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Classifying F1 races based on viewing experience


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#1 BernieEc

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 15:26

Whilst we are all waiting for car launches and 2013 speculations and rumour mongering. I thought it would be worthwhile to kick of a small debate and see what other posters think of the current F1 circuits.
Now the criteria I have used is mainly derived from the entertainment experience based on circuit layout and how this usually leads to a more interesting race (e.g. more overtakes, tyre wear etc) and ultimately how this transmits across to me personally in a viewing experience.
I have not taken into account things such as weather of a particular area or heritage of a particular grand prix, as far as am concerned a boring race is a boring race and I don’t really care much for the heritage when watching it. I am aware that safety cars and weather does affect races and could decide how entertaining a particular race is. Since this applies to all races I have ignored specific races that such factors affected in my criteria. E.g., this years Abu Dhabi & Valencia grand prix were a bit more interesting than normal due to the safety car incidents or the weather affected Malaysian Grand prix.

I have grouped the circuits as

Those I would most definitely pay to go and watch live if given a choice.

Those that are quite entertaining but yet won’t be amongst my first choice to go and watch

The average - these are the one’s that whilst interesting they still lack that killer entertaining factor and usually require some sort of influence to spice it up (safety cars, leaders retiring or weather influence)

The last group – personally I think are just a bore-fest and 9 out of 10x the races are boring.

Fantastic - the one's I will pay to see live
Belgian Grand Prix
Italian Grand Prix
Brazilian Grand Prix
Canadian Grand Prix
Chinese Grand Prix
Turkish Grand Prix
Indian Grand Prix
US Grand Prix
British Grand Prix

Quite Good - Won't miss them on TV
Malaysian grand Prix
Japanese Grand Prix
Korean Grand Prix
German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)
German Grand Prix (Nurburgring)

Average - they need safety car or weather
Spanish Grand Prix Barcelona
Australian Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Bahrain Grand Prix

Boring - if I ever miss a GP..I hope its from the list
Monaco Grand Prix
Hungarian Grand Prix
European Grand Prix
Singapore Grand prix

Edited by BernieEc, 03 January 2013 - 15:27.


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#2 Risil

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 15:54

I'm told that at least three of the four circuits in your "Boring" column are great events in the flesh.

Speaking personally, I'm very very unimpressed by the viewing opportunities at Silverstone, although the sheer size of the circuit is quite something.

#3 Atreiu

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 16:22

Those I would most definitely pay to go and watch live if given a choice:
- Montreal
- Monaco
- Monza
- Spa
- Singapore
- Suzuka
- Silverstone
- Hungaroring

From the top of my mind, the rest goes between don't care at all and nah whatever. Except for Interlagos, which I have already been to watch a GP.

#4 race addicted

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 16:34

I would NEVER want to miss the Monaco GP. I absolutely love that!
All circuits can produce races in both spectrums of the scale, but I don't mind a SC or two, or rain, in Valenica, Catalunya, Hungaroring, and Bahrain.



#5 SonnyViceR

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:02

The only race weekend of the year I REALLY enjoy and would actually love to see in persion is the Aussie GP, and that's mostly because of the circuit plus it's lack of asphalt run-off, the best support race package of the year, and date (usually around Sebring, making it a great double header weekend). It feels less sterile than the rest of the calendar... and I don't care if the city looses money or if some of the citizens moan moan about it every year. Sunday's main race itself isn't usually that special either, but it's everything that's around it what matters for me. I know it sounds weird, and I'm not even Australian.

Must watch
Australian GP

Can be ignored but okay I guess, because of history or if it rains or something
Brazilian Grand Prix
Canadian Grand Prix
Belgian Grand Prix
Monaco Grand Prix
German Grand Prix (Nurburgring)
Italian Grand Prix

Don't care, whatever
Hungarian Grand Prix
European Grand Prix
Singapore Grand prix
Malaysian Grand Prix
Chinese Grand Prix
US Grand Prix
Korean Grand Prix
German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)
Turkish Grand Prix
Indian Grand Prix
British Grand Prix
Spanish Grand Prix Barcelona
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Bahrain Grand Prix

Edited by SonnyViceR, 03 January 2013 - 17:05.


#6 BoschKurve

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:08

Korea is a borefest for me. Can't stand the track, and ranks as one of the worst modern tracks ever built.

#7 Afterburner

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:14

First off, I would never miss a race on TV and I would pay to see any of them live, if I could afford it. I love Formula One and almost anything to do with motor racing so it would be hard to keep me away from the races if I had an infinite supply of free time and money. :lol:

For me, I'd have to narrow the list down to what I consider must-see events--ones I'd prefer to see live more than others. These would be as follows:

Monaco Grand Prix - Generally for the heritage and the spectacle. The excitement here comes from the fact that even the slightest error means 'game over'. An exercise in precision from beginning to end--the only circuit so difficult that finishing the race on the lead lap is an achievement in and of itself.

Belgian Grand Prix - I'd go to this one for the heritage and the racing. Spa always produces fantastic races, and I've heard there's a lot to see here for enthusiasts of motor racing and WWII alike, so it's definitely high on my list. Would I want to stand in the mud as the track is sopping wet with rain? Probably not, but it's Spa, after all. ;)

Japanese Grand Prix - I love Suzuka, and I've always thought it would be neat to visit Japan someday. The racing here is ususally fantastic, the track has a long history of deciding championships (as it arguably did this year), and I think there would be plenty to do at Suzukaland when the race wasn't going on.

United States Grand Prix - Being an American, I'd love to see what my country's latest F1 endeavor looks like in person. I thought the race this year was great, with plenty of action and a battle for the lead. Obviously it doesn't have the history of other circuits here like Indy, Sebring, or Daytona, but hopefully one day CotA will join that list of legendary American road courses--I like the layout and it had a good enough start to do so, in my opinion.

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Go ahead and shoot me now, tell me no purist would ever want to see this race live, and that to even include it on a list of 'top-5 GP destinations' over tracks like Silverstone and Monza would be absolute sacrelige--but I think the Abu Dhabi race would be a one-of-a-kind experience in person. The race is basically set in Tomorrowland--seriously. You get that fantastic desert sunset and that 'into the night' feeling that I dearly love about endurance races, and to top it all off, you've got state-of-the-art facilities and a light show like no other in the form of the hotel and the track colors and the blue flames shooting out the back of the cars. There really is no other race like it. I hope that in the future the track organisers can modify the layout to improve the racing a bit here, because I really love the look and atmosphere of the circuit and would like to see it stay on the calendar for years to come.

Anyway, that's my opinion. :)

Edited by Afterburner, 03 January 2013 - 17:16.


#8 scheivlak

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:15

E.g., this years Abu Dhabi & Valencia grand prix were a bit more interesting than normal due to the safety car incidents


Nonsense. The Valencia race - indeed, quite tedious in earlier years! - was already a top class GP and a great spectacle before the SC with passes and action every single lap.

#9 ayali

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:33

I'm told that at least three of the four circuits in your "Boring" column are great events in the flesh.

That's the problem, people are judging the tracks from what they see on TV and not from experience on site.

For example Abu Dhabi and Valencia are fantastic venues to attend an F1 race but they don't always produce very good races.
How good (or boring) a race is, is only part of the whole "going to a GP" experience.

But based on TV viewing alone I mostly agree with Bernie's list.
Only I rate Monaco much higher, really never miss that one and also Singapore.
First race of the season is also a MUST be it Australia or Bahrain.

#10 Anderis

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 17:38

Based only on viewing experience (mostly of the amount of action on circuit I've noticed) in recent years, ignoring track's configuration, history etc. it goes like that for me:
Albert Park: 8/10
Sepang: 7/10
Shanghai: 10/10
Bahrain: 5/10
Catalunya 3/10
Monaco 4/10
Gilles Villeneuve: 9/10
Valencia: 5/10 (can drop to 3 if 2012 proves to be one-off interesting race or increase if there is the other way round)
Silverstone: 6/10
Hockenheimring: 7/10
Nurburgring: 6/10
Hungaroring: 1/10
Spa: 8/10
Monza: 5/10
Singapore: 6/10
Suzuka: 4/10
Korea: 6/10
Buddh: 4/10
Yas Marina: 5/10
COTA: 8/10
Interlagos: 9/10
Istanbul Park: 6/10
Don't really need explanation. It's based on my subjective feeling.

#11 Jimisgod

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 18:25

Fantastic - the one's I will pay to see live
Belgian Grand Prix
Italian Grand Prix
Brazilian Grand Prix
Canadian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix
Monaco Grand Prix (for the history)

Quite Good - Won't miss them on TV
US Grand Prix
British Grand Prix
Malaysian grand Prix
Chinese Grand Prix
Turkish Grand Prix
Japanese Grand Prix
German Grand Prix (Nurburgring)

Average - they need safety car or weather
German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)
Spanish Grand Prix Barcelona
Singapore Grand prix
Korean Grand Prix

Boring - if I ever miss a GP..I hope its from the list
Hungarian Grand Prix
European Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (except 2012)
Bahrain Grand Prix
Indian Grand Prix



#12 BernieEc

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 19:56

That's the problem, people are judging the tracks from what they see on TV and not from experience on site.

For example Abu Dhabi and Valencia are fantastic venues to attend an F1 race but they don't always produce very good races.
How good (or boring) a race is, is only part of the whole "going to a GP" experience.

But based on TV viewing alone I mostly agree with Bernie's list.
Only I rate Monaco much higher, really never miss that one and also Singapore.
First race of the season is also a MUST be it Australia or Bahrain.



I wasn't really looking the venues per se but rather just the racing. I understand that places like Abu Dhabi with attractions such as the Ferrari World increases the spectacle of the whole weekend when one visits, but that's not what am really concerned with. I am only interested in the race and the underlying entertainment each provides.

e.g. whilst monaco might be a lovely place to visit the race is usually boring and processional. so can singapore and Hungary.

#13 BillBald

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 21:09

Nonsense. The Valencia race - indeed, quite tedious in earlier years! - was already a top class GP and a great spectacle before the SC with passes and action every single lap.


I think you'll find that the majority of the passes were after the safety car. Tyre warm-up was a factor.

And the overtaking-fest at the end was due to the timing of the safety car - everyone was running a longer final stint than they otherwise would have.



#14 scheivlak

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 22:18

I think you'll find that the majority of the passes were after the safety car. Tyre warm-up was a factor.

And the overtaking-fest at the end was due to the timing of the safety car - everyone was running a longer final stint than they otherwise would have.

Maybe, but I simply said that the race was already a great one before the SC.

#15 Afterburner

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 22:39

I wasn't really looking the venues per se but rather just the racing. I understand that places like Abu Dhabi with attractions such as the Ferrari World increases the spectacle of the whole weekend when one visits, but that's not what am really concerned with. I am only interested in the race and the underlying entertainment each provides.

e.g. whilst monaco might be a lovely place to visit the race is usually boring and processional. so can singapore and Hungary.

Out of mild curiosity, have you ever been to a race before?

#16 F1EC

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 22:49

If I had to choose one race to miss, it would be Monaco. I find it a) a yawnfest race-wise and b) a smugfest in terms of the number of clueless people wandering around, desperate to be seen, who wouldn't recognise a formula 1 car if it ran them over. The main entertainment comes from the commentators, who just can't quite believe that they've been allowed to mingle with all the "beautiful people".

A lot of the traditional so-called boring tracks actually turned out to be pretty good in 2012. Valencia, for example. But as a rule, with some exceptions like Montreal, I find street circuits less interesting than purpose-built circuits.

#17 F1EC

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 22:50

Out of mild curiosity, have you ever been to a race before?


I don't understand the relevance of that question. We're talking about viewing experience, not race attendance.

#18 Buttoneer

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 23:18

I don't understand the relevance of that question. We're talking about viewing experience, not race attendance.

From the first post;

I have grouped the circuits as

Those I would most definitely pay to go and watch live if given a choice.

Those that are quite entertaining but yet won’t be amongst my first choice to go and watch



#19 BernieEc

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 23:55

Out of mild curiosity, have you ever been to a race before?


Yep The British GP



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#20 Afterburner

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 00:52

Yep The British GP

'Mkay. For me, there's more to a race weekend at a GP than the quality of the race itself, but to each their own. :) Having only been to two before, I'd love to have the chance to go to any of them.

#21 Raemius

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:12

My take on this is that you are coming at it from only ever having seen races on TV - and the experience live is so much different.

For example, when at a race, things like the atmosphere, crowd size and passion, proximity to the action, noise and the ability to change viewing points is very important.

Having been to a number of races, my call would be the following changes:

Monaco is just something special. The atmosphere is amazing, the fact that when there is no racing, the circuit becomes streets again that can be walked. The noise of the cars bouncing off the buildings and the hills framing the principality is just intoxicating. Wherever you sit, you are just metres away from the cars and there is nothing as scary but exhilerating as watching an F1 car flat chat through the swimming pool flicks. Also, the elevation changes take your breath away.

The Italian GP has the Tifosi, the passion, the madness, pasta and red wine.

The British GP is a cauldron of soccer-like support by fans that know all about every aspect of F1, is always packed out and has the best support programme of events.

Ones I have not been to that would go in my yes list would be Brazil (passion, unpredicatbility), Canada (always a nail-biter), US, Japan and Singapore (the spectacle of night racing).

Ones I have been to that I would not do again:

Belgium - I've been twice, but the circuit is long so you see the cars less times, the action is always somewhere miles away and it takes hours to walk there, you WILL get piss wet through with rain, almost zero spectator facilities.

Barcelona - borefest, no facilities (but great city once the race is over!)

France - Magny Cours is in the middle of nowhere, no facilities, boring circuit (but good viewing opportunities)

Australia - Melbourne almost can't be bothered with it, despite the fact the circuit is just minutes fromn the CBD. Circuit never seems to offer up good racing. However, V8 support races are good.

Whilst we are all waiting for car launches and 2013 speculations and rumour mongering. I thought it would be worthwhile to kick of a small debate and see what other posters think of the current F1 circuits.
Now the criteria I have used is mainly derived from the entertainment experience based on circuit layout and how this usually leads to a more interesting race (e.g. more overtakes, tyre wear etc) and ultimately how this transmits across to me personally in a viewing experience.
I have not taken into account things such as weather of a particular area or heritage of a particular grand prix, as far as am concerned a boring race is a boring race and I don’t really care much for the heritage when watching it. I am aware that safety cars and weather does affect races and could decide how entertaining a particular race is. Since this applies to all races I have ignored specific races that such factors affected in my criteria. E.g., this years Abu Dhabi & Valencia grand prix were a bit more interesting than normal due to the safety car incidents or the weather affected Malaysian Grand prix.

I have grouped the circuits as

Those I would most definitely pay to go and watch live if given a choice.

Those that are quite entertaining but yet won’t be amongst my first choice to go and watch

The average - these are the one’s that whilst interesting they still lack that killer entertaining factor and usually require some sort of influence to spice it up (safety cars, leaders retiring or weather influence)

The last group – personally I think are just a bore-fest and 9 out of 10x the races are boring.

Fantastic - the one's I will pay to see live
Belgian Grand Prix
Italian Grand Prix
Brazilian Grand Prix
Canadian Grand Prix
Chinese Grand Prix
Turkish Grand Prix
Indian Grand Prix
US Grand Prix
British Grand Prix

Quite Good - Won't miss them on TV
Malaysian grand Prix
Japanese Grand Prix
Korean Grand Prix
German Grand Prix (Hockenheim)
German Grand Prix (Nurburgring)

Average - they need safety car or weather
Spanish Grand Prix Barcelona
Australian Grand Prix
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Bahrain Grand Prix

Boring - if I ever miss a GP..I hope its from the list
Monaco Grand Prix
Hungarian Grand Prix
European Grand Prix
Singapore Grand prix




#22 Disgrace

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:08

The disdain for Monaco is quite staggering. I think the problem is the cars for Monaco the spectacle for the cars themselves. If the cars are quite shit, aesthetically or technically as they have been since 2009, then you may have a point but they still won't look any better anywhere else.

#23 Gene and Tonic

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:46

I went to Monza last year and it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. People are talking in terms of race entertainment, but you just simply can't ignore the experience of walking around the old banking, climbing to the top (and watching your friends try to reach the top and then sliding all the way back down - that banking is ridiculously steep), hanging on to the rusting and decaying barriers, preying that they won't collapse, then peering over the bridge over the modern circuit and seeing just quite how high you are. This on decades old concrete that used to have '50s and '60s F1 cars hurtling around on it.

It's absolutely amazing

#24 DampMongoose

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 16:45

Silverstone is and always has been a poor venue for spectators, even when it was on the proper circuit layout, it's flat as a pancake as you'd expect being an airfield but the lack of decent access to the infield and the horrendous amount of walking if you want to see different corners makes it a chore to watch motor racing there, the atmosphere amongst the fans is good however, but then there was pretty good camaraderie in the trenches so i'm told. It's ok if you are content to remain in one place, F1 cars and Sportscars are good to watch at Becketts and they used to be good at Bridge before they castrated the circuit, but its not a 'must visit' venue to me! Brands Hatch now that was a different story...

#25 Currahee

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 17:30


Any GP in the flesh is great.

I've been to the Spanish GP twice and I don't think there was any overtaking apart from Schumacher passing Hakkinen when Hakkinen broke down on the last lap.

Still fantastic.

#26 scheivlak

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 21:17

Everybody here who takes a look every now and then at the RC’s Bets & Games subforum might know that there are ‘Voting Championship’ threads after every GP. In these threads we’re rating not only the drivers but also the race itself – on a 1-10 scale.
I had a look at the rating I gave the GPs myself over the last 11 seasons (since 2002).
Some GPs are held at the same venue every year (like the Spanish and the Monaco GP), some tracks arrived new on the calendar and some tracks went.

These were my average ratings for 2002-2012 for GPs on the current tracks:

Spa (BEL) 7.78 (9 GPs between 2002-2012)
Interlagos (BRA) 7.73 (11)
Shanghai (CHN) 7.67 (9)
Montreal (CAN) 7.30 (10)
Monte Carlo (MON) 7.18 (11)
Silverstone (GBR) 7.18 (11)
Monza (ITA) 7.18 (11)
Melbourne (AUS) 7.00 (11)
Sakhir (BAH) 7.00 (8)
Suzuka (JAP) 6.82 (11)
Nurburgring (EUR/GER) 6.75 (8)
Yeongam (KOR) 6.67 (3)
Sepang (MAL) 6.64 (11)
Hockenheim (GER) 6.63 (8)
Singapore (SIN) 6.40 (5)
Hungaroring (HUN) 6.18 (11)
Buddh (IND) 6.00 (2)
Valencia (EUR) 5.80 (5)
Barcelona (SPA) 5.73 (11)

And there’s of course Austin now – I gave it an 8 for its first GP.

Of course I rated races on other tracks as well:

A1 Ring (AUT) 7.50 (2 GPs)
Istanbul (TUR) 7.00 (7)
Indianapolis (USA) 6.17 (6)
Magny Cours (FRA) 5.86 (7)
Imola (SMA) 5.80 (5)

You'll see that I've quite liked the Monaco GP overall through these years. The 2005 race especially must be amongst the 4 or 5 best races I've ever watched and the 2003 and 2008 races were great as well. Even last year's - though I only gave it a 6 - had something special. It showed us why the top F1 drivers are really the best of world, showing their speed and accuracy in such a confined space even when it started to rain lightly.

Another track that brought us some very good races was Shanghai - only 2005 was rather stale and 2008 even a complete borefest. But 2006 and the last few GPs were quite fantastic.

#27 np93

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 21:19

If I had the chance, I'd go back to Monza, the 2010 GP was amazing, and when Alonso passed Button, it just kicked off

But if I could I'd see Spa, Brazil and Monza in a year, backed up by Monaco, Silverstone and Montreal, the rest, probably better, at least in terms of viewing experience and atmosphere, through the TV

#28 jj2728

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 21:29

Any GP in the flesh is great.

I've been to the Spanish GP twice and I don't think there was any overtaking apart from Schumacher passing Hakkinen when Hakkinen broke down on the last lap.

Still fantastic.


Very well put. Nothing compares to actually being there and experiencing a GP weekend. I've been attending races since the '60s and there's not a single one that ever put me off.