How will BBC TV cover F1 in 2009?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Top Gear Sunday Afternoon Club F1 Blog

Top Gear has launched a new Formula 1 blog but will the BBC?s hit motoring show play any role in the corporation?s coverage of F1 which begins in 2009?

Speculation about a Top Gear-F1 link up has mounted after The Times ran a front page story suggesting Richard Hammond would front the BBC?s coverage which it takes away from ITV next year.

But although the Top Gear F1 blog?s slogan reads “Because we can’t wait for the BBC to get the racing back” it doesn?t seem likely F1 coverage on the BBC next year will have much of a Top Gear theme. So what should it have?

High definition

High def F1 coverage is long, longer overdue. In America NASCAR has been broadcasting in HD since 2005. And yesterday A1 Grand Prix announced its 2008-09 season, which starts in September, will be broadcast in high definition.

At present the old way to see F1 in HD is to visit one of the cinema broadcasts of Formula 1 races, at a costly ??15 a throw.

The BBC already has a delivery system in place for high def broadcasts and the technology must be top of the list for F1 next year.

Lead commentator

When F1 Racing ran a feature last month on the ITV commentary team they said of James Allen: “some fans feel he lacks authenticity.” That?s quite the understatement. You just have to look at one of the most popular posts here, ??Ross Brawn slates ITV F1 coverage?? to truly gauge the depth of dislike for Allen among F1 fans. Satirical motoring website “Sniff Petrol” ran a campaign to get rid of the man they call “The Cock” and the nickname is widely used around internet forums.

In his defence, his last book on F1 was very good and I think some of the criticism he gets should instead be directed at ITV?s editorial style which probably dictates a lot of what he has to say.

The BBC are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a new lead commentator. Ben Edwards is a favourite of mine, who did a marvellous job with Eurosport’s CART broadcasts. Others have suggested the excellent former F1 radio commentator Jonathan Legard.

Another tip is David Croft, who now fills Legard’s place on Radio Five as well as doing GP2 for ITV, although he’s yet to win me over.

Second commentator

Martin Brundle is easily the best thing about ITV?s coverage. He brings excellent technical and racing knowledge, smart analysis and credibility to the coverage.

Where his co-presenter James Allen often sounds like a fanboy, Brundle has the hallmarks of a true fan. If he?s not involved in BBC?s coverage next year it better be because he?s acquired the prefix ??FIA President?.

Some have suggested that David Coulthard will hang up his helmet and take Brundle?s place in the commentary box. I?d rather that didn?t happen because, even if Coulthard can?t get a seat in F1 next year it would be a shame if he stopped racing altogether. I don?t see a need to replace Brundle either.

Brundle is Coulthard?s manager of course, which may play some role in who gets what job.

Presenters

Getting the Top Gear team in would just be silly. I’m a big Top Gear fan myself and the programme often disrupts the production of F1 Fanatic. But we all know Richard Hammond doesn’t care for F1, Jeremy Clarkson would just make jokes, and James May isn’t interested.

I’m actually not too fussed about who hosts the pre- and post-race show as long as they take the good bits from ITV’s presentation (Brundle’s technical and historical features are always excellent) and drop the worst bits (cutting away before the press conference to show a 45 year-old film, as they did on Sunday).

Premiere video feed

The Premiere video feed is currently available only in limited markets including Germany. It makes use of more cameras than the standard feed.

For example in last year?s Japanese Grand Prix viewers of the standard feed didn?t get to see Fernando Alonso?s crash ?ǣ but Premiere viewers did. It should go without saying fans want the best viewing experience available.

Less nationalistic coverage

It would be unrealistic to imagine that F1 Fanatics are going to make up the bulk of BBC?s audience. Just as with ITV, there?s going to be a large proportion of casual fans watching it to see how the British drivers are doing.

The Lewis Hamilton mania of the past year and a half has been suffocating. And we thought it couldn?t get worse than the Jenson Button craze that came before that.

BBC only need to tone it down a little, spend a bit more time talking about the 19 drivers who aren?t Lewis Hamilton, to make it a lot better.

Studio

ITV used a proper studio for the first few years of their coverage. Then they did away with it, and now we have Steve Rider and Mark Blundell screaming to make themselves heard over engine noise in the pit lane.

This was probably an idea to add more of the track atmosphere into the race coverage. Well it failed. ITV?s presenters look like they?ve sneaked into the paddock by climbing over the fence and haven?t got anywhere to go. Even their British Touring Car Championship presenters get a plinth to stand in front of. Surely F1 deserves this modicum of professionalism?

Interactive coverage

BBC?s F1 commentary team on Radio Five Live already make extensive use of emails and text messages sent in by listeners.

If I were running BBC?s TV coverage next year I?d want to integrate a Live Blogging system similar to what we have here during races. With two commentators covering the race a third could host a live chat with fans and feed back input from the viewers.

According to the Financial Times:

Under its new contract with the BBC, for example, the broadcaster will package its TV and radio coverage with blogs, archive footage and pictures on a single dedicated website.

Sounds very promising!

Internet coverage

ITV finally brought F1 coverage online this year with free practice one and two, qualifying and the race now simulcast online. BBC will surely replicate this using their well-established iPlayer, and hopefully will cover free practice three as well.

And The Chain?

Surely it goes without saying…

No adverts

Happily, the most important part of BBC?s coverage in 2009 is a dead cert??

61 comments on “How will BBC TV cover F1 in 2009?”

  1. The only way to see F1 in HD is to watch the Japanese GP on Japanese TV, or to go to the track ;-).

    Here is a screenshot of the F1 in Cinema feed (which is sent over FTA satellite): http://img463.imageshack.us/img463/4735/snapshot20070910233424fg6.jpg
    The graphics are in 720p, but the video is the same old 525i, looking even worse when put behind the sharp graphics.

    Here is a screenshot from Fuji TV’s presentation of Suzuka in 2006, and a comparison shot from ITV: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/forums/showpost.php?p=17699253&postcount=29827

    Here in the US, even the IRL went HD this year for all races. Bernie has to catch up. Maybe with all the recent reshuffling of revenue distribution, he will find the money to upgrade the FOM truck and get HD uplinks (since the Cinema feed shows that the graphics are HD ready, and you can’t buy SD-only cameras anymore)

  2. Hammond was on Chris Moyles show last week and he was pretty clear that he wasn’t interested. Top Gear is the BBC’s motoring brand really so I guess it makes sense for the moment to start following F1 on the TG blog and to try and cross sell it once they get the actual coverage, and presumably a new brand for it.

  3. James Allen amused me in the French GP coverage. We saw images of Button walking down the pit lane, Brundle commented that Button was out and walking down the pit lane, then cut to pictures of the track and James Allen starts to explain that Button must be pitting because the computer doesn’t show him in position.

  4. yep…jeremy cant live without jokes…james is MR slow and richard knows nothing about f1…..by the way I really like top gear watch every episode…

  5. I have to say I agree with almost everything you say here but I’m not sure about the studio. I really like the fact that they seem like they are in the action.

    It must also help with getting interviews if they don’t have to cart someone off somewhere.

  6. Don’t hold your breath about the “nationalistic” coverage – you only need to look at the navigation tabs at the top of the page: “Racing”, “Incidents”, “Lewis” to see what it’s going to be like…

  7. Ade – Good point!

  8. grumpyoneuk
    25th June 2008, 9:25

    I agree that attempting a link-up or cross-over with Top Gear and F1 would be an awful mistake and make viewers nostalgic for the ITV coverage!. As for studio versus on-site presenters, you only have to think how dire studio based football and athletic pundit teams are – so something like a mobile studio at each venue, where guests pundits can be used etc. might be a compromise; actually I really don’t mind the current ITV approach. I do think that there’s more scope for enhancing the pit lane reporting – I think ITV under-utilise both Ted Kravitz and Louise Goodman – I’d quite like to see both involved in some way in BBC coverage.

  9. …and Martin Brundle took a break from his “grid walkabout” in the last GP. Hopefully he’ll be back for the British GP and the BBC take him on for the same next year.

    Let’s hope the Ofcom complaints from the Canadian GP haven’t stopped one of my favourite features of the GP coverage.

  10. next up on top gear, star in our reasonably priced Super Aguri.

    I’d rather Richard Hammond over Steve Ryder.

  11. Andrew, he always makes those sort of mistakes, at spain when Heikki crashed this is what he said
    ” Lewis gets fasssssttttteeeeessst lap! *crash*, is that Lewis crashing?”

  12. I’m with f1freak – Top Gear is good but F1 (to the likes of us at least) is too important and grown up for the Top Gear lads to be writing daft slogons on the sides of the cars about Hamster’s teeth!!

    I somehow doubt that Martin Brundle is now seen as a ‘BBC Man’ now that he makes comments about pikies and tarmac (as entertaining as that was).

  13. grumpyoneuk
    25th June 2008, 10:53

    …of course the only Top Gear candidate for the F1 team is The Stigg! (Whoever he is?). The rest can have the usual sort of feature – “here’s 1000GBP – go and build an F1 car from a wreck…”

  14. Terry Fabulous
    25th June 2008, 11:27

    Star in a reasonably priced Super Aguri…Sush that is brilliant.

    And Andrew I’m glad I’m not the only one who spotted that great piece of James Allen commentary!

  15. is steve rider a proper f1 commentator cuz he also appears on current euro 2008 football analysis…and he SUCKS…….is he kind ov all round commentator..

  16. Less nationalistic??? Why?? I’m British & I’m going to be watching F1 on the BRITISH Broadcasting Corporation’s feed. We don’t exactly have many British sporting hero’s competing at international level nowadays (Euro2008 for example!), so sod it, let’s go overboard and promote our guys and our British F1 teams.

  17. F1freak, Steve Ryder is just a commentator for ITV, so any sports he can be on. ITV like him because of his smooth voice and non threatening demeanor, even Brundle gets fired up sometimes.

    I’m suprised no one mentioned the only person in F1 that has their own slogan, Ted Kravitz… “ON THE PULSE, IN THE PITS”

    also, Anthony Davidson, expect him to be headhunted by the BBC the minute he hasn’t got a drive (haha)

  18. What’s wrong with Steve Rider FFS??? He’s a bl&*dy good professional presenter. If you knew anything, you’d know he used to present F1 on the Beeb all those years ago. He’s an F1 fan who also commentates of Football, big deal..

  19. I don’t like him.
    he doesn’t work for the beeb now. HA IN YOUR FACE.

    Bernie’s a professional, doesn’t mean I like him either.

  20. woohooo take it easy… sorry for going a bit harsh on steve…..i apologise andy wolf..but brundle is better .sorry…

  21. F1freak, they do different jobs….
    Sush, live up to your name, will ya….

  22. I have no problem with Steve but I also think it would be good to have someone that will show their interest a bit more.

    Suzi Perry’s coverage of Moto GP is pretty good I think.

  23. “here’s 1000GBP – go and build an F1 car from a wreck…”

    That would be such a good episode, Jeremy will probably load his car up with grenade launchers and machine guns to “ease overtaking”!

    But I agree if Top Gear got involved it would just ruin the F1 coverag. They should replace James Allen and keep Martin Brundle.

  24. @ AndyWolf. Have you never felt an inexplicable urge to throw up over your Tv when listening to Steve Rider’s cheesy sycophantic meanderings??…….well I have but thankfully I’ve managed to hold it in. He’s like a presenter on an infomercial, plus, his eyes are too close together. Makes me mistrust him….LOL

    On a more serious note however, as Keith said earlier, the coverage of Lewis mania has been suffocating. I’m not sure how much Steve actually gets to decide what to say and about whom but if he’s given free reign then I think he needs to be held back

    However I agree with you in a sense that being British and watching a British broadcasting channel we should ‘big-up’ the stars. But there’s a difference between giving due attention and completely monopolising the limited air-time on one driver.

    On this site, we all love F1. For ALL the teams and ALL the drivers…

  25. Steve rider use to present F1 when it was on the BBC and i think he is a gentlemen and deserves a place on the BBC. As well as Martin Brundle he should go to the BBC, he is a traditionalist who likes the old way of racing and his technical feedback is to me impeccable. I read in the declining magazine F1 racing that Murray Walker might come back for 1 or 2 races. well for the commentator anybody but Mr Allen. Anyway i read that Adrian Chiles will be the new presenter of F1 on the BBC.

  26. Controversial view here – but there is a general sense in the motorsport community that the current F1 coverage is by anoraks for anoraks. Ok maybe not in the build up features, but the race & qualifying coverage itself is not for the uninitiated.

    I would love it if the BBC presented F1 as an entertainng sport rather than something that should be revered (as I believe ITV do). There is nothing wrong with bringing in some humour and making the whole thing less technical and serious.

    F1 reached its peak of popularity when it was something anyone could sit down on a sunday afternoon and understand. At the moment thanks to refuelling and the coverage it is a long way from that

  27. I think Ben’s right and it’s a criticism I would make of a lot of motor sport commentary. They spend too little time talking about what’s actually happening on the track, and far too much time droning on about fuel loads.

  28. Thanx Keith for all the links, especially the new ones that you give us to follow and have a fuller picture of the sport.

  29. Not in the World Series by Renault I should add :-) largely because 1. There is no refuelling and 2. I’m the commentator

  30. I can’t believe no one has said it yet – please, no ads, no ads, no ads!!! I really can’t handle it during a race. My precious new flatscreen is in danger every GP sunday from a flying remote!

    I do like the slick style of ITV tho, and would be pretty happy if it was just in HD with 0 ad breaks. Ironic how the Sony sponser ads are all about HD tho. And even tho James Allen is rubbish, Brundle makes up for it.

  31. dangerous bryan
    25th June 2008, 13:47

    My ten pence worth is that Brundle is out of date, replacing him with Coulthard would just bring a whining voice to the coverage and he’ll blame his poor commentating on a dodgey mic or the video feed cutting out!!

    The plinth that Jardele gets to stand on during the BTCC is a copy of the one sky use for their speedway coverage, looks too cheap and tacky for F1 but agree with the need to get down into the thick of things…what about a BBC truck to rival those of McLaren and Ferrari!

    That said I’ll be happy as long as Jim ‘I’ll present anything’ Rostential doesn’t come back.

  32. Chris Harrison
    25th June 2008, 13:47

    “They spend too little time talking about what’s actually happening on the track, and far too much time droning on about fuel loads.”

    To be honest I like the “droning” about fuel loads and everything similar. I’d miss it if that was taken out, and would probably enjoy it less.

    However that might just be my personal preference.

  33. I have caught the BBC Five Live coverage of F1 a couple of times and found that they are pretty good, considering you cannot see what they can. I need to try BBC radio with ITV vision for Silverstone.
    Martin Brundle should definitely stay, he is nicely down to earth for the fans, but doesn’t idolise or demean the drivers and pit crew either, unlike James Allen.
    I never saw Steve Rider on BBC, but at the moment I think he and Mark Blundell could be replaced by virtually any BBC presenter, but they should have their own Motorhome and have the interviews there – with Murray Walker back occasionally for the special ones and special features (with Martin doing some as well).
    I think that Ted and Louise used to be a good duo in the Pit Lane, but over the last couple of seasons all they have done is hound drivers and team principles for interviews they could easily arrange for after the race. I would like to see real petrol-heads in the Pit Lane, doing a similar job to the NASCAR guys and girls.
    Talking of NASCAR, they have three commentators – one for the action, one for the hows and whys (usually an ex-driver) and one for statistics.
    I like the idea of a combined website/blog/links page – the BBC are doing a lot of that now anyway, and having followup on TV programmes on the radio too. I hope they do a proper interactive service with their ‘Red Button’ and give a choice of cameras.
    Will BBC just be getting F1 or will it have GP2 as well?

  34. dangerous bryan
    25th June 2008, 13:53

    Sorry I meant Ted Kravitz rather than Tony Jardine presenting the BTCC from Donnington

  35. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    25th June 2008, 14:05

    its simple really, get rid of allen, keep brundle, have same type of build up with the features etc just not so orientated around lewis hamilton. an maybe instaead of showing live action of practice (when everyone is in work) have a catch up show on the friday night just too summarise whats happend on firday. this could also double as a preview show for the qualifying and race aswell as fill in any breaking news between the grand prix.

    although i doubt any of this will happen so long as i havent got to hear james allen any more i will be happier with the coverage.

  36. dangerous bryan – really Coulthard after his comments about Massa live on ITV at the Australian GP?
    I guess that’ll bring on some more Ofcom complaints :)

    I also, can’t see him running down the grid at the start of the GP to get interviews. Given the money he’s made from F1 he may just want a break from it all.

    Anyway, I would have thought you’d opt more towards Johnny Herbert?

  37. I’m still really confused why everyone seems to hate James Allen so. I’m based in Toronto (from London) though, and we get the choice of watching the speedTV commentary, or the ITV commentary, and honestly, the difference is astounding. And it certainly accounts for why NOBODY is interested in F1 in the states. The commentary is awful. I think he does a jolly good job, and frankly he picks up on a lot of the nuances.

    And I;m afraid that I don;t really agree with Ben about needing to dumb it down. Nothing annoys me more than watching the GP and the commentary not picking up on what I consider to be the notable points of the race and give their insight on them. I’m afraid that F1 is a sport of intricacies and very fine margins, and the reason so many people are fascinated by it is because of these complexities.

    I have no problem with their being clearer descriptions, but I’m afraid I generally disagree. I’ve tried watching NASCAR, and the commentary is NO help. I’ve tried looking online, and that doesn;t help much either. Have you ever tried listening to an NFL game, or a baseball game – it’s virtually in a different language, and if you expected the commentary to be dumbed down for the lowest common denominator – there would be outrage. As there should be in F1 – if anything i think they need to be even more complex.

    Anyway, nobody seems to mention him, but I feel that Ted Kravitz does a very good job, it would be a shame to lose him, he often gives us insights that nobody else has, and in real time. Lousie goodman does a pretty good job too – you really get the feeling that the drivers like and respect her – she generally gets pretty honest copy pretty quickly.

    AS for the studio, it’s a must – they look ridiculous, they can;t concentrate, and it just looks cheap.

    Much more important to be honest would be ideally a pre-race show the night before, after qualifying, and in depth, a prooper build up. And much more importantly a a proper, in depth debrief, hopefully on the sunday night, and maybe reshown before the next grandprix. I feel that SO much is missed out on during a grand prix, that a proper rundown of all the interesting points of a GP would be invaluable and fascinating with the right pundits.

    phew, and finally – as long as they bring back the CHAIN …. WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. steve thompson
    25th June 2008, 14:54

    The talking over the noise is by far the BEST bit. Most journalists forget that the average pundit doesn’t get inside the paddock, seeing the rushing around and hearing the noise is a fantastic lead up…. are you REALLY suggesting we go back to some awful studio with a couple of chairs a pot plant and a window overlooking a lorry park…..be serious we need atmosphere and emotion.

  39. All emotive stuff – great debate to start Keith!

    Where do I stand?

    1) No to ‘dumbing down’ – it’s a complicated sport, that’s why I like it.

    2) I’m not James Allen’s biggest fan, so won’t weep over his loss. I agree with Keith that his last couple of books are excellent, and I always enjoy his columns on the ITV-F1 website – so maybe he should go back to being a print journalist?

    3) Brundle is an absolute must – after Murray’s retirement he has become THE voice of F1.

    4) No ads goes without saying thank goodness.

    5) I love Top Gear, but don’t want them anywhere near F1.

    6) You know, I grew up with it, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I could live without The Chain.

    7) I actually quite like the pitlane and paddock stuff.

    8) Much as he entertains me, Mark Blundell has no place as a professional broadcaster, former racing driver or no. His standard of English is appalling and his ‘analysis’ is non-existent. Half of the time he is simply battling with himself to make a sentence coherent.

  40. No seems to care about HD then….. I wonder if the beeb will make use of the ‘red-button’ (not the off switch!). Maybe have an alternative commentry (Five Live?) or some way of overlaying the lap times etc as found on the F1 live timings webpage.
    At least that way you can satisfy the diehard fans with their thirst for knowledge without bombarding the casual fan.

  41. James Allen turns out to be a brilliant writer – thoughtful, analytical, and even a bit controversial. Seeing as he can’t translate that to commentary, maybe that’s where he should stay – in print?

    Brundle MUST stay. Seeing as DC is his handle, I think Martin will manage to get the BBC gig as DC would probably defer to him for that.

  42. I enjoy Top Gear too but I still don’t see any logical reason why they would be involved with the BBC’s F1 coverage. As Keith said, we know Hammond doesn’t care for F1. And I’m sure Hammond isn’t the only person at the BBC with ill-feeling towards it.

    Both F1 Top Gear seem out of place at the borderline-Communist BBC, in this age of global warming hysteria. But Top Gear lives on at the Beeb, because they’re afraid to kill off such a ratings winner. And now F1 is coming back to the Beeb, but I can’t figure that one out.

    The whole thing reeks of desperation and apathy. “ITV is dropping the F1 coverage, so we may as well pick it up”.

    I’ll miss ITV’s coverage despite all its faults, simply because I find the contradictory atmosphere of today’s BBC so irritating.

  43. oh george, I couldn;t agree with you more – Blundell is an idiotic buffoon. How he of all people managed to get the gig is a mystery to me. I honestly don;t think he’s ever said a single thing that I wasn;t already completely aware of. when you hear the insightful comments that jeson Button gave the week he was commentationg – it really makes you realise what kind of analysis we could be getting.

  44. Rob R, the Beeb were due to get F1 back soon anyway.

    its not desperation on the BBC’s part, its ITV’s desperation, since Honda pulled its “power of dreams” from ITV effectivelly killing 15mil pounds of revenue for them ,they needed to get F1 out the door quick.

    ITV aren’t making that much of a profit this year, its why you get pimms and Kronnenberg adverts during the F1 now.

  45. Well I’m perfectly happy to pay my licence fee and get Top Gear, F1, and the loads of other programmes I watch on the BBC without having to put up with adverts. I’ve been to other countries and seen the alternative and I have no desire to see the same in Britain.

    If the BBC is a public service broadcaster then it makes perfect sense for it to drop one sport that can be shown on commercial television without adverts interrupting the action (football) for one that can’t (F1).

  46. Christopher
    25th June 2008, 22:10

    Josh J has found the solution. Since commentary is supposedly so bad in the US/Canada and we don’t want Allen here in the UK, send him over to America to commentate! Everybody wins (sorry, everybody wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiins!).

    I remember primarily watching F1 on Eurosport before ITV got it. We’d often only switch to the BBC when Eurosport went to adverts. Ben Edwards and John Watson were pretty great (as far as I remember).

    So basically… Allen can get lost, while Edwards and Brundle head to the BBC.

  47. I agree with Dorian’s comment about Steve the spivs eyes – and he uses too much hair lacquer.
    As for his analysis with Mark Blunderer, its like listening to a couple of school girls discussing underwear – why don’t they get to the meat of things instead of pussy-footing around – probably scared of offending someone and losing their ‘pass’.
    When they do the pit chat, if they must stand in front of a revving engine, why don’t they use the old type of mic which covers the whole mouth (preferably with an oily rag as a muffler !)
    Considering the fees that these people are paid, I find them totally unprofessional. Martin B is the only one earning his money.
    Oh, and maybe James could do his commentary in print – on teletext !

  48. About 30 posts ago some guy was talking about how he was ‘British’ and liked the nationalism, well I entirely disagree with that point of view but I would settle for anything less than the current ‘ramming Lewis Hamilton down my throat’ stance that ITV are taking…

    Plus your comment regarding promoting British F1 Teams, how do you justify British exactly, because Renault, Force India, McLaren, Williams, Honda and Red Bull are based in Britain, and all of which receive the majority of their funding or engines from overseas…or by British do you mean not Ferrari?

  49. Argh…every time this comes up, someone slams the Speed commentators (this time, without even giving a reason). It’s true that Varsha, Hobbs, Matchett and Windsor are not as serious and formal as the ITV guys.

    Allen and Brundle are the English “broadcast of record”, as they go out to England, Canada, Australia. I can see why they would need to be formal, serious, and fairly dull.

    That said, even though Hobbs jokingly calls Fernando “Fred”, and Felipe “Phil” (which doesn’t bother me, but others don’t like it), Speed makes up for it with their technical commentary. Windsor and Matchett go far more into detail on brakes, tire compounds, aero changes between tracks, and pit strategies than ITV do. As an example, Matchett put up a picture during qualifying showing the differences between McLaren’s Canada- and France-spec rear wings. Even with a full hour of pre-race, ITV never spends more than a few sentences on technical stuff.

  50. Well I just hope that the online stuff is available to viewers outside the UK – even if I have to subscribe.
    ‘Cos whatever the Beeb do or don’t do, they sell their commentary to Channel 10 here in Oz, which is a commercial network. Therefore it is highly unlikely we will have un-interrupted coverage, even though the network will have un-interrupted feed.

    We’ll still be missing action through the #@*^ ad breaks, so it’s worth it to me to watch it via the web, even if I have to pay for it.

  51. I agree James Allen may be irritating at times, but over here in Asia, we have to endure with the Star Sports coverage, which the commentators are 10x worse than James Allen (really!)

    After every race, I’d download the ITV race coverage just to experience what a proper F1 race coverage is like. And it is Martin Brundle that brings the magic to the whole ITV show. I can’t imagine F1 coverage without him next year, he’s more or less Murray Walker’s heir IMO.

    Is anyone doing a campaign to urge BBC to bring in Brundle? I’d join in a hearbeat.

  52. Mr Pippy, I agree that Steve matchett is good, as is windsor, but varsha and Hobbs are unbearable. I don;t care that he calls alonso fred, frankly at the montreal race he sounded drunk. Varsha knows even less than Steve Rider, and Hobbs is just a total pillock who ALWAYS gets it wrong, talking all over people, just saying really unprofessional stupid things, and not adding a thing.

    As Isaid, Steve Windsor is great, but completely under-used during the actual commentary, and Matchett is good, but I really don;t think he actually says that much more than brundle and allen – I think it;s just that next to all the others his light shines that much brighter. If they could have him and windsor as the primary commentating cre then they might be onto something.

  53. I don’t hate James either. The Murray / Martin partnership was the ideal template. One motormouth talking about what he can see and being excited about it, and one person interjecting with insight.

    James wants to be Martin. Well that’s not going to work Martin is already Martin.

  54. No matter what the BBC do, it cannot be worse than ITV. I for one cannot wait, and I am praying that they take a whole new team, and dont talk about Hamilton from start to finish, more race facts would be good

  55. couldn’t be bothered reading all the posts on this one, far too late for me and need some sleep, but I thought that fans doing the commentary on a separate audio feed would be quite good too, maybe they could get a certain Keith Collantine to try his hand in front of the nation?

  56. I agree with Bowks :-)

    In all seriousness, I have had a look to see if BBC are recruiting but no joy.

  57. andy suridge
    5th July 2008, 13:44

    What upsets me is the storytelling after each break of what we have watched already!!!
    mr allen telling us “listen children before the break mr schumacher-mr I HATE ENGLAND hamilton- spun just before you left us”give us a break. THANK CHRIST beeb have it back.
    Stick to your celeb programmes/soap operas itv AND IRRITATING gmtv!!!!!!!!!!!!

  58. Dunno if it’s already been mentioned but with regards to nationalistic coverage have a look-see at the Moto GP coverage to see how much they worship James Toseland. I think it’s actually going to be WORSE than ITV.

  59. Bring back Dr Jonathan Palmer together with Martin Brundle they would make a great team. Ditch the wingeing whining Coulthard, he doesn’t have a quick enough brain.

    For me its enough not to have to put up with the ads and super **** James Allen.

  60. I am looking forward to the BBC coverage but anyone who thinks they won’t overhype Lewis Hamilton is really living in Cloud Cuckoo Land!

    I give you Tim Henman and Wimbledon as a prime example of this, closely followed by Andy Murray

  61. F1 is a sport watched by Anoracks and so should be aimed at Anoracks.
    There is no such thing as a casual F1 watcher. There is no way that I could watch an F1 race unless I had followed the championship from the start. I love motorsport, but I only have time to watch F1. I cannot just watch an A1 race or Touring cars or whatever and get the same sort of enjoyment as I do from F1, because I know what’s going on in F1.
    It irritates the hell out of me when the commentators repeatedly remind us about the white stripes on the tyres or some other thing that anyone who knows anything about F1 already knows.
    This sort of dumbing down does not attract people to the sport and serves only to annoy the people who do watch it and are hungry for technical and strategic information from experts.

    The pre-race build up should be a synopsis of the season so far, focussing on the last race, perhaps including important incidents from previous races that have a bearing on the current race and lots of highlights from the last race with plenty of expert analysis, so that somebody wanting to pick up on the season can do so (without boring all us Anoracks who have been following it every day). There’s no need to devote so much time to qualifying when it’s just been shown on another channel and the day before. A few highlights and the grid is all we need.
    I’d like to see interviews with drivers from teams and nationalities other than Mclaren and UK. I’d also like to see interviews with Mechanics, Technical Directors, Race Engineers, Roadies, chefs and all the other F1 team members. I think that the pre-race build up should be an hour and the post race stuff limited to the podium ceremony and the post race interview, because most of us switch off after the race anyway.

    As for J. Clarkson, he seems to genuinely enjoy F1 and might bring a bit of fun that the non-Anoracks might need to follow F1. He wouldn’t need to commentate, maybe just do an interview or two (I’d love to see him interview Alonso) or do some sort of things during the pre-race stuff.

    ITV wasn’t bad. They were a bit too commercial, the competition used to annoy me and I loathe Louise Goodman, for some reason. Must be the voice.

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