Off-track drama enlivens Mexican procession

2016 Mexican Grand Prix Rate the Race result

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Big on controversy, short on racing: last weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix was an unsatisfying race for most F1 Fanatic readers.

Between the controversial start of the race, where the Mercedes drivers decided turn two was optional, and the furious final laps, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez saw a mostly forgettable procession.

That didn’t stop a huge number of fans turning out again. But will they keep coming for races this indifferent? Here’s what you thought of the Mexican Grand Prix:

The epitome of a dull race. This was exactly the kind of race plenty of people criticised in the refuelling era, but instead of Magny-Cours or Imola we now have this Tilke-fied version of Hermanos Rodriguez.

What does it say about a race when the most exciting thing is Verstappen getting booted out of the pre-podium room?

There’s something wrong with the Mexican circuit but i don’t know what it is. The final sector is like the final sector of Catalunya, which makes overtaking very difficult down the main straight. I don’t know how I’d change things, either.

Once again the Mexican fans were great so it was a shame they didn’t get to enjoy a race their support deserved.

I seem to recall that last year’s grand prix wasn’t that good either, hopefully next year things will be better.

I am not sure what the main cause for the dull races is, whether it was the lower than usual tyre degradation, the thinner air at the high altitude meaning DRS was less effective, the circuit itself or just a combination of several factors.

However for some the middle part of the race was not without highlights:

The tension due to the Rosberg versus Verstappen battle for second was entertaining through most of the race, and ended only when Verstappen’s failed attempt resulted in Rosberg drawing away.

The ending had excitement, but it turned out to be the unwanted kind due to the penalties, particularly with Vettel’s penalty being handed out so late.

Perez chasing the Williams was also very entertaining – a better car stymied by the straight line speed of the slippery Williams.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2016
Verstappen the villain or the man who livens up F1?

Max Verstappen – the gift that keeps on giving.

It’s been since the late nineties that I had so much fun during a season.

Not everyone was thrilled by Verstappen’s driving. Toto Wolff was unhappyhe raced as hard as he did with one of Mercedes’ championship-contending drivers. And others also felt the Red Bull driver had gone too far:

I’m not talking about the merits of whether the move was a good one or not, obviously others are talking about that. However, in all the history of F1 I’ve seen – and I’ve been around a while now – when the championship comes down to the wire and with this being the third-last race, the main championship contenders are generally left alone and given a wide berth, because no one wants to be involved with ruining one drivers’ championship hopes.

It seems Verstappen is either oblivious, or doesn’t believe in that unspoken rule by touching wheels with Rosberg on the first corner. I’m a little bit shocked that he would risk tangling with a main championship contender just to get a position on the track that he struggle to maintain in comparison to the Mercedes significant pace advantage.

It wasn’t just the ‘unspoken rules’ which provoked debate – the rule book itself proved to be a grey area again:

Completely ruined by inconsistency in the stewarding.

It’s hard to blame any of the drivers for their incidents really because none of them know exactly what the rules are or how they will be applied. I really hope they stop blaming each other (which is what I think the stewarding is trying to provoke, as it is entertaining, but for the wrong reasons) and realise that it’s a circumstance of the lack of consistency.

The drivers should direct their ire towards the stewards rather than each other as it really is ruining the legitimacy of the competition.

More durable tyres are planned for next year, but Sunday’s race suggested to some they may not benefit the competition:

If anything this race was a statement against long-life tyres. Everyone stopped between lap 15 and 20 and then there was 50 laps of status quo. Only thanks to Vettel do we have something to talk about.
Leo B

The second Mexican Grand Prix at the revised Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez received a higher rating than the first one. But as last year’s scored just 5.4 out of ten, that isn’t saying much.

2016 Rate the Race Results

RaceAverage score
2016 Spanish Grand Prix8.706
2016 Austrian Grand Prix8.097
2016 Malaysian Grand Prix8.013
2016 Chinese Grand Prix7.853
2016 Australian Grand Prix7.757
2016 Monaco Grand Prix7.747
2016 Bahrain Grand Prix7.382
2016 Belgian Grand Prix7.249
2016 Singapore Grand Prix7.112
2016 Japanese Grand Prix6.979
2016 Canadian Grand Prix6.583
2016 British Grand Prix6.478
2016 United States Grand Prix6.044
2016 Mexican Grand Prix5.943
2016 German Grand Prix5.814
2016 Russian Grand Prix5.396
2016 Hungarian Grand Prix5.052
2016 Italian Grand Prix4.944
2016 European Grand Prix4.728

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2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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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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    34 comments on “Off-track drama enlivens Mexican procession”

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      3rd November 2016, 15:44

      Now it seems that, more often than not, races are intended to be dull. Boooooring.

      1. The average score for a race this year is now just 6.730 points, and that’s despite some races getting unrealistically high scores simply because there was a Mercedes stumble to distract us briefly from the yawnfest F1 has become. (Two of the top three highest-scoring races are, not coincidentally, races where both Mercs had crashes or equipment failures.)

        It would be interesting to see a summary of the overall scores for each season, for as far back as these polls have been held. Even if they’re not terribly meaningful because they’re not properly controlled and presented in an unbiased way, the polls here are about the best way we have to judge F1’s decline — and I’m pretty sure we’d see both a decline in the overall scores for seasons, and also an increase in the scores handed out for otherwise-boring races where a Merc simply doesn’t finish on the top two steps.

        1. spafrancorchamps
          4th November 2016, 10:26

          It’s not unfair these two GP’s get high scores. Mercedes dominance has made F1 boring, fans like to see fights for the victory, fights for the other spots aren’t as interesting. Therefore, a race without Mercedes, means: a possible fight for the victory, which means people are more likely to enjoy the race.

    2. I feel like that rating is a bit low, it was a lot better than last year’s race. I didn’t think it was great but I was never bored (mostly thanks to Ricciardo and Vettel’s strategies). Perhaps the post-race penalties caused some people to drop it points.

      1. I’d agree with that, I would have given it a 6-7 (closer to 7 probably) if it weren’t for the – and I’m sick of using this word by now, it’s been months – inconsistencies with the stewarding.

        I think I need to find some new words for that, how about incongruities, contrarieties, even borderline paradoxicalities. Please FIA, stop making me look up words to describe your idiocy…

        1. I’d agree with that, I would have given it a 6-7 (closer to 7 probably) if it weren’t for the – and I’m sick of using this word by now, it’s been months – inconsistencies with the stewarding.

          I think I need to find some new words for that, how about incongruities, contrarieties, even borderline paradoxicalities. Please FIA; stop making me look up words to describe your lack of logic…

          1. Please just give us an edit button T_T

      2. I’d agree with that, I would have given it a 6-7 (closer to 7 probably) if it weren’t for the – and I’m sick of using this word by now, it’s been months – inconsistencies with the stewarding.

        I think I need to find some new words for that, how about incongruities, contrarieties, even borderline paradoxicalities. Please FIA; stop making me look up words to describe your lack of logic…

    3. I seem to recall that last year’s grand prix wasn’t that good either, hopefully next year things will be better…was the quote from the article…..How exactly then will that happen??? as I just do not see how it will improve…
      We are having cars with more aerodynamic grip…bigger tyres etc so there will be more chicanes cut than corners taken….
      Its just a track that will never be exciting…unless it rains of course…..Bernie the hosepipe!!

    4. This race just confirms how dull low degradation tyres slated for 2017 will be. 1-stop, no strategy variation, no passing, processional. People criticizing the current tyre rules need to take a good hard look at what they’re actually asking for.

      1. @mikee, I took a long hard look at low degradation tyres for the 1st 25 years I followed F1, and then Bernie decided re-fuelling would add some tactics so the American commentators would have something to talk about, it’s been downhill ever since.

    5. I didn’t think the race was all that bad. The first few laps were good and the last 7 to 8 laps were great. It was quite a good battle between Red Bull and Ferrari, and it had a lot of interesting radio banter.

      Overall, we’ve seen much poorer races this season. I would actually rate it a 7 (average race)

      1. @todfod, average ? yes, so 5 from me . How do you calculate average as 7 out of 10 ?

        1. @hohum

          If you sum up the ratings of all the races this year, and find the average thus far, it will be around 6.5 to 7. So, an average race for this season would receive a rating of 7.

          1. @todfod, Ok, I can see that works for F1 as it is this year, hopefully a similar rating next year will be more entertaining.

    6. I think that the repeated image of the masked wrestler in the FOM broadcast conveys what F1 is attempting to do in the short term; but banking on simple mass-entertainment value may prove to be this complicated sports undoing.

    7. Well, every race can’t be a pass-fest with Mercedes drivers either crashing into each other or blowing up. If every race was as exciting as Barcelona everyone would soon start saying “When will the mercs get their act together?”

      The beauty of F1 (And by extension life in general) is that is that each race is unpredictable (!Disclaimer: To an extent!!) and that’s why we watch. Otherwise what would be the point?
      I quite enjoyed the Mexico GP because it built to a fitting crescendo, was more like a game of chess then a game of COD (which is what F1 seems to go for these days).

      1. Each race is unpredictable? Dear me, you must be watching a different formula to the one I’ve been watching.

        * In the last three years, one team has won 86% of all of the races. (And that ratio would have been even higher, were it not for the teammates disadvantaging one another due to their own personal battles.)

        * Of the eight races not won by that single team, 62.5% of the remainder were won by Red Bull, and 37.5% were won by Ferrari.

        * In the last three years, one single driver has won 51% of the races single-handed.

        * Of the 28 races not won by that single driver, his teammate has won another 71% of the remainder.

        At this point, F1 has to rank as one of the most predictable sports in history, at least at the pointy end where it counts. And even further down the grid, the order is relatively little-changed in the last few years. Were it not for the early advantage gifted to Mercedes’ customer teams after the formula was rewritten, plus a couple of teams switching names and/or engines, the order for the last three years would basically have been:

        1. Mercedes
        2. Red Bull or Ferrari
        3. Ferrari or Red Bull.
        4. Mercedes Customer Team “W”
        5. Mercedes Customer Team “F”
        6. McLaren
        7. Toro Rosso
        8. The many guises of Renault
        9. Rolling Roadblock 1
        10. Rolling Roadblock 2
        11. Honorable mention for turning up

        This isn’t a sport. It’s an infomercial.

        1. The same could be said about 100m dash and Usain Bolt. But people are praising his achievements, not complaining because they are bored.

          1. @x303

            totally different, as there is no car involved.

            1. You still could praise Mercedes for building such a car @paulguitar.

        2. spafrancorchamps
          4th November 2016, 10:33


    8. The strange remarks here and made by Lauda are about the inability to fight with championship contenders during the last races of the season. Every driver should aim at the podium and not one driver deserves a special treatment just because they have (or had) the faster cars and are higher on the WC list.
      Racing is what should happen, by everyone against everyone. And if possible on the edge!

    9. Totally agreed!

    10. Thanks for the mention again Keith, appreciate a little nod every now and then :)

      I think the rating is spot on. In hind sight I went with a scathing 1 in the heat of the moment (not unlike Vettel). Regardless I’m pleasantly surprised to see the “entertainment factor” didn’t score it a higher rating overall.

      “This is what F1 is all about!” -Johnny Herbert
      I think not…

      1. I guess there’s two ways to think of it actually. Either the “entertainment factor” saved it from being a 5, or it prevented it from being a 7… I’d be interested to know how that would have gone without those last few laps, perhaps it was the races only saving grace in the eye of the majority.

    11. How boring was it? I tried to watch it three times but was easily distracted into doing something else each time. I just couldn’t keep my mind on it. Max Verstappen: a very exciting young driver but I don’t think the time for drivers to make the rules is here yet. I’m a bit worried for him. He may know what *he’s* doing but he doesn’t know what some other young driver will do. One day someone might slam into him at high speed. Drivers are now like the rest of society: whiners! :-) What if the stadium bit was a long speedy left hand turn? I would rather see that than watch the cars tiptoe through.

    12. Thank you for the mention, Keith.

      But will they keep coming for races this indifferent?

      With Liberty Media’s interest in growing the US market, I think they will pay attention to ensuring the continued success and appeal of the Mexican GP, particularly given the Latino population in the US.

      I can only hope that beyond pure marketing, Liberty Media also look at the circuit side of things and take into account the various criticisms and suggestions that have been levelled at the race track layout.

    13. Of course money wasnt a issue for a Team who Is a shadow of its former self and struggling to stay in the midfield..least they have Claire as their savior!!!

    14. This is how the sport has always been. We’ll appreciate a good race because there is few and far between.

      I was recently watching the season review of the 1986 season and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between the current era and those of the 80s only to realise that most of the races between the two eras had similarities.

      Fuel saving and tire saving were existent even back then, gaps between cars were bigger but I found myself enjoying those highlights in spite having watched them a number of times.

      It struck me that one of the main reasons I enjoyed were simply watching those drivers fight out with their own beastly cars dancing around the tracks.

      Today I see drivers rarely fighting their cars at any corner of the track. Even higher torque hasn’t helped. I am fine with fuel saving, tire saving and lack of overtakes but what really the fans have been robbed off is the difficulty to drive the cars and wrestle them.

      1. That is a great comment, overtaking is overrated. Fighting is what is all about, fighting the car, fighting the track, fighting the other drivers. F1 has never been focused on overtaking but pure performance from engineers to drivers through mechanics and they all are pushing as hard as ever with whatever limitations are imposed on them.

        1. dont get me wrong, i love amazing overtakes but not ONLY that.

    15. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
      4th November 2016, 14:35

      This race has fed me totally up, and the main reason is that Vettel’s angry team radios were the worst parts of the entire race. This might sound like a rant, but I am now deciding to quit rating F1 races for good. After this race, I have decided…the season finale of 2016 will be my final “rate-able” Grand Prix.

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