Building a race simulator

f1metrics

One of the most fascinating aspects of modern Formula 1 is the use of computer simulations to predict car performances and race strategies. By the early 1990s, teams like Benetton had begun to develop simple race simulators to estimate optimal strategies. Today, teams develop highly sophisticated models based on massive amounts of telemetry data.

Constructing mathematical models is one of the most satisfying aspects of my job as a scientist. Selecting the form of the model and the ingredients that should be added often involves a good deal of creativity and intuition. It is challenging to build a successful model, but a successful model is extremely valuable in making predictions and gaining understanding of the modeled system. I’m going to walk you through my own process of building a simple race simulator model.

Inputs and outputs

The first question for any modeler to consider is: which data are we feeding into…

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