The Stories of Road Atlanta. Episode 2

Does FP1 pay off? Some stats to give you the facts.

A lot has been speculated about the benefits of the Free Practice sessions on Thursdays. Some can’t make it, some don’t mind, but some get there and reap the fruits of their efforts.

Taking last weeks fastest laps in FP1 in comparison to the fastest laps on raceday, the benefits of FP1 become obvious. The average driver participating in FP1 gained about half a second for the race. That said, Nihad Gluscic seems to try hard and nearly gained a second from FP1 until raceday. While some, like Sandro Kapeller were so far off pace, that even a gain of 0.6 seconds wasn’t enough to make him competitive.

DriverFP1SundayTime Gained (s)
Charlie Bebb1:16.2501:15.8800.370
Francesco Cuscino1:16.6411:15.9410.7
Nihad Gluscic1:17.1781:16.3190.859
Nicholas Allen1:16.9491:16.1720.797
Sandro Kapeller1:17.7981:17.1740.624
Thomas Renders1:16.4101:15.9650.445
Joost Simkens1:16.8431:16.4490.394
Comparison of fastest laps in FP1 and on Sunday

But that’s just one part of the story. Gaining time is something obvious when it comes to those determined to get to the maximum on track. Last weeks Free Practice delivers more data to look into.

It has been a special session, as seven drivers took part in FP1, and thus half the field to be on track on Sunday was represented. Now, how did the FP1 guys perform in relation to those that didn’t take part?

PDriver
1Charlie Bebb
2Daniele Cascardo
3Nihad Gluscic
4Colin Wynn
5Francesco Cuscino
6Nicholas Allen
7Thomas Renders
8Nathan Brumby
9Graeme Brown
10David Wilkinson
11Iwan Bremer
12Alfons Ruiz
13Sandro Kapeller
14Joost Simkens
Drivers that took part in FP1 in bold

If you take Simkens, Kapeller, Ruiz and Bremer out of the equation, as they didn’t manage to finish the race, you are left with FP1 drivers on 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th place. At the same time those who didn’t participate in FP1 made it to 2nd, 4th, 8th, 9th and 10th place. So in average a driver taking part in FP1 made it to P4.4, while P6.6 was the average position for drivers that skipped FP1.

That said, if you ask yourself whether FP1 is worth it or not – there’s no reason to wonder anymore. FP1 makes a big difference in regard of points made or lost on sunday. And in the end, the decision to take part or not might make the difference between winnning the race, making it to the podium or not 🙂

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