Your favourite – and least favourite – F1 races of 2015

2015 F1 season review

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In the eighth year of F1 Fanatic’s Rate the Race series, 2015 produced the second-lowest set of ratings of any season so far. Only the 2009 championship ranked lower on average – and only by a small margin.

However this year’s championship had its highlights, notably in Hungary and the USA, whose races were popular enough to rank among the top ten of the 149 races F1 Fanatic readers have given their verdicts on since 2008.

While Mercedes’ rivals largely failed to make any serious gains on them, the result was a season which didn’t live up to the standard set last year. The average race rating of 7.1 in 2014 was bettered by just five individual races over the last 12 months.

Here’s the full breakdown of your favourite and least favourite races of the 2015 season, and how your ratings compared to the highlights and lowlights of past championships.

Best and worst races of 2015

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Circuit ratings, 2008-2015

Average Rate the Race scores, 2008-2015

Year Average rating Highest rating Lowest rating
2008 6.651 8.756 (Brazil) 3.977 (Europe)
2009 6.316 8.309 (Brazil) 5.276 (Turkey)
2010 6.759 8.668 (Canada) 3.740 (Germany)
2011 7.23 9.241 (Chinese) 3.871 (Europe)
2012 7.367 9.449 (Brazil) 5.158 (Korea)
2013 6.691 7.826 (Bahrain) 5.017 (Abu Dhabi)
2014 7.127 9.190 (Canada) 4.064 (Russia)
2015 6.332 9.115 (Hungary) 4.566 (Brazil)

2015 F1 season review

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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40 comments on “Your favourite – and least favourite – F1 races of 2015”

  1. For beind one of the most spectacular tracks and favorites among drivers Suzuka surely has a low average. Maybe they should cut out the last chicane to aid overtaking.

    1. That chicane is an overtaking spot though.

    2. Maybe it’s the GP2 engines which hurt the racing there..

      1. The engine units produce both more torque and horsepower than the V8’s.

        1. He was referencing Alonso his comments.

        2. Totally hate getting into the shower & being surprised by the chafe burn that I di93;#nd&t pick up! Now that I'll be sweating like a beast in this heat, I definitely CANNOT forget the Bodyglide.

    3. @xtwl
      Although the rate the race poll did not occur in 2014 for obvious reasons (Bianchi), that race had a great chance of being rated at least 8 out of 10 before that accident.

    4. That’s how it used to be before 1983. Check this out:

  2. Hungaroring has a reputation of a boring track where you can’t overtake and yet it’s avg. score is 3rd highest of all F1 tracks! :D
    I guess couple of rain races we’ve seen there has helped to raise its score.

    What’s the average score for Nürburgring? Is it better than Hockenheim’s?

    1. Hungary has been a great race for a long time now. I struggle to recall from memory before 2011 but every race from at least then on has been great, I never understand why they start the weekend out talking it down and then we get one of the highlights of the season.

    2. Hungaroring is also one of the best tracks to play on the F1 racing games as well. The whole track has a great flow and keeps you busy throughout. And if you get one turn wrong, the following 2 turns also go off which means it demands lot of concentration too.

    3. Nurburgring is surely higher rated than Hockenheim thanks to 2010’s snoozefest coupled with Ferrari controversy.

      2012’s Hungarian GP was boring and the following year’s race was average. Yes, generally the races are pretty good but I think this is more down to circumstances than to the layout himself. In 2000s they were plenty of processions.

      1. @michal2009b – I could same the same words regarding Monza or Imola but for some reason they just get away with it. Meanwhile Hungaroring gets all the bad talk.

        Hungaroring >>> Monza >>> Imola

        1. * I could say

  3. The age old problem of wishy-washy-impossible-to-overtake-aero, increased field spread and of course the dependence on gimmicks (can’t forget the gimmicks) has left me with a feeling of indifference towards 2015’s F1 season.

    And I don’t see it getting better anytime soon.

    1. I think the idea of effective aero without it being affected by dirty air is a bit of a furphy.
      The more advanced the aero is the more it’ll be tuned to normal conditions. So, I imagine that its effectiveness will be disrupted when conditions arn’t normal even more, for instance, behind another car.

      And you can’t unlearn what you know, so the chance of us fixing the problem is, well, impossible I think. The only way as far as I can see it is reduce aero freedom so much that it will either become laughably slow, or, stock. And neither are good alternatives to our problem we have now.

      I’m not sure that there is any way to make aero not significantly affected by dirty air. And I also think, with the cars lining up to be faster than ever before in 2017, it’ll likely get worse.

      1. Christos Pallis
        30th December 2015, 17:17

        It’s actually simple, reduce or standardise more of the upper body aero, wings etc and add back under floor aero, skirts etc. This will allow much closer following of one car to another as under body downforce does not wash out when driving in disturbed air!

        1. Reduce or standardise more of the upper body aero, wings etc and add back under floor aero, skirts etc


          Which, sadly is not the direction F1 is taking for 2017. The problem either gets worse or stagnates if the proposed 2017 aero regulations remain as they are at the moment.

        2. No One Better (@)
          30th December 2015, 20:06

          According to Pat Symonds of Williams Racing, the belief that aero generated by ground effects not affecting the trailing car is a misnomer. I think Pat knows more than we do.

      2. Excellent comment. The current aero is indeed too perfect for clean air running and by corollary, too imperfect for dirty air running.
        However, one way of fixing this problem is increasing the mechanical grip available to cars as that will reduce the relevance of aero grip. Another solution could be to borrow some elements from oval racing. The aero there is made to work in dirty air as cars slip stream each other all the time. So, those elements that are present in open wheel oval racing cars and are critical for dirty air racing can be standardized in F1 cars.

  4. @keithcollantine nice subject, but two things:

    1. Average Rate the Race scores, 2008-2014 (should be 2015)
    2. Lowest score wasn’t Mexico, it was Brazil.

  5. This season wasn’t an all time classic season, but two exceptional races, another 4 great races, 2 decent races and then just 3 mediocre races with the rest being pretty average seems fair enough to me.

    Sure there’s been a very vocal contingent ready to vote every race that was won by Mercedes without a start to finish tussle, mixed weather conditions and championship deciding racing down as low as they can without any appreciation for the nuances that grand prix racing is about. But from those scores fans on the whole seem to mirror my own sentiment that it was actually a fairly entertaining season

    Oh and of course there is the even more vocal contingent of Lewis Hamilton haters ready to compare any race he won with paint drying but looking over the race average scores it would seem common sense and actual fans prevailed.

  6. What stands out most for me here is, with data from well over a hundred races now and thousands of votes, the spread of ratings between different tracks is actually quite small – only one or two or of ten. Especially in the case of those which have held several races.

    1. Why do you think this is the case?

      Could it be that circumstance is more important than the layout in most cases?

      1. I certainly think we’d get a clearer picture by filtering out rain-affected races – and perhaps races with rain-affected qualifying sessions – though of course that would leave us with a considerably reduced pool of data.

    2. I think that might have something to do with how high people vote in general. The worst race score is about a 4, so the one out of ten scale is more like a one out of six, and 2 points there seems a bit more substantial. There’s probably more to it than that, but I think it plays a part.

    3. @keithcollantine I think it’s inherent of using an average. If a great race gets a lot of 8’s, someone giving it a 2 has a huge effect on the average grade. It would not have happened if you had used the median instead of the mean.

      1. @matthijs Good point and definitely something I’ll consider if I do more with this data.

      2. It depends on the number of voters though, how much of an effect that 2 has i.e. if it’s one vote in ten, it has a large effect, but if it’s one vote in a thousand, the effect is negligible.

    4. Tilke tracks tend to get lower ratings, but the effect is only about 0.3 points on average.

  7. IMO, Monaco should be last, and not ahead of these eight races (Austria, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Spain, Japan, Australia), which all featured more on-track overtaking, and battles than the Monaco GP. I must have been watching different races then.

    1. Number of overtakes =/= Exciting race.

      In this case, the race was turned on its head with the Hamilton/Mercedes pit blunder, giving the end an air of unpredictability that wasn’t there in most of the races ranked below it.

      1. For me, The Hamilton/Mercedes pit blunder doesn’t make up for the lack of overtaking/battles. At least, most of the races ranked below Monaco had more of it.

        1. Completely agreed, Monaco was the most boring race of the season, a typical monaco procession with absolutely no overtaking until the final 10 laps and even in those final laps there wasnt any overtaking, it was just in my opinion the surprise element and shock from the pitstop blunder that made the ranking for the race higher than it should be.

    2. If your watching Monaco for overtaking then your watching it for the wrong reason.

      Monaco is about watching drivers been challenged as they thread there way between the walls knowing that if they go even a little over the limits they will hit the wall & damage the car. Its a completely different challenge to any other race (Including the other street circuits) because there is little room for error, there is no masses of runoff to save a driver should he make the mistake & its that element which makes Monaco special & why I always find the Monaco Gp to be exciting & thrilling to watch….. Just a shame the tyre management of the past few years has kind of neutered that challenge a bit sadly :(

  8. Seems to be an even spread of tracks in so called non-motorsport loving nations and motorsport loving nations. Shows that crowd attendance doesn’t really affect the excitement of the race?

  9. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    31st December 2015, 9:05

    Sochi could have gottan a higher rating because of the battle between Räikkönen, Bottas and Pérez for the podium spot.

    Sepang could be 8.5 and higher, and Silverstone would be 8 or higher if Williams didn’t screw up.

    Spa was the worst race for me as I supported Ferrari this season. Also, all the races ranked below 6 was the ones that almost made me threaten to never rate the races again (except Shanghai).

  10. I like this article. :)

  11. @raceprouk you are correct. But I noticed that there is always a considerable group that gives opposite grades than the rest. That does have an effect on the mean. Using the median ‘solves’ that, disadvantage is that different opinions aren’t counted anymore. To make it more difficult, @keithcollantine could determine an ‘average median’ to solve that.

    1. Should have been a reply, sorry for that.

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