India joins Korean GP at bottom of 2012 rankings

2012 Indian Grand Prix

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The Indian Grand Prix followed the Korean round, which was rated the worst of the year so far by F1 Fanatic readers. The race at the Buddh International Circuit was rated almost as lowly by F1 Fanatic readers.

With an average score of 5.194 out of ten the second Indian Grand Prix was rated lower than the first.

The race saw Sebastian Vettel take another lights-to-flag victory. Fernando Alonso started from the third row of the grid and rose to finish second, passing the KERS-less Mark Webber on the way.

The post-race discussion focussed on the growing trend for processional races in the second half of the 2012 season. Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers had to say.

The first lap was amazing: crash-course slipstreaming, and then Alonso, Hamilton and Button side-by-side. That they didn’t hit each other was again a display of experience. After that, it was not that exciting any more.

Two points of criticism: Pirelli’s tyre choice offered no chance for strategic variety, and thus pretty much everybody did exactly the same thing (except Grosjean). Soft/medium might have been better, but that’s just being captain hindsight here.

Secondly the DRS zone: why do we need a DRS zone on such a long straight? One move that I clearly remember was Senna on Rosberg (lap 50 or so). Senna locked up into turn three and was miles away from Rosberg. He deploys DRS and passes him cleanly before the actual corner commences. Again showing that DRS is rubbish, a desperate attempt to increase the number of overtakes.

Pirelli motorsport directory Paul Hembery admitted after the race it might have been possible to use the softest tyre instead of the hardest:

I’m glad they have hindsight but shouldn’t they have thought of that before the race? I’m sure Hembery and most of his technicians knew in a very high proportion exactly how these compounds will behave here and exactly what strategies (or lack-of) are most likely. They knew it’s a low-friction surface. They had all the data, and yet, they willingly chose to go down the conservative road.
Antonio Nartea

The track configuration and the extending of one of its DRS zones were other main talking points:

There just wasn’t any action and the extending of the DRS zone was just stupid in my opinion. Surely DRS should enable the drivers to get close enough to make a move, a good overtaking move rather than look silly sat there with no chance of defending. It was far too easy.

I saw someone on Twitter saying that the F1 calendar needs a rethink to the calendar as we are left with some boring Tilkedromes at the end of the season. I can see this could be the case but I can’t realistically see how the calendar could be shifted unless the season starts in February or maybe even January. I think the main problem with these latter races is that the cars are pretty set in terms of development and Red Bull clearly have the dominant car, twinned together with tracks that aren’t the greatest makes for fairly boring races.

We’ve been spoiled by races in recent years. What I find interesting is that the circuit flows nicely, it’s fun watching cars go through sectors 2 and 3. There’s enough elevation change to make the circuit visually appealing, much more so than some recent Tilkedromes. And yet both races have been dismal. I really hope that this combination of visual appeal and dull racing doesn’t apply to COTA in three weeks’ time, but I think it probably will.

However there was also praise for the Buddh International Circuit:

I think it is a really good circuit, one of Tilkes best. Unfortunately a good circuit can’t stop a Vettel-Red Bull domination.
Adam Blocker

The debate over the race prompted some conflicting views over the merits of bringing back refuelling:

Whereas this era offers wide competition but difference of performance between teams even drivers is huge because it depends on so many variables so drivers can come up with lot of excuses for not performing. I would suggest to bring back refuelling for the sake of competition in strategies. Ditch DRS, keep KERS but make it more effective and reintroduce a tyre war.

Refuelling may have been interesting from a strategy point of view. However I always felt it was horrible for the racing.

Watching races like France 2004 where Schumacher went to a four-stop strategy and we ended up with Alonso/Schumacher fighting for the win despite been separated by a big gap after the second stops with the eventual pass been done via a pit stop was just plain boring.

I always felt that race would have been a ton more exciting had there been no refuelling with Alonso/Schumacher right together fighting for the win with Schumacher having to find a way to overtake Alonso on the track if he wanted to win.

I never liked it from the very 1st race at Brazil in 1994 where a great scrap for the lead between Senna & Schumacher was ended at the first fuel stop and Schumacher then proceeded to simply drive away. It would have been far better with no refuelling, we would have seen a great fight between the two on the track again with any eventual overtake having to be done on the track.

Cosmas suggested people who follow races more closely are likely to find more in them to enjoy:

It didn’t have a lot of spectacle but it had some suspense.

If someone watches only the TV coverage I guess it is pretty boring but if you follow also the live timing it is different. For example it was interesting to see how Vettel delayed his pit stop trying to built a gap bigger than 21 seconds to Hamilton so he would not lose the lead and losing also time behind him if he was first in the pits.

But for most the race was simply a snooze-fest:

It’s a shame. We had so many interesting races in the first half of the season. I can’t believe it turned out like this.

One of the dullest race of the year.
Marcus Hand

Total trash! I stopped watching it at lap 40, first time this year.

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2012 Indian Grand Prix

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36 comments on “India joins Korean GP at bottom of 2012 rankings”

  1. wow. must not have been the same Indian GP I watched. It was an 8 for sure.

    1. It looks like people only loves races when there’s crashes and safety cars, I enjoyed all of them because during a race there’s a lot to know, a lot to understand, even when it looks like a procession there’s in-teams battles, midfield battles, there’s developement and understanding and just remember drivers are always at their maximum, tenth by tenth, sector by sector, corner by corner.
      So people low-rating races just look at those during their siesta-time or what?!

      1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        7th November 2012, 12:31

        Some people love races with lots of action and constant battles and position swaps occurring on track. Others appreciate the “slow burn” kind of tension that India had in spades, and which you describe. Different people like different kinds of races. It’s all down to personal preference and opinion, and that’s what this is – an opinion poll.

        1. I’m definitely more into the exciting races, I’d consider you fairly strange if you genuinely prefered the racing in India compared to Abu Dhabi.

          I appreciate the slow burn races, the constant racing that is going on (I genuinely like falling asleep watching old boring races) but I enjoy the action more and think Abu Dhabi was the best race of the season

  2. I’ve got a funny feeling the Abu Dhabi will be the opposite end of the spectrum…

      1. Mind-boggling is it? If you put a bet before the season that Valencia and Abu Dhabi would become the two best races of the year, you would have gotten amazing odds.

        1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
          7th November 2012, 12:33

          India and Korea are going to be the highlights of the 2013 season – you heard it here first!

          1. And Singapore, although, we’ll probably only get two unsuspectingly good races.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. It was a great race and kept the championship alive.

    2. yeah, i fgot what hapnd during the Indian GP, thanks to Abu Dhabi.

  3. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
    7th November 2012, 10:20

    Ditch DRS and make KERS more potent? A good idea. Overtaking becomes less hackneyed, and KERS becomes a more tactical offensive and defensive tool. Refueling? Not so much. It scatters all of the driver battles, so most of the passing happens off-track as positions are traded during pit-stops. Tyre war? Terrible. We don’t need a return to the days when teams could tailor tyres for a particular car, a la Bridgestone and Ferrari. The current option/prime tyre system, while not perfect, serves pretty much the same purpose – to encourage varied strategies.

    As for the race itself, I’m not surprised it’s sitting second-to-last. Maybe we were spoiled by the early races and set the bar impossibly high, but this year’s Indian GP was certainly nothing to shout about, an average race at best.

    1. @bobthevulcan

      Refuelling? Not so much. It scatters all of the driver battles, so most of the passing happens off-track as positions are traded during pit-stops. Tyre war? Terrible. We don’t need a return to the days when teams could tailor tyres for a particular car, a la Bridgestone and Ferrari.

      I agree strongly on both counts.

      1. I also agree, about re-fueling totally, about the tyres yes but with the caveat that the current system is also awful because the teams have no choice, I prefer the MotoGP format where the teams choose from the 1 supplier the tyres they want to use.

        1. I guess that could work, provided the teams have to choose with a bit of time in advance (to allow for logistics) @hohum

          I must say, that reading this article, the thought occurred to me weather Pirelli chose these tyres only because they have them produced and want o use them

          1. @bascb, it works for Motogp and provides a bit of spice since a tyre change in Mgp ruins a race, occasionally a young gun chooses the soft option and gets to dice for the lead for the first 2/3rds of the race before sliding back down the order, sometimes a wise old dog starts on the hards and spends most of the race in the midpack before charging forward for the win in the last 1/4 of the race, and the variations are endless.

    2. For the tyre, an interesting thing would be to allow the team to chose which 2 specifications they run instead of imposing it … There we could see different strategies developping and lots of overtakes. That could be a solution

      1. Bob (@bobthevulcan)
        7th November 2012, 12:09

        There’s an old forum thread from last year where it was mentioned that Pirelli would consider making all 4 dry weather compounds (super soft, soft, medium, hard) available at all race weekends instead of just allocating 2. That way, drivers can pick and choose their desired strategy. I agree, it’s an interesting solution, but we won’t know for sure whether it would improve the racing until Pirelli agree to trial it.

      2. I agree more tyre variation would be good. Offer three types of tyre. Hard, Medium, Soft. The same three at all tracks. Make them have to use two in the race, but the option is theirs. Limit the number of tyres they can use throughout the weekend so strategy lasts the weekend rather than just the race.
        If they want to use the softest in qualifying, fine. Better grid spot, but best tyres rubbish in the race. Or they take a hit on quali and have best tyres for the race.
        Do you do 3 stints on better tyres with an x seconds per lap performance gain, or do you do 2 stints on soft and hard?
        Obviously wet weather over the weekend may mean they all have their best tyres for the race, but you’ll never cover every situation.

  4. Why can’t I rate the Abu Dhabi Grand prix? The race poll is still open but there is nowhere to click!

    1. Fixed it.

      1. Yes I saw. Thanks :-)

  5. Indian GP wasn’t too bad in my opinion, got interesting eventually. Same could not be said about Korea. :(

  6. Races in the second half of the season tend to get rated lower than first. This happened in 2011, 2012 and will happen in 2013 as well. The reason is straight-forward, the teams master the tyres by the second half. And with that, the races become boring.

    I don’t understand why Pirelli don’t keep changing their tyres throughout the year. If the cars can evolve so that they are better on the tyres, the tyres should also keep changing so that the teams are targetting a moving goal-post.

    1. Are you sure it has nothing to do with the processional Red Bull races that we’ve been seeing over the past two years? Would it surprise you to know that the lowest 7 out of 8 rated races are won by Red Bull? Can you see the top most rated races are won by Alonso, Rosberg, Maldonado and likely Raikkonnen in unexpected circumstances?

      1. It’s less about Red Bull creating the processions and more about the rest of the field not doing much. China, Belgium, Italy and Australia were lights to flag wins, but rated higher than the RBR wins because of the amount of action shown from the other significant positions and midfield.

        1. Although of course, China was helped along by Rosberg being a first time winner.

  7. Fascinating to see the ratings for the year slowly decrease. There is an almost perfect negative correlation between race number and race rating. Obviously Abu Dhabi will be an anomaly, but I think it reflects the gradual understanding of tyres and strategy. Recent races has also shown how the bigger teams have increased the gap to the midfield because of a faster development pace, and this could all mean that we’re in for a more boring season next year with such stable regulations. Hope not.

    1. @cornflakes – that’s what I initially thought, but the races are actually arranged in order of their rating, not chronologically :)

      1. LOL oh yeah.

  8. Get rid of front wing, that would solve MANY problems.

    1. At least for couple seasons :)

  9. Here’s an idea to float for the tyre rules: Same number of sets available for all 3 days, but teams can choose any type, and no requirement for 2 types of compounds for dry races. For qualifying though, the rule should remain. Will be interesting at the least, as some drivers will choose the hardest possible for the circuit and try to make it on 1 stop or even without stopping at all. Then there’s the other type of drivers (Hamilton comes to my mind first), and probably choose the softest available and do a full sprint race.

  10. I think what this poll shows is that a track may be good to drive on, with all the elevation changes and the fast curves etc… You could put all the “turn – 8’s ” or “Eau Rouges” or even “Becketts” like sections in a track and that would still not guarantee a fun race to watch.

    The overtaking is not the biggest issue the track faces. Indeed, Yas Marina is as bad when considering pure overtaking spots. As viewers we often complain that tracks like Monaco have zero overtaking opportunities. Monaco ranks constantly low. This year I think I voted it a 5. Yet, I guess what makes a race interesting is the fights that develop rather than actual passing. The odd incident and the the random mechanical failure may disappoint if our favorite driver is involved, but for the entertainment point of view makes such a difference.

    Sadly, by the time the last races are reached, titles are nearly decided. Had Vettel won from pole, Abu Dhabi would have been ranked 5 or 6. The tracks need revision for sure, but most of the ingredients for an entertaining race will definitely be unavailable by then.

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  12. It was pretty dull but you’ll never catch me turning a race off, why would I? It’s live sport and it’s part of the beauty that it’s not all orchestrated for my personal entertainment.

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