“50 Years of Formula One On-board” (DVD)

Formula One DVD Review - An enticing prospect, but the title of this DVD is a little misleading. Yes, it features on-board footage of Formula One cars dating back around 50 years. But realistically, only since the mid-1980s have Formula One cars regularly been fitted with on-board cameras while racing. So this DVD features a mix of early flirtations with on-board cameras where the cars aren’t being driven with 100% commitment, and later material we’re more familiar with.

But let’s not be too blase about this – some of the early footage is breathtaking, particularly the sequence featuring Juan-Manuel Fangio lapping Reims in a Maserati 250F. There’s some brilliant shots of the Nurburgring and a very curious lap of Monaco on board a six-wheeled Tyrrel P34, with the camera pointing directly down above the driver’s head with the bodywork peeled back to show his arms and legs at work.

But what really lets this video down are its terrible production values. Some sequences have no introduction and no title. The commentary (F1 legends Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti plus Bob Constanduros) veers between enlightening and patchy. There is no commentary over the on-board shots, though many are crying out for some instructional words. It would have been no problem to leave the ‘silent’ laps on as a bonus extra.

Following the main on-board feature you get a perfunctory, whistle-stop tour of the 26 drivers’ champions up to 2004. It adds up to a real hit-and-miss affair with some brilliant material but a lot of wasted opportunity.

Best bit: Compare Jacques Laffite at Monza in the late 1970s with Michael Schumacher at the same circuit at the turn of the millennium – perhaps the purists have a point when they say that modern cars and circuits are unchallenging.

F1Fanatic Verdict

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