schumacher, race ruined for the german and retirement a few laps later in the wet
    Spain – incident with Perez and race ruined for the mexican
    Monaco – incident with Schumacher led to retirement (too many cars side by side) and race ruined for Kobayashi
    Siverstone – incident with Di Resta and race ruined both for the british and himself
    Hockenheim – incident with Senna and race ruined both for the brazilian and himself

    So, I think we have too many incidents. Grosjean was brilliant everywhere in terms of pace but he needs to be more careful, particularly in the first lap of a race.

  11. Okay, well, since everyone else is having a stab, I might as well. I think one of the clearly potential championship leaders has been unfairly omitted here, so I’ll count the points he probably lost. The man in question – Pedro de la Rosa. Now, you might think this is a long shot, but bear with me.

    Australia – wary of potential HRT dominance due to their clearly superior race pace, the FIA did not allow them to take part due to some rule they made up. Since Pedro is a better driver than Narain, this is a 25 pointer lost.

    Malaysia – Alonso and Perez were the class of the field, but a bogus drive through cost Pedro a surefire third place. 15 points.

    Bahrain – there and in China HRT struggled with the tyres, no fault of the driver ofc. In China I don’t think he could’ve fought for points but here, if luckier, he would’ve been right after the Red Bulls and the Lotuses. 10 points.

    Spain – Pedro was put under too much pressure, this being his home grand prix, and couldn’t handle it. Not his fault since if the organizers called this one the “European Grand Prix”, he would’ve easily run away with the win. 25 points.

    Monaco – Maldonado, usually being supremely quick on this track, qualified behind Pedro, proving de la Rosa’s immense potential here. Alas, Pastor took him out in the first corner, costing him a victory.

    Canada – if not for the brake failure, de la Rosa would’ve surely been among the people overtaking Alonso on heavily worn tyres. You can obviously note that as he was substituing Perez on this track last year and was generally just as quick. 4th place.

    Europe – the safety car sabotaged HRT’s strategy, not allowing Pedro to break into the top 5 like he could’ve easily done. Obviously.

    Let’s say Germany and Great Britain went as they probably should have, but Hungary is the track where Pedro recorded his career-best finish of second. If the season went as well for him as it should’ve, he would’ve been able to easily equal that result. 18 points.

    Overall, Pedro would’ve been 2nd in the standings with 142 points or so. Bear in mind – I’m fairly conservative here.

    DISCLAIMER: the preceeding presentation was created with the intention of showing some of you that it sounds truly ridiculous when you speculate how many points your favorite driver lost through no fault of their own.

    1. Jayfreese (@)
      21st August 2012, 13:57

      :) i’ve read all comments and this one certainly was the most objective. Those kind of statistics are meaningless, doing this we can all re-build, re-make former world championships.

    2. I had a good laugh at this one. :D

    3. COTD till now… :D

    4. A really good laugh. You could have left the “disclaimer” out, kind of ruined it :).

    5. Love it!

      In my opinion, I think the key miss from the fans thus far however, is clearly Jacques Villeneuve. Clearly, it is not his fault that the team he has attempted to bring into F1 several times has not been accepted. If it had, it would obviously have been the fastest on outright pace, but maybe given the tyres a conservative estimate would be 6×25, 5×18.

      As expected, he would already be champion…

  12. I think if we are indulging in an analysis like this, then we should stick to only those incidents which are out of the driver’s control. Technical retirements.
    So, let’s do this considering only say: Vettel and Romain’s retirement in Valencia, Michael’s retirement in Australia and China (both in the top 3).

    The Hamilton-Maldonado incident at Valencia cannot be really counted as it was an incident which could have been avoided.

    1. You can look at it the other way, and only examine incidents of human error rather than mechanical failure, but I agree that conflating the two makes things a bit complicated.

      One example I like to use is in 2005, where a common claim is that McLaren’s unreliability cost Kimi Raikkonen the world championship. But Kimi also made two race-ending driver errors (overcooking his clutch against the advice of the team at Imola, and flat-spotting his tyre at the Nurburgring which caused his last-lap blowout), costing him 24 points relative to Alonso (who inherited victory in both races). He did lose plenty of points due to Friday morning engine failures too, of course, but even with the unreliability he would have been world champion without those mistakes.

      But then again, “If ifs and ands were pots and pans…”

      1. Alonso was better than Raikkonen in 2005. Mclaren was a quicker car throughout most of the season though, much quicker, by at least half a second.

        1. I thought the Renault was superior during the first half of the season?

          1. First half? You mean first three races?

  13. KIMI and Romain lost most points.
    Many think E20 is the best car, so they should be ranked at least 2nd or 3rd.
    But they could not. That is why they were mocked by Piquet… *****
    Kimi lost at least more than 30 points dut to his luck of performance.

  14. I’m not sure about the ultimate value the enterprise, however tempting it is, including after seeing it tested on other drivers herein. But Keith’s summary of Maldonado’s misfortunes underlines what a disaster he has been. He has “lost” more than he has won, even with his victory. Any driver in his shoes without state-owned-enterprise money on hand would be under serious pressure after this run of blunders.

  15. As others have said, this kind of exercise gets far to involved; points gained by one driver must be lost by another and then when you include mistakes and mechanical failures during qualifying it gets virtually impossible. ie Where would the second Red Bull have qualified at Valencia, where they were undoubtedly the fastest car in the race, if it wasn’t for mechanical faults?

  16. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    21st August 2012, 16:37

    Having done this we see Maldonado would move up two places in the drivers’ championship, ahead of the Sauber pair and Williams would pass Sauber in the constructors’ – a position potentially worth tens of millions of dollars.

    @keithcollantine have you published in any article how was the way the teams distributed the money last year? (How much each got?) Is it based on a percentage of the total points available? or it’s a fixed percentage every year, according the team’s place at the end of the WCC? If it’s for the points, I guess Marusia, Catherham and HRT got nothing

    1. @omarr-pepper The exact breakdown of what each team earns from FOM each year is not published. But there are a few details about it in the public sphere. Teams’ earnings are based on how well they’ve done in the championship (in terms of ranking, not points) and how long they’ve been in F1 without a change of identity. The last is significant in the current Concorde Agreement negotiations – Mercedes believe their F1 heritage is undervalued as although they’re only in their third consecutive season as a full constructors they’ve been an engine supplier since 1995 and were a factory team in the fifties as well.

  17. Sebastian Vettel has lost a fair chunk of points, must notably in Malaysia (after NK crashed into him), Valencia (alternator) and in Germany (which in fairness can only really be blamed on him). By my reckoning he could have lost a maximum of 48 points, and combined with the fact Alonso would’ve lost 7 in Valencia Vettel would be leading the championship by over 10 points.

  18. Interesting to rethink what could the driver have achieved Keith, thanks for the suggestion Guillermo!

    It probably is best left to use carefully to help understand how well a driver did compared to what was possible in rating their season. But it does offer nice insights.

  19. This kind of shows Maldonado has pace but at the same time it is pointless. He HAS only scored twice this year. I think it’s fair he only has, what he has, because HE has made mistakes. I always used to think of what if, when it comes to F1, particularly being an Irvine and Jordan fan, what if eddie hadn’t had that strange weekend in japan, he might have won the title. If Damon had been on form in 99 Jordan could have easily won the Constuctors, but it’s pointless.
    Like Murray walker once said ‘If’ is a very long word in F1, infact ‘If’ is F1 spelled backwards.

  20. I’m a bit frustated by this: sure Maldonado has lost a lot of points, but so did Hamilton, Vettel, and.. well, I guess everyone has lost some points. that’s simply part of F1 I think. There are a lot of drivers who challenge for victory during one event, but just one of them gets the 25 points and the others have basically wasted their opportunities that weekend: how about them?

    As true F1 fans, I think we should look forward to the next few races and stop moaning about what could or should have been. The situation is that Alonso is leading, and if the Red Bulls and McLarens start maximizing their performances every weekend, they can still beat the this guy.

  21. There’s a lot of people complaining about the pointlessness etc. of this kind of thing, but i suspect most people took this sort of thing into account when they were doing their mid-season rankings.

  22. History is history, and chock full of what ifs. F1 is no exception, and it’s only natural that us fans will speculate on what might have been. A crazy and convoluted game for sure!

  23. To be fair, only incidents which are without any shadow of a doubt out of a driver’s control should be considered in “calculating” (if you can use such a word of such a hypothetical exercise) how many points they’ve “lost”. Eg, alternator failure to Seb Vettel in Valencia (25 points). I regard Pastor Maldonado ramming into Lewis Hamilton as out of Hamilton’s control, but well within Maldonado’s, so Id ‘regard that incident as having unfairly cost Hamilton points, but not Maldonado.

    A question to put out there: how should we treat something like the technical issues that plagued Mark Webber’s qualifying in Valencia, consigning him to 19th? He finished 4th in the end, largely thanks to unfortunate incidents eliminating drivers ahead of him. How should we calculate how he “would have” qualified in the absence of techincal problems out of his control? Should we assign him a time in line with his average performance in qualifying against Vettel this season, bump him up the grid accordingly in our thought-experiment, and then go lap-by-lap to see how he would have worked his way through the field? The problem I have with this is that he (and Schumacher) tried a different tyre strategy that day that gave them far superior grip in the last 6 laps or so, which enabled them both to slice their way through the remaining field. I believe they only used that different strategy because they were forced, by their lowly grid positions, to play a “back-end” tyre strategy.

    1. Very fair points!

      Regarding Webber at Valencia, without the retirements, he would have finished 8th. Without the qualifying problems, he would have qualified somewhere near the front (5th or 6th), he would have gained a few places thanks to the retirements but he would have still remained vulnerable to Schumacher at the end of the race. All-in-all, I think he was destined to finish 4th :)

      I loved the analysis that Keith had done in 2010. That was very objective. Then again, F1 was simpler in 2010. There was hardly any strategy involved and overtaking was also very less.

      1. Not sure how we can estimate Webber’s potential qualifying position if the car was running problem free. In FP1 he was on Vettel’s pace and during the race he set the 2nd fastest time on lap 40, so potentially he could have been P1… or not! Which underlines how difficult it is to reassign lost points. But it’s something to do to pass the time.

  24. davidnotcoulthard
    22nd August 2012, 6:31

    “This shows how kind of analysis is problematic because it involves a degree of subjectivity.”

    “This shows how this kind of analysis is problematic because it involves a degree of subjectivity.”?

    1. Changed it, thanks.

  25. I think you’ve probably analysed it in the best way possible @keithcollantine The only way I would do it is to assume that the driver drove at a speed exactly relative to everyone else in the race. That makes it as fair as possible.

    The way I see it, you don’t ever ‘lose’ points. Qualifying badly or losing it at the last corner still means you end up theoretically with the same result. Nothing is a given until you cross the finish line…and even then that’s not always true.

    If you looked at it long enough you would be able to find an excuse for HRT heading up both championships.

  26. This is ridiculous

  27. I posted an article on the forum which covers the entire spectrum of this question: Alternative history mid-season: the 2012 championship without misfortune.

    Not just looking at one driver, but at all the drivers, and how it would have affected them.

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