They Did Their Best: Official 2016 F1 season Blu-ray/DVD reviewed

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As you’re reading a website called F1 Fanatic there’s a solid chance you’re going to pop the 2016 F1 season review video onto your shelf alongside the rest of your collection regardless of whether I tell you it’s any good or not.

There’s nothing wrong with that of course. But may I humbly suggest that when you do sit down to enjoy this year’s five-hour-long feast you skip the main feature to begin with and seek out the bonus extra clip on a day in the life of a Silverstone marshal.

This brief segment is a welcoming reminder that beneath the thick veneer of vacuous celebrity drivel in which FOM packages its product, the beating hearts of passionate motor racing fans continues to pound. Having sat through the largely forgettable, almost five-hour-long main feature it was a welcome tonic.

As has been the case for the past few years it’s very noticeable that the video has been put together ins stages over the course of the season. This is essential in order to turn around a finished product less than two weeks after the season ended.

This has two inevitable consequences. First, there is no mention of Nico Rosberg’s sensational retirement five days after he won the title. Second, there is no narrative flow from race to race making it all feel rather disjointed.

The sheer length of a review which is much longer than a typical film also presents challenges. But even so much more could have been made of this.

The contrast between Ben Edwards’ lively, entertaining and informed Channel 4 commentaries and the lifeless script he has been given to read here could not be more stark. It is passionless, humourless, stiff with statistics and name-checks for people who should be famous enough not to need them.

Top ten: F1 season review videos
A casual viewer might be forgiven for assuming there were no qualifying sessions at the first two races as nothing is shown of them. These were, of course, the two-race experiment with Bernie Ecclestone’s ‘elimination’ qualifying brainwave, which is not mentioned until a brief aside in the China segment announces the return of the old format.

Edwards’ commentary is interspersed with ‘analysis’ features voices by James Allen which largely serve to repeat material which has already been covered. A handful of other presenters also appear, yet disappointingly – and not for the first time – the only woman to feature introduces a segment on the glamour of the Monaco Grand Prix. FOM apparently believes the only role women have to play in F1 is talking about fashion or holding up umbrellas.

It’s difficult to tell who this is aimed at. It will largely be bought by committed fans, so why is so much of the introduction wasted on spoon-feeding us bits of inane trivia we’ve heard countless times before? Why is the technical side of the sport completely ignored?

Happily FOM has made good use of its unrivalled and unique access to the vast amount of material shot at every race weekend. Major incidents get the full multi-angle treatment and there’s a great selection of onboard laps lurking in the extras: particularly Fernando Alonso’s from Malaysia and Felipe Nasr in Brazil. Indeed much of the best material is to be found among the extras.

What there isn’t, however, is much of anything new. No previously unseen incidents, no salacious no team radio titbits (indeed, only one I hadn’t heard before).

The result is a workmanlike but unremarkable review. Not in any way bad, but in almost every way a disappointment. They didn’t do their best.

Looking for gift ideas for an F1 fan? Here is F1 Fanatic’s top ten picks plus more recommendations

F1 Fanatic rating

Buy F1 2016 Official Review (Blu-ray)

Buy F1 2016 Official Review (DVD)

Read all the official F1 season video reviews.

They Did Their Best: The official review of the 2016 F1 championship

Publisher: Duke Video
Published: December 2016
Running time: 300 minutes
Price: £19.99 (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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51 comments on “They Did Their Best: Official 2016 F1 season Blu-ray/DVD reviewed”

  1. “they did their best” – uninspiring title.
    Especially since I feel that after Japan the eventual WDC “gave not more than required”.

    1. With the dopey names of these reviews, I sometimes wonder if there is a language on earth that makes them read like really snazzy lines. I doubt it.

    2. We need a caption contest for the season video.

  2. What a ridiculous title. If they can’t come up with anything good, then why not simply stick with “The 2016 Formula One Season Review”?

    Presumably somebody is paid actual money to write that title… pathetic…

  3. @keithcollantine Do you have the 2011 season review as well mate ?. I’m looking for but can’t find it smh, please say yes..

    1. @revelations Indeed, you can find it here along with the others:

      Amazingly ‘He’s done it again’ is one of their less awful titles.

      1. @keithcollantine Thank you very much mate.

      2. @keithcollantine Flying Finn First at Finish is just a superb title!

  4. As you’re reading a website called F1 Fanatic then there’s a solid chance you’re going to pop the 2016 F1 season review video onto your shelf alongside the rest of your collection regardless of whether I tell you it’s any good or not.

    And don’t FOM know it, we are suckers really. I hope that FOM start upping the quality of these reviews asap, they need tor realise that the only people who are going to buy these reviews are hardcore fans and they should prepare them accordingly. We are the lifeblood of the sport and these reviews DVDs are a chance to give the fans some quality content as a thank you for our undying support.

    As you said, we want a bit more than the usual “There was a race in X place, X driver crashed, X D-list celebrity was present and X driver won (repeated 21 times)” format. Technical insight pieces and some decent coverage of flashpoints from the season should be the bare minimum that should appear on the DVD in addition to the race reviews.

    I think the poor format of these review DVDs is a symptom of something else I keep banging on about: FOM (in particular and F1 insiders in general) underestimate the intelligence of their fanbase. We are constantly being told things are too complicated, or that “fans don’t care about X” or that we have tiny attention spans. We don’t. Yes the sport is complicated, but we love it and as such we do all we can to understand it. Do we understand everything that someone with unfettered access to the paddock does, no, but we have a strong desire to obtain that information. These reviews should be essential viewing and instead they are nothing more than rushed puff pieces. Still, I read this and then placed an order on Amazon…maybe I am a fool.

    1. @geemac
      I thought the only people who bought these were the family of fans who didn’t realise how bad they are.
      I always hope I don’t have to pretend to be happy to receive these every Christmas, yet always end up with another one to add to the collection.

      1. Like I said @beneboy, I am a sucker! I’d rather have them than not, just to be able to pop into the DVD player if nothing else is on. Bad F1 is still better than no F1…

    2. Do we understand everything that someone with unfettered access to the paddock does, no, but we have a strong desire to obtain that information.

      And this is why I don’t have a copy of the season review on hand, but I have made sure to keep copy of the team principal conferences for the last few years. They make for fascinating watching, better than some races, the body language is key, particularly the reactions to what the others are saying.

      1. Agreed @Tristan, I always make a point of watching those. The quality of questions and answers is better than most of the stuff you hear all weekend.

  5. Here’s a 25m season review I found on YouTube (no I didn’t make it) which I enjoyed watching.

    1. @hugh11 Same! I honestly loved that video watched it about four times straight, really good music choice and a good summary. The youtuber deserves more exposure, some of his videos are just really top class.

  6. “They did their best” It’s almost like they’re admitting how painfully boring the season was… “awww, c’mon guys, they did their best”.

  7. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    12th December 2016, 12:20

    The legacy of awful / uninspired season review titles continues then. This one is right up their with 2014.

    “They drove the cars”

    1. Let’s come up with something that can rival 2014 and 2016 titles!

      My offer:

      I can’t. They are just too awful. I guess you have to be a special kind of boring person to even come up with names like “It was fair” and “They did their best” :)

      1. I’d almost be disappointed if they came up with something decent as I’d miss out on my annual chuckle!

        I predict 2017’s will be called:

        He drove well

        1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
          12th December 2016, 20:57

          Subeditor: what about “The Flying Dutchman”?

          Editor: No no….

          “Max Was Fast!”

  8. Not surprised by your review here @keithcollantine. With the talent and technology that F1 boasts it never ceases to amaze me of FOM’s seemingly inherent incompetence to put together a really unique and interesting season ending video. It’s all money for old rope. The 1982 season with Clive James narrating was the first season review I bought. To this day I’ve yet to see a better execution.

  9. Who names these things!? Who green lights ‘It Was Fair’, ‘They Did Their Best’, it’s insane! Literally, I can think of a better one right now: ‘Like Father Like Son’, that’s functional, and doesn’t make F1 sound utterly ridiculous. I mean, if I saw that cover in a shop I would **** myself laughing.

  10. Good that you point out the fact that this is aimed exclusively to die-hard F1 fans. Die-hard F1 fans don’t need introduction to everything, and would rather hear and see things they don’t normally have access to. As you say, technical developemts should take part, among other things. We don’t need an introduction to everything.

    I don’t particularly like these season reviews, so I don’t buy them. Partly because I think it’s just a rip off for what they offer and partly because I follow the sport close enough to not miss much of what’s going on during the season as many F1 fans do. And in this era of massive availability of just about everything, I could watch every race if I wanted to, instead of a 5 hours long review that doens’t bring much to the party.

  11. I think these DVD’s are like a fine wine and improve with age, seem to be made as a time piece for future viewers.

    1. I agree with your point, but would add that rushing these review DVDs to market for the Christmas season is what makes them so much less than what they could be. Imagine if they had even six weeks to finalize the product instead of two. I could wait until next Christmas for the 2016 review if it was well done. They could take advantage of post-season interviews and have an overall narrative that uses hindsight to full effect. This would truly reward fans.

  12. Manager: So Bob, has the marketing team already found a title for the new review video?
    Bob: No, no, they’re really working hard on finding something catchy…
    Manager: Those damned marketing people, they never do anything properly!
    Bob: They did their best,…

    1. Haha that was awesome! :)

    2. Loved the 8-bit version. Very funny!

    3. Please can someone at FOM make this into an actual, playable game? It could be released 2 weeks before the start of the following season onto mobile phones and maybe included as a bonus/Easter egg series onto the F1 [following season] PC/console game and it would be a lot of fun (plus, potentially, quite the money-spinner).

  13. The only thing I’m impatiently waiting for is the review title, thinking “Can they come up with something worse than last year”? And usually they succeed.

    1. Gosh, They Did Try Hard: The story of the most expensive motorsport on the planet.

    2. You know, the inane titles are actually growing on me. It at least gave me a good laugh. That picture of Ricciardo on the cover is quite terrifying though.

  14. FOM apparently believes the only role women have to play in F1 is talking about fashion or holding up umbrellas.

    For a sport constantly revolving around advancements in technology, I think it is very disappointing that some seem to forget advancements elsewhere within the world.

    It sounds like yet another season review I will not bother with based on this review.

  15. That’s the worst title they’ve come up with. Shocking.

  16. Products like these is where I hope Liberty Media can improve for the sport. Who is this disc targeted? either a young F1 fan new to the sport or exasperated gift giver who must deliver something F1-related. Regardless, it’s an opportunity poorly missed to promote the sport greatly. I would had thought this program would had been broadcasted first on SkySports or Channel4 before showing up on physical media.

  17. Maybe for 2017, after the new regs they’ll the title will be “Nice Try” or “Maybe Next Time”. There’s a caption competition here somewhere @f1fanatic !

  18. As you’re reading a website called F1 Fanatic there’s a solid chance you’re going to pop the 2016 F1 season review video onto your shelf alongside the rest of your collection regardless of whether I tell you it’s any good or not.

    Once that’d be true… but I stopped buying them around 2010. As someone up there ^ said, they’ll probably be worth watching in a decade or two, but (up until I stopped buying them) they consistently provided a unsatisfying, shallow recap for a fan who watched the whole season and will have it fresh in his mind for the next few years.

    It’s a bit like one of those abridged books Readers Digest used to do. Massive chunks of the story are missing.

  19. Should have been:

    2016 FIA Formula One World championship
    One And Done

    1. My very early title offering for 2017:

      Things Happened. What

      (punctuate the “What” as appropriate for the way 2017 goes, so the marketing people have something to discuss…)

      Seriously, I think I figured out who the F1 DVDs are aimed at.

      Yes, they’re aimed at diehard F1 fans. But I think they’re aimed at a specific type of F1 fan (other than the F1 visually-orientated collectors who mostly need to confirm there are, indeed, facts about F1 cars contained to purchase for their archives, perhaps to be watched once or twice). The fan to whom it is aimed is the exasparated family F1 fan who wants something to stop the family from arguing over some petty problem over the Christmas period. Any time anyone pipes up, they put in the DVD/Blu-ray, the F1-interested members stay in the room and watch, the non-F1-interested members go to their own rooms and have fun. It would explain a lot of the stranger features:

      – Ben Edwards’ scripts never improve because they’re really only there for prompts. It’s not Ben’s commentary that matters in this context; it’s the commentary the family members provide *themselves* that is providing the aural entertainment

      – Ben is unusually restrained to avoid accidentally talking/emoting over the viewers

      – There is virtually nothing new (and most of the new stuff is in the “extras”) because it’s easier to have a meaningful discussion about some aspect of F1 if you’ve already discussed/heard it discussed once

      – Controversies are shoved into the corner because the whole point was to break up actual/potential family arguments (and FOM doesn’t want to say anything that would make the buyer not buy next year’s product, such as anything inducing an “I hate FOM and all its works!” situation – a bland “oh, it’s dull but it’ll probably do” is safe for them). At least if an inadvertant argument does happen, it’s “the family v villain of the race”, “who’s better – A or B?” or “which villain was more villanous?”, so still an improvement over not watching the review in the first place

      – It’s disjointed because if a family intended to watch the thing through, is disturbed by the cat trying to get to the turkey leftovers or something and then resumes, they (probably) won’t get to 45 minutes later and misunderstand something because they were still annoyed at the cat when the relevant bit was shown. This also explains the repeats of important material by a different presenter

      – Technical items aren’t discussed properly because those who are interested probably were discussing them in the race bits anyway (obviating the need for further detail to be added) and those who aren’t would be bored

      – Women don’t get the attention that would make sense given the changing demographics of F1 paddocks because… …um, I can’t explain it with this theory. Sorry.

  20. Fans are not the lifeblood of the sport anymore (at least not in the UK), Sky and their $ are far more important than fans and even sponsors, who are soon to lose the bulk of their target audience in the UK when it goes Sky exclusive after next season. I for one will not be getting Sky just to maintain my interest in F1. It’s been fun all these years ever since I starting watching F1 as a kid with my dad, but next season will be my last, so long.

  21. “they did their best”

    Please excuse me while I finish laughing. I’m now 100% sure someone at FOM has been trolling us for the past ten years!

  22. What there isn’t, however, is much of anything new. No previously unseen incidents, no salacious no team radio titbits (indeed, only one I hadn’t heard before).

    Main reason for that is that nowadays far more of it is shown either by FOM or by broadcasters such as Sky during the races/post race coverage.

    In the past the host broadcasters would often miss a lot of stuff, They also didn’t have access to all of the in-car camera feeds FOM had & the various broadcasters also didn’t have access to any extras for there post race analysis. As such you had a lot of footage that was exclusive to the VHS end of year review.
    When we were running the F1 Digital+ broadcast from 1997-2002 most people didn’t have access to it so for most of the fan-base the stuff from those broadcast’s which made it into the review was new.

    Over the last decade or so as FOM have taken over from the host broadcasters more incidents have been caught & shown during the race broadcasts from both trackside & in-car cameras. Additionally broadcasters now have access to all the in-car camera feeds, Team radio chatter from the pits channel as well as the extra bits of footage shown on the highlights channel & other FOM analysis tools.

    This means there’s a lot less stuff of interest to throw into the end of year review that won’t have been seen already.

    I think the last thing of any real importance that was new to the end of year review was possibly Alonso’s crash at Fuji in 2007. A race where the world feed was handled by the local host broadcaster (FujiTV) who did a bad job capturing that crash. They didn’t have access to Alonso’s in-car camera up until after the impact so the pre/during/after footage on the review was unseen. If FOM had been covering the world feed for that race that footage would have been shown during the race broadcast & if like now the various broadcasters had access to all the in-car feeds they also would have used it in there post race analysis so would have been something everyone had already seen rather than an end of year review exclusive as it was.

  23. God I just LOVE the inane titles they give these. I’m sure someone out there is leading a one-person campaign against hyperbole in marketing. It’s GENIUS. Here are my suggestions for future editions:

    F1 2017: It Was OK
    F1 2018: They Did Some Racing
    F1 2019: The Battle For 9th
    F1 2020: You Stayed Awake

    1. Nah
      F1 2020 – they showed vision

  24. They did their best…but we didn’t even try.

  25. I think maybe the name/limp content are an ironic farewell to CVC. Or at least I hope so.

    I suspect Liberty Media will give this kind of thing the attention it deserves and bring out much inspired season reviews. The 8-bit one was more entertaining than these seem to be these days.

  26. Wow. What a condescending title. That’s something you’d say to your 5 year old child after he finished last in the toddler run.

  27. Does Bernie come up with these titles himself? They’re so flippant and contemptuous, I could well believe it. It’s as if they couldn’t give a **** what the fans think. That couldn’t possibly be true, could it! ;)

    My submissions…

    2017: Some Races
    2018: More Races
    2019: Who Gives A ****
    2020: Whatever
    2021: Meh

    Actually, with the current trajectory I think FOM are setting themselves quite a challenge to come up with an even more rubbish title every year!

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