Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

People must fall asleep watching F1 – Hamilton

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton says Formula 1 should consider any changes to race weekend formats to liven up the action.

What they say

Hamilton was asked what he thought of plans to extend qualifying by creating a ‘Q4’ session:

I’ve not thought about it and I didn’t know they were thinking about changing it. More tyres, more time on track maybe, more sessions maybe. A session on Friday and a session on the Saturday, I don’t know. Anything that’s different from what’s now I’m sure will be interesting at least from the get-go.

I think one of the biggest changes that needs to be made is it’s the same four days every weekend for 21 weekends every single year pretty much. I think it needs to be dynamic, it needs to be different for certain circuits so you have a super-weekend.

Because there are some tracks where the race is so boring. I remember growing up watching it and falling asleep after the start. I’m sure there are people must fall asleep after the start and then wake up or set their alarms for the end. I used to do it when I was younger.

There were some tracks which kept you on the edge of your seat which I imagine was like Baku this year. Another race was not so exciting.

I think it’s more exciting this year being these cars are the best they’ve ever been. But I’m sure there’s still dull races. Picking those ones out and saying how can we make it different for that race whether it’s reverse grid or whatever we end up doing. They should look into something like that.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

I was enormously disappointed by the new biography of Kimi Raikkonen – @Kaiie has a different view:

I just finished the original Finnish version yesterday, and I somewhat agree with this review. The book lacks content, but then again, this is not ‘the complete racing record’, it is (or tries to be) more about the man and the racing just happens to come along with him.

Then again, it probably should’ve been fleshed out for another hundred pages (or trimmed even more, and shifting the focus to other issues). It clearly shows that Hotakainen is not a petrol head in the traditional sense, and therefore not really interested in telling the reader about these fast cars, nor how a race result happened.

Some bits might be also lost in translation, as the Finnish version is a joy to read for the most parts (if you like Hotakainen’s style).

Happy birthday!

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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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56 comments on “People must fall asleep watching F1 – Hamilton”

  1. I fall asleep any race that isn’t exciting. Mostly it’s because race start is after midnight in NZ and I’m already in bed.. If I stay awake, it’s a good race/qualifying session. If not, I’m asleep so I’m happy either way.

    1. Anthony Blears
      15th October 2018, 1:14

      I’m also in NZ and very rarely watch races live. This gives me the option of fast forwarding through the dull races.

      1. Me too! It’s seldom that I get to see a race live, usually I watch a delayed broadcast via the Pay TV provider’s legal online service, which allows me to see the entire race within a 48 hour window.

        1. I probably should watch recorded races.. I hate finding out the result accidentally, watching live is the best way around that. And I don’t have work commitments first thing Monday so I make the most of it :)

    2. We are in Perth, 21.10 lights out on the track and we are heading for bed about an hour later. We tend to watch most of the races next day at a more convenient time. When the races started at 20.00 it was OK but not now.

      1. I hear ya! I would be ok with races like China being shifted to the standard 2pm start, rather than them trying to line ALL the races up for European audiences. Who knows, maybe liberty will allow it? Same for any others in SE Asia region. Japan was on at a good time! (As long as you don’t count the cross over with Bathurst…)

  2. I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to the idea of reverse grids for the top 10 positions for a sprint race. It may not be the DNA of F1, but unless something major happens in 2019 or 2021, we will continue having processions in a lot of races. At least this way, we will always see wheel-to-wheel battles, and the drivers in the midfield who are ahead of the frontrunners would probably try to defend their places harder than they do now. Teams would also be forced to consider how their car runs in turbulent air, and perhaps design a car that is less sensitive to it. Drivers would also stand out more, as now, it isn’t purely about how much you can manage your tyres without losing too much pace, but overtaking comes into it as well, setting apart certain drivers (Verstappen and Raikkonen for example). I’m not saying I’m completely pro-reverse grids, but the more I think about it, the more I feel like it really wouldn’t be too bad for the sport.

    1. ‘Reverse grid’?

      Could someone explain this?

      If it means what I thing it means, wouldn’t it lead to slower qualifications?

      1. What it would mean is that we have a normal qualifying session and a race as we do now (although the race can be shortened to 60% of its current distance now). After that, we have a second race, whereby the top 10 of the race result is flipped, so winne

        1. …r starts 10th, person who finishes 10th starts pole and so on. It would count for half as much of the first race in terms of points.

          1. It might solve some issues like 2x fresh tyres, more overtakes, refuelling half way, etc.
            But it is not a GP for me. I’m largely OK with the racing format; it’s the car design (follow through corners) which needs some serious work.

          2. Personally, I’m not in favour of a reverse grid race. I think it would end up either complicated or easy to game.

            What I would be in favour of is a reverse championship order sprint (or similar) for qualifying.

          3. @coldfly I agree it is the cars that need to be tweaked to allow the driver behind to not lose such a significant portion of downforce, but even if it were the case that drivers could follow each other fairly well, there’s no guarantee the races would be much better. Generally, the fastest car starts on pole, the second fastest starts second, third fastest starts third etc. and thus, we wouldn’t get much action, as overtaking requires the car behind to be quicker than the one ahead. Perhaps people forget how even when following a car ahead wasn’t too bad (2009-2016), the FIA and Bernie had to create these high-degradation tyres just to get some action on track. The 2010 season was a prime example. Following wasn’t much of an issue back then, but how many actual overtakes and battles did we see from the top 5, despite how close they were pace-wise? Not a lot, because like I said, the fastest ones start ahead of the slower ones, so rarely was anybody stuck behind someone’s gearbox.

          4. @mashiat

            we wouldn’t get much action, as overtaking requires the car behind to be quicker than the one ahead.

            That’s why I’ve always said that lost time during a pit stop should be reduced as well. This will allow a ‘slower’ car behind to attack with a faster tyre strategy but having to pit more ofter/earlier.

    2. Sergey Martyn
      16th October 2018, 10:27

      You folks are just plain stupid – according to your crazy reverse grid ideas the pole will be given to the car with turned off engine which will be pushed across the lap by mechanics. What could be more exciting after all that farce we’ve seen?

      1. I really don’t believe you understand.

  3. He knows in the short term it’s going to be (a step back). He’ll be behind Red Bull next year. He’s banking on the long term there.

    I’m not sure whether or not Webber was being sarcastic. Undoubtedly Red Bull have one of the best aerodynamic packages on the grid, but next year they will be running the “still improving” Honda engine. I don’t see Ricciardo’s decision to shift to Renault as a bad move, I see both Renault and Red Bull – Honda as having the same potential for winning races next year. From here, in October 2018, there’s no reason to believe Renault will have less Constructors’ Championship points at the end of 2019 than Red Bull. I suspect Renault will have more, and if so then Riccardo’s decision will have been the right one.

    1. @drycrust, much as I’d love to agree with you, I still can’t see Renault’s improvement being enough to equal Red Bull.

      The RBR car is very much aero/chassis reliant – they seem to be able to be competitive (and have for years, even before the hybrid era) with a PU that lacks power. Renault’s chassis this year has really not been all that good and has slipped behind rather alarmingly. Couple that with their PU being pretty poor (possibly as poor as the Honda one) and I don’t see much light for them in 2019.

      I seriously hope they get it together and are competitive (or at least a lot closer) with RBR and the top 3 but I’ve not seen/heard anything that gives me any confidence.

      I’d say Webber’s assessment is pretty spot on.

    2. I think Webber (for once…) is right… but… the way I see it:
      RIC is a long-time race winner – so he now wants the Championship – but with RB that’s highly unlikely, because, whatever Horner & Co. say, RIC is now No.2 there – so he needs to leave, because VER isn’t likely to be leaving any time soon – and Renault, unfortunately, was his only option.
      RIC/Renault might, just might, finish ahead of VER/RB by the end of 2019 but, even if RB do better (and I think they might), RIC still wouldn’t have made Champion if he had stayed. A sort of Catch-22…
      I admire RIC for making the change – it would have been too easy to have stayed put.

      1. Agreed. RB definitely gives the impression of Max being number 1 and I’d bet that’s exactly what his contract says. It is a huge call for Danny to make the switch but it does give an indication of his ambition and intention. It may or may not work for him, time will tell. But with the information he has, I think he was realistic about the RB situation, made a proactive decision to take control of his future and Renault allowed him to do that. No guarantees he will win the title, but I would suggest he now has more of a chance than if he stayed at RB, even if their car is quicker than the Renault for the foreseeable future

    3. intrigued by your comment/opinion @drycrust.
      Red Bull is at least half a second faster than Renault as of ‘October 2018’.
      Where do you think Renault will gain this time? Do you believe the Honda PU is that much slower, or will it have a lot more unreliability (seems the reverse this year). Or are you betting on big strides for the Renault chassis?
      I doubt it will be the driver pairings.

    4. People believing Renault will catch red bull are delusional. Honda is already on par with Renault if not in front right now. And they have a much more efficient engine concept then Renault (Mercedes concept) with room for improvement, Renault are at a loss with there engine and improve at a much lower rate the Merc Ferrari and now even Honda.
      And then there’s the chassis and aero team that has nowhere the capability that red bull has, only here we have more then a second of difference on average even if they shorten the gap it’s still to big to catch UT in a years development cycle. And then we have the drivers, there’s no denying that right now Verstappen is clearly the fastest of the 2 teams. There’s no way Renault will win races next year maybe some lucky podium (only if Perez is out of the race otherwise it’s his podium lol).

    5. @drycrust I doubt the test for whether or not DR has made the right choice will be dependent on Renault beating RBR next year. He’s in it for the long haul, and made his decision likely for several reasons, and I doubt he’ll be swayed either way next year, year one for him at Renault, RBR in year one with Honda. Oh I’m sure all the talk next season will be based on a points watch, but it will be neither here nor there. DR nor MV will be vying for the WDC next year, so it will all really be about learning and growing their teams. But sure, that won’t stop people making a race by race analysis no doubt, not unlike when FA left Ferrari and continued to be asked for the next three seasons if he regretted that decision. And Ferrari still hasn’t made the necessary WCC car. It’s going to take a lot more than 2019 for us to see the wisdom of DR’s move. Unless RBR are about to come out with a Mercedes beater next year, DR will have no regrets even if they score below RBR/Honda.

  4. Since germany im falling asleep on every race, it became so boring and repetitive… im taking a break from F1

  5. Can we please put a lid on the myth that Honda has the weakest engine in F1. It may have been true in 2015 but every season after that, I don’t think it is clear cut that it was the weakest engine. There was only one team using the engine all these years (McLaren or Toro Rosso) which makes it difficult to judge the engine power. Especially now that one of the teams who said they have met all their targets while switching to a new engine supplier are still slowest out of the 3 teams using their engines.

    Honda have been the most unreliable engines, no doubt. But least power? It ain’t so clear cut.

    1. Hard to even say they’ve been the most unreliable this year. They’ve taken a lot of penalties but that’s been in search of performance more than things breaking.

    2. If we talking about peak power, then since 2016 they probably only a little bit less than Renault and in 2017 certainly already on similar level. This year Honda may or may not be a little bit higher than Renault. Honda biggest problem is they can’t sustain those peak power and thus on during the race their average engine power is weaker. Remember McLaren has easier time getting through Q1 in 2016 and 2017 (albeit helped with how trash the then year old Sauber engine), but they certainly struggling a lot in races, being passed easily even when they also have DRS from car ahead. Similarly, Toro-Rosso this year also struggled to keep their position in the race although not as bad as McLaren-Honda days. Also this year McLaren problem is in qualifying but in race usually they’re much better. There’s also fuel efficiency problem which haven’t been talked about lately so I honestly don’t know if Honda fixed it or not.

      1. @sonicslv, possibly not – the peak power in the qualifying mode might exceed Renault’s modes, but their performance in race trim might not be quite as strong (they might have to turn the engine down a bit because of its fuel consumption).

    3. Sumedh, I think the picture is distorted by Honda being relatively better in qualifying. We could see this already in 2016, we saw it again in 2017 and I think when we look at how STR often qualify better than where they end up in the race, this is still the case.

      That makes the discussion about peak power a bit off. Since the C-spec Renault also offers better peak power, but it’s bad reliability and seemingly bad consistency means only Red Bull even went for that engine. So are we taking the best every engine offers can compare those? Or do we take an average? Or do we go for the comparing the lows?

      You are right that having the engine in just one team makes it even harder because the lows and the peaks are more pronounced, since they are not averaged out by others doing average with the same engines.

      I must say that from years of Honda bringing updates with promising test numbers only to see them underdeliver or just go boom – we have seen this with the latest of their engines again, they claim to have cought up to the top, have beaten Renault already, but it was only tested briefly in one race before being packed up to be finetuned and then failed to be used to its potential in Suzuka with half of the cars. I will believe this engine really is good if both cars can use it fully this race and finish their seasons still running it with solid power (since that should be the baseline).

  6. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
    15th October 2018, 6:26

    Well I fall asleep at every race. Japan and the first part of Russia were enjoyable. Singapore was pretty boring. Italy was amazing though, one of the top races of the season.

    1. Panagiotis Papatheodorou (@panagiotism-papatheodorou)
      15th October 2018, 7:55


      1. Man, you left out the one word that totally changes the meaning of your comment :-D

        1. joe pineapples
          15th October 2018, 8:36


  7. So, let’s consider how a hypothetical reversed grid for the top 10 would pan out, using 2018 as a reference.

    The first two rows would be occupied by the riff-raff of F1 (some subset of Renault, Haas, Force India, basically all those who don’t feel like investing hundreds of millions of dollars). The third row will be RBR, which is often their typical position in a normal grid as well, and the next two rows would be Ferrari and Mercedes (in some order, based on which side of the bed the #1 and #2 drivers got out of the previous day which sets the grid).

    Race start – RBR will be able to scythe their way through the first two rows, followed by Ferrari and Mercedes. Some entertainment might be offered by either Red Bull driver attempting to pass KMag, but that’s about it. 24 overtakes, so the statistic nuts will be happy, but these will often be vanilla and uncontested passes.

    Then it’ll be a case of Mercedes chasing down Ferrari who’re chasing down RBR. On many circuits, RBR will be disadvantaged by their engine, so some overtakes are inevitable. Then it’ll just become a matter of how pit stops are executed to try and leapfrog cars ahead/defend against the undercut.

    This part would be a bit more entertaining than today’s format, but it will seem forced. And the race will no longer feel like a “Grand” Prix, it’ll be more like “deux petit” prix (pardon my French).

    1. Why does it have to be Top 10 reverse grid,
      Why not full reverse grid no blue flags or draw straws ?

      1. @greg-c – I was just building off @mashiat‘s earlier comment.

        1. @phylyp I understand mate, but the more red wine I have , the better my idea sounds,
          Full reverse grids , the 25 points should still good enough for drivers not to sandbag to get a better grid spot and overtaking galore and more the chance for KMag to punt someone off for entertainment :)

          1. @greg-c Share the wine with the FIA, and we might get a better set of rules 😊

      2. @greg-c

        I was thinking similar about it being a full reverse grid order…

        I personally feel that the whole racing action would be considerably improved by a full reverse grid, based upon WDC points (the first race of the season being arranged using a combination of the Constructors and WDC points from the previous season) and completely doing away with the race qualification completely, but, introducing a further practice session whereby each team must achieve a specific pre race target in order to race.

    2. @phylyp If it’s between forced wheel-to-wheel and strategic battles, and the F1 of now, I know which one I’d rather choose. This is, of course, assuming that the 2019 and 2021 regulations don’t work complete wonders (which I doubt).

  8. I’m curious to know how people watch other sports, because I’m so tired of this lazy narrative we keep on hearing. Do people watch the kick off of a football match, then switch off and come back just to see the result? Do you watch the first ball of a cricket test match and then just come back for the last ball of the last day? How about boxing? Do you just watch Anthony Joshua walk to the ring, land his first jab and then say “ah, he’s definitely going to knock him out, I’m off to the pub”?

    F1 “fans” regularly lambaste races for being boring but openly admit that they don’t watch the whole race. How can you speak so authoritatively about something when you don’t watch the race unfold in its entirety, particularly when a sport is as nuanced and complicated as F1? It is absurd. I haven’t found a single race to be boring this season, there has always been something going on if you know where to look. The championship battle has been fascinating, even though we’ll get “the same” result at the end of this season, the way the championship has been won (or lost depending on your perspective) has been intriguing to watch. The midfield battle is always interesting and has ebbed and flowed with each race. Even though there are issues to fix, it is hard to argue that F1 isn’t in rude health at the moment.

    1. An interesting point for discussion, @geemac
      I don’t disagree with your point, but I would accept that not everyone might enjoy how the races pan out in the current form.

      Do you watch the first ball of a cricket test match and then just come back for the last ball of the last day?

      I’m hardly a connoisseur of cricket (I came to know yesterday that my country is presently hosting a test series!), but I think the difference with cricket is that cricket is a continuous scoring game – every ball, run and wicket counts. So there is some excitement to be had in watching each ball, knowing that it could be the one that influences the final outcome.

      A similar defence could be made for football – while not as continuously scoring as cricket, there is the (possibility of) scoring going on throughout the game (unless you’re watching a dreary game where one side has scored 3 or more goals over the other, and then just retains possession to kill time).

      On the other hand, the mid-game of a race feels processionary, and it feels like once could easily trim out ~10% of the laps in a race since it feels like everyone is just counting down the laps.

      I might actually use golf as a comparison (a sport I know nothing about, I must confess) for your analogy in F1 – if you put Woods up against me, we’d start on the same footing from the first hole, but it will quickly become apparent that Woods is moving faster towards the 18th. Will it be exciting to see how I slowly plod my way there even as Woods charges ahead? We all know what the outcome would be, and one could easily gloss over holes 5-13.

      Of course, in this golf game, if there was also Palmer competing (Arnie, not Jolyon!), and a bunch of my mates competing, there’d be interest in how the two pros are doing, and a separate bit of interest at how we’re doing.

      Now would that spectacle attract everyone? Probably not. Some of the viewers would still find things to enjoy in it, and that’s to be appreciated. Others would come hoping to see a contest between multiple golfers, but end up being treated to this, and they might not be as thrilled.

      1. With long matches if I watch things like football, tennis, longer distances of ice skating, well and cycling too, I certainly don’t watch all of it unless it really is interesting all the way @geemac. Off course the same happens with watching endurance racing :-). Only Ice Hockey manages to get most of my attention for most of the time.

        That said, none of the sports I like enough to really follow, so that probably plays a role too. Then again, I watch them when they have a big tournament and “my team” is playing, so I should be interested enough. But often enough one gets the same kind of comments about matches having been boring though.

        With F1 I have generally been following most of the race for the last several years. For me it hasn’t often been boring to follow since about 2012. Before that I had times where I just had it on in the background while doing something else far more often. And I switched off completely between about 2000 until the end of the 2004 season.

  9. First the stewards must stop killing F1. Inconsistency, about every overtake is under investigation while everybody knows by now that overtaking is almost impossible without taking enormous risks. With risks there are incidents, with risks there is action. The other option is just to start and drive after each other for a couple of hours. So let the pieces fly, let the brakes burn, let the tires smoke and if your not into that take the train to work.

    1. <> Roger THAT!

  10. I couldn’t disagree more with Hamilton. Definitely, no changes should be made to the race weekend format. The current weekend format works perfectly fine as it is, so no need to alter it. ”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
    – Having read the autobiography about Kimi in its original language, I can agree with the COTD to a certain extent.
    – I can also agree with Webber.

  11. I would love for the qualification to be longer. Compare it to a football match which is 1h 45m. So a longer qualification would not be a problem at all for. I usually watch a lot of before and after stuff anyway just to make the whole thing last longer. The fact that qualifiacation only lasts 1 hour imo. is a poor use of the vast resources that are spend on every race.

    Also that way we might be able to follow the on board view for more drivers than just the top 2.

  12. In the 29 years i’ve been an F1 fan (1st race I saw was the 1989 San Marino Gp) I can honestly say that i’ve never fallen asleep while i’ve been watching practice, qualifying or a race, Not even when I was a kid (I’m now 35).

    Then again i’ve also just never found any race to be boring, Some are duller than others but i’ve honestly just never been bored watching any race.

    As to reverse grids, They have always been one of the few red lines I have in that if F1 ever does it i’d simply stop watching.

    1. @stefmeister Similarly I’ve been 40 years watching and I think maybe once or twice I fell asleep but likely had a cold or something at the same time. I wasn’t always able to watch all the races in every season due to summer jobs out in the wilderness of Northern Ontario etc etc, however, have at a minimum always known the standings. For me, anything can happen in a race, so I’m pretty much glued to the races with that in mind. Easy to say in hindsight one race was more exciting than another, but the starts always hold tension, and one never knows what might transpire during a race.

      I highly doubt even the thought of reversing the grid will exist once Liberty makes the cars closer racing and we can rid ourselves of gadget talk be that wrt reverse grids, drs, or bad tires. But yeah if they were to ever do that it would be an indicator to me that they cannot break the aero addiction and that would be terribly disappointing. I just can’t see that, with all that Brawn has been saying.

      1. @robbie I’ve not missed a race live since the start of 1995 & i’ve seen every qualifying session when it was broadcast since mid way through 1996 (Only not seeing the few live which ITV didn’t show live). I’ve also watched every practice session since 2005, All but 4-5 of the Friday sessions live.

        1. @stefmeister Great stuff. For me here in Canada it was Gilles’ entry into F1 that brought TV coverage to the country via CBC…BBC’s equivalent in Canada. Was a fan before that but had to get my F1 news through sports reports on TV or through the newspaper. Books in the library in Northern Ontario were gratefully absorbed but woefully lacking in terms of up to date info.

    2. @stefmeister
      Ahhhh! the stamina of youth :)

  13. what we need is to let drivers race, some races are boring because they need to take care of tires, they need to save fuel, they need to save the engine, and on top of that, when a car is behind no one fights or bloke the faster car anymore… people just let them by because is not their fight come on!!!… drivers should always fight for the position. if a mercedes is behind a Force india, force india drivers wont make it hard for the one trying to get pass him

  14. That claim from Vips is quite extraordinary. I’d hope the sport investigates, because while it seems preposterous to even think there is a truth to this, we sadly learned that there had been truth to Singapore 2008 too.

  15. I’m a big fan of the surprise reverse grid. Like a box of chocolates you never know when it’s going to happen. Sorry for the twisted metaphor.

  16. Thanks for the COTD :)

    About falling a sleep during a race: I’ve done it once or twice, most often due to extreme fatigue. And while I’m getting tired (hue hue) of F1 people constantly complaining about the sport, Hamilton does have some points that are worth thinking about (and what would their effects be). Should we have more running during a weekend? Could we have slightly different weekend formats? For example, why would there be that many practice sessions at Barcelona as it is used in winter testing?

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