Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2008

Has F1 ??improved the show??? See what the data says

2013 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Formula One was a very different sport when F1 Fanatic’s Rate the Race series began in 2008.

Cars ran on grooved Bridgestone tyres and pitted to refuel during races. KERS and DRS were nowhere to be found.

Since then much has been done in the name of “improving the show”. The Overtaking Working Group’s recommendations ushered in a new and peculiar generation of cars in 2009 with wide front wings and tall, narrow rear wings.

More controversial was the 2011 introduction of the Drag Reduction System, giving anyone within one second of another car a speed boost to aid overtaking. That came in 2011, while the sport’s new tyre supplier Pirelli was urged to produce rubber that would degrade quickly, producing more pit stops.

Have F1’s attempts to spice up the racing succeeded? It seemed to me the best way to tell would be to ask people to give a rating for each race, as objectively as possible. One hundred races on, here’s what the voting tells us about whether F1 has become more entertaining.

Season-by-season: 2008-present

F1 Fanatic readers rated all of the last 100 races out of ten. Here are the average scores of the races in each season so far (2013 to date):

Year Average rating Races
2008 6.651 18
2009 6.316 17
2010 6.759 19
2011 7.23 19
2012 7.367 20
2013 (to date) 6.882 7

There is a clear upward trend but for the first seven races of this season the average score is down compared to the last two championships. Are F1 fans tiring of a diet of DRS and rapidly-degrading tyres?

Before and after

Which tweaks to the F1 rules had the best effect on the racing? Here are the average scores for races before and after various changes were made

DRS and Pirelli tyres

The Drag Reduction System and ‘designed to degrade’ tyres arrived in 2011, both as a means increasing changes of position during a race.

Both have attracted a lot of debate and criticism, as well as conjecture over which of them is having a greater effect on the racing. The latter is difficult to make a judgement on as both were introduced at the same time.

Change Average rating Races
Before DRS and ‘designed to degrade’ tyres (2008-2010) 6.584 54
With DRS and ‘designed to degrade’ tyres (2011-present) 7.237 46

Refuelling ban

In-race refuelling was reintroduced to F1 in 1994, then dropped at the end of the 2009 season on cost grounds.

Change Average rating Races
With in-race refuelling (2008-9) 6.488 35
Without in-race refuelling (2010-present) 7.097 65

Slick tyres and OWG cars

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren. Melbourne, 2009The ending of competition between tyre suppliers in F1 after the 2006 season later meant the FIA felt it could reintroduce slick tyres, which were last seen in 1997, and were still being used in almost every other form of motorsport.

It was a popular move among the drivers, many of which disliked the grooved tyres which reduced the contact patch with the ground to limit cornering speeds in the name of safety.

Change Average rating Races
Grooved tyres and non-OWG cars (2008) 6.651 18
Slick tyres and OWG cars (2009-present) 6.935 82


The FIA granted engine manufacturers the freedom to add Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems to their power units in 2009. These harness energy which would otherwise be lost during deceleration to give drivers a brief, on-demand speed boost, useful for overtaking.

Due to the expense of developing them teams agreed not to use them in 2010. They returned in 2011 and this season is the first in which every team has the technology.

Next year’s Energy Recovery Systems will be far more powerful.

Change Average rating Races
Without KERS (2008, 2010) 6.707 37
With KERS (2009, 2011-present) 6.988 63

Which circuits produce the best racing?

Since the beginning of 2008 F1 has raced at 24 different circuits, some of which are no longer on the calendar. Here are the average scores for the races at each circuit:

Circuit Average Score Races
Circuit of the Americas 8.772 1
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 8.02 5
Spa-Francorchamps 7.839 5
Nurburgring 7.763 2
Melbourne 7.716 6
Interlagos 7.708 5
Shanghai International Circuit 7.46 6
Monza 7.419 5
Silverstone 7.226 5
Istanbul 6.845 4
Yas Marina 6.844 4
Hungaroring 6.796 5
Sepang International Circuit 6.793 6
Fuji 6.66 1
Suzuka 6.543 4
Korea International Circuit 6.536 3
Monte-Carlo 6.525 6
Singapore 6.244 5
Bahrain International Circuit 6.22 5
Circuit de Catalunya 6.146 6
Hockenheim 5.992 3
Magny-Cours 5.548 1
Valencia 5.488 5
Buddh International Circuit 5.374 2

Notes on the data

Fans were asked to rate each race between one and ten out of ten immediately following each race. Since 2011 polls have only been open to registered site users.

Here are the average scores for each race:

Over to you

What does this data tell us about F1’s efforts to produce better racing? Is it time to put the focus on ‘sport’ rather than ‘entertainment’? Have your say in the comments.

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Images ?? BMW ag, McLaren

93 comments on “Has F1 ??improved the show??? See what the data says”

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  1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    26th June 2013, 11:29

    I think in some area’s it has improved (ban of grooved tyres, refulling). But I don’t really need to say much about KERS DRS and, of course, the dreaded TYRES!.

    1. @full-throttle-f1 You have to look at where were were before DRS and the tyres though. We had Bridgestones that lasted an entire race so there was no variance in strategy. In addition to that, there was no on-track passing because once you caught up to the car in front, you got stuck a second behind in the dirty air. This meant that most races hinged on pit stops that were easy for the teams to control due to ever lasting tyres.

      If the tyre durability was 10/10 with Bridgestone and difficulty following cars without DRS and therefore passing was 10/10, both have no been reduced to 1/10 now with the current tyres and DRS regs. If both could be configured to allow a middle-ground, the whole sport could really benefit from DRS and less durable tyres.

      F1 is far from perfect now but it would be wrong to think that it was anywhere near perfect before!

      1. We had Bridgestones that lasted an entire race so there was no variance in strategy. In addition to that, there was no on-track passing

        Thats actually not true.

        2010 featured more on-track passing than any season since 1989 so clearly before DRS/Pirelli there was plenty of on-track overtaking.

        The perception of what F1 was like before 2011 tends to be decided on 2 races, Bahrain/Abu-Dhabi 2010, People say ‘there was no overtaking in those races’ & then decide the entire year was like that which statistically it wasn’t.

        1. Not to mention those overtakes was actually exciting to watch!

          1. And I can’t help noticing that the highest rated race was one where the harder compounds were used and tyre degradation was a non-event.

  2. I think that discussing this topic is very tricky, since even the fan ratings aren’t a good indicator of how the actual racing is. Often ratings are influenced by non-racing events which overshadow the action on track. For instance team-orders usually result in very low ratings. Also likes and dislikes of fans influence their perception of how the race was. A race won by a disliked driver might get low rating, despite brilliant fight on track. Thus we don’t really have a reliable reference point according to which we could judge whether the racing has or has not improved.

    1. @cyclops_pl Regarding driver preference, as I just explained in a comment on the other article I think we have good reason to believe it doesn’t significantly affect the data.

      As for team orders, I don’t think that happens often enough to be significant.

      1. @keithcollantine Following some analysis, it appears driver preference does affect the ratings.

        I took the average score for races won by each driver and got the following results:

        Pastor Maldonado 8.274 (1 race)
        Robert Kubica 7.809 (1 race)
        Lewis Hamilton 7.477 (17 races)
        Nico Rosberg 7.39 (2 races)
        Jenson Button 7.307 (14 races)
        Kimi Raikkonen 7.045 (5 races)
        Fernando Alonso 6.799 (13 races)
        Sebastien Vettel 6.519 (29 races)
        Mark Webber 6.517 (9 races)
        Felipe Massa 6.202 (6 races)
        Heikki Kovalainen 6.202 (1 race)
        Rubins Barichello 6.202 (2 races)

        This shows 2 things to me. One is that people like races where someone unusual wins. Maldonado won 1 race as did Kubica. Nico got a high score for his first win (8.648) but not so much for his 2nd win (6.132).

        Secondly, if you look at drivers with 5 or more race wins, the order is Hamilton (7.477), Button (7.307), Raikkonen (7.045), Alonso (6.799), Vettel (6.519), Webber (6.517), Massa (6.366).

        Clearly this puts the Brits comfortably on top with Raikkonen next which I would imagine tallies fairly closely with the figures for favourite drivers.

        In addition to this, if you look at the stats for Constructors (and ignore the ones who have won less than 5 races), you get:

        McLaren 7.39
        Ferrari 6.615
        Red Bull 6.474

        Obviously there are other factors (ie Vettel’s wins tend to be him driving off into the distance and therefore will score lower) but in general, the stats seem to show people vote higher if their favourite driver wins.

        1. Very interesting…

        2. @petebaldwin thx for your efforts. a very interesting finding.

        3. @petebaldwin Very interesting, thanks! But regarding the “love for unusual winners”, I’m not sure it qualifies. Because normally, it takes a cracking race to deliver unusual winner. There might be a slight exaggeration, but I don’t think it’s significant

        4. @petebaldwin – I like the analysis. I would also submit that the change in the poll rules themselves (only registered users from 2011 on) may have impacted the average score. That lines up directly with a jump in average score.

          To be fair, Keith did divulge this and I do not think this is anything other than an unfortunate circumstance–where the Pirelli/DRS introduction perfectly aligns with this polling participation change. But I think it muddies the water a bit.

          @montreal95 – You make a good point here. Unusual winners often mean weather changes or leaders crashing out or Nelson Piquet Jr crashing. Well spotted.

        5. Yeah – I was thinking those year on year stats di sort of align with how down to the wire the championship went. This year Vettel has taken off like a startled cat and the ratings are down.

    2. @cyclops_pl Add to that list the races with championship implications. The 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix for instance was only interesting because it was the title decider. A race which sees an utterly dominant win and only one interesting battle for 5th place would never score highly at any other time of year.

    3. Excellent points. Viewers also pick up on the excitement level from the announcers and the journos, all of whom earn their living off fan enthusiasm. And then there’s Paul Hembery, Pirelli’s Baghdad Bob, who has spent the better part of three seasons trying to convince us the quality of the racing is in direct proportion to the number of overtakes. Which would mean the racing is 4x as good now as in the Bridgestone era, and 2x better than it ever was.

    4. Mark (@marlarkey)
      27th June 2013, 0:05

      As is common with any kind of Net2.0 rating system, there is a general escalation over time with more recent ratings higher than older ratings…. check any rating system… tripadvisor, IMDB, goodreads, etc…. ratings tend to go up.

      It would be interesting to have some psychological research on this to see if it is TIME alone that drives the rise in ratings or whether it is something to do with a difference in the user base – early raters being more discerning than later raters ? Or do early raters also tend to up their ratings over time ? Or is it a factor of a greater user base.

      1. But that does not explain the slight drop in ratings this year @markarkey

  3. With the massive amount of horsepower they will have available at the push of a button, next year, I really don’t see why we would still need DRS.

    1. It won’t work like that. The ERS system will provide constant assistance to the Combustion Engine thereby making the overall package around 760 hp at the brake. The boost button will be no different to that of today.

      1. Oh, good to know

      2. Not that simple. The 2014 ERS will have 2x the bhp and 5x the endurance off the 2013 KERS. Also, there won’t be enough petrol on board even to reach the finish without battery assistance, not even at Monaco. So the racing will be quite different, regardless whether they sack Pirelli and switch to REAL racing tyres.

        1. by REAL racing tires you mean the boring rock hard Bridgestones, responsible for the most boring period in F1 history, and who said they don’t want to come back? Or the Hankooks who might enter in a few years but not now(they’re incapable of it as of now)? Or Michelins who are responsible for one of the worst disasters in F1 ever, but said they might consider to comeback if F1 agrees to a long list of their terms, chief of which is a switch to 18 inch wheels? Or Goodyear who never said they want to comeback and only capable of making Nascar tires nowadays?

          Really the arrogance, and lack of vision of some F1 fans beggars belief. Be careful what you wish for or you might not get F1 at all next season. Would serve you right I guess, but what about the vast contingent of fans who disagree with you(like me) and think that Pirelli are doing the best job they can in impossible circumstances?

          1. Bridgestone, just like Pirelli, makes the tyre that is mandated. Pirelli is nowhere near as competent a developer as Bridgestone.

          2. @alebelly Incorrect 100%. Bridgestone were asked by just about everyone in F1 a zillion times to stop making tires that last the whole race and bore everyone to death and promptly refused to do so. Even the one exciting race they had was by accident. They refused to make more exciting tires and chose to quit the sport instead. How did you decide Pirelli are less competent than them is beyond me, when they provided exactly what was asked of them in impossible circumstances when they have to test with ancient cars(not what Bridgestones had, they had tested extensively with current cars each year up to and including 2009)

          3. @alebelly74 Sorry for the mistake in your name

          4. @montreal95, no worries about the name :), Bridgestone didn’t quit, the rubber trade is a haven for slavery and murder, Bridgestone is actively combating this while also becoming more Green. Simply put, Pirelli was cheap.

          5. @montreal95, you need to look further back into history, the days of the Dunlop racing tyre were great racing, just because there was an era when tyres didn’t need changing to finish a race and it was not the most exciting era in your estimation does not mean durable tyres were to blame, more likely the large wings allowed were the cause.

  4. I appreciate the efforts to improve the show and I like some of the recent changes to the rules but I think that mistakes have been made, too.

    The DRS is probably the biggest failure and I actually think it’s an insult to me as a hardcore fan as it suggests that I can love my sport only if there are a lot of passes, no matter how they’re achieved. I accept that it’s used at circuits such as Valencia or Abu Dhabi but mostly it’s just sad to look at the “overtaking” that the moveable rear wings create.

    I believe that there is a simple way to make the racing more unpredictable, which always ensures high ratings. F1 needs to take the next steps in the cost-cutting process that was started several years ago to make the teams more equal in terms of financial resources. That will certainly lead to a competitive grid, more unpredictable results and millions of satisfied fans.

    1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      26th June 2013, 12:02

      COTD :-)

    2. I actually think it’s an insult to me as a hardcore fan as it suggests that I can love my sport only if there are a lot of passes, no matter how they’re achieved.


      F1 needs to take the next steps in the cost-cutting process that was started several years ago to make the teams more equal in terms of financial resources.

      that too

    3. It’s an insult to assume we need 500 passes a race to be interested but it’s also fairly sensible to assume that people may get bored with races like we used to have a Catalunya…

    4. make the teams more equal

      Modern F1 is a glorified spec series. The teams/cars have never been as equal as they currently are in the whole history of F1. I’m not on board with the mania for ever greater uniformity among the teams.

      1. Nor me, give me powerful but fragile engines versus less powerful but durable engines, and peaky engines versus grunty engines, and I’ll show you exciting races.

  5. While I don’t believe that DRS and Pirellis have given us any more thrilling races than we would’ve had otherwise, I do believe that they have at least reduced the number of tearfully dull races. So I do consider the show to have been “improved” although perhaps not as much as I would have hoped.

    1. Who would have thought that the show could be improved at the expense of the racing? Still, it is what we’re seeing.

  6. In retrospect, I would like to have seen DRS & Degrading tyres introduced seperately, rather than simultaneously. Together they seem a little contrived to me. Personally I liked the refuelling era and think it would maybe help to offset the tyre tradgedy we currently endure.
    Surprised to see the Monaco race rates more highly than the
    Singapore event. Both are redundant in my view yet Monaco is just plain boring. Maybe if it was run under lights…
    As for overtaking, I personally dont care if there is no overtaking. I do however need to see drivers ‘trying’ to overtake one another.
    Thanks for the great article Keith, definately worth the read.

  7. It’s certainly improved compared to the snorefests of the last decade. Since 2010, there has been a lot ofthose “highlight” races where everything falls into the right place.

    Back in the day, a lead change was enough to hail a race as “epic”. We were getting too used to that.

    Maybe the way people are getting bored of this last trend in racing (a lot faster than previouslyIMO) has to do with everyone already saying the DRS was “utter rubbish” right from the word go. Watching people storm by in the middle of a straight was, is and will ever be rubbish.

    I also doubt FIA’s trying a lot to search for options. It baffles me that in 2 and a bit years they are yet to do a race without DRS in the way…

  8. I’m not sure why the FIA feel the need to ‘improve the show’ at all. I remember the seasons before DRS, KERS and wear quick tyres were extremely exciting. Think back to 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. Did anything need improving?

    Now we have these ‘improvements’ which take away from the sport and are turning it into American Wrestling. The result being that I now have less interest in F1 than I have ever had since I started watching in 1976!

    It used to be that I was excited every couple of weeks when there was a race on. This year I record it and watch it whenever.

    1. It used to be that I was excited every couple of weeks when there was a race on. This year I record it and watch it whenever.

      I’m the same, I used to arrange my work, social life, holidays etc to fit around the F1 season and until last season I’d watched every qualifying & race live for as long as I can remember. These days I tend to record qualifying and while I’ve watched almost all the races live it’s no longer the priority it used to be and I’ve no problem recording it to watch later if there’s something going on that day.

      It may be a small and insignificant protest but I’ve also stopped buying F1 merchandise and have asked my family not to buy me any as gifts either. My money now goes to MotoGP, BSB & Le Mans teams instead.

  9. Overall, I think DRS and tyres that degrade have been a good thing for F1. Having said that, there is a window in which both of these work.

    As things stand, the tyres degrade too quickly and the DRS is too powerful. If the tyres encouraged strategy but didn’t force the drivers to go at 50% for the whole race to conserve tyres and the DRS allowed cars to race the ones in front without getting stuck in the dirty air but didn’t allow them to blast past on the straights, it would be perfect. I don’t think anyone could argue that in that case, DRS and degrading tyres are bad for F1.

    As things stand, the racing is more interesting than it was before but it could be so much better again if they got the tyres and DRS strength etc right.

  10. good: slick tyres, kers
    neutral: drs (because one zone is enough)
    negative: no refuelling (allthough i can see why it was banned)

  11. How do these stats correlate with age, year started watching F1 and preferences for drivers / teams?

    Are young people easily bored? If you started watching at the height of boredom, say 2000, Does that affect your vote? And do people really try to vote objective?

    1. Joseph Becker
      26th June 2013, 17:13

      I started watching casually (age 10) around 1997. By 2004 I almost could not watch a whole race. The Michael Schumacher show sucked ass (imho). I got back into to F1 in 2009, and started watching religiously (every fp, qualy, and gp) in 2011, though I often dislike Vettel, the feeling that the game is entirely rigged for him is not so strong.

      I love slick tires. I like the pirelli degradation, rather like kers, ok on drs but it seems something that should be more for a series like indycar.

      I think that there should be a budget cap like a salary cap in american sports, but it should be a) absurdly high (250 million euro and linked to inflation or inflation + 200bp), and b) breakable with a large fee (like basketball) and c) coincide with looser technical regulations, and finally d) unlimited testing

    2. @verstappen

      “If you started watching at the height of boredom, say 2000”

      This is the most ridiculous statement ever made! You do remember that 2000 had some of the all time classic races right? Silverstone, Nurburgring, Hockenhiem and Spa. Other notable mentions for high drama were, Monaco, France, Austria and Suzuka. If you look back, only 2001, 2002 and 2004 were the truly boring Schumi years. 2004 actually had a good couple of races in the second half (spa 2004?). 2003 was downright awesome. Even after the tyre saga Monty and Kimi made Schumi work right till the end. The racing was real. Cars looked beautiful and had the V10s. I fail to see what more you could want!!? We as formula 1 fans have a responsibility of respecting the sports evolution. I am not that big a fan of DRS or the tyres. But it’s okay. I admit that suddenly going back would be detrimental to the sport. People would instantly cringe at the lack of action. Perhaps me too. I do concede that after 2000 especially, Schumi and Brawn had almost exclusively adopted a overtaking-in-the-pits mentality, which quite often used to be unnecessary.
      “The Michael Schumacher show sucked ass (imho).”

      It was NEVER the MSc show. The other protagonists were: Hakkinen, DC, Irvine, Barichello, Raikkonen, Montoya, Villneuve, Frentzen. These were all drivers capable of taking it to Schumi and quite often did if you watched the seasons back then.

      ” I got back into to F1 in 2009, and started watching religiously”

      Had you said 2010 I would have bought it, but 2009? Really? The mediocre drivers in awesome cars and the best drivers(ALO-HAM-KIMI) in mediocre cars. 2009, in my opinion was the worst season ever!

      1. Joseph Becker
        26th June 2013, 21:55

        I only really remember better drivers being destroyed by MSC

        1. Joseph Becker – As @sankalp88 said, 2002 and 2004 were the only predictable or dominant years (maybe 2001 as well). 2000 and 2003 were close years that went to the wire.

          @sankalp88 – Which mediocre drivers were in “awesome cars” in 2009? Button, though unimpressive in 2008, didn’t shame himself at Mclaren next to Hamilton, even if LH was better.

          1. @david-a

            I’m sorry, if you disagree with me. But there is nothing you can do to convince me that Button is not a mediocre driver. On raw pace the following drivers have been better than Button since his debut. Kimi, Monty, Alonso, Hamilton, MSc, Vettel, Massa (Pre-Crash), Ralf Schumacher (Pre-crash). I’m sure I missed a few more.

            “Which mediocre drivers were in “awesome cars” in 2009?”

            As an aside: Vettel was raw in 2009.

          2. @sankalp88 – Well, alright, we’ll agree to disagree on Button. Presumably then, Webber and Barrichello would come under “mediocre” for you as well.

            Btw, SV being “raw” doesn’t put him in such a category- the talent and pace was always there.

        2. Between 1994-1999. Schumi was clearly a cut above the rest. And this is an opinion shared by many. Aggressive, strategic, calculating and ruthless. The best of both Senna and Prost. I remember Murray Walker (or was it Brundle?) commentating in the Italian GP 1998 where he said: “Hakkinen can’t rely on a superior Mclaren to beat Schumi”.

          After the accident I would agree with you to an extent. Raikkonen was certainly on his level even if he wasn’t as consistent as Schumi. Mclaren’s piss-poor reliability in 2002-03 also didn’t contribute to Kimi’s cause. Monty was fast, but reckless. Alonso took a huge qualitative leap in the second half of 2003 as well. By 2005 I would say Kimi was the fastest. ALO was the new MSc however. But all in all, if I were to pick a driver between 1994-2006 for raw pace and breathtaking wet weather skill I would pick Schumi.

  12. In my fan point of view, tyre degradation and DRS only make it worst for me, for two different reasons. I’m not saying that they should get banned, but to work properly they should make some changes.

    As for the tyres, it can’t be call racing when you’re not racing to the maximum, the tyres should support the car and the driver and give them a sense of secure to race to the maximum the most time as possible, and with these tyres we see mathematics winning races instead of pilots. The best lap at the Monaco GP was one example of it.

    As for DRS, of course i want to see overtakings, but not those is a straight line that the car in front looks like getting backwayrds. I want to see the chalenge and the guts and courage of the pilots, not just wainting and in time braking to have the DRS and then overtake, once more that’s not racing for me.

    F1 turned to a less impulsive sport for a more mental one, and i love the raw side of racing.

    1. Yeah I agree – F1 should be run at 100% for the whole race. The tyres need to last long enough that with 2 stops, drivers can really go for it. I’d also ban the pointless “use both compounds” rule. Why does that exist? If the softs would mean a 2 stop but the hards would mean 1, there would be a variance in strategy that was organic rather than forced. If anything, having to run both compounds reduces the variance in strategy!

      1. My ideal would be to scrap the “use both compounds” rule, and let drivers choose which tyres they want to bring. So we might see the front running drivers go for three stops, all on super-softs, whereas a backmarker may try to complete the whole race on the hards without stopping at all. It would add a lot of variation to the strategies – now there is one “main” strategy that the majority of people use, then a few other drivers use alternative strategies. This way we would see massively different strategies.

        If the drivers had a set allocation for the year (as with engines etc), and had to choose which tyres to bring in advance, then it would not cost any more.
        It would also help massively in the wet – if no rain is forecast, then teams would only bring one set of inters and one of wets (or even none of each if they want to gamble) and then they can save them for a rainy day where they can have six or seven sets of each, as opposed to the standard three wets, four inters.

  13. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    26th June 2013, 14:08

    Interesting debate, and a great article. If you look at the list of races on the other article, races during the “hurry up and wait” Bridgestone era, naturally seem to gravitate towards the back end of the rankings. On that evidence you could say “Yes, F1 has improved the show”, however I would go as far as saying, “F1 did improve the show”. F1 in 2012 had everything for me. Unpredictability, plenty of overtaking, fluctuations in the balance of power at the head of the field, an appropriate tyre influence and a great two man duel for the title between the man with the car and the man with a plan, but a duel supported by an extensive cast such as the usual suspects of Hamilton, Button and Webber, stars of the future in Hulkenberg and Perez, but crucially by “man-of-the-match”, returnee Raikkonen. Couple this with some epic races, and an equally epic finale in Brazil, and there you have it; arguably one of the best F1 seasons of all time. The FIA clearly thought so, because buoyed by brilliance of such an chaotic season they made sure that 2013 was even more chaotic by signing off on insanely soft Pirelli tyres and putting two DRS zones on every track. The result has been…awful. I haven’t found myself enjoying a race since the Australian GP earlier this year, and that was only because Vettel’s race pace was poor. So has F1 improved the show? If I was speaking this time twelve months ago, then I could honestly “this is better ten fold”, but compared to 2013? Really? Has F1 improved things in 2013? No.

    1. I agree completely with your comments. 2012 was the first year that I felt a compulsion to go out and but the season review book when it was over. With so many top notch drivers, it seemed that we had entered another golden age. Why did they have to mess with such a winning formula? Let’s hope for better 2014.

  14. The list of “best” circuits is interesting. Bar COTA (on the grounds it’s just one race and therefore might be a skewed result), the top tracks are pretty much all old-school circuits…not ‘Tilkedromes’. No coincidence there I’m sure!

    1. COTA is a great track though mainly because they’ve decided to copy tried and tested sections for old school tracks. Other than that, Shanghai and Malaysia are good as was Turkey. Abu Dhabi is the worst track in F1 for me.

  15. People might be voting highly because their favourite team or driver won and not because the race was exciting.

    1. It’d be interesting to see stats based on who won the race to either prove or disprove it…

  16. I think the data only proves how subjective and how difficult it is to rate races. Honestly I think some 8 of 2010 were due to the championship excitement rather than the racing itself, maybe that happens as well with the 08 championship. In the end the facts are that despite F1’s evolution, the data shows the change in racing hasn’t produced a better or worse F1 in the opinion of f1fanatics, as .2 of a progress can’t be considered tangible.

  17. Tom (@newdecade)
    26th June 2013, 14:38

    Lets hear it for races in North America! The track popularity list is very illuminating. I have always been impressed with races at the new Nurburgring despite the distaste that seems to exist for it, and conversely, I have got to admit I havent really enjoyed Suzuka in a long time. Herecy I know, but do the scores agree with me…?

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      26th June 2013, 18:25

      Nurburgring 2011 was great. There was hard racing through the field and there was no DRS on the pit straight, but that didn’t stop the drivers from overtaking.


  18. Impressive article and research, but not sure if any real conclusions can be drawn from this data as the polls have been restricted to ‘registered site users’ since 2010 as you say. This means that prior to 2010, casual visitors were able to vote and after that date only the ‘avowed F1 Fanatics’ were able to do so. So the results might be scewed higher after that date because the voters are exclusively F1 Fanatics.
    In some cases ‘avowed F1 Fanatics’ personal voting criteria is strange. To paraphrase someone who replied to one of my older comments “I rate every race as 6+ just because F1 excites me so much”. So if this registered user didn’t see and didn’t vote on a particular race, it would have a disproportionate affect on the results.
    Really, this research needs a consistent voting panel throughout all the seasons, but goodness knows how you’d do that.
    One of the problems researching via the voting patterns on this site is that we choose to come here because we are F1 Fanatics and so we are knowledgable, critical and possibly slightly biased in one direction or another. Much more telling would be the viewing figures from television broadcasters with a consistent platform over the last six or seven years. This would rule out the UK of course, but maybe France, Germany, Brazil or somewhere could show whether mass viewing figures (and Berne’s “mass F1 audience” is most definitely what he’s thinking of) are going up or down. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised of they peaked in 2008 or 9 and steadily decreased after that, with a more dramatic decline since the last part of last season. That would tell us whether “improving the show” had audience affect or not.
    Does anyone know if global tv figures are published anywhere?

  19. What about wet races? They are mostly rated higher should we take them out?

  20. I’d be interested to hear what the nationalities of the voters have been, as it’d be interesting to hear if the quality of the TV programming, especially in the UK, would have had any effect.

    I think KERS has had minimal effect on the racing, it’s underpowered old tech which is better used as a defensive aid. DRS is good and bad, it prevents situations like Alonso getting stuck behind Petrov or the train behind whoever’s one stopping but it also makes overtakes look ridiculously simple when there’s a differential in tyre performance also.

    The tyres have been good at some tracks but horrible at others for me, fast to degrade is fine even as far as going off the cliff but it’s the tiny temperature range which I find most boring. Moreso last year but this year to a degree also it’s been a case of who’s car inherently gets tyres up to temp in cool conditions or doesn’t overheat in high temp or challenging surfaces. It’s not as bad as the days when the Ferrari beasted the aero tracks and the McLaren the mechanical grip tracks or vice versa but when it puts cars like last year’s Williams in contention to win in dry conditions the sport loses credibility. It’s now annoying me that Pirelli are going back to ultra conservative tyre choices which blighted the second half of last season, shafting the Lotus in particular.

    I’d rather Pirelli said “here’s 4 types of tyres, they’ll all degrade at increasing rates as they get softer. Take which tyres you want to each race and get your optimum car setup then go out and see who’s fastest.”

    That or make tyres that all the teams can switch on as it must be rubbish for fans tuning in for a full weekend just to be told their favourite team can’t get anything out of that weekend’s tyres because of another team’s lobbying of the manufacturer.

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