The Turkish Grand Prix was a fantastic race – and it didn’t need a single drop of rain to liven things up.
F1 Fanatic readers rated the Turkish Grand Prix higher than any other dry race weekend since our “Rate the Race” polls began at the start of 2008.
After the criticisms of ‘boring F1′ following the Bahrain Grand Prix, what conclusions can we draw about the state of F1 fro the Turkish GP?
Why we saw a great race
Why did we see such a good race in Istanbul? Rob put forward one convincing explanation:
From my technically ignorant viewpoint, it seems that the McLaren and Red Bull cars’ handling characteristics – one faster in slow corners and in a straight line, the other faster in high-speed corners – combined with a track which has a good variety of fast and slower sections, and the grid positions of the top four drivers all combined to keep them racing together.
Rob’s dead right. But there was one other element which conspired to keep the front runners close together.
The top three were covered by less than a second on some laps. And for that we have the refuelling ban to thank.
Last year Lewis Hamilton would have had a much easier job winning this race. McLaren would have fuelled him up for his middle stint, brought him in later for his final stop to leapfrog the Red Bulls and collected an easy victory.
The great strength of the refuelling ban is it forces drivers to to fight for their wins on the track.
And when F1 drivers spend lap after lap in close proximity with their rivals, you’re far more likely to get the kind of drama we saw on Sunday.
What F1 can learn from it
Just as it would have been foolish to rush into knee-jerk changes following the Bahrain Grand Prix, it would be wrong to conclude from one great race that everything is fine in Formula 1 at the moment.
It wasn’t just at the front of the field that we saw quicker cars trying to pass slower ones. But not only were passes for position still in short supply, there were several examples of how it was impossible for some drivers to get close enough to even try a pass.
And Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica crossed the line separated by less than two seconds – but it rarely looked as though any of them might try a move on the other.
Jaime Alguersuari caught the Sauber drivers by up to three seconds per lap at the end of the race, yet couldn’t get close enough to overtake.
This is the long-lamented aerodynamic problem again. If drivers cannot get close enough to their rivals to put pressure on them, we’re not going to see close racing.
We already know the teams are banning the powerful double diffusers next year to reduce the cars’ aerodynamic downforce. They should seriously consider further reductions in wing size to make it easier for cars to run closely together.
If all they do next year is push the balance further towards less grip and more power, that will be of far greater benefit to F1 than unnecessary changes to the race format. As John H put it:
This was a great race.
We always look to the past with rose-tinted spectacles (“look at this, wheel to wheel stuff they’re almost touching… Mansell gets in there… etc…”) but try to imagine Murray and Hunt commentating on today’s race and you’ll realise F1 is in good shape these days – not bad.
We don’t need overtaking every five minutes to make a great race. Keep races long. Stay away Briatore!
What do you think made the Turkish Grand Prix such a good race? Was it a one-off or the sign of things to come? have your say in the comments.
Race rating data
The chart below shows the result of over 67,000 votes cast rating the last 42 races out of ten:
This is part of “Making F1 better”, a series of articles looking at ways to improve Formula 1. Fore more information see the introduction: Making F1 better: a discussion series
Making F1 better
- A brilliant race in Turkey shows F1 is on the right track (Making F1 better)
- Making F1 better: series round-up
- Addicted to aero (Making F1 better)
- Improving F1 means solving a three-dimensional problem (Making F1 better)
- What should F1 be? (Making F1 better)
- When was F1 at its best? The rose-tinted spectacles problem (Making F1 better)
- Making F1 better: a discussion series
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