Welcome Back Formula 1 Strategy

After more races than I can remember, we finally were treated to an strategic and intriguing Formula 1 race today in Bahrain (politics aside). At last we had the top teams utilizing various strategies among their cars, leading to an uncertain contest and an exciting battle for the win between winner Sebastian Vettel and Valteri Bottas.

Handicapped by his 9th place starting spot, Lewis Hamilton was able to savage a 3rd place finish but clearly he wanted more.  And judging by the provided in-car radio communications, clearly their selected strategy caused him & the team confusion and uncertainty throughout the race.  Radio problems didn’t help.  Imagine their problems if the Red Bulls hadn’t broken down and had remained in the fight.  Perhaps Lewis should actually leave the the Gulf Emirate happy with his 15 points based on the issues he faced throughout their troubled weekend.

Truly impressive was Vettel and Ferrari’s ability to stretch the Soft tire (tyre) for nearly 40 laps and still be able to hold off a charging Bottas on his fresher Medium tire over the last 5 laps.  And perhaps Bottas’ tires weren’t all that great after going over 30 laps themselves.

But it wasn’t all roses for Ferrari as Raikkonen’s race came to an early end due to an unacceptable and completely preventable accident during his pitstop, resulting in a severely injured crew member.  Hopefully, he’ll recover fully soon and they will never repeat such an absurd mistake.  It would have been super interesting had Raikkonen’s pitstop gone correctly and he would have joined in the final charge on the softest, freshest tires.  In a pure analysis, his strategy probably calculates to be the fastest to the finish.

There were interesting battles throughout the field and great surprises from Toro Rosso and Sauber.  Gasly’s 4th place is just insane and completely unexplainable.  Magnusson delivered a strong 5th to make up for the Aussie debacle.  Hulkenberg’s 6th, Alonso’s 7th and Vandoorne 8th’s are pretty much what expected, but how did Sauber and Ericsson pull a 9th out of their hat?  Not a great day for Force India with just Ocon’s 10th place points.  Somebody has to finish outside the top 10 and Sainz should have had to pace to stay in front of Vandoorne & Ericsson but he and Renault didn’t get the job done.  Perez, Grosjean and Hartley had penalties or issues from banging wheels with others.

LeClerc beat the Williams, which are truly lost so far this year.  Sad what has happened to the once proud championship team and it seems they only have themselves to blame.

From https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2018/races/980/bahrain.html

1 5 Sebastian Vettel FERRARI 57 1:32:01.940 25
2 77 Valtteri Bottas MERCEDES 57 +0.699s 18
3 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 57 +6.512s 15
4 10 Pierre Gasly SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 57 +62.234s 12
5 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 57 +75.046s 10
6 27 Nico Hulkenberg RENAULT 57 +99.024s 8
7 14 Fernando Alonso MCLAREN RENAULT 56 +1 lap 6
8 2 Stoffel Vandoorne MCLAREN RENAULT 56 +1 lap 4
9 9 Marcus Ericsson SAUBER FERRARI 56 +1 lap 2
10 31 Esteban Ocon FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 56 +1 lap 1
11 55 Carlos Sainz RENAULT 56 +1 lap 0
12 11 Sergio Perez FORCE INDIA MERCEDES 56 +1 lap 0
13 28 Brendon Hartley SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO HONDA 56 +1 lap 0
14 16 Charles Leclerc SAUBER FERRARI 56 +1 lap 0
15 8 Romain Grosjean HAAS FERRARI 56 +1 lap 0
16 18 Lance Stroll WILLIAMS MERCEDES 56 +1 lap 0
17 35 Sergey Sirotkin WILLIAMS MERCEDES 56 +1 lap 0
NC 7 Kimi Räikkönen FERRARI 35 DNF 0

* Provisional results

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Space Distance Widget

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STEM as the Goal. STEAM as a Pathway.

I couldn’t agree more that the “A” is important and serves an important role in STEM achievement. I’m sure early childhood research and approaches such as Montessori would enforce the value of art and some unstructured, open learning approaches. I’ve seen the value in my own daughter from the approach taken in her K-6 education. She’s had teachers who’ve done a great job of incorporating Art projects into STEM learning and it’s been successful in giving her a different “default” approach to her more rigorous STEM work in her later years. She uses more creative approaches to problem-solving than my generation ever did (in my early 50’s) and produces more interesting and impactful analysis and understanding than we did. The A is important.

Computing Education Research Blog

Dr. Gary May, Dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, is one of my role models.  I’ve learned from him on how to broaden participation in computing, what academic leadership looks like, and how to make sure that education gets its due attention, even at a research-intensive university.

He wrote an essay (linked below) critical of the idea of “STEAM” (Science, Technology, the Arts, and Mathematics).  I just recently wrote a blog post saying that STEAM was a good idea (see link here).  I’m not convinced that I’m at odds with Gary’s point.  I suspect that the single acronym, “STEM” or “STEAM,” has too many assumptions built into it.  We probably agree on “STEM,” but may have different interpretations of “STEAM.”

The term “STEM” has come to represent an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in schools. A recent Washington Post article critiques exactly that focus: 

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How small?

Very cool comparison of the planets of our solar system and of our sun to other stars. Yes, you guessed it; we’re very, very, very x 10-to-negative-whatever very small.

metricfunk27 (Enter Another World)


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Red Bull wants to quit? Let it…

Great take on Red Bull’s whining by Will Buxton; right on, Will!

The Buxton Blog


Taurine, or 2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, is an organic acid widely distributed in animal tissues. It is a major constituent of bile and can be found in the large intestine.

It is also one of the main ingredients of Red Bull.

It might come as little shock to motorsport fans that the energy drink and bile should have such a chief component in common, so forthcoming has the bitterness spewed from the once all-conquering Formula 1 team been in the aftermath of the Australian Grand Prix. Down on power and down on luck, the target men of the opening half of the decade were lapped in the opening race of the 2015 season and could barely put up a fight to a team which had failed to score a single point the season before.

But the concept that anyone is to blame for the situation Red Bull finds itself in other than…

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Life Lessons from Machine Learning

Nice take on life from an unexpected source (or is it?).

Outlook Zen

What comes to mind when you hear the term “Machine Learning”? A bunch of programmers hunched over their computers in a dark room, working on something completely virtual & divorced from reality? A group of scientists creating a Frankenstein monster that has no resemblance to us whatsoever?

It may certainly seem that way, but you’d be wrong. The accomplishments of Machine Learning (Self-driving cars, human handwriting parsing, IBM Watson) are certainly very technological in nature. But in truth, Machine Learning is equal parts Art and Philosophy, incorporating deep Epistemological insights in order to better make sense of the world. Machine Learning is in essence, a simplified & structured version of what goes on in our minds every single day, in our quest for knowledge.

If this “quest for knowledge” sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo and you’re wondering how it’s actually relevant to us…

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2015 F1 Opener

Well, the Australian Grand Prix was not exciting at the front, but pretty interesting through the rest of the field.

A big result for Sauber with Nasr’s impressive 5th place, plus Ericsson in 8th was a huge change in fortune from last year, especially in light of the Van De Garde issue.  Not sure who’ll be in the car in the remaining races, but I’m sure they are keen to keep Nasr in one of the seats.

Looks like the engine unfreeze did what it was designed to do; help Ferrari catch up to Mercedes; progress clearly made but they still look to have about a half second to get to fight Merc consistently.  Still, they will probably steal a win or two when something doesn’t go Mercedes way one or two weekends, but that’s probably about it for 2015.

I’m surprised that Red Bull / Renault are struggling so much; and particularly by the war-of-words between them; can’t see that partnership make it past 2015.  Rumor has Horner working with Mario Ilien on their own package in 2016, maybe with Renault intellectual property, maybe not.  If anyone can do it from scratch, I’d think it was Ilmor; after all, they created the Mercedes engines of the late 90’s Hakkinen used to beat Michael S. & Ferrari.  I suppose Riccardo, as usual, got the most out of the package to bring home the 6th place; even though he got lapped and his fastest lap was 2s off Hamilton’s scorcher.

Shame for Lotus after they qualified so well.  If you watch the the first/second corner crash again, you can see that, also as usual, Maldonado is to blame for his early exit by not giving any room on his left.  He can clearly see that Kimi is off and coming back on and Nasr is stuck in the between; you have to give room, especially in those situations!! He gives absolutely none, even turns down into Nasr; he’s such an idiot!  It’s a shame they need his money and can’t get a driver with a working brain in that car. Notice how Riccardo gives room and emerges clean from the mess.

Force India showed nice pace; gotta love that Mercedes power; and ran some impressive fast laps, too.  They should get a nice bundle of points and much needed results payments this year so hopefully they can stay afloat; which seems pretty tenuous reading between the lines.  But they’ll have to fight Lotus and STR for sure, but should get the better of it, I’d think.  Didn’t it seem that Sainz just kind of let Riccardo go by?  Seems to be standing orders, I guess.  Not sure how he faded to 9th, but anyway a good drive and Verstappen did well until the failure (engine or gearbox?).

Well, Williams was Williams and they will have a nice battle with Ferrari but I think Ferrari will gain the upper hand as the season progresses.

And that leads to McLaren-Honda!  I need to remind everyone that I have said all along that Honda would struggle mightily and perform poorly and I’ve been proven correct.  Such a terrible start and I don’t see how they’ll be able to score points all season unless there is another race with major attrition; they are hopelessly slow and troubled; sure, reliability will improve, but with the rules not allowing big fixes, they are in for a bad time in 2015.  Shame for Jenson and Fernando.

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