Fun or artifical? Mixed views in China Rate the Race

2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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Has Formula One reached a tipping point in the “sport versus entertainment” debate?

With an average rating of 7.412 the Chinese Grand Prix was a popular race though not as well-liked as the three which preceded it at the track.

As usual DRS and tyre were the focus of the debate. Many readers felt the twin DRS zones at the Shanghai International Circuit were too powerful. And the sight of drivers completing a maximum of seven laps on the soft tyres during the race was not welcomed by others.

Even so just 8% of readers gave it a rating of five out of ten or less. Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers made of the Chinese Grand Prix.

The middle of the race was middling somewhat as we got into the samey ‘all about the tyres’ type racing. But a solid first and final quarter, with a good bit of decent action in the middle.

However there was a sharp divide between those who enjoyed the race and those who were less enthusiastic:

I turned it off.

Yesterday I watched nothing happening at all for a lot of qualifying. Today I saw lots of cars being passed by other cars via the DRS. Like turning on a tap.

I saw drivers not even bothering to defend their positions because of DRS. Then I saw a few cars making a set of tyres last less than laps. Less than ten.

I’m going to watch the World Endurance Championship this afternoon. Should be a better race.

How is everybody rating this so high? Nothing exciting happened apart from Vettel at the end. Nobody defended positions because everybody is racing their own race.

Some focussed their criticism on the tyres:

Overall the tyres dictated the race today. It was a very strategic race and very pre-empted.

Despite this it was good to see some overtaking manoeuvres now and again but to be honest I’m beginning to get tired of Pirelli controlling the race pace.

The end of this season you won’t see Vettel/Alonso/Raikkonen/Hamilton winning the championship. Instead Pirelli are after that number one spot themselves. A sad state of affairs and something real racing drivers may (and even already are) getting frustrated with.

I officially hate 2013 tyres. Seven laps on a set of new tyres and they’re gone? That’s too much!

One reader pointed out that the way tyre compounds are allocated under the rules may give Pirelli little room for manoeuvre:

The medium prime tyre was clearly just right. The soft option tyre was too marginal but the problem is that there can be only four compounds and the soft will be fine on most tracks it will be used on, unfortunately there was no option but to use it here if the correct prime was used.

The DRS zones once again came in for criticism, especially from Fer no.65 and The Last Pope:

I can’t believe people liked this one. DRS completely ruined it. There was no fight for positions, overtaking was just a given.

It spoiled racing away from the DRS zones (apart from turn six). No one was challenging anyone outside the main straight and the back straight.

[Why did they] set DRS zones at the longest straight in the calendar and the second longest straight on the track, which are just two corners away from [one another]? It was just way too powerful.

I’m a DRS critic, but I think used right, it has a lot of benefits, and it makes racing closer. But this was too much.

A race without overtakes isn’t a race in my book. Not if the overtakes happen midway through a straight. It was good until Alonso and Massa left a powerless Hamilton wondering what the hell had just happened on lap three.

A DRS overtake overkilll. Strategically interesting maybe, but too hard to follow (using TV only). Very little real on-track racing.

The race had no stability with driver positions jumping around all over the place, race position was seemingly unimportant so you don’t really care if one driver overtakes another (even if it was a nice pass).

The Red Bull drivers provided some entertainment:

The only time someone raced today was Vettel in the last four laps which tells the whole story about F1 at the moment.

But seeing them coast around the track and pulling of a few artificial manoeuvres for the show is not why I tune in – strategy OK but that borders on chess.

But there’s no escaping there are two consistent points in the complaints about modern F1:

I’ve been an avid F1 fan for at least 20 years and I think I’m beginning to become a bit disillusioned with the current F1 regulations. This race really cemented that for me.

The tyres and DRS are obviously the main issue. Tyres that disintegrate in a short period of time don’t promote flat-out flag-to-flag racing. Drivers and teams are preoccupied with making the tyres last as long as possible, driving to a target lap time and ensuring they don’t overstress them so they can make as few pit stops as possible.

To me a Grand Prix should be a flat-out race with drivers at the limit throughout the whole race, the artificially fragile tyres don’t make that remotely possible. Button asking the team if he should defend his position against Hamilton, or stick to his target lap time, really drives home that something isn’t right.

DRS is far too powerful. If the car behind is fast enough to get under one second to the car in front, they can easily deploy DRS and the massive speed difference makes a pass inevitable. There is no real driver skill involved and the defending driver has no chance, as they are at a huge artificial disadvantage.

During the Moto GP race last week, I was up off the sofa cheering as Rossi reeled in Crutchlow, Pedrosa and Marques. I even woke the baby up during the battle for second. My heart was pounding and I absolutely appreciated the skill and bravery of the riders as they raced flat out. I didn’t get any of that feeling today.

Maybe I’m not an F1 fan, maybe I’m a racing fan. I really have to question whether F1 is really racing at the moment. It feels more like Mario Kart. Get rid of the artificial aids to “improve the show”, the show should be the best drivers, driving the fastest cars flat out for nearly 200 miles to find out who is the fastest.

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2013 Chinese Grand Prix

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99 comments on “Fun or artifical? Mixed views in China Rate the Race”

  1. Get rid of the artificial aids to “improve the show”, the show should be the best drivers, driving the fastest cars flat out for nearly 200 miles to find out who is the fastest.

    ^ that

    1. Get rid of the artificial aids to “improve the show”, the show should be the best drivers, driving the fastest cars flat out for nearly 200 miles to find out who is the fastest.

      ^ that

      problem with that is, the fastest car will almost certainly win each time.
      at least in this pirelli era, slower teams can challenge for high places using strategy (something that is an inherent part of any racing series IMO)

      1. I agree with you that strategy definitely adds value to a race, but I would rather have a genuine (or ‘boring’ as some would say) race than a race with ‘gimmicks’ that artificially induce strategy. And if the fastest car will win every time, isn’t that fair?

        1. And if the fastest car will win every time, isn’t that fair?

          Fair for the teams yeah, but isn’t it better if 8 drivers have a chance to win every race rather than it being down to just 2 drivers?

          1. why in other motor sports are machines and riders/drivers allowed to actually race each other – like in a competition?

            motogp one example/kart racing another and there are lots of other sports where drivers and riders are allowed to race.

            This is all down to bernie trying to create a level playing field and he is destroying the sport.

            6 laps on a set of tyres; drivers that can’t race to preserve tyres and strategies on top of strategies! This is a joke when the same sport is opting for more eco friendly engines in 2014.

            DRS should go. Give teams tyre options, i.e use whatever you want. Get rid of kers. If this means that there is always one driver in one car winning all the races, then congratulations, this is motorsport!

        2. @andae23

          So why race? Let’s just make it time trial, if “the fastest car wins” is what F1 should be about. Or let’s put it even further – make them remotely controlled. The fastest car will definitely win.

          1. @cyclops_pl – You misunderstood my point completely.

            The ‘fastest car’, or alternatively the ‘fastest car+driver’, is not a universal truth: for instance in Bahrain, Vettel’s Red Bull was (arguably) the quickest, but the previous weekend (arguably) Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari was the quickest.

            What I’m trying to say is that if a driver, who deserves victory that weekend because he’s clearly the fastest that weekend, is denied victory due to these artificial gimmicks, then I would say that’s unfair.

        3. But then we will see the team who spends the most by far (Red Bull) win each time in a procession. A bit like 2011..

          The FIA have committed to this form of racing for now. The proposed return of more ground effects in the 2014 regs has been shelved due to ‘extra costs’. With this, they could have shelved DRS, but it looks like its here to stay now.

          I would add that with more variables, there is more chance the fastest drivers will be on the podium. As there is more places where they can make a difference. It’s no co-incidence that the top 4 are all world champions. Whereas, without those variables, whoever is in the fastest car will win hands down. Looking at the pedigree of these drivers, we already know most of them are already the fastest around and can pretty much determine ourselves how they fare in outright speed over the course of a fast lap.

        4. OmarR-Pepper (@)
          29th April 2013, 2:58

          @andae23 agree, that’s fair. But FIA wants F1 to become just entertainment, letting the sport part down. The other day somebody compared current F1 with WWE’s Wrestlemania (or however it’s called). DRS zones, short-life tyres and KERS are making this sports the same as chairs, hidden hammers under the ring and flying wrestlers make for WWE: Fun to watch, but not to be taken seriously.

      2. Slower teams can’t challenge for high places because of DRS. Timo Glock will tell you that!

        Agree that tyres should offer some strategy mix though. Just scrap the top ten rule and make the tyres a bit harder and all would be well (perhaps).

        1. Slower teams can’t challenge for high places because of DRS.

          i never said that though.

          1. Ah, sorry @sato113 . You were referring more to the tyres. My bad.

  2. I agree with the majority of the views selected; the tyres were too marginal.
    An idea to improve DRS: the DRS works because the slot gap is 50mm.
    If you reduce the slot gap to say 35mm, that would reduce the power of the DRS and therefore make racing less ‘predictable’
    (By the way, I believe there is no such thing as a boring F1 race)

    1. I like Keith’s old idea of giving everyone x time of DRS activated for them to use freely and tactically in the race; i’d give them 90 seconds.

      1. JP (@jonathanproc)
        28th April 2013, 23:11

        @magon4 – This is actually the way DRS is used in WSbR. Each driver is given 500 seconds I think it is. Also, the DRS is situated in the front wing which makes it less obvious when a driver is using it.

      2. I just dont see how that helps. DRS was designed to give the drivers who follow another car a slight advantage that makes up for the dirty air. If everyone were to have DRS it would be the same as not having DRS at all.. as everytime a chasing driver uses DRS, the driver in front would use it as well.

    2. +1 reducing the gap is a pretty good idea.

    3. An idea to improve DRS: the DRS works because the slot gap is 50mm.
      If you reduce the slot gap to say 35mm, that would reduce the power of the DRS and therefore make racing less ‘predictable’

      yes i suggested this idea last week i think. and the brilliant side effect to this change would be that cars being overtaken could duck back in behind the DRS car and grab the slipstream.
      at present the DRS is too powerful to make that work.

    4. @xjr15jaaag sadly the DRS slot gap is increasing in size by I think 15mm in 2014.

      1. Unfortunately, this kind of racing has been attracting the casual viewer as the TV figures have been trending upwards in recent years. Bernie is very happy indeed, and so are the teams coz that’s where the money comes from.

        1. @blackmamba they’re falling this year though, and the same with last year. So the evidence suggests to the contrary (that may have been more due to the Sky deal last year, but I doubt it’s for the same reason this year since the deal was already in place).

          I don’t know about the global figures though, how is that looking?

    5. + 89 billion there is no such thing as a boring race for smoeone who loves formula1. who doesn’t love formula1 will always complain about something

  3. I saw very little difference between this race and all the others that have been rated so highly.

    It’s about delivering The Best Show Ever™.

    1. All the F1, all the time. I need more more more!! More overtakes! More points! Yeah!!

  4. Creating Fun by making Sport Artificial is one thing but the Chinese GP became more artificial which clearly killed the Fun with Overpowered DRS and Very High Degradation of Soft tires.
    Last year we have High Degradation levels but still Teams used to Run different Strategies like Mclaren most of time used O-P-P , RBR, Ferrari and Lotus used to Run O-O-P that brought the Fun and Excitement to the Race. This is what lacking in 2013 Tires. The Teams are forced to Save their Race Compound for better race pace and doing so the Qualifying fun is also Getting Killed.
    A Set of Soft tires looses their Better life with in 2 laps and Lasts only for 7-10 odd laps (If we count Qualifying). So the Tires taking center stage at this kind of level is not good for F1. With the Degradation of Soft tire Even Pirelli is getting forced to Change their Compound usage Like Bahrain and Spain.

  5. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    28th April 2013, 13:03

    I actually thought it was a really enjoyable race, the only niggle I had with it was that they really didn’t need the DRS along the back straight as its a good enough overtaking spot without DRS.

    Oh also, the soft Pirelli tyre needs to be more durable.

    Other than that it was a really good race.

  6. only now I’ve realised why people don’t like these mixed up races due to the tyres and DRS, it’s all about the timing screens. I’ve watched the timing on F1 dot com for 8 seasons or more now and I’ve always been used to watching cars creeping up at a second a lap, realising the potential the gaining car has to climb up the field, only to see that car having its strategy ruined because of ‘dirty air’ of the car in front. Seeing that happen was 10 times worse than seeing an easy overtake that leads to drivers maximising their strategies. Anyone who loves f1 needs to go and download the F1 timing app or go to the f1 timing on their computer. You cant enjoy watching the strategies and performances without seeing every lap for every driver, because the commentators will either miss it until its obvious, and the timing given by FOM to the live feed is too minimal.

  7. It seems that most people rate the race on the basis that 8 is the standard award, 7 is disappointing and 9 is good, 10 is a good race won by their favourite driver/team.
    I and a few others work on the basis of 5 is average then award points up and down from there, but we are swamped by the rest.

    1. @hohum – agreed, I would’ve like to have changed my Australia rating for that very reason! The only race I have truly felt was a 10 recently was the Brazilian Grand Prix.

    2. I personally feel that F1 is a priviledge, and that there can be no dissappointing race; there are processions, but it’s never underwhelming or dull

      1. @xjr15jaaag – yea, I have the default as a 6 and then adjust it from there. There are very few races I don’t actually like, but that doesn’t mean therefore that I think they can’t be improved (with more durable tyres etc).

    3. I’m really surprised, but you seem to be right. The reason I’m surprised is that this is a UK based site and you guys have a better F1 following than we do. My company is headquartered in London and we’ve found exactly what you described on employee surveys…IN AMERICA: 8 is “standard” and then you adjust. However our UK employees use 5 as “standard” and then adjust. So how is this site so positive???
      I would have expected that the UK folks would have rated the races as a standard 5 and adjusted based on that. Hmmm, is F1 just a more positive crowd compared with the population as a whole?
      Possibly, it’s that we seem to have a fairly respectful and positive crowd on the boards here compared to other sites where insults and stupidity are the norm? Anyway, I like the atmosphere here and this is a great site so it’s all good.

      1. @daved

        I like the atmosphere here and this is a great site so it’s all good.

        Glad to hear it!

    4. Or.. just maybe the complainers are the vocal minority and most people thought it was a good race

  8. I think the problem with F1 (And other sports) now is that a lot of the younger audience wants to be entertained constantly, If you even get 1-2 laps that are dull you often get them whining about how boring it all is. You get 1 stop races & they say its boring because they need to see some action in the pit lane & need to see strategy because thats deemed more entertaining for the ‘show’.

    On the flip side you have the older, longer-term fans (Like myself) who just want to see a race, We enjoy watching cars running close to the limit, We enjoy watching battles for position play out over many laps & we like to see real overtaking which drivers really have to work hard to achieve. We don’t care about pit stops or tyre strategy because we never had any of those things when many of us began watching F1, We want to see cars racing out on the track rather than driving slowly down a pit lane 2-3x a race.

    For me the DRS add’s nothing to a race, I hate it & will never like it because I despise the sort of ‘racing’ & ‘passing’ it has consistently produced. Watching drivers get into a 1-second gap & then push a button in a pre-determined zone & then be driven easily past the car ahead is just plain boring & add’s zero excitement or interest in the race, It actually really puts me off & has seen me turn off races, Something i’ve never done before.

    I think that the current tyres are too sensitive, Watching drivers driving solely to a pre-set lap time & been told not to race the cars around them for fear of destroying the tyres is no fun. Tyre management is & has always been a part of the sport, However right now its far too big a factor in the races. At o no point point in the sports history has managing tyres been the single biggest factor of a race weekend.

    Ditch DRS, Scale back the tyres & lets get back to some proper racing & some genuine/exciting overtaking!

    1. my question is: If the engineers are so smart, how come they are unable to make cars able to overtake without artificial aids?
      If i look at the mistkes the super ferrari brains make every other gp, i think they are not that smart after all.

      1. They can overtake without artificial aids, There was never a time when overtaking was impossible & overtaking was never as hard as people remember.

        Take 2010 the last year without Prelli/DRS as an example, Everyone looks back & goes on about how there was no overtaking & then use Abu-Dhabi as the example of how bad it was.
        However statistically 2010 featured a great deal more overtaking than any year since 1989, 547 total overtakes at an average of 28.79 overtakes Per-Gp.

        It was refueling that hurt overtaking more than anything & when that was banned the level of overtaking went back upto Pre-refueling levels.

        As to rule changes to aid racing, We had that covered for 2014 with a big downforce reduction & a return to ground effects (What Indycar has done with there current car with great success), However thanks to Pirelli/DRS those rule changes were scrapped with people in F1 now saying DRS means there’s no need to make any other rule changes.

        In short DRS has killed any opportunity of making changes that would actually help the racing!

        1. As to rule changes to aid racing, We had that covered for 2014 with a big downforce reduction & a return to ground effects (What Indycar has done with there current car with great success), However thanks to Pirelli/DRS those rule changes were scrapped with people in F1 now saying DRS means there’s no need to make any other rule changes.

          There’s a misconception here. Adding ground-effect to F1 cars would have hindered overtaking. There was a study done by the F1 Overtaking Group which found that if the car’s downforce was being generated primarily by the bodywork (as it would be using ground-effect) rather than its wing, as now, then the car’s wake becomes more turbulent.

          1. @asingh1 yes, but that wouldn’t matter surely if you reduced the dependency on wings, which are the aerodynamic surfaces that need clean airflow? If you used ground effects and simply got rid of front wings and simplified the rear wings then the dirty air effect would be nullified I would think…

          2. I never saw anything from the OWG even mentioning ground effects but anyway.

            The 1st generation of GP2 car heavily relied on Ground Effects & produced by far the best racing in that category.
            Indycar now relies on ground effects & the racing has been fantastic with cars able to follow closely & overtake.

            Ground effects wouldn’t get rid of the turbulent air, thats true, But its not necisarily the turbulent air thats the biggest factor in preventing cars following closely, Its how sensitive the front wings are to that turbulent air thats the problem.
            If you used ground effects to generate the grip & reduced the dependency on wings then the effect of the turbulent air on the car behind would be massively reduced as it wouldn’t be relying on the front wing to generate the grip.

            Thats why Indycar went the ground effects route & why CART/Champcar always relied more on ground effects than downforce generated by the wings.

            Also consider where the ground effects idea came from, Patrick Head, Rory Byrne & I think Pat Simmons.

            Finally who was it that ultimately decided to ditch ground effects in favor of more DRS? The Technical Working Group headed by Paddy Lowe, The very people/person who came up with DRS & what did he say after they ditched ground effects?

            It was also Paddy Lowe & the TWG who pushed for more DRS zones this year & who proposed the larger DRS slot-gap for next year.

    2. Dizzy, my thoughts exactly!. One small point, it was very rare indeed for any driver to think of tyre management back when tyres lasted an entire race, the leader set the pace and the rest tried to catch-up and pass so everybodies tyres were pretty much the same on any given lap.

      1. Above re Dizzy’s top post. Paddy Lowe Ha Ha Ha must have been when the Maccas were fast.

        1. Dizzy…agree very very much with everything you are saying in the above posts.

  9. i have been following f1 since my uncle took me to brands hatch in 1966 when i was 6 years old. since then i’ve caught every bit of tv footage, brought hundreds of books, got various model cars & team/driver merchandise & attended around 100+ other races & i loved every second of it.

    since the introduction of the drs & the pirelli tyres however me interest in f1 has dropped & i will no longer say i love or am super passionate about it. i won’t be attending the british gp this year & i didn’t last year either & i don’t even watch every race live on tv anymore.

    theres no racing anymore, just a series of drs highway passes which i dont find fun to watch & then you just get drivers tootling around saving tyres all race.
    there’s hardly any real good battling over position & virtually zero real overtakes which actually get your heart rate up.

    i find indycar more exciting now & enjoy watching there races far more than i do f1 & thats something i never thought i’d say as i was never a big fan of the old cart series & have never really been into anything other than f1.

    1. Did you read Windsors bit on Jim Clark in the round-up, proper racing then.

  10. Im just going to re-post something I wrote a few weeks ago relating to DRS.

    One of my biggest dislikes of DRS is when the car in front is left totally defenseless & the car behind simply opens DRS & then goes straght past with relative ease.

    Some of the most exciting/intense racing I’ve seen have been when you have had one driver defending with a car behind doing everything to try & find a way past, I loved those 2 great Alonso/Schumacher battles at Imola in 05/06, I was kept on the edge of my seat through to the end of those 2 races watching 2 great drivers racing each other hard. OK no overtake occurred but it was thrilling to watch.

    When there is zero chance to overtake & the cars behind are not able to even attempt an overtake then yes it can get a bit dull.

    The problem however is that DRS often swings things too far the other way, Instead of overtaking been too hard, It often then becomes far too easy & I think thats equally as bad.

    One of the thing which got me hooked on racing is the racing, I love watching close racing, I love watching good/close racing battles & I love watching good, exciting overtaking & to me DRS produces none of these & over the past 2 seasons its been doing nothing but hurt my enjoyment of the races to the point where my attention has started to go elsewhere.

    I remember in the Pre-DRS era, Watching one car starting to catch another was exciting, Watching that car looking for ways to overtake was exciting & watching any eventual overtaking move was exciting. Now I all too often find myself getting excited over one car catching another only for that car to hit DRS & breeze straght past when he gets there, No excitement, No tension over a good battle, Nothing & that really kills my enjoyment of the race.

    Im not saying that I necessarily prefer what we had before as overtaking was harder than it could have been, I accept that. However I don’t believe DRS is the answer because I feel its taken things way too far the other way, Overtaking is now too easy & there’s now so much of it that I feel its starting to be devalued. I also believe that the drivers that are great overtakers are also now not standing out as much as they used to because everyone can pass & there’s now less need for that exciting dive up the inside which made guys like Hamilton, Kobayashi & Juan Montoya stand out like they did & become fan favorites as a result.

    In the DRS-era we are seeing more passing, A lot more, However we are now seeing a lot less exciting overtaking & thats the thing I hate the most!

    And on the tyres, The way there acting this year is too much in my view.
    The tyres ideally should degrade at a reasonable level but still allow drivers to push them, Right now there degrading too quickly, too much & can’t be pushed at all which is why drivers are running to a delta all race.

    1. Just adding to my comment on tyres.

      I think the tyres we had in 2011 were about the best Pirelli have run. The tyres did wear but didn’t seem to need nursing as much as the 2012/2013 tyres did & I think the racing was better for that.

      1. @stefmeister

        I think the tyres we had in 2011 were about the best Pirelli have run. The tyres did wear but didn’t seem to need nursing as much as the 2012/2013 tyres did & I think the racing was better for that.

        Agreed – once the number of pit stops reduced a bit mid-season the racing was great despite the fact Vettel was usually 10 seconds out in front.

        We really don’t need DRS with these tyres though. They create enough overtaking in combination with the closeness of the grid anyway.

        1. Blockquote fail! It should just be the first paragraph ;)

    2. A couple of those dives up the inside and the tyres are toast, race over.

  11. The usual comment about lessening aerodynamic grip and increasing mechanical grip in order to promote close-order racing without sacrificing the ability to overtake.

    PS. DRS is bobbins.

    1. @elbasque

      The usual comment about lessening aerodynamic grip and increasing mechanical grip in order to promote close-order racing without sacrificing the ability to overtake.

      The “increase mechanical grip to improve overtaking” view has to be the biggest misconception in F1. It’s not aerodynamic grip that prevents overtaking, it’s grip in general. Increased mechanical grip would only mean a increased slingshot effect out of corners and a shorter braking distance into them, effectively rendering overtaking harder. Overtaking in this scenario would rely on the car in front ruining its tyres, but since the tyres would be grippier they would take longer to wear.

      What we need is more power than grip can handle, but we know that F1 is heading in the complete opposite dirrection.

      1. Agreed, less aero, same mechanical grip and more power is the way to go. That’d have the added bonus of keeping laptimes similar and they braking distances actually longer.

        The new rules though may help, because there is to be a significant increase in torque and it will be at the low end of the rev range, meaning it’ll be much easier to slide and consequently hurt the tyres/lose time. Also, well have a marginal decrease in downforce with the one rear wing plane, central exhaust exit and narrower front wing/lower nose.

        Also, there is a huge increase in ERS but here’s the annoying bit, the DRS power is increasing. It’s just not necessary, and I wish the FIA would actually conduct research to see what the fans actually want (I’m sure it’s not cars breezing by halfway down a straight).

        1. And that’s why i post on this site, everyone always seems to know more than me, its good for my brain.

          Although like @fer-no65 below me, im mystified by the positive ratings for this race. I too turned it off midway to watch the BTCC, gimmicks and all.

      2. @guilherme, I don’t believe you are correct, the reason people want more mechanical grip and less aero grip is because a car following close behind another car suffers a loss of downforce that the car ahead does not, so if neither car relied on downforce to generate grip they would be equal in grip and the following driver could stick right on the tale of the leading driver through a corner and try to pass on the exit, we only need more mechanical grip to compensate for the loss of downforce and handle the horsepower.

  12. Well, first of all I need to say how stupid I feel by having one of my posts quoted by Keith when part of it doesn’t make sense!
    I *should* have written this
    “I saw drivers not even bothering to defend their positions because of DRS. Then I saw a few cars making a set of tyres last less than TEN laps. Less than ten.”
    And in the afternoon, I did watch the endurance race from Silverstone and that was much more interesting – probably because there was real fight for the lead between teammates.
    F1 for me has got a bit too much like WWF Wrestling or whatever it’s called.
    I want to see a variety of cars where different design ideas mean superiority and inferiority – I certainly don’t want them all to be virtually identical clones of each other – and I want to see drivers who race against each other. Race. Actually race; driving the cars at close to 100%. And I want to see regulations that allow teams to race instead of tieing them down with the daft tyres and regulations that have degraded F1 into a high-speed economy run.
    I tried to explain the current tyre strategies to my partner during the Australian race, but his eyes glazed over before I even got halfway through. If it’s too boringly complex for an intelligent bloke to grasp, the FIA simply has to add bells and whistles like DRS and Super Mario tricks to it to get anyone new to watch it at all. But all that’s done is to make it artifical AND confusing at the same time.
    Did I read here that global TV viewing of F1 is falling? Not surprised at all.
    Oh, and I totally agree with HoHum; an average race is a 5. Not a 7 or 8. A score of 10 should be an unreachable utopia.
    Wonder how many spelling mistakes I’ve made in this?

  13. Seriously, so many people dislike this Formula 1?
    In my opinion, many people has a short memory.
    I follow Formula 1 since 1991 season, but I don’t need to go back to the 90’s.
    I am huge Ferrari fan, but even in the years were Ferrari dominated, I remember me many times struggling to not fell asleep.
    In recent times:
    Valencia 2007: Falling asleep
    China 2008: Falling asleep

    Pirelli and DRS + Kers are an insurance for eventful races.
    Maybe there’s something to fix (Pirelli soft’s lifetime, DRS zone length) and something to remove (the rules that force to use both type of tyres), but this F1 is a great improvement, IMHO.

    1. @michiamogino I have memory. I remember the snorefests of mid 2000’s, but I also realize that THIS isn’t better either.

      There have plenty of things to like since 2010, IMO. But some stuff is fundamentally wrong. Putting 2 DRS zones at every circuit isn’t a temporal solution, it’s a definitive fix to a problem that, given the right conditions, I think it’s not as bad as it was. I really doubt we’d have a endless line of cars one behind the other with these tyres but no DRS…

      They went too much the other way. And it’s not black and white, is it? it’s not like you got to love this because you hated that.

      1. I think People’s perception of those years is that because Schumacher/Ferrari won both championships in each of them there labeled as been boring & that as a result the racing that occurred gets ignored & forgotten.

        In each of those 5 years there was some great racing & some brilliant overtaking, There was also a good level of overtaking.

        Even looking at Ferrari/Schumacher, They only truly dominated 2 seasons (2002/2004), They won 2 through close, competitive championship fights which went down to the end of the year (2000/2003) & while the title was won fairly early in 2001 they hardly dominated.

        All in all those 5 years were nowhere near as dull as people remember & there was a great deal more racing & overtaking than people remember.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          28th April 2013, 16:55

          True but most of the time it was just a car following another in fuel saving mode until the pit stops, then maybe there would be some action. Usually only one race would be memorable from a season.

          1. I never saw fuel saving, what I saw was Brawn say, ” 3 qualifying laps Michael and pit” to which MS responded as requested and invariably came out of the pits in the lead. I hated it but I admired the skill and organisation that used the rules to best effect.

        2. tehre’s also that bit of “nostalgia” towards our past that makes everything that went by better to what we have today…

          The 2000’s were very veeeeeeery boring 80% of the times.

          1. @fer-no65

            I agree with most of what you said. But 2000 and 2003 were brilliant in my book. There were some absolute all-time classics in 2000: Spa, Hockenheim, Italy, Suzuka. And in 2003: Brazil, Austria (remember Schumi on fire and his subsequent record breaking lap times?), Indianapolis.

            Also part of the problem was also Ferrari’s overtaking in the pits mentality. Michael was a natural overtaker in 90’s. Somehow with a more dominant car his and Ferrari’s strategy in general, went from being a beast on the track to being finding the best time to pit. Thank god for people like Kimi and Montoya.


            2001 was not that close, Schumi/Ferrari had a fairly easy time. Primarily because Mclaren’ lead driver, a certain Mika Hakkinen didn’t decide to show up for most of the races :/

    2. I wouldn’t call it nostalgia, it’s just how our memories work. You tend to remember, well, “memorable” events – a great race for example in an otherwise lacklustre season. Since that is the part that has stuck with you though, it kind of skews your judgment as to how good that season was.

      It can also work with the reverse though – if something was memorably boring, you’ll tend to judge the whole thing as boring when that may not be the case: it might have been quite good.

      So really, I don’t think we should be basing what is best for modern F1 on our opinions of the past, rather what we think is best for it in this day and age.

      1. I think something which Also should be considered when looking back is the TV coverage. Back then each race used to have a local TV crew produce the world-feed so the coverage tended to be inconsistent race to race & also tended to follow local teams/drivers.

        While FOM today may not be as good as they were a few years back (Especially duing the F1 Digital+ days), I still say the level of coverage is higher than it was under the host broadcasters we had upto 2007 (And still have at the Monaco Gp) with far more action caught.

        I actually remember watching the 2001 Belgium GP from home on ITV which used the locally produced world-feed & finding the race to be dull. Few days later I got to watch the F1 Digital+ broadcast & it was like watching a different race because the F1 Digital feed followed the action & therefore the race became a lot more exciting to watch.

        Also remember when the UK got F1 Digital+ in 2002, You often saw differences in people’s views of how good the races were depending on what broadcast they watched. Those watching the world feed on ITV tended to think a lot of the races were dull, Those watching the Digital+ broadcast tended to rate the races much higher.

        1. So true, how many times did we see something fall of a car as it was leaving the pits only for the producer to cut to a local celebrity or retired driver standing in the back of the pits.

  14. How about an idea?
    Before each race weekend, each driver decides out of the 4 compounds, which 2 he will use for that race, and both of those compounds have to be used that race.
    The variety of the tracks means that they will be forced to use the whole variety of tyres over the full course of the year, and it’ll really shuffle up the grid for qualifying and therefore the race.

    1. @xjr15jaaag I’ve suggested a similar idea many times before but omitting the use both compounds part. I would keep the rule that you have to start on the tyres you set your fastest lap on then though so you couldn’t just use the super softs and switch to the hards for the race and I’d apply it to simply the fastest time you set in any session, to discourage non-running in qualifying. That way, you could choose harder tyres and sacrifice qualifying but make much fewer stops in the race which adds a new element of strategy and means we wouldn’t have such a big problem with nursing the tyres in theory.

      I’d still like Pirelli to toughen up the tyres a bit though so it was always possible to do a one stop with the hards say.

    2. Its a good idea, but not necessarily practical. I doubt Pirelli can afford to ship all four tyre compounds to every race, so it can’t necessarily be done at short notice – which brings in the question of when would the drivers have to pick their compounds?

  15. I still cannot believe this got such a high rating! first race I deliberately switched off since 2003.

  16. You know what happens when the best drivers in the fastest cars go racing without any restrictions?

    2002, 2004 and 2011. One driver, in a dominant car, cruising around for a team who have outspent the rest of the paddock.

    All those complaints about the backmarker teams making up the numbers would just stretch further and further up the field. If you think a midrank team like force India would be doing as well as they are without Pirelli’s tyres or drs, I’m afraid you’re mistaken. What you’re looking for is a spec series, and that’s never been f1.

    1. If one team/driver do a better job than anyone else & are able to dominate then I see nothing wrong with that.

      It should be upto the other teams to improve & catch-up, The team doing the best job should not have there performance handicapped in any way just so others are able to close the gap.

      Can you really be satisfied beating another team/driver not because you did a better job but purely because there advantage was capped due to rule changes? If I were a team boss or driver I’d want to win & beat the best by been better on my own merits & not because rules were changed to disadvantage them.

      I think the whole thing to keep the field close & give everyone equality in engine power etc.. is frankly ridiculous!

      1. What you’re suggesting does not mean the best win on merit. What it means is that the teams with the best money/technical staff combination win.

        Toyota, Honda & BMW may have failed by the standards of winning races/championships, but firehoses full of money kept them out of the backmarkers and organisational failures kept them from the front. Without firehoses full of money, Red Bull would never have managed to get hold of Newey.

        And if that’s what you want, that’s fine. Just don’t forget that one rich team dominating results in far more viewers turning off than DRS or tyres ever has or ever will. A race where you can predict the result a week in advance is not, fundamentally, a race. Race implies the possibility of more than one winner.

    2. @hairs, what’s the difference between F India now and Jordan then, even Minardi scored points so your theory about the mid-pack doesn’t hold water. An awful lot of viewers love to watch a dominant driver win every race, thats why Vettel, Schumacher, Senna, Clark. Fangio had so many fans.

      1. If an awful lot of viewers love watching predictable, dominant racing, why did fom and the fia go to such lengths to stop the domination of Ferrari and Schumacher? Because viewers were switching off.

        If you look at racing prior to parc ferme and multi-race gearbox and engine rules, one thing that stands out is reliability. In the past, midfielders had a chance that the front rank drivers or teams would either make a mistake or have a breakdown. Mistakes are rarer and breakdowns are rarer still.

        Furthermore, midfielders have a bigger struggle for cash now that budgets are higher and tobacco money isn’t available.

        1. Jordan was a cigarette?

  17. Can’t say I approve multiple DRS zones on nearly every track, but I’d prefer too much overtaking to too little. Get rid of DRS and we’d be back to 2010, which had the dullest racing of any season I can remember. In fact it would be even worse as the Pirelli tyres are totally incapable of doing more than a couple of laps in dirty air.

    But I do agree that DRS as it is is too much. Most circuits need only the one zone, very few I think need two, and I can name a couple which do not need any.

    1. we’d be back to 2010, which had the dullest racing of any season I can remember

      But it didn’t, There was some great racing that year & as I detailed earlier it featured more overtaking than any year since 1989, 547 total overtakes at an average of 28.79 overtakes Per-Gp.

      People seem to base there opinions of 2010 based off Alonso getting stuck behind Petrov at Abu-Dhabi, Then ignoring the good racing & many overtakes that occurred through the rest of the year.

      1. People seem to base there opinions of 2010 based off Alonso getting stuck behind Petrov at Abu-Dhabi, Then ignoring the good racing & many overtakes that occurred through the rest of the year.

        I don’t even think that was bad racing: honestly I don’t think Alonso was that much faster than Petrov anyway on that day, he just had a pretty poor race all round.

        Agreed on this though @jackystegg

        Can’t say I approve multiple DRS zones on nearly every track, but I’d prefer too much overtaking to too little.

        …but of course we can find a balance. I don’t really think DRS is needed at all in this day and age with the Pirelli tyres and the extremely close grid, whether the FIA acknowledges this though is a different matter entirely.

        Really, DRS is only needed in places where overtaking is impossible without it.

  18. I don’t get all the complaining about the tires & maybe this is an oval racing way of thinking but tires should wear, tires shouldn’t last more then 35-40 miles.

    10 laps around the Shanghai Circuit is roughly 33 miles, for comparison the average amount of pitstops in the NASCAR race last night was 7 or one every 58 laps (they didn’t break down like that because of cautions but I’m just using the averages). So in the NASCAR race that was 58 laps on a set of tires which at Richmond is equal to roughly 43 miles, which is only 10 more miles (not that long of a distance) on much harder tires. So an F1 tire lasting that distance isn’t really that big of a deal in motorsports (especially in series where you’re pushing the tires to the max every lap).

    For the heck of it the 2011 Le Mans winning Audi only changed tires 9 times which equals out to the tires lasting roughly 334 miles per stint on average. Now with that being said those tires are harder, they have more rubber & let’s be honest in a race like that you’re not pushing the tires unless you absolutely have to. If the F1 tires would last 334 miles (roughly 46 miles short of two GPs put together) y’all would be crying about that too.

    1. The issue isn’t the tyres wearing, Its the speed they wear at & the performance loss they suffer from has just resulted in everyone running around to a lap-time & as we heard on the team radios at Shanghai drivers were having to ask there team if they could race or not through fear of destroying the tyres & the message from the team was ‘no, save tyres’.

    2. @fisha695, Actually in the past F1 tyres did last for that long, and I can’t remember 1 single complaint about the tyres lasting to long.

      1. @hohum
        Judging from the barrage of whining that hit the internet after Vettel did every lap bar the final one on a pair of softs in Italy 2010 I find that hard to believe.
        People will always complain about something. It sucks for you that at this point you are unhappy with the regulations, but I’m sure there have been past (and hopefully future) situations where you have read complaints from people that you really didn’t understand. Times change and now you are in their shoes for a while.
        This will always happen with a changing formula, and as unfortunate as it is, you may just have to let the others have their time in the sun for now and hope things get back to the way you’d like soon.
        By the way, think DRS needs to be toned down heavily or just removed with the current tyres, I just think that the constant whinging needs to stop. If you aren’t enjoying f1, then stop watching until it changes, simple as that. Losing viewers is probably the best way to let the powers that be know that people are unhappy with things.
        However, if we do keep watching whilst complaining that things need to change, aren’t we just saying that our enjoyment matters more than all of the other fans who enjoy f1 in its current form? That they should have to put up with a series that they do not enjoy simply so we can have some more fun? That reeks of entitlement to me.

        On the plus side, with viewership falling last year and this year maybe the higher powers will begin to think that the majority of viewers would like to see a change and put some plans into action.
        I guess I’ll find out in a few years, as I’ll still be watching.

        1. @hxcas, I’ve been waiting a long time, it’s the possibility of change that keeps me watching, next yearwill be make or break for me. Really, I am not trying to impose some snoozefest on the viewers, I genuinley believe that F1 needs to be about the car as well as the driver, there should be competition for a better engine/drivetrain, not just aerodynamic downforce, let alone exhaust generated downforce. And no, nobody complained about tyres that lasted all race because they never thought of trying to stop the best team from winning, other than making another team better.

  19. As already suggested, the best use for DRS would be to give people a set amount of uses per race.

    1. I can see where you’re coming from but personally I’d either get rid of DRS (my preferred choice) or let the drivers use it whenever and for however long they want.
      We don’t have rules limiting the amount of time the drivers can go full throttle; we leave it to the drivers to decide, and similarly I’d leave the drivers to decide when they want to use DRS be it in practice, qualifying or the race.

      But as several other people have already mentioned, I think the front wings and the general dependency on aerodynamic grip in F1 is the root problem that needs sorting out so that we don’t need DRS, refuelling or any other gimmicks.

      1. Removing DRS completely and allowing it everywhere are basically the same thing

        1. No, they’re not. Some drivers would be able to deploy it earlier than others coming out of the corners and some would be able to use it on parts of the track where others could not – just as some drivers are able to accelerate earlier, brake later and take different lines than others.

  20. I have always disliked DRS with a passion and I just do not understand why something artificial like that was introduced to patch the aero problem instead of actually fixing it. Compared to the whole deployment and timing complexity it would have been extremely simple to just reduce the size of the wings and the drag creating defusers.

    Instead we got this cartoonish “press the overtake button” and even at the same time as the silly bicycle tires.

    Just sad!

    1. @poul the intention was that DRS was supposed to be a stop-gap for major changes to the 2014 rules which would reduce overall downforce levels, but sadly the FIA have decided for us that we like DRS and that we should keep it. It makes me sad…

      1. @vettel1
        The road to FIA headquarters is paved with good intentions…

    2. How do you patch the aero problem, though?

      The 2009 regulations were brought in to rip up the amount of aero that teams were able to deploy, by banning complex triple front wings, the profusion of winglets sticking out everywhere, the wide rear wings etc.

      What we got was not much of an improvement, the cars were still aero limited, still couldn’t get within a second to overtake, and races were decided on maximising strategies. Within a couple of years, the teams had reclaimed all the downforce the regs changes removed. You have to accept that when the team of people approving regulations is measured in tens, and the collective team of people finding ways of beating the regs is in the thousands, the regulations will never be able to “stop” aero development short of making it a spec series, and that is what the regulations have been doing more and more over the past few years.

      To allow for unpredictable results, you have to take an element of racing out of the direct control of the teams. Tyres and DRS are ways of doing that.

  21. Why don’t we just pick the best year of F1, take its cars, freeze all development, and race with them until the world ends (or we run out of oil)?

    I’m sure no one would find anything to complain about then…

  22. Well, I’m a part time fan – and only started watching F1 a few years ago (back when there was refueling).
    I find DRS and the current tires a frustrating gimmick – however, I would prefer them to seeing a parade of cars based upon who was fastest. Yes, there are circuits where overtaking happens more – but I think this is more a result of circuit design than the cars+drivers.

    I’d love to see DRS go, coupled with better tires IF it resulted in drivers being able to race. I’d like refueling back (as a strategy option), but most importantly – I do not want to see the same car and driver on pole and podium each race. I’m not a fan of any one driver, I want the action of the race with the reward for the team and driver who performed the best that weekend. For me, the championship should be decided by the very last race and should not be influenced by what driver was made to yield his position to his team mate. I know the teams want to limit the amount a battling their drivers do, but I find it quite aggravating to see three teams in one race this early in the season dictate who could or could not pass their team mate.

    I’m close to calling it quits on watching F1 – seems like the team with the most money is the one who wins in the end.

  23. I am undecided about DRS because it has made racing more exciting with more overtaking.But DRS has made the racing more “Artificial”.
    Without DRS we would return to the days where there is little overtaking.And how boring was that?

    Perhaps the teams need to be allocated extra batches of tyres so that the cars can have the opportunity to actually turn a few laps during Q2 and Q3.
    I would prefer to see more durable tyre compounds but until this happens (if it happens) maybe there should be Mandatory 3 or4 pit stops per race.Hopefully fresh tyres will equal better and more racing instead of tyre conservation..
    I would love to see a return of refuelling………

  24. The complaints about bad track design pre-drs were off the scale due to he lack of overtaking, noone is saying that now. They should just shorten the drs zones and reduce the slot gap.

  25. F1 has resorted to becoming completely artificial racing because the FIA have crafted a set of rules which otherwise make overtaking nigh on impossible.

    First, the cars are too alike. Overtaking — obviously — results from a differential in speed. The closer to identical the cars are, the more difficult is is for a driver to create that speed differential.

    The FIA (and the TR/SR) have become increasingly technophobic under the reign of El Supremo, largely because Bernie is obsessed with the notion that the better funded teams are buying the championships. But the more the TR limits a car designer’s creativity, the more alike the cars become. And with true innovation all but dead, the teams end up copying design elements and executions from the more successful cars. Which results in convergent evolution of design. Whether the FIA sill admit it or not, F1 has become a spec racing series.

    Second, F1 cars have managed to get so fast (6 Gs transient lateral loads) by employment of massive levels of wing-generated downforce. But wings need to run through undisturbed air to generate maximum lift. Which makes coming out of another car’s draft to overtake it a risky manoeuver, because it takes a moment once it has left the leading car’s turbulence for the the trailing car to settle down under the new-found downforce. But if the overtaking is occurring in a corner, the trailing driver does not have the luxury of waiting even a moment for his front tyres to bite, especially since he might be clocking 200 metres every second.

    The biggest problem is that the FIA refuse to admit they had any role in overtaking ever becoming so scarce. And only they have the power to mend it.

    They have to wean F1 off the massive, multi-element wings and put it back on the path to mechanical grip: über-wide and über-sticky race tyres (which also will markedly reduce wind tunnel costs). The problem with that idea is that the cars initially likely will be substantially slower, and F1’s brand cache could never tolerate its feeder series running faster cars than it does. Which means GP2 and GP3 also would have to retool from scratch, except they don’t have big budgets like F1, so they would be none too keen on the idea.

    And the FIA have got to get over their technophobia. All new cars sold in the USA are required to have electronic stability control, but it’s a banned technology in F1. Along with ABS and traction control and active suspension and a litany of other technologies available in production cars or motorcycles. If they don’t start allowing these technologies, they run the risk of turning into another NASCAR, which disallowed fuel injection for a 27 years after the last carburetted car was made in America.

    Teams always will spend their entire budget on whatever technology is available, so limiting technology does exactly NOTHING to limit the cost of racing. And allowing the designers more latitude enables them to create a car that is unique from their competitors, which by its nature goes to the heart of the problem: the lack of performance differential.

    1. Allow designers to innovate
    2. Embrace new technologies
    3. Small, simple, single element wings with a uniform profile
    3.a. Prohibit use of frangible materials in the front wing
    4. Big, fat, sticky (non-Pirelli) tyres

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