At least the racing is (slightly) better

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

F1 Fanatic race ratings 2008-2009 (click to enlarge)
F1 Fanatic race ratings 2008-2009 (click to enlarge)

The political deadlock dominates the F1 headlines but on the hunch that many of you are as sick of it as I am I thought it would be a good time to write about something a bit more positive.

We’ve had many discussions about whether the new technical rules for 2010 would improve the quality of racing in F1 and the early indication is positive. Looking at the result of the post-Grand Prix “rate the race” polls shows consistent, albeit minor, improvement over last year.

The only exception is the Malaysian Grand Prix, which was abandoned at half distance as its late starting time meant it was not possible to complete the event after a rain shower hit the circuit.

Although rain helped make the Chinese Grand Prix much more exciting than last year’s procession, the stronger result for the dry Bahrain Grand Prix is encouraging.

There may be other explanations for why the ratings have gone up: perhaps the shake-up in the competitive order has been well-received. On the whole i think we have seen some improvements this year, but there is more to be done. I’m optimistic that the banning of refuelling next year will make the competition even more interesting and entertaining.

If there is any racing in 2010, that is, but we’ll leave that discussion for elsewhere.

Do you think the quality of racing has improved this year? And is having slightly better races worth having such strange-looking F1 cars?

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43 comments on “At least the racing is (slightly) better”

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  1. I’m not sick of the politics at all, it’s part of the sport and always has been, and in fact I think it’s about time there was a shake up at the FIA, which will hopefully be the result.

    And I have to say, as I and many others predicted, I don’t find the cars strange to look at anymore, I’ve got quite used to them already.

    As for the racing, I don’t really think it has changed that much this year [Spain was still a little on the dull side despite the new aero regs], I just think that different people are winning, which makes it seem refreshing.

  2. Do you mean to say 2009 in the second paragraph?
    i must say, bein a webber fan i definately enjoy the racing more now!!! it is good to have a shake up and i think the racing in general is a bit closer now than last year. in some ways i actually like the look of the new cars more and its strange that some cars look really out of proportion (like the red bulls) but others don’t (like brawn or williams).

  3. I suspect that it is Jenson and Brawn that are winning might have something to do with the improved results as well.

  4. I`m not sure there`s been much improvement so far. I think the buzz for people seems to be coming from having different cars up at the front.

    Being a relative newcomer here I`m not sure how the ratings work, sorry.
    Is it done on actual racing or just enjoyment of the “show”?
    I ask because I`m a bit surprised to see Monaco up there among the top runners when, much as I enjoy the spectacle, it`s not really been possible for the cars to race there for about as long as I can remember. (Raymond Baxter in his trench coat with enormous microphone days)

  5. Race ratings are largely meaningless as people will vote based on whether or not their favourite team/driver does well.

  6. i think what happens is that people like to see teams and drivers not used to be up there beating the cherries of the field (Fezza, BMW, Macca… even Renault)

    that’s why it was so lovely to see a Toro Rosso fighting agains the big boys last year and Fernando Alonso trying to catch the big three at the last part of the year

    now we have Brawn, Red Bull and Toyota beating them and Ferrari/Mclaren/BMW struggling a lot… that’s interesting and that’s why people rate the races that high

    that’s my point of view, obviously. I like that things. Like Udinese beating Inter, or Chelsea veing beaten by Man City…

    1. Just Chelsea being beaten is good enough, don’t care who it is beating them :-)

  7. I think it’s still too early to tell, the novelty of the mixed order of the teams has added a lot of interest but the novelty will soon wear off.

    China was a wet race and this is normally a great way to improve the show as you actually get to see the skill of the drivers, it’s hard to know what effect the rules had on the racing there.

    I was hoping the changes would have made a big improvement at the Circuit de Catalunya but unfortunately it turned out to be another dull race with only a handful of incidents mixed in with long spells of boredom.

    I know the track is partly to blame but there are several tracks on the calender that are equally dull and if those races aren’t improved much either then I think the rule changes will need to go further, especially mainly in the reduction of aerodynamics.

    I’m looking forward to the end of refuelling too, especially as it means we’ll get real qualifying back & drivers will be less inclined to overtake in the pit-stops.

    As for the look of the cars, with the exception of the shockingly ugly BMW, I thought the new cars were ok, it was only the rear wing that makes most of them look odd but once they start up the engine and start racing the look doesn’t matter that much to me.

  8. Too much politics going on in Formula 1 this year, due to so many rule changes.

  9. Oh there’ll be racing next year. You may have to change your site name to something like “World Grand Prix Fanatic”, but there’ll be racing!

  10. But how many will be watching?

  11. Jonesracing82
    17th May 2009, 3:19

    i think overall it’s better but the “racing” still has room for improvement, i didnt find Bahrain or Spain that exciting, Sepang was good until it was halted etc,i know politics is all part of the sport but the politics is overshadowing the racing, thats when we have problems!

  12. I think I agree with the one that said, thought the races end with different people in front, the racing itself is only slightly better. To be honest, the start of Spain watched like a typical Turn One in GP2.

    How is every race single race won pole to flag by Brawn any more interesting than every race won pole to flag by Ferrari?

    Aside from that, I couldn’t be happier to see a relatively sponsorless team dominating.

  13. theRoswellite
    17th May 2009, 4:56

    For me the racing experience this year is more interesting with the change at the front of the grid. Pathologically pulling for the underdog may endow one with a bit of self righteousness, but it more often simply results in a dependable disappointment. So this year has been the “year of years”, with no equivalent experience coming to mind. If anyone can think of a bigger one year reversal of fortune, please bring it to my attention.

    Monaco should be good fun, with numerous candidates for a possible first win……my Super-Underdog choice… A. Sutil, and you can probably guess why.

  14. God bless Max Mosley. His rule changes are helping F1, Hopefully it will be even more exciting in next races!!

    1. Dirk Gently
      17th May 2009, 11:50

      “God bless Max Mosley” is a phrase you don’t hear ’round these parts too often.

  15. I find the racing closer, but there’s not necessarily more passing. Still, it’s an improvement, slight though it may be.

    It’s funny you post this now Keith.

    After a long and fruitless search, I’ve recently discovered a wonderful archive of races from years past. Since I know that you conduct polls after each race, I’ve been looking on your site to try and find a summary of these race ratings over the years – so i know which races to get and which to avoid.

    Do you have a race ratings page going back further than 08? (the above graph will do the trick for now, thanks).

    Also, noticed that the image link goes directly to the image now – thanks for that!

  16. Martin Bell
    17th May 2009, 7:28

    @chunter, I wouldn’t call BGP “relatively sponsorless”, it’s Hondas money that’s making them one of the best financed teams on the grid! Many of us armchair experts have droned on for the last ten years about how a return to slicks was the solution to all F1’s problems, but can anyone see how they have actually improved the racing?

  17. The best 4 races last year included rain,

  18. Airborne Williams Cap
    17th May 2009, 9:28

    I think the racing has improved although not by as much as we’d been led to believe / hoped.

    I’ve been to the Spanish GP for the last 4 years and this year’s race was definitely the best. In previous years once the race has got into a rhythm, the field spreads and nothing much of interest happens from then on.

    This year, we saw a number of moves into the first corner after the two cars had been separated by a cigarette paper down the main straight. And of course there was the Webber/Alonso duel.

    I think this year’s regulations are a good first step but (once the dust has settled) it would be good for them to be refined further so that that racing improves further and moves the focus back onto what the show should be about.

  19. I too am sick of all the politics in F1 and wish all the headlines were about the racing.

    I think overall the racing is better but agree that more could still be done. The safety cars and rain have defiantly helped increase the ratings for this year, for me the best races last year were all affected by rain.

    If the team dominating this year had been Ferrari or McLaren instead of Brawn the ratings would probably not have increased on last year though.

  20. i think this season has only proved some changes in the position of the teams but there isn’t any good fight in the front….last year atleast we had four to five drivers having chances to win a grand prix this time its only brawn……..and may be red bull catching them….

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