Brazil voted best race of 2009, Turkey named worst of a bad bunch

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

The Button-Kobayashi battle was a highlight of the Brazilian Grand Prix
The Button-Kobayashi battle was a highlight of the Brazilian Grand Prix

After the millions ploughed into radically revised aerodynamic packages and Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems to improve racing, did we get a more entertaining season in 2009 than 2008? Not according to how your voted in our post-race polls.

Interlagos served up the best race of the year for the second season in a row – and Turkey was named the worst race of the year.

2009 race ratings (click to enlarge)
2009 race ratings (click to enlarge)

Here are the races sorted by ranking, with the winners of each:

Brazil 8.309 (Mark Webber)

Australia 7.937 (Jenson Button)
Belgium 7.852 (Kimi Raikkonen)
Germany 7.096 (Mark Webber)
Italy 7.049 (Rubens Barrichello)

Hungary 6.808 (Lewis Hamilton)
China 6.69 (Sebastian Vettel)
Bahrain 6.42 (Jenson Button)

Abu Dhabi 5.794 (Sebastian Vettel)
Britain 5.755 (Sebastian Vettel)
Japan 5.58 (Sebastian Vettel)
Monaco 5.504 (Jenson Button)
Europe 5.355 (Rubens Barrichello)
Singapore 5.336 (Lewis Hamilton)
Spain 5.33 (Jenson Button)
Malaysia 5.284 (Jenson Button)
Turkey 5.276 (Jenson Button)

The average ranking for a race in 2009 was 6.352 – down from 6.671 last year.

From looking at the lowest and highest-rated races it’s clear what people think makes a good race. It’s not just about having lots of overtaking as is often assumed – it’s about having a battle for the lead, it’s about unpredictability and, yes, a few crashes as well.

The lowest-rated race – Turkey – at least got a higher rating than last year’s worst, Valencia, which scored 3.977. The Turkish Grand Prix was both anti-climactic – the battle between Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel was decided when Vettel went off on the first lap – and at the time it seemed to confirm that Button was going to walk to the championship. Of course, it didn’t quite turn out that way.

It’s no surprise to see the curtailed Malaysian Grand Prix rated so poorly as well. Spain was ranked third from bottom for the second year in a row. In all nine races were rated lower than six out of ten – three more than last year.

Did you think 2009 was less exciting than last year? Do you agree with the choices for best and worst races? Have your say in the comments.

See the 2008 race ratings in full here: Valencia was least popular race of 2008

See more results of F1 Fanatic polls: F1 Fanatic polls archive

64 comments on “Brazil voted best race of 2009, Turkey named worst of a bad bunch”

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  1. Personally Hungary was the worst race in the world for me after what happened to Massa, but taking that out of the equation it was eventful when Alonso’s wheel decided to go awol.
    I liked Malaysia it’s just a shame it had to be called off. I haven’t enjoyed Catalunya since 07 but the crash at beginning of this years was quite a sight.
    I think last years was an epic season. Belgium, Monza, Britian, Brazil even Fuji I found were incredibly entertaining. This year has been Button running away with it while his opponents making a mess or watching Button scrap for a point while his opponents make a mess of it. Before anyone says anything this isn’t a dig at Button I’m just saying hasn’t been many great races in my view. Highlight was definately Toyotas scrapping at Monza however!

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, this year most of the races have been dominated by one team, whereas last year Mclaren and Ferrari were reasonably well matched at most of them.
      There seemed to be less rain affected races too (not sure if this is true or not), which always takes some unpredictability out and therefore makes the race less exciting. Actually I’m surprised Malaysia ranked so low, for what there was of the race it was great.

      1. I guess Malaysia was voted so low as people voted after we waited a whole hour of watching them saying they are going to restart the race and they didn’t. Now you look back the actual racing was good.

        The most annoying thing of 2009 is that the wet running has been too wet… Malaysia cancelled, China looked like it wasn’t going to run, Brazil Qualifying…

        Very annoying

        1. And only two wet races. Or one and a half. If this was a vote on qualifying the results would be very high, it’s just a shame Saturday excitement didn’t transfer to the races. The new rules helped qualifying as the cars were close but in the race it could be frustrating as they were so close but couldn’t overtake.

          1. Not that they were so close its because of the double decker diffusers. Now everyones got them they can’t overtake… When hardly anyone had them the racing was great like in Australia

          2. Yep Tommy, they’re close but they can’t do anything. That’s what I meant, I apologise I’m a bit sleepy…well that’s excuse I’ll go with:P

          3. It isnt only the diffuser though, there is work to do in other areas of the car which could help reduce the turbulance behind. I think the front wing could be reduced back to 08 standards and we’d have marginally better action.

            KERS has also helped when stuck behind a car in front

          4. Tommy, Australia was about the ridiculous super soft tyres stopping to work after 10 laps.

            Cars can still overtake now. Look at Kobayashi on Button, Button on Kubica. Button has been overtaking cars all through the season.

  2. It’s not just about having lots of overtaking as is often assumed – it’s about having a battle for the lead, it’s about unpredictability and, yes, a few crashes as well.

    So true. I’m actually surprised this season’s ratings were so close to last seasons, because the championship was pretty much sewn up (for most of the season anyway).

    It’s also interesting that rain doesn’t always guarentee a great race, as can be seen by Malaysia’s rating and the subsequent want for a dry race!

    But why Spain have got 2 races has always been beyond me.

    1. But why Spain have got 2 races has always been beyond me.

      Probably because Spain isn’t a traditional fan base for F1 so when Alonso became WDC Bernie went all out trying to get the average Spaniard hooked on the “sport”.

      Such a shame he tried doing it with two of the most boring race tracks F1 has ever seen in an era of extremely boring cars…

  3. Brazil was a good race for 2009 but an OK race for last year. I only thought Australia and Spa was a great race this year and last year we had 5 or 6 proper great classic races.

  4. I’m amazed that the ratings for 2008 and 2009 are so similar. I’ve been watching F1 for about 10 seasons, and I’d say 08 was the best and 09 one of the worst the worst. I don’t think there was a single above average race after China this season, with the exception of Brazil.

    The only amazing thing about 2009 has been its unpredictability and how close all of the cars are. Some of the qualifying sessions this year have been great, and who would ever have predicted Force India to challenge for the lead or for Mclaren, Ferrari and BMW to struggle so badly at times

    1. I agree with everything you just said

      1. I never missed a race in 2008. This year (especially between Bahrain – Silverstone) I would walk off and do other things as I couldn’t sit through and watch because it was that dull

        1. not a true fanatic then! I still watch them start to finish no matter what.

          1. I record them and watch them later as I have 2 young children.
            For me:-
            A bad race (4 or lower) is the one I fall asleep while watching, or I end up watching it on fast forward speed.
            An average race is one that I’m not bored or tired enough to fast forward but nothing really happens. (5 or 6)
            A good race is a 7. Some action with the lead or plenty of action furhter down and throughout the race.
            And an 8 or 9 for those great drives \ passing and unpredictable races.
            I’ve never given a 10.

          2. Same Sato but I have been grateful for the live blogs. I’m always fascinated watching the cars go round but when there is little action for near two hours it’s excellent having the chat!

          3. I follow GP races via Formula 1 Live Timing only then if the torrent is available I’ll download it. That’s my options for now as F1 fan and as Sim Racer :)

  5. I actually think us viewers got lucky in 2008, but we ran out of luck this year. In 2008 there were:
    -5 wet races
    -races transformed by the safety car (eg Germany, Canada and, infamously, Singapore)
    -races livened up by retirements (eg Australia, Hungary)
    -1st corner pile ups which shook up the order (Japan)
    … but the rest of the races weren’t great

    2009 on the other hand:
    -had only 2 wet races, and the last 14 were all dry
    -very few safety cars (none between Spain and Belgium)
    -reliability was boringly good for most teams
    -admittedly there were some decent pile ups!

    1. Not forgetting

      Title decided on the final corner

      Title decided after Turkey


      1. In fact, you might argue that the 2009 season was effectively decided in a Paris courtroom as early as April…

    2. Soumya Banerjee
      17th May 2010, 9:06

      yeah the reliability factor is also important.
      i would love to see cars struggling with reliability problems.

  6. I think 2009 was the worst season I have watched since i started watching in 2004. :/

    1. Yeah, but so many of those seasons have been very good, so it had to end sometime.

  7. This years races were boring despite the unpredictability. If you told me at the beginning of the year that there would be 4 constructors winning a grand prix, with Force India and Toyota in the mix at certain races i’d have thought this was going to be a great season but the races have usually been poor. The first 3 were great, we were seeing cars going side by side trying to overtake then after the racing became poor. China was my favourite race, I didn’t think Brazil was that great, if it weren’t for the fact that Button clinched the title there then I doubt it would have gotten as many votes.

  8. Terry Fabulous
    7th November 2009, 21:15

    I don’t know about those results.
    I can barely remember anything about this year’s ‘French’ Grand Prix so that can’t have been very good could it.

    They did have one didn’t they?

    1. Erm… no.

  9. Valencia was (again) the dullest race of the year for me. It’s just an awful track: it reminds me of Dallas or Phoenix in it’s “street circuit car park” nature.

    Abu Dhabi and Singapore were rather dull races, but do feature two of the most beautiful tracks on the calendar, which helps enormously compared to Barcelona, Hungary, China, Malaysia and dear old Valencia.

    1. they need to open it out a bit more, get rid of silly chicanes like the one at turns 3/4.

  10. Agree with many of the comments already left. 2009 has been an interesting season but certainly not a great one. It took until Brazil to get a race better than the opener and most didn’t come near to it.

    Apart from an interlude in 2003-2006, I’ve been watching F1 since 1996, and I still say 2007 has been the best. 2009 I’d rank similarly to 2001 I think, one of the worse seasons.

  11. I can rememeber races from years ago that are thresher in my memory than the vast majority of races this year.

  12. 2002 was the worst season. 2 fixed races, and the title was decided at Round 11 at Magny-Cours.

    1. I though it was decided in Hungary, wasn’t it?

      1. No defo France, i was at that race

        1. If my memory is right Raikkonen was set for his first win but ran wide on some oil which allowed Schumacher through to take the win and the title.

  13. Yeah, most races were pretty uneventful. But hopefully Hammo and Nando and SebVet will serve up some more excitement next year.

  14. What hurt the championship this year was the fact that Jenson Button, through no fault of his own, had such a big points lead. In 2008, the race for the title was alot more finer, played out between two of the sports most fabled and popular teams. 2008 served up some awesome races, such as the wet race at Silverstone, the huge scrap between Kimi and Lewis at Spa, and a finale that was as heartbreaking as it was exciting.
    2009 missed a little flair, a little something extra. All the hype in the off season about rule changes and closer racing rose the level of expectation among many, myself included, that 2009 would be radically different.
    It was not, and it is as simple as that!

  15. All the hype in the off season about rule changes and closer racing rose the level of expectation among many, myself included, that 2009 would be radically different.
    It was not, and it is as simple as that!

    ^ this, spot on. You know what they say, don’t get your hopes up… sad, but most often true!

  16. I think China deserve 7,but other than that the Fanatics had voted rightly.I totally agree a good race needs to have overtaking & unpredictability.

    Hope next season we have a good racing season.

  17. Interesting to note that for all of the hoopla that goes along with each new track he comes up with, the first Tilke track is 7th, China. China is a Tilke track isn’t it? If not, Bahrain is 8th. I find that very telling. All of the top races were on tracks other than Tilke tracks. All were on the “classic” tracks. (With the arguable exception of Australia)

    1. Well spotted! And the best rated race on a Tilke track for 08 was Turkey, 9th!

      Time for someone different maybe? Bernie? Please?

    2. I’d bet China was only highly rated because of the rain. Last year I nearly fell asleep during the dry race there.

      Despite being Australian, I didn’t really rate the race too high this year, because most of the overtaking was totally artificial because of Bridgestone’s tyres couldn’t last the distance.

      It’s one thing for a standard soft tyre = short lasting and fast/hard tyre = long lasting and slower, but it’s as if Bridgestone haven’t even tried to make good tyres since there’s no competition. I’d glad they’re leaving after 2010.

  18. The Sri Lankan
    8th November 2009, 6:09

    Toyotawise i would say:

    Bahrain – Toyota front row lockout

    Japan – Toyota and Jarno’s Podium battle for second in their home grand prix

    Brazil – Kobayashi Vs Button – EPIC

    Abu Dabi – Kobayashi vs Button Round 2

    Australia – Toyotas fight to 3rd and 4th from the pitlane + all the retirements and crashes and Brawns 1st win

    Belgium – Cornercutting kimi killing it for toyota but Fisichella giving Kimi a good run for his money

    Italy – Toyotas Do-or die battle to nowhere. a good show for the crowd

    Singapore – Glocks 2nd place and overtaking of webber and alonso

    Malaysia – Glocks inspiring tyre choices

    this year Toyota Gave us a good specator scene and as a TOYOTA fan i will miss them.

  19. For me Malaysia and Singapore were the worst races . I actually slept off during the malaysian gp .

  20. Singapore was not so bad IMO

    Australia was amazing due to that battle for 3rd.

    Hamiltons last lap crash in monza was the highlight of the italian weekend.

    Spa Was My Fave IMO because i support FI!

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