Double dose of The F1 Show next weekend

Due to practice being held on Thursday’s around the streets of Monte Carlo, Sky Sports will be airing two editions of The F1 Show live, the broadcaster has confirmed. The first edition will air next Thursday live at 17:00, with the second edition in it’s usual Friday slot live at 17:00.

I shall publish a full Monaco Grand Prix weekend schedule, support races, BBC TV and Sky TV next Monday, on this very blog!

News Articles – Spanish Grand Prix

Normally after a race weekend, some of the news articles tend to go under the radar, so I thought I would sum up what BBC Sport and Sky Sports have put up on their respective websites in terms of opinion pieces.

On the BBC website, both Andrew Benson and Gary Anderson have written pieces looking at Pastor Maldonaldo’s victory at last Sunday’s race, those pieces can be found here and here. Benson has also put up a separate blog looking at Michael Schumacher’s performance so far this season, which is located here. Jake Humphrey’s blog focusses on the fire that engulfed the Barcelona pitlane after Sunday’s Grand Prix. And there is also Mark Webber’s weekly column on the website as he looks back on the weekend, both in Formula 1 and the final day of the Premier League season. Finally on the BBC side of things, 5 Live’s Jennie Gow has written a blog, which can be found here.

Over on Sky Sports’ Formula 1 website, there are opinion pieces from Martin Brundle and commentary director Mark Hughes. There are also pieces from Sky Sports’ website team consisting of Pete Gill and Mike Wise. Gill’s blog, located here, looks at the Spanish Grand Prix weekend as a whole, while Wise continues his race weekend day-by-day diary, with his Spanish edition online here. Finally, the website has a ‘Talking Heads‘ piece looking at whether Qualifying needs to be changed, the article raising the prospect of Qualifying tyres being brought back to Formula 1.

That’s all on both websites, but I hope it helps having all the opinion pieces in one place! Comments, as always, are welcome.

Weekend in Stills – my thoughts

So, after several tweets from the Sky Sports F1 team informing us about tonight’s edition of Weekend in Stills, including Martin Brundle and Natalie Pinkham, I decided to give the show a go. Now in its third race, after it began in China, the programme is essentially half an hour of images from the Sutton Images collection.

When I first began this blog, in my ‘The Verdict so Far’ series, I described the Weekend in Stills show as “not my cup of tea”. Which, after watching tonight, is probably a sentiment that I would stick to. As a channel that is short of original content however, it is worth keeping.

Beginning on the imagery as a whole, there were some fantastic images in the programme, such as Sebastian Vettel in discussion with Bernie Ecclestone as well as Fernando Alonso embracing on the podium after Maldonaldo’s debut win. The latter of those two is best caught as an image as the camera was close up on both of them and caught the shot perfectly (I won’t at this point claim to know a lot about camera angles and taking pictures, it’s not my expertise area!).

Beyond the imagery however, it’s just that. The musical choice leaves a left to be desired and needs a lot more thought. The music used was actually that used in Sky’s very own Formula 1 trailers, such as this one. It needs a bit of imagination, instead of an instrumental in the background. Which brings us onto the next point and that’s the fading in and out of images. The ‘talking heads’ images would work much better with a fade in and out – fading out of one conversation and into another instead of snapping from one image straight to another.

I think one other thing that could do is bring some video into it. You may argue that defeats the entire purpose of the programme, but I think personally that it would enhance it. Say for instance with the start. You would show the start in video and then just as the cars are turning in cut to this image for instance, but stay on the image for a good 15 seconds. Or to give another example, when Maldonaldo goes around the final corner you have it all moving until the chequered flag when you cut to this shot. I think cutting between video and image would work better, in my opinion than a full half an hour show with just stills. At least with Weekend in Stills it has a purpose, unlike Weekend in Words which appears to regurgitate information we have already heard over the weekend and add nothing new.

As a show, it doesn’t really appeal to me with just half an hour of images, but I think interspersing moving clips with still photos may be worth experimenting with. It’s an okay show for what it is, but not something I can imagine watching on a regular basis.

The Twitter outlook – Williams and Maldonaldo benefit from Spain

Another week has passed since I monitored the Twitter account statistics, and with it a quite incredible weekend in Spain. A superb return to the top for Williams, followed by the horrendous events that unfolded in the Barcelona pitlane. How did Maldonaldo’s win affect the Twitter statistics? Keep reading to find out…

Drivers – The Top 10
01 – 935,256 – Jenson Button (McLaren)
02 – 802,754 – Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
03 – 511,014 – Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
04 – 403,770 – Bruno Senna (Williams)
05 – 326,508 – Mark Webber (Red Bull)
06 – 189,083 – Sergio Perez (Sauber)
07 – 175,641 – Pastor Maldonaldo (Williams)
08 – 151,302 – Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
09 – 144,711 – Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham)
10 – 127,932 – Pedro de la Rosa (HRT)

Drivers – Biggest Increases
01 – 45,866 – Fernando Alonso
02 – 33,690 – Pastor Maldonaldo
03 – 16,004 – Lewis Hamilton
04 – 10,348 – Jenson Button
05 – 7,341 – Bruno Senna

Drivers – Smallest Increases
01 – 599 – Charles Pic
02 – 921 – Timo Glock
03 – 1,286 – Daniel Ricciardo
04 – 1,297 – Nico Hulkenberg
05 – 1,406 – Narain Karthikeyan

Before I get onto a significant jump, three barriers have been broken in the past week. Lewis Hamilton has broken 800 thousand followers, Fernando Alonso has broken 500 thousand followers and Bruno Senna has broken 400 thousand followers. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the increases this week are bigger than last week, with it being a Grand Prix weekend. Only two drivers’ failed to gain over one thousand followers. Charles Pic only gained 599 followers while Timo Glock gained 921 followers.

Back up the front end of the grid and Fernando Alonso breaking the 500 thousand follower barrier can be attributed to a huge 45 thousand jump in followers week-on-week. Behind him, however, and we have ‘the victory effect’. After his win this past Sunday, Pastor Maldonaldo has jumped a mammoth thirty-three thousand Twitter followers, moving him up to 7th in the Drivers’ Twitter table and above Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen. A great performance is reflected in the jump, perhaps unsurprisingly.

Teams – The Top 10
01 – 266,771 – Ferrari
02 – 186,748 – McLaren
03 – 125,857 – Mercedes
04 – 110,622 – Red Bull
05 – 104,493 – Lotus
06 – 72,592 – Caterham
07 – 63,630 – Marussia
08 – 62,382 – Force India
09 – 62,309 – Williams
10 – 51,851 – Sauber

Teams – Biggest Increases
01 – 7,132 – Williams
02 – 6,512 – Ferrari
03 – 3,714 – McLaren

Teams – Smallest Increases
01 – 737 – Toro Rosso
02 – 899 – Marussia
03 – 1,261 – Caterham

From one of the smallest increases last week to the biggest increase this week, Williams jumped seven thousand followers compared to last week’s table, although they remained 9th in the overall standings. I expect them to overtake Marussia and Force India in this leaderboard when we come to have a look next week. No other surprises elsewhere here, Toro Rosso and Marussia are the two teams to fail to gain over a thousand followers week-on-week.

Driver and Team statistics as of Monday 14th May 2012.

Sky Sports F1 to screen Friday’s Team Press Conference live on channel

Following on from the decision to shown Thursday’s Driver Press Conference live on their channel starting from last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, it appears that they have made the same move with Friday’s Team Press Conference.

Due to the Monaco Grand Prix scheduling (where practice takes place on Thursday’s), the first Team Press Conference will air on Thursday 24th May at 15:00 on Sky Sports F1.