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. glad that another British driver became world champ but this was the most boring season since 2004. it a shame as i’m sure that the sport has pulled in a lot of new fans over the last few years due to the Hamilton factor and this past season may have scared people away. some races i was flicking between channels and that’s not a good sign if even your hard core fans are bored. Fingers crossed for 2010!!

  2. it’s a shame you guys only remember Malaysia only for being stopped because of the rain..when it was dry it was pretty spectacular, with plenty of overtaking and overtaking attempts..Australia was brilliant, the order changing surprising us all, the bad thing about it was Hamilton’s lying but still.., and a brilliant drive for Toyota there as well..China was as good as a wet race is expected to be, with plenty of dramas with spins and such, and Massa’s unfortunate retirement..Bahrain was surprisingly spectacular giving the track itself, with nice turnarounds at the front, and it was the first Bahrain GP at which I didn’t doze off for a change..Spain was a bit of a train wreck, but that’s only because the track is more of a test track rather than a race track, but the pile-up at the start was memorable, especially thanks to the Trulli-Sutil saga later in the season..Monaco was, well, Monaco in the dry, there’s always too much hype about that place racing-wise, but this year’s race was exciting, with Ferrari on the podium for the first time and with Button prepping up for his triathlon at the end..Turkey was a bit lackluster, but it was worth trying to see whether Vettel could do anything with his strategy, and then seeing Webber better him..the British GP is considered bad because this is, again, a British site with I think mostly British readers, and it didn’t go too well seeing Button and Hamilton have bad and very bad races respectively, but it still was a good race, with Massa Rosberg and Button scrapping (that’s what I think is wrong..because if there is overtaking to be done, the one who overtakes is almost sure to pull away, so I think the duel itself is more entertaining than the actual overtaking), the track is absolutely brilliant, and I don’t think a dominant win from RB should’ve downplayed this year’s GP..the German GP, what a race that was, with Webber recovering from his penalty, Hamilton throwing away his opportunity, Rosberg doing a good solid race, and Massa on the podium for the first time..then, the Hungarian GP, the “return of the giants”, with McLaren and Ferrari on the podium, Renault’s botched pit stop, Vettel’s unfortunate retirement and again a good race from Webber and Rosberg..Valencia was indeed an awful race, the only highlight being Hamilton’s stop, which I think just made me blink in the vast ocean of boredom surrounding the race..however the season was jump-started along with the next race at Spa, which showed you don’t need unpredictable weather for a terrific spectacle, although it was a bit unnerving seeing Button out and then his rivals not scoring too well, and this has been a somewhat lucky second part of the season (I’m not saying Button is not a worthy champion, he had shown his capabilities well before 2009)..the Italian GP was good as well, Brawn having the upper hand with their strategy, Hamilton (I think) needlessly pushing for pretty much nothing more, Sutil setting a fastest lap for FI (if that isn’t unexpected in pre-season testing, I don’t know what is), and seeing Fisichella not up to terms in the Ferrari, and that’s when I thought maybe Badoer wasn’t that bad, which has been confirmed by Fisi throughout the rest of the season..Singapore was anti-climatic with Rosberg and Vettel getting penalised, and I think Rosberg didn’t gain absolutely anything as he actually lost time trying to get back within the white line, and then Vettel fought back to 4th brilliantly, and also Webber going off putting him out of contention for the title..the Japanese GP was worse than expected, but I didn’t get to see the race in order to have made a personal opinion..the Brazilian GP was again, a worthy Brazilian GP, but I for one wasn’t too excited about Kobayashi’s driving and I don’t see him as a terrific racer, there’s no need to bash me now..anyway, a good enough race with Hamilton Button and Vettel making their way up from the back, and Buemi making a good race..and Abu Dhabi was a pretty decent race, with a good turnaround at the front, and then the deception was great when none of the Ferrari drivers had the car to score any points..but still I don’t think Abu Dhabi was a worthy season finale, especially track-wise, because it isn’t all that exciting to watch both onboard and from the outside..I lit-up funny shaped hotel doesn’t compensate for an ugly track, to be honest..

    all in all, I think it’s been a good, steady season, in which races could be separately remembered for different things (not including the political side of things)..not the best of seasons, but for me it was especially nice to see other teams and drivers being at the top..sorry for the novel, but who wants to read it and agree/disagree with it, be my guest

    1. The season from a Ferrari Fan….

  3. 07 and 08 were more exciting, I think.

  4. 2007 was one of the best, but it’s mostly remembered for the final races in which Kimi recovered, but there is little focus on the fact that there were only 4 different winners that year..same goes for 2000, which was also a classic season..anyway, season ratings are quite relative and I’m also not a big fan of season comparisons

  5. i think that the best races for me are not always the best races racing wise. this year i really enjoyed the aussie gp the whole set up with brawn, jenson, and the bbc’s return etc etc
    and it was a nice spring day in the uk!!!!!!!!!

  6. Barcelona always sucks in my opinion. They (teams) all know that track too well. Hungary has been a turd since the 80’s.

    1. There’s nothing wrong in everybody knowing a track well. Barcelona is boring because the track’s characteristic inhibits overtaking (i.e. all turns are long curves which require maximum downforce).

    2. Hungary produced some good races, despite the ugly and uninspired layout

  7. I’m not surprised by the standout races. I think this statistic is a good representation of what kinds of excitement at least the readers and voters here like to see in a Grand Prix race. Perhaps it’s an interesting coincidence that the highest-rated races all took place at venues that have been on the calendar for years now, whereas apparently, quite a few of the newer venues with all the impressive facilities, at least in this case, didn’t produce the most captivating races.

    This is all opionion-based, of course, but I find it really interesting to compare at the end of the season.

  8. This season’s overall score down compared to 08 because of the McLaren and Ferrari poor performance and the disenchantment of their fans?

    I thought it was a great season because of the upset in the order, Button’s overtaking and the “will he, won’t he” at the end of the season. Plenty of different race winners, no apparent team orders, nor big two dominance – nearly as good as 1982.

    Most of the tracks are processional. Excitement only occurs in qualifying as by and large that is the race result. In desperation we hope for wet qualifying/dry race or the reverse in the hope of some excitement.

    In actual fact we don’t really need a live race just an edited package of highlights at the end of the race – just being controversial. The real talking points of F1 are the politics of FIA/FOTA/Bernie; shock that teams cheat and how god it was in the golden era (60s/70s/80s – depends on your age for this).

  9. I dont understand why so many say it was a boring season, I think it was great, unpredictable, evolved throughout the season. Maybe Legards unbearable presence has skewed everyones view of the season.

    Glad to see Kobayashi getting his due respect, i think he’s gonna be a major player…

  10. Let’s see which tracks Tilke has designed!

    Brazil 8.309

    Australia 7.937
    Belgium 7.852
    Germany 7.096
    Italy 7.049

    Hungary 6.808
    China 6.69 Tilke
    Bahrain 6.42 Tilke

    Abu Dhabi 5.794 Tilke
    Britain 5.755
    Japan 5.58
    Monaco 5.504
    Europe 5.355 Tilke
    Singapore 5.336 Tilke
    Spain 5.33
    Malaysia 5.284 Tilke
    Turkey 5.276 Tilke


  11. Oh, also, this is classic, from the Wikipedia article about Tilke:

    “Tilke established Tilke Engineering in 1984… to provide complete solutions for motor racing and waste disposal projects.”

    So, now we know why the racing’s gone down the toilet since he came on the scene…

  12. I’m surprised ’08 didn’t get a higher average considering there were only 2 or 3 dull races all season, with several absolute classics, for me it was the greatest season ever, and if we’re honest it probably had a lot to do with the weather.

    The latter half of this year was brilliant tho, a spell of 6 races with 6 different winners, let’s hope it stays that competitive next year.

  13. I think some will rate an individual race on factors other than the race itself. Such as how close the Championship is, would Brazil this year and especially last year have got quite so high a rating if it hadn’t decided the title?

    Another reason is who won the race, for example at Turkey after Button had won so many races already, I think it got a lower rating than if another driver had won in exactly the same fashion. I know I am guilty of this as if a driver I like wins in totally dominant fashion I enjoy the race a lot more than if another driver won by leading from start to finish and never being challenged.

    Overall I wouldn’t say this season has been bad although it probably hasn’t been as good as recent seasons.

  14. Like many others here, I am surprised that this season was rated so closely to the 2008 season overall. This year was so dull by comparison, watching Button amass a big points lead and carry it through the whole championship. Button was leading the championship from Australia all the way to the end, usually by over 20 points! A credit to him, but it makes for a yawn-worthy championship battle (or lack thereof). This year the cars were uglier, the racing much more processional, the scandals were frequent and the FIA were more belligerent than ever. Not a good year for F1, for many reasons. All I can say is bring on 2010!

  15. this was the first season in awhile where I missed a few races and I think it’s down to the fact some of the excitement has gone. the off track scandals have been more interesting than the racing…that said, I’m happy for Jenson :-)

  16. Tilke is tempermentally unsuited to designing F1 circuits, club circuits possibly, and he’s hurting F1 racing. He thinks like an amateur club racer and his designs consistently reflect that; the number of nusiance, even non-sensical, corners is astounding in comparison to the classic circuits still being used. Corners where there should be none, arcane corner designs that have no race flow to them, and the absence of real high speed sweepers – a lap of Silverstone at speed would likely be a major dread for him.

    Admittedly the F1 design guidelines, as written, make modern circuit design often a spirit deadening endeavor. However, imagination and vigor can still create enjoyable racing circuits for both drivers and viewers. I’m puzzled why an elite former F1 driver did not embark into designing circuits with the soul and flow worthy of great driving talent. It’s not soon enough that one does so and revises Tilke’s circuits to classic standards, with full regard for modern safety standards.

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