Positive rating for first race of 2013

2013 Australian Grand Prix Rate the Race result

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The 2013 F1 season got off to a promising start in Australia with Kimi Raikkonen moving up from seventh on the grid to win the season-opener.

It also began the sixth year of Rate the Race on F1 Fanatic. The Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit was viewed very positively by most readers:

I went for 8/10. Could have been better had both Mercedes and Force India been better at strategy calls. And off course Ferrari cutting back Massa was not all that great a move, he might even have got closer to Raikkonen than Alonso did.

But what we did see was a worthy start to the year. We saw Red Bull are vulnerable on race pace, Massa is better than his team allows, Mercedes promising, Lotus good, and clever, and Sutil in the Force India very good, but have to learn a bit of strategy. Lovely race.

Multiple race leaders, different strategies, overtaking galore, non-stop action. An incredible enthralling and entertaining race. Only thing that could’ve made it better was a true battle for the win at the finish.

Not everyone agreed, however:

I’ve gone for 6/10: a lot of jumbling of positions and variety of strategy, but it just seemed to lack that something.
Max Jacobson (@vettel1)

This is the third year featuring the combination of Pirelli tyres and DRS which is designed to create spectacular racing. This has never failed to generate debate and a range of differing views:

I applaud Pirelli for acknowledging that the tyres are important in producing exciting races and their campaign to produce tyres that challenge the drivers to balance the way they push their cars around the track, but after seeing Sutil’s Super Softs immediately melt under him and ruin what was a great performance I hope we don’t see the Super Softs compound too much over the course of the season.

There’s so many negative comments about the tyres but at least they’re the same for every single driver. Each driver can control the way they drive, and thus degrade their tyres, and push/conserve where needed. I really hoped for a weekend where they would have DRS completely disabled just to see one weekend where drivers did not have the option of waiting for the DRS zone to make their "pass".

DRS often forces drivers to maintain the gap until the checkpoint so they do not get re-passed on the DRS zone, to think of how many potential exciting moves the drivers have decided not to make because of this unfortunate fact.

Pirelli tyres, love them or hate them, are still much better for “the show” than DRS will ever be.

Finally – after two long years, DRS worked the way it is supposed to work! We didn’t see many passes on the pit straight, but the trailing cars were able to close the gap. Then in the shorter DRS zone they were able to just get alongside the leading car and sometimes managed to pass him. I’m still not a fan of DRS, but if it will work the way it worked today for the rest of the season, I hereby promise I will not complain about DRS any more.

Unfortunately this reminded me of a refueling-era race.

Most of the racing and position changes at the front was been done in the pits rather than on the track.

Raikkonen drove a good race but it was utterly deflating to see all the passing that determined the win done via Raikkonen jumping everyone in the pits without having to race them closely on track.

The surprise appearance of Adrian Sutil at the head of the field also drew comment:

To me, the Sutil factor in this race, more killed it than added to it. I mean, Sutil was there in the lead pack since the first stops, mixing the leaders. It really looked like he could have been there until the end. But his last change to Super Soft, was so terrible. The only good thing his strategy produced, was impending the leaders for way too long, and then fall back behind at once.

Nothing against his driving though, of course he was doing his own race, so congratulations to him. But for the leading pack it wasn’t that great, we could have seen a different story, with more close battles for the win, in my honest opinion.

And while most said they enjoyed the race, others were frustrated by organisational lapses:

8/10. Very entertaining race, but a closer finish could have made the last ten laps better. Feels like the teams came prepared but FIA and FOM dropped the ball.

FOM with the coverage – very little midfield/backmarker action shown. For example: Vergne was up in seventh at one stage and doing fastest laps and it happened off-screen.

FIA for not finding a solution to the telemetry issue and having blue flags shown to random cars.

Australian Grand Prix Rate the Race results

RaceAverage score out of ten
2008 Australian Grand Prix7.609
2009 Australian Grand Prix7.937
2010 Australian Grand Prix8.638
2011 Australian Grand Prix6.751
2012 Australian Grand Prix7.662
2013 Australian Grand Prix7.698

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix polls

The Rate the Race and Driver of the Weekend polls for the Malaysian Grand Prix are still open – add your votes here:

2013 Australian Grand Prix

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    Image © Lotus/LAT

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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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    20 comments on “Positive rating for first race of 2013”

    1. Yes! I was at the best Oz race since 2008 according to F1Fanatic readers! Great race that one….

        1. The fans here may have voted this years as the best since 2008 but I personally found the 2009/2010 races to be far more enjoyable.

          Was far more ‘racing’ in 2009 & without things like DRS the overtaking that we did see was far more enjoyable to watch.

          2010 was similar, The wet start & drying track over the early laps saw some good fun & then the dry final half featured some good, enjoyable racing & some truly exciting overtaking.

          As I’ve said before regarding the Pirelli’s & DRS, They are producing a lot more passing, Yet for me 95% of that ‘passing’ isn’t that fun to watch.

    2. Looks like an average rating for the race that no doubt benefits from being the first high after a long withdrawall.

    3. Really nice to see how all of us appreciated the race!

    4. I was actually confined to a French hotel with a commentary I couldnt follow and the bottom of the screen so small I couldnt read the names, for someone who has hardly missed a race since 1985, it was almost impossible to follow what was really happening. Too many stops, the tyres need to have a little more in them than 7 laps !

      1. So it’s your 24th season then! Amazing! I only am on my 7th season and I’ve missed at least on race every season but I’m trying not to miss a single race this season.

      2. watch it on a tv then make a judgement!

    5. I like to see the strategic element of the races also which is why I support the use of the Pirelli tyres (they undoubtably contribute to exciting strategy battles and an increase in the number of those mesmerising sub 3 second pits stops) but I don’t like to see drivers unable to push. Peter_GH‘s comment though gave me an idea: how about we re-introduce re-fuelling (without the stupid qualifying rules for the top 10 so pole position still has meaning), but limit it to a maximum of two or even one stop. We still have a strategy battle so the Pirelli’s can be scraped and we can have durable tyres, meaning the drivers can push all the way (under-fuelling shouldn’t be too much of an issue), so we get great on-track action theoretically as the re-fuelling shouldn’t have too much of an effect due to the limitations upon it.

      It may not work in principal, but I think the theory sounds quite good actually!

      1. But how would bringing back refueling & limiting them to 1-2 stops be any different to when we had refueling before?
        Most races were 1-2 stops back then & the way fuel strategy worked just killed most of the on-track racing & moved the racing to the pits.

        If you go back & look at the overtaking stats, It was refueling that began the massive decline in on-track overtaking, In 1993 without refueling there was some great on-track racing & a lot of overtaking, From race #1 in 1994 with refueling there was immediately less on-track racing & a lot less on-track overtaking.

        I remember when refueling was announced in 1993 been open minded but slightly skeptical that it was improve anything & then been utterly deflated at Interlagos in 1994 when we had a great on-track fight for the lead going on between Senna/Schumacher which ended when Schumacher exited the pits ahead of Senna & then ran off into the distance to an easy & dominant win. And we saw so much of that in the refueling era, Passing via pit stops, Cars just sitting behind the one infront not even trying to pass it because he knew by sitting back he could save some fuel in order to get an extra lap or 2 to ensure he would be ahead after the next round of stops.

        Also look at Indycar, As good as the racing over there can be, With refueling you often see drivers been asked to save fuel in order to stretch the stint in the hope of pitting a lap or more later than the cars there racing. This leads to segments of the race where nobody’s racing, There all just trying to hit a fuel number to ensure they can get to lap x. They have extended race distance for this year & it seems to have worked to some extent based off the 1st race but there was still fuel saving been done through the middle stint which made that part of the race somewhat dull.

        IN short, Keeo refueling well away from F1, Racing was always better without it!

        1. Just to add some stats.

          In 1993 there was 392 overtakes, In 1994 it dropped to 289.
          In 1993 there was an average of 24.50 overtakes a race, In 1994 it was down to 18.06.

          Overtaking continued to decline through the refueling years but did increase in 2003 with 303 overtakes that year at an average of 18.94 per Gp. This was likely due to the new regulations with single lap qualifying creating some mixed grids.

          In 2010 when refueling was banned again there was 547 overtakes & an average of 28.7 per Gp.

          Incidently the lowest number of overtakes in a year was 1996 with 186 for the season at an average of 11.63 overtakes per Gp.

      2. Wasn’t the problem a result of there being too many refuelling stops though, so drivers would quite happily just wait and jump somebody in the pits? Limiting the number of stops to one or two would help resolve that situation and would make it not much different from the current tyres.

        I am only a young fan though, and so don’t have the wealth of experience as you do in having watched races from the 90’s.

        1. I am only a young fan though, and so don’t have the wealth of experience as you do in having watched races from the 90′s.

          I think thats a thing with some of the newer fans, They have only ever watched F1 when there was a lot of pit stops thanks to refueling.

          Many of those who watched F1 Pre-94 watched F1 when there were not that many stops, In fact Up until the late 80s pit stops only occurred if there was a problem with the car, We didn’t have scheduled tyre/fuel stops through the 60s/70s/early 80s (Outside of Brabhams refueling stops of 1982, Well when the engine didn’t blow up).

          Before refueling came in for 1994 the tyre suppliers brought 4-5 race compounds to every race, There was no mandatory stops to run 2 compounds & teams/drivers were free to run whatever compounds they wanted, whenever they wanted & basically had 100% freedom on race strategy.

          In the early 90s for instance You had some drivers who would pick the softer compounds, Drive flat out planning to stop & others would pick a harder compound & plan zero stops, There were times when strategies changed Mid-Race.

          I still think that would be the best way to go, Yet with cost saving so important now there’s no way Pirelli would ever agree to bring every dry compound they have to every Gp :(

          1. I’m not so sure though if re-fuelling was limited though that it would unduly affect the amount of on-track action: out of interest, you wouldn’t happen to know the average number of pit-stops during say the 1994 season?

            The tyre situation you have highlighted would be an ideal I agree, but sadly that isn’t looking like a possibility: the only thing I could think of that would come close and may be possible is that the teams chose two compounds beforehand, then we scrap the mandatory pit-stop so we will see differing strategies (although that may make the tyres far too important in influencing the results).

            1. you wouldn’t happen to know the average number of pit-stops during say the 1994 season?

              Not actual figures, But off the top of my head I seem to recall most early races in 1994 been 1-stop for most the field & then 2-stops became the optimal strategy over the rest of the year.

              I get what your saying about limiting the amount of fuel stops teams could run, But I still don’t see how that would solve any of the problems seen with refueling.

              Lets say you mandated 2 stops, You would still see fuel strategy become the biggest factor in a race & you would still see drivers been asked to run races to a fuel strategy to jump cars during the stops.

              From 2002-2004 Champcar ran mandatory pit windows forcing everyone to run basically the same strategy regarding fuel. It was dropped after 2 years because it destroyed the quality of on-track racing & everyone hated it (Teams, Drivers & Fans).

              DTM introduced 2 mandatory fuel/tyre stops about 10yrs back & the racing in that series hasn’t been as good since.

              Its actually something I’ve found interesting over the years. There’s a perception that pit stops & race strategy surrounding fuel/tyre stops makes things more interesting. However every series that have added pit stops (Be it for tyres or fuel) have seen the quality of racing decline.
              The British touring car series for example mandated pit stops some years back & it hurt the racing so they scrapped them, As I mentioned the DTM series introduced pit stops & the quality of racing declined, The quality of racing declined in F1 when pit stops became more frequent & the quality of racing declined when pit stops were introduced over the final few races in the old F3000 series in 2004.

            2. No I’m not staying make them mandatory, I’m staying quite the opposite in fact: cap the number of fuel stops to no more than two, which may not affect the racing too much but again you are the experienced one in this discussion so I will take your word for it!

      3. (@vettel1) Completely disagree with you on re-fuelling, completely agree with you on the Pirellis leaving drivers unable to push. The best balance is relatively hard tyres (i.e only need one stop, but the softs are fast enough that you can really go all out on a two stopper), and no re-fuelling.

        I’d also propose getting rid of DRS (it’s vaugely tolerable on tracks like Monaco and Australia, but ludicrous on the huge tilke-dromes), and doubling the amount of KERS avaliable – KERS both has potential to filter down to road cars, and can be used strategically in-race.

        1. @sgt-pepper

          doubling the amount of KERS avaliable

          That’s being done in 2014 (double the power) and for 33 seconds a lap (so ten times the KERS)!

          The best balance is relatively hard tyres (i.e only need one stop, but the softs are fast enough that you can really go all out on a two stopper

          I’ll second that: the re-fuelling was just a spur-of-the-moment idea on my part and I wasn’t really sure if it would work out in practice. Yes though, I think tyre conservation should play some role but not to the extent that drivers can’t actually push.

          I would also get rid of DRS and just reduce overall downforce, which was also supposed to be happening in 2014 but the teams decided DRS worked really well – quite what they’ve been watching I have no idea…

          1. (@vettel1) I wasn’t aware they were doubling the KERS, that’s great news. I sometimes feel people lump together KERS and DRS when criticising the current regs, but that KERS actually has a lot of potential, as it can be used strategically and isn’t just a flap on the wing that leaves (particularly on the awful new Tilke-tracks) the other driver a sitting duck. I keep hearing Brundle or Coulthard simply say “and there’s nothing he can do,” which almost smacks of a veiled criticism of DRS.

            I get what you’re saying about refuelling, but it’s definietely best kept banned, though the current deg on the Pirrelis is almost reverting us back to the old days of passing in the pits, through strategy.

            the teams decided DRS worked really well – quite what they’ve been watching I have no idea…

            Playing devil’s advocate, do you think it’s possible bringing in 10x the KERS is almost a slight reneging on DRS, just like bringing in two DRS zones per track. Maybe (and this is literally just a wild theory) the teams, Bernie and the FIA know that DRS is a joke, but the longer they keep it, the more of a PR nightmare it is to scrap it. So instead they mitigate the effects of it – i.e 2 zones so drivers can repass (maybe forcing them to pass properly somewhere else on the track?) and increasing the KERS to give the driver infront some vague hope of defending?

    6. Pirelli tyres, love them or hate them, are still much better for “the show” than DRS will ever be.

      Agreed, DRS does absolutely nothing to make ‘the show’ even slightly more entertaining.

      I do wish however that they would make them a bit more durable to allow drivers to push a bit harder & eliminate the amount of tyre conservation thats been done. For me watching drivers driving around been asked to hit time deltas in order to look after the tyres is just no fun.

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