Rate the race: Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Earlier this week we discussed whether the new rules would make for better racing at the Circuit de Catalunta.

So what did you think of the Spanish Grand Prix? Rate it and leave a comment below.

Rate the 2009 Spanish Grand Prix out of 10

  • 10 - Perfect (1%)
  • 9 - Fantastic (3%)
  • 8 - Great (6%)
  • 7 - Good (20%)
  • 6 - Not bad (20%)
  • 5 - A bit dull (19%)
  • 4 - Often tedious (8%)
  • 3 - Boring (16%)
  • 2 - Rubbish (4%)
  • 1 - Terrible (3%)

Total Voters: 1,786

Loading ... Loading ...

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

56 comments on “Rate the race: Spanish Grand Prix”

  1. A typical Barcelona race really. A sparsity of overtaking opportunities made worse by KERS.
    Another huge mistake from Ferrari dropping important points due to a refuelling error/problem/duff car for Kimi.
    McLaren way off the pace but Lewis pushing throughout and showing superb consistentcy.
    One for F1 fans only this…

  2. Maybe it’s time for that breakaway series to form. This is pathetic. This is racing? I hardly saw any overtaking! And did anyone else feel that Brawn seemed to sacrifice Barrichello?

    1. hitchcockm00
      10th May 2009, 14:57

      How would a breakaway make any difference??

  3. Its becoming a repeat of 2002/2004 with Ferrari. These new rules have just made a team dominate. Changing the pecking order is not exciting. At least Ferrari/McLaren/BMW could win last year. Button is going to win every race this year and its not good for F1

    1. The only reason red bull weren’t in this race is because vettel and webber were held up behind a slower ferrari. I think if vettel or webber had haad a clear run at the brawns we would have seen a different race.

  4. hitchcockm00
    10th May 2009, 14:56

    I know this is a typical Barca race but I was hoping there would be a few more overtaking attempts.
    If Massa hadn’t got past Vettel at the start it would have been a much more exciting race.

    Barrichello was screwed out of a win.

    1. hitchcockm00
      10th May 2009, 15:03

      Well, maybe that last but about Barrichello was a bit rash, he wasn’t fast enough when it mattered. It still didn’t feel like the best strategy though.

  5. This one was definitely not worth staying up til 4 in the morning for :(

  6. The first real evidence that the new rules are not working.

    Circuit de Catalunya is legendary for boring races and this was another Spanish Classic, one crash at the start and then loads of nothing until Massa started running out of fuel towards the end.

    The cars still can’t run close enough to each other to be able to pass and refuelling is still giving us a situation where the drivers are overtaking in the pits instead of on the track.

    Refuelling may be going next season but I think another 30% (minimum) of the aerodynamics should be going with it.

    This was like watching a testing session, not a race.

    3/10 – Boring

  7. My reflexions on this race…

    This circuit is a bit like the Eurovision Contest. It is inheritently boring, it is a relatively poor spactacle, but nothing changes…
    It has been mentionned here that the Catalunya GP layout has been very stable, hasn’t changed much. Well, why not change it a bit, hmmm ? I mean, apart from the lovely Alonso/Weber double pass at the beginning and Vettel/Alonso on a slow Massa, where was it some overtaking taking place? I can’t help thinking what it will look like next year, with everyone on the same fuel load… Watch the 3 first laps and come back at the end to confirm the result.

    Second point: do something about the KERS: it ruined Vettel’s race and didn’t make for an enjoyable battle. My opinion: they want KERS ? OK give them ALL Kers. Not on a free-to-choose basis. I suspect it would make things a bit more exciting if everyone had it. They’d have to find the right moment for it, etc.
    At the moment, it is a defensive weapon. And defense in F1 works about the same as in football or tennis: it doesn’t really serve the spectacle.
    If they want to cut the budgets, why not make KERS a mandatory item, but a monotype one, just like the tyres ? I mean, offer all the team the same unit to fit to their machines (if possible). That would reduce the costs. OK it goes against the R&D spirit of F1. Maybe let the reicher team use their own if they think it’s better than the standard one then ?

    Ferrari: their strategical cell is all over the place. First this Raikkonen error in Quali, then this misjugment of the amount of fuel needed. Something has to change there too.

    Brawn: I don’t understand that 3 stop policy for Barrichello. He really should have won. Sure he’ll be delighted about 2nd place (better than start position, but his start deserved more. Jenson must work his starts.
    I love them both, but I sure would like to see more oposition… Man 4 wins out of 5, 2nd double-win…

    I didn’t really enjoy the race as much as the quali. Quite Bahrain-like. I can’t wait for Silverstone.

  8. 2 – rubbish
    If it was a film in the cinema, I’d demand my money back.

    The only thing I remember after the race is the collision on the first lap and Massa running out of fuel.
    They should get rid of those damn difusers and all that stupid aerodynamics.

    The first real evidence that the new rules are not working.

    Wrong. They ARE working (we’ve seen it already this season), but not to the extent in which it’d make a difference on a track like this one.

    1. The first few races were good but because of the conditions. The rules have changed the pecking order not overtaking. F1 is not less competitive because of Brawn just dominating

  9. 2/10 – Rubbish.
    Quite how the most popular vote currently is 6/10, I cannot fathom. There must be a lot of very easily pleased F1 fans around who are gobsmacked just to see the shiny pretty cars go very very fast.

    The first corner crash was ‘good’, haven’t seen on like that in a while.

    Webber and Alonso’s move after the safety car peeled off was breath-taking too.

    And then it was an hour and a half of absolutely nothing.

    I mean, come on… not even the pit stops provided any ‘overtaking’

    I didn’t give it a 1/10 only because the podium was full of drivers I like, and the Ferraris failed once again.

    Please go to some other track somewhere else Spanish Grand Prix… this circuit is very very very awful.

    1. I guess you only like crashes then.

      There was a lot more going on:
      – I find a perfectly executed strategy an amazing thing to see. Button and Webber did just that. Barrichello failed.
      – Vettel being unable to pass Massa gave tension during the whole race.
      – Interesting to see that Massa could reasonably keep up during most of the race
      – Webber jumping to third and coming close to a fight for second.
      – Alonso picking up a boat load of places.
      – Even Kubica and Glock failing miserably was interesting to see

    2. Nope, I don’t only like crashes, far from it.

      – You can’t really ‘see’ a perfectly executed strategy, it’s a race-long event and I never notice them happen. And there is nothing fun or interesting to watch in a strategy anyway.
      -Vettle being unable to pass Massa for 95% of the race didn’t create tension, it created boredom and frustration. It would have been tention and excitement had they have been wheel to wheel and swapping the place back an forth.
      – keeping up with and following someone isn’t interesting, especially when you are 5 seconds behind that someone
      – Alonso picked up a boat load of places, but even with a Spanish director, we didn’t see any, and I’m guessing thats because most of them were during pit stops.
      – Well done to Webber for making it up to 3rd, yes, but following Barrichello around for the latter part of the race wasn’t really ‘coming close’ to second. Side by side and swip-swapping places would have been ‘coming close’.
      – Kubica and Glock miserably just following Hamilton for lap after lap was not interesting. Them passing Hamilton and then battling it out as they sped away would have been interesting.

    3. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      10th May 2009, 16:09

      Any race when an Englishman wins is going to be rated highly by me!

    4. I think 6/10 is probably because most people here are quite simply F1 fans.
      As I said above this wasn’t really an event for your average ‘fair-weather’ F1 viewer.
      The grid is extremely close this year and that fundamentally means reduced opportunity for on track racing action. KERS made it worse on this occasion unless of course you had it. Lewis would have been taken by Glock had he not had KERS and Massa/Vettel etc.
      The real interest in this race was strategic. Tyres, fuel and reliance on drivers executing the strategy 100%. Barrichello was unable to do this, Jenson was and I would say Webber used his to gain a brilliant advantage.
      So we’re losing one of these strategic elements next year – refuelling. This will make races like this even more of a much feared ‘procession’ as on track racing opportunities won’t be altered in anyway. If everyone starts on full fuel loads then performance will be the same for all.
      Again, Keith – I still can’t see an advantage to banning refuelling with regard to racing…

  10. Glad Webber was able to beat his team-mate for once. Vettel, while being highly regarded, wasn’t able to look down the outside of a much slower Massa even once. Raikonnen at least had a couple of peeps on the outside of Heidfeld.

    Ferrari could have had a double points finish, but reliability has let them down again. The number of strategic mistakes they are making is quite strange. The car is also very poor on any tyre other than the softs. To think we were taking about a race win for poor Massa.

    It’s amazing how Alonso manages to pick up points here and there with that car. He’s well ahead of where he should be in the points if we go by the cars merit alone.

    Glocks race was a disaster.

    Race of the day: Heidfeld – started 13th, ended 6th and kept it together and held-off the rest.

    1. Vettel, while being highly regarded, wasn’t able to look down the outside of a much slower Massa even once. Raikonnen at least had a couple of peeps on the outside of Heidfeld.

      Massa and Raikkonen had the benefit of KERS, which I think explains that.

    2. I’m pretty sure Raikkonen did not have KERS.

    3. Good catch Keith, you are right. Raikonnen did confirm after his retirement while talking to BBC that his KERS was indeed working just fine. And that does explain the difference between Vettel and Raikonnen – I’ll buy that.

      The FOM graphic for KERS on Kimi’s car never seemed to draw down though. Is that what PatrickL is referring too? James Allen thought it was a problem with the graphics though, not his KERS.

    4. Well the graphic wasn’t working and Raikkonen said during the race that he had problems with his KERS. But sure if he stated after the race that he didn’t have problems then I guess he didn’t. He didn’t get very far anyway.

  11. Not much overtaking maybe, but also probably the best move we saw so far this season. The Webber vs Alonso battle was amazing.

    To be honest I blame Vettel for being poor at overtaking rather than that the cars or circuit are to blame.

    I know people don’t like fuel strategies here, but I actually liked the difference in strategies between the Red Bulls and the BrawnGP’s.

    Bourdais was pretty stupid with that second corner incident. Everyone is slowing dow to avoid the crash, but Bourdais keeps his foot on the throttle. Or was it Buemi? The second STR really rammed straight through the leading one when you see the 4 or 5 other cars slowing down.

    Massa had a reasonably good race, but why does he need to be told to let Vettel go?

    Well deserved win for Button and deserved third for Webber. Great drive.

    Alonso was really going for it too. Nice to see him so hungry for a fight.

    Kubica another poor race. Did he have a problem? Or simply not concentrated enough?

  12. @Patrickl

    I too think Vettel could have done more. Maybe not a real pass, but harried Massa into making a mistake perhaps.

    Re: Massa being told to let Vettel go. Because he couldn’t very well do the math himself could he now? He’d need to know his current fuel-consumption rate and the race distance left, plus the estimate of the amount of fuel left.

    But leaving it that late was another strategic blunder by his team – if he had let Vettel pass earlier, he could have managed his fuel burn rate much better and possibly held Alonso off! I don’t think people picked up on that subtle blunder within a blunder.

    1. They told Massa twice to use less fuel or face another pit stop. First time with 10 laps to go.

      There is not much math involved to listen to the team when they tell you to use less fuel. He was supposed to slow down a bit and try and keep Vettel behind. Not to keep on pushing as hard as possible.

  13. HounslowBusGarage
    10th May 2009, 15:51

    I watched the start and the first twenty laps or so, then I got bored. Went off to do something else and came back for the last five laps.
    Not sure if I missed anything at all.

    What are Ferrari playing at?

  14. what sort of overtaking you people expect when performances are this close. F1 has never been a sport where a car only .1 of a second faster can overtake. Race was OK, more interesting than a typical Spanish GP.

    1. There’s several single make series where all of the cars have exactly the same top speed and you get loads of overtaking in them.

      The lack of overtaking in F1 has nothing to do with speed, it is the aerodynamic problems that come when you try to catch another car. The new rules have made this better but they’ve not gone far enough (in my opinion).

      Add in a poor track with few overtaking opportunities and the teams propensity to overtake in the pit-stops and it all adds up to a dull race.

      If we have to reduce the number of European GP’s to allow the new Asian & Gulf GP’s then why couldn’t we have dropped the Circuit de Catalunya ?
      Off the top of my head (and I could be wrong, its not unusual) I can only remember three decent races at the track and all three were wet.

  15. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    10th May 2009, 16:06

    Awful track. Bin it from the calendar, Bernie!! Glad Jenson won, could England have to consecutive world champions???
    BTW, Mark Webber made me smile after the race, what was he ‘effing & blinding’ about Alonso for?

  16. I thought Webber said something like “Massa f*cked up”, regarding the refuelling mistake.

    1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      10th May 2009, 20:44

      ah could be..

  17. @Patricl
    Kimi had KERS, he said he didn’t see the lights at the start of the race. But his KERS was working fine as he later admitted after the he retired.

  18. I doubt any driver does fuel calculation in their head. They don’t even know how much fuel the team puts in the car to start with. Massa wasn’t at fault. The team should be aware of the situation better than he was and help him manage his race without compromising his finishing position.

    If the team were supposed to put 10laps of fuel in the car and put 9, then the driver has not blame. The team should work out the correct fuel mixture and pace the driver should maintain. How can Massa even know how far Alonso is behind him, if he isn’t told by the team.

    Ferrari are unable to think on their feet anymore. If this was handled well Massa should have just lost 4th position and not 5th aswell.

    1. The drivers don’t have to do fuel calculations. The teams do that for them. So when the team informs Massa to save fuel or make another stop, he should listen.

    2. Problems with refueling caused Massa to slow down…at least that is the story Ferrari are saying

    3. sasbus,

      Did you watch the race?

  19. Rubbish – This whole championship is rubbish. At least last year we had Hamilton and the two from Ferrari. Now we have boring Button and Button and Button and Button and maybe if it rains we get Vettel. Nice very Nice indeed

    1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      10th May 2009, 19:05

      OK sadbush (or whetever your name is), if its all oh-so boring, what would jazz it all up for you???

    2. I doubt he’ll bother replying when you couldn’t even have the decency to read his user name. It’s staring you right in the face as you typed your comment.

      Personally, the whole championship would be jazzed up a whole heap if every car either has, or doesn’t have KERS. Another one would be aerodynamic changes that really do create more passing opportunities. Also, the banning of refuelling next season will be a move in the right direction, with all the cars starting with full fuel loads and pit stops not being used as a passing opportunity.

      I like that the teams have been shuffled up, but it’s looking like not coming close to the excitement of the last two seasons. This whole Brawn/Button domination exercise will get very boring very fast for me personally. I far prefer a championship that is anyone’s for the taking, rather than one driver just running off with it.

  20. Shame Lewis didn’t get a single point for that effort. With the exception of Fisi, everyone behind Lewis were ahead on the grid. A good effort – he keeps trying, looks like his patience is wearing thin though.

  21. Rubbish. Another Catalunya snore-fest. I’d actually gotten my hopes up that the new rules might have made for a more exciting race this year, but it really was boring. Qualifying was more exciting than the race!

  22. @beneboy

    There’s several single make series where all of the cars have exactly the same top speed and you get loads of overtaking in them.

    it isnt about top speed. How could Vettel have passed Massa when they were setting nearly identical lap times. He was able to follow Massa much closer actually than he would have last year. Without KERS, he would have passed him.

    1. Under the current regulations he couldn’t but if the cars had reduced aerodynamic grip and increased mechanical grip then the cars don’t get effected so much by the turbulent air coming off the back of the leading car, this allows the drivers to use the drafting technique you can see in many other series.

      Even when the cars have the exact same power output (like in a single make series) you still get overtaking because the car following can run in the draft at the same speed as the car in front while using less of the engines power.

      This used to be a common tactic before aerodynamics started playing such an important role in F1, in the last ten years the aerodynamics have become so important that you have to be in a more powerful or lighter car or wait for the other driver to make a mistake before you can overtake (for the most part).

      In the 80s it was not uncommon to see a cars front wing almost touching the gearbox of the car it was following, these days you only really see that when one of the top team’s drivers qualifies near the back of the field and spends most of the race overtaking slower cars.

      I could go on but I’m sure I’ve bored you enough already :-)

  23. HounslowBusGarage
    10th May 2009, 21:49

    Just watched the replay on BBC3.
    Not sure I did miss anything between laps 20 and 55!
    It set me thinking though, we’ve had four exciting races so far this year – and Catalunya.
    What was less-than-exciting today? We had a monster smash, off-track and on-track overtaking, late race drama and the underdog team has won again.
    It’s the track isn’t it?
    I know that camera angles and tracking make it difficult to appreciate the speed of the cars, but at this circuit, boredom attains another plane of existence. It just doesn’t look as though the cars are working hard at all.
    The track has elevation changes; I know they are there. But the cameras just seem to flatten it all out and make it bland.
    Is it a case of re-siting the television cameras or re-profiling a couple of the turns?
    Anything to make this circuit a more visually entertaining and challenging (to the drivers) venue.

    1. The first five races have now proven without a doubt that BrawnGP are anything but the underdog. A car with a considerable development phase, a brilliant engine package, and great team and crew, two very talented drivers, and of course, Ross Brawn. This team is destined for greatness. Even if other teams catch up, and even pass them later in the season, this team is here to stay. This year won’t be the only year we see BrawnGP winning races.

  24. HounslowBusGarage
    10th May 2009, 22:50

    @ Cameron. Yes you are quite right, Brawn are not the underdog. The old MacLaren/Ferrari hegemony has been well and truly smashed and Brawn GP have emerged as the supremely professional victorious team, while Ferrari and MacLaren seem to be falling back.
    Looking back to previous seasons, I wonder how much of the ‘Schumacher magic’ was actually due to Ross Brawn instead.

    1. Let’s not forget that they spent the whole of last season spending lots of Honda’s money on developing this years car, in effect they’re about six months ahead of the other teams in the development of the car.

      If they don’t get some money in soon they won’t be able to continue to develop the car as much as the other teams and the others, should, catch up.

      As far as the Schumacher Magic, he managed a few very good races in his first year at Ferrari when he was in a dog of a car as well as a very good performance in a Jordan in his first race.
      I agree that the car adds a lot to the package but I think the domination came as a result of pairing one of the best cars and the best driver (after the death of Senna).

  25. The re-overtake of Webber to Alonso was epic. Lewis being lapped was also great to watch. Pity James Allen wasnt commentating it :)

  26. gosh i think you are all a picky…i thought it was a good race and certainly more entertaining than usual at these sorts of tracks, there was pleanty going on! If you want to talk about boring tracks lets talk about bharain THAT is boring there isnt even anyone watching, just sand and a bit more sand…i think it is a lovely track, looks beautiful, well supported and great spectical and the racing improved a thousand fold over previous years, i think you are all a bit hard to please myself!

  27. That race was ‘SO’ boring I think the fans were jealous of Kimi Raikkonen for breaking down and leaving early. Probably for another bottle of coke and an icecream.
    Its one thing having cars that look like a bunch of kindergarten kids drew them, but cars that are not overtaking are far worse. Atleast in the past, when the races were processional, the cars still looked amazing!
    The only piece of excitement was the very swift Alonso / Webber battle, and thats it! Bring back 2008 cars, minus aero appendages, whack slick tyres on them and send them back out there.

  28. Perhaps I was a bit generous with my 7? Probably because compared to the usual Catalunya bore-best, this was only a semi-borefest ;)

    The dice between Webber & Alonso was fantastic, and I actually found myself wishing the race would last longer to see if Webber could have a got at Barichello.
    Still, bring on Monaco I say.

  29. I think it’s worth noting that, last year, the Spanish Grand Prix came third from bottom in F1 Fanatic’s race ratings, as voted by us:


    Is this a trend for the circuit?

  30. I was afraid of the double diffuser ruling going in favour of Brawn because it’s effectively killed the championship imo. By the time the teams catch up Brawn will just end up with a massive lead.

  31. Quite boring, the usual Barcelona race. Made interesting by Buttons change to 2 stops, but nothing else exciting.
    One thing i did notice from the qualifying show on bbc was a comment by Nico Rosberg about no refuelling next season. Saying that he was worried how he will cope with full fuel in his car, and his dad says something like “well how do you think we coped when we raced in the 80’s”

  32. Not bad- interesting start (which I did not expect at Barcelona) and some action with Massa almost running out at the end, but no good battles for the lead.

  33. spanky the wonder monkey
    14th May 2009, 14:46

    most memorable bits for me, ignoring the first lap carbon fibre shedding session, were massa on being told to slow down: “what am i supposed to do?” and webber after the race with: “felippe f*cked…… sorry!”.

Comments are closed.