Strategy is the deciding factor behind any spectacular performance in Formula 1. Know how teams derive winning strategy in F1 races.


Strategy has an important role in Formula 1 races. It is not the fastest car which wins every time. Other factors also play an important role determining the winner. Tyre choice and pit stop timing have major role in Formula One.

Pit Stop F1 Strategy
Most of the strategy in Formula One revolves around pit stops. Simply put, pit stop plays the most important role on the racing track. Let's understand why?

Pit Stops are not mandatory in Formula One. They why do the cars stop at pit stops? Why don't they complete the whole distance in one go. Well. There is a reason. The car big enough to hold enough fuel for the race would be bulky and aerodynamically inefficient. Small cars are made for they are race-efficient. But then, the fuel tanks have to be kept small. Hence the requirement to stop at the pit stops. The cars refuel themselves there and get the tyres changed.

The whole process at the pit-stops which includes slowing down, stopping, re-fuelling, tyre-changing and accelerating back up to speed takes upto 30 seconds. With its speed, a car makes up for this time. The race distance is never less than 305 km in a Grand Prix, and this gives opportunity to the drivers to make up for the time they have spent at the pit stops.

Stopping three times at the pit stop is a viable option today at most tracks. Every team makes a pit stop strategy before the race taking two factors into account.

Tyre Behavior
All teams in Formula One races use identical Bridgestone rubber which comes in two identifications of dry weather tyre. While practice laps, teams get indication of the wear rates and lap time capability of each tyre. The tyre manufacturers also study the practice data and advise the teams. Performance of the tyres depends a lot on the softness of rubber as well as the chemicals used in it. And of course, the driver's skills also play a part. More efficient drivers can nurture the tyres of their vehicles.

Fuel Consumption
Fuel quantity plays an important role right from the qualifying. Rule declares that fuel cannot be added or subtracted between Saturday qualifying and the race. This denotes that the cars have to qualify with enough fuel on board to do the first stint of the race. A team planning to take three pit stops can take less fuel than the one which would take two stops.

This decision plays a small, yet a big role, in the race. A half-tank car is quicker by 2 to 3 seconds than a full-tank one per lap. And with scores of laps per race, the fuel in tank has a role to play. The team has also to consider the weight of fuel. The regulations specify the density between 0.725 and 0.77kg per litre. A full-tank would weigh around 120 kg with the fuel with most density.

The team also has to keep in mind the fuel a car consumes while racing.

Wearing of Brakes
Brakes wear faster on some tracks. In such a scenario, the drivers have to take less fuel to lessen the strain on breaks. They have to work out the combination.

Some tracks have enough space to overtake. But there are tracks where overtaking opportunities are less. Expert drivers work out a strategy for overtaking beforehand.

Driver's Skills
The last, but not the least, part is played by the driver's skills. Different people have varied capacity of handling and nurturing their cars.

As someone has said, 'A car is as good as its driver'.