A “chaotic race”? Ignore the whingeing journalists


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Drivers pitting more than once was too much for some

While the rest of us were enjoying a gripping Malaysian Grand Prix, over in the Sepang media centre brows were furrowing.

According to The Times’s Kevin Eason journalists were asking each other: “Do you have the faintest idea what is going on here?”

Afterwards Eason complained about “overwhelming techno-babble” and “a near-chaotic Grand Prix of more than 50 pit stops“.

The Daily Telegraph’s Tom Cary agreed it was “confusing for the viewers“.

But this incomprehension was only shared by newspaper journalists sent to cover the race. Martin Brundle noted: “Fleet Street boys told me [the] race [was] totally confusing. I told them [David Coulthard] and me [were] on top of it no problem.”

Had they cared to listen to their readers and fans instead of making assumptions, they would have discovered the reaction to the race was very positive.

At the time of writing the Malaysian Grand Prix is rated 7.8 out of ten by F1 Fanatic readers, which is higher than 16 of last year’s 19 races.

Here’s a sample of what some people actually thought of the race:

“What was chaotic about it? Interesting? Yes. Exciting. Yes? Chaotic? No!” – merlo84

“If they think that lots of passing and normal, racing action is ‘chaos’, they’re confused as to what F1 is.” – Dan_Thorn

“Near Chaotic? Belgium 1998, USA 2005, Malaysia 2009, and Korea 2010 were chaotic… this weekend past we saw a race.” – Ajokay85

A two-hour motor race isn’t like football or golf or other sports where the focus generally remains in one place. Between the battles on the track and developments in the pits there might be half-a-dozen different points of attention in a single lap.

It’s unrealistic to expect to be able to watch a race and instantly know everything that’s happened to all 24 cars. That’s why F1 Fanatic breaks the weekend down team-by-team every Monday after the race.

But even when the races were ‘simpler’, that didn’t stop the mainstream press struggling to keep up. Remember those nonsense stories about McLaren messing up Lewis Hamilton’s final pit stop in Valencia two years ago and allegedly ‘losing him the race’?

I know that casual fans and F1 Fanatics will differ on their views of the sport. And I don’t think F1’s rules are perfect at the moment.

But let’s recognise these complaints about “chaos” for what they are: knee-jerk manufactured outrage to make good headlines.


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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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163 comments on “A “chaotic race”? Ignore the whingeing journalists”

  1. Couldn’t possibly agree more Keith

    1. Hear Hear.

      1. Geordie Porker
        12th April 2011, 18:53

        Thought we saw an awesome race; the only disappointment was the winner ;)

        1. UKfanatic (@)
          12th April 2011, 22:25

          me too wanting to see something new

      2. Eason has always been extremely good at talking through an orifice which is at some distance from his mouth. Like a lot of overpaid, intellectually challenged jounalists, he suffers from a very strong believe that what he has to say in his columns is of as seminal important as any tablet of stone handed down to us mere mortals.

        His patheic delusions will no doubt continue.

    2. So, you knew exactly what tyres each driver was on at every point in the race? Rather unlikely, since we didn’t see all the pitstops, nor were we told what each of the drivers were starting on. Of course, given that there were an average of three pitstops, with the range being 2-4, the situation changed rapidly.

      Unless you had access to more info than the commentators provided, it’s not possible to know at each and every instant what was going on. Even Brundell was confused regarding what tyres Hamilton was on after his third pitstop; and he had the computer data in front of him…

      I’d rather they made no pit stops. Then everything would be clear. And if a driver wanted to finish ahead of another, he would have to do so on the track, not in the pits, not by managing his tyres (i.e., going slowly).

      1. I’m with you. I’m as bored with tyre strategy racing as I was with fuel strategy racing. To also see drivers lapping so much slower than their ultimate pace makes it frustrating as well as boring.

        1. I think I fall this side of the fence. Despite the race being entertaining it was chaotic and I can’t help feeling a little cheated. I want to see the best drivers in the world pushing the most advanced cars in the world to their limit. I don’t want to see 2 hours of managing tyres and maximising mpg, I do that every day.

          Personally I would’ve removed the compulsory stop and had a hard tyre that goes in the region 70% distance and a soft that goes 35% race distance.

          As for the race itself, how many overtakes were genuine i.e. not involving DRS or considerably newer tyres? The best position battles that come to mind are Webber/Heidfeld and Hamilton/Alonso and one of DRS or KERS were not involved. Overtaking is a skill and in Aus it was but in Malaysia it all seemed a little to easy for those with fully functioning vehicles.

        2. Couldn’t agree with you more sunnyside. What’s the point is lapping almost 5 seconds faster during qualifying only to slow down to a snail’s pace during the race. All this development seems to be geared towards achieving pole position rather than achieving speed during the race. For sure no lap records will be broken this year. Frustrating to say the least.

          1. Jeffrey Powell
            12th May 2011, 16:16

            Yes but at least most of the cars will finish,the only offs. will be drivers falling asleep and the engine quota will last for ever,we may see a hardly used one on EBAY at the end of the season.At the rate this nonsense is going the safety car may post the fastest lap of the race.

      2. We currently have the highest ratings for F1 for the Malaysian Grand Prix history, fans clearly like this racing. The era of one car dominance and tyres that could finish the race without a stop if necessary was utterly dull. When Schumy won year after year with no challenger to his throne what was the point?

        We now have at least 4 drivers that can win the title, dominating a year has become extremely difficult due to the unpredictability and we have races where there is lots of action.

        Also, the issue with which tyres cars are on is simply solved, and is going to be solved, with a strong colour filling the side wall. That won’t be an issue in future races.

        If you want more information than the commentators provide then look to the official timings and watch what times drivers are putting in. It clears everything up for me and lets you see exactly when tyres are “falling off the cliff”.

    3. F1 has somewhat delivered everything we/they have been asking for & now they rubbish it… Silly fools. Lets not forget Sepang is one circuit that Tilke got right which also added to the excitement. The new tyres are also working beautifully.

    4. +1.
      If a journalist is saying the race was “confusing” then they should not be covering motorsports in general. I had to watch this race with the TV on mute and just with the help of live timing I could tell what was going on at all time.

      Great race too!

  2. If the newspaper journalists sent to the race couldn’t understand what was going on, I’ll more than happily go in one of their places.

    1. Take me on board.

      1. me too. hire me. at least i will bother figuring out the race before publishing that it was chaotic.

    2. Me too. I’d do a better job than them!

  3. Makes you wonder – Who allows thick journalists to cover the most technical sport in the world if they cant even understand the race?

    I was able to follow the action up and down the field on the live timing, enjoy some great action on the TV feed, and have a nice big cup of lemon tea, what are they going on about?

    1. True. If they found this race confusing, then they should quit what they are doing. Half the people on this site are capable of replacing them.

    2. Journalists are taught how to write a fast news story based on a minimum of facts, if any, they are twisted to create as much uproar as possible. Of course they can’t be taken serious. However I would defend them a little bit, because sometimes a race is more confusing, when You are present at the track, than when You are riding Your sofa as they drive by. I think the reason is that Your senses are working overtime to take in as much as possible of the show, the cars passing, the sound and everything – You don’t have the same time to follow the data and analyse it.
      I didn’t find the race confusing from my position in front of the laptop streaming RedButton. And I liked the race, but will not yet make a final verdict on the DRS, KERS and Pirellis. But I can also predict that the teams and drivers will become better at tyre management over the course of the next few races. But I think that DRS makes the races more fun for the drivers as they have more overtakings and more fun battles on track – they won’t get as frustrated as an Alonso weaving a fist at Petrov last year.

      1. +1 When I was at Silverstone in 2007 I was sat in a Grandstand on the main straight (pretty much opposite the Red Bull pit garage) and was only able to keep track of the top 4 or 5 cars…and then only because I decided to focus my attention on keeping track of Lewis Hamilton.

        Of course, for journalists in the media centre there is no excuse. They are professionals there to do a job and (presumably) have access to the same information as those of us watching at home. To say that they weren’t able to follow the race because they were caught up in the sensory experience of being there would be like a team explaining that the reason they only had 3 tyres ready for their driver when he pitted was because the guy with the 4th tyre was too busy listening to the cars speeding past the pit garage!!

    3. Probably the sort of newspaper editors who think it’s only slightly more complex than football (which probably has its share of less-than-stellar journalists).

      1. Maybe a time to go back to the good old lap chart for some of them?

  4. Spot on…just trying to generate headlines. Im surprised any paper even manage to send journalists out there, are they not all covering football (The only sport that seems to exist in many newspapers)!?

    Without being rude If you were watching the BBC with its superb commentary, have seen F1 before and yet found that confusing then your a bit stupid! Either stupid or not paying enough attention. Its not like a cricket match where you can have it on the tv all day and pop in to check on it and possibly catch some action. Compared to some sports with F1 you need to invest a bit of time to gain a lot of pleasure in return.

    I cant believe these journalists are not embarrassed admitting they cant follow a race. Red lights go out and the winner is first past the chequered flag. If they have nothing better to write about F1 then stick to talking about that Rooney ‘sportsman’

    1. ‘superb [BBC] commentary’!?

      Martin is much hyped; but has he offered any new analysis recently? No. He just rehashes what he says every year. If you’ve watched F1 for a decade or more, you’ll know it all. Martin just talks more, not better, now that he’s lead commentator.

      DC is now a BBC commentator. However, he’s also paid $4 million p.a. by Red Bull Racing. It’s no wonder, then, that DC is completely biased. A blatant conflict of interest has been ignored.

      I much prefer Crofty and Ant. They’re more entertaining, up-to-date, insightful, and fair.

      1. Each to his own.

        As has been proved over the years, no one is ever satisfied with the lead commentating crew.

        Crofty and Davidson are great, but Martin and DC are just as good. You may remember that while DC is paid £whatever he also revealed to us what he thought the Red Bull codes meant.

        Hardly what Red Bull would want him to say eh?

        1. So you honestly see no problem in the BBC’s hiring DC as a commentator for their broadcast, which goes out to numerous countries as well as our own, whilst he’s still an official ‘Red Bull Ambassador’ paid £4 million p.a. (see pitpass article) which is more than most of what today’s F1 drivers earn? There’s a clear conflict of interest there.

          I don’t recall DC’s revealing the Red Bull ‘codes’ or what these were. If you’re refering to the radio messages about tyres, etc., they were obvious. I don’t know why RBR even tried to hide that info, when it’s clear to see. Much like their antics RE: the rear wing on the grid.

          If DC, however, were to reveal the secrets of the RBR car, perhaps the front-wing for starters, then his impartiality would be much harder to question. Unfortunately, he tells us nothing. Do you remember the track walk? DC said he would tell Di Resta some secrets of the circuit. Then he proceeded with his banal comments for the BBC. Perhaps he could have told all of us those ‘secrets’. No: he has a different agenda. That is, to help RBR and to help Paul Di Resta. Speaking of which, the commentators have a habit of calling him Scottish and Lewis and Jenson British….not right, either.

          1. I wrote a long spiel but then couldn’t be bothered to post it.

            Seriously, if he does a good job at commentating then really what does it matter who he is paid by? It is completely irrelevant who’s payroll he is on and for what figures, because he is good at what he does. For us fans, he spotted the Hamilton floor damage faster than any of us and elucidated what plan A and plan B were for the red bull team. Obvious it may have been to you, but for 99% of the viewers it wasn’t.

            If you’ve got beef with Coulthard as a commentator then it should have nothing to do with any perceived conflict of interests, because he is professional in his manner and does not let it get in the way of his commentating.

          2. I partly agree with you Alistair but I think having DC in the comm box is a good thing.

            Martin Brundle has been away from the driving aspect of f1 for several years now and whilst f1 cars have changed dramatically since DC drove them, he still knows what this crop of drivers want. We can not expect Martin Brundle to know f1 as intimately as he did in ’97 for example. Listening to his early commentary’s, you heard of his relationship with the drivers of that time. DC will bring his verdict, and views from the pit sooner rather than later.

            If a race is stopped now, MB would not be allowed to jump into the drivers briefing and discuss with the drivers what is going on. DC with a huge connection to the front running team will. This information will be invaluable.

            As for giving Di Resta hints, I imagine that they will be to do with set-up rather than positioning on track so it would be of little use (or already said) to most of the public to hear it.

            I think that after years of journalists, who were not liked or respected in the paddock as much as DC, we should be grateful to have 2 ex-drivers, especially one of which still has influence in the constructors champions.
            With the rules as they are in 2011 I can think of no better team for the BBC comm box.

            In years to come we may come to wish we had them again.

      2. i couldn’t disagree more

      3. I didnt intend my comment to turn into a commentary debate. Personally i think its a million times better than the last 2 years, anyway my point was they helped make the race easy to follow if anyone was struggling.

        Ant and Crofty are good but not on HD. Sound quality (of cars) is terrible and they do go over ground again all the time…every practice session Ant will talk about cruise mode and the rain light for aero runs. They all have to retread ground, its impossible to be different and fresh when talking the same subject and having to cover points for new listeners all year.

      4. Yeah I can imagine Crofty enthusiastically reading out ignorant viewer questions* (what is the KERS system? Why do some tyres have a yellow logo and some have white? What are marbles? What is a diffuser? Who is this Ayrton Senna people are talking about?) and then panting out lap times from top to bottom in one breath every 15 minutes.

        Sounds like commentary bliss. ;)

        I like coulthard but it should be Brundle and Davidson in my opinion as they both ‘say it like it is’.

        As for ‘choatic’, it’s part of the fun having the timing screens and driver tracker running so you can see the whole picture. I agree about the feed from FOM, it needs better direction and with more variables there needs to be more information provided onscreen. Split screen pits sounds like a good idea, as does tyre info next to driver name.

        *whilst these questions are great for those new to F1, they have no place on a live broadcast and are easily answered via a 30 second search on the net.

    2. I think this is the best commentary team we’ve had for years. At first I thought DC would struggle to find things to keep us engaged, but he’s slipped into the position perfectly, and I haven’t once been upset by anything he has said. It’s completely different, but it’s as good as Allen and Brundle. (I know some of you had something against James Allen, but I thought he was just fine)

      1. I agree. Brundle is as ever, a great commentator. And DC, somewhat to my surprise, is fitting in quite nicely.

        What I’ve noticed is this is the first time people have had a conversation about DC, most of it being positive. This is very different to the past few years. (Legard)

    3. @adamf184
      Keep in mind that if something involves a ball it is a game not a sport. Games are for children :)

  5. I admit I could hardly breath out for a moment, having action genuine on track action all the time (Start, Ham-Heidfeld, then Webber, Kobayashi, Schu, … almost too much to take in in a go and far away from any notion of making a coffee or going to the toilet.
    First time I actually looked at where is everyone ended up, I was supprised to see 31 laps in.
    And only in the last 10 minutes did I realize it was still good old (or rather young) Seb Vettel safely in front!

    Maybe some people were too used to seeing not that much on track for too long. Now F1 starts doing what we all felt was needed, more on track action, they suddenly woke up and were confused.

    1. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what happened in Valencia last year until after the race, and that was far from chaotic. There wasn’t a moment on Sunday evening that I thought; “this race is incredibly complex!” Instead I was busy enjoying how excellent the racing was. If I was going to name a chaotic race, I’d easily put China last year ahead of Malaysia 2011.

  6. I’m afraid I disagree that the race wasn’t chaotic. It was – the coverage was terrible.

    Thats not to say it was Brundles fault (as it was the pictures being shown rather than him or Coulthard), nor it is to say that a chaotic grand prix is a bad thing.

    But the race itself was exceptionally difficult to follow. I didnt know who was in 5th – 15th place for almost the entire race. Further, the amount of replays shown on lap 3 of the start was ridiculous – we missed a full lap of racing!

    In my opinion, some sort of on screen positioning would make it a lot easier – and allow us to identify when overtakes happen.

    1. I think its also important that when I say that the race was chaotic – I don’t mean this negatively. The race itself was good, and the amount going on was great. However, the coverage didn’t show it very well, or in an organised manner.

      1. I agree the ammount of times we missed overtakes to see someone else finishing off a pitstop was very annoying. In all fairness, the BBC commentary team had to deal with the same feed as us, so they did a reasonable job

        1. Exactly! Why see a live pitstop and a replay of an overtake when we can see an overtake live?!

          And you’re right – I don’t think it was the BBC’s fault at all. Rather the director of the coverage didn’t seem to have a clue.

        2. because all media like us and i think majority of fans follow live timing

          it helps to follow every race from firts to last lap

          1. well, given that live timing frequently crashes and is a few seconds behind the television coverage then why should we forced to watch it in order to be able to understand the race?

            I’d also highly doubt that the majority of viewers watch it. There is a large difference between the normal viewer (which, I would imagine is a large % of the viewership) and the hardcore F1 fans like ourselves.

          2. I’m a hardcore fan, and even I don’t view the live timings.

        3. To play devil’s advocate, you could maybe forgive FOM for showing too many pit stops simply because there haven’t been nearly this many in a single race for a good while now.

          Whereas before a pit stop would be the most exciting thing going on, now we have a lot more on track action. Perhaps they just need a few races like this to get used to this style of race.

          Of course, the director could just be completely incompetent; who knows? :D

          1. Well, I can’t say I was impressed with FOM coverage before this point but the nature of Malaysia 2011 highlighted the flaws rather dramatically.

          2. @KazeXT

            There have been very few times where I have watched a pitstop and thought ‘wow’. Pitstops have their place in f1 broadcasting, but not when there is an overtaking opportunity on track!

            Definitely the directors fault. In fairness to him, as you mention, the directing this year was far harder to do than usual as there was so much going on. Regardless though, its their job – so I have little sympathy.

            It just highlights that the FOM have to think long and hard about how to broadcast the information to the fans in the most efficient way.

      2. As you imply, that’s the difference between the race being complicated and the coverage being bad. FOM’s direction leaves a lot to be desired – cutting away from on-track action to show pit stops is a real bugbear for me.

        But remember those at the track have access to more live data than people watching the race on TV do – even if they’re following the live timing and using F1 Fanatic Live.

        1. cutting away from on-track action to show pit stops is a real bugbear for me.

          That infuriates me as well and happened far too many times on Sunday. Its fine to show pit stops when there’s no on track battles at the time, but don’t cut away when someone is lining up an overtake!

          1. Ads21 and Keith – agreed. There were several occasions where someone was in the DRS zone and closing rapidly (Sebastian Vettel to name but one) and then the FOM director would switch to a pit stop of a Virgin or something irrelevant.

        2. I agree, that sadly FOM just seem not to grasp what to show.

          First announcing the DRS was now activated, only to switch to 4-5 replays showing nothing more than the first one and showing all those pitstops only to miss the action on track (can’t they just show pitstops in a small inset, or only have the counters running?).

          I guess Sepang had more action than can be catched all at once, but there was a lot of racing not being shown, again.

          But It was great fun and adrenaline boost to watch.

          1. i agree,they should have “pit cam” with a super imposed image in the corner when they want to show pit stops when a “battle” is occuring between drivers.

          2. This would be particularly useful when you have an on-track battle approaching someone in the pits and it’s a mad race to see who gets out first. That would be incredible.

        3. I think we’re getting into an era though where these limitations shouldn’t exist.

          I can watch an entire race from the onboard camera of an audi at Le Mans. Why shouldn’t I be able to pick and chose my television feed as well?

          FOM could have made the race easy to follow – even with KERS, DRS etc if they focussed more on providing better coverage. I’d wager that some of last years races would have been a lot more exciting too had we the option of what and who to watch.

        4. cutting away from on-track action to show pit stops is a real bugbear for me.


          At least we didn’t have to suffer through any shots of the drivers’ girl friends/wives!

          1. We did get Petrov’s manager..they like showing her :-(

          2. We did get Petrov’s manager..they like showing her

            I thought that was his mother!

          3. Petrov’s manager!?! I thought that was his mother!!!

          4. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            12th April 2011, 21:17

            Maybe she’s both?, I assumed it was his Mother as well

        5. spanky the wonder monkey
          13th April 2011, 8:42

          now, if only some clever soul could invent something i’d like to call ‘picture in picture’, we could see the pit stop in a smaller box in say a corner of the tv screen. ;-)

    2. This is the sort of thing James Allen was exceptional at, reading the entire race and speculating on strategy for pretty much the entire field.

      I’m from Holland so maybe I missed out on the subtle nuance that seemingly made so many people hate him, but he was excellent paired with Brundle and would especially for this kind of stuff. I also had problems reconstructing the top 10 relative to pitsopts… then again everybody including the teams are in new territory if it comes to this.

      Awesome race though. I wish they’d get rid of DRS. It’s clear enough but boring and fake. Same for the two tyre compound rule. Qualify on whatever, race on whatever.

      1. Interesting point on James Allen – he was good at reading the race.

        As I have mentioned though, I don’t think the problem was the commentating. Brundle and Coulthard did what they could with the images being provided to them (and us). Perhaps they could have focussed a little on what was happening elsewhere, but honestly it makes little sense to do so when you are commentating to people watching the live video.

        The problem was with the director rather than anyone else.

      2. I have to say I was an Allen fan, if you removed the pro-British bias that was mainly due to ITV’s editorial policy, he was actually a great commentator.

        1. Prior to this year, I dont think the races were confusing to read into. I mean, everybody pretty much had the same amount of pitstops, etc. This year, there are a whole lot more variables. Who pits at what stage is waht the race is all about. The captions do show from time to time the relative pitstops but it can still be confusing to read into the race. Somebody’s tyre might hold up a lot better and somebodys might degrade a whole lot faster. It changes the complexion of the race instantly.

  7. The only thing that was chaotic was me in the kitchen trying to finish cooking the bacon and eggs before the race started.

    So what’s the general reaction to DRS after that race?

    1. my reaction is that, whilst it’s not bad, it’s a bit unnecessary and that we would see sufficient amounts of overtaking with just the tyres and KERS. I seem to be one of the very few supporters of KERS however. We did see a couple of occasions where overtaking for me was a tad to easy for me, something just didn’t feel right. I’m willing to give it a little longer though.

      I like the way that KERS is available to everyone the same amount, yet can still give an advantage to the following car if used tactically.

      Regarding the not really knowing whats going on, I think it’s more a matter of not knowing whats going to happen, which for me is perfect. Although as stated above, the coverage could be improved, perhaps with the positions displayed as they are in practice, with P at the side if someone is pitting, and then perhaps a time and a tyre selection displayed as they exit. This was we wouldn’t really need to see any pitlane action unless something dramatic happened.

      1. Perhaps SWN for stuck wheel nut? That happens a lot so we don’t need TV coverage for it.

    2. I also think that the DRS was better in Aus than malaysia. I think thats the balance they should look to recreate. For example, in China, I think the DRS should be activated on the pit straight rather than the main back straight. That way, as in Aus, it will not just make what is already and overtaking spot a lot easier, but will create a new overtaking spot possibility, and overtaking in different areas of the track, which can only be a good thing.

    3. I felt the DRS in the races only makes overtaking happen earlier than it would otherwise; it doesn’t introduce any overtaking that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

      Either DRS needs to be 3-4 times more effective than at present or it needs to be removed.

      1. or perhaps as I said above moved to places where overtaking generally doesn’t happen?

        1. I didn’t see the place of overtaking move, only the laps on which it happened…

  8. I didnt find it ‘chaotic’ at all! If it hadnt been such a walkover for Vettel then it would have been right up there with some of the greats.

    In reguard to it being hard to follow, Ive never felt that, but I have been following it for years and know alot about it (largely thanks to Keith!)However I tried watching Lemann 24 a while ago and had absolutely no idea what was going on… I dont know if thats because its harder to follow than F1 or if it was due to lack of knowlege… so if it is lack of knowlege I can understand peoples point of view… but in that case… do they have a right to write about it?

    1. Le Mans 24 is a bit of both – it is considerably more complex than F1 (especially if you don’t watch any other Le Mans-style races beforehand) and it takes a reasonable amount of knowledge to get the best from it.

      I’m not sure why the Fleet Street journalists had so much difficulty following the race – it wasn’t like they complained about Australia, which had the same elements in a lesser amount.

  9. I guess it makes their job harder so good as they might pay bit more attention to what there writing about and note print the usual rubbish. I have changed my mind on the DRS and now like it there as the over taking is still not the easiest but can be done instead of the stupid processions until the pitstops.

  10. It was chaotic. It was also artificial. The main problem is the tyres. If you want overtaking, ban pitstops completely; or, allow just one. With so many pitstops and so weak tyres, drivers just spend the race coasting, looking after their tyres. Instead of trying to overtake, drivers look after their tyres and hope to pit latter.

    That’s not how you get overtaking. If there were no pitstops, drivers would simply have to overtake on the track to finish ahead. Even then, stupid steward decisions and the risk of a crash put all but Lewis and Kobayashi off. But it would be better than the situation we have now. Furthermore, enough of the DRS and KERS. With these ‘power-ups’ avaliable, we’re not too far away from drivers firing bananas at each other! F1 is dumbing down almost to Mario Kart Level. It’s all to appeal to the casual viewer and not the true fan. It’s pervading society: 3-D films, Wiis, etc. The days of the petrol-head are numbered.

    1. But if everyone is on the same tyres, in roughly the same condition there will never be a big enough speed difference for anyone to overtake.
      In theory i understand you point, but in reality it just don’t work. The races last year where there were most overtakes where when people used different tyres. Canada is one, Kubica in Singapore is another. There we had some overtakes. Simply because a driver needs 1-2 seconds a lap to be able to overtake, and that just don’t happen if they can’t pit and try some different tyres then the others.

      1. There have been myriad overtakes in the past when the drivers have been on ‘the same tyres, in roughly the same condition’. I’m sure you can think of very many examples; so I won’t argue further for this point.

        It all depends on what you want an overtake to be and represent. I want it to be a challenge to overtake. I want it to require driving skill. I don’t want it to be artificial or unfair.

        Remember Senna and Mansell battling it out, wheel to wheel, with sparks flying, at Spain, all those years ago? That was a trully great overtake by Nigel. It wouldn’t have been worthy of comment, however, if Nigel had used his special ‘DRS’ wing, when Senna’s was disabled, and used his ‘KERS’ button to make the pass.

        F1, in recent years, especially this year, has been styled on Mario Kart. We now have ‘power-ups’: DRS and KERS. And Players 2+ are given an advantage over P1 by being able to deploy a unique power-up to overtake and make-up ground: the DRS. This doesn’t bespeak the pinnacle of motorsport, in my humble opinion.

        (It’s made worse by the addition of a team owned by a softdrinks company (the F1 equivalent of the McDonalds’ car) and so many amateur teams and drivers at the back.)

        I don’t want 50+ pitstops and 20+ overtakes per race. That sounds like a NASCAR equivalent. The analogy with football holds true. A 0-0 draw can be a thrilling game. Just as a race with no overtakes can be a strategic or suspensful race. Overtakes should be like goals in football. You don’t see many goals in football…

        1. I see the point.. I agree with you

        2. maestrointhesky
          12th April 2011, 21:37

          I was going to make the football analogy but you’ve done it for me!

        3. I agree with you on the artificiality of KERS and DRS. I think they have no place in the spirit of racing.

          I disagree on the football analogy though. It’s a reasonable analogy to make, but it’s wrong to compare overtaking to goals. Sure a 0-0 match can be thrilling, but that’s because there’s still plenty of action and you see the ebb and flow of control between the teams with that threat of a score. I don’t see how that compares to a procession race with no overtaking. I would equate a goal to your favorite driver or team winning a race, it doesn’t happen often unless you’re jumping ship every couple of races. But I fail to see what’s suspenseful or thrilling about strategies that don’t even result in cars swapping positions at some point in the race, let alone affecting the result. F1’s “threat of scoring” is seeing someone ahead for a while and you’re not sure if they can maintain that or not. Not “oh look he took 5 tenths off that 8 second gap to the leader by the end of the race with that gamble on the tires! What a thrilling 2 hours!”

          I don’t care how much overtaking there is as long as there’s some, it’s genuine and earned, while there isn’t race after race of clearly faster cars being held up the vast majority of the time (obviously a stern defense is just as admirable). How exactly you manufacture that without being artificial, I don’t know. I think it starts with circuit changes. A lot of these rules seem to be bandaids for the more boring tracks in F1. It’s rare the race I could complain about in the past years at a track known for its overtaking. And if it happens once in a while, so what, that’s racing. I think more innovative coverage like choice of feed, GPS toys, etc could make even the best race more exciting. If it’s a procession, so what I could switch over to an in-car camera and just enjoy the sights and sounds.

        4. Alistair is spot on. I’d say that one tank of fuel and one set of grippy tyres are necessary steps towards good racing along with a big reduction of topside downforce and taking their Carbon Fibre brakes away.

          Sometimes I feel like we’re stuck with 2 years of Wacky Races until the big 2013 regulations change.

  11. Glad I’m not the only one that thought the carrying on about how confusing the race was was well overblown. If a ‘fan’ can’t keep up with who’s leading, who’s pitting and everything else that, well honestly, fans have asked for for years, then why are they watching? And if journalists think that it’s too hard to follow, were they expecting we would like processional races where everyone pits in a row and they follow each other? If we wanted that they could just cut out the race and we’d be done with the weekend at the end of qualifying.

    1. iloveblinking
      12th April 2011, 19:28

      Couldn’t agree more. And if the journos are really finding it all that confusing I bet there are a hundred fans, equally skilled at F1 eloquence, who would be quite happy to take their places.

  12. Nathan Bradley
    12th April 2011, 18:13

    I was right on Twitter Keith!

    Kevin Eason, I’m not shocked at all. Remember his article that also made the round up last year (I think) about how difficult it was being an F1 journalist because of all those flights he had to take?

    Dear me, how awful it must be! As Red Andy says above, if it’s too much of a burden, I’ll go in his/their places.

    @Red Andy: I guess you and I are fighting for that one place lol ;) unless more than one comes up of course!


    1. The comment above was posted by me, but for some reason I was logged out, so posted under my full name instead. Slightly weird but oh well. :)


    2. Kevin Eason, I’m not shocked at all. Remember his article that also made the round up last year (I think) about how difficult it was being an F1 journalist because of all those flights he had to take?

      Christ, that guy still has a job?

  13. Wasn’t chaotic – it was minimum what an f1 gp weekend should be – full of action.

    1. That’s what many people don’t understand.

  14. Can you imagine them trying to keep up with motor racing in America, with full course yellows, loads of pit stops, last lapped driver getting their lap back when the pace car comes out, limited numbers of push to pass button uses.

    I have generally found that the people entrusted with commenting on F1 are the same people who also write about 3 or 4 other sports in the daily newspapers so very rarely have anything of note to say. They treat their reporting as if it were covering football, they try to generate a headline to “sell the back page” and assume the readers have the same level of shallow uninformed intellect as the average kick ball fan.

  15. all i think they need to do is at the left hand side hav the names wit a no. with how many pit stop theyve done, in different colors to let us no what tyre there on. be alot easier to follow.

    1. And move the list as far to the left as they can to stop my screen getting blocked in places!

  16. I seriously don’t know why even exist these negative opinions.

    Of course we’ve grown apart from the races with a lot of pit stop, but don’t forget that 1-3 pit stops were common up until 2009 it’s just that from 1994 on it was more about refuelling your car; drivers have had to care much less about tyres. Now it’s all about tyres and surely the rules must be a little more complicated, but that’s the way it is if we ban refuelling because of the likes of Massa, Singapore, 2008.

    Then there’s KERS and DRS which are relatively new. But technical innovations we always on the plate beginning with the engine behind the driver up to now.

    So I don’t understand the whining. Of course it’s more complicated now, but I think it’s also even more exciting. And that is what sells.

    Ultimately people will get used to it and will like it.

  17. I had to stay up from 2am-4am to watch the race here in Canada, and I was able to follow it in my sleep-deprived, slightly tipsy ;) state.

    So yeah, not really seeing the problem for these journalists…

  18. It’s not exactly related to the Malaysian GP, but I made a word cloud (different from the previous one) of all the Drivers’ and Constructors’ champions. Constructors or drivers that won several times appear larger than ones that only won it once. I think you’ll agree it’s very elegant.


    1. I think that’s a very beautiful image. Thanks for the share! It’s super intuitive. I had to struggle to find Lewis’ and Jenson’s names but Michael Schumacher is so easy to find. That’s when I cottoned on to the font size for number of championships. I like it. Well done!

    2. This is really cool. Thanks for that

  19. I, and probably most of the F1Fs, managed to understand perfectly the dynamics of the race, I understood which drivers where fast, and why, and which drivers where slow.
    It was easy to understand how much stops each driver was going to do.

    And the pace was a bit predictable too, cars where fast in the first 10-12 laps with new tyres, then the pace dropped in the last laps of each stint. With new set of tyres, they immediately broke his lap records, because they had new tyres and a lighter car (less fuel than in the beginning of the previous stint).

    The only thing out of the grid for me was the Hamilton pace at the last stint.

    Only people that didn’t knew anything about F1 could classify this race as chaotic…

  20. Keeping up with what was going on with the top 6 runners on Sunday was very easy, especially with timing screens which surely any serious F1 journalist would use while watching the race. I can understand how people who were new to the sport may have found the race difficult to follow, I often find Indycar hard to follow. But these guys are being paid to travel the world reporting on this sport, they should at least be able to understand what’s going on.

  21. I think the TV feed didn`t help, it was some of the poorest I`ve seen for a long time, but I wouldn`t say the race was chaotic, and I lost the live timing on lap 14!

  22. I love your site but I am going to have to side with the journos on this one (regurgitates a little). I was accustomed to viewing overtaking as a banquet; something that only happened once in a while, took an age to come to fruition, but when it occured it lived long in the memory. This is the beginning of “fast food F1”.

    There are many more overtakes but these overtakes are of much less importance. Seemingly, the value of an overtake is inversely proportional to the artificial aid which stimulates more of it. What is the point of having more coins in your hand if the currency is devalued greatly? For the life of me, I struggle to remember one driver defend his position with vehemence in the two races so far. And if the penalty for Hamilton sets the tone with regards to ‘excessive blocking’, am I to believe that defensive driving is now an anachronism confined to a past era of F1?

    It is ironic that the best battle of the first two weekends was between a McLaren with severely worn tyres and a DRS-less Ferrari. Two drivers locking horns with no gimmicks and it was a joy to see. If Alonso’s wing hadn’t ceased to function, he would have breezed by in a flash and that encounter wouldn’t have occured.

    In my opinion, there was a plethora of overtaking, making it difficult to follow what was going on. Lost in the dozens of standard (wing-assisted) overtakings over the two weekends were such gems as Alonso round the outside of 11 at Melbourne (à la Hamilton 2010) and Lewis’ double overtake round the outside of Schumacher and a Torro Rosso at Turn 15 in Malaysia. Last season, these moves would have been hailed (with reason) as the best drivers showcasing their supreme talent whereas this season they get thrown in with the other dozens of overtakes that took place.

    I hope I’m wrong, but this DRS may provoke a lot of “localised overtaking”, where one corner or straight becomes the ‘hotspot’ for passing. This could lead to less adventurous attempts at overtaking.

    I still wonder about the implementation of DRS. A tool which is designed to help overtaking on Sunday but which is allowed unlimited usage on Friday and Saturday only. Why not create a smaller slit which can be used by following drivers all lap long which would promote more spontaneous overtaking? A tool to minimise the dirty air effect of the car infront – there are several points where the car behind is subject to this effect, why choose just one of them to be negated?

    In the quest to replicate Canada, the tyres have been made marginal, but this is only one of the things that made Canada 2010 so special:

    marginal tyres – yes
    mixture of tyres used for Q3 – no, there is a distinct 1 second difference between tyres which makes qualifying on hard tyres too great a handicap
    Red Bulls=McLaren=Ferrari (at that track) – obviously impossible to replicate
    tyres lasting for unknown distances – so far, yes, but the teams will get on top of them within a few races.

    On Sunday, what I saw was organised chaos with Vettel doing well to avoid the maelstrom. The problem comes when we get to circuits like Monaco and Hungary where overtakes (I presume) can’t be generated, what will happen to the new F1 fans who become accustomed to seeing one overtake per minute? I presume they will vote with their remote.

    To conclude, I see DRS as F1’s attempt to put a plaster on a bullet wound. The problem is terminal and the cars need to modified to get rid of the dirty air generated by the aerodynamic pieces of a vehicle. The FIA has come up with an interim solution, stuffing as many cherries on the cake to disguise its original taste, but the problem lies in the recipe.

    With regards to the media perception, if parts of the F1 circus claim it was confusing (journos, Jenson Button) then what chance does the average viewer stand to comprehend it? And the rating by F1 Fanatics compared to last year is a bit specious because we are no longer using the same measuring stick. It will become more interesting to gauge the opinion after we see more of this year’s iteration of racing.

    1. the rating by F1 Fanatics compared to last year is a bit specious because we are no longer using the same measuring stick.

      I don’t understand this point – nothing has changed here: same poll, same question, same options. The only change is that people have to log in now.

      1. I meant that whereas 10 overtakes may have been average last year, 30 overtakes may end up being the average this year. So the change from a lower average to a higher average may be artifically inflating the early results. If all the races were to be in the mould of Malaysia, I doubt the score would remain so high.

        P.S. My double post was deleted but so was the sub-thread that came with it, could you tack it on here, please?

        1. It’s not possible I’m afraid.

          Inevitably people’s perceptions of how good a race is will be affected by the races they’ve seen before – that’s no more true for this year than it was last year or the year before.

    2. maestrointhesky
      12th April 2011, 23:10

      To add to that the state of the track covered in tyre tears (can’t call them marbles anymore) can’t be good and ever more apparent in HD. Even the racing line was covered in them. You saw Rosberg pull out of an overtake on Kobayashi which could have been because of track state, but it could also have been because he knew if he stayed behind as the chasing car, he was guaranteed a very easy overtake with the DRS aid for the whole of the second straight. I’m not surprised Bridgestone got out. What’s the point of being in a sport where development bears no resemblance to any performance car tyre on sale? F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of sport. You wouldn’t find Usain Bolt in the blocks in a pair of slippers. That’s effectively what these cars are now dressed in and I think it has detracted from the fundamental racing appeal. Hakkinan passing Schumacher at Spa was one of the all-time classics moves using talent and bravery to outwit a formidable competitor. I’m not sure that we’ll see anything like that for a while under these regulations. There was certainly nothing that came even close in Malaysia despite the numerous passes.
      Mika Hakkinen’s highlights

  23. Probably one of the most interesting races ever, even if you couldn’t take everything in. God knows how dull it would have been with cars that had last seasons Bridgestone tyres on. The race would have been all over after the first few corners. Particularly as it didn’t rain at any time that the cars were on the track.

    Can’t stand these so-called ‘purists’, who wouldn’t know what the true meaning of the word “artificial” meant if it jumped up and bit them on their toupee’s.

    1. I want you to know that my hair is all real. Thanks.

  24. This is hilarious!

    All the people that were crying out for more overtaking last year are now claiming that its too complicated to follow with so much overtaking!

    I found it easy enough to follow and very entertaining. I imagine the people that found it difficult were either watching it in the background or not giving it full concentration.

    Come on people, this is what we wanted to see!

  25. The largest sports newspaper in Belgium couldn’t even distinguish between an icon for the STR or the RB. Pretty basic information just doesn’t filter down to some mainstream journos, who report F1 as an extra to other sports they comment on. I have the impression that atleast in Belgium, they hardly get further than

    1) summing up some important moments of the race
    2) completely miss the point of a part of these important moments
    3) write down how D’Ambriosio’s weekend was

    There is more analysis in the couple of lines D’Ambrosio provides than in some full-page articles. I feel that this year it’s only going to get worse. Last year they didn’t have to pay much attention to the actual racing because they lacked a Belgian driver. They can’t merely fill their F1 page with babes and expensive sportscars of some popstar that swung by anymore.

  26. Love the race, I’m happy, I enjoy my life. I simply LOVE Formula One

    Wish the rest a happy life… Don’t mind the noobs.

  27. What more can we ask for??? Plenty of interesting things were going on, overtaking, lots of strategy, some accidents also.
    I´m not saying that i totally agree with the new rules but as for Pirelli, they´re doing what was asked them to do.
    The only thing that´s not good is Vetel, too much domination but i believe the others will catch the red bull pace and then will be great.

  28. When I used to buy The Independent they did a great double spread F1 weekend analysis. They knew what they were talking about and didn’t really resort to opinion or bias.

    Like any sport, F1 requires people to be passionate in order to report on it but perhaps more so than many other sports.

    F1 is weird in a way. It’s the biggest annual, global sport on the planet yet still operates in it’s own little microcosm. For me this works well for the sport, it keeps its head down most of the time.

    Of course it’s always going to have its critics and i’ll defend it as much as the next person but i’m proud to have to do so.

  29. Keith, it’s true that fleet street should be less lazy, but I feel you could show a bit more sympathy for these whingers, because their concerns flag those of regular fans. First, even a simple race takes some work to stay on top of if you are not watching TV, with lots of live scoring data, and live commentary to fill in the picture. Now we have a lot more stops than before, and a lot of uncertainty about how strategies will play out. Second, there is a lot more “technobabble.” Beside the new jargon needed in the commentary, the screen Sunday was basically half-covered in various telemetry displays for DRS, KERS, and scoring and lap time information, as well as the car telemetry stuff that pops up at times. My wife is a casual fan–she knows who the drivers are and the basic strategic issues—and she was baffled by all these new readouts. Even I was thinking, this is getting a little absurd. The TV screen is beginning to look like an airliner cockpit. Maybe this is not an excuse for professional journalists, but it ups the level of prepration needed to cover a race. You can see why they throw up their hands. If your job is to break it down for the casual fan and then to get a grabby headline to your editor, you may be more inclined to take a shortcut in your coverage. Not excusable, but predictable, and moreso under the new rules.

    1. Really, you think the onscreen is more complicated than previous years?

      This year (normal positions etc)
      Speed, Revs, Kers, DRS. You road car is more complicated than the on screen readout.

      Infact the old readout had more info
      Speed, Revs, Kers (09), Throttle, Brake.

      1. Throttle and brake are still there this year. It also has gear, though i think that was there last year as well.

    2. I had been a casual fan for years and one of the most rewarding aspects of becoming a more ‘serious’ fan was the time/effort investment in reading up/listening and eventually understanding some of the finer aspects of F1.

      Analysing the intricacy of different strategies, technologies and driving styles are addictive. Of course it looks confusing when all you’re used to having to understand is a 4-5-1 formation vs a 4-4-2 in football, but we’ve got the added spice of 12 teams with different tactics.

      However, also being a rugby fan where the rules change every year and where no one really understands them probably put me in good stead!

  30. A “chaotic race”?

    No, without doubt. It was a nice race, with many action all time, like people want to see. I enjoyed it and I had no slight problem in following. Chaotic would be a race, as Ajokay85 said, like Malaysia 2009, where the future situation was unclear. Here there were 24 drivers fighting all the time, providing us with pure entertainment.

  31. I liked the race. Your lucky in England now you don’t get your broadcasts ruined by adverts. Speed Tv missed most of the Hamilton vs Alonso scrap because they took yet another commercial break. That sometimes makes it confusing and hard to follow. All in all, I thought the race was good and certainly not ‘chaotic’.

    1. With the silly number of pitstops, one ad. break and you’ve likely completely lost the plot! Half the grid could have pitted; each on various different tyres: soft, hard, rain, used, brand new, same, etc.

  32. Spot-on comment, in my opinion. There were some grounds to be talking about “boring” races in recent years, but confusing some racing action going on which maybe necessitates quickly shifting focus and attention from here to there a few times with chaotic circumstances is something I don’t find justified. Especially since the major factors that change some things for this year, kinetic energy recovery, the stall-able rear wing and the “not going to last” kind of tyres were planned introductions that were announced, analysed and discussed for quite some time now. It’s hardly unpredictable (i.e. chaotic) if those systems do appear to have the effects with which in mind they were designed.

    1. These changes to spice-up so-called ‘boring’ races are totally unnecessary: there was plenty of overtaking in 07, 08, 09, and 10. Most of it skillful.

  33. Chaotic my arm. Lazy journalism again. My biggest problem with lazy journalism isn’t the journalists themselves, but the impact they have. I know a few people who watch every race, just like me and the rest of us here, but are happy to base their opinions on newspaper column opinion rather than dig a little deeper like the rest of us. It makes having conversation with other f1 fans in the street very difficult sometimes.

  34. While you’re right, sometimes the TV footage makes it look even more complicated.

    In Latin America, at least, we have adverts every 15 laps or so. And when they return to the action, you struggle to understand what happened, because sometimes an Safety Car came out or something and you totally missed it.

    But appart from adverts (something UK viewers don’t suffer every race weekend… yes, im being jealous!) the footage itself gets incredibly confusing at times. They switch angles far too often, sometimes, or they switch from one camera following a battle, to a replay, to another battle, to a pit stop, and so on.

    Specially at qualifying, sometimes you get an HRT struggling on track, and then you see a bit of footage from Vettel setting a fast lap, and then they swtich to Hamilton’s girlfriend smiling at the camera (not to mention Anthony Hamilton in the past).

    Even when the races were boring, during pit stops you barely knew what was going on. Though I prefer to try harder and understand than fall asleep because I’m bored.

  35. Unfortunately, the term “knee jerk reaction” is becoming too common in the Formula 1 world. I wish the mainstream journalists were at races to actually report the race and not make headlines. I agree with you Keith, it was a great race this past weekend.

    1. A ‘great race’? Really!? The overtakes were achieved by pressing buttons to activate a boost and a special wing.

      Lewis needed neither of these abominations when he went round the outside of Kubica and Alonso into turn 1 at Melbourne or around both Ferraris at the next race or past Kimi at Monza. Those overtakes, against either equal, comparable, or better cars, were all about driver skill. F1 is now arificial and more staged than ever.

  36. I still believe sundays race wasnt the classic some made it out to be.
    A problem for tv is the director always seems to cut to the pitlane whenever there is a pitstop regardless of its relevance to the actual race going on.
    They need to learn that some pitstops just arent important and concentrate on the race on the track.
    Another thing that worries me are the tyres, if these pirelli’s are going to wear out quickly then fine but lets see all the teams being supplied with more sets.
    Drivers shouldnt have to conserve tyres in practice and if they choose/need to make 3-4 stops lets make sure they always have new tyres.
    Drivers’ races being ruined by having to use used tyres just makes Formula 1 look silly and frankly, a bit amateurish!

  37. HounslowBusGarage
    12th April 2011, 21:56

    I will admit to not having read all the previous comments, but I much appreciated Kodongo’s post on Page One.
    But. Bernie and the Powers That Be have set out to make F1 into a mass market spectacle (note; I did not write ‘sport’), and they have done this to maximise the money brought into the business and to increase their take from the business.
    In doing so, they have necessarily brought F1 into direct competition with other visual activities, like soccer, tennis, golf etc. These sports are relatively easy to follow – if a team is two goals up, it’s self evident, similarly one set up, or three shots up is relatively easy to understand. But if a driver is in the lead but one tyre stop down it’s a little more difficult to understand.
    And here’s the really unacceptable point; if an activity seeks to broaden its appeal beyond the cogniscenti, it will encounter people of lesser intelligence and lower attention span. This new audience will have limited ability to understand either the nuances of the activity or have the patience to learn; if it isn’t already embedded in their culture, it will have a hard job butting in. For example, compare many Indians encyclopaedic knowledge and appreciation of test cricket with the similar depth of knowledge that Americans have for American Football. Both these cultures are knowledgable and expert, just about different things and F1 is going to have a hard time claiming the attention of their masses.
    F1 is in a hard place. It’s trying to be a global sport even though it doesn’t have global representation (yet). In my opinion, adding complications in terms of mandatory tyre changes, KERS and WibblyWobblyWings is going to lessen its appeal to new audiences, simply because it takes longer to understand.
    Keep it simple, stupid,

  38. I watched the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix and honestly, it was very difficult to keep with the race. I had the Kangaroo TV on my hand (followed Schumi), sat in front of the pit buildings and there was so many things happening.

    When I came back home, I watched the recordings and I thought the race was actually great. I guess, the TV viewers can have so much of fun that the guys sitting in the grandstands.

  39. If they thought it was to hard to follow maybe the wrong people have been employed and sent out all expenses paied to cover the races. I certainly had no problem the commentary team obviously had no problem.

    kevin eason is second to none the *WORST* f1 journalist it has ever been my displeasure to read an article by. He is so unworthy of his job I will not even use capital letters on his name because he is not important enough to warrant the use. Quite frankly I’m not surprised his poorly hamster like brain had trouble keeping up, I’ve been sitting here for years wondering when he would finally admit to that. :P

    I take back that comment….It’s not fair on hamsters they do the best they can with what evolution gave them.

  40. Great article! People who are in the media ( or people in general in fact ) shouldn’t talk about things they know nothing about! Especially people of authority like people in media.

  41. people who couldn’t follow the race are not f1 fanatics. i’m from croatia and i always know more than commentators. it’s not their fault they can’t keep up, they are just not fanatics, if you love formula you’ll manage. so, don’t start talking crap if you don’t love formula!!!!

  42. Chaotic? No.. It’s certainly lacked a spark though. Last year, overtaking was a big deal. This year, it’s over and done with in a few laps on the straight.

    Perhaps a better idea would be to limit the amount of times you can use DRS in the race to say 5? You have to know that you’ve had good traction out of the bend to make a move on the car in front. If you use your last DRS to take the lead but the two cars behind you have 2 left, it would add more strategy and excitement. As it is at the moment, there were lots of overtaking manoeuvres that were finished before the cars arrived at the first corner.

  43. It was confusing, even some of the drivers admitted this themselves. It’s funny that other categories of motorsport that should be confusing like ALMS or 24 hour le mans are easier to follow then this race the latter there is over 30 pit stops that take place in that race.

    Who knew the Torro Rosso’s did a 2 stop during the race? I didn’t until I read it on this site, didn’t know how many pit stops some of the drivers did either that is what chaotic is. The commentators even struggled to keep up with facts.

  44. I didn’t have any problems following it but I agree that there was a lot going on which might have been too much for the casual fan.

    FOM could def help that by updating the live timing app to A. Make it work reliably and B. Include which type of tyres each car is currently running on. There is a whole bunch of other data it would be good to have, but a simple change like that would help a lot.

    …and I completely agree with the comments on the coverage… rubbish!

  45. you’re exactly right keith. It’s not the sort of sport you can just watch once and know what has happened. Sure, you may know the final standings but to truly understand why, you need to look at the data or perhaps even watch the race again. I can see why first time newspaper journalists would have been overwhelmed by sunday’s race when they don’t have the interest to follow the sport properly. Maybe they need to have a pre-coverage breifing before they’re sent into the unknown….

    And similarly, F1 obviously isn’t like most other sports in that there is no break in proceedings so please Australia, get F1 onto commercial free TV! We missed the whole of the Alonso/Hamilton battle and were shown a 5 second replay of their contact and told ‘during the break, this happened’. yeh, thanks guys…

  46. It’s like when you’re watching a race and a family member who couldn’t care less walks in and asks ‘who’s winning?’. ‘Well, technically Buemi is, but he hasn’t pitted yet and is on softs which are going off, Barricello’s behind him having made a stop but really, Hamilton who is currently in third is realistically leading cause he’s right behind rubens having pitted twice and is now on the hards, but don’t discount Massa who’s currently in 6th cause he started on the hard and may well be one stopping’.

    It’s at that stage you turn around and realise they left hours ago…

    1. In this case, I would’ve answered : “Hamilton”. And only if the person sits, start explaining. One step at a time!

  47. Stupid Journos.

    I was at the track and all I had was the FIA Iphone App that gives me timing, which kept hanging up for some reason, so for the most part of the race, all I had was my trusted Victorinox watch…and I was on top of the race as well!

  48. I thought the race was pants. Tyres falling apart, debris all over the track along with the phoney overtaking created by DRS do not make an exciting race. Add on the ill-though out anti-weaving rule which aids drivers who prefer to tail-gate competitors rather than attempt a pass and things don’t look good for the rest of the season. I hope things change but drivers staying safely on the racing line for most of the lap and then blowing pass rivals on the home straight looks like the same recipe for China.

    1. It’s all about finding a balance isn’t it. Everyone complains that overtakings too difficult so lets chuck in KERS, DRS and crap tyres so we get split strategies. Oh wait, now there’s too much and it’s a gimmick! I don’t envy the overtaking working group’s job…

      I suppose you live and you learn. I just hope someone can reel in Seb!

    2. It should be renamed WWF1. Interesting and mildly amusing for the first 20 minutes, but insulting to the intelligent audience, who aren’t prepared to accept a staged performance. The balance needs redressing pronto!

  49. These are not journalists but corporate stenographer lapdogs who can not think for themselves. They are handed the press release or talking points and that is their story. Trying to figure out what is going on is beyond the mental capacity because they only know how to recite the corporate line. The American disease is spreading.

  50. Sounds to me like the Fleet Street “journalists” aren’t up to scratch

  51. Don’t know about any of you, but I liked DC in the comm box. Dear god, anything was better than Legard, but DC seems to be a bit more in tune with what the drivers are feeling, and conveys far more useful information to the average viewer than I’ve heard from BBC for a while. He also picks up on those moments of action where you see something of note and both Legard and Martin fail to notice, and/or fail to comment, perhaps because Martin was too busy strangling his fellow commentator.

  52. Jonesracing82
    13th April 2011, 7:55

    i had no problem at all with it! it’s 1000 times better than the parades of recent years…. all we need now is smaller wings so the cars dont rely on aero grip and doing away with stupid penalties like hamo/alnoso got, other wise they’ll scare drivers away from “racing” another car, the exact thing which they have been trying to promote for years….

  53. I’m with you Keith. Said that, it would have been perfect if we had somehow learnt who had pitted and taken which tyre. They could have done by just letting us to hear team radios. Too much information? Not for hardcore fans.

  54. As much as I enjoyed the race (I rated an 8, the highest I’ve awarded since Canada) I did feel there was a lack of info at times. Although Brundle and Coulthard did a fantastic job there were a few passes they missed and once or twice they failed to notice yellow flags. I think they would benifit from the kind of ‘spotters’ football commentators use to make them aware of incidents they’ve missed.

  55. hmmm… yeah fleet street boys were out of their depth… however although being an 18 year follower, my understanding of races has multiplied exponentially once Live Timing came to town… i watched the Malaysian GP without Live timing for the first time since 2007, and it was somewhat confusing but not as much as the journos wrote… live timing makes it clearer to know who is faster than who at all times even if they are in the middle of the standings… the info that you see on the TV is not enough to clarify the ongoing pit calls and lap times and thus makes it confusing and seem chaotic to the casual viewer…

  56. Robert McKay
    13th April 2011, 10:10

    FOM are used to covering races with less overtaking and a lot less pitstops. They’ll get used to having to deal with more as the season goes on.

    Chaotic? No.

    Was it harder to see how the race was going to pan out? Yes.

    Was this a good thing because it meant you weren’t sitting there watching the top 10 all set from lap 3 or 4, cruising round to the finish. YES!

    I’m all for the Pirelli high wear rate. More than 4 stops would be a bit odd but there were loads of different strategies out there – most on 3 stops, some on 4, even a few 2-stopping and didn’t someone 1 stop? I’d MUCH rather have that than Bridgestones park-the-bus philosophy where there was very little variation.

    There’s an oddly large amount of negativity radiating from a lot of source in the media – don’t understand why.

    I get from the fans that DRS is a tad artificial – I do get that aspect. Perhaps with these tyres it could actually be done away with at races where overtaking is normally relatively possible anyway. A bit more info about everyone’s tyre choices through the race wouldn;t be a bad idea.

    But, seriously, there wasn’t much wrong with Malaysia.

  57. christopheraser
    13th April 2011, 10:15

    This was the first ever grand prix I have attended. We sat at the last corner on the second tier which meant we always knew who was pitting. We had a fantastic time and with the help of a Kangaroo TV were always able to keep abreast of the on track action.

    I would love to see something which shows us what tyres people are on and when they last pitted as an on screen display, even if it just got added to rolling position bar. That way you can see who is charging on fresh rubber and who may be a bit of a sitting duck.

    I am still in Malaysia and will make watching the TV coverage a priority when I get back to Australia. But for me it seemed like a fantastic race with there almost always being a battle to watch. I think we need to understand that there will always be people who are unhappy. We need to see how the tyres go for another few rounds before we start calling for changes or rubbishing the racing.

  58. A very confusing race indeed, even worse than in the old days where there was refuelling.
    I don’t like this kind of racing, where you always wonder if that guy is going to stop, if this other guy is really or virtually ahead, etc… It’s almost impossible to follow.

    This is definitely not the F1 I fell in love back in 1991… In these days, it was 20% strategy (some drivers did not make any pitstop) and 80% racing. Today, it’s exactly the opposite. Some may like it, I really don’t.

  59. I didn’t enjoy the race the weekend, (although a chest infection didn’t help) I still feel we were robbed of some great battles by the difference in tyres and the DRS, it was too easy to pass. I like it when a driver spends 5 laps trying to out fox the driver in front to pass and then finally makes it, it seems that has gone.

    Although in Australia it was just the right balance.

    Chaos? no not really, but 4 stops is too many if a majority stop 4 times.

    To me it clear the new rules are going to work on some track but not others.

  60. Anyone think this is racing? I didnt think so. Suddenly every driver can now overtake without any real overtaking skill?. please….

    1. I fully agree with you. The DRS cures a symptome, not the disease.

      Everybody knows the solution about overtaking: get less aerodynamic and more mechanic grip.

      The Pirelli tyres ? A joke. I would like to see a race on track, not in the pits. Moreover, don’t you find ridiculous to have tyres that can hardly run 10 laps ?

  61. spot on keith. the mainstream press have never got F1. even richard williams i am sorry to say started harking on about hawthorn and moss and that it was all contrived etc. I dont even read the papers for f1 anymore, waste of time

  62. Well i was watching this race with a mother of all hangovers after only 2 1/2 hours kip and the only thing i found confusing about the race was the stratagy lewis hamilton was on. But i dont think i am alone there!!!!

    Perhaps newspapers should just let people who know about the sport write about it!!!!

  63. I have to agree with the “whinging journalists”. It was a strange combination of confusing and boring. As for Brundle’s comment that he and Coulthard were “on top of it” — you could have fooled me, they seemed as clueless as anyone about what was happening until the last stint.

    1. Absolutely! who are they trying to fool? Crap of a race! You guys really think evry driver posseses the overtaking skill required in a sport like f1? No i didnt think so. So why were they all overtaking all over the field? I’ll tell you, because of the Mickey Mouse WWE style DRS that Bernie introduced. Thats why!

  64. I thought Brundle & DC were outstanding. Best combination for me of any that have done f1.

    Much to my surprise, as well, i thought Brundle might wilt under the pressure and DC would be his normal dullard red bull biased self. But no, theyve been outstanding.. for those of us who dont need constant reminding of how slipstreaming works or even what dirt air is.

    For the casual viewer it may be confusing but frankly who cares what they think, when the Eastenders ominbus comes on they probably turn over anyway.

  65. You know people are stupid when they get lost because cars have to pit more than once. The commentary/ live timings and on screen info are there to help you grasp of whats going on. In the end, you still have to use your brain and not have people like Legard spouting useless information thats already available infront of you.

  66. DC & Brundle works becuase as good as Brundle is he does actually need someone who’s been racing a bit more recently for the techy stuff and they’re not afraid to talk about it either.

    American sports have always shown the way on this, they go out of their way to make something seem complex if not complicated. That rewards regular fans and makes younger fans want to be part of it.

  67. Appreciate you sharing, great blog article. Much obliged.

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