European Grand Prix 2005 Preview

So what was the big story after Monaco? The near-collapse of Renault? That stunning pass by Nick Heidfeld? Juan Pablo Montoya’s remarkable drive from 16th to 4th? Or just Kimi Raikkonen’s maiden win in the glamorous principality?

If you answered, “none of the above,” then congratulations, because you kept in mind the British press’s negative fixation with all things German, and people named Schumacher in particular. For The Sun, the Daily Star, The Mirror and the Daily Mail all the other, vastly more worthy, storylines to arise from Monaco paled in comparison to the argument between the brothers Schu after their dice for sixth position on the last lap.

The Sun manage to ramble on until the sixth paragraph before revealing that the race winner was, in fact, Kimi Raikkonen.

This is, of course, the very same Kimi Raikkonen who couldn’t keep his face out of the papers over the winter when he dared to get drunk in London. Apparently winning the most prized race in motorsport is not newsworthy, but having a minor tiff with your little brother is. That’s editorial prioritisation in the gutter press for you.

It’s basically the same story everywhere else: “Schuey’s gone crazy” (Daily Star), “Ralf: My brother is crazy” (The Mirror) and the less punchy, “You could have killed us, Ralf tells brother” (Daily Mail).

On top of that, in most of the papers you have to dig your way to the F1 coverage past the pages and pages of reflection on that oh-so-exciting 0-0 draw in the FA Cup Final (resolved on penalties) that happened two days ago. Again, a curious definition of what actually constitutes news.

And if you thought the Monaco Grand Prix would provide the perfect background for some glorious photographs, thinks again. Aside from the Daily Mail, who feature a half-decent shot of Raikkonen passing the harbour front, we get various shots of a glum Schumacher, and a champagne-drenched Raikkonen.

I never understand why sports editors don’t tire of the endless champagne on the podium cliched images – Trulli’s pass on Fisichela, or Heidfeld’s on Alonso, would have made far better photographs.

It’s difficult to say much positive about any of them. The celebrity-obsessed Daily Star at least forgoes glamour shots of Monaco women for a picture of the comical Red Bull pit crew in Star Wars storm trooper gear.

ITV did a better job of the coverage this weekend too. The celebrity-fest that is Monaco was toned down a little compared to years past, and they got te adverts over and done with as painlessly as possible (and pointed it out in the commentary.)

The addition of Jenson Button to the commentary team, while on his BAR ban, actually brought a lot to the coverage when many people worried it might turn into too much of a love-in. In fact, Button brought a welcome fresh perspective on the race.

But for newspapers coverage, although the Monaco Grand Prix was an exceptional race almost from start to finish, it deserved a far better write-up than some of the trivialising nonsense it received.

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