2013 F1 season is lowest-rated year since 2009

2013 F1 season review

Start, Singapore, 2013Formula One’s efforts to liven up the racing failed to keep viewers excited during the 2013 season.

This year’s 19 races had a lower average rating* than those during the 2010 season, the last before the introduction of DRS and the current generation of rapidly degrading tyres.

Part of the reason for the fall in ratings will no doubt be the fact that the drivers’ championship was decided several races before the end of the season. But that was also true in 2011, which had a higher score than this year.

And for the most part the 2013 season did not benefit from one ingredient which tends to produce highly-rated races: rain. The wet weather tyres were not used all year in a race, and intermediates only made a brief appearance in the opening laps of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Apart from that it was a dry year on race day.

The highest rated race of the year had a score of 7.8, a lower score than eight races achieved last year.

The 2014 season is likely to see a major shake-up in the competitive order and the nature of the racing as the current generation of normally aspirated V8 engines makes way for more efficient V6 turbo units with powerful energy recovery systems.

Further changes to the racing are also being considered with two mandatory pit stops per race being proposed. However a poll of fans on F1 Fanatic showed a vast majority oppose such a change.

Season average ratings, 2008-2013

Year Average rating Highest rating Lowest rating
2008 6.651 8.756 (Brazil) 3.977 (Europe)
2009 6.316 8.309 (Brazil) 5.276 (Turkey)
2010 6.759 8.668 (Canada) 3.740 (Germany)
2011 7.23 9.241 (Chinese) 3.871 (Europe)
2012 7.367 9.449 (Brazil) 5.158 (Korea)
2013 6.691 7.826 (Bahrain) 5.017 (Abu Dhabi)

Brazilian Grand Prix result

Start, Interlagos, 2013A score of 7.144 out of ten meant the Brazilian Grand Prix was comfortably above the season average.

Those who hoped the wet conditions of practice and qualifying would continue on race day were to be disappointed. But despite than and both championships having been decided long ago there were several interesting storylines at the final grand prix of 2013.

Local hero Felipe Massa was starting his last race for Ferrari and Pastor Maldonado was making a less emotional farewell to Williams. Sergio Perez also needed to impress potential new employers for 2014 in his last race for the McLaren team.

And of course Mark Webber was saying a final farewell to Formula One.

Much of the post-race discussion was centred on a pair of contentious penalties for Massa and Lewis Hamilton. Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers had to say about the race.

Good race, but not spectacular. Had some exciting parts, like the start, and towards the end with the collision and rush to get into the pits, but as I said, just a good race.

Happy for Button and McLaren to end the season on somewhat of a high.
@Jamiefranklynf1

I think it was probably the best race since the summer break, but still not a classic. Mostly they have been dull, I felt seven was suitable rating.

About the Hamilton/Bottas clash, Finnish commentators made clear that it was Hamilton’s fault, but also that it wasn’t really worth of penalty. Not stating clearly why, perhaps due to Hamilton getting puncture so he lost time there, although of course he was the one who suffered less as Bottas was out of the race.
@Bleu

DRS wasn’t as powerful as I expected it to be, but still neutered the racing quite a bit. The first couple of pre-DRS laps were brilliant.

Disappointed to see Grosjean go out of the race, but that’s how it goes sometimes. He has vastly improved over the season, so I’m confident he’ll carry that over to next season.

Not a Vettel fan, but I found myself egging him on to the record number of wins. The guy really is pure class!

Delighted Webber got a podium in his last race. Look forward to see how he goes in the World Endurance Championship next year.

It was a reasonably good and tense race, not a classic or anything.
@Spud

It was better than some recent Grand Prix but I still wouldn’t class it as a good race.

From all the coverage and forecasts I was hoping it was going to be wet race but it wasn’t, and that disappointment probably affected my overall enjoyment of the race.
@Pja

Webber bowed out of F1 on a high with a fine run to second and several readers are sad to see him go:

For me it’s been a very emotional weekend. I enjoyed this race, but it was more than just the season finale. It was the end of an era for me, personally, a driver I’ve supported since 2007/2008, during my final stages of secondary school and all my university stint (which is still going). It brings back all the memories you have of that period, those long lasting seasons, full of joy and disappointment as well. Specially 2010.

It’s fantastic how much your passion turns your mood on and off, and every time Mark did well, it was all about Mondays reading all the articles about it on the newspaper, reading it all, from the press conferences to the team’s press releases. Every timetable, your eyes switch right away to your driver: “Mark Webber”. And now that’s gone. One doesn’t expect it to last forever, but it’ll be super weird for a while.

I know he wasn’t the best driver on planet, but it’s something you can’t explain. It ends on high though, and that’s good. Thank you so so much, Mark! You were part of the reason why I woke up early every Sunday for the race.
@Fer-no65

Previous rate the race results

Average ratings by circuit since 2008

Here are the average scores broken down by track since Rate the Race began in 2008.

Races Average
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 5 8.02
Albert Park 6 7.72
Nurburgring 3 7.72
Interlagos 6 7.61
Spa-Francorchamps 6 7.48
Shanghai International Circuit 6 7.46
Silverstone 6 7.25
Monza 6 7.16
Circuit of the Americas 2 7.08
Hungaroring 6 6.94
Istanbul Park 4 6.85
Sepang International Circuit 6 6.79
Korea International Circuit 4 6.74
Suzuka 5 6.7
Fuji 1 6.66
Monte-Carlo 6 6.52
Yas Marina 5 6.48
Bahrain International Circuit 5 6.22
Singapore 6 6.2
Circuit de Catalunya 6 6.15
Hockenheimring 3 5.99
Buddh International Circuit 3 5.75
Magny-Cours 1 5.55
Valencia Street Circuit 5 5.49

Over to you

How do you think the 2013 season compared to the previous five? Are DRS and rapidly degrading tyres producing better racing? Have your say in the comments.

*F1 Fanatic Rate the Race began in 2008. F1 Fanatic readers are invited to give each race a score between one and ten out of ten after it finishes.

Additional writing by Tom Taylor (@Tommo1976).

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Image © Red Bull/Getty

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89 comments on 2013 F1 season is lowest-rated year since 2009

  1. mantresx (@mantresx) said on 8th December 2013, 14:19

    For me 2011 was an even more dominant year by Vettel, he had a realistic chance to win up to three more races (Canada, Brazil, Abu Dhabi) bringing the total to an incredible 14.
    He had the faster car all trough that year and yet there was better racing, so why a better score? Probably the teams didn’t understand the tyres as well and of course they didn’t disintegrate so easily, it also helps that Vettel’s winning streak was “only” four races.

    • mantresx (@mantresx) said on 8th December 2013, 14:27

      It was actually three wins in a row in ’11 hehe

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 8th December 2013, 14:36

        @mantresx
        Had Vettel’s car not have up on him in Silverstone, he would have won 14 races this year too. Likewise, he had a reasonable chance of winning in Monaco and Hungary too if he had sown his qualifying lap together better, which brings his win total to an incredible 16 out of 19.

        I certainly don’t believe that SV was more dominant in 2011 than he was in 2013.

  2. Mackeine Loveine (@cocaine-mackeine) said on 8th December 2013, 14:33

    Well, I expected that. At the start of the season I had so much expectation following 2012, the best year of F1 that I’ve ever seen, and it turned out that it was the worst season of F1 in some years. I think that the new DRS rules and the non-lastng tyres ruined the racing this year at some of the best circuits of the calendar. Who would say that Belgium, Italy, Canada and Austin could produce boring races?? Nobody. Because it wasn’t the fault of the circuits, it was the rules’ fault. These rules need to be changed before 2014 for the sake of F1, and the fans, and the action. Also the FIA should stop making lots of pointless race edits with the idea that this year’s F1 was the “best season ever”.
    I know I’m not a real F1 fan beacuse I started watching F1 since 2004, but I found my great passion that year, and now I’m ashamed when talking to someone else about F1, for what it was become today.
    I hope 2014 could be a radical change to F1 due to the new rules, and the change of the top teams’ drivers. With that expectation, we could have a better year than 2013.

  3. Interesting to note that the bottom 3 races in the average rating have now been dropped by F1. That’s very F1 in its own sense… so the next thing to do would be to drop Hockenheim for a permanent Nurburgring race, so no average races under 6 were left.

    But, that’s unlikely to happen of course, as Hockenheim is favoured by Mercedes (perhaps both German tracks are in some way), and Nurburgring is struggling financially to keep up with it’s biennial schedule. If anything, it’s likely now to happen the other way around (just like ‘pay drivers’ over non-paying talents on occasion). Perhaps, the high ratings (and subsequent boost to TV ratings?) are why Bernie gave the Nurburgring a good deal to keep the track alive and hosting an F1 race last time out.

    Highest Average Ratings calendar:
    Melbourne
    Sepang
    Shanghai
    Bahrain
    Barcelona
    Monaco
    Montreal
    Turkey (Austria for 2014)
    Silverstone
    Nurburgring
    Hungaroring
    Spa
    Monza
    Singapore
    Suzuka (or Mt. Fuji in reserve)
    Korea (Sochi for 2014)
    Abu Dhabi
    COTA
    Interlagos

    I.e. basically, what we have now :) Although, I wonder if any ‘grade inflation’ accounts for any of the results.

    • Zantkiller (@zantkiller) said on 8th December 2013, 15:01

      Hockenheim I would say is unfairly low due to the 2010 race with the team orders causing it to be the lowest rated race ever at 3.74 while the other 2 hockenheim races average out at 7.11.

  4. Robert said on 8th December 2013, 15:13

    Really enjoyed this year, and looking forward to next year.
    As a proudly South African , i would like to express my deepest sympathy to the Mandela Family. Tata Nelson Mandela you will always be my inspiration, leader and freedom fighter. May you rest in peace, God bless you always and this beautiful country South Africa.

  5. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 8th December 2013, 15:22

    I think the DRS novelty has worn off.

    Other racing series were far more interesting this season, IndyCar especially.

  6. David not Coulthard (@) said on 8th December 2013, 16:29

    Did anyone else enjoy 2010 more than the seasons after that (though I might have found it to be a bit less interesting had the WDC been less interesting)?

  7. Somethingwittyer (@somethingwittyer) said on 8th December 2013, 17:07

    How Bahrain became highest rated race of the year yet Germany was only the 3rd highest baffle’s me.

  8. BBT (@bbt) said on 8th December 2013, 18:23

    Well 2010 was the best in the last decade and not being able to watch over half the races doesn’t help

  9. This headline has to sum up how most of the current generation of f1 fans feel including myself…this season was so dull, so boring, the passing was child like and artificial, not to mention endless tyre problems. I have watched every season from 1980-2013, and i have to say that this season (with the championship a foregone conclusion by half way) was close to equalling the uber boring 2004 season….the new rule changes better shake things up

  10. Nixon (@nixon) said on 8th December 2013, 20:35

    no surprise really…
    notice how most of the lower rated races were from the second half during the change back to the old tires and vettel’s dominance.

  11. Nick (@npf1) said on 8th December 2013, 21:11

    This season will personally be remembered as ‘the start was alright, then it got boring until the last 10 laps which were nice’, as I’ve typed that at least 9 times this season on Rate the Race.

    To me, DRS and the current way F1 deals with tyres have worn out their welcome. DRS because it’s essentially a free pass, which KERS or even DRS in Formula Renault 3.5 are less likely victims of, and the ‘no testing tyres, complaining about tyres, doing something about tyres, but not necessarily the right thing’ stick are getting very old, very fast.

    In the past, you could tell when drivers were going 100% all the time (Schumacher’s famous stint at Hungary 1998 or Trulli’s statement of all qualifying laps at Toyota) or not, but now it’s too visible, it’s getting too much attention and the drivers even seem fed up about it.

    I fell out of love with F1 after Schumacher’s first retirement, but I continued watching and fell back in love in 2010 and 2012 somewhat. 2013 has done a lot more damage to my love for F1 than 2012 and 2010 did to restore it, I’m afraid.

  12. V. Chris (@vasschu) said on 8th December 2013, 21:15

    The only good thing about this season was that i am Vettel fan and actually i enjoyed his success.

  13. HoHum (@hohum) said on 8th December 2013, 22:39

    I agree with most of the comments above, but to summarise my view of the season I will quote a popular driver:

    I can’t drive any slower man”

  14. budchekov (@budchekov) said on 8th December 2013, 23:33

    And here’s something to think about, if scuttlebutt is true, hard to believe it’s possible, but next year’s cars could look waaaaaaaaaaay uglier than the current dogs.

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