I could write an essay on my thoughts of the coverage changes this year, but I won’t. In summary:
-Sky were horrific for the first few races, laughably bad considering the money they had clearly thrown at it. To their credit they have improved a lot through the season to somewhere around acceptable but still a long long way from the talk of amazing in depth coverage they were promising from the off. It is no more in depth than anything we’ve seen before and consists largely of puff and self promotion, although they keep screaming about how good and in depth they are and sadly people believe them without realising they are being conned. They are still sticking with the entirely pointless drink driver Georgie Thompson for reasons I (and presumably Ant Davidson) can not fathom. More of a personal thing but I can not stand Lazenby either, smarmy clueless grinner that he is.
-BBC have clearly suffered from the loss of personnel, and it seems at times a loss in belief in themselves. I actually really enjoy DC, but Ben Edwards is heading towards Ledgard levels of annoying inanity and sadly getting worse rather than better. Rather than being confident in what they are doing they seem to have tried to emulate some of the (lack of) style of Sky, with little things like pointless 10 second clip montage over music inserts. Since he has got used to a microphone I think Gary Anderson is excellent and the presenting trio I really do enjoy but can understand why they would annoy some.
-The BBC highlights qualifying shows have been a revelation. I really enjoy them, actually a lot more than the full versions. I didn’t realise how much of nothing going on there was in quali, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything after watching the cut version and they are a more exciting watch throughout.
-The BBC main race highlights shows though are unwatchable for any avid fan. Constant unanswered questions of what the hell is going on are teased with the midfield, and occasionally front runners, jumping up and down the field on the on screen graphic with no hint of how or why this may be happening. Full reruns are required for non Sky viewers to maintain interest in the sport long term.
I get the feeling that some of the paddock aren’t fans of the Sky lot either, other than McLaren who are clearly in their pockets. I don’t know but, it seems a lot of personnel are happy to come out and talk to the BBC and relax and laugh along with them, when they are talking to Sky it is like they are going through the motions and can’t really be bothered with them. Little things like Vettel mugging of Brundle last week to speak to Coultard, the lack of access to Vettel Sky appear to have had this week (as pointed out by Keith and noticed by myself too) and just the rapport Jake and Eddie have with a lot of the big players, they always seem to get a lot more insight out of them.
So as most people predicted when it was announced, no one wins. The talent pool is spread between two places rather than being concentrated at one, no dream team exists on either channel and you have to accept the crap with the quality on each. Sky have kept their usual ‘Now in HD, it’s live, in HD and surround sound, coming up. All live’ stupid self promotion that I can not tolerate. All promises and little delivery. Thee BBC overall as a show I enjoy a lot more, aside from the rather important point of the main commentator and that for the actual race is useless for half the year. I have found myself being slightly less interested, less bothered, by what has been going on this year, even in such an exciting and interesting year.
I know some people dismiss the coverage discussion here as not important compared to the racing discussion, but for me at home if I can’t watch it the sport may as well not exist at all. It is not yet that I can’t watch it (until Sky inevitably start charging), but that I am enjoying watching it less even when the action is so good. How far away they have to push me until I can’t be bothered with it at all I don’t know, but it is sad that they are trying.
(tl;dr – overall coverage pretty much sucks on both sides, but for me sucks on Sky a bit more)