Here in the Sett, our motto is “F1 isn’t boring,” and we stand by that…
But even we can accept that there have been some dull-as-dishwater races in the sport’s history, so we’ve fired up the Badgerometer and tried to hunt down some other (and if the term is correct) “better” examples of F1 races that hold no excitement – except perhaps for those taking part.
Even Badger is hard pushed to find anything interesting about the on-track action 2005 U.S Grand Prix. Politicking and controversy may have been there in spades, but when the lights went out this was a mind-numbing farce.
With the withdrawal of the Michelin runners on safety grounds just six cars were left in the race: two each from the Bridgestone-shod Ferrari (fast), Jordan (slow) and Minardi (slower) teams. Only one was going to win – in fact the real question was how many times the red cars would lap their rivals – and about all we could get interested in was which Jordan driver would finish on the podium. It was unremarkable peddler Tiago Monteiro, who beat team-mate Narain Karthikeyan (that’s how good Narain is) and duly celebrated like mad on the rostrum. Schumacher won, Barrichello was second, but we’re not sure many people stuck around long enough to find that out.
The Circuit de Catalunya is a testing ground in the off season these days, so when the teams hit the track early in the year, it’s pretty much a given that they’ll know it like the back of their hand. In 1999 though it was even worse, as the long straights and fast sweeping corners yielded only one single overtake. Let us just repeat that – one overtake over 65 laps. That came towards the end of the race when Damon Hill’s Jordan snuck past Stewart’s Rubens Barrichello, but it all became pointless when the Brazilian was disqualified after the race anyway. Hakkinen won from Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. And that’s about it, really. Feel like re-living it? Enjoy the (mercifully condensed ‘highlights’) below.
The first appearance of Valencia as an F1 event was all hype; a new track and a new venue. Buoyed by the success of national hero Fernando Alonso, the European Grand Prix rights were won by a second Spanish city and the fans flocked to the beach-side racing arena. The race itself was pretty much a snapshot of what was happening in 2008: the Ferraris and McLarens were the cars to beat, BMW-Sauber were close on their heels, and the midfield was Toro Rosso, Toyota and Renault. The front three on the grid of Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Robert Kubica stayed that way through two rounds of pit-stops to the chequered flag, with Massa’s early pit release on his second stop the only real raise of a heartbeat as he nearly collected Adrian Sutil’s Force India.
Everyone remember the dark days of the mid-2000’s and the Ferrari dominance? Yep, so does Badger, and one of the dreariest displays of the sucking of entertainment out of F1 had to be Hungary 2001. Michael Schumacher won from Rubens Barrichello, who had provided the only excitement by jumping David Coulthard in the pit-stops. In fact, if Jarno Trulli hadn’t had his Jordan’s hydraulics pack up 20 laps from the end, that would have been the only change in the top 5 starting places. Dross.
It was the one we’d all been waiting for – the start of the 2010 season in Bahrain. Bridgestone had new tyres and there was no more refueling. Mercedes and Michael Schumacher were back in the sport, and together. World Champ Jenson Button had moved to McLaren to form a British superteam with Lewis Hamilton. It just was going to be a great season, right?
Wrong. Bahrain was awful, as all the top teams practiced the same strategy in qualifying of setting times on the option tyre. The only men to try on the prime, Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil, both spun at the first corner, ruining any chances of an upset. What was left was a procession of the top eight cars all reacting to each other’s pitstops. The only saving grace was a cracked exhaust pipe on leader Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull that dropped him to 4th, and promoted both Ferrari’s of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa to a first race 1-2. Thankfully it rained in Australia next time out, but this race was truly one for the ages…to forget.
Depending on your taste in music you may wish to view this video on mute, or with your fingers jammed in your ears.