Featured image of post 2024 Chinese GP: Tire degradation (top 4 teams)

2024 Chinese GP: Tire degradation (top 4 teams)

This is the latest analysis I just came up with. I’ve been doing some charts that use a fairly complex model to analyze tire degradation, but unfortunately it’s a hard to modify for each race and I think it’s taking too much of my time. Because of this, I decided to create a simpler model to analyze tire degradation.


The chart is quite simple. I created two regressions for each stint for each driver that took part in the previous race. The first regression is a robust regression which is fairly insensitive to outliers, which means that it should give us more accurate results if the data is not very linear. The second regression is a traditional linear regression which is not good at handling outliers. The only reason I added the linear regression is to show that it will produce unreliable results under certain situations.

In the chart, I added both regression lines, the average lap time for each stint for each driver, as well as the average delta per lap as calculated by the robust regression. If both lines overlap, then the delta per lap will be pretty much the same. If both lines do not overlap, then it is better to trust the results of the robust regression.

This model is fairly simple to interpret, but less complex than the model that creates wiggly lines. I’m hoping it’ll be enough for this type of analysis but we’ll see as time goes on.


Tire degradation trend for top 4 teams

A lot has been said about the RB20 being kind on the tires, but just as in the 2024 Japanese GP, Red Bull hasn’t necessarily been the strongest at keeping the tires alive. You can see that both Red Bull drivers had more degradation in both the first and last stint when compared to the Ferrari drivers, albeit on different strategies. Sergio Pérez did indeed have less tire degradation than Lando Norris, but he couldn’t find the speed to overtake him after passing Charles Leclerc. Max Verstappen was blazing fast on his last stint, easily outpacing both Sergio and Lando, but his degradation was average. Why is Red Bull dominating then? They’re just faster than everybody else.

Ferrari is the strongest team when it comes to tire degradation, at least based on the most recent data, but we’ll see what happens at the tricky Miami surface. Carlos Sainz had an average loss of time of 0 seconds per lap. No, I’m not making a mistake, this is the right information. Carlos was able to have an average lap time that was pretty much the same at the beginning and the end of his stint. Charles showed more tire degradation, comparable to the one shown by the Red Bull drivers, but he was also faster and finished 10 seconds ahead of Carlos.

At McLaren, we saw an interesting trend. Yes, Lando Norris continues to be strong in the tire management department, but Oscar Piastri looked pretty good on his last stint. Oscar had an average delta per lap loss of 0.031 seconds on his last stint, which was comparable to Sergio’s stint, and was better than Verstappen’s. His main issue, however, was the lack of speed. We know that his car had damage so that justifies the slow lap times, but it’s still pretty impressive to see him keeping the tires alive even with a compromised car.

Mercedes seems to be in no man’s land. Both Lewis and George had awful tire degradation on the medium compound, while Lewis didn’t have a fantastic first stint on the soft tires either. Having said that, both of them showed pretty decent tire management on the last stint. At the moment George Russell just looks superior to Lewis in both speed and tire management, which is not something that I expected to say before the start of the season.

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