Yesterday I stumbled upon a really interesting website: Vision F1. It gives replays of GPs in graphic form, little labeled dots representing the drivers going around the circuit.
That sounds a bit primitive and, the site having been in existence a while, it does have a retro look and feel, but in practice it is nothing short of brilliant. By looking down on the track one can get a much better understanding of what is happening throughout the field. Say a battle develops between two midfield runners – you’re not bound by some TV director’s need to slavishly follow the leader; you can watch the fight exclusively until resolved.
It is also an excellent way of examining a driver’s performance throughout the race. I watched Speed’s drive at Istanbul 2006 and was surprised at how fast he was going; did you realize he spent the entire race passing Kubica and then having to pass him again after pit stops?
A very important factor is that you can increase the speed of the replay, thereby avoiding having to watch for over an hour and a half. I took it as high as 20x, searching for the maximum, but things are happening so fast at that speed that it’s useless for practical purposes. Six times actual speed is a good compromise, cutting the time element quite drastically but still allowing you to see what is happening.
There are several other options available and various statistical information on other pages. But the preservation of races going back as far as the German GP of 2005 is the most important factor. It is such a useful facility for the history of F1 and I hope it continues for as long as GP racing does. YouTube is great but video can only record what the camera happens to be looking at; Vision F1 is a full account of the whole race.
Have a look at the site and play a bit. If you love F1, I’m sure you’ll agree that this is an excellent resource.