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Relationship between Starting and Finishing Position in Formula One Car Races

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This study examined the relationship between starting position and finishing position performed in 70 official Formula One Grand Prix car races over a four year period. Associations were analyzed for positions 1 to 8, resulting N=560 cases, for which the finishers score points towards the drivers' world championships. Contingency coefficient revealed a significant correlation between starting and finishing position (C=0.63, p<0.001). Furthermore, the relative frequency to win a race was highest (59.9%) when starting from pole position, but progressively decreased up to 0% when starting from position seven or eight. Frequency of reasons why pole position drivers and those starting behind lost races were highest for races finished 2nd or less (n=396 cases) followed by technical problems (n=56) and accidents (n=35). The most frequently reason why drivers starting behind pole position won their races were a poor fueling strategy (n=11) made by the pole drivers or their teams. Results reflect that the outcome of Formula One car races is to some extent based on merit achieved during final and qualifying races.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-08-01

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