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Brawn sees link between lack of data and more exciting Austin race

Written by  Oct 24, 2018

Liberty Media's motorsport chief Ross Brawn admits Formula 1 can learn from the link between the lack of practice running and the more exciting race at the United States Grand Prix.

With Friday washed out at the Circuit of the Americas, teams only had previous simulations and the final hour before qualifying to gather data as to how the tyres would perform during the 56-lap race on Sunday.

Though one-stop strategies did still largely prevail, problems for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton switching to a two-stop, and the pace of Max Verstappen were reasons for Brawn to pose the question over whether it is a direction the sport should consider.

"The three drivers on the podium crossed the line within the same three seconds," he noted. "They all ran different tyre strategies, through choice in the case of Raikkonen and Hamilton, and by necessity for Verstappen who started from the penultimate row of the grid.

"That's unusual in F1, where the level of sophistication in terms of simulation and strategy is so high that one doesn't usually get such a variance, especially when it involves the top three teams.

"This was probably down to the fact that no one had been able to run dry weather tyres on Friday as the track was wet throughout the three hours of practice, that meant the teams had less data than usual on which to base their race plans, and thus the margin for error increased.

"So, does less data produce a better show?"

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Reducing access to real-time data is something that has been considered before with teams able to monitor temperatures in key areas through sensors and less practice is also not a new argument based on the success of the single-day format in Formula E.

Brawn, however, concedes that if you reduce the time on the track, teams will just find other ways to reach the same level of preparation.

"I think you will just have more simulations and more computers running in the background, trying to emphasise how to put the car on track," he said.

"But the more you limit track time the more variability you have."

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