Second race at COTA gets much lower rating

2013 United States Grand Prix

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Last year’s United States Grand Prix was one of the highest-rated races of the season. But F1’s second visit to the Circuit of the Americas failed to recapture that high.

This year’s race was given an average rating of 5.396, the second lowest of the season so far.

The big news in the run up to the event was the absence of Kimi Raikkonen. Although this created a point of interest in how Heikki Kovalainen would fare on his return to racing, Lotus’s substitute driver had an indifferent race.

While Sebastian Vettel romped to another victory Romain Grosjean managed to split the two Red Bulls.

Behind the usual suspects Valtteri Bottas claimed his first points and Nico Hulkenberg put in another strong showing, despite which he is still without a confirmed 2014 drive.

But it seemed there was little to get many people excited about the grand prix:

Really boring. There were a few good moves and battles (like Bottas at turn two and Alonso picking up a few places), but overall the race lacked any kind of excitement.

When the top five are all separated by five second gaps after ten or something laps, you know there is something wrong.

Not terribly exiting, but there was some good battles late in the race and a few surprising results.

Even those at the track found it an underwhelming experience:

Watched the race at turn one for the start of the race and a few laps after Safety Car, fans were out of their seats but after lap 10 everyone was just sitting chatting and ignoring race.

Only Hulkenberg and Alonso really got people going again late in the race. Some didn’t even wait until the end of the race to leave, avoiding the traffic was more interesting than the foregone conclusion.

Back in my hotel room in Austin before flying home to the UK tomorrow.

Pretty boring race. The Ferrari race was the best of the day, and that ran for half of the laps behind the Safety Car!

Despite the tame race most people still seem to view the Circuit of the Americas as a worthwhile addition to the calendar:

Not a thriller, but it was a proper race around a great track – not the fake parade of gimmicks we had last time at Abu Dhabi. Like Silverstone, it’s a track that compels overtaking drivers to defend through two or three corners before the move is complete, so the class and bravery on display from Alonso, Hulkenberg and Bottas stood out – even if there weren’t many of them.

DRS was good for once – it maybe set up an extra move or two into turn one, but the other guy could still defend.

I had to miss this race last year but I heard that the slick surface and hard tyres made for a great race on what seems to be a great track so I was looking forward to this race with great anticipation. I was bitterly disappointed in the race, now that the track is a year old the surface has lost its shine and so has the race, Lewis was being told to save his tyres so early in the race it almost seemed like it was behind the safety, car and that was how the race went till the end.

And there were some who found it an enjoyable affair:

I actually got a kick out of this one. Bottas overtaking Gutierrez on the switchback and Button doing the same later, frequent wheel-to-wheel racing at the end of the straight, a strong battle between Grosjean and Webber, and Hulk and Alonso.

Sure, the fight for first was dull, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Red Bull is over-developed and Vettel is driving like a mad man. Given all the action on track, I can live with that.

A world record and some great drives from Bottas, Grosjean and Hulkenberg – particularly the former. Great last couple of laps between Alonso and Hulkenberg as well.

The DRS wasn’t too bad and the tyres generally were quite good at holding up too.

But for others the uneventful end to the season has left some wondering whether there are more serious problems with Formula One:

I really think that the past six or so races have dealt a hammer blow to the popularity of F1 racing.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s nor Vettel’s fault, it’s not Pirelli’s fault, but something awful has happened to F1 racing even at one of the most exciting tracks in the world.

Based on the costs accumulated by all the teams divided by the number of races this year, we just witnessed the expenditure of many tens of millions of dollars at a single event and it was bloody boring.

No wonder the global TV audience is falling.

The general apathy and negativity expressed in these comments shouldn’t just be swept under the carpet.

The people who are passionate enough about F1 to have an account on a website called F1 Fanatic are the sport’s most loyal fan base. So if this is what we think about the sport then goodness knows how F1 hopes to attract new people.

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2013 United States Grand Prix

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24 comments on “Second race at COTA gets much lower rating”

  1. Thanks to Pirelli.

    1. Why does everyone keep blaming Pirelli? It was the FIA that wanted the tires the way they are. Sheesh.

      1. @pastaman and the teams failing to get to some agreement whether they can be tested with a modern car

        1. yeah @maarten-f1 no kidding. Honestly, i’m shocked they elected to keep supplying after this year, but thank goodness they did! Can you imagine a new company coming in and designing degrading tires from scratch? The horror! We’d all be begging Pirelli to come back.

    2. Thanks to Pirelli.

      While you’re at it, you may as well blame TAG Heuer, Codemasters, and the US Treasury.

      1. I do blame codemasters, as they have clearly taught the FIA how to award penalties!

    3. Wrong.

      Thanks to Vettel. ;)

  2. Looking at Belgium, Italy, and Austin at the bottom of the rankings hurts me a lot. Showing how F1 was really ruined by the tyres and DRS. I hope 2014 brings us lots of surprises after the worst season ever.

    1. It’s not DRS or tyres fault, it’s your favorite teams fault for wanting to be reliant on stratagy to run thier races.

      1. it’s pirelli’s fault for not bringing softer compound to those races. all hard/medium

  3. Not surprising really. A lot of factors have contributed to making this last half of the season feel really stale, not least the fact that the championship was wrapped up early after the other teams basically gave in to Red Bull’s dominance to focus on 2014. Add to that the other bug-bears which have been adding up, such as a weariness shown towards DRS and Pirelli tyres and a more or less established order of finishing places, and it’s made for a succession of really dull races.

    It’s not COTA’s fault, the track is almost irrelevant. I mean Bahrain (Bahrain!) is the highest rated race of the season for pity’s sake!

    1. What´s up with Bahrain? it´s not Canada (i love it, one of my favorites), but it´s a really enjoyable circuit.

    2. +1
      What would happen if Austin, India or South Korea were switched to an early slot in the calendar? Would they be more interesting due to teams finding the sweet spot early in the season?

  4. Sucks to not see any race touch the 8 point average mark :/

  5. Not a good year, about time for a shake up of the rules I suppose.

  6. Funny to see Bahrain top of that list with Spa and Monza towards the bottom. Pretty much like last year when Abu Dhabi and Valencia got high ratings yet people are always complaining about these circuits replacing ‘m-muh classic tracks.’

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the classics like Spa and Monza but the incessant bashing of newer tracks is a bit silly when everyone is voting that they’ve held better races in the past two seasons.

    1. That’s one thing I noticed this year: the races at the classic tracks were not nearly as exciting as they’ve been in previous years. Canada, normally one of the best races of the season, was pretty bland this year. Spa/Monza are usually my favourites, but again, pretty bland this year. Spa/Monza was actually more fun to watch when lower categories are there (i.e. GP3 cars bump-drafting each other).

      Hopefully 2014 will bring more thrilling races, especially for race victories. Vettel winning consistently isn’t the issue, it’s the fact that other teams are unable to compete with them consistently. Hopefully we’ll see more thrilling title fights (more like 2010 and 2012 as opposed to 2011 and 2013).

  7. I’m just going to say it – there hasn’t been enough crashes this year. F1 has seemed bland, sterile and lacking all sense of risk and danger this year, and it’s sucked all the drama out of this season.

    I’m all for F1 being as safe as possible, and glad that serious accidents are vanishingly rare – but really when you go half a season without a half impressive shunt surely indicates either a) the cars are easy to drive b) the circuits are easy to drive c) the drivers aren’t pushing anywhere near the limit d) the drivers aren’t taking risks or e) all of the above.

    The cars on the whole look like they are on rails, on the majority of tracks it seems hard to even find a barrier and overtaking someone with DRS seems as challenging as making a cup of tea. It truly is like football without goalkeepers (or giant nets), or tennis without nets or boundaries, or hitting a golf ball into a dumpster.

    To counter the counterarguments:

    – I’m sure tyre saving is very difficult, but it is also boring as hell to watch. They may as well set a speedlimit or something.

    – I’m sure the cars would be too difficult for a mortal like me to drive, but I’m not sure if those brave 22 really are the best drivers in the world anymore because they sure don’t look challenged to me (especially considering some of the dross in the lower teams at the moment).

    – I’m not a crash-aholic at all but the danger and risk is where the sporting drama of F1 arises from, and when there’s no liklihood of anyone making a mistake then you may as well skip to the end of the race or read about it on F1fanatic afterwards. It’s hard to appreciate the winner of the race when he’s just driven the same 60-odd flawless laps as 22 other drivers (although I admit Vettel has been a class apart).

    Fingers crossed the new cars next year are a handful. Even more reliability worries will add to the unpredictability.

    1. It is interesting to note that Abu Dhabi and Valencia last year were only interesting because of crashes, safety cars, mad pit stops, etc.

      In 2010 cars were all over the place!

    2. You opening statement worried me but your explanation brought me onside, I don’t care for crashes but surely some drivers should be trying so hard that they lose it on a corner every now and then, and sometimes close racing ends in tears, but we no one is trying hard because to do so ruins the tyres and no one is engaging in close racing because it ruins the tyres. So yes, you are right.

    3. Absolutely right. But it isn’t only crashes, just normal spins don’t happen any more, and when the possibility is there, the astro turf and run off areas save them. I’m hoping next year’s cars are more difficult to drive. I don’t want to have to rely on the rain.

  8. Wow, you guys must have been watching the wrong race. I there was good action on the track. Especially through the DRS Zones. I would put this no where near the bottom. Same can be said about Bahrain this year. People thought it was disappointing but there was clearly great action within a range of 15 laps that kept me on the edge!

  9. Well…. that tends to happen when the championship has been wrapped up 3-4 races before the season is over.
    In other words blame RBR, VET, FIA and PIRELLI for producing another unappealing season for the rest of the fans. Sucks really!

  10. Marc Porras (@)
    1st December 2013, 1:06

    That’s exactly how I feel about it. The championship had been decided and Vettle was going to win, unless his car failed. I thought there was some good challenges here and there though. I was rooting for Kova’ to have a good race.

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