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

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

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

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  1. steph90 said on 7th November 2009, 19:30

    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!

    • George said on 7th November 2009, 19:47

      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.

      • TommyB said on 7th November 2009, 19:57

        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

        • steph said on 7th November 2009, 20:45

          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.

          • TommyB said on 7th November 2009, 21:00

            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

          • steph90 said on 7th November 2009, 21:32

            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

          • James said on 7th November 2009, 22:56

            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

          • Patrickl said on 8th November 2009, 8:14

            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. John H said on 7th November 2009, 19:31

    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.

    • beneboy said on 9th November 2009, 18:38

      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. TommyB said on 7th November 2009, 19:40

    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. Ned Flanders said on 7th November 2009, 20:05

    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

    • TommyB said on 7th November 2009, 20:14

      I agree with everything you just said

      • TommyB said on 7th November 2009, 20:18

        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

        • sato113 said on 7th November 2009, 21:56

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

          • Chalky said on 7th November 2009, 22:10

            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.

          • steph said on 7th November 2009, 23:23

            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!

          • Anonymous said on 8th November 2009, 7:54

            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. Ned Flanders said on 7th November 2009, 20:17

    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!

    • TommyB said on 7th November 2009, 20:22

      Not forgetting

      2008:
      Title decided on the final corner

      2009:
      Title decided after Turkey

      :P

      • Ned Flanders said on 7th November 2009, 21:35

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

    • Soumya Banerjee said on 17th May 2010, 9:06

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

  6. striay said on 7th November 2009, 20:41

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

  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 said on 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?

  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.

  10. Icthyes said on 7th November 2009, 22:56

    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. Gusto said on 7th November 2009, 22:58

    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.

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

  14. The Limit said on 7th November 2009, 23:52

    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. bad_whippet said on 8th November 2009, 0:39

    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!

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