Malaysian Media Grand 2005 Media Review

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It’s the Monday after a race, so it must be time for our fortnightly game of “hunt the bits of F1 coverage in the national press.” Or, if you prefer, the Media Review…

First up we have to give special mention to Stan Piecha of The Sun for simultaneously aggravating F1 anoraks and belittling the achievements of Britain’s leading F1 drivers. In his race summary he applauds David Coulthard for having racked up 183 career points, making him the most successful British driver ahead of Nigel Mansell with 182. Fair enough, except that they actually have 483 and 482 – are finances really so tight at The Sun that they can’t gift poor Stan a subscription to Forix?

At least Piecha was bold enough to commit to hard facts: writing in The Express (pictured), Bob McKenzie informatively tells us, “David Coulthard continued to breathe new life into his career with a record that lifts him higher than Nigel Mansell.” What record, exactly? Express readers are left in the dark – perhaps an over-zealous sub editor was on the loose…

Sticking with the British drivers, Jenson Button’s fury over his Honda engine failure is the major story for most writers. A shame so few of them mention Anthony Davidson, who also suffered the same failure on only his third F1 start, ruining a useful opportunity to prove his abilities to the likes of Peter Sauber. The Mirror, devoting a whopping two-thirds of a page to the race (“What Wayne Rooney’s girlfriend wears” gets twice as much), play acronym games with “Button’s Angry Rant”.

The Star run a great pair of photographs illustrating the Mark Webber/Giancarlo Fisichella incident and its aftermath, with a seriously ticked-off Webber gesticulating furiously at Fisichella.

When there were a number of obvious incidents for picture editors to come up with photographs, and the early start time giving everyone plenty of chance to sort their pages out, it’s difficult to understand why The Guardian chose to sit a fairly uninteresting shot of Fernando Alonso crossing the line in the middle of their shot. It turns a bright, lively sport into a veritable sea of grey. Alan Henry does pick up on one widely overlooked story, though, reporting that Rubens Barrichello retired after throwing a piece of rubber from the cockpit of his car, which stuck to his rear wing and ruined its balance.

Finally, on the back page of The Daily Telegraph Kevin Garside gives a neat summary of the race and, just like the Malaysian stewards, comes down hard in Webber’s favour in the incident with Fisichella. “He was unlucky to be taken out,” and, “rightly aggrieved,” we are told. And stat junkies can rejoice here too, for Garside is spot on with regard to Coulthard’s points tally.

But it seems that none of the writers are inclined to spoil a positive angle by pointing out that Coulthard hasn’t as many wins or, indeed, a championship to his credit. Good on him, though.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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