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F1 – The Car or The Driver

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Formula 1

So… the big question all F1 fans want the answer too is:

Is it the car or is it the driver that determines who wins the race?

After listening to Sebastian Vetel’s comments after qualifying last week, and then comparing it to the measured response from his team mate Mark Webber, you begin to wonder…

In the sport of F1 racing, everything is measured in 1/10th’s or even 1/100th’s of a second. When one competitor is suddenly and unusually 1.7 seconds/lap faster than another, it is generally considered that the car is the difference. This is because the difference in driver ability is generally recognised as been measured in a few tenths of a second per lap.

So how come when Mark and Seb, both driving arguable the same car (Team Red Bull Renault) end up with such a huge time differnce? Sebs comments of “..I felt really confident and was able to drive fast..” might explain it!

With arguable similar driving talent and car performance, it comes down to synergy. A synergy between the driver and his car on that track on that day. A synergy is where the collective total is greater than the sum of all parts! This synergy allows Seb to maximise his performance and achieve faster lap times in a way that other cannot. Seb felt ‘confident’ and this would have allowed him to take minuscule risks he otherwise would not have taken and the results were evident.

So in answering the question ‘is it the driver or is it the car?’ its both.

Just look at Michael Schumacher and his string of world titles – he had a car, tyres, team built entirely around him. He felt supremely confident in the car all the time and hence was able to constantly eek out those tenths which earned him regular wins. And today, languishing in 14th place in the car that won the world championship last year…! Michael’s fast, the car is fast but not together they’re not – No Synergy!

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