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  • Writer's pictureJames Smith

History of British F1 Legends

This second F1 project came off the back of a custom request from a repeat customer who had requested a viz about the best British racing drivers as a present for her Father.

Similar to the Visual History F1 Project, it was difficult to compare drivers over different eras, but I chose to use wins, podiums and titles as opposed to points this time round. 

Lewis Hamilton is well ahead in terms of wins and podiums, although Jim Clark currently possesses the highest win %, achieving 25 victories from his 72 races (34.7% to Hamilton's 30%). Hamilton, the only current driver in the project, has some way to go before he can catch the recently retired Jenson Button in terms of races started. Hamilton is also the joint most successful winner in home turf - tied with Jim Clark at 5 wins of the British Grand Prix. Should Hamilton continue his impressive recent form, however, expect him to smash through this record before too long!

In terms of the design, I wanted to show as many successful British drivers as I could without making the Viz look squashed. Initially I thought of just using those that had won a World Title, but I realised this would mean omitting the great Stirling Moss, 'the Greatest driver never to win a world championship.' On this basis, I filtered my entire dataset (the same that was used for the visual history of F1 project) by British drivers that had won at least 3 races and settled on the 12 drivers you see below. The close-ups in the centre of each donut chart allows the viewer to quickly identify each driver (and give a clue to which era they came from depending on their attire or goggle marks!)

I then decided to tier the information into text, shapes, blocks and a timeline. The text gets the most important information to the viewer quickly, and the colour of the text allows for a further visual analysis in the donut chart, linking the statistic to the proportion of that statistic in all of a driver's races. 

The world titles simply used the current world title trophy to represent the number of titles a driver has won. 

The Race Wins section is effectively an 'unbounded waffle chart'. Waffle charts are excellent for showing a proportion of a whole, with each block representing 1% and therefore the desired percentage being shaded in a particular colour. However, as there was no absolute number of race wins possible, and with Hamilton's figure likely to continue growing, a percentage wasn't appropriate in this scenario. Therefore, each block represents a single race win, with the more interesting information coming from the colour (the team which the race was won with) and shape (whether it was a home GP win or not).

The final section looks at when the driver competed, using a Gantt chart with each line representing a season in which a driver completed at least one race. The greys are shaded more lightly in earlier years. 

The full viz is available on tableau public here

and the print is available to buy on Etsy here

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