Formula 1 Drivers’ social network – with age comes centrality


Sports makes a great source for network data: people interact in teams and more importantly they change teams. Every time a driver has a team mate, they have a connection. Repeat this from 1950 to 2010 you get a social network spanning decades.


The size of the node corresponds with the drivers degree centrality , the color intensity represent eigenvector of the driver (how well are the drivers’ connections are connected).

1. Roy Salvadori: 103 team mates, 10 year career
2. Jack Brabham: 101 team mates, triple world champion, 15 year career
3. Maurice Trintignant: 99 team mates, 14 year career
4. Harry Schell: 87 team mates, 10 year career
5. Masten Gregory: 87 team mates, 8 year career
… 294. Rubens Barrichello 15 team mates, 17 year career (competed in 2010)

In 2010 there were 25 drivers in 12 teams. In the top year 1952 there were 104 (!) drivers in 24 teams. This makes the charts biased towards the earlier years of the sport. Let’s take a look at the last 20 years worth of drivers’ social networks:


Johnny Herbert has the most team mates (20 – different team mate every year!), Giancarlo Fisichella and Rubens Barrichello both at 15. Betweenness centrality in this kind of temporal social network analysis measures the persons position in experience networks. Of the drivers still driving, Barrichello is at 5th place and Mark Webber at 7th place  (Giancarlo Fisichella, Johnny Herbert and Heinz-Harald Frentzen at the top3). So congratulations mr. Webber, you carry a tradition of 746 drivers with you.

This is a great example of the rich get richer -scenario. Every new member relies on the connections of the more older members of the network adding their influence. Same thing happens in organizations: the longer the member has been a part of the social network the more possibilities for gathering connections. Unlike in normal life, the drivers’ networks only grow. In real life, experienced people tend to eventually retire taking their contacts with them.

Made with Gephi


One Response to “Formula 1 Drivers’ social network – with age comes centrality”

  1. Great work and dataset ! Why don’t you share the dataset with community so people will be able to work on it and try to produce other maps ?

    Best regards !

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