Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Shanghai, 2013

Fun or artifical? Mixed views in China Rate the Race

2013 Chinese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Tom Taylor

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Shanghai, 2013Has Formula One reached a tipping point in the “sport versus entertainment” debate?

With an average rating of 7.412 the Chinese Grand Prix was a popular race though not as well-liked as the three which preceded it at the track.

As usual DRS and tyre were the focus of the debate. Many readers felt the twin DRS zones at the Shanghai International Circuit were too powerful. And the sight of drivers completing a maximum of seven laps on the soft tyres during the race was not welcomed by others.

Even so just 8% of readers gave it a rating of five out of ten or less. Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers made of the Chinese Grand Prix.

The middle of the race was middling somewhat as we got into the samey ‘all about the tyres’ type racing. But a solid first and final quarter, with a good bit of decent action in the middle.

However there was a sharp divide between those who enjoyed the race and those who were less enthusiastic:

I turned it off.

Yesterday I watched nothing happening at all for a lot of qualifying. Today I saw lots of cars being passed by other cars via the DRS. Like turning on a tap.

I saw drivers not even bothering to defend their positions because of DRS. Then I saw a few cars making a set of tyres last less than laps. Less than ten.

I?m going to watch the World Endurance Championship this afternoon. Should be a better race.

How is everybody rating this so high? Nothing exciting happened apart from Vettel at the end. Nobody defended positions because everybody is racing their own race.

Some focussed their criticism on the tyres:

Overall the tyres dictated the race today. It was a very strategic race and very pre-empted.

Despite this it was good to see some overtaking manoeuvres now and again but to be honest I?m beginning to get tired of Pirelli controlling the race pace.

The end of this season you won?t see Vettel/Alonso/Raikkonen/Hamilton winning the championship. Instead Pirelli are after that number one spot themselves. A sad state of affairs and something real racing drivers may (and even already are) getting frustrated with.

I officially hate 2013 tyres. Seven laps on a set of new tyres and they?re gone? That?s too much!

One reader pointed out that the way tyre compounds are allocated under the rules may give Pirelli little room for manoeuvre:

The medium prime tyre was clearly just right. The soft option tyre was too marginal but the problem is that there can be only four compounds and the soft will be fine on most tracks it will be used on, unfortunately there was no option but to use it here if the correct prime was used.

The DRS zones once again came in for criticism, especially from Fer no.65 and The Last Pope:

I can?t believe people liked this one. DRS completely ruined it. There was no fight for positions, overtaking was just a given.

It spoiled racing away from the DRS zones (apart from turn six). No one was challenging anyone outside the main straight and the back straight.

[Why did they] set DRS zones at the longest straight in the calendar and the second longest straight on the track, which are just two corners away from [one another]? It was just way too powerful.

I?m a DRS critic, but I think used right, it has a lot of benefits, and it makes racing closer. But this was too much.

A race without overtakes isn?t a race in my book. Not if the overtakes happen midway through a straight. It was good until Alonso and Massa left a powerless Hamilton wondering what the hell had just happened on lap three.

A DRS overtake overkilll. Strategically interesting maybe, but too hard to follow (using TV only). Very little real on-track racing.

The race had no stability with driver positions jumping around all over the place, race position was seemingly unimportant so you don?t really care if one driver overtakes another (even if it was a nice pass).

The Red Bull drivers provided some entertainment:

The only time someone raced today was Vettel in the last four laps which tells the whole story about F1 at the moment.

But seeing them coast around the track and pulling of a few artificial manoeuvres for the show is not why I tune in ?ǣ strategy OK but that borders on chess.

But there’s no escaping there are two consistent points in the complaints about modern F1:

I?ve been an avid F1 fan for at least 20 years and I think I?m beginning to become a bit disillusioned with the current F1 regulations. This race really cemented that for me.

The tyres and DRS are obviously the main issue. Tyres that disintegrate in a short period of time don?t promote flat-out flag-to-flag racing. Drivers and teams are preoccupied with making the tyres last as long as possible, driving to a target lap time and ensuring they don?t overstress them so they can make as few pit stops as possible.

To me a Grand Prix should be a flat-out race with drivers at the limit throughout the whole race, the artificially fragile tyres don?t make that remotely possible. Button asking the team if he should defend his position against Hamilton, or stick to his target lap time, really drives home that something isn?t right.

DRS is far too powerful. If the car behind is fast enough to get under one second to the car in front, they can easily deploy DRS and the massive speed difference makes a pass inevitable. There is no real driver skill involved and the defending driver has no chance, as they are at a huge artificial disadvantage.

During the Moto GP race last week, I was up off the sofa cheering as Rossi reeled in Crutchlow, Pedrosa and Marques. I even woke the baby up during the battle for second. My heart was pounding and I absolutely appreciated the skill and bravery of the riders as they raced flat out. I didn?t get any of that feeling today.

Maybe I?m not an F1 fan, maybe I?m a racing fan. I really have to question whether F1 is really racing at the moment. It feels more like Mario Kart. Get rid of the artificial aids to “improve the show”, the show should be the best drivers, driving the fastest cars flat out for nearly 200 miles to find out who is the fastest.

Previous rate the race results

2013 Rate the Race results

Race Rating
2013 Australian Grand Prix 7.698
2013 Malaysian Grand Prix 6.826
2013 Chinese Grand Prix 7.412

Chinese Grand Prix Rate the Race results

Race Rating
2008 Chinese Grand Prix 4.446
2009 Chinese Grand Prix 6.69
2010 Chinese Grand Prix 8.326
2011 Chinese Grand Prix 9.241
2012 Chinese Grand Prix 8.648
2013 Chinese Grand Prix 7.412

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Chinese Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Lotus/LAT