The Monaco Performance Curve

May 31, 2016

Although Daniel Ricciardo failed to win the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix he did secure pole position with a time of 1 minute 13.622 seconds. This equated to an average speed of 102.3933 mph. This is the first time that the 1.6 litre V6 hybrid power units introduced for the 2014 season have beaten normally aspirated engines at Monaco. In 2013 the pole lap time was 1 minute 13.876 seconds, an average speed of 102.0413 mph, however this was achieved with a 2.4 litre V8 engine.

Monaco is one of the few tracks that has changed little since the inception of the F1 Drivers’ Championship in 1950. This has enabled us to review the relative performance of Formula 1 from 1950, as shown in the attached chart.

Monaco 1950-2016

This figure illustrates the constant improvement in performance that F1 teams have to achieve, it also provides an insight into how they respond to regulation changes. We see the effect of these changes when the curve dips and the cars are slowed down, but usually within a couple of years the cars will be going just as fast as they were before. This is exactly the phenomena we can see from 2013 to 2016, the change in power unit regulations in 2014 causes a dip in performance (and an impressive drop in fuel consumption by 35%) and yet by 2016 the cars are going just as fast as they were in 2013. In F1, regulation doesn’t stifle innovation it stimulates it.

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