How much of the race did you see?

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Magny-Cours, 2007, qualifying, 2Did you watch the French Grand Prix on ITV? How much of the race do you think you missed because of advert breaks?

The race lasted a whisker over 90 minutes. That’s the same as a football match – and ITV certainly wouldn’t contemplate putting adverts on while a match is being played.

Jon McKnight kept a stopwatch on the race and found that almost quarter of an hour was lost to advertising breaks.

McKnight is so unhappy he’s keeping a close eye on which advertisers buy time during the F1 race. They include, bizarrely, Banco Santander, who kept viewers from watching Fernando Alonso’s scintillating charge in a Santander-sponsored McLaren to show us one of their adverts instead.

For a complete list of the advertisers that appeared and a breakdown of the time lost during Grands Prix to adverts, have a look at his site below.

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14 comments on How much of the race did you see?

  1. Robert McKay said on 1st July 2007, 18:06

    Yep, it’s pretty bad. What annoys me most, though, about the ITV adbreaks, is that there’s the same number no matter the race length. So there’s the same time lost to adverts at, say, Monaco (average GP length = 1 hr 50 mins) as there is at, say, Monza (average GP length = 1 hr 10 mins). Work out what those are as percentages, and realise the ridiculousness of it.

  2. Wow! Interesting stats! What’s really getting on my nerves is ITV not showing the slowing down/celebratory lap (which was a damn sight more interesting than the majority of the laps at this year’s French GP). It’s a tricky situation because ITV, being a commercial organisation, have to make their money from somewhere.

    I don’t think we should forget that ITV do show adverts during the football – usually two ad breaks each before the game, at half time and during the post match analysis. It would be interesting to see how much advertising was shown over three hours of ITV’s football coverage compared to three hours of ITV’s F1 coverage. I reckon it would be largely the same, yet few people seem to complain about ad breaks during the football. I’m guessing this is entirely because the ad’s aren’t put on during the live action. Perhaps this is something ITV should look at doing during the F1 … after all, didn’t we only have one break (maybe two?) in the whole one hour build-up?!

    Granted though, ITV’s coverage continues to be pretty average (at best!) I’m just looking forward to seeing F1 in HD, on the big screen and without ad breaks at the Vue in Romford next weekend – will let you know what I think!

    Martin

  3. Carldec said on 1st July 2007, 21:20

    wow.. would I love to have only 15 minutes of breaks in the race. Here in the states we had to suffer through a delayed race on the Fox network rather than the typical live race on Speed channel.

    Fox packed the end of the race full of commercials. At laps 23, 19, 14, 11, and 6 they had commercial breaks that lasted two laps… so for the last 25 laps you only got to see about 15 of them. By far and away the most comercials Ive ever seen in a F1 race.

  4. Johnny said on 1st July 2007, 22:08

    i usually download the ITV coverage but today i was at work and the race was on fox. it was absolutely awful. you brits dont know how good your coverage is until you experience the painful amount of advert breaks on american tv.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st July 2007, 22:26

    Those of us who watched F1 in the BBC days remember having zero minutes of adverts!

  6. KB said on 2nd July 2007, 2:04

    ITV are becoming a bit of a joke. Not only do they take the long ad breaks, they seem to have lost the plot. Usually I watch the live timing screen as well as the race. Today when I realised L.Hamilton was doing 3 stops, I wanted to know what kinda gap he had to the car behind him….Not once did ITV even mention this…this is need to know stuff!!
    As time progresses I am losing the will to live with ITV.
    Another thing…..why is L. Hamiltons father suddenly the voice of his son? It was nice to hear his views for the 1st few races, butcome on ITV get the professionals for interviews…(No disrespect to LH’s father)
    I dont recall ITV interviewing Schumi’s/ALonso’s dad.
    ITV need new blood, and some passion for the sport

  7. Sarhan said on 2nd July 2007, 9:03

    Hello from Poland! we wach f1 races on polsat tv and there are no advertisements interrupting the race-this would be like breaking a football game-unacceptable. Though it’s legal no Polish tv station would dare to interrupt a race or game. Instead you have years of commecial spam before and after the event-but never during it.

  8. QUOTE:

    “The race lasted a whisker over 90 minutes. That’s the same as a football match – and ITV certainly wouldn’t contemplate putting adverts on while a match is being played.”

    This is a revelation to me because I am not a football fan. I think ITV’s attitude stinks. It’s ridiculous to adopt such a two tier system to sport coverage.

    Much better to download the race a short while later from the net – f*ck ‘em I say.

  9. M Smith said on 2nd July 2007, 9:57

    ITVs pre-race programme was refreshing after they started broadcasting F1. But the adverts in the race have got to stop! Many times the tension of the race is great, then it’s broken completely by adverts.

    Wasn’t there a case with Ofcom where ITV aren’t actually allowed to have adverts?

    Legal of not, they’ve got to get rid of the adverts!

  10. M Smith said on 2nd July 2007, 10:00

    And in reference to Martin, the British GP at the Vue Cinema is gonna be great. Basically for just the adverts. :D

    Am I right in saying that the cinema HD feed is raw, no commentary?

    And since it starts at 12.30, that’s basically when the cars go out onto the grid.

  11. There’s a competition to win tickets for the Vue screenings on my Auto Trader column:

    http://www.autotrader.co.uk/EDITORIAL/car_page_content/34903.html

  12. Dan M said on 2nd July 2007, 14:58

    As was mentioned, we had a tape delay here in the states. So you would think that they would have screened the race to make sure they didn’t have a commercial during Hamilton’s stop, Alonso’s battle with Hiedfeld, and Kimi’s radio congrats…… But they did.

    Too bad the sports stations covered the race hours before we were able to see it. As if the race wasn’t already predictable, I already knew who won.

  13. To answer the question at the top of the blog entry, I watched approximately 22 minutes of race – and put up with three 2-minute in-race ad breaks. Mind you, these were bearable because I was watching the highlights programme. I can sympathise with those who hate in-race ad breaks, but the fact is that ITV had to agree to lots of breaks to afford Bernie’s fee. We would probably not get F1 broadcast on terrestrial if it weren’t for the breaks. Naturally, ITV offering Bernie 10 times BBC’s fee in the first place set things off, but that’s what happens when Bernie decides he isn’t getting enough money from someone – he “encourages” someone else to pay more.

  14. I started timing the ad breaks during Indy, and stopped because I was getting so annoyed with it. Unfortunately history has shown that those making commercial decisions re. ad breaks have no grasp of why they annoy fans so much.

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