The big problem with F1 2011 is:
The penalty system is flawed. Even more flawed than in 2010, which makes F1 2011, in my opinion, an inferior online experience to F1 2010.
The people ruining your race "left, right and centre" are still very much a big issue in this year's game and the XP system (which I was super excited about) is, at its core, a great new addition.
What makes it all unplayable, though, is the penalty system.
I have received countless bogus penalties in online races that don't make any sense at all, I will give you 3 examples and I'll let you decide if I could have avoided receiving a penalty in all 3 cases:
1. Sprint Mode | Monaco
I started the race in 6th and got bumped from behind just before the first corner by 3 or 4 cars - these are said people that ruin your race left, right and centre - effectively pushing me to the right and over the kerb, leaving me hopeless without control over my car as I got 3 or 4 bumps from behind that caused my car to move forward.
I immediately received a penalty for "multiple illegal overtakes". There was no room for calculation by the system, as soon as I crossed the inside I got slapped with the penalty AND got 10xp deducted.
2. Sprint Mode | Monaco
I had just taken the first corner and was on my way up Beau Rivage, and just before taking Massenet (the long left hander after driving uphill) I was smashed into from behind, causing my car to 360 and stop sideways on the track.
There were about 10 cars behind me, my car ghosted and I got slapped with a penalty for "illegal blocking".
3. Co-Op Championship | Malaysia
During Free Practice, when taking turn 4 (the sharp right turn after coming up a long straight) my rear decided to step out, causing a spin and thumping my car nose first into the wall on the immediate right hand side of the track.
Obviously I had to reverse to get out of the situation I was in. There was no car around me, I'm not even sure if there was another car on the track at that time - I reversed, and got served with a 10-place grid penalty for "dangerous driving".
Those were just three out of a gazillion of bogus penalty situations I found myself in during online racing (granted, No. 3 probably doesn't count as online racing per se).
I have posted a thread with these three situations (plus one at Singapore) on the official F1 2011 forums and I am definitely not the only person that is affected by it.
This is why, in my humble opinion, F1 2011 is a worse online experience than F1 2010.
There is no point in an online XP system if people can effectively ruin your race and you actually get points deducted for "doing things wrong" - which you're not, obviously.
I'd very much prefer an XP system that rewards you for challenges but doesn't deduct points for "screwing up". Heck, if you're unlucky, you might start a sprint session as a level 10 and end a 4-5 race sessions as a level 8.
So in essence you just proved my point, thank you.