F1 Pit Stop Strategist – Fuel Stop Spreadsheet

Digging around looking for stats and data relating to the first Formula One Grand Prix of the new season, I came across some interesting looking technical info on the Race Car Engineering website (Formula 1 2009: Round 1 Australia tech data), as well as details of the staring weighs of the vehicles following qualification (post-qualifying car weights).

Assuming that the weight of the fuel is the post-qualifying weight of the car minus the minimum weight of the car, it should be possible to have a guess at when the teams are planning their first pit stop. So I started doodling a spreadsheet that could be used to try and work out fuel’n’pitting strategies (albeit very simplistically).

If you’re interested, you can find it here: Race Day Strategist Spreadsheet:

I’ve made a few assumptions about how to calculate how far the fuel will take a car, so if you can tell me if/where I’ve made any mistakes/errors/bad assumptions, please post a comment.

I’ve tried to make the working clear, where possible:

I also put together a ‘quick calculator’ that could be used to play-along-a-strategist while watching the race.

All the formulae were made up on the fly (“hmm, this could be interesting?”) so when I get a chance, I do a little reading to find out how other people have addressed the issue. (I’ve already found links for a couple of things I probably ought to reqad: Practice Work – Optimization of F1 – PIT STOP TACTICS (which may contain some interesting ideas) and the rather more involved Planning Formula One race strategies using discrete-event simulation (subscription required – so OU folks should be okay through the OU library. If there are any other things you think I should add to the list, please pop a reference to them in the comments.)

This spreadsheet could obviously go much further – addressing other pit stop timing delays, tyre considerations etc. Being able to pull in live timing data – e.g. time intervals between the car of interest and other vehicles – and predict car lap times would also add a little more intrigue when trying to decide whether or not to pit.

But it’s a start, and it got me asking a few questions that might not otherwise have come to mind ;-)

All I need to do now is work in the visual angle, maybe taking a little inspiration from Visualising Lap Time Data – Australian Grand Prix, 2009

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a Senior Lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...

7 thoughts on “F1 Pit Stop Strategist – Fuel Stop Spreadsheet”

  1. Thank you – I’ve often wondered how the figures would stack up, but I’m no good with spreadsheet – yet – I’ve downloaded a copy so now I’ll have to learn…

  2. You needed a more accurate figure for how far the fuel will take the car well my friend of F1 racing here is what formula1complete.com says :A typical F1 engine can run 1.2-1.4 km per 1 litre of fuel. That equates to 240-250 litres of fuel per 300 kilometres and around 180 kg in fuel weigh and here is the link to the page with any other missing/guessed/unknown figures you may need.Please email me and let me know how helpful this info was for your spreadsheet.cik929rr@gmail.com

  3. Can you answer me this ? I know a avg. pit stop takes 7 seconds but what is the complete time from entering pit lane to exiting pit lane.I know each track is a bit different I want to know specifically for Barcelona Spain.Todays race (may 5th 2009) the difference between 1st and second was 13.1 seconds.It was a Brawn 1-2 finish but the winner was Jenson Button over Rubens Barrichello. J.B. took 2 pit stops and R.B. took 3. J.B. had more weight with the fuel load and had to make the tires last longer,but R.B. was able to drive without having to worry about saving tires in his lighter car with less fuel.So would an extra set of rubbers and less weight make up the 13.1 seconds

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