The testing is done. The wait is nearly over. The lights on the gantry will soon be flashing – 1,2,3,4,5….
Oh yes folks, the F1 season is so tantalisingly close it’s almost within touching distance. If that’s not enough, there’s the start of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) this weekend at Monza. Woo Hoo!
Now, irrespective of whether or not you feel let down by the BBC over the whole F1 coverage farce – the fact is that we now have 2 big players in the world of F1 coverage this year. Sky bring their usual big, brash and huge-budget approach to the table whilst the BBC will endeavour to deliver the intimate, personable, approach that has endeared them to millions of fans. The team we have grown to love over the past 3 season has split over the two channels, giving room for some great motorsports commentators and experts to step into the limelight (Crofty, Ben Edwards, Gary Anderson to name but three) – and that gives the fans possibly the biggest challenge… who to watch?
When the races aren’t live on the beeb, it’s a straightforward answer – Sky of course. But when both channels have the race… that’s a toughie. I really like Martin Brundles commentary, and Crofty is brilliant… but likewise, I really like Ben Edwards (having listened to him do BTCC for years now) and DC was a great “expert voice” in the box. Jake, EJ and DC make for a brilliant anchoring trio and feel like you could sit down with them and just have a laugh… Sky, well we don’t know yet but it’s likely to be a bit more sterile I suspect but with plenty of flash, resources, presence and quite probably with more access that the BBC have had (money opens many doors!)
The beeb will be keeping the only true F1 theme tune, whilst Sky have gone with a rather more sedate affair (I seriously hope it’s a grower as it definitely lacks punch and presence.) There’s also the fact that the F1 forum has been a true gem of broadcasting, giving a lot of insight into the drivers and teams as well as giving them all a bit of personality – something that the formal interviews and press conferences can strip away.
Practice sessions are less of a conflict, with Crofty and Ant Davidson doing the honours for Sky I really can’t see any competition coming from 5Live with James Allen and Jaime Alguersuari (who really deserves a race seat, not a box seat!)
One thing that Sky do offer, that the BBC cannot compete with, is the added coverage. Being on a dedicated channel there is so much scope for analysis, insight, features, history and much more.
No matter where we end up on race day, one thing is for sure – it’ll be great to have F1 back and, despite our daughters wish to see less F1 (she’s even suggested we skip it this year!!!) I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more of the sport rather than less.
I can’t wait!