Canadian Grand Prix 2005 Media Review

The Canadian Grand Prix gave us drama, incident and a smattering of controversy. But did it capture the attention of the nation’s sports writers? Find out in our post-race media review.

So, when was Jenson Button’s last retirement as a result of driver error prior to his Canadian crash? The Sun quote the man himself who reckoned that, “the last time I made an error in a race was 2002,” presumably referring to that year’s Hungarian Grand Prix when he spun out while driving for Renault. The Times, however, claim an entirely different quote, also attributed to Button: “My last mistake was in 2000.”

Which might leave you wondering who is right: the behemoth broadsheet or the nation’s favourite source of pictures of topless women?

Those of you who remember the 2003 season more clearly might be inclined to suggest that they’re both wrong, as Button was one of many drivers to spear off at the treacherous turn three in that rain-saoked race.

Trivia nit picking aside, Jenson Button is inevitably the focus of attention in the British press this week. Indeed, The Times, the Daily Star, the Daily Express and the free daily Metro all run identical photographs of Button clambering from his wreck on lap 47.

The Sun pick out the FOCA TV picture of Button’s BAR’s,ashing the barriers for their feature, a smart move that gives some small amount of credence to their interesting claim of being “No.1 for Formula One.” The rather crap placement of the review, printed in black and white stuck ten pages inside the paper, detracts from that claim.

If The Sun really was number one for Formula One, they’d give the back three pages over to it, with vivid, attention- grabbing photographs and detailed analysis. Their proud boast is otherwise a joke.

The Daily Express, as usual, demonstrate scant enthusiasm for a decent race, yet again leaving Bob MacKenzie’s thoroughly worthy write up well clear of the prominent pages, with little to draw attention to it.

Kevin Eason in The Times oddly suggests that the most hard-done-by driver in the race was not Juan Pablo Montoya, denied victory by a bad pit call, but Jacques Villeneuve, merely for having an indifferent home race. It’s a difficult point to agree with even given Villeneuve’s lap one misfortune.

At least The Times write-up has some side to it though, which many other articles (including some not covered here) pretty bland and by-the-numbers, perhaps reflecting the limited time available to produce them owing to Canadian time zones.

Of course, there is always a distinction between the real story and what gets reported.

Button’s crash may have had many of the papers all worked up but the real question after the Canadian race was why McLaren had failed to bring Montoya in for his pit stop when they should have. Was his race sabotaged for Raikkonen’s title bid?

Only The Guardian led with Ron Dennis’s insistence that it was a McLaren ‘blunder': “The team personnel who managed Juan Pablo’s car just missed the call.” It’s difficult to imagine Dennis wilfully throwing away championship points, but a lot of people won’t see it that way.

Broadcasters ITV once again let British viewers down by allowing adverts to intrude on a crucial moment of the race, albeit without quite the same drama as at San Marino earlier in the year. As the adverts rolled on lap 37, the British fans who turned over the the live timing screen at formula1.com saw Alonso’s car plummet down the sheets after he smacked the turn four wall.

A charitable person would say that ITV were unlucky. But realistically, if they were even half as serious about their F1 coverage as they are about football coverage, they would never have adverts during the broadcast in the first place. This is yet another occasion on which they have let the F1 viewing public down.

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