Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014

Dull Chinese Grand Prix gets lowest score so far

2014 Chinese Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014The Chinese Grand Prix was always going to have a hard time to live up to the standard set by the thrilling race which preceded it.

Against the backdrop of a grey, smoggy Shanghai a fittingly indifferent race was played out on the Shanghai International Circuit.

F1 Fanatic readers gave the Chinese Grand Prix the lowest rating of the season so far. Its score of 5.473 is poorest for this round of the world championship since 2008 which, like this year, also saw a dominant lights-to-flag win by Lewis Hamilton.

It leaves the impression that the high score for the Bahrain Grand Prix might have been a one-off, which does not bode well for the remaining 15 rounds. Particularly as the Chinese Grand Prix usually scores quite highly and has seen some great races in the past.

What was the Chinese Grand Prix lacking? Here’s what you had to say in the comments.

Team orders at Red Bull

The jury is still out as to whether Sebastian Vettel let Daniel Ricciardo past when he was told to, or made a mistake which his team mate benefited from.

As was clear in Bahrain, Vettel doesn’t have a problem letting his team mate through when on different tyres or strategy, but this time it was different. Ricciardo was on the same tyres and although Red Bull said he was on a different strategy at the time, he went on to use the same as Vettel.

While the instruction from the pit wall was met with disapproval, several of you seemed to enjoy Vettel’s blunt response:

The highlight of the race was Vettel’s “tough luck” radio message.

Was quite an interesting race. Driver quote of the year goes to Vettel: “What tyres is he on?”, then: “tough luck”.

Shanghai’s shortcomings

Although we’ve seen some exciting Chinese Grands Prix in the ten years since it first appeared in the calendar, misgivings remains about the Shanghai International Circuit:

It is the type of track that makes a lot races boring.

It seems that after the first few laps the drivers need to have telescopes attached to their visors to be able to see the next car. If we had more tracks like Montreal and Brazil it would not be so bad because at least those tracks are shorter and keep the cars bunched up a little bit closer together.

I don’t care if Hamilton or Vettel wins every race, as long as they have the second place driver right behind them.

It must be said Shanghai does not led itself to great racing. Other elements, such as the extreme tyre wear does help, but the actual track layout doesn’t.

That back straight is just ridiculous- the corner leading up to it isn’t that great either and the last turn is just awful for drivers to overtake into turn one. Drivers need to be able to pick more than one line through a corner before a turn to set up a move and they just cant do that in China.

The competition

And some readers found more enjoyment watching the other races which featured on F1 Fanatic Live that weekend:

The Silverstone Six Hours was far more exciting, with some pretty daring overtakes for endurance racing!
Jonathan Sarginson

BTCC Donington, now that’s racing.

“Pretty dull”

But for most people the race simply failed to hold their interest:

The race failed to excite a lot of people, many calling it boring and complaining about a lack of wheel to wheel action. Some did defend the race though.

I never fall asleep when watching F1, but I did today… it was pretty dull overall, although it had some impressive moments.

Boring race for me, hardly saw any battles for position. I think it was Martin Brundle who summed it up by saying “this is certainly no Bahrain”. I watched Bahrain three times, I doubt I’ll watch this race again.

I knew it wasn’t going to be edge of seat stuff like Bahrain but I think the race was still enjoyable, with the Red Bull battle and Rosberg hunting down second place keeping me entertained.

It was pretty much the most average race, not bad, not great, just average. It was better than Malaysia, due to there being a few battles out there, although the battle for the lead was non-existent, there was still a small amount of tension when following Alonso.

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2014 Chinese Grand Prix

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    52 comments on “Dull Chinese Grand Prix gets lowest score so far”

    1. Sumedh Vidwans
      28th April 2014, 12:44

      So, looks like Bahrain was the exception.. Not China. Was Luca right then?

      1. Not really. As this was another lights to flag victory it was never even in contention to be up there with the best. Closest comparison is indeed that race in 2008 which did not have much to offer. After that, most races we had here have been a lot better with interesting incidents, new winners, and weather affected spectacle.

        1. As this was another lights to flag victory it was never even in contention to be up there with the best.

          Part of this is created by the current qualifying format. If you choose a qualifying format that effectively seeks to create the order of cars from fastest to slowest … then isn’t that more or less what you’d expect to get?
          If you changed the qualifying format to set the order from fastest accelerating to slowest accelerating, e.g. from a standing start down the main straight and around the first corner, then you’d have less carnage at the start (since everyone in that part of the grid is accelerating at the same rate) and a better mix of cars, so maybe a more interesting race.

          1. There should only be one qualifying event at the start of the year. After that you start the next race where you finished the previous race. In that case Lewis Hamilton would have started the second race of the year at the back of the grid and would we would likely have a much closer points standings. Lots of people don’t like this idea, but the truth is that there are a lot of drivers who have come back to the finish in the top five after starting near or at the back of the grid. It would also help save the teams on fuel costs by not having to worry about qualifying after Australia.

            1. @irejag, but then one DNF can cost a driver multiple races to catch back up to the front, depending on the circuit. For instance, suppose your engine fails in Spain, then you score 0 there, and probably 0 as well for the next round in Monaco. Then finally in Canada you might score a few points again, but your championship rivals are way down the road by that time.

            2. @adrianmorse, I think the idea is a bit silly but you could probably remedy that by restructuring the points, perhaps including bonus points for places gained.

            3. OmarR-Pepper (@)
              29th April 2014, 16:12

              @adrianmorse not silly, but with so many variables the championship would be more confusing and quite randomized. It would almost be as artificial as Abu Double

            4. Silly? Artificial? I know the idea is not popular, but it would lead to far more exciting races and keep things tighter in the standings. In every other sport if you have one or two bad games you have to fight back through the standings. This is essentially the same idea.
              If Hamilton has to start the a race from the back because he had a DNF the previous race, you can almost be sure that it will happen to Vet and Alo at some point during the season as well.

      2. maarten.f1 (@)
        28th April 2014, 15:29

        Exceptional races are always an exception. They happen from time to time, but not every week. An exciting race is a combination of so many things that happen all at once. If it wasn’t for the safety car in Bahrain, it would’ve been less exciting as well.

        And no, Luca is not right. Luca doesn’t have the interest of Formula 1 in mind, only that of Ferrari. Any Formula where there’s not a red car leading the race is a boring one, according to Luca.

    2. I enjoyed this race more than malaysia even if i prefer the malay circuit.

      1. Bang on how I feel.

    3. To me it was a fairly average race with some smaller nice moments, seems that is reflected in the voting.

    4. I feel like a broken record. The only reason Bahrain was so good was because of the testing that went on there. Everyone already had track and setup data.

      1. Races on tracks that had testing done on them before have always been among the most boring. That’s why testing usually does not occur on regular F1 tracks (before the race weekend)

        Bahrein was exciting because different pitstop strategies were used, there was a fight for the lead and the safety car bunching them all up.

    5. Only reason Bahrain was so “good” was late safety car that close up cars like it was start of the race.Then it was all bets are off.If that happened in China result would be same and we would even had fight for 1st place.Maybe they should introduce mandatory safety car in last 20 laps….

      1. Personally I was just as excited about the action that took place before the safety car in Bahrain, so I don’t think that the necessary ingredient for excitement is a late safety car.

        I think cars in close proximity to each other creates the excitement, and while safety cars do that, so could some tweaks to the rules, but I think so might some further time for the teams with this brand new chapter in F1.

        One team dominating is fine if they often are racing each other, but otherwise cars that have to intentionally hang back to stay out of dirty air, or intentionally wait for a DRS zone to pass, negatively affects the races. Reduce aero for closer racing.

        Otherwise though, just because Bahrain rated highly did not mean all the races that followed were going to be the same, and just because China didn’t thrill doesn’t mean that is how the rest of the season will go.

    6. The Silverstone Six Hours was far more exciting, with some pretty daring overtakes for endurance racing!

      Unquestionably. Was some amazing racing to be seen.

    7. “Fans on F1 Fanatic voiced their fury with this new Formula One by slamming the dull Chinese Grand Prix as the worst race of the decade, and demanded a return to the exciting days of 2002 and 2004.”
      – Ferrari’s website tomorrow.

      1. lol.. loved that one…

    8. I simply cannot understand why we expect EVERY GP to bring edge of seat, heart thumping, scruff of the neck excitement. This is the nature of sport. Not every football game, tennis match, or basketball game is filled with excitement, last minute scores and thrillers.
      If you want to be thrilled at ever turn, then watch WWE!
      The only reason Bahrain was exiting was (1) the late safety car, and (2) Lewis’s ability to duel with Rosberg. If Rosberg had overtaken Lewis, and he had given up the first time, i doubt we will be seeing Bahrain as the classic race it is surely destined to be.
      It is NOT every day a sports person is able to dig deep and find those kind of performances within themselves; and it is NOT every day the ideal circumstance would be created for it either.

      1. I don’t know that a blanket statement can be made that implies we all expect every race to be an edge-of-the-seater, and I think it just is what it is. A race is somewhat dull and it is reflected in the ratings, and a race is exciting and it scores highly. I don’t think most people expect a Bahrain every time, but it sure would be nice to have at least some more of them throughout the season through regs that emphasize aero less, as one example.

        You are absolutely right that not every game in sports is a thriller, nor every athlete expected to have the game of his/her life every time, but F1 could go a lot further in closing up the field so that the drivers have an opportunity to shine rather than just lap around handcuffed to do much because of dirty air, or tire or fuel concerns. The regs for football, tennis, and basketball are set…F1 is far more complex in that regard when hundreds of millions in equipment is needed. They have the ability to tweak the regs and bring the cars closer for more chances at edge of the seat stuff…and DRS is not it…that is simply predictable and unmemorable stuff. But there are many more options and combinations that can help.

    9. I thought it was a slightly boring race, though I think it’s a bit harsh to blame the track, especially since it produced so many good races in the past. A more likely cause, I think as Ross Brawn once said, is that the entire weekend is spent to ensure that the cars line up on the grid from fastest to slowest.

      It was a pity therefore, that the come-back through the field from the only driver really out of position, Rosberg (especially after the first lap), was a bit of a non-event. At the risk of ‘preaching for the own parish’, as we say in Dutch, DRS made Rosberg’s move up the field entirely unremarkable. I am sure that even without DRS he would have made it into P2, but at least we would have seen some racing.

    10. I reminded me of a race where Schumacher won from pole to flag in his Ferrari and Barrichello who had to come from a little further down but still easily got second. Meanwhile some minor scraps going on down the field, but nothing really unpredictable.

    11. @Somehow despite looking for it daily I missed the rate-the-race article, I would only have given it 5, for me quite clearly the tyres were every bit as bad as they were last year causing drivers to hang back due to the inevitable premature tyre wear and the masses of tyre shreds off line. When is it going to dawn on people that these tyres are ruining the racing rather than enhancing it.?

      1. I don’t think the tires are every bit as bad as last year. They are not delaminating, they are not exploding, they are lot looking to need changing mid-season, nor do I get the sense that they are falling off a cliff so suddenly that a bloke finds himself losing spots until he can come into the pits. Not that I disagree with you entirely and that I think these tires are the perfect solution, but I do think they are better than you are giving them credit for, and I may have missed something but I don’t get the sense from drivers and teams that they have nearly an issue with these tires, if any, anywhere near like they were such a huge issue last year.

        1. @robbie, I was referring to the final tyre and talking from the racing rather than the safety side, 2 drivers, Hamilton and Vettel (iirc) ran off the track while not under pressure at the end of their tyres life and regardless of these facts we know Vettel decided to break of his battle with Alonso to preserve his tyres, I’m betting others did the same.

          1. @hohum Yeah, that’s fair comment. I still say it feels to me like it is not as bad as last year at least in terms of complaints from the teams, and the tires were supposed to be less the story and beefier to handle the torque, but maybe said torque is challenging the Pirelli’s more than expected. And no question the fronts were graining in China and there were mega marbles.

            Just for conversation I think this is a by-product of having a sole tire maker in F1. If they make the stable kind of tires that we would like to see, then tires don’t get talked about nearly as much and so they don’t get the marketing impact from being in F1. When Michelin wasn’t mandated to make their tires a big factor in race outcomes, they stated they would welcome a competing tire maker so that we would talk about tires again, as they weren’t happy with the lack of mention they experienced.

    12. Obviously it got such a bad rating because of the lack of noise from the engines. If we fix that then it will be much better watching a train of cars going round and round.

      PS my name isn’t Bernie and I was being sarcastic.

    13. It really was a dull race. Lewis’ victories tend to either be absolutely thrilling or a complete snooze. This was certainly the latter.

      I haven’t lost faith though, Bahrain (and to a degree Australia) showed us that these regulations can deliver drama and fantastic wheel-to-wheel racing, but at the moment I feel that other racing series are providing far more excitement, and championship fights that may last longer than this one (even with Abu Double).

    14. I’m quite a bit surprised. There was a lot more tension in the Chinese Grand Prix as compared to the Malaysian Grand Prix. Not sure why the race has been rated thus.
      Maybe it is expected. The Bahrain Grand Prix had increased expectations among people, and it all came crashing rather heavily at China. I don’t believe the ratings are an accurate description of how a race went, some people seem to suffer from the ‘last race’ syndrome.

      1. There could be some of that (last race syndrome) but it’s hard to say. It could be because Malaysia was Lewis’ first win for a while, whereas China was a repeat in some sense, with a bit of an aura of inevitability (perhaps for the season too?).

        But i agree with you, i had Malaysia as a 4, China as a 6.

    15. It was a dreadfully dull race overall IMO.

      Bahrain was exciting before and after the SC came out IMO.

    16. Honestly, it’s again a situation where DRS slightly ruined many of the battles, as did the number of pit stops. 2 stop races and no DRS would improve the situation drastically.

      1. I should clarify by that I mean races where two stops is the conservative strategy: an easy enough feat to pull off without too much degradation.

    17. I didn’t think China was that dull at all, I enjoyed it.

      It had some close racing, Some nice on track battles for position & a good amount of overtaking (40) through the field.

      Go back 5-6 years that race woudl have been scored 7-8/10. The DRS/Pirelli tyres of the past few years have simply given people stupid expectations that every race should feature 80+ passes & have all sorts of tyre related nonsense going on.

      Now the racing has become more sensible, The tyres are not too big a factor & DRS isn’t as stupidly overpowered as it has been the past 3 seasons.
      Yet were still getting some close racing & a decent amount of overtaking & I personally am finding F1 2014 to be far more exciting/interesting than I have the past 3 years where I despised the effect Tyres/DRS were having on things.

      I find it funny how people tend to jump on the ‘there was no overtaking’ opinion despite the fact the actual figures show a race had a good amount. It was the same for Melbourne/Sepang the post race comments suggested there had been no overtaking yet both races featured 30+.
      People whined when we had around 10 overtakes & there still whining when we have 30+, If you really do need 80+ overtakes every race with overtaking every lap then seriously go watch Nascar or something.

    18. China is my least favorite track. I’m not worried about the rest of the season, because I always feel China is a low point, and there’s no reason the next race won’t be great.

      Thinking about Vettel’s “tough luck” brings more mirth to me than any recent F1 happening, except for Lewis pitting in the McLaren box, which I still find hysterical.

    19. Could it be races where the tyre-wear is limited by front tyres generally tend to be more on the dull/boring side compared to traction-limited races, and that this will especially hold true with this years regulations?

      And why doesn´t it rain in F1-races anymore?

    20. I actually thought it was a decent race. I ignored Lewis with him being off in the distance (yes, I’m a HAM supporter…but he wasn’t in the same race as everyone else last week). I’m glad he won, but it wasn’t even part of the race as far as I was concerned.
      For me, it was interesting to see the fighting in the midfield and I laughed so hard when Kobi passed Vettel that it totally made my day. Yes, Seb it was only because of his new tires…but it was still funny as H#LL. LOL
      And Seb and RIC going at it was interesting as well as seeing Alonso fight through early and hang on for a podium. I’m not an Alonso fan, but I can certainly admire and respect a drive like that. And RIC sure looked sharp as well.
      Yes, compared to Bahrain it was low key, but I still enjoyed it.

      1. @daved, no need to top your glass up just yet then ?

        1. LOL No, I’m good for now. But I seem to be in the minority right now.

    21. It was boring.

    22. Call me crazy but what if (think about it) F1 introduced a handicap system like in horse racing. Say if the same person won two or three times they would have to carry an extra weight and if they won again, then a bit more weight. Not to much just 500Gm to a kilo or something thereabouts. I would love to know what you might think.

      1. @anakincarlos, it’s not crazy, as it is quite common in touring cars series. However, I personally don’t like it there, and I would certainly not like it in F1, where it is up to the teams (constructors!) to improve the car on a race-by-race basis.

    23. Ok, now we have 4 GP raced which 3 were very very boring and 1 very exciting in the last 15 laps. Any thoughts on that?

      1. @yes-master For me the first race was exciting because of the unknown. Bahrain was exciting for far more than just the last 15 laps. The other two were not ‘very very boring’ imho. And it is early days in a brand new chapter.

    24. Question for people who thought China (And Melbourne/Sepang) were boring.

      What do you want from an f1 race which makes it exciting to you?

      If its overtaking, Then all 3 of these races featured a good level of it.
      If its close racing, Then again all 3 races featured plenty of it.
      If its some good racing scraps, Again there was plenty in all 3 races.

      I honestly don’t understand what people want from F1 as even good races with plenty of good, close racing & plenty of overtaking get labeled as boring? Its really confusing!

      1. Maybe those who seem to feel these sort of races were boring should just not watch f1 as they clearly don’t enjoy it if they feel good races are boring.

      2. You seem to confuse drive by’s with overtaking, common mistake.

        Ask yourself how come McLaren of all team are still running without main sponsor, coincidence or years of dumbing down the sport perhaps?

        1. But there hasn’t been many Drive-By’s this year so far.

          I’ve been no fan of DRS, I hate the thing & the past 3 seasons regularly complained about those drive-by passes it created.
          This year however DRS is working better, I still hate the stupid thing & want it banned asap, But at least this year its so far not been overpowered & has not been creating the drive-by passes I have hated the prior 3 seasons.

    25. Formula 1 has been dull since 2001 .reasons rules regs .restriction on engine and areo.drs.stopping refuelling. The crap tyres we got now .kers. and the fast teams being slowed down because slower useless teams couldn’t keep up.and f1 being about money making and not about racing

    26. Can’t do it myself but would like to see analysis of Bahrain vs other races, -something- made it more exiting.

      My bet is still on the tires, teams were reporting very little difference between option and prime that weekend thus negating a lot of strategy; in exchange of track action.

      1. True.
        China featured a lot of tyre graining, Sepang had a lot of deg as did Melbourne.

        Bahrain has been the one race this year where the tyre degredation was less of an issue, An easy 2-stop.
        About the only issue with tyres that weekend was nico rosberg overheating his fronts in the final laps due to pushing lewis has hard as he was & trying a few late braking moves.

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