After an average start to the season in Australia the Rate the Race score for round two went down instead of up.
It wasn’t the lowest-rated Malaysian Grand Prix since Rate the Race began, but its average score of 5.896 wasn’t that much higher than the rain-shorted 2009 grand prix received. It’s also lower than all bar four of last year’s 19 races, which doesn’t bode well for the year ahead.
Is this the shape of things to come under the new rules? Or were the circumstances of a threat of rain that never arrived and Mercedes stealing a march on their rivals responsible for a race that lacked sparkle?
And will that change in the next race in Bahrain, scene of last year’s highest-rated race?
Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers made of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Fuel and tyre conservation
This is “Accountancy F1″.
I’ve been obsessive with F1 at times. Love driving, have a pile of F1 PlayStation 3 sim games and still find that exciting. The cars just don’t look that quick and the sound has no excitement or passion. The commentary is like someone going over a balance sheet.
Paul Osborne (@paulo-fandango)
While the opening laps were intriguing, somehow the race just failed to deliver. All too quickly the cars were evenly spread out, and we got the radio messages to “hold the gap at two seconds to save tyres”.
The first and last ten laps were very good. Fernando catching Hulkenberg, and Massa and Bottas’s intra-team battle was great.
Terribly unlucky for Ricciardo, but hey, that’s motor racing. And hey! Kobayashi drove brilliantly!
Just seemed like too much tyre and fuel saving. Especially the tyres.
Boring race, stupid penalties (which are killing the sport).
F1 is getting emasculated by its rules, its tracks, its penalties.
That penalty to Magnussen was a travesty.
FOM has definitely altered the sound levels on the microphones. In Australia you could barely hear the cars during the race while the commentators were talking, yet this weekend the cars sounded just as loud over the TV as they ever did last year – which obviously isn’t true in person. I actually like the sound of the new engines but it would be better if it was louder. Personally I don’t get why anyone even liked last years engine sound. It was just unrelenting, piercing noise – and not even decent noise, just a bland high pitched screech (and yes I have heard them in person).
Impressive drive by Hamilton, and some interesting battles going on elsewhere, a bit of rain could have really spiced things up though. Really love the sound of the new engines, would be nice if they could turn the track volume up a little bit versus the commentary.
Red Bull are not as far off Mercedes as everyone seems to think, the car was quicker through the middle section of the lap, so on the right track things will get very interesting. The battle for second was close between Vettel and Rosberg at points; Rosberg wasn’t walking away from them until the late stages of the race. Shaping up to be an interesting season.
A good start, with Vettel giving Rosberg just enough room, then nearly losing out to Ricciardo and Alonso.
FOM giving the fans a graphic that they definitely needed in the fuel usage graphic. Definitely helped in painting the picture of the race and hinting at the season.
Ricciardo again showing he’s a great choice, only being let down by the team.
Bottas, Raikkonen, Kobayashi, Grosjean etc all fighting their way through the field. Great battles at the end of the race between Raikkonen/Grosjean and Massa/Bottas.
After the great start, it just died off. I think it could have gotten more spicy towards the end, but because the teams feared rain, they extended their stints just enough to protect from rain, which meant that strategy wouldn’t help bring the pack together. It felt like one of those slow burners that might have an exciting conclusion, but the conclusion never came.
Some of the things I really liked:
Ricciardo made an average start but brilliant positioning allowed him to take Vettel and threaten Rosberg around the first few bends.
Vettel catching Rosberg and may even have had a shot at him if it wasn’t for the yellow flag at the hairpin.
Massa and Bottas’s race-long struggles to get past first one McLaren and then the next – and most of all each other.
Cars twitching everywhere out of the corners and the drivers really struggling with them. Magnificent.
Hulkenberg’s brave tyre strategy.
Alonso’s brilliant racecraft (but this is normal, I suppose).
Kvyat continued to impress.
The suspense of Grosjean’s battle with Raikkonen: would Raikkonen get past? Would Grosjean even get to the finish line?
And Kobayashi’s brilliant 13th place
Some of the things I didn’t much like:
The coverage showing someone (Button?) driving into the entrance of pit lane when Vettel/Ricciardo/Alonso were all battling for position at the other end of the straight.
The instruction to Ricciardo to change the engine mapping when he was getting too close to Vettel – for the sake of energy harvesting, of course.
The fuel usage displays – I would prefer this to be kept a secret from the teams so they always have to worry about a surprise from one of the others. Doesn’t really add anything to the coverage for fans except to remind the malcontents that some drivers “might” be conserving fuel. (There was far less this year than last.)
But the thing which really gets my goat:
Live timing on F1.com – this is going very close to ruining the coverage for me. Live sector timing tells all you need to know about how the cars are performing: you can always tell who is catching who and by how much right through the field right through the race. Without this I have to rely on the television coverage and, frankly, just showing one or two cars on a TV screen is not nearly enough. Formula One is really doing the fans a massive disservice with this.
2014 Malaysian Grand Prix
- Hamilton adds Driver of the Weekend to Malaysia grand slam
- F1 lap times in Malaysia slowest since first race
- Malaysian Grand Prix fails to excite
- 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix fans’ video gallery
- 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix team radio transcript