|Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull celebrates after his win in the Hungarian Grand Prix. Source: Business Insider|
With the mid-summer break upon us after the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend, it’s a good time to step back and reflect upon how the season has been going so far. There will be a series of these posts pitting team against team and driver against driver to see who has been the “best” so far in a range of categories. To start off, we’ll be taking a look at which team has been the most reliable this year.
Car reliability is a phrase uttered at almost every Grand Prix, whether it’s a good thing or bad really depends on the situation. In our case, we’ll be taking a look at accidents (for the drivers) and technical failures (for the teams).
Starting with accidents, we took a look at all crashes in a race situation, and it turns out only 11 drivers have accounted for the 18 accidents this year. The 2013 season saw 24 accidents, and we are on pace to break that number once the season resumes. These 11 drivers are exactly 50% of the field. Of those, Nico Hulkenberg is the only one to be in the top 10 positions of the standings (Hulkenberg is 7th). The driver with the most accidents? It’s actually a three way tie with 3 each between Sutil, Gutierrez and Massa. Those three drivers combined only have 40 points (all coming from Massa), 19.8% of championship leader Nico Rosberg’s points.
Taking a look at technical failures, we get a lot more drivers involved. 15 of the 22 drivers in the field have had at least one technical failure, some five times that many. Jean-Eric Vergne has had five failures, the most of any driver this season. His teammate, Daniil Kvyat has four, making Toro Rosso the worst performing team this year. Lotus is the runner up for the (least reliable) lead with eight so far, double what they had through the entire season last year. The teams with no technical failures this year are Ferrari and Force India, but that hasn’t been uncommon in the past. Ferrari in particular have had a long history of great reliability and consistency.
But what’s the reason for the boost in the number of failures and accidents this year? It’s definitely not the age of the drivers, most of the drivers who competed last year are back again this year (and obviously a year older). The factor could be the change in technical regulations that teams were’t ready for with the limited number of testing days. We saw Red Bull struggle with the change of the car in the preseason and it has continued right up to the mid season point; they have four failures already contrary to three at the end of the season last year.
So should the FIA give more testing days and advanced noticed in terms of technical changes, or are the failures attributed to something else? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
– Drew Bennison