Ross Brawn slates ITV F1 coverage

Ross Brawn, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2006The poor quality of current F1 TV coverage has finally been given regard by an important figure in the F1 community. Ross Brawn, on sabbatical from Ferrari, has watched the first three races of the F1 season on TV from the UK and reckoned:

It’s a very frustrating business to watch F1 on British TV. It’s definitely a new experience for me to watch it with a different perspective and also the quality of commentators on English TV.

We’re used to having all the data and all the split times and we can see the race developing. What’s clear when you watch it on the TV is that you don’t get that information. Our commentators don’t seem very good at conveying what is going on.

It’s very frustrating to watch a race and not have that information which is available to everyone at the track. So condolences for that.

Live split time information is available from the official F1 site but the data relayed on screen to TV viewers typically only shows how many pit stops each driver has had.

What is particularly interesting is that Brawn almost certainly watched F1 on ITV (unless he re-tuned a satellite dish to pick up Setanta) and chose to criticise the commentators. ITV’s Martin Brundle is well-regarded by many fans.

But James Allen is widely unpopular and there are even petitions to have him replaced – a fact that many ‘in the business’ choose to ignore.

Brawn’s specific remark, “Our commentators don’t seem very good at conveying what is going on.,” really struck a chord with me. Time and again when watching motor sport the commentators seem to spend too little time talking about what’s going on on-track up and down the field, and too much time talking generally about the drivers. This does not just apply to F1 – GP2 on Eurosport is the worst.

But now that someone important has spoken out, will someone even more important – i.e. Bernie Ecclestone – take notice?

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74 comments on Ross Brawn slates ITV F1 coverage

  1. kinski said on 29th November 2007, 17:48

    How many times do we have to cut to the reaction shots of the pit crews when something exciting is happening on the track?? WE never see the action, not that there is much. Most of the events are replayed after the advert breaks which is when most of it happens…hardly live.

    ITV’s coverage is abysmal apart from Brundle who’s fairly knowledgable, but hardly a champ like James Hunt. Then we have the sychophant Steve Rider who’s doey eyed interviews with Lewis are sheer embarrasment, not to mention Mark Blundell who is illiterate (“what he done was” etc) and another non-champ. Hardly a glittering array of commentators. Ask Damon hes’s got nothing to do.

    You don’t get an ad break 20mins into the live Champions League cup final, so why in a live Grand Prix? What is even more deplorable is the hatchet job performed by the editing team for the highlights show. They never ever make sense. One day lets hope it gets back on the BBC who’s coverage of the GP bike races is miles superior in every respect…and they actually have a race.

    Gone are the days it seems, when people actually race cars on the track. Instead we effectively watch for two hours to see who does the smartest pit-stops. It’s all computer aided, so I’m sure if you put me in a Maclaren I could blow the championship. The aerodynamic packages means no-one can overtake, and now they limit the revs so we done even get decent engine blow outs.

    Meanwhile all we are doing is making Bernies pockets bulge even more. He doesn’t give a toss about anything except the money otherwise he would always guarantee a British GP which is the home of motorsport not Singapore. Instead we have a GP in the middle east which was attended by zero fans …well maybe a couple of camels.

    And how come Ferrari was never penalised for it’s illegal car in the first GP in Australia? Has everyone conveniently forgotten this? Ferrari seem to think they deserve to win regardless every year, and I am so glad Ross Brawn stuck two fingers up to them and went to Honda, because he MADE Ferrari champions. Maclaren were made scapegoats for all the spying, as technical staff swap teams every year surely.

    Now all the driver aids are gone lets see who really cuts the mustard.

  2. Ralph said on 2nd December 2007, 13:24

    Where do you begin on ITV coverage, this business of adverts is totally ludricous, how many times does anybody get up during a live “TV” coverage to make a cup of tea and risk missing that all important overtaking manouver or that equallising goal or even that one moment that means all is lost or won, which in sport of anykind is possible least of all motor racing.So why do ITV think that any point in a race is a good point to have an advert I will never know.
    As most will know the information on screen is put there by, but not directly by, Bernie Ecclstone. So therefore if Ross Brawn would like us to see more, which would be really great, then he should have a word with him the next time he bumps into him at a hospitality suit.
    I am so glad also that I am not the only one that thinks J.A. is usless at the commentry, I cannot remember the amount of times I have found myself shouting at the tv trying to tell him that the driver, manouver or position he is talking about is totally wrong. I know that they have a lot of information to take in but a true fan of the sport knows this sort of info and they are supposed to be proffessionals with a lot of training and support behind them.

  3. Have u all gon mad… James allen is fine. ok he is not as good as murry was but he is ok, Martin’s insite on the drivers is fantastic, I prefer the qualy sessions to the race though as there is all the technical info and it is more exciting. Keep up the good work ITV. Dont let setanta make us pay

    F1 should be free and if it stays on itv then it will be….
    nuf said

  4. Vertigo said on 8th December 2007, 9:48

    F1 will never go to pay-per-view as the manufacturers would complain that the potential audience for their products would be massively reduced. James Allen is a rubbish commentator as well.

  5. Philip said on 9th December 2007, 14:47

    James Allen is fine. The whole ITV coverage is fine. So stop slating it then!!!!!

  6. Stephen said on 11th December 2007, 16:27

    In my humble opinion, the only thing good about ITV coverage of F1 is Martin Brundle. His own insight into F1 gives the viewer an informative view of the sport and therefore helpful comentary – the rest, well – I wouldn’t miss any of them! The adverts drive me crazy.

    Whilst I am a huge Lewis Hamilton fan, there were times during this season when the viewer muigh have been forgiven for thinking that he was the only driver taking part. I hope that next year we get a more balanced view – but some how I doubt it.

    Give the sport back to the BBC – having seen what ITV can do, I’m confident that they would do it far better.

  7. alan routledge said on 25th May 2008, 11:26

    The bias on ITV is dire.The name”Lewis Hamilton” is mentioned in nearly evey sentence.The commentators are besotted with the lad.There are other British drivers who hardly ever get a mention.
    It is now so out of control that I turn off the commentary.
    The lad is mediocre to say the least.The trouble is that the commentators latched on to him at the outset and now he’s not doing too brilliantly they are stuck with egg on their faces.
    Let’s get rid of the commercial breaks,the current commentators and let’s stop that twit running round annoying everybody down at the start just before the thing starts.

  8. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 25th May 2008, 11:34

    Perhaps try listening to BBC on Radio 5 instead Alan?

  9. As long as they don’t bring back the bungling Murray Walker but retain the services of one M. Brundle, it’ll be all good.

  10. James said on 22nd June 2008, 5:33

    well firstly i would like to point out that F1 is going to be SHOWN ON THE BBC as of next season, so for alan this would mean no commercial breaks, which is probably the best thing about the switch, and also i am asuming there will be a new commentating team also. also despite the fact im british, i do agree that lewis is talked about too much, and even in some cases is spoken of like god, like at the end of last season it was the worse thing in the world that he did not win the championship, nothing about the fact kimi won it, and that it was so very close, also as noted earlier, there are more then just 1 british drivers, there are 3 (4) currently racing this season.

  11. James said on 22nd June 2008, 5:36

    oh and another thing, itv catch up is shockingly s***, i do not know if it is just me, but when i tried to watch the f1 on their catch up player, it just looped the adverts, you wouldn’t get that on bbc iplayer. so thats another reason its good its being shown on bbc next season.

  12. Sid Spence said on 6th July 2008, 16:30

    What realy gets up my nose, or is it ears, is the interviews between Steve Ryder and a.n.other in front of the teams garages when they start the engines. WHY?. Atmosphere ?, (no swearing) but rubbish.We know what an F1 car sounds like, so b—-r off to a quieter place, ITV’s think tank room.

  13. nicola said on 19th October 2008, 18:08

    I feel sorry for the people in australia,but on the other hand if you want to here LEWIS HAMILTON,s name 68 times before the race starts move to the uk!cause believe me you better off listening to it on the radio mates.BRING BACK BBC1 AND FLEETWOOD MAC

  14. brian white said on 22nd October 2008, 16:08

    it’s about time max went back to his tarts and left f1 to racing

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