Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Sepang, 2011

A “chaotic race”? Ignore the whingeing journalists

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Sepang, 2011
Drivers pitting more than once was too much for some

While the rest of us were enjoying a gripping Malaysian Grand Prix, over in the Sepang media centre brows were furrowing.

According to The Times’s Kevin Eason journalists were asking each other: “Do you have the faintest idea what is going on here?”

Afterwards Eason complained about “overwhelming techno-babble” and “a near-chaotic Grand Prix of more than 50 pit stops“.

The Daily Telegraph’s Tom Cary agreed it was “confusing for the viewers“.

But this incomprehension was only shared by newspaper journalists sent to cover the race. Martin Brundle noted: “Fleet Street boys told me [the] race [was] totally confusing. I told them [David Coulthard] and me [were] on top of it no problem.”

Had they cared to listen to their readers and fans instead of making assumptions, they would have discovered the reaction to the race was very positive.

At the time of writing the Malaysian Grand Prix is rated 7.8 out of ten by F1 Fanatic readers, which is higher than 16 of last year’s 19 races.

Here’s a sample of what some people actually thought of the race:

“What was chaotic about it? Interesting? Yes. Exciting. Yes? Chaotic? No!” – merlo84

“If they think that lots of passing and normal, racing action is ‘chaos’, they’re confused as to what F1 is.” – Dan_Thorn

“Near Chaotic? Belgium 1998, USA 2005, Malaysia 2009, and Korea 2010 were chaotic… this weekend past we saw a race.” – Ajokay85

A two-hour motor race isn’t like football or golf or other sports where the focus generally remains in one place. Between the battles on the track and developments in the pits there might be half-a-dozen different points of attention in a single lap.

It’s unrealistic to expect to be able to watch a race and instantly know everything that’s happened to all 24 cars. That’s why F1 Fanatic breaks the weekend down team-by-team every Monday after the race.

But even when the races were ‘simpler’, that didn’t stop the mainstream press struggling to keep up. Remember those nonsense stories about McLaren messing up Lewis Hamilton’s final pit stop in Valencia two years ago and allegedly ‘losing him the race’?

I know that casual fans and F1 Fanatics will differ on their views of the sport. And I don’t think F1’s rules are perfect at the moment.

But let’s recognise these complaints about “chaos” for what they are: knee-jerk manufactured outrage to make good headlines.


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163 comments on “A “chaotic race”? Ignore the whingeing journalists”

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  1. Couldn’t possibly agree more Keith

    1. Hear Hear.

      1. Geordie Porker
        12th April 2011, 18:53

        Thought we saw an awesome race; the only disappointment was the winner ;)

        1. UKfanatic (@)
          12th April 2011, 22:25

          me too wanting to see something new

      2. Eason has always been extremely good at talking through an orifice which is at some distance from his mouth. Like a lot of overpaid, intellectually challenged jounalists, he suffers from a very strong believe that what he has to say in his columns is of as seminal important as any tablet of stone handed down to us mere mortals.

        His patheic delusions will no doubt continue.

    2. So, you knew exactly what tyres each driver was on at every point in the race? Rather unlikely, since we didn’t see all the pitstops, nor were we told what each of the drivers were starting on. Of course, given that there were an average of three pitstops, with the range being 2-4, the situation changed rapidly.

      Unless you had access to more info than the commentators provided, it’s not possible to know at each and every instant what was going on. Even Brundell was confused regarding what tyres Hamilton was on after his third pitstop; and he had the computer data in front of him…

      I’d rather they made no pit stops. Then everything would be clear. And if a driver wanted to finish ahead of another, he would have to do so on the track, not in the pits, not by managing his tyres (i.e., going slowly).

      1. I’m with you. I’m as bored with tyre strategy racing as I was with fuel strategy racing. To also see drivers lapping so much slower than their ultimate pace makes it frustrating as well as boring.

        1. I think I fall this side of the fence. Despite the race being entertaining it was chaotic and I can’t help feeling a little cheated. I want to see the best drivers in the world pushing the most advanced cars in the world to their limit. I don’t want to see 2 hours of managing tyres and maximising mpg, I do that every day.

          Personally I would’ve removed the compulsory stop and had a hard tyre that goes in the region 70% distance and a soft that goes 35% race distance.

          As for the race itself, how many overtakes were genuine i.e. not involving DRS or considerably newer tyres? The best position battles that come to mind are Webber/Heidfeld and Hamilton/Alonso and one of DRS or KERS were not involved. Overtaking is a skill and in Aus it was but in Malaysia it all seemed a little to easy for those with fully functioning vehicles.

        2. Couldn’t agree with you more sunnyside. What’s the point is lapping almost 5 seconds faster during qualifying only to slow down to a snail’s pace during the race. All this development seems to be geared towards achieving pole position rather than achieving speed during the race. For sure no lap records will be broken this year. Frustrating to say the least.

          1. Jeffrey Powell
            12th May 2011, 16:16

            Yes but at least most of the cars will finish,the only offs. will be drivers falling asleep and the engine quota will last for ever,we may see a hardly used one on EBAY at the end of the season.At the rate this nonsense is going the safety car may post the fastest lap of the race.

      2. We currently have the highest ratings for F1 for the Malaysian Grand Prix history, fans clearly like this racing. The era of one car dominance and tyres that could finish the race without a stop if necessary was utterly dull. When Schumy won year after year with no challenger to his throne what was the point?

        We now have at least 4 drivers that can win the title, dominating a year has become extremely difficult due to the unpredictability and we have races where there is lots of action.

        Also, the issue with which tyres cars are on is simply solved, and is going to be solved, with a strong colour filling the side wall. That won’t be an issue in future races.

        If you want more information than the commentators provide then look to the official timings and watch what times drivers are putting in. It clears everything up for me and lets you see exactly when tyres are “falling off the cliff”.

    3. F1 has somewhat delivered everything we/they have been asking for & now they rubbish it… Silly fools. Lets not forget Sepang is one circuit that Tilke got right which also added to the excitement. The new tyres are also working beautifully.

    4. +1.
      If a journalist is saying the race was “confusing” then they should not be covering motorsports in general. I had to watch this race with the TV on mute and just with the help of live timing I could tell what was going on at all time.

      Great race too!

  2. If the newspaper journalists sent to the race couldn’t understand what was going on, I’ll more than happily go in one of their places.

    1. Take me on board.

      1. me too. hire me. at least i will bother figuring out the race before publishing that it was chaotic.

    2. Me too. I’d do a better job than them!

  3. Makes you wonder – Who allows thick journalists to cover the most technical sport in the world if they cant even understand the race?

    I was able to follow the action up and down the field on the live timing, enjoy some great action on the TV feed, and have a nice big cup of lemon tea, what are they going on about?

    1. True. If they found this race confusing, then they should quit what they are doing. Half the people on this site are capable of replacing them.

    2. Journalists are taught how to write a fast news story based on a minimum of facts, if any, they are twisted to create as much uproar as possible. Of course they can’t be taken serious. However I would defend them a little bit, because sometimes a race is more confusing, when You are present at the track, than when You are riding Your sofa as they drive by. I think the reason is that Your senses are working overtime to take in as much as possible of the show, the cars passing, the sound and everything – You don’t have the same time to follow the data and analyse it.
      I didn’t find the race confusing from my position in front of the laptop streaming RedButton. And I liked the race, but will not yet make a final verdict on the DRS, KERS and Pirellis. But I can also predict that the teams and drivers will become better at tyre management over the course of the next few races. But I think that DRS makes the races more fun for the drivers as they have more overtakings and more fun battles on track – they won’t get as frustrated as an Alonso weaving a fist at Petrov last year.

      1. +1 When I was at Silverstone in 2007 I was sat in a Grandstand on the main straight (pretty much opposite the Red Bull pit garage) and was only able to keep track of the top 4 or 5 cars…and then only because I decided to focus my attention on keeping track of Lewis Hamilton.

        Of course, for journalists in the media centre there is no excuse. They are professionals there to do a job and (presumably) have access to the same information as those of us watching at home. To say that they weren’t able to follow the race because they were caught up in the sensory experience of being there would be like a team explaining that the reason they only had 3 tyres ready for their driver when he pitted was because the guy with the 4th tyre was too busy listening to the cars speeding past the pit garage!!

    3. Probably the sort of newspaper editors who think it’s only slightly more complex than football (which probably has its share of less-than-stellar journalists).

      1. Maybe a time to go back to the good old lap chart for some of them?

  4. Spot on…just trying to generate headlines. Im surprised any paper even manage to send journalists out there, are they not all covering football (The only sport that seems to exist in many newspapers)!?

    Without being rude If you were watching the BBC with its superb commentary, have seen F1 before and yet found that confusing then your a bit stupid! Either stupid or not paying enough attention. Its not like a cricket match where you can have it on the tv all day and pop in to check on it and possibly catch some action. Compared to some sports with F1 you need to invest a bit of time to gain a lot of pleasure in return.

    I cant believe these journalists are not embarrassed admitting they cant follow a race. Red lights go out and the winner is first past the chequered flag. If they have nothing better to write about F1 then stick to talking about that Rooney ‘sportsman’

    1. ‘superb [BBC] commentary’!?

      Martin is much hyped; but has he offered any new analysis recently? No. He just rehashes what he says every year. If you’ve watched F1 for a decade or more, you’ll know it all. Martin just talks more, not better, now that he’s lead commentator.

      DC is now a BBC commentator. However, he’s also paid $4 million p.a. by Red Bull Racing. It’s no wonder, then, that DC is completely biased. A blatant conflict of interest has been ignored.

      I much prefer Crofty and Ant. They’re more entertaining, up-to-date, insightful, and fair.

      1. Each to his own.

        As has been proved over the years, no one is ever satisfied with the lead commentating crew.

        Crofty and Davidson are great, but Martin and DC are just as good. You may remember that while DC is paid £whatever he also revealed to us what he thought the Red Bull codes meant.

        Hardly what Red Bull would want him to say eh?

        1. So you honestly see no problem in the BBC’s hiring DC as a commentator for their broadcast, which goes out to numerous countries as well as our own, whilst he’s still an official ‘Red Bull Ambassador’ paid £4 million p.a. (see pitpass article) which is more than most of what today’s F1 drivers earn? There’s a clear conflict of interest there.

          I don’t recall DC’s revealing the Red Bull ‘codes’ or what these were. If you’re refering to the radio messages about tyres, etc., they were obvious. I don’t know why RBR even tried to hide that info, when it’s clear to see. Much like their antics RE: the rear wing on the grid.

          If DC, however, were to reveal the secrets of the RBR car, perhaps the front-wing for starters, then his impartiality would be much harder to question. Unfortunately, he tells us nothing. Do you remember the track walk? DC said he would tell Di Resta some secrets of the circuit. Then he proceeded with his banal comments for the BBC. Perhaps he could have told all of us those ‘secrets’. No: he has a different agenda. That is, to help RBR and to help Paul Di Resta. Speaking of which, the commentators have a habit of calling him Scottish and Lewis and Jenson British….not right, either.

          1. I wrote a long spiel but then couldn’t be bothered to post it.

            Seriously, if he does a good job at commentating then really what does it matter who he is paid by? It is completely irrelevant who’s payroll he is on and for what figures, because he is good at what he does. For us fans, he spotted the Hamilton floor damage faster than any of us and elucidated what plan A and plan B were for the red bull team. Obvious it may have been to you, but for 99% of the viewers it wasn’t.

            If you’ve got beef with Coulthard as a commentator then it should have nothing to do with any perceived conflict of interests, because he is professional in his manner and does not let it get in the way of his commentating.

          2. I partly agree with you Alistair but I think having DC in the comm box is a good thing.

            Martin Brundle has been away from the driving aspect of f1 for several years now and whilst f1 cars have changed dramatically since DC drove them, he still knows what this crop of drivers want. We can not expect Martin Brundle to know f1 as intimately as he did in ’97 for example. Listening to his early commentary’s, you heard of his relationship with the drivers of that time. DC will bring his verdict, and views from the pit sooner rather than later.

            If a race is stopped now, MB would not be allowed to jump into the drivers briefing and discuss with the drivers what is going on. DC with a huge connection to the front running team will. This information will be invaluable.

            As for giving Di Resta hints, I imagine that they will be to do with set-up rather than positioning on track so it would be of little use (or already said) to most of the public to hear it.

            I think that after years of journalists, who were not liked or respected in the paddock as much as DC, we should be grateful to have 2 ex-drivers, especially one of which still has influence in the constructors champions.
            With the rules as they are in 2011 I can think of no better team for the BBC comm box.

            In years to come we may come to wish we had them again.

      2. i couldn’t disagree more

      3. I didnt intend my comment to turn into a commentary debate. Personally i think its a million times better than the last 2 years, anyway my point was they helped make the race easy to follow if anyone was struggling.

        Ant and Crofty are good but not on HD. Sound quality (of cars) is terrible and they do go over ground again all the time…every practice session Ant will talk about cruise mode and the rain light for aero runs. They all have to retread ground, its impossible to be different and fresh when talking the same subject and having to cover points for new listeners all year.

      4. Yeah I can imagine Crofty enthusiastically reading out ignorant viewer questions* (what is the KERS system? Why do some tyres have a yellow logo and some have white? What are marbles? What is a diffuser? Who is this Ayrton Senna people are talking about?) and then panting out lap times from top to bottom in one breath every 15 minutes.

        Sounds like commentary bliss. ;)

        I like coulthard but it should be Brundle and Davidson in my opinion as they both ‘say it like it is’.

        As for ‘choatic’, it’s part of the fun having the timing screens and driver tracker running so you can see the whole picture. I agree about the feed from FOM, it needs better direction and with more variables there needs to be more information provided onscreen. Split screen pits sounds like a good idea, as does tyre info next to driver name.

        *whilst these questions are great for those new to F1, they have no place on a live broadcast and are easily answered via a 30 second search on the net.

    2. I think this is the best commentary team we’ve had for years. At first I thought DC would struggle to find things to keep us engaged, but he’s slipped into the position perfectly, and I haven’t once been upset by anything he has said. It’s completely different, but it’s as good as Allen and Brundle. (I know some of you had something against James Allen, but I thought he was just fine)

      1. I agree. Brundle is as ever, a great commentator. And DC, somewhat to my surprise, is fitting in quite nicely.

        What I’ve noticed is this is the first time people have had a conversation about DC, most of it being positive. This is very different to the past few years. (Legard)

    3. @adamf184
      Keep in mind that if something involves a ball it is a game not a sport. Games are for children :)

  5. I admit I could hardly breath out for a moment, having action genuine on track action all the time (Start, Ham-Heidfeld, then Webber, Kobayashi, Schu, … almost too much to take in in a go and far away from any notion of making a coffee or going to the toilet.
    First time I actually looked at where is everyone ended up, I was supprised to see 31 laps in.
    And only in the last 10 minutes did I realize it was still good old (or rather young) Seb Vettel safely in front!

    Maybe some people were too used to seeing not that much on track for too long. Now F1 starts doing what we all felt was needed, more on track action, they suddenly woke up and were confused.

    1. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what happened in Valencia last year until after the race, and that was far from chaotic. There wasn’t a moment on Sunday evening that I thought; “this race is incredibly complex!” Instead I was busy enjoying how excellent the racing was. If I was going to name a chaotic race, I’d easily put China last year ahead of Malaysia 2011.

  6. I’m afraid I disagree that the race wasn’t chaotic. It was – the coverage was terrible.

    Thats not to say it was Brundles fault (as it was the pictures being shown rather than him or Coulthard), nor it is to say that a chaotic grand prix is a bad thing.

    But the race itself was exceptionally difficult to follow. I didnt know who was in 5th – 15th place for almost the entire race. Further, the amount of replays shown on lap 3 of the start was ridiculous – we missed a full lap of racing!

    In my opinion, some sort of on screen positioning would make it a lot easier – and allow us to identify when overtakes happen.

    1. I think its also important that when I say that the race was chaotic – I don’t mean this negatively. The race itself was good, and the amount going on was great. However, the coverage didn’t show it very well, or in an organised manner.

      1. I agree the ammount of times we missed overtakes to see someone else finishing off a pitstop was very annoying. In all fairness, the BBC commentary team had to deal with the same feed as us, so they did a reasonable job

        1. Exactly! Why see a live pitstop and a replay of an overtake when we can see an overtake live?!

          And you’re right – I don’t think it was the BBC’s fault at all. Rather the director of the coverage didn’t seem to have a clue.

        2. because all media like us and i think majority of fans follow live timing

          it helps to follow every race from firts to last lap

          1. well, given that live timing frequently crashes and is a few seconds behind the television coverage then why should we forced to watch it in order to be able to understand the race?

            I’d also highly doubt that the majority of viewers watch it. There is a large difference between the normal viewer (which, I would imagine is a large % of the viewership) and the hardcore F1 fans like ourselves.

          2. I’m a hardcore fan, and even I don’t view the live timings.

        3. To play devil’s advocate, you could maybe forgive FOM for showing too many pit stops simply because there haven’t been nearly this many in a single race for a good while now.

          Whereas before a pit stop would be the most exciting thing going on, now we have a lot more on track action. Perhaps they just need a few races like this to get used to this style of race.

          Of course, the director could just be completely incompetent; who knows? :D

          1. Well, I can’t say I was impressed with FOM coverage before this point but the nature of Malaysia 2011 highlighted the flaws rather dramatically.

          2. @KazeXT

            There have been very few times where I have watched a pitstop and thought ‘wow’. Pitstops have their place in f1 broadcasting, but not when there is an overtaking opportunity on track!

            Definitely the directors fault. In fairness to him, as you mention, the directing this year was far harder to do than usual as there was so much going on. Regardless though, its their job – so I have little sympathy.

            It just highlights that the FOM have to think long and hard about how to broadcast the information to the fans in the most efficient way.

      2. As you imply, that’s the difference between the race being complicated and the coverage being bad. FOM’s direction leaves a lot to be desired – cutting away from on-track action to show pit stops is a real bugbear for me.

        But remember those at the track have access to more live data than people watching the race on TV do – even if they’re following the live timing and using F1 Fanatic Live.

        1. cutting away from on-track action to show pit stops is a real bugbear for me.

          That infuriates me as well and happened far too many times on Sunday. Its fine to show pit stops when there’s no on track battles at the time, but don’t cut away when someone is lining up an overtake!

          1. Ads21 and Keith – agreed. There were several occasions where someone was in the DRS zone and closing rapidly (Sebastian Vettel to name but one) and then the FOM director would switch to a pit stop of a Virgin or something irrelevant.

        2. I agree, that sadly FOM just seem not to grasp what to show.

          First announcing the DRS was now activated, only to switch to 4-5 replays showing nothing more than the first one and showing all those pitstops only to miss the action on track (can’t they just show pitstops in a small inset, or only have the counters running?).

          I guess Sepang had more action than can be catched all at once, but there was a lot of racing not being shown, again.

          But It was great fun and adrenaline boost to watch.

          1. i agree,they should have “pit cam” with a super imposed image in the corner when they want to show pit stops when a “battle” is occuring between drivers.

          2. This would be particularly useful when you have an on-track battle approaching someone in the pits and it’s a mad race to see who gets out first. That would be incredible.

        3. I think we’re getting into an era though where these limitations shouldn’t exist.

          I can watch an entire race from the onboard camera of an audi at Le Mans. Why shouldn’t I be able to pick and chose my television feed as well?

          FOM could have made the race easy to follow – even with KERS, DRS etc if they focussed more on providing better coverage. I’d wager that some of last years races would have been a lot more exciting too had we the option of what and who to watch.

        4. cutting away from on-track action to show pit stops is a real bugbear for me.


          At least we didn’t have to suffer through any shots of the drivers’ girl friends/wives!

          1. We did get Petrov’s manager..they like showing her :-(

          2. We did get Petrov’s manager..they like showing her

            I thought that was his mother!

          3. Petrov’s manager!?! I thought that was his mother!!!

          4. Maybe she’s both?, I assumed it was his Mother as well

        5. spanky the wonder monkey
          13th April 2011, 8:42

          now, if only some clever soul could invent something i’d like to call ‘picture in picture’, we could see the pit stop in a smaller box in say a corner of the tv screen. ;-)

    2. This is the sort of thing James Allen was exceptional at, reading the entire race and speculating on strategy for pretty much the entire field.

      I’m from Holland so maybe I missed out on the subtle nuance that seemingly made so many people hate him, but he was excellent paired with Brundle and would especially for this kind of stuff. I also had problems reconstructing the top 10 relative to pitsopts… then again everybody including the teams are in new territory if it comes to this.

      Awesome race though. I wish they’d get rid of DRS. It’s clear enough but boring and fake. Same for the two tyre compound rule. Qualify on whatever, race on whatever.

      1. Interesting point on James Allen – he was good at reading the race.

        As I have mentioned though, I don’t think the problem was the commentating. Brundle and Coulthard did what they could with the images being provided to them (and us). Perhaps they could have focussed a little on what was happening elsewhere, but honestly it makes little sense to do so when you are commentating to people watching the live video.

        The problem was with the director rather than anyone else.

      2. I have to say I was an Allen fan, if you removed the pro-British bias that was mainly due to ITV’s editorial policy, he was actually a great commentator.

        1. Prior to this year, I dont think the races were confusing to read into. I mean, everybody pretty much had the same amount of pitstops, etc. This year, there are a whole lot more variables. Who pits at what stage is waht the race is all about. The captions do show from time to time the relative pitstops but it can still be confusing to read into the race. Somebody’s tyre might hold up a lot better and somebodys might degrade a whole lot faster. It changes the complexion of the race instantly.

  7. The only thing that was chaotic was me in the kitchen trying to finish cooking the bacon and eggs before the race started.

    So what’s the general reaction to DRS after that race?

    1. my reaction is that, whilst it’s not bad, it’s a bit unnecessary and that we would see sufficient amounts of overtaking with just the tyres and KERS. I seem to be one of the very few supporters of KERS however. We did see a couple of occasions where overtaking for me was a tad to easy for me, something just didn’t feel right. I’m willing to give it a little longer though.

      I like the way that KERS is available to everyone the same amount, yet can still give an advantage to the following car if used tactically.

      Regarding the not really knowing whats going on, I think it’s more a matter of not knowing whats going to happen, which for me is perfect. Although as stated above, the coverage could be improved, perhaps with the positions displayed as they are in practice, with P at the side if someone is pitting, and then perhaps a time and a tyre selection displayed as they exit. This was we wouldn’t really need to see any pitlane action unless something dramatic happened.

      1. Perhaps SWN for stuck wheel nut? That happens a lot so we don’t need TV coverage for it.

    2. I also think that the DRS was better in Aus than malaysia. I think thats the balance they should look to recreate. For example, in China, I think the DRS should be activated on the pit straight rather than the main back straight. That way, as in Aus, it will not just make what is already and overtaking spot a lot easier, but will create a new overtaking spot possibility, and overtaking in different areas of the track, which can only be a good thing.

    3. I felt the DRS in the races only makes overtaking happen earlier than it would otherwise; it doesn’t introduce any overtaking that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

      Either DRS needs to be 3-4 times more effective than at present or it needs to be removed.

      1. or perhaps as I said above moved to places where overtaking generally doesn’t happen?

        1. I didn’t see the place of overtaking move, only the laps on which it happened…

  8. I didnt find it ‘chaotic’ at all! If it hadnt been such a walkover for Vettel then it would have been right up there with some of the greats.

    In reguard to it being hard to follow, Ive never felt that, but I have been following it for years and know alot about it (largely thanks to Keith!)However I tried watching Lemann 24 a while ago and had absolutely no idea what was going on… I dont know if thats because its harder to follow than F1 or if it was due to lack of knowlege… so if it is lack of knowlege I can understand peoples point of view… but in that case… do they have a right to write about it?

    1. Le Mans 24 is a bit of both – it is considerably more complex than F1 (especially if you don’t watch any other Le Mans-style races beforehand) and it takes a reasonable amount of knowledge to get the best from it.

      I’m not sure why the Fleet Street journalists had so much difficulty following the race – it wasn’t like they complained about Australia, which had the same elements in a lesser amount.

  9. I guess it makes their job harder so good as they might pay bit more attention to what there writing about and note print the usual rubbish. I have changed my mind on the DRS and now like it there as the over taking is still not the easiest but can be done instead of the stupid processions until the pitstops.

  10. It was chaotic. It was also artificial. The main problem is the tyres. If you want overtaking, ban pitstops completely; or, allow just one. With so many pitstops and so weak tyres, drivers just spend the race coasting, looking after their tyres. Instead of trying to overtake, drivers look after their tyres and hope to pit latter.

    That’s not how you get overtaking. If there were no pitstops, drivers would simply have to overtake on the track to finish ahead. Even then, stupid steward decisions and the risk of a crash put all but Lewis and Kobayashi off. But it would be better than the situation we have now. Furthermore, enough of the DRS and KERS. With these ‘power-ups’ avaliable, we’re not too far away from drivers firing bananas at each other! F1 is dumbing down almost to Mario Kart Level. It’s all to appeal to the casual viewer and not the true fan. It’s pervading society: 3-D films, Wiis, etc. The days of the petrol-head are numbered.

    1. But if everyone is on the same tyres, in roughly the same condition there will never be a big enough speed difference for anyone to overtake.
      In theory i understand you point, but in reality it just don’t work. The races last year where there were most overtakes where when people used different tyres. Canada is one, Kubica in Singapore is another. There we had some overtakes. Simply because a driver needs 1-2 seconds a lap to be able to overtake, and that just don’t happen if they can’t pit and try some different tyres then the others.

      1. There have been myriad overtakes in the past when the drivers have been on ‘the same tyres, in roughly the same condition’. I’m sure you can think of very many examples; so I won’t argue further for this point.

        It all depends on what you want an overtake to be and represent. I want it to be a challenge to overtake. I want it to require driving skill. I don’t want it to be artificial or unfair.

        Remember Senna and Mansell battling it out, wheel to wheel, with sparks flying, at Spain, all those years ago? That was a trully great overtake by Nigel. It wouldn’t have been worthy of comment, however, if Nigel had used his special ‘DRS’ wing, when Senna’s was disabled, and used his ‘KERS’ button to make the pass.

        F1, in recent years, especially this year, has been styled on Mario Kart. We now have ‘power-ups’: DRS and KERS. And Players 2+ are given an advantage over P1 by being able to deploy a unique power-up to overtake and make-up ground: the DRS. This doesn’t bespeak the pinnacle of motorsport, in my humble opinion.

        (It’s made worse by the addition of a team owned by a softdrinks company (the F1 equivalent of the McDonalds’ car) and so many amateur teams and drivers at the back.)

        I don’t want 50+ pitstops and 20+ overtakes per race. That sounds like a NASCAR equivalent. The analogy with football holds true. A 0-0 draw can be a thrilling game. Just as a race with no overtakes can be a strategic or suspensful race. Overtakes should be like goals in football. You don’t see many goals in football…

        1. I see the point.. I agree with you

        2. maestrointhesky
          12th April 2011, 21:37

          I was going to make the football analogy but you’ve done it for me!

        3. I agree with you on the artificiality of KERS and DRS. I think they have no place in the spirit of racing.

          I disagree on the football analogy though. It’s a reasonable analogy to make, but it’s wrong to compare overtaking to goals. Sure a 0-0 match can be thrilling, but that’s because there’s still plenty of action and you see the ebb and flow of control between the teams with that threat of a score. I don’t see how that compares to a procession race with no overtaking. I would equate a goal to your favorite driver or team winning a race, it doesn’t happen often unless you’re jumping ship every couple of races. But I fail to see what’s suspenseful or thrilling about strategies that don’t even result in cars swapping positions at some point in the race, let alone affecting the result. F1’s “threat of scoring” is seeing someone ahead for a while and you’re not sure if they can maintain that or not. Not “oh look he took 5 tenths off that 8 second gap to the leader by the end of the race with that gamble on the tires! What a thrilling 2 hours!”

          I don’t care how much overtaking there is as long as there’s some, it’s genuine and earned, while there isn’t race after race of clearly faster cars being held up the vast majority of the time (obviously a stern defense is just as admirable). How exactly you manufacture that without being artificial, I don’t know. I think it starts with circuit changes. A lot of these rules seem to be bandaids for the more boring tracks in F1. It’s rare the race I could complain about in the past years at a track known for its overtaking. And if it happens once in a while, so what, that’s racing. I think more innovative coverage like choice of feed, GPS toys, etc could make even the best race more exciting. If it’s a procession, so what I could switch over to an in-car camera and just enjoy the sights and sounds.

        4. Alistair is spot on. I’d say that one tank of fuel and one set of grippy tyres are necessary steps towards good racing along with a big reduction of topside downforce and taking their Carbon Fibre brakes away.

          Sometimes I feel like we’re stuck with 2 years of Wacky Races until the big 2013 regulations change.

  11. Glad I’m not the only one that thought the carrying on about how confusing the race was was well overblown. If a ‘fan’ can’t keep up with who’s leading, who’s pitting and everything else that, well honestly, fans have asked for for years, then why are they watching? And if journalists think that it’s too hard to follow, were they expecting we would like processional races where everyone pits in a row and they follow each other? If we wanted that they could just cut out the race and we’d be done with the weekend at the end of qualifying.

    1. iloveblinking
      12th April 2011, 19:28

      Couldn’t agree more. And if the journos are really finding it all that confusing I bet there are a hundred fans, equally skilled at F1 eloquence, who would be quite happy to take their places.

  12. Nathan Bradley
    12th April 2011, 18:13

    I was right on Twitter Keith!

    Kevin Eason, I’m not shocked at all. Remember his article that also made the round up last year (I think) about how difficult it was being an F1 journalist because of all those flights he had to take?

    Dear me, how awful it must be! As Red Andy says above, if it’s too much of a burden, I’ll go in his/their places.

    @Red Andy: I guess you and I are fighting for that one place lol ;) unless more than one comes up of course!


    1. The comment above was posted by me, but for some reason I was logged out, so posted under my full name instead. Slightly weird but oh well. :)


    2. Kevin Eason, I’m not shocked at all. Remember his article that also made the round up last year (I think) about how difficult it was being an F1 journalist because of all those flights he had to take?

      Christ, that guy still has a job?

  13. Wasn’t chaotic – it was minimum what an f1 gp weekend should be – full of action.

    1. That’s what many people don’t understand.

  14. Can you imagine them trying to keep up with motor racing in America, with full course yellows, loads of pit stops, last lapped driver getting their lap back when the pace car comes out, limited numbers of push to pass button uses.

    I have generally found that the people entrusted with commenting on F1 are the same people who also write about 3 or 4 other sports in the daily newspapers so very rarely have anything of note to say. They treat their reporting as if it were covering football, they try to generate a headline to “sell the back page” and assume the readers have the same level of shallow uninformed intellect as the average kick ball fan.

  15. all i think they need to do is at the left hand side hav the names wit a no. with how many pit stop theyve done, in different colors to let us no what tyre there on. be alot easier to follow.

    1. And move the list as far to the left as they can to stop my screen getting blocked in places!

  16. I seriously don’t know why even exist these negative opinions.

    Of course we’ve grown apart from the races with a lot of pit stop, but don’t forget that 1-3 pit stops were common up until 2009 it’s just that from 1994 on it was more about refuelling your car; drivers have had to care much less about tyres. Now it’s all about tyres and surely the rules must be a little more complicated, but that’s the way it is if we ban refuelling because of the likes of Massa, Singapore, 2008.

    Then there’s KERS and DRS which are relatively new. But technical innovations we always on the plate beginning with the engine behind the driver up to now.

    So I don’t understand the whining. Of course it’s more complicated now, but I think it’s also even more exciting. And that is what sells.

    Ultimately people will get used to it and will like it.

  17. I had to stay up from 2am-4am to watch the race here in Canada, and I was able to follow it in my sleep-deprived, slightly tipsy ;) state.

    So yeah, not really seeing the problem for these journalists…

  18. It’s not exactly related to the Malaysian GP, but I made a word cloud (different from the previous one) of all the Drivers’ and Constructors’ champions. Constructors or drivers that won several times appear larger than ones that only won it once. I think you’ll agree it’s very elegant.


    1. I think that’s a very beautiful image. Thanks for the share! It’s super intuitive. I had to struggle to find Lewis’ and Jenson’s names but Michael Schumacher is so easy to find. That’s when I cottoned on to the font size for number of championships. I like it. Well done!

    2. This is really cool. Thanks for that

  19. I, and probably most of the F1Fs, managed to understand perfectly the dynamics of the race, I understood which drivers where fast, and why, and which drivers where slow.
    It was easy to understand how much stops each driver was going to do.

    And the pace was a bit predictable too, cars where fast in the first 10-12 laps with new tyres, then the pace dropped in the last laps of each stint. With new set of tyres, they immediately broke his lap records, because they had new tyres and a lighter car (less fuel than in the beginning of the previous stint).

    The only thing out of the grid for me was the Hamilton pace at the last stint.

    Only people that didn’t knew anything about F1 could classify this race as chaotic…

  20. Keeping up with what was going on with the top 6 runners on Sunday was very easy, especially with timing screens which surely any serious F1 journalist would use while watching the race. I can understand how people who were new to the sport may have found the race difficult to follow, I often find Indycar hard to follow. But these guys are being paid to travel the world reporting on this sport, they should at least be able to understand what’s going on.

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