Why the base figure of 100.0 is used

Several readers have questioned why I chose the basic figure of 100.0 for the Ratings. The 100.0 represents the ultimate or fastest packages, drivers or cars. To date it has been used merely as a rating factor.

However there are other reasons which I will now introduce.

The first is that the base 100.0 can be used as a percentage. This is more meaningful than using it as a factor. With the base of 100.0% as the rating for the fastest performers, someone slower by 0.1% is then rated 100.1%, another 1.0% slower would be 101.0% and so on. This percentage measure can be applied to lap or race times for any era and on any circuit to compare times.

The other reason for using the figure of 100.0 as base is that the ratings can be used as an imaginary lap time of 100.0 seconds. By coincidence this is close to Vettel’s 2010 pole time of 99.4 seconds at Abu Dhabi as well as to his race finishing time of 99 minutes 36.8 seconds. Relating the Ratings to track time makes them more understandable.

One reader suggested that the rating figures would be simpler to understand by omitting the 100.0 and using the only the decimal point figures. This would not be correct. It would mean that the fastest drivers, Alonso and Hamilton, would be rated at 0.0 and the next, Vettel, Button and Kubica, would be 0.2. When taken as a percentage or a lap time difference, this would mean that these three would be 20% slower. That is, twenty seconds slower on a qualifying lap, and finishing twenty minutes behind at the flag in Abu Dhabi!  In the actual race, Button  finished  11 seconds behind the winner which converts to 0.18%, which is almost exactly the same as my season-average rating for Button of 0.2%, the race being just under 100 minutes or 1 hour and 40 minutes duration. (Taking 11 seconds as a percentage of the 100 minutes gives 100.2 for Button). 

Throughout Grand Prix history, the time or speed differences between packages, drivers and cars has always had to be measured to one-hundredths of a second.

This is why the Ratings show the top drivers of 2010 – Alonso and Hamilton – at 100.0. They are just 0.1% or 0.1 second faster in an imaginary qualifying lap, or 6.0 seconds in a 100-minute/1hour 40-minute race, ahead of the next fastest driver Webber. Webber in turn is only 0.1 faster than the next two, Rosberg and Kubica. The top drivers of 1950, Fangio, Ascari and Villoresi, were similarly close-matched. From necessity then, the decimal figures used in the Ratings each represent one-hundredth of a second.

The differences between the fastest and slowest drivers in 2010 was 1.4% or 1.4 seconds per qualifying lap; between packages about 7.0% or seven seconds per lap, and between cars 5.3%, which can be five seconds a lap or five minutes in a 100 minute race.

This is why the base figure of 100.0 is used.

© Patrick O’Brien 2011. Nothing from this page can be used without the permission of Patrick E. O’Brien.