San Marino Grand Prix 2005 Media Review

A resurgent Ferrari gave us a nail-biting race to the flag in San Marino, and with Jenson Button getting back on the podium surely F1 merited high mention in this week’s sports pages? We tell all in the media review…

Monday’s Daily Star gives an adequate write-up of the San Marino Grand Prix, sandwiched gracelessly between adverts for injury lawyers and pornography (and above the ‘sportword’ crossword where I see number 12 across, four letters, is “____ Schumacher, Formula One driver.” Damnit, I’m sure I know this one…)

The Star do deserve praise for reporting details of the Grand Prix other than that spellbinding Michael Schumacher-Fernando Alonso duel over the final twelve laps. That said, the poor choice of pictures (one of Schumacher and Alonso spraying champagne and one of Jenson Button spraying champagne) does little for the quality of the coverage. The ITV controversy is ignored, too.

The Sun are more than up for a pop at ITV, however. “We’ve ad enough,” declares Charlie Wyett, “furious fan bombarded ITV with complaints yesterday.” And what did those fans have to say? “I waited years to watch a finish like this, and instead I get an advert for a tumble drier,” lambasts Chris Turner of Hertfordshire. Paul Dekowski perhaps spoken for F1’s millions of British fans when he opined, “I was absolutely disgusted – ITV should give F1 back to the BBC.” Hear, hear.

But we’ll not leave the business of covering F1 exclusively to The Sun, because their piece rather gives the impression that only two drivers participated yesterday. Correspondent Stan Piecha does deserve a thumbs-up, though, for referring to Alonso’s spirited defence as the ‘taming of the Schu.’ Good pun work, Stan.

No gratuitous punning in the Guardian, of course, but a tasty double-page spread in the sports pull-out, again covering the three major points for British readers: the race, Button’s podium, and ITV’s dismal coverage of the Grand Prix. Stirling Moss told the paper, “I can only assume the [ITV] producer was a football fan.” In the main piece, Richard Williams draws comparison between Alonso’s defence and those of Gilles Villeneuve in the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix (See F1’s Greatest Wins, issue 3) and Ayrton Senna at Monaco in 1992. A very good piece of journalism which, in my totally unbiased opinion, deserves a higher placing in the paper than the less newsworthy, “worst Premiership football team lose another game.” But what do I know?

Two final thoughts. First, it seems surprising that even these later editions of the newspapers did not carry the news of Ralf Schumacher’s post-race penalty that dropped him out of eighth place. Second, the ITV Award for Disservice to F1 Fans goes to the London Evening Standard, for their miserable, tiny 60cm-square write-up of the race. Come on, guys, with the 2005 season coming to the boil nicely it deserves far better exposure than this.

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