Should commentators 'hype up' the action just or report it?

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    Omar R

    I hate when Crofty starts shaking his voice and saying how exciting a DRS pass has been. But it’s okay, and even sounds genuine, whenever a race has a really exciting moment (such as Ocon, Hulk and Alo going together in Australia).


    Interesting to note other F1 observers referring to commentators hyping up the action:


    Latvian commentators hype up the action a lot. One of them starts screaming every time there is a battle for 15th place or when the gap between 4th and 5th place starts decreasing. So during today’s final laps it was like listening to the commentary of the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. That is probably too much for my taste. Also, I believe that commentators should openly admit that a race is boring if that is very obviously the case.

    Nevertheless, I think that they should normally be positive and encourage the viewers to keep watching, which means that hyping up might be necessary now and then. I would not want to see new potential fans leaving and never coming back just because they accidentally switched the F1 channel on and it sounded “meh”.

    Generally, I believe that good commentators should be like @KeithCollantine is on this website – serious and telling it “as it is” but also staying positive, affording the occasional joke and posting things like “caption competitions” :)


    Thanks @Girts :-)


    I kinda like when F1 commentators got excited when there is some important action rather than report unemotionally. Better be over-hyped than biased like Sky about Hamilton. That’s why I really like Ben Edwards-style, especially when they know what it is going on the track (not treating a DRS fly-by between yet-to-stop X and fresh-tyred Y as a real P1 battle). Croft isn’t bad but as someone above said, I find his excitement less genuine than Edwards.


    Eddie Jordan on the podium telling us how exciting that race was, felt incredibly cringey. Even Croft remarked that it was a “slow burner” which is normal people’s language roughly translates as “boring”


    Lets be honest here, Sochi was a bore of a race, all the action in the last 5 mins, so boring was the race we had more replays of the odd front wheel lock up, this sport is still not engaging with the fans and the commentators have to get excited and hype up the most simple of things, just to stop the viewers dosing off, also the TV coverage never looked at the close Ocon/Hulkenberg race. If it had then the commentators could have something genuine to commentate on.



    the commentators have to get excited and hype up the most simple of things

    But this is what I’m getting at: do they really have to?

    The commentators do not work for Formula One, they work for their television channels. So should they be calling the race the way they genuinely see it, or should they be doing a free PR job for F1 and pretending it’s more exciting than it really is?

    I’d be interested to know what it’s like in other sports. Do football/tennis/cricket/rugby/golf commentators ever pretend dull matches are exciting?


    I think commentators should be positive,their job is to keep viewers interested so there’s no point focusing on the negatives but I would hope that their enthusiasm comes naturally as fans of the sport rather than forcing it.

    Interesting I enjoyed the last grand prix when I watched it on channel 4. It wasn’t until I went online after when I saw some fans didn’t like it.


    Kieth, Yes you are right, the commentators don’t work for F1, they work for the respective TV channel and therefore can only commentate on what is being shown to the viewer, it is their job to keep viewers on board for both parties. With regards to other sports I think a lot of believing the hype depends on how interested or how much knowledge the viewer has in that particular sport.
    I personally find the likes of Rugby a fast, physical game that never needs to be hyped, but soccer is a different case, I find it difficult to watch soccer immediately after rugby because of what I just said. If the commentator is gifted with making something dull and boring sound exciting well he or she is worth their salary.

    We have lost so many good F! venues over the last few years, I am not sure the new breed of track design is good for the sport, and that makes a commentators job difficult. For me, all these new brightly colored run off areas can distract the viewer, but then we have what we have and maybe Liberty can redress the issues around the lost “Driver” circuits.


    In the same kind of register I don’t like when they have wrong gap for pit stops and it happens way too often because they take into account the time lost from pit entry to exit and not the time it takes for the car on track to do the same distance (which is the effective time list)… Even if it is not on purpose, I still see that as hype up and false excitation, especially from big broadcasters as Sky


    I think shouting and screaming should be reserved for the rare moments of genuine excitement. Ben Edwards seems to get inappropriately exited, for example when Bottas crossed the line in Russia. There is no need at all to yell, it is a new winner which is different and good, and there was some mild excitement from Vettel being reasonably close, but that sort of meltdown level reaction should be reserved for a Gilles/Rene style battle, were it ever to happen again!

    James McGrenery

    I can’t stand “hyping”, it’s transparent and actually detracts from the genuine enjoyment and excitement i feel watching a race. But as someone mentioned earlier it is worth explaining WHY things should be exciting for the audience. I often find that when i do that for any uninitiated that are watching with me that my own excitement increases, like i need reminding as much as they need the explanation.

    While we’re on the subject does anyone else feel a little cringey at the headline hunting, almost tabloid esque questioning the f1 shows have outside of the commentary sections? Both Sky and BBC are guilty of this, and i find myself feeling embarrassed on their behalf a lot of the time.


    Crofty “hyping up” things is exactly the reason why the austrian duo Hausleitner+Wurz could become what is now probably the best race-coverage available (at least within the languages I understand). British coverage is consistently falling towards the extremely low standards of german RTL/Sky-coverage (and the fact that it can fall towards that for several years and still not be there shows how bad that is).

    Now I’m not totally against showing excitement, but showing it (as Murray often did) is a completely different thing from artificially trying to create it. Besides creating unduly loudness in unfitting situations and a disturbing inflation of speaking loud and fast in normal every-race occurences, this difference is also apparent in the initial reaction to truely controversial incidents. When Senna crashed out Prost at the start in Suzuka, Murray’s first words were “this is fantastic!”. And he did that on other occasions, too, e.g. J. Villeneuve hitting the Wall of Champions early in the 97 canadian GP. Whereas now, when something happens, it’s “Oh no, drama, responsibility, implications, more drama, sadness”.


    In my view, I’d prefer hyping-up to be kept to the build-up of a race. But once the lights go out I’d like to be told what’s happening.
    Commentate on the race you have, not the race you want.

    Part of me thinks this has to do with F1’s commentary being tailored towards its more mainstream following.
    Like Football’s “Can they keep this lead, with just minutes remaining, to end the streak?!”
    Or Tennis’ “Can he use this break to stage one of the great comebacks?!”
    [probably bad examples]

    In that case, maybe it is seen as part of their job to try to keep viewers engaged.
    So it makes sense to keep up some pretence of potential action, even when the result already looks set. Or comparing an action to something historically similar. Or a statistic that may or may not be actually relevant. All to help dress-up the situation.

    It can be hyperbolic and/or annoying at times. But I feel its not being aimed at me.

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