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. spot on keith. the mainstream press have never got F1. even richard williams i am sorry to say started harking on about hawthorn and moss and that it was all contrived etc. I dont even read the papers for f1 anymore, waste of time

  2. Well i was watching this race with a mother of all hangovers after only 2 1/2 hours kip and the only thing i found confusing about the race was the stratagy lewis hamilton was on. But i dont think i am alone there!!!!

    Perhaps newspapers should just let people who know about the sport write about it!!!!

  3. I have to agree with the “whinging journalists”. It was a strange combination of confusing and boring. As for Brundle’s comment that he and Coulthard were “on top of it” — you could have fooled me, they seemed as clueless as anyone about what was happening until the last stint.

    1. Absolutely! who are they trying to fool? Crap of a race! You guys really think evry driver posseses the overtaking skill required in a sport like f1? No i didnt think so. So why were they all overtaking all over the field? I’ll tell you, because of the Mickey Mouse WWE style DRS that Bernie introduced. Thats why!

  4. I thought Brundle & DC were outstanding. Best combination for me of any that have done f1.

    Much to my surprise, as well, i thought Brundle might wilt under the pressure and DC would be his normal dullard red bull biased self. But no, theyve been outstanding.. for those of us who dont need constant reminding of how slipstreaming works or even what dirt air is.

    For the casual viewer it may be confusing but frankly who cares what they think, when the Eastenders ominbus comes on they probably turn over anyway.

  5. You know people are stupid when they get lost because cars have to pit more than once. The commentary/ live timings and on screen info are there to help you grasp of whats going on. In the end, you still have to use your brain and not have people like Legard spouting useless information thats already available infront of you.

  6. DC & Brundle works becuase as good as Brundle is he does actually need someone who’s been racing a bit more recently for the techy stuff and they’re not afraid to talk about it either.

    American sports have always shown the way on this, they go out of their way to make something seem complex if not complicated. That rewards regular fans and makes younger fans want to be part of it.

  7. Appreciate you sharing, great blog article. Much obliged.

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