The F1 team and Amazon Web Services developed an artificial intelligence system that was able to answer the hottest question in the world of professional racing - who is the best driver of all time? The AI's job was to figure out the fastest rider in a single qualifying lap - this is the best representation of speed without any modifications or refinements.
To begin with, the system has collected data from all F1 qualifying races since 1983. The algorithm then compared the performance of each pilot to his teammates (not rivals). Thanks to this, riders on slower cars had an equal chance of reaching the top steps of the podium. To remove random nominees from the equation, the algorithm only compared partners who completed at least five runs together. He also gave higher marks to drivers who outperformed their teammates or performed well in races against the strongest opponents.
And here are the results: the winner was the Brazilian racer Ayrton Senna (1960-1994), accompanied by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton on the podium.
An unexpectedly large number of places in the Top 20 went to modern racers. For example, the Finn Heikki Kovalainen got into it, who won only one race and one pole position in his entire career. However, his performance relative to team-mate Hamilton pushed the Finn immediately to eighth place in the table - 12 positions higher than the legendary four-time champion Alain Prost.
The Director of Information Systems of the F1 Association, Rob Smidley, was pleased with the results of the algorithm. According to him, F1 teams use very similar models to select the pilots who will participate in each new season.