2012 F1 season DVD “Victorious Vettel” reviewed

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Update: The Blu-Ray version of this DVD has also been reviewed: 2012 F1 season Blu-Ray “Victorious Vettel” reviewed

The F1 calendar continues to get longer and finish later in the year. This creates problems for the makers of the official season review video, which for the second year in a row missed the all-important Christmas market.

Then there is the challenge of condensing all the material filmed at 20 race weekends. As a result the 2012 review is spread across two discs and lasts over five-and-a-quarter hours.

In the case of last year’s review it often felt like too much context was being cut to make room for more footage of the races. That trend has continued this year and has definitely gone too far.

Pop disc one in, hit “Play rounds one to ten” and the first race begins almost immediately. There’s no introduction to the drivers and teams, no recap of the rules changes – and no footage from practice or qualifying.

This continues throughout the review. Even major incidents that shaped the season such as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel being sent to the back of the grid in Spain and Abu Dhabi are not seen and referred to only in passing.

The result is a review which suffers from giving too little context to the action. Significant news stories like the Williams fire, Maria de Villota’s crash or the Bahrain controversy are given passing mentions or ignored entirely.

It also means the entire review is narrated by the same person. Ben Edwards does his usual top-notch job of the commentary but he could do with a co-commentator to provide some variety. The segments between races, voiced in previous videos by Will Buxton, are gone.

The cream of FOM’s footage

As you’d expect the race reviews themselves are excellent and feature the cream of FOM’s vast repository of footage. This is arguably the most important element of the review and it’s executed very well – you certainly get plenty of footage for your money.

I particularly enjoyed the split-screen replays of major incidents shown from multiple onboard cameras. And there’s the usual smattering of alternative camera angles which are seldom seen on the world feed – such as Bruno Senna’s first lap in Canada from a camera mounted on the nose of his car.

Had it been me on the editing desk I would have removed the pointless shots of random paddock-dwellers reacting to the on-track action and added some more footage of the often overlooked teams in the second half of the field.

And I was hoping to see more of some of the incidents that were overlooked during the race broadcasts, such as Pastor Maldonado’s Brazilian Grand Prix crash or the tangle between Timo Glock and Jean-Eric Vergne in the same race, but there aren’t many unseen incidents such as these.

In addition to the main review are the familiar onboard laps narrated by one of the drivers. Where previously these would be laps from qualifying, this year most of them look at action from the races.

Among the best are Daniel Ricciardo narrating his first lap at Melbourne shot from a helmet camera and Button’s view on Vettel’s “slightly dodgy pass” on the penultimate lap in Germany. However some of these serve only to replicate footage available elsewhere on the review, such as the first-lap pile-up in Belgium.

We also get to hear some interesting team radio snippets that weren’t broadcast previously, such as Sebastian Vettel complaining about his penalties in Italy and Spain.

The DVD extras are mostly forgettable with two exceptions. One is a feature on team radio broadcasts which include some interesting insights from Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and their race engineers.

The other is a piece on pre-season testing narrated by Buxton which should really serve as the introduction to the review as it does a good job of setting the scene for the year ahead.

All the action, none of the drama

The 2012 season was a thrilling contest which wasn’t decided until the final lap of the last race. And yet the official review video fails to capture the building excitement and tension over the course of the season.

It comes back to the problem of a lack of context. Because we aren’t shown how much the Ferrari drivers struggled in Australia, there’s no emphasis on how impressive Alonso’s win in Malaysia was.

Because the off-season technical changes are largely ignored, there’s no insight into how Vettel and Red Bull grafted to make the RB8 the dominant winner it was in Japan, Korea and India. And so on.

It may be time to rethink these official season reviews. At the very least it’s time they were made available in downloadable form.

A shorter, entertainment-focused video which captures the essential action of the season and can reliably hit the shelves in time for the Christmas market could be followed by a longer box-set review for hardcore fans with full-length coverage of every round.

The 2012 edition offers much of the essential action but suffers from some glaring omissions and fails to recapture the drama of the season.

F1 Fanatic rating

Buy Victorious Vettel: The Official Formula One Season Review 2012 (DVD, UK)

Buy Victorious Vettel: The Official Formula One Season Review 2012 (Blu-Ray, UK)


Victorious Vettel: The Official Review of the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship

Publisher: Metrodome
Format: DVD (reviewed), Blu-Ray
Published: 7th January 2013 (DVD), 14th January 2013 (Blu-Ray)
Price: �16.99 (DVD), �24.99 (Blu-Ray)


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Author information

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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37 comments on “2012 F1 season DVD “Victorious Vettel” reviewed”

  1. “Victorious Vettel”

    I wonder how shortly it took for them to come up with that title.

    1. @andae23 It’s not great but when you look at some of the howlers that have come before it’s a masterpiece. I’m thinking of “Not in a hurry”, “Luck does not come into it” and the comically bad “Once Again!”

      1. Me and my girlfriend have been watching through old season reviews (in an effort to educate her on F1’s past) and the titles are infuriatingly revealing.

        “Who else but Schumacher” was a classic title, leaving her to watch on in the anticipation of who would finish second in the standings to the German!

        At least the titles you list, Keith, leave the uninformed guessing!

      2. I would probably have put something like this in the titles:

        2008: Until the last corner
        2009: New faces
        2010: Four contenders, one champion
        2011: The year of the Bull
        2012: Almost Alonso

        I’m sure it’s possible to think of something better but I really hope that nobody gets paid for ‘inventing’ the titles we have seen since 2008.

        1. Sankalp Sharma
          7th January 2013, 23:36

          “Almost Alonso”

          Is a good one! But then it ignores Vettel entirely.

          1. You’re right, I just had thought of a similar case from the past. In 1993, the review was named ‘Senna fights back’, even though Prost had won the title. I suppose it’s because Senna showed more resistance than expected before the season. I think something similar happened in 2012, namely, Alonso’s ability to keep the contention alive until the end was probably the main storyline.

            But, as I said, it’s definitely possible to come up with something better, for instance, @crazycarts suggestion is very good.

        2. how about “3 times a champion!, but who?”

          leaves you guessing who wins

  2. Steve W (@westcoastboogaloo)
    6th January 2013, 13:41

    A shorter, entertainment-focused video which captures the essential action of the season and can reliably hit the shelves in time for the Christmas market could be followed by a longer box-set review for hardcore fans with full-length coverage of every round.

    I would happily pay extra for an extended version of the season. The lack of context and important information has been noticeable in the last few reviews.

  3. I remember the official review DVDs that came with Sony Liverpool’s F1 series of games on the PS2 in 2001 and 2002. They had the right mix of context, action and a choice of additional camera angles for virtually every incident covered in each race (from extra footage of the drivers running back to the pits in Monaco after the opening lap red flag accident in 2000 to onboard footage of Hakkinen stalling on the grid at Brazil 2001). It was a great format and I used to watch them over and over again when I was younger, whereas I don’t do that for the modern reviews even though the racing and action is more exciting these days.

    I think you’re right to call for a change of approach to these reviews. It just doesn’t seem like the same level of thought and care are being put into them as perhaps they once were.

    1. Yeah, I’ve got both of these and I also thought they were great. I liked the fact that you could choose which angle you wanted to watch at any given time, and that on the 2000 one you could even watch highlights exclusively from one angle (e.g. “onboard highlights” etc). I think if FOM took this format and extended it slightly it would make the reviews so much more interesting than they are at the moment.

    2. John Bergqvist (@)
      10th January 2013, 9:35

      I hated the 2000-2001 DVD reviews, they were so disjointed and had a non-linear feel about them, whereas the VHS versions of those actually told a story, which is the approach they should take in the reviews. This is what I think the formula should be for the reviews: Start off with testing, and talk about the rule changes and any new teams and drivers (and driver changes). For each race, talk about practice and qualifying with driver/team reactions to key events in the sessions, with plenty of team radio. Cover the race, and then after the race, go into detail afterwards about key moments in the race. Then do a feature on any news that happens in between that race and the next, maybe also include short features as well inbetween some of the races. Full onboard laps can be a DVD extra.

  4. having only read the review I sense it is turnimg into a BTCC style review where they just take the highlights package from each weekend and slap in onto a DVD and add very little extra.

    it’s such a shame that they take for granted that it will still be bought by many, many fans

  5. @keithcollantine you know if the bluray will include even more special features like last year?

    1. Can I add to this request please @keithcollantine ? If you have any info on the blu-ray, can you also post an Amazon link to it please? I’ll probably be getting my copy from there, so it makes sense to do it via F1F.

      1. @bleeps_and_tweaks

        If you have any info on the blu-ray, can you also post an Amazon link to it please?

        I have!

        1. Duuuuuuuh! Sorry! I didn’t spot the links at the bottom of the article, only the ones in the middle.

  6. It does strike me as pretty odd that they don’t do a fuller version, for the hardcore fans, as you said. It would provide so much more, and would definitely help sales, I’m sure.

    I’m quite surprised as well, that they haven’t teamed up with Codemasters, in order to provide a special deal, in which you get a combination of the game and the DVD. If they were able to do this just before Christmas, then both companies would benefit exponentially.

  7. I am sorry to say but the script for the final race of 2012 (Brazil) was already used in 2003 (Japan). Raikkonen had to win and Schumacher had to finish at least 8th. Schumacher (Vettel) qualified out of position only 14th. Montoya (Hamilton) was running away with the race but retired. Schumacher (Vettel) damaged his nose while climbing through the field and dropped right to the back. Barrichello (Button) won Kimi (Alonso) only finished second and Michael (Vettel) finished 8th and won the championship.

  8. I was fearing this would be the case. I have had this same sentiment for the last 3 or 4 years now. The review is just too long, at 5 hours it’s not an enjoyable format. The lack of context as you rightly put is the real problem. F1 isn’t just about the race, in fact most of the interesting developments happen on all the other days other than Sunday. All the stuff that is missing adds to the passion, confusion, drama and entertainment.

    I feel the best F1 review was 1994. They had it all. They would end races and have a brief short set of headlines to remind the viewer what was happening in the world of F1.

    To be honest, I might not buy this one. I have the last set but never watch them as they are too long and feel clinical. There is no feeling about them.

    You are right Keith, this franchise needs re-thinking, which is a shame.

  9. Vicarious Vettel claims victory.. Yeah. That’s the best I’ve come up with.

  10. Sad to hear Will Buxton is no longer in the review DVD, I’m a big fan of his commentary and I felt it was good to have more than 1 person voicing over, they had the nice mix of everything pre race by Will and the race itself by Ben Edwards.

    Also the fact that they have cut most of the practice, qualifying, pre and post race news stories and politics is sad as Formula 1 is so far beyond the race on Sunday.

    1. John Bergqvist (@)
      10th January 2013, 9:53

      He is in the dvd, narrating the feature on Winter testing. Also it’s possible that the Blu-Ray could include more extra features, as in 2011 a lot of the blu-ray extra features were left off the DVD version.

  11. It does seem pretty pointless releasing it after Christmas to be honest, though I do understand the difficulties they have in doing so otherwise. I have the 2011 edition somewhere and I was disappointed in the lack of attention paid to technical stuff such as the change to Pirelli rubber. As with anything in F1, much of the sport is what happens off the track so more focus on that would be welcome.

  12. I bought the 2011 review on blu-ray and the one thing I enjoyed was watching the cars race and seeing the circuits in amazing clarity, but other than that there is nothing special about these reviews apart from footage or team radio which I didn’t see or hear during the live races.
    It would benefit from a quick qualifying video before the race review like ‘qualifying in 60 seconds’ or something like that just to had a bit for context to the races, because some of the most exciting events happen on the Saturday in a race weekend!
    I’m probably going to buy the blu-ray again this year and watch a couple of races at a time and slowly get through the 5 hours, plus you forget some details that happen earlier in the season.

  13. The Christmas market is no excuse. If you read any number of the F1 journalists year books they are clearly written as the year goes on – with a quick final edit done at the end.

    If this was done with the audio/visual then the excitement of the moment or ‘drama’ would naturally be caught more easily too. Just another example of sloppyness/lack of thought from FOM.

    I believe the blue ray has extra content including the Will Buxton stuff

  14. Lore Solaris
    7th January 2013, 8:39

    sounds pretty average…

    the FIA should really get it together, geez just another DVD with great video footage wont get people excited or convert new fans… needs to have a great story line, intrigue, build up and suspense…

    seriously we need to get rid of Bernie how many years can he keep F1 in the 70s… we are in the digitial multimedia internet age.. come on!!

    1. I’m sorry, this just seems like a quick cheap shot at Bernie.

      First off, FIA and Bernie are 2 different things. Bernie is the CRH, and is only connected to the FIA through F1. There is very little overlap between Bernie’s job and the FIA’s.
      If the FIA release extended versions of the races, with all the extra stuff that people want, then where’s the incentive to actually watch the season unfold live. The tension between the races was heightened by the press and commentators (Not a bad thing, it made the season), and that’s impossible to capture on DVD/BR.
      The review is just that. A review. It says “This is what happened in the races, this is what it meant for the championship”. I have the 2008 review and it’s almost exactly the same, despite having some of the best races out there (Belgium and Brazil to name 2).

      Furthermore, there’s very little that the FIA would want to put out on a DVD/BR that happened as a ‘side-note’ to the racing. The Bahrain GP debacle? I’ve been doing a lot of research about this for a college dissertation, and there’s very little from the FIA on the subject (As is similar with Bahrain 2011 and South Africa 1985, also with USA 2005), they’re not going to put too much stuff out if the topic itself was controversial, as it could easily paint themselves in a bad light. The only other major off-track storyline was Hamilton to Mercedes, which the FIA did very little on during the time, and concerns next season more than it does this season.

      In short, all a review should have is highlights of the races, a championship tracker and a few complimentary bits like additional camera views and team radio. So what’s the issue?

      1. @keeleyobsessed It goes without saying I disagree with this point of view as it contradicts much of what I wrote in the review.

        But to take Bahrain as just one example, we had a situated where one team – Force India – did not participate in one of the practice sessions because of events happening around the circuit. This cannot have failed to have had an effect on their preparations for the race.

        Given that, Paul di Resta’s eventual sixth place finish was a particularly impressive and important accomplishment under the circumstances.

        This is an example of the kind of context I’m talking about which this video is sorely lacking. That’s why a meagre “races only” review of the type you describe doesn’t cut it for me.

        1. John Bergqvist (@)
          10th January 2013, 9:55

          Personally I wish they’d include more featurettes in between races, like in the excellent 2001 review, where they had lovely interviews and features talking about driver and car cooling at malaysia, and in San Marino (I think) they showed you round the Jordan motorhome. They break up the monotony of the on-track action sometimes.

  15. Pre-Ordered from HMV £10. Bargain.

  16. I think this video by Audi is very well done, perhaps people at FOM must look it.

    Audi -TRUTH IN 24 II – Every Second Counts_ 2012 (720p) – 1.22.55

  17. I normally get these reviews as a birthday present and they’ve been consistently poor for years. As Keith pointed out about this one, there’s never enough context and most of the footage focuses on the fight for the championship and ignores almost everything else other than the odd big crash or contentious issue and there’s hardly any footage of qualifying.

    You’d think that with all of the footage available and the access they’ve got to drivers and team members that these reviews would be brilliant but I’ve yet to see one that I’d rate higher than 2 out of 5 and in the past the BBC review show has been far better. Generally I watch them once and then leave them on the shelf.

    1. John Bergqvist (@)
      10th January 2013, 9:58

      The reviews tend to be either really good, or really dull IMO. I think there’s too long of a gap in between each snippet of commentary, it doesn’t really flow v. well.

  18. I bought last year’s review and I understand what you mean when you say there’s a lack of context. I think they’re really poorly done if I’m honest and completely drain any and all of the excitement you might have had when originally watching. For me the most annoying aspect was the use of the narrator who effectively spoiled what was about to happen, nearly every interesting racing incident was announced before you saw it, totally deflating any excitement whatsoever. I would rather hear the genuine live transmission’s commentary from Martin Brundle as they react to the dramatic events rather than hear “…and then Hamilton crashes,” cue Hamilton then crashing. Yawn.

  19. John Bergqvist (@)
    10th January 2013, 9:40

    F1 season review videos will NEVER have commentary from the live TV broadcasters because that commentary would be copyright to the individual broadcaster in question, and would cause legal issues probably.

    Still, it’ll be interesting to see whether the blu ray has more features or not, I doubt that would be the case for the main feature though. Still, there was some nice pre-race stuff that it would be good to see again in full, like Schumachers full farewell speech on the pitlane channel before the Brazillian GP (also, the BBC started the pitlane stream a full 20mins before Sky started showing it (about 15mins before the race started) at the Brazillian GP, which was interesting, so you heard it on the BBC’s pitlane feed, but not Sky’s as they didn’t show it in time).

  20. Two things that have bothered me about this review which no-one has mentioned.

    Firstly the size of the font used for the team radio subtitles. Ridiculously small for someone like me who is short sighted (despite having decent glasses). I found myself getting up each time off my sofa to move nearer the screen to be able to read the damn things.

    Secondly did anyone else see the point of those little circuit diagram interludes before each round? The one showing the circuit layout, the sectors, the speed trap, the DRS detection point and activation zone? I get having that sort of stuff for the live coverage but in the review it’s unnecessary IMO. Sure, have a little circuit fact screen if necessary (like they used in previous reviews) but the whole video game style virtual circuit thing for 30 seconds each round was just pointless and time wasting. What help is showing the layout and in particular the sectors, speed trap, DRS stuff to a viewer of a 15 mins per race highlights package?

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