The Boring Grand Prix
22nd May 2011, 11:00 at 11:00 am #129420
I advertise F1 to my friends a lot. I find myself frequently letting them know which race is on during which weekends and generally trying to encourage more people [specifically, people that I know] to watch the greatest motorsport in the world.
However – there are certain grand prix that I struggle with. This weekends Spanish grand prix is an example. In fact, I actively discourage people from watching it. Why? Because 9 times out of 10 this race is boring. Even for an F1 geek such as myself. I wouldn’t want people to watch the race and then to be put off watching F1 at all.
This weekend may well be different – with the DRS etc, but even then I struggle to be excited for a race which is usually boring. So whats the point? I understand the need for a Spanish grand prix – but there are other circuits that would produce a more interesting race. This problem isn’t limited to Spain either [although they have the unfortunate precedent of having 2 boring grand prix’s] – there are certain tracks that you can rely on to be boring. Abu Dhabi, Valencia/Catalunya, usually Hungary and others.
What are the merits of a boring grand prix? Am I missing something? Is there a case for having races on the calendar that are traditionally boring or is it time that more dynamic, exciting circuits be found?22nd May 2011, 11:07 at 11:07 am #168982
There is in the world a variety of different and interesting tracks. Some of them don’t match the safety level required for F1, but they could be if some changes were made. Other tracks match the safety levels required but are not chosen. There is the choice, but the choices are done badly.22nd May 2011, 11:20 at 11:20 am #168983
I think how boring a race is depends entirely on how many surprises pop up during a race (or even qualifying)
That’s what makes Spain so boring, all the teams know it like the back of their hand, all the challenge of the track has gone because the know it so well. Abu Dhabi and Valencia may not have the testing problem but if mistakes are made they are not punished so no surprises are caused by the drivers making driving errors.
Climate also has a lot to do with surprises, the countries with the boring Grand Prixs are generally those with a very stable climate at the time of the race and you know what weather can do to mix things up.22nd May 2011, 11:28 at 11:28 am #168984
Well apparently F1 is too exciting now so I guess the fans want a boring race.
I’d like to see a good race though but I don’t see it happening in Barcelona. I think Webber will run away with it.22nd May 2011, 11:41 at 11:41 am #168985
@Zadak surely the weather shouldn’t be an inherent factor of what makes (or does not make) a grand prix exciting? I agree that a bit of rain is always fun – but we shouldn’t have to rely on it. The best race tracks are always great no matter what the weather.
I do agree with your testing point though. But – if Spain is boring because its a testing ground then surely it should remain just a test ground!
This race is also one that exacerbates car performance. It encourages cars to be further apart because it relies on one aspect of the car – namely the high speed corner performance. Perhaps that is a factor of what makes tracks boring.22nd May 2011, 18:34 at 6:34 pm #168986
Spain has two boring GPs for two reasons:
1) Barcelona is the major test track and is massively aero-dependant too
2) Valencia is a street track and they rarely provide excitement
I too have your problem. I hear people say “you can have processional races but not boring ones” but I don’t get it. The camera angles are too stale to make the mere sight of the cars going around the circuit exciting.22nd May 2011, 18:41 at 6:41 pm #168987
I get where you’re coming from sw6569. I’m often seen as the odd one out because I’m the only one in my group of friends that enjoys F1. Trying to get people to watch a race with me is difficult because they simply pass it off as boring.
This can be the case sometimes, but it is all relative. It’s all down to perspective. Take todays race, if you are a Webber fan, it was a pretty bad race, an Alonso fan, a poor race too. If you are a Vettel fan, amazing!
What I enjoyed about todays race, which wasnt exactly a classic, was the development throughout the race of stategies. At the start of the race, there was 4 people within a shot of winning, then half way through, it was down to 2 drivers. The battle for 3rd was great, with 3 drivers battling it out, and the contrary strategy of Button winning.
To be fair though, I enjoyed seeing the gaps between the drivers, and also the performances of Perez and Kobayashi, which weren’t picked up too well. To the casual fan, this isn’t that exciting.22nd May 2011, 23:07 at 11:07 pm #168988
Today’s grand prix was – by the usual Spanish grand prix standard – an entertaining one. But, in my opinion, it was also one that was yet again inherently boring. Hamilton was (realistically) never going to get past Vettel because the track never produces that kind of racing.
@smifaye I think that for someone to be a Hamilton/Vettel/Webber fan they have to inherently like the sport. I think the real problem comes when you try to introduce a new person to the sport. Who in their right mind would ever suggest to watch the Spanish grand prix?
I don’t understand the appeal to the sponsors either – why would they want to be associated with a boring race? There is a clear discrepancy in tracks – some produce great racing and some don’t – so what is stopping F1 waking up and racing on those tracks which deserve it? Is nostalgia getting the in way [as it so often does in f1?]? Or is it something else?23rd May 2011, 9:38 at 9:38 am #168989
Money.23rd May 2011, 11:39 at 11:39 am #168990
The location of a race is probably more important than the circuit it’s held at. Sponsors will want to be associated with the Abu Dhabi race, for instance, because it’s a glamorous location and an emerging economy that is, in many lines of business, a good place to be associated with. Sponsors’ reps won’t be watching the race anyway, they’ll be too busy greasing palms in the paddock with potential clients and so on.23rd May 2011, 12:02 at 12:02 pm #168991
Also Santander is a Spanish bank. It took over Abbey a few years back which is why it sponsors the British race too. Of course that’s not the whole reason, but there you go.23rd May 2011, 13:46 at 1:46 pm #168992
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