Before launching into this week’s media review, let us pause briefly to reflect on the magnitude of Fernando Alonso’s achievement: the youngest F1 champion ever, at just 24 years old, and the first from his country. A shame so few newspapers also paused to do him adequate justice.
Unsurprisingly, the divide between the quality Formula One coverage this week neatly split the conventional tabloids and the ‘broadsheets’ (which these days is a less accurate term with which to describe their size). Bluntly, the F1 coverage in the broadsheets this week is excellent, and in the tabloids, poor.
Starting at the top, The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian both offer excellent pieces and devote the front of their sports sections to the race. Kevin Garside in the Telegraph is on top form: “Alonso’s incandescent blaze through the 2005 season reached a fist-pumping climax at the Brazilian Grand Prix.”
Here, as everywhere, coverage of the inaugural A1 Grand Prix race at Brands Hatch garners impressive column inches. Both races had iconic images to offer: Alonso’s post-race scream of joy, and Lebanese Khalil Beschir barrel-rolling out at Paddock.
The Brazilian Grand Prix was less than stellar, but the first A1GP – dull spint race notwithstanding – earns justified praise from most newspapers. The exception being the Daily Mail with Alan Fraser declaring in a mean, snobbish article that “A1 is a TV road to nowhere.” The merits of the racing are totally lost on an author who apparently can’t see past the shortcomings of Sky Sports’ coverage and a teething problem with the qualifying broadcast.
“Never was I so glad to see the consummate professionalism of the ITV Formula One team,” Fraser opines. Consummate professionals? Who spent the last half-hour of the championship deciding race telling us not to worry, that half-brained soap Coronation Street would be on shortly, and cut the post-race analysis to virtually nothing to accommodate it? Never was I so glad my mother taught me never to believe anything you read in the Mail.
The passing of Michael Schumacher’s epic five-year stint as world champion draws a few interesting comments. In The Independent, David Tremayne gets lyrical: “As if to wash away the embers of Michael Schumacher’s tenancy of the title, there was a brief rain shower.”
The Daily Mirror poked fun: “He took a crown that nobody but Michael Schumacher has worn this century and one mechanic revealed a T-shirt with ‘Michael who?’ on the back.”
Charmingly cheeky, but scribe Byron Young might want to look up a certain Mika Hakkinen…