BBC F1 coverage in 2012


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    I have Sky but prefer the BBC when they have it live. I’ll miss Jake because he is very engaging with the viewer and he’ll be hard to replace. :)


    With the championship going down to the last race, the BBC managed to beat their 2011 viewing figures for Brazil.

    Their average audience for the Brazilian Grand Prix was 5.2m with a peak of 6.6m.

    The 2011 average was 4.8m with a peak of 5.9m.


    Not great figures for a title decider, are they?
    Had a quick look back to previous years, and British F1 viewing seems to be declining :(
    Peak figures (couldn’t find the average) were:
    2008 Brazil: 12.5m
    2009 Brazil: 8.9m (not the last race, but Jenson Button clinched his title)
    2010 Brazil: 5.9m (last race in Abu Dhabi reached 7.2m)


    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)


    I have to agree Pete, we had it so good last year and the year before. You could say I am lucky to have access to both channels but I would have it all back on the BBC in a heartbeat. I really can’t get my head around how they can say its the best for the sport? Profit wise sure, but for bringing the sport to as many fans as possible surely this is anything but positive? The viewing figures are down I hear and its really unsurprising. I had Sky anyway so I haven’t had to pay more to watch, but many people have been priced out by such a change and its sad to see.

    Gwannel Sandiego

    This should maybe be a new thread, but who would people like to see replace Jake in 2013? I’m hoping for Lee McKenzie, she seems to have a good rapport with drivers & get good interviews, I like her, and as a female fan it’s nice to see women involved other than in an ornamental fashion. They already gave her a run at it (although highlights only from memory) when Jake was away, so she seems a plausible choice. I might be suffering from a lack of imagination over other potential contenders though – I wouldn’t have had a clue who Jake was before he started.


    As a female fan also I would have to pick Lee too.


    Don’t give a monkeys if it is a male or female to be honest, as long as they are good at it. Unfortunately on the couple of times she’s done it I don’t think Lee has been very good really. Not that I’ve got any better ideas off the top of my head.


    Will Buxton would be great, but highly unlikely and he’s not bland enough for BBC.
    I hope Lee gets the job, and for better reasons than “she’s a woman”. She asks intelligent questions that make the drivers think, and seems to put them at ease too. Much better than the Sky woman who (from what I’ve seen) puts on a dramatic voice and asks people to regurgitate press releases. Her Vettel interview after the race yesterday was excellent, and some of the snatched questions on the grid are nice too – “Felipe, what will your role be today?” So the rapport she’s built up with many of them over several years would be ideal for a roving role around the pits and paddock.
    The highlights shows with just her and DC were a bit wooden, so it would have been good to see her do a live race and forum this year, but unfortunately Jake came flying back from his heroic reporting outside a football stadium to save the day and dash any hopes of that.

    Gwannel Sandiego

    @tomsk Clearly I don’t think she should get the job just because “she’s a woman”, I just mentioned that it would be nice to have a woman in a prominent role after giving essentially the same reasons you just did for her getting the job.


    @Tomsk you say Will Buxon is not balnd enough for the BBC yet none of the characters they employ for their F1 coverage right now are bland. That is one thing they are not. I think by contrast it is Sky that are more sterile in their approach and you get the impression they are more scripted. Well that’s my thoughts anyway.


    ‘Bland’ in the above post as a correction. Will not let me edit!


    Maybe “safe” is what I was aiming for when I wrote “bland” – BBC seem to me to like their main presenters/anchors to have a squeaky-clean image, keeping order and, if any naughty words are heard on air, looking suitably shocked and apologising.

    Never seen Will Buxton on TV – only heard his GP2 commentaries and read his online stuff (blogs & Twitter) – but on that evidence I suspect he’s a little too energetic and unpredictable for that role. I fear that BBC will take a news/sport presenter off their in-house production line. Either way I hope they take a fresh approach instead of trying to make another Top Gear – the original’s getting old and lame, never mind the copy.


    Well I am happy with the BBC being ‘safe’. I don’t want standards to fall by presenters being unpredictable etc. David Coulthard can be unpredictable at times but he is getting better. They need a presenter like Jake who can recover awkward situations and keep the flow of the program going. People using naughty words on air will be apologized for regardless of who is presenting. Broadcasting standards in a lot of countries require a certain level of etiquette and no producer working for Sky or the BBC would allow a word to slip without some form of apology. They have to obey what every other program recorded before the watershed has to, and bad language is not acceptable when broadcasting to a wide demographic of viewers during peak hours.


    Jake and the crew have been brilliant over the few years, and their banter will be missed. His replacement will have some big shoes to fill, quite literally. Seeing his goodbye on the forum made me have a lump in my throat as I could see just how much those three have bonded and have become good freinds. In my opinion, BBC’s coverage will never be the same without him, and I’m sure many people will disagree with me.

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