Saturday, 2 December 2017

2017 post-season review

All in all, the 2017 season was not a classic, but it was quite good for the most part. There was a genuine title contest until the last quarter, and a fiercely competitive midfield, behind Force India.

Up until about Singapore, the 2017 title was closely contested in a very engaging rivlary between Vettel and Hamilton. A combination of the Singapore wipeout and a sudden bout of Ferrari gremlins put paid to that, alas.

Further down, Red Bull and Force India were firmly 3rd and 4th, with Williams doing well to secure 5th and a very close battle behind them between Renault, Toro Rosso and Haas. For McLaren and Sauber, it was a year to forget. Both teams have different engines next year, McLaren ditching the Honda for Renault, and Sauber no longer having to use a year-old Ferrari (indeed, they’ll be known as Alfa-Romeo Sauber following a new title sponsorship).

The penalties situation was frankly ridiculous. We have a 20 car grid, which is a bit small, and drivers often got enormous penalties that exceeded the number of cars. At one race only two drivers started in the position in which they qualified, so jumbled up was the grid from qualifying due to penalties. I think a softer touch on reliability is the way to go. However, the season-long engine limit next time is falling from four to three, so expect more penalties rather than fewer on that count.

From a betting perspective, not a great year. My tips would’ve put you in the red, although I flukily finished slightly ahead (think it must have been some limited liquidity bets or suchlike). The last race pretty much summarised the year for me. I misjudged a potential qualifying bet, not backing it when it came off, then backed Ricciardo each way to be winner without Mercedes. That was due to come off, but the only driver to DNF due to reliability was Ricciardo. I’ve made some misjudgements but it did feel like I had more bad luck than average.

This year I deliberately collected more data, including race-by-race points tallies for teams and drivers, and finishing categories (points, pointless, DNS/DNF) for teams and drivers.

Statistical snippets:
Not one of the big three teams had a pointless finish. Every race they either scored points or didn’t start/finish.

The second most regular points scoring team was Force India (after Mercedes 39/40), with 35 points finishes.

The least reliable team was McLaren, with 18 DNFs. Renault had 14, and Toro Rosso/Red Bull had 13 each.

The team with the most pointless finishes was Sauber (27/40). Haas was second, with 19.

Only one man scored points at every race, and that was Hamilton. Next best were Bottas (19) and Vettel/Ocon (18).

Ericsson, Giovinazzi, Button, Di Resta, Gasly and Hartley all failed to score (all save Ericsson were absent from most races).

Alonso had most DNFs, with 11/20. Next worse was Sainz, with 8.

Ericsson and Wehrlein tied for most pointless finishes, with 13 apiece (Wehrlein did race on two fewer occasions, however).

Next season maybe I’ll include engine-specific stats. Could be worthwhile.

Most of the snippets above speak for themselves, but one thing that struck me was that if Red Bull had had reliability equal to Ferrari, they might have beaten them in the Constructors’. That feels quite counter-intuitive given the Hamilton-Vettel fight, but a lot of points were lost by the Red Bull’s poor reliability.

Link to 2018 thoughts (written a month ago):

Morris Dancer