F1 Championship Race, 2014 – Winning Combinations…

As we come up to the final two races of the 2014 Formula One season, the double points mechanism for the final race means that two drivers are still in with a shot at the Drivers’ Championship: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

As James Allen describes in Hamilton closes in on world title: maths favour him but Abu Dhabi threat remains:

Hamilton needs 51 points in the remaining races to be champion if Rosberg wins both races. Hamilton can afford to finish second in Brazil and at the double points finale in Abu Dhabi and still be champion. Mathematically he could also finish third in Brazil and second in the finale and take it on win countback, as Rosberg would have just six wins to Hamilton’s ten.
If Hamilton leads Rosberg home again in a 1-2 in Brazil, then he will go to Abu Dhabi needing to finish fifth or higher to be champion (echoes of Brazil 2008!!). If Rosberg does not finish in Brazil and Hamilton wins the race, then Rosberg would need to win Abu Dhabi with Hamilton not finishing; no other scenario would give Rosberg the title.

A couple of years ago, I developed an interactive R/shiny app for exploring finishing combinations of two drivers in the last two races of a season to see what situations led to what result: Interactive Scenarios With Shiny – The Race to the F1 2012 Drivers’ Championship.


I’ve updated the app (taking into account the matter of double points in the final race) so you can check out James Allen’s calculations with it (assuming I got my sums right too!). I tried to pop up an interactive version to Shinyapps, but the Shinyapps publication mechanism seems to be broken (for me at least) at the moment…:-(

In the meantime, if you have RStudio installed, you can run the application yourself. The code is avaliable and can be run from RStudio with: runGist("81380ff09ebe1cd67005")

When I get a chance, I’ll weave elements of this recipe into the Wrangling F1 Data With R book.

PS I’ve also started using the F1dataJunkie blog again as a place to post drafts and snippets of elements I’m working on for that book…

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...

3 thoughts on “F1 Championship Race, 2014 – Winning Combinations…”

  1. Many people are talking about the ‘double points’ rule as though it has the potential to cause a travesty of justice. It is interesting to look at the differences between the championship result based on Single versus Double. If we look at the results of the previous 18 races, then 90% of the time the result was 1,2 (or 2,1) OR a good placing versus a Ret’d. If we had any of these, the single/double point result is the same. The other two results were a (4,3) and a (1,3). The only one that plays out differently with single/double points is the Nico,Lewis (1,3) . So 1/18 chance of any impact?
    Incidentally, perhaps a better rule would be ‘double points only if we need it, which we did not this time, Nico still had a chance going into the last race on single points. Based on the previous 18 races , if people think 22% chance of Nico winning is enough to make the race interesting, then I do not think there would be much less interest if he only had 17% chance.

    1. @Paul

      On my to do list is a simple app that will allow any season to be scored according to different points regimes, along with reports that show at which point in the season a championship was decided. From my reading of a few sports economics papers, part of the art of championship points design is to keep a championship interesting.

      In F1, where two championships are being fought (Drivers’ and Constructors’), I guess that another consideration is trying to set points such that both are kept alive as long as possible. One of the other things I’m looking it is the extent to which teams maximise points haul given their highest placed driver, or whether points tend to be split more equally (eg teams tending to get first and third or fourth, second and fourth or fifth etc).

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