With the recent announcement by the BBC that Formula 1 practice sessions will be broadcast live, I thought i'd write up this review. I do enjoy watching F1 on the BBC because there's no adverts and the camera work is always above par. This is of course cheaper too, than Sky Sports F1 - You'd think that by not being a dedicated F1 channel, this wouldn't be as good as their main rival? Actually, they've really hit the nail on the head and their F1 coverage is pretty watchable in comparison.
There have been times when I've been shouting at my television in anger at Button and his disgraceful overtaking or breaking down but it's made worse when the commentators give the usual obvious statements, as if we didn't know what's just happened. To quote my favourite here, after a tyre blow out: "Oh and I think he's blown a tyre there, that's him gone" - Well duh!?
The rescue teams often come out to help these poor drivers and check they're ok and what not but the camera and commentary isn't on this for too long. They do cut to the driver getting out of his car and the emergency vehicles driving down to get them but after that it's only really touched on very slightly. For example, the fact that a driver is ok, is just brushed under the carpet. I'd like to know a bit more really, especially about the condition of the car.
However, the reason i'm going to give this 4 stars is the excellent camera work from the BBC because who can give a camera man a bad rating when cars are flying at him and he stays put filming? Yes the cameras are in safe spots but bravery is everything when capturing the best shots. The BBC uses lots of overhead cameras but these cameramen often hide in grandstands or at the side of them, getting a lower down perspective on the tighter, smaller tracks. Of course, they catch the best crashes in action.
The sound is not compromised in anyway when overhead camera work is being done. By that i mean, the microphones aren't too far away or out of place in order to pick up the roar of the cars as they go under. This sounds excellent with full surround sound so no problems here, this adds to a great experience.
Overall it's quite good watching on the BBC, I'll admit the commentary is a bit hit and miss, most of the time relevant but sometimes just daft. I'll award 4 stars for the excellent camera work and the interviews and post race filming they do.
Ever since I was a little girl I remember formula one being on the television. It often meant a Sunday afternoon of sitting in the living room with dad flicking from Formula one to the football. I often found it boring it was always Schumacer that was going to win and if he wasn't they seemed to let him past. The older I got the more disinterested I became and it came to a point I had completely forgot it existed. That was until I got with my partner he had always watched it with his dad but had lost interest when it went to ITV. The adverts during the race were just a total put off.
In 2009 he began to get back into it and I found myself watching the odd race especially when it became apparent a British guy was going to win it, Jenson Button. The season soon came to an end with Jenson Button as the title holder.
The 2010 season began in March this year with full coverage on BBC1. It was said it was going to be an exciting year with Button trying to retain his title, Hamilton trying to win the title back. There is the fight at Ferrari with Massa and Alonso who is number one driver and not to forget the one and only Schumacer returned. The question is was it the right decision.
So the coverage began with presenter Jake Humphrey and alongside him former driver David Coulthard and former team boss Eddie Jordon. Tension between Coulthard and Jordon did heat up a little through the season but it didn't spoil the combination. I found it worked well and I enjoyed watching them although I'm not sure who sorts out what they wear as sometimes it was a little strange although it did brighten our day up!
But my favourite presenter and commentator has to be Martin Brundle who can't like him. I love his rush down to the grid line to get that exclusive chat to the drivers before the race. He always manages to get in there and get one or two drivers to chat to him. He isn't afraid to push about and get in there often pushing over reporters out the way. It has had me and my other half chuckling many an afternoon!
So the season began in Bahrain with Alonso taking the first victory. Button won in Australia, Vettel in Malaysia. It started to become apparent that this was an open contest. Nobody seemed to be standing out as the favourite to win it. As the season progressed it became apparent this was a going to be a Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari race to the title. This season has been full of excitement not only on the race track but off it too. There has been drivers spitting their dummies out and problems with team orders something that isn't allowed but has gone on for years. I liked Webber and it would have been nice if he could have won the title but as the season went on it became apparent that he wasn't happy with the team and I thought his spit on the radio 'Not bad for a number two driver' was a little childish. The five guys at the top all wanted it and it meant for great races and plenty of spectacular crashes.
Although I have said the season was great there has been the odd race that didn't seem to have much about it but then that is formula one for you. You can't have it all good.
As Red Bull and McLaren fought it out I liked to see team bosses getting along. It was great to see Red Bull's boss Christian Horner and McLarens Martin Whitmarsh talking to the BBC live. I enjoyed listening to their comments.
So on the 14th November after eighteen races it came down to the last race to see who was going to win the title. Alonso looked in good favour to win it. After qualifying Webber looked a distinct hope but was still a threat to Ferrari. Vettel to win was a possibility but the main talk was if he would let Webber past to win the title and Hamilton was mathematically possible but he needed a miracle it just wasn't going to happen.
Well what a race I couldn't believe my eyes with Alonso and Webber pushed back due to tactical decisions was unbelievable I have never enjoyed a race so much. No one thought Vettal was a threat but he not only won the race but won the title too by four points! That tells you how close this race for the title was.
Vettal not only won it he also broke the record of the youngest driver to win the title at just twenty three years of age. I think he is a fantastic driver and exciting to watch he may be a little unpredictable and if you look at his stats he has had a lot of no finishes but he has speed in his car.
Next year can only get more exciting. Button has had the pressure of being the title holder removed and I hope he has a better season; Hamilton will be hungry to get the title as he always is. He is an excited driver to watch but his hot headiness causes him to make some silly mistakes but this just adds to the excitement of the race.
Full credit to BBC1 for fantastic coverage of a great season with Formula one. I hope to see the three musketeers return to present it in 2011 which should be an even more exciting season. Saturday and Sundays just won't be the same!
So, here we go again, the BBC's second season after the big return and the team assembled in Bahrain for race one, the extremely rich oil state waving their wealth at their now bankrupt neighbours of Dubai, they, too, afforded a grand prix after paying Bernie for the privilege. No problem with advertising Camel Cigarettes here matey. In fact there are camels everywhere! This place sums up the Middle-East contradictions of extreme visual wealth for the top 5% to entice the west yet underneath there's a simmering mistrust of the west from the other 95% because of our intrinsic support of Israeli, the 95% who cant afford to watch GP in this part of the world.
The rather tall, boyish and awkward Jake Humphries heads the BBC coverage, a somewhat odd choice if you consider how tall your average grand prix driver is, fellow pundits Martin Brundell and Eddie Jordan dwarfed by him, the addition of Mr Boring in tiny Nigel Mansell not helped the things, only David Coulthard adding another skyscraper to the Manhattan chart. For me Humphries has always looked rather gauche and prep boy around the macho world of petrol heads and it wouldn't surprise me if the guys prank and tease him all race weekend.
Bahrain is the classic brand new desert race track with the extreme wealth on the inside of the circuit perimeter fence on race day and the huge Bedouin poverty just over the dunes. The track is a good one though with some great corner sequences and at least some overtaking places, but questions over its suitability for F1. The new rules of no fuel stops should encourage more racing and probably some more fiery spectacular crashes from bald tyres and more cavalier manoeuvres on those full tanks. In recent years the team tactics over fuel have decided most races and so Bernie wanted to continue the success of last season with some radical changes and new ideas, if just to head off the threatened rival series.
Its not only new tracks we are seeing in F1 but new teams, the spectacularly slow Hispania Racing some nine seconds off the pace here for first practice. The other new teams of Virgin Racing and Lotus were about even at around five seconds off the pace. The American team who were going to race this year have delayed entrance until 2011.
On Saturdays final qualifying Lewis Hamilton (4th) would out qualify 'team mate' Jenson Button (8th) and Massa beating Alonso in the Ferrari battle. The great Michael Schumacher began his all German love affair with Mercedes with a creditable 8th, but out qualified by his Bavarian team mate Glock. Sebastian Vettel, another German, who won the last two races of 2009, dominated qualifying, as Button did this time last year, bagging pole by a comfortable distance..
1 Germany - Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull-Renault 1:55.0291
2 Brazil - Felipe Massa - Ferrari 1:55.513
3 Spain - Fernando Alonso - Ferrari 1:54.612
4 Great - Britain Lewis Hamilton - McLaren-Mercedes 1:55.341
5 Germany - Nico Rosberg - Mercedes GP 1:55.463
6 Australia - Mark Webber - Red Bull-Renault 1:55.498
7 Germany - Michael Schumacher - Mercedes GP 1:55.593
8 Great Britain - Jenson Button - McLaren-Mercedes 1:55.715
9 Poland - Robert Kubica - Renault 1:55.811
10 Germany - Adrian Sutil - Force India-Mercedes 1:55.913
Bahrain is the second longest track on the circuit and felt like it last Sunday for the live race, the tediously long straights and just the one tyre stop in the race producing a non event.
It was the first 24 car grid since 1994 with Vettel strong off the pole, holding the powerful Ferraris at bay, Red Bull team mate mark Mark Webber in 5th providing the only entertainment on the start when spraying the grid with blue smoke like a member of the Wacky Races, sending the two Force India's into an immediate collision. The new teams were nowhere near race ready and seemed to just park up early on to avoid further humiliation like a tail-ender slogging out in a test match to avoid the fearsome fast bowler. Lotus would take the honours for the new boys by the virtue of lasting the race, valuable test time for the Norfolk team.
As I say the tyre change thing didn't really add to a perfunctory race as the top teams dominated the points places, four world champions in that top eight, Fernando Alonso and Massa taking one and two when Vettels car lost some cylinders and his exhaust with a quarter of the race to go, Lewis Hamilton joining the Ferrari boys on the pedestal in third. Lewis had the odious task of firing his dad as manager in January and already showing results. There was always something cringing about Anthony Hamilton seeking out the camera in the pit lane. But for me Massa was the hero of the day, coming back from effectively being shot in the head with a rivet not 7 months ago, a brave guy indeed. His distant second would suggest team orders though and no World Championship this year, something he's very used to. Let's just hope the next race isn't as boring, killing all the ground made last year.
Driver----- Race ------ Time
1 Spain - F Alonso 1:39:20.396
2 Brazil - F Massa 1:39:36.495
3 Great Britain - L Hamilton 1:39:43.578
4 Germany - S Vettel 1:39:59.195
5 Germany - N Rosberg 1:40:00.609
6 Germany - M Schumacher 1:40:04.559
7 Great Britain - J Button 1:40:05.676
8 Australia - M Webber 1:40:06.756
9 Italy - V Liuzzi 1:40:13.404
10 Brazil - R Barrichello 1:40:22.885
-Next races on the BBC-
Australian Grand Prix - Albert Park, Melbourne, 26-28 March 2010
Malaysian Grand Prix - Sepang, 2-4 April 2010
Chinese Grand Prix - Shanghai, 16-18 April 2010
Spanish Grand Prix - Circuit de Catalunya, 7-9 May 2010
Monaco Grand Prix - Monte Carlo, 13-16 May 2010
Turkish Grand Prix - Istanbul Park, 28-30 May 2010
Canadian Grand Prix - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 11-13 June 2010
This weekend saw the start of the 2010 F1 season and I couldn't have been more excited especially with the return of Schumacher and with the new "no re-fuelling" rule.
F1 moved from ITV to the BBC at the beginning of the 2009 season and this couldn't have been a better move. Don't get me wrong I used to enjoy the presenting on ITV and liked Steve Ryder (I think it is hard not to like him) but BBC offers so much more in the way of entertainment value.
Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan are the presenting team on the BBC and I don't think they could have got better people. Jake Humphrey has a very relaxed presenting style and I really like this, at the beginning of the 2009 season when I heard he was going to be one of the presenters I wasn't too sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised. Last year they had to postpone one of the races for quite a few hours because of bad weather which meant that he had to keep presenting live on air until the race re-started and it came across like it was a breeze for him, he didn't have one silent moment.
I think it is great having David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan as presenters they are both ex F1 drivers so are full of knowledge and know exactly what they are talking about and can relate to the drivers. They disagree quite a lot on certain things and aren't afraid to argue about things live on air and their banter between each other can be really funny. Also Eddie Jordans shirts are always a talking point of the show and you are bound to hear a funny comment about it somewhere in the show, probably from David Coulthard.
They also manage to quite a lot of interviews with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton and they are quite biased towards them as they are our British drivers, some people don't like this but I think it is great majority of us support either Jenson or Lewis so hearing more interviews with them is a bonus. I have never seen Eddie Jordan so happy as when Jenson won the championship he was on cloud nine and I think this makes a brilliant and entertaining end to the season.
Martin Brundle provides interviews from the starting grid before the race begins and knows exactly where to go to find the drivers and knows basically everyone on the grid. What I love about him is that he isn't scared to push in to get an interview with a driver, he will do his upmost best to talk to the drivers and will interrupt someone elses interview to get one for the BBC. Some of his comments when waiting for an interview are hilarious and he isn't afraid to make comments about the other interviewers. It can be hard for him to get to some drivers as every other TV station uses lets say very pretty girls to interview the drivers and obviously you know who the drivers want to talk to!
Martin also provides the race commentary along with Jonathon Legard and they make a great team, always providing you with interesting facts about the circuit and drivers etc.
There is usually about two races a month sometimes three and they usually have about a one week break between them. The races are always on weekends and BBC broadcast the full qualifying session on the Saturday and the main race on the Sunday. You can also press the red button on a Friday and watch the practise session you can also watch this on BBC i-player.
On a Saturday you start with the usual presenting from Humphreys, Coulthard and Jordan and they discuss any news and what has happened since the last race, they then go the qualifying session which is in three sections.
The best show is on Sunday you start with your usual presenting from the above presenters and they discuss the qualifying session and will show a couple of highlights and there will be some friendly banter between them discussing their thoughts on what the outcome of the race will be etc. You also gets tons of interviews from the drivers and teams and I think Eddie Jordan really helps with this, he has some great contacts/friends in F1 and can usually get interviews with anyone, he makes me laugh when sometimes he just drags people to the camera for an interview even if they don't want to do it. They also have some great features on the show like Coulthard walking with one of the drivers around the track explaining what the track is like, the different corners etc. About 10/15 minutes before the race starts it is time for Martin Brundles grid walk which is classic.
The race footage is so much better on the BBC they have a great commentary team and loads of features come up on screen during the race a lot more than what ever came up on ITV. The best thing of all is there are NO ADVERTS!! It used to drive me mad with ITV that every 10 minutes during the race there would be an advert and you could guarantee there would be some action in the race that you would miss. BBC's interrupted coverage is hard to beat!
You are able to press the red button during the race, like with most BBC programs and change the commentary to radio 5 or CBBC. I think the CBBC commentary is a great extra as there are lots of children out there that love F1 and won't really understand everything that the main commentators are saying so the CBBC commentary breaks everything down in to easier chunks for the children to understand, it really is a great feature.
What is the best thing about F1 being on the BBC!? The Chain! The intro for the show is Fleetwood Mac's The Chain and they could not have picked a better more powerful song, it sums up the excitement and tension of F1 perfectly, you can't help turning the volume up when this song comes on :)
Well fingers crossed Jenson or Lewis will do it again this year, I am supporting Jenson as I always have done great genuine guy, brilliant driver and deserves a to world champion for a second time. Don't get me wrong I like Lewis and it would be great if he won but sometimes his attitude really puts me off him but he is young and to be honest this years seems to have grown up quite a bit. Hopefully the Ferraris won't dominate everything this year otherwise it will get very tedious but I am sure the Mclarens will be right on their tail!
I think for many the sports they enjoy watching now appear to be the ones they grew up watching. For me this is mainly rugby union, F1 racing and athletics. Formula 1 is really a bit like marmite, those who watch it love it those who don't either refuse to class it as a sport or just complain about how boring it is. For many years I loved F1 mainly for Murray Walker who had commentated on the sport for many years. His mix of enthusiasm and insisting that he was always right (even when he was wrong) was part of the entertainment of the sport. However, it has now been mainly for the cars more recently.
Last year the sport made a return to BBC this has improved my enjoyment of the sport as the race is no longer interrupted by adverts, which is what really irritated me about the races being shown on ITV. The 'pre-race waffle' as I call it has probably got a little too long but at least it is now being done by a former driver in David Coultard and former team boss Eddie Jordan so at least they may know a bit more about what is going on. The grid walk by another former driver, Martin Brundle, at the start of the race is usually plagued by either not being able to find the drivers or the driver refusing to talk but it can give an insight into how some of the drivers feel the race may go. The race commentators the BBC have do do a good job on the race as they know what they are talking about but I just feel that F1 is missing something without Murray Walker's tendency for his voice to go up several octaves during each race and his two or three mistakes (or 'Murryisms') per race.
The real plus with the BBC is the 'red button' option. Depending on whether you have sky, freeview etc this will give you several options such as camera angle which can give an onboard camera. Last season this also gave the option of having BBC radio 5 commentary which my dad used to use as with him now being partially sighted it helped him to enjoy the race more.
The only thing which does bug me about the BBC's graphics is the lap counter. It counts up as laps are completed. For me it would be more useful for it to count down showing laps to go. As if my memory is correct the last time the BBC showed this before ITV took over this was the system used.
What is new for 2010?
For starters refuelling has been stopped. Refuelling was brought in in the 1993 season as a safety measure so cars would not be carrying so much fuel at the start of the race which is where many major crashes can happen. This will have the effect of the cars being slower at the start of the race but also team tactics over when to refuel, how much fuel to have in the car at the start has gone. This will hopefully bring the driver into the race more than the team calling him in to the pits if he hits an area where there are many backmarkers. Drivers will still need to use the pit stop to change tyres as the rule about having to use both 'compounds' of the tyres available still remains.
Secondly the points system has been updated. This is an updated version from an attempt last year where a suggestion of the champion should be whoever wins the most races was shouted down. The new points system gives a massive points difference between first and second. Last season it was 10 pts for first and 8pts for second. This season it is 25pts for first and 18pts for second. This is hoped to give a bigger incentive to win and not just settle for second as some drivers were doing in the past. The point winning places has also been extended down to 10th place.
Thirdly there are three new teams this year which makes it 24 cars in the race which we haven't seen since the mid 90s. Well I say 3 new teams, one of them, Lotus, have been in F1 before (Nigel Mansell used to drive for them in the 80s) The new teams may not become big names this season but they may become bigger players in 2011.
Looking ahead for the 2010 season
Well as we know Britain's Jenson Button won the title last season and his move to Mclaren has made an all British team with the 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton. So what is in store for this 60th anniversary year of F1 racing? Can Jenson make it two in a row? Will Lewis take his second title or will Michael Schumacher on his return after 3 years out of the sport make it his 8th title? Well we may have to wait until November to find out. At the moment I think we may see Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull team take the title this season.
Having followed F1 since I was around 10 and visiting Silverstone twice in 2005/2006, all I can say is thank god the F1 is back on BBC!
ITV had it for many years, with one of the worst commentators ever (I'm looking at you James Allen). However, back on the BBC, the commentary team really are very knowledgable about the sport, and actually seem excited to be able to commentate to you. Initially I was dubious at having such a young face as the head of the TV coverage, in Jake Humphrey, but he has proven to really have an interest in the sport, which is the main reason to present it at the end of the day. Flanked by David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan, the group share real banter and provide a mix of youth and experience.
So the personnel work much better than on ITV, providing you with insight and excitement, but what about the actual coverage? Well the actual showing of the race is much better with the obvious advantage of no adverts! ITV once decided to take a break 4 laps before the end as Alonso and Schumacher were seperated by just half a second. Public outrage ensued. But now with BBC at the helm, we don't experience any of these problems.
A simple press of the red button also takes you to many more options for the sport, such as different camera angles, a different commentary team, there is even an option to watch it in a more child friendly way, with less jargon used. Tables and stats can also be accessed here.
Also available is the ability to follow testing online as well as free practice with the BBC's excellent F1 site, offering many blogs and exclusive interviews. The online page is updated regularly and quickly and is a great hub of information about the sport.
Overall, a marked improvement over the ITV coverage which was bland, to a style with more verve, and improvements in all areas of coverage.
Thank goodness for that. I've spent my growing up years watching Formula One on ITV and had the race interrupted by adverts telling me that I need to buy a new toilet seat or jet off to the Bahamas. Luckily its now back on the BBC where it belongs, I don't and I can watch the whole race uninterrupted. Apart from that the quality of the theme tune on ITV was well below par and its really nice to have The Chain back introducing our favourite motorsport. Jake Humphrey makes an excellent presenter and David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan are good as pundits although Jordan can get annoying from time to time. Martin Brundle is as always good and its nice to see someone who speaks their mind. Jonathan Legard is a bit below par but then again we are still all remembering Murray Walker and im just not sure we will ever have a commentator as good as him again. The F1 coverage on the BBC is brilliant and I'm really looking forward to 2010 with more of their uninterrupted coverage. Lets just hope I don't need a new toilet seat.
Well let's just start off with saying its great not having ad breaks all the time while trying to watch a sport you love.
When I heard the BBC had got F1 back I was over the moon but then started to worry if they were going to ruin it. We had to wait months until they announced who was going to be presenting the new show and thankfully they nearly got it 100% right.
It's nice to now be able to watch the practice sessions either on the red button or on the internet. I know most people would find this boring but it's nice to see how the drivers are coping with new tracks before race day.
The commentary is good and they try and explain things to new viewers. I can't really comment about the camera angles or complain that they are not showing certain drivers because that decision comes down to the countries TV station that is filming that particular race.
It's nice that after the race you can watch a further discussion and interviews with drivers on the red button.
Overall the BBC have done a good job in its first year back with F1, I just hope they keep up the good work in the future.
This season (2009) F1 moved from ITV to its rivals the BBC... & long may it stay that way!
The main presenters on the BBC show are Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan. They are backed up by Ted Kravitz who gives all the news from the pit lane and Lee McKenzie who often interviews drivers and teams. The excellent race commentary is given by the great Martin Brundle and the "fact filled" Jonathan Legard.
Every race weekend they have two shows.
On Saturdays they show the full qualifying session which is also book-ended by a lot of information and news about what has happened since the previous race.
The fun begins on a Sunday for race day. There are usually a lot of interviews with drivers and teams followed by high-lights from the qualifying in case you missed it. Then it's time for Martin Brundles excellent grid walk. I love seeing Brundle barging other TV crews out of the way to get the interviews with the celebrities. Haha.
Then we have the race itself... from start to finish... with no bloody adverts!!! Thank you BBC! There was nothing worse about ITV than the annoying advert breaks. You could always guarantee that whenever something exciting was going to happen, they would cut to adverts and all the action would be missed. Thankfully, the BBC has saved F1 fans everywhere with their uninterrupted coverage!
You can also watch the Friday practice on the Red Button if you really want to see a lot of F1 in your weekend! If I'm off work on a Friday I sometimes watch this and it is always interesting to see how the pace of the teams develop over the weekend. The commentators for the practice session are from the BBC Radio 5 Live team and not the usual TV commentators.
I love Jake Humphreys's relaxed style of presenting and he seems unflappable whenever everything seems to be going off at once.
The banter between David Couthard and Eddie Jordan is always great and they seem to have every different opinions at times that they are not afraid to air! It is also quite interesting to see what pastille colour shirts they will all be wearing!
At times the presenters and commentators are quite biased towards the British drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, but as I am a Button and Hamilton fan, I don't mind this! I'm sure in Brazil their commentators are biased towards Barrichello and Massa!
With the BBC you also have to option to press the Red Button during the race so you can change the commentary to either Radio 5 Live or from the CBBC team! The CBBC commentary is great if you are trying to get your children into Formula 1 or if you are new to the sport and want to hear about it in a simpler way!
Another great thing about F1 on the BBC for true F1 fans... The Chain!
Once again Fleetwood Mac's, The Chain, is the theme tune and whenever the show starts I can't help cranking up the volume for this iconic piece of music!
After this amazing season which saw Jenson Button become the 2nd British World Champion in two years(!!!) after Lewis Hamilton in 2008, I really can't wait for the next season to begin! Oh, and next year, Jenson Button is going to be Lewis Hamilton's team mate so there will be an all British team to cheer for in McLaren!!! Roll on March 2010!
F1 on the BBC is great, it means that there are no adverts at bad moments which mean that you miss an important part of action or even worse the last 3 laps of a race when the only battle on the track is the one for the lead.
The BBC have also made a great improvement with the depth of their coverage they now have great build ups before the race and continue on the red button after the race to answer viewers questions and get more interviews from the drivers.
The team presenting it is a good mix as well with Jake Humphreys, David Coultard and Eddie Jordan offering different insights into the sport from a fans, a driver and an owners perspecitves. They also manage to get comments from many people down the pit lane and with Eddie Jordan there he can often fetch people for interviews that ITV would never have been able to get in the past.
The commentry is very good as well although Jonathon Legard can get a bit annoying and can seem like he has no idea what he is going on about half the time.
Another good thing is that the BBC have managed to get Martin Brundle whos commentry is excellent and his gridwalk for which he was famed for on ITV has been kept which adds a different dimension to the coverage.
Another season of F1 and another British driver is crowned world champion, while Honda executives wee busy kicking themselves the wily pair of Ross Brawn who provided the technical and tactical knowledge and Richard Branson who coughed up the dough for some ultimately cheap advertising were able to put Jenson Button into a car that was competitive enough to see him take the title with one race still to go.
The other big winner this season has again been the excellent coveridge of the racing by the BBC. For a start the big benefit of BBC coveridge is the fact that you do not have to endure endless advertising breaks like you did with ITV, so there is no crossing the finishing line for the winner only for the celebrations to be hidden behind an advert for dog chow or something else equally banal.
There is a strong line up of presenters, Jake Humphrey has a nice easy going style and he does not attempt to hog the camera preferring to act as a conduit to the experts, his two experts are former driver David Coulthard who provides an excellent analysis of what the drivers are experiencing and the slightly annoying and very prickly Eddie Jordan who is a former team boss, I find him a bit annoying but the two work well together and Coulthard does not let Jordan boss the show.
My favaourite though has to be Martin Brundle, another former driver, he is the one who gets onto the starting grid and always manages to push his way in front of other TV crews to get the interviews with the drivers and their pit bosses, he is like a little terrier and is skilled on camera maintaining a commentary while looking for his next target.
Race commentary is provided by Jonathan Legard and he is excellent, with a commandng powerful voice he has the potential to match the legendary Murray Walker who still occasionally pitches in however it is Brundle who sits alongside Legard to provide additional analysis.
There are two shows over the grand prix weekend with qualifying on the Saturday and then the race coveridge on the Sunday, I love the build up to both days racing and the after show analysis which is insightfull and not at all rushed. The background information prior to the racing is top quality with recaps of the past weeks between races, interviews and special features as well as technical items on particular features or rule changes.
Overall the coveridge is top quality and long may it continue.
When the Formula One coverage moved to BBC from ITV for the 2009 season BBC made a whole ring of changes. The only personnel kept on from ITV were Martin Brundell as co-commentator and Ted Kravitz as pit-lane reporter. We were kept waiting a while to see who would anchor the show - there was no way Steve Ryder was going to leave ITV's football coverage so I wondered who would take his role. The role was given to Jake Humprey whom I'd only ever seen on Sportsround. David Coulthard (who retired after the 2008 season) and Eddie Jordan joined Jake to help give their opinions in the build-up to both the qualifying and the races. Meanwhile Lee McKenzie joined Ted Kravitz as a pitlane reporter and Jonathan Legard joined Martin Brundle as co-commentator.
The BBC's coverage starts on a Friday - Thursday if you're in Monaco - on the Red Button where you can watch the two practice sessions. The commentators during Friday practices and the morning Saturday practice come from BBC Radio 5 Live and are, usually, David Croft and Anthony Davidson along with Holly Samos as pitlane reporter.
For Saturday qualifying Jake Humprey, David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan present between 40-60 minutes worth of build-up giving us all of the latest news, talking to drivers/team bosses/Bernie Ecclestone before handing over to Martin Brundle and Jonathan Legard who guide us through qualifying with extra news from Ted in the pits. Between each qualifying session (there are three) we go back to Jake, David and Eddie for their thoughts on the action before the next session begins. After qualifying is over we talk to the drivers if there's time before getting the confirmed grid and Jake says goodbye.
Raceday dawns and we get another 40-60 minutes build-up with the same formula as qualifying. We also get Martin Brundle's legendary grid-walk where he collars the drivers as they are getting ready to get into the car. He even resorts to shoving other broadcasters out of the way to talk to some drivers. After Martin's grid-walk we hear the national anthem of the country the race is in before Jake hands us over to Martin and Jonathan for the commentary of the race. A new addition to this years racing is finding out how much weight all of the cars weigh and Ted Kravitz takes us through the weights and we find out when drivers will stop for their pitstops. During the race, as well as having Martin and Jonathan commentating we pop to the pits every now and again for updates from Ted and interviews with drivers that have crashed/retired from Lee. After the race it's back to Jake and co. for the podium celebrations, the drivers' press conference and then we get opinions of the race from David and Eddie. If, after the race, you're STILL mad for more F1, you can press your red button for the F1 Forum with Jake, David, Eddie and Martin! Fabulous, see you next weekend!
If, throughout the race, Jonathan Legard starts to annoy you, you can switch to the red button again for alternative commentary. You have the choice of the BBC 5 Live commentary or the CBBC commentary. We haven't actually tried either options but I can recommend the BBC 5 Live commentary from the practice sessions. There are also other ways to watch the racing - focusing on a certain driver or seeing the laptimes as they go through. We don't use that feature so I'm not 100% sure what there is to offer!
The BBC coverage completely eclipses the ITV coverage. For starters, the BBC has no adverts so you can watch the whole three-hour programme without interruption. For me, that is how the racing should be. Who wants an ad-break at a crucial point at the race? Countless times ITV used to go to an ad-break and we'd come back and find someone had crashed out. It got very annoying.
The coverage is immense on the BBC and we're always up-to-date with the latest goings-on, and I think the build-up is incredibly impressive. It would be nice if the BBC gave a bit more time at the end as sometimes you don't get that much after-race features as there's usually no time left however if you have the red button that isn't a problem as you can just go to the F1 Forum.
Jake Humprey is outstanding as anchor of the show and it's a good job he didn't get mown down when he almost walked in front of a Toyota. Joking aside though, he knows a lot about F1 and is clearly a fan. I thought Steve Ryder was a great anchor but Jake is even better. He lets David and Eddie argue amongst themselves but isn't afraid to ask difficult questions. The banter between Jake, David and Eddie works really well and I think they make a fab team. Having David Coulthard in the team adds an interesting insight as David is only recently retired and is still active with Red Bull so he knows things that are going on. I worried he wouldn't work fronting the show with Jake and Eddie but he's surprised me. He's articulate and doesn't mind sharing his opinion. Eddie Jordan is just plain hilarious. He is not afraid to show his opinion and has called McLaren's car a "dog" and said Kimi Raikkonen was rubbish this season. It's refreshing to have so much honesty in a sport that isn't exactly renowned for that.
Martin Brundle is an excellent commentator. I was so pleased BBC kept him on and he is the best F1 commentator out there. He is an ex-F1 driver so knows his stuff, he adds interesting insights and provides his famous gridwalk. Not only that but he does the track guide, as well as "The Formula" which gives us insights into the workings of F1, explaining different parts of the car/track. The same can't be said for Jonathan Legard. He sounds like a horse-racing commentator. It is incredibly irritating. He constantly shouts above Martin and it takes him half an hour to pick up on something I noticed as soon as it happened. He gives me a headache and I wish they'd give his job to David Croft. I just tend to tune him out. For example we were on the last lap of a race, I think it was the Italian GP, and Jonathan didn't even acknowledge Rubens Barrichello as the winner, he was just going on about Lewis Hamilton's crash. Completely ridiculous.
The BBC 5 Live commentators make a great team. David Croft is knowledgeable and I enjoy his insights. He's a bit like Jake Humprey, OK to let Anthony talk but also offers great input. He knows the sport well and really shines in his role. Anthony Davidson, who is Brawn GP's test driver, is great as the co-commentator and is very well spoken and enjoyable to listen to. He offers a great insight into the world of current F1 drivers (it was only a few years ago he was racing in F1, there are rumours around he may be back in a car in 2010 and is, as I said, Brawn GP's test driver). David and Anthony make a fabulous team however I'd love to see Martin Brundle paired with David Croft. I think that could work really well. My favourite pitlane reporter is Ted Kravitz. He knows his stuff and gives us valuable insight throughout the races. Lee McKenzie is OK as a pitlane reporter as is Holly Samos, Lee is good when interviewing the drivers after they're retired/crashed/finished the race.
The BBC really do put on a fab show for the F1 and I'm so pleased it returned to them. I look forward to the coverage and to see what features might be shown. One of my favourite features was when Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Jake went to Silverstone and Jake drove both Lewis and Jenson around the track. Jenson was petrified, it was hilarious. It's nice to see that Jake doesn't mind participating in features like that as they're very interesting.
The BBC F1 coverage really is outstanding. It says it all when the only downside is I'm not a fan of Jonathan Legard. I tried, really I did. It's also good that the Lewis-mania that infected ITV seems to have dispersed on moving to the BBC. ITV got rather obsessed with Lewis towards the end - yes I know he won the World Drivers' Championship but it was still a bit much. The BBC present a more balanced view and it's really great to see other drivers being interviewed at their homes, etc.
With any luck we'll eventually get F1 in HD. Now that would be impressive.
The Grand Prix coverage moved to the BBC this year and I have found the new show on BBC1 to be excellent coverage.
The presenters are Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan, Ted Kravitz, Lee McKenzie, Martin Brundle, Jonathan Legard and occaisionally Murray Walker.
They have two shows which are on Saturday lunchtime they have the Qualifying rounds and then on Sunday the actual Grand Prix.
On the qualifying show they have a good long intro where they tell you news about the racing world and what has been happening since the last grand prix. Humphrey, Coulthard and Jordan do the main presenting between them and they work well together and make the shows really interesting. They have interviews with dirvers and other staff of the teams and show you the track and tell you all about it, usually walking round the track so you can see all the turns and straights etc.
Then they show the cars in their garages and getting ready to start. This pre qualifying is on for about an hour before the actual driving starts but if you are a hardened fan of F1 then its a must to watch and get all the ins and outs of what is happening.
The qualifying rounds start with the first round which is for all 20 drivers and they have 20 minutes to put in a fastest lap. Brundle and Legard do the commentary for this part of the show. At the end of the 20 mins the 5 slowest drivers are given the last 5 placeson the grid for the next day race and the rest of the drivers drive again.
The show then goes back to the three presenters and they talk about what has happened and sometimes talk to the drivers who went out in round one. Then they have the second round which is for 15 minutes and there are 15 drivers. The show goes back to Brundle and Legard to take you through the round. At the end of this round the slowest 5 drivers again leave the qualifying andare given the next 5 spaces on the grid.
The show goes back to the other presenters again while they get ready for the net round then they start the final qualifying round which now lasts ten minutes and there are ten drivers. The winner of the qualifying (the one who does the fastest lap time) will start on the front of the grid with the others lining up behind them in order.
The sunday show starts similar to the qualifying with an hour of news and talk before the race starts. It is Humphrey, Coulthard and Jordan who take charge of this part of the show again although there are sometimes live interviews with drivers by Lee McKenzie. They tell you all the news of the day befores qualifying in case you missed the show and any other incidents that might have happened during the week or over night.
About 20 minutes before the race starts Martin Brundle goes down on the track with a microphone and a camera man and he goes down the grid which is full of people milling around the drivers and he tries to get interviews with as many people he can. These might be drivers, their mechanics or other team members, sometimes the odd celebrity or important person in the country holding the grand prix.
Then the show goes back to the 3 main presenters while Martin makes his way to the commentary box for the race start.
They whip up the tension really well on the show with a timer ticking down showing how long it is till the start. The race coverage itself is really good with plenty of camera shots and angles including cameras actually in the cars so you can see what it would be like to be driving the car and you can see the buttons on the drive panel and what the driver is doing.
If there is an incident in the race they can show you what happened quite quickly so you dont miss out on anything important happening in the race. Martin Brundle is very knowledgable in all race matters and makes a really good commentator along with Legard.
When they have something going on in the pit lane they hand over to Ted Kravits who stays down in that area to bring all the news of what is happening there.
At the end of the race you see the winners pull up in their cars and the camera follow them inside so you can see wha tthey are doing when they get weighed etc. Then they come out to the podium and you see them stand for the national anthem and get their bottles of champagne and trophys.
And thats about it for the programme which I think is unmissable.