Engineers, not racers, are now the true drivers of success in motor sports
工程师而非车手才是如今赛车运动中真正的制胜引擎

人机对战 Man v machine-书迷号 shumihao.com

“I ALWAYS THOUGHT records were there to be broken,” Michael Schumacher, a star Formula 1 (F1) driver, said in 2013. At the time, his record of 91 career F1 victories looked safe: the closest active racer had just 32. Yet on October 11th Lewis Hamilton of Britain equalled the mark. Mr Hamilton is also on pace to tie Mr Schumacher’s record of seven F1 championships later this year.
“我一直认为纪录就是用来打破的。”F1明星车手迈克尔·舒马赫(Michael Schumacher)在2013年说。当时,他在职业生涯中总共拿下91个分站赛冠军的纪录看起来很安全:成绩最接近的现役车手只获得了32个冠军。不过在10月11日,英国车手刘易斯·汉密尔顿(Lewis Hamilton)追平了他的纪录。汉密尔顿还有望在今年晚些时候追平舒马赫七次夺得F1总冠军的纪录。

Mr Hamilton’s ascent has ignited debate over whether he is F1’s best driver ever. Comparing athletes across eras is always hard—especially in motor sports, where a racer depends on his car. Moreover, F1 has regularly changed its scoring system and its number of races, drivers and teams.
汉密尔顿的崛起引发了他是不是F1史上最佳车手的争论。比较不同时代的运动员总是很难,特别是在赛车运动中,因为车手还要依靠自己的赛车。而且F1还经常改变计分体系,以及比赛场次、车手和车队的数量。

However, statistical analysis can address many of these nuances. We have built a mathematical model, based on a study by Andrew Bell of the University of Sheffield, to measure the impact of all 745 drivers in F1 history. It finds that Mr Hamilton’s best years fall just short of those of the all-time greats—but so do Mr Schumacher’s.
不过,统计分析可以处理许多这类细微差别。基于谢菲尔德大学的安德鲁·贝尔(Andrew Bell)的一项研究,我们建立了一个数学模型来衡量F1历史上总共745名车手的影响力。模型发现,汉密尔顿的鼎盛时期还稍逊于历史上的最伟大车手们,不过舒马赫也一样。

The model first converts orders of finish into points, using the 1991-2002 system of ten points for a win and six for second place. It adjusts these scores for structural effects, such as the number and past performances of other drivers in the race. Then, it splits credit between drivers and their vehicles. (Today, F1 has ten teams, each using two drivers and one type of car.)
该模型首先按照1991年至2002年的计分制度将名次转换成分数,即每站冠军计10分,亚军计6分。它根据结构性影响,如比赛中其他车手的人数和过往的表现,来调整这些分数。然后将最终得分拆开,分别计给车手和赛车。(目前F1有十支车队,每个车队有两名车手和一款赛车。)

Disentangling these factors is tricky. Mr Schumacher spent most of his peak at Ferrari, as Mr Hamilton has at Mercedes, leaving scant data on their work in other cars.
要分拆这些因素不容易。舒马赫的巅峰时期大部分都在法拉利车队,汉密尔顿则在梅塞德斯车队,因此很少有他们在其他车队表现的数据。

However, their teammates varied. And drivers who raced alongside Mr Hamilton or Mr Schumacher tended to fare far better in those stints than they did elsewhere. If Ferrari’s and Mercedes’ engineers boosted lesser racers this much, they probably aided their stars to a similar degree. Because most drivers switch teams a few times, this method can be applied throughout history.
但他们的队友一直在变。而那些和汉密尔顿或舒马赫搭档的车手在这些时段的表现往往要比其他时候好得多。如果法拉利和梅赛德斯的工程师们让较普通的车手提升了这么多,那么他们给明星车手的助益可能也一样。因为大多数车手都会换几次车队,所以这种分析方法适用于整个F1历史。

Between the two racers with 91 wins, the model prefers Mr Schumacher. He won 1.9 more points per race than an average driver would have done in the same events and cars, edging out Mr Hamilton’s mark of 1.8. Limited to their five best consecutive years, the gap widens, to 2.7 points per race for Mr Schumacher and 2.0 for Mr Hamilton.
在两位同样赢得了91站胜利的车手中,模型更青睐舒马赫。他每场比赛比一般车手多得1.9分(如果对方是在同样的赛事中开同样的车),略高于汉密尔顿的1.8分。比较他们各自最好的连续五年,差距扩大了,舒马赫每场比赛多得2.7分,而汉密尔顿是2.0分。

This difference stems mostly from the impact of their cars. Both stars raced in the finest vehicles of their day. But 20 years ago, cars from Williams and McLaren were nearly as strong as Ferrari’s. In contrast, Mercedes now towers over its rivals, enabling Mr Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, his teammate, to coast past lesser cars. Before joining Mercedes, Mr Bottas had never won a F1 race. He now has nine victories.
这一差距主要源于赛车的影响。两位明星车手驾驶的都是他们那个时代最好的赛车。但在20年前,威廉姆斯和迈凯伦的赛车几乎和法拉利的一样强劲。相比之下,现在的梅赛德斯已经远远超过了它的竞争对手们,因此汉密尔顿和他的队友瓦尔特里·博塔斯(Valtteri Bottas)能轻松超过其他赛车。在加入梅赛德斯车队之前,博塔斯一场F1比赛也没赢过。他现在已经取得了九站冠军。

Yet on a per-race basis, the greats of yesteryear beat both modern stars. Three of the model’s top four drivers stopped racing by 1973; the leader, the Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio, won five titles in the 1950s.
不过,在场均得分的较量中,这两位现代明星都被昔日的伟大车手击败了。在模型中排名前四的车手中有三位到1973年已经不再比赛;排在第一位的阿根廷车手胡安·曼努埃尔·范吉奥(Juan Manuel Fangio)在上世纪50年代获得过五次总冠军。

These pioneers had short careers. Fangio started just 51 races, to Mr Schumacher’s 306. However, the model is impressed by them, because the impact of cars relative to drivers has grown over time. On average, it assigns drivers in the 1950s 58% of their teams’ points; today, that share is 19%. Fangio, who was a mechanic by training and won titles using cars from four different firms, was known as “the master”. The masters of modern F1 are engineers who sit behind laptops, not steering wheels. ■
这些前辈的职业生涯都不长。相比舒马赫参加了306场比赛,范吉奥只参加了51场。但他们在模型中表现惊人,因为随着时间的推移,赛车的作用变得比车手更大了。根据模型的计算,上世纪50年代的车手得分平均占车队分数的58%,今天这一比例为19%。机修工出身的范吉奥开着四支不同车队的赛车赢得了总冠军,被誉为“大师”。现代F1比赛的大师是坐在笔记本电脑而不是方向盘前的工程师。