2015 Chinese GP voted the worst for 3 years


The recent news that the organisers of the Chinese GP are uncertain of their commitment to Formula one beyond the current contractual arrangements in place until 2017 may not upset too many fans of the sport.

The race in Shanghai is rarely scintillating, and this year’s 2015 Chinese GP was less entertaining than normal.

TJ13 is now into its third year of polling how the readers rate the race. So here are the results of this year’s poll together with how China fared in bygone times.

2013 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix – 6.39

Despite the non-appearance this year of the Virtual Safety Car, the FIA has been struggling for years to control the speeds of cars under yellow flag caution conditions. This year’s race in Shanghai saw 8 drivers – Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Daniel Ricciardo, Romain Grosjean, Valtteri Bottas, Max Chilton and Mark Webber investigated following the race, for using DRS in yellow flagged sectors of the circuit.

Fernando Alonso became the third different driver at the start of the 2013 to win a race. This was Alonso’s 31st win of his career, bringing him level with Nigel Mansell on the sport’s all-time win list, leaving only Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna ahead of him.

Alonso’s tally two years later is just one more – at 32 wins. As with this year’s race, the 2013 event was about tyre saving and strategy and for once, Ferrari got all their ducks lined up and brought their Spanish driver home in first.

After Red Bull failed to fuel his car correctly during qualifying due to a fault with the bowser, Webber started from the pit lane rather than the back of the grid. Red Bull further conspired to ruin the Aussies race when following a pit stop, his wheel came loose at the turn 14 hairpin.

2014 Formula 1 UBS Chinese Grand Prix – 5.31

At the dawn of the new V6 Turbo Hybrid era, this was the fourth race of the season, the fourth pole for Lewis Hamilton and he cruised to a third win in a row, though the FIA had trouble with their computers and the chequered flag was waved two laps before the scheduled finish.

In a return to the confusion of the 1970’s when F1 timekeepers could spend hours following the race – calculating who finished where – Jules Bianchi was promoted to 17th despite being overtaken by Kamui Kobayashi on the final lap.

Ferrari had replaced their team principal, Stefano Domenicali, in the preceding week.

Motorsport Magazine reported that the new Pirelli rubber, “meant cars not being able to run wheel-to-wheel through turn 13, the long, increasing-speed loop leading onto the long back straight. It also limited the effective width of the braking zone into the hairpin at the end of that stretch, discouraging dives down the inside”.

Sound familiar?

Vettel was realising there was a young pretender to his crown as on lap 23 Daniel Ricciardo was all over his tail. The team ordered Vettel to let Ricciardo past.

“What tyre is he on?” demanded Vettel in response. “Primes, but they are newer than yours.”

“Tough luck,” was the response from the 4 times world champion.

2015 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix – 5.22

Disillusionment with the on track action continues in 2015. As with this year’s Australian event, TJ13 readers have scored this year’s race lower than the same event in the two previous years. A certain TJ13 reader was the only one to rate the race a 10. He identified himself in the comments.

Mercedes clearly stage managed the event having been given the scare of their lives two weeks earlier in Malaysia, when Ferrari hi-jacked the dominant position the Brackley team have held for over a year.

This race here in Shanghai now raises questions as to whether the new 2015 aero regulations combined with the 2015 Pirelli tyres will see a return to processional racing. Clearly drivers with similar engine power, on the same speed compound with similar degradation cannot pass due to the increase in the dirty air washing off the car in front.

The animals almost came in two by two, Mercedes, Ferrari, Williams, then the lone Lotus of Grosjean – Maldonado had been entertaining the crowd to improve the on track action. The two Sauber’s were split by Daniel Ricciardo in the sole Red Bull to finish in 9th.

32 responses to “2015 Chinese GP voted the worst for 3 years

  1. I think there is too bigger performance gap between cars, they all seem to be in no mans land, and i can’t help but yearn for a Michellin or Bridgestone tyre. Also i think we perhaps have the wrong drivers in the wrongs cars to a certain degree and this isn’t helping.

    Mercedes: At the moment, this completely one sided, it was only some DNF’s for Lewis that made it interesting last year.

    Ferrari: You can’t take away that both drivers are world champions, but as we discovered last year Kimi is good, but not great, and probably the same for Seb, could you see Alonso or Hamilton just sitting there as seb did? Also i believe they have a little bit more speed.

    Williams: Firstly the team are in no mans land in terms of performance, far ahead enough of those behind not to be challenged, and two far behind to challenge Ferrari. Again we know Massa’s level and he handling Bottas this year, so you have to wonder if you plonked Hamilton and Alonso in the Williams, would Ferrari be getting a hard time from them.

    Redbull/TR: It seems Renault have taken the engine straight from a Clio and hoped for the best.

    Honda: This is what happens when you put the Lawn Mower dept in charge of the F1 engine.

    FI,Sauber and Manor, are clearly thinking of the enviroment, and recycling last years car.

    • Lotus is as fast as Williams and Kimi was on pace to get inside DRS on Vettel before the SC scuppered that. Not sure if Williams have fallen back or Lotus improved that much.

      • “Not sure if Williams have fallen back or Lotus improved that much.”

        Probably the Merc board didn’t appreciate the insinuations from Massa and Symonds that Merc weren’t giving them the best engines, so they gave them even worse software updates to Williams with a couple of additional bugs interspersed… 😉

      • Very true. Problem is that true racing (IMHO) allows a following driver to push the lead driver into mistakes or be close enough to do a late braking do/die move.

        With current tyres/dirty air this is not possible so you need gimmicks to get past. If both cars are equal in performance it’s not going to be easy to get past never mind who you out in the car.

        Remember Brazil last year where Nico kept Hamilton at arms length during the twisty bits and got just far enough ahead so DRS could not get him past. And we all know If anyone can get past Hamilton can.

    • ….could you see….just sitting there as Seb did? O K so it’s a German thing then. Neither Nico nor Seb used the loud pedal.

        • What more evidence do you need in addition to hearing a radio call from the team giving the driver a fixed laptime to run, and the TP later saying live on TV that this had been done consistently throughout the stint? Seriously, Fortis.

          • Hippo, you said that…

            “They themselves said after the race they stage managed it”…

            Giving someone a specific lap delta is not evidence. In Malaysia Seb was given a specific lap time to do, was Ferrari stage managing the race too?

            Given that they had problems with tyres deg, that lap delta was more for tyre management than anything else. And we’ve heard drivers being given specific lap deltas to do, so as to get to do a specific stint length.

  2. You know, it smacks of hypocrisy when on one hand you bang on about Lewis not playing a team game and could cost the team constructors points by supposedly backing up Rosberg, and then on the other hand criticise Mercedes about how they are “stage managing” the races in order to maximise their points. So, what is it to be?

    • Lewis was given delta times for the second stint. It started at 1:43.7, later upped to 1:43.5 then 1:43.3. Starting from lap 21 he was consistently 0.4 seconds slower than the delta time for 7 consecutive laps.

      We only heard one radio call for Lewis to go faster. There were actually four. One of them was a threat from the team that Nico would be given the undercut (hence we would lose his right for making the strategy call). Lewis backed ROS into the Ferrari to make that threat empty as Rosberg was forced to cover Vettels risky stop in lap 31.

      There is nothing Hippo-critical here. The team stage-managed and Lewis deliberately ignored the orders from the pitwall. Both statements are therefore true. The only hypocrisy came from Wolff and Lauda, who both insisted that Lewis did nothing wrong. Yet in lap 26 the pitwall felt it was necessary to threaten Lewis if he wouldn’t start following their orders.

      Source: Dieter Rencken, AMuS.

      • That’s not true hippo. He was only given the first set of lap times after Nico complained, which were to do 1:43:7s. He then proceeded to do a 1:43:8 and the next was a 43:696 and the subsequent laps there after were within a +/- of the 1:43:7.

        The next radio message was the one about pitting Nico first, which they did. They then gave him a second set of lap times, which was to do a minimum 1:43:3… Which he proceeded to do.

        • We don’t hear every radio message, but the journos at the track do. And when Dieter Rencken says he heard four radio messages, I’m inclined to believe him. He’s one of the few unbiased hacks in the business and often the only one who’s not toeing the FOM party-line.

          And he was told to do a 1:42.7. The 1:43’s were the ones we didn’t get to hear.

          • “And he was told to do a 1:42.7. The 1:43’s were the ones we didn’t get to hear.”….

            What are you talking about? We heard the radio message to do a minimum 1:43:3.

            i think we all know that we don’t hear all the radio transmissions.

          • I think your absolute right FH, also Brundle made some comment about Bernie and Toto agreeing to make it look like a fight, then trailed off as he realised he probably shouldn’t of said it.

      • For a more realistic view of this race, (for those of us who don’t own tin-foil hats), Mark Hughes has an outstanding (and free) report on this race at Motorsport Magazine. Also, James Allen’s Race Strategy report is a much shorter article, but also very helpful.

        Both articles provide the perspective of race engineers. Under the surface this race was more interesting than it appeared on the telly, (not unusual).

  3. The fans in China seem to agree. Did you notice the grandstands? Lots of empty seats including race day.

    • German telly said the government closed them down in fear of a mass trampling like happend before in Shangai with a big Crowd

  4. The whole business of driver coaching over the radio is still an absurdity and should be completely eliminated. Verifiable safety-related communication could be permitted but severely penalised if cryptic misuse occurs. Probably won’t happen though.
    As for China, the punters probably didn’t show up (as ever) because the noxious atmosphere in China makes the far end of the straight almost invisible. And they aren’t very interested in F1: who can blame them?

  5. Seems Verstappen didn’t get the memo about not being able to dive down the inside at the end of the long straight. That is unless those were some of the passes we have to ignore to go along with the “processional” tag?

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