F1 Circuit Cluster Analysis —- Part 2

Hello and welcome to the second part of my mini-series using cluster analysis in order to categorise formula 1 circuits. please go check the first part it outlines the basic data we are using to categorise the circuits and an overview of the method used for hierarchical clustering. Today we are going to go with K-means clustering.

For K-means clustering we have to set our own value for K we are going to do that with two different types of analysis. An elbow plot and silhouette analysis.

Elbow Plot

The code below is what was used in order to generate the elbow plot. The elbow plot generated is below:

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elbow

Reviewing the elbow plot it looks like already we are seeing a slightly different amount of clusters then we got when we conducted hierarchical clustering. The elbow of the plot looks to be at 3 but you can also argue there is one at 4 as well as the value for k.

Silhouette Analysis

The other way to decide a k value when conducting k means clustering is to produce a silhouette graph. This takes every point which is part of the analysis and rates it on how it fits in with each cluster with -1 being doesn’t fit at all and 1 being fits well. You then produce a graph for each value of k with the average silhouette width and the highest point is the value of k. I have put a picture of the code below and also the silhouette graph produced

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silouette

Fascinatingly there are two high points. One for a k of 9 and another for a k of 3. I am going to choose a k of 3 as this is closely aligned to what we saw in the elbow plot and 9 clusters are just too many to deal with.

kmeanscluster

The above graph shows all the circuits in the calendar and where they are for average straight length and average speed, colour by the cluster they have been put in. I am a bit unsatisfied with this. I feel this doesn’t quite fit the different circuits on the calendar. For instance, Singapore is different to China and Germany. Therefore K-means is not going to be the clustering I use in the final blog to look at pace trends across the season. Look out for the final blog which we will look at the pace across all circuits so far for all the teams and we will look at some other metrics like overtakes and pitstops.

 

 

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F1 Circuit Cluster Analysis —- Part 1

Hello there so as you know I’m currently working through the Datacamp course data scientist with R. (If the people from Datacamp are reading this I’m open top sponsorship!) There will be a further update how I’m getting on with this later this week, however, today I wanted to focus on applying something new that I learnt. Cluster analysis. Cluster analysis allows you to take a dataframe of two variables and calculate which are the rows best grouped together. There are two main methods that we are going to look at hierarchical clustering and kmeans clustering. We are going to look at formula  1 circuits. The idea is there are 21 different circuits currently on the calender all different lengths and height profiles and types of tarmac, however, can we group them together with certain characteristics. For me as an avid formula 1 watcher, the differences between the circuits are caused by lengths of straights and speed of corners. Therefore the two metrics we are using are the average straight length and average corner speed.

  • Average straight length – calculated by measuring each stretch of track which the F1 car would be running full throttle. Removing any lengths of the track less than 100m. an example for Spain below straights is estimated in green.

circuit.png

  • Average corner speed – I have calculated this by allocating each corner to either slow, medium or fast speed. (Unfortunately, I don’t have data for the exact corner speed but if any f1 team wants to send it over email me!) so you can see below in the table how many for each circuit was allocated 

table2

As I don’t know the exact speeds of these corners I have estimated that a slow corner is 80 km/h, medium speed corner is 150 km/h and a fast corner is 200km/h. This has left us with the following table:

table3

Hierarchical Clustering

The first thing we are going to look at is hierarchical clustering. The table above is fed into the following code:

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this produces the following output:

dendrogramf1.png

We have 5 different distinct clusters that the F1 circuits fit into. It’s not too surprising that Singapore, Monaco and Hungary fit into a similar cluster as well as Belgium and Great Britain being similar circuits.

cluster scatter

The scatter above you can clearly see the difference between the two main clusters 1 and 2. In cluster one straight length are often shorter, however, the corners are faster. Cluster 2 circuits often have longer straights but slower corners. With a few circuits from each group used so far, this season would be interesting to see if there are any trends with car speed.  That’s it for the first part of this series next week we will look at any difference using K-means clustering. In the final part, we will look applying what we have seen so far this year to try and predict who will win in the later rounds.

Formula 1 – The Competitive Picture

Hello welcome to this blog and today we are going to look at something we havnt looked at yet in this blog. Formula 1. I have watched F1 since 1997 and often wondered when ever they say we reviewed the data, what exactly the data they review and what process they use to review it. Now sadly I don’t have access to anything like the data F1 teams have (one day maybe!) however the main piece of data is freely available. The qualifying time. I decided I wanted to have a look at the competitive picture and now we are 4 races in that’s a decent sample size.

So to do this analysis I took each drivers fastest lap for the 4 qualifying sessions so far. I then added it all up to get each drivers qualifying time. The result plotted the below graph:

F11

So after 4 races Vettel has the lowest total qualifying time, closely followed by Hamilton. What is clear from this is the large gap between the top 6 drivers from the top 3 teams and the rest. Also apart from Ferrari and Mercedes being mixed up every other team is 2 by 2. This is surprising considering the small gaps between teams in the midfield. The next question I had was differences between team mates as in formula 1 your main rival to beat is always your team mate.

f12

The graph above shows the difference between each teams drivers with points at the top right smaller difference then at the bottom left. The team with the clearly the closest matched drivers are Red Bull with 0.07 seconds between them. This is good news for Ricciardo in particular who can use this information to increase his value in his contract talks. At the other end there is big pressure on Stoffel Vandoorne and Kimi Raikkonen. Both have been over a second in total behind there team mates which if it carries on could see them losing their seats.

I’m going to keep this dataset up to date as the season goes on and I have similar information for total race time. I think there’s more information you can derive by this such as whose developing their car the best. Please let me know your thoughts or if you have any questions i like to hear feedback.