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

99 comments on “Fun or artifical? Mixed views in China Rate the Race”

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  1. Why don’t we just pick the best year of F1, take its cars, freeze all development, and race with them until the world ends (or we run out of oil)?

    I’m sure no one would find anything to complain about then…

  2. Well, I’m a part time fan – and only started watching F1 a few years ago (back when there was refueling).
    I find DRS and the current tires a frustrating gimmick – however, I would prefer them to seeing a parade of cars based upon who was fastest. Yes, there are circuits where overtaking happens more – but I think this is more a result of circuit design than the cars+drivers.

    I’d love to see DRS go, coupled with better tires IF it resulted in drivers being able to race. I’d like refueling back (as a strategy option), but most importantly – I do not want to see the same car and driver on pole and podium each race. I’m not a fan of any one driver, I want the action of the race with the reward for the team and driver who performed the best that weekend. For me, the championship should be decided by the very last race and should not be influenced by what driver was made to yield his position to his team mate. I know the teams want to limit the amount a battling their drivers do, but I find it quite aggravating to see three teams in one race this early in the season dictate who could or could not pass their team mate.

    I’m close to calling it quits on watching F1 – seems like the team with the most money is the one who wins in the end.

  3. I am undecided about DRS because it has made racing more exciting with more overtaking.But DRS has made the racing more “Artificial”.
    Without DRS we would return to the days where there is little overtaking.And how boring was that?

    Perhaps the teams need to be allocated extra batches of tyres so that the cars can have the opportunity to actually turn a few laps during Q2 and Q3.
    I would prefer to see more durable tyre compounds but until this happens (if it happens) maybe there should be Mandatory 3 or4 pit stops per race.Hopefully fresh tyres will equal better and more racing instead of tyre conservation..
    I would love to see a return of refuelling………

  4. 23kennyboy23
    29th April 2013, 12:19

    The complaints about bad track design pre-drs were off the scale due to he lack of overtaking, noone is saying that now. They should just shorten the drs zones and reduce the slot gap.

  5. F1 has resorted to becoming completely artificial racing because the FIA have crafted a set of rules which otherwise make overtaking nigh on impossible.

    First, the cars are too alike. Overtaking — obviously — results from a differential in speed. The closer to identical the cars are, the more difficult is is for a driver to create that speed differential.

    The FIA (and the TR/SR) have become increasingly technophobic under the reign of El Supremo, largely because Bernie is obsessed with the notion that the better funded teams are buying the championships. But the more the TR limits a car designer’s creativity, the more alike the cars become. And with true innovation all but dead, the teams end up copying design elements and executions from the more successful cars. Which results in convergent evolution of design. Whether the FIA sill admit it or not, F1 has become a spec racing series.

    Second, F1 cars have managed to get so fast (6 Gs transient lateral loads) by employment of massive levels of wing-generated downforce. But wings need to run through undisturbed air to generate maximum lift. Which makes coming out of another car’s draft to overtake it a risky manoeuver, because it takes a moment once it has left the leading car’s turbulence for the the trailing car to settle down under the new-found downforce. But if the overtaking is occurring in a corner, the trailing driver does not have the luxury of waiting even a moment for his front tyres to bite, especially since he might be clocking 200 metres every second.

    The biggest problem is that the FIA refuse to admit they had any role in overtaking ever becoming so scarce. And only they have the power to mend it.

    They have to wean F1 off the massive, multi-element wings and put it back on the path to mechanical grip: über-wide and über-sticky race tyres (which also will markedly reduce wind tunnel costs). The problem with that idea is that the cars initially likely will be substantially slower, and F1’s brand cache could never tolerate its feeder series running faster cars than it does. Which means GP2 and GP3 also would have to retool from scratch, except they don’t have big budgets like F1, so they would be none too keen on the idea.

    And the FIA have got to get over their technophobia. All new cars sold in the USA are required to have electronic stability control, but it’s a banned technology in F1. Along with ABS and traction control and active suspension and a litany of other technologies available in production cars or motorcycles. If they don’t start allowing these technologies, they run the risk of turning into another NASCAR, which disallowed fuel injection for a 27 years after the last carburetted car was made in America.

    Teams always will spend their entire budget on whatever technology is available, so limiting technology does exactly NOTHING to limit the cost of racing. And allowing the designers more latitude enables them to create a car that is unique from their competitors, which by its nature goes to the heart of the problem: the lack of performance differential.

    1. Allow designers to innovate
    2. Embrace new technologies
    3. Small, simple, single element wings with a uniform profile
    3.a. Prohibit use of frangible materials in the front wing
    4. Big, fat, sticky (non-Pirelli) tyres

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