Some thoughts on Sky’s Practice coverage

I thought, having watched both practice sessions today as I have done throughout the year, write some brief thoughts on Sky’s Practice coverage. It won’t be a really long blog, just a few pointers on where they could improve. For the most part, it is good, but there are a few areas where things do grind.

Firstly, there is the constant cutting away to their own cameras. There needs to be a balance, and I don’t feel that Sky have the correct balance at the moment. They normally cut away from the Formula One Management feed when David Croft hands over to Ted Kravitz or Natalie Pinkham, but I really don’t get why they cut away. They should only cut away if Kravitz has something to show us, as it adds to the coverage. But cutting away to show Martin Brundle interviewing Martin Whitmarsh is unnecessary, we know what both men look like so there is no need to cut away from the World Feed when there may be action on the track. In one example, they cut away to show Jacques Villeneuve walking through the paddock. Yes, he may be part of your coverage this weekend, but the cut away was not necessary, and did not enhance the coverage apart from say “ooh, we have a camera in the paddock!”. As I say, they should only cut away when Kravitz is showing us something, we know what people look like so we don’t need to cut away at any other time, especially if cars are on track, as that grates a lot.

The next point concerns Jerome d’Ambrosio. I’m not sure how many more Friday’s Anthony Davidson is away for, but d’Ambrosio does not really add to the coverage for me, and they would be much better rotating the co-commentary position, or have a guest commentator like BBC Radio 5 Live used to do when Davidson was unavailable. We had d’Ambrosio in Monaco, and as a practice commentator he doesn’t do much because he has not been high up the grid, so does not have the expertise that another potential co-commentator would have, take Johnny Herbert for instance for the sake of an example. At times it felt like Croft and d’Ambrosio were having trouble filling the time with awkward pauses, whereas someone like Herbert, who has a lot of past F1 experience, would be able to fill the time easily and tell ‘stories’ to relate to a current drivers’ situation. d’Ambrosio’s a fine commentator in GP2 and GP3, because he’s commentating on the action in front of him, but is not really suited to practice where they are in ‘discussion mode’, in my opinion.

Seven minutes off-air, that is still in force, and it grinds a bit when they could get a extra interview or two in. It is most noticeable though for practice three, as we witnessed in Monaco when they hurried off air a mere three minutes after the session had ended, despite incidents at the end of the session.

Anyway, I thought I’d write this blog, seeing as I had a few pointers in my head, but as always, your comments are welcome as well. Agree or disagree with the above?

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