Valencia was least popular race of 2008

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The new Valencia circuit produced the least popular race of 2008
The new Valencia circuit produced the least popular race of 2008

I’ve compiled the results from the 18 ‘rate the race’ polls of 2008 and crunched the numbers to find what were the most popular and least popular races of the year.

Unsurprisingly Brazil came out on top as the fans’ favourite, with the European Grand Prix at the new Valencia Circuit voted worst race. Here’s the list in full.

2008 F1 race popularity

2008 F1 race popularity (click to enlarge)
2008 F1 race popularity (click to enlarge)

Brazil comes out easily on top with Monaco, Britain and Italy all getting similar scores. All four of the most popular races were affected by rain.

Here are the races ranked by popularity with the race winner for each.

Brazil 8.756 (Felipe Massa)
Monaco 8.177 (Lewis Hamilton)
Britain 8.164 (Lewis Hamilton)
Italy 8.153 (Sebastian Vettel)
Canada 7.809 (Robert Kubica)
Belgium 7.736 (Felipe Massa*)
Australia 7.609 (Lewis Hamilton)
Germany 7.180 (Lewis Hamilton)
Turkey 6.816 (Felipe Massa)
Japan 6.660 (Fernando Alonso)
Singapore 6.302 (Fernando Alonso)
Hungary 6.202 (Heikki Kovalainen)
Malaysia 5.738 (Kimi Raikkonen)
France 5.548 (Felipe Massa)
Bahrain 5.364 (Felipe Massa)
Spain 5.085 (Kimi Raikkonen)
China 4.446 (Lewis Hamilton)
Europe 3.977 (Felipe Massa)

*At the point at which most of the votes were cast it was not yet known that Lewis Hamilton was going to be stripped of his win.

2008 F1 race popularity – adjusted

Some races seemed to have oddly large numbers of people voting the lowest rating of ‘terrible’. They didn’t seem to be consistent to a particular driver or a particular type of race. If we filter out the ‘terrible’ votes it changes the average ratings as follows:

2008 F1 race popularity (adjusted) (click to enlarge)
2008 F1 race popularity (adjusted) (click to enlarge)

Belgium and Singapore do much better. I remember Belgium picked up a lot of ‘terrible’ votes after the news of Hamilton’s penalty was announced. As for Singapore, perhaps a lot of Ferrari fans were angered by the double whammy of the Massa pit lane debacle and Raikkonen’s late crash.

Do you think this ranking reflects what were the best and worst races of the year?

If you want to have a play with the raw data you can download it from MediaFire:

See more results of F1 Fanatic polls: F1 Fanatic polls archive

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Valencia was least popular race of 2008”

  1. the valencia race was kinda boring, but i still think it’s quite an interesting track. some of the high speed sections are amazing to watch.

    maybe the 2009 rules might make it more watchable next year, or maybe it might even rain (as it threatened to do during qualifying this year), but high-speed corners + close barriers + alonso making it through the first lap should = excitement! right?

  2. Keith; could you tell us the average rating for 2007 races? 2008 seems to be around 6.7 mark.

  3. Lot of rain in those popular races…

  4. valencia was dull and v.boring. just a huge procession. hopefully 09 regs will make it a bit more exciting!
    Belgium most exciting race for me! (if dont think about the stewards overshadowing the result)

  5. I think it’s interesting to note that the most popular races were all held at traditional, “old time” tracks. It’s too bad we’re losing Silverstone . .

  6. You’re right, they’ve been held at the more traditional tracks, but incidentally it’s been raining at all these races this year. i think that had a lot more influence on the vote. I’d say that none of the races at the top has been rated very good last year (except brasil)

  7. Maybe people started voting Singapore as terrible when they realised it was only the safety car that provided any excitement? Just as the Ferrari bosses were complaining after the race (showing their good grace in defeat)

  8. @ Jay
    I noticed that too…..and now Bernie is going to take the racing to places that aren’t steeped in racing culture,and away from the crowds who want to see it most.

  9. I still don’t think Valencia is necessarily a bad circuit. It is very fast and I think it has the potential to become the new Montreal. If only the surrounding area were more interesting to look at, but I understand even that distinctive old warehouse building they had the pits in this year will be gone by 2009. Pity. Another problem they had this year was the dust off-line, which might have been exacerbated by them finishing construction work on it so late.

    Sumedh – There weren’t any in the eights last year – Europe was the highest with 7.9.

  10. Sumedh – There weren’t any in the eights last year – Europe was the highest with 7.9.

    That’s quite ironic.

    It’s been a fairly good year this time out. Not the best I’ve seen, but definately up there.

  11. All the new circuits have no soul. When you compare Singapore, China, Malaysia, Bahrain and Valencia with the tracks at the top of the table there is no comparison.

    I remember thinking half way through Brazil that the undulating track was so much more exciting than China before it.

  12. Valencia is a great city and the idea of a race down by the harbour was good…

    Where did it go so wrong?….

    Too tight and too dirty off line….

    Overtaking depended on errors by one of the drivers and, unlike GP2, that just didn’t happen….

    And it didn’t have to Singaporean glamour factor unless you had access to the pits and paddock… that was a different story….

  13. Valencia was like a drive through an abandoned warehouse complex and totally lacking in atmosphere. The track was actually quite wide for a road circuit. Unfortunately it turned out to be very dirty off line hence leaving the drivers with a very narrow racing line to contend with.

    In my opinion it was a total waste of money, even the cars looked out of place there. Too late to advice that they tear it down and move elsewhere.

  14. I agree, Valencia was very boring. Its great having Melbourne as the 1st race of the season. I would prefer Brazil to be the final race though. Its a great track

  15. Christian, it is ironic that China is starting to develop bumps as the fact that it is on marshland is beginning to show. Maybe in a couple of decades it will be as exciting as Brazil is now, or is that too much to hope for?

  16. Agree on Brazil and Valencia. Initially I was surprised as I expected Spa to be #2, and also Singapore to be rated higher, and after seeing the filtered out results it’s rather clear those make more sense. However I liked China a good bit, and did not like Japan as much.

  17. The race ratings weren’t a normal distribution so I plotted the modal response rather than the mean. If you then rank them the top five races (Brazil, Belgium, GB, Monaco, Italy) were all wet. And I seem to remember writing something not so long ago about rain being bad for F1….

    Jay & Christian mentioned the age of tracks, and whether it was the rain rather than their age per se that gave them a high rating. [The ages of some of the tracks is arguable, depending on which revision you use. Interlagos isn’t really that old]. You would have to say that’s the case with Monaco, which can be processional without intervening acts of God, or acts of drivers-hitting-barriers-to-bring-out-the-safety-car.

  18. Keith this is gr8 bit of data and graphs. Have to say that i can agree with alot of what the second graph says – in that alot of the races were good. It was only really Valencia, China and Spain for me which were the only BORING races with Valencia being V.BORING! lol

    Even Hungary this year had a good race with Felipe getting the lead and Lewis struggling b4 Felipe’s engine went. There was alot of competition this year as the field was soo close so alot of the races were hard to predict and quite alot of the time the midfield boys took up the fight.

    I think this is a fair reflection on the races, and is something that i’ll 4ward 2 my dad/brother who are ADAMANT that this year’s F1 was boring and dull and nothing but a precession. Of the 18 races only 3/4 of them were really dull in that the top 4/5 positions were obvious from about lap10 so that makes out overall a good % of excellent races. Mind u out of the top 4 races it is ‘ironic’ that rain played a part. No suprise that Brazil came out top – Australia was also a gr8 race actually, got some slack due to the retirements as i think only 6/7 ppl finished but the racing that day was gr8 and set up the season as a whole!

  19. I personally believe China was the most uneventful race I’ve seen in many many years. At least at Valencia there were some talking points (mainly involvong Ferrari pitstops).

    The highlights of the 2008 Chinese Grand Prix were as follows:

    1) Hamilton gets to the first corner first.
    2) Trulli and Bourdais collide. Trulli retires.
    3) Kovalainen gets a puncture.
    4) Kovalainen retires with hydraulic problems.
    5) Massa ‘passes’ Raikkonen.
    6) Hamilton wins.

    That is it. Nothing contentious, nothing exciting. Valencia was by no means a classic, but China was dull

  20. I disagree with John Porter about China being worse than Valencia. Firstly, the contentious bit was Massa ‘passing’ Kimi – even though as we all agree this was to be expected.

    But I think drama aside, this is where Lewis won the championship. The week running up to it he was being critisised from all angles, and to bounce back and be supreme all weekend, with everyone expecting more errors, made for the ‘event.’

    I guess maybe if Valencia was second last on the calendar, my opinion would be different :)

  21. I’d love to see the back of the Barcelona GP. It manages to be astoundingly dull year on year. Bring Estoril back.

    I’m prepared to give Valencia another go, but it wasn’t just the lack of racing on the track that made it boring. It was the lack of interesting scenery around the track the tipped it into “astoundingly dull”.

  22. Not much surprising to see that the most popular races are the rainy ones. Let’s hope next year we will not need rain anymore to see good races.

  23. El Gordo

    I’d love to see the back of the Barcelona GP. It manages to be astoundingly dull year on year. Bring Estoril back.

    I’m prepared to give Valencia another go, but it wasn’t just the lack of racing on the track that made it boring.


    It’s time for Barcelona to be redesigned or replaced, 1996 is the only enjoyable race I can remember and it rained that season (Schumi’s first win in a Ferrari too).

    I’d like to see Estoril given a race too.

    I’m reserving my judgement of Valencia until next season, hopefully the new regulations will give us some better racing there.
    Hopefully as it becomes an established track there will be a bit more investment in the area and the surrounding area will be a bit better looking and have an improved atmosphere.

    It’s no surprise to me that the wet races were the favourites, I’ve always preferred a wet or changeable race but like everyone else I’m hoping the new regulations will give us this type of racing in the dry.

  24. Friday 29th March 2009

    Make that Sunday

  25. I would happily lose:

    Fuji (I know its alternating, but Suzuka is just so much better)

    Keep/bring back/replace with:

    Adelaide (fat chance!).

    Valencia needs another chance, but I personally dont think it will get any better…

  26. 10 x YES for Imola. Remove the crappy Asian/Mideast circuits like Turkey, Bahrain, China and bring Imola, Montreal and that track in Argentina.

  27. Cyanide is right, tilke fixed imola why not just go back.


  28. how much are the tickets for valencia ??

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