Live Blog: The 2012 Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying session

12:50 – Hello, and welcome to The F1 Broadcasting Blog’s live coverage of the 2012 Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying session. I have had this idea for a few weeks of live blogging the Qualifying session, but with a broadcasting slant on it. This live blog will not be a live “blow-by-blow” account of the Qualifying session, if you want that, I suggest you go to‘s or BBC F1‘s live text services. This is the anticipated timetable of this afternoons proceedings. From 13:00 to 13:55, I will be live blogging coverage of Sky Sports F1 and BBC F1‘s build-up to the Qualifying session. The idea is that I will start off with a broadcaster which I will determine randomly, watch their coverage, until I get bored or a feature does not interest me. That shall continue until 13:55. From 13:55 to 15:05, I will be live blogging the Qualifying session itself, with commentary from whichever channel I am watching. As well as noting the commentary, I shall also be looking at Formula One Management‘s coverage of the Qualifying session. Have they missed anything? Did they ignore the fastest lap? At 15:05, I shall switch to the other broadcaster until the end of the programme (if this is BBC F1, then I shall switch to Sky Sports F1 again at 15:30).

12:55 – The comments are open ready for your thoughts and opinions. This blog may go well, but be warned, it may backfire too. I hope not! Tweet as well @f1broadcasting, and I may include your comment in the blog. The blog will wrap up at about 15:45, but as always, you can comment irrespective of what time it may be. I should also note that like you, I am a fan and I have allegiances towards certain drivers’ and teams’. I will try and keep this blog as neutral as possible, but if there is a feature on a driver that makes me grate, I will be turning over.

12:57 – Following a random draw, I shall be starting off by watching BBC F1 from 13:00.

13:00 – And we’re on, with The Chain!

13:03 – Loved the opening VT with the toy car, great opening. Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard as usual in the paddock.

13:06 – Nice to see that they noted the Singapore contract extension early on in the discussion. Now onto the challenges of night racing and attempting to stay on European timezone.

13:07 – This is what I like about the BBC programme, the ability to adapt based on news that broke an hour ago instead of sticking to a pre-determined plan. Lee McKenzie now interviewing Colin Syn (senior president of the Singapore circuit).

13:10 – Not sure I agree with Coulthard about a 90-degree left hander instead of the mickey-mouse chicane. As was alluded to earlier on Sky in practice, they can’t knock down the town hall building to create a run-off area!

13:12 – I didn’t realise that BBC did a Friday practice report in their main programme. A nice addition and helps create a story to the weekend, this weekend it looks like Vettel flying…

13:14 – All was going well, and now they’re interviewing Bruno Senna. Sky Sports F1, here I come. Which is showing a slow-mo VT. About Hamilton. Talk about banging an old record. Back to BBC F1 then.

13:16 – BBC have gone to the ‘Last Time Out’ VT, so Sky Sports F1 gets another chance. They are interviewing Martin Whitmarsh, so still sticking with McLaren.

13:18 – Sky still interviewing Whitmarsh, so back to BBC F1.

13:20 – BBC are about to interview Christian Horner, I’ll stick with BBC for the moment (Sky are in a ‘scenic VT’ it appears).

13:21 – Rather frustratingly, it seems I’ve missed a Sid Watkins tribute on Sky, according to Daniel Fawcett on Twitter. Credit where due, Sky started off with the right piece, but on the other hand, I imagine BBC are saving their Watkins piece for Sunday.

13:23 – BBC are now interviewing Whitmarsh, presumably live.

13:24 – Quickly switching to Sky Sports F1, they are interviewing Paul di Resta live. di Resta does not work well in live interviews, and I’m not a particular fan of his so back to BBC F1.

13:27 – Great piece by Gary Anderson. And some interesting imagery from 1978 there too! Interesting to see the things used to cool the car and driver now.

13:29 – Although I expect them to air a piece tomorrow, disappointing to see no mention of Sid Watkins half an hour into BBC F1’s programme.

13:31 – BBC have gone to the news bit with Lee McKenzie, so I’ve switched to Sky Sports F1. Simon Lazenby and Martin Brundle currently chatting in the pit lane.

13:32 – I think they’re talking about Sebastian Vettel and self doubt.

13:33 – Sky’s news VT is now airing, with Ted Kravitz doing the voiceover.

13:35 – Robert Kubica gets a mention in the news VT. Although they had an interview with him (albeit not in English) on the F1 Show last week, I do hope they get a sit-down interview with him at some point. The 2013 calendar also gets mentioned, thirty minutes later than the first mention in BBC’s programme.

13:37 – Lazenby, Brundle, Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert now talking about American interest in F1. An American driver in Formula 1 would always help the interest! (not Scott Speed)

13:40 – Ted Kravitz now interviewing Felipe Massa on Sky. Nice piece, and Massa’s one of my favourites, which always helps. Hope he does get a win before the end of the year. Aside from the focus at the start of the programme, both BBC and Sky have a similar layout programming wise, not much to pick between them.

13:43 – Kravitz now interviewing Webber about his helmet. Liking the fact that Kravitz is doing a few driver interviews, much prefer him to Natalie Pinkham, who I’m afraid grates with her ‘too nice’ style in the paddock.

13:46 – Sky have gone to Georgie Thompson and Anthony Davidson in the Sky Pad. Having seen similar analysis on last week’s The F1 Show and last night’s The F1 Show, it is back to BBC F1 for me.

13:47 – And great timing, BBC just beginning live interview with Jackie Stewart.

13:49 – Have to say I completely agree with Stewart’s words about the current generation of Formula 1 drivers’. The work that Watkins has done will help those in the current generation, and the generations to come.

13:50 – Track guide with Paul di Resta. Back to Sky Sports F1.

13:53 – Sky are previewing Qualifying and having a few predictions before the usual ‘Ways to Watch’ VT.

13:55 – Looks like I will be watching Sky Sports F1 for Qualifying, with commentary from David Croft and Martin Brundle. As I noted earlier, I shall also focus on Formula One Management during the session itself.

14:00 – The Qualifying session is under way.

14:05 – Completely agree with Brundle about crash helmets. I think it was Will Buxton that said on Twitter that they should sign off the crash helmets at the start of the year and keep it at that.

14:08 – One thing that we need for later on the timing tower is a colour code for which drivers are on super softs and which are on softs. With the gap between the two tyres over one second, we may see a few drivers’ in unusual positions, yet the timing tower doesn’t display which tyre compound the drivers’ are on. Would be a small, but helpful, addition for late in Q1 and Q2.

14:11 – One of the joys of watching a night race is that some of the shots FOM deliver to the viewers are utterly fantastic.

14:15 – So now the attention turns to the bottom seven. Interestingly Vitaly Petrov is outside of the bottom seven, Jean Eric Vergne and Kamui Kobayashi are in the drop zone. Kobayashi is out on the track, however, so hopefully FOM pick it up. At the moment, they’re focussing on Kimi Raikkonen, who is 1.2 seconds above the drop zone and relatively safe.

14:18 – Kobayashi gets out of the drop zone, FOM didn’t show the end of the lap. And probably the wrong time now to show Webber replays…

14:19 – I think it is Ricciardo vs Petrov vs Vergne, despite what Brundle and Croft want us to believe.

14:20 – Kobayashi is out, I guess relatively speaking a Sauber is a ‘big scalp’, although I think Kobayashi has already been out in Q1 once this year.

14:22 – No big scalps. Nowadays it requires a Caterham or Marussia to do a fantastic lap, but even then they are not developing fast enough to catch the midfield teams, thus making Q1 sometimes a damp squib.

14:25 – In between Q1 and Q2, Sky go to the Sky Pad with Thompson and Davidson. It is pretty good here if it demonstrates a point, in this case Lotus struggling badly.

14:27 – Q2 is under way.

14:31 – The track is fairly quiet, Raikkonen the first driver to set a time in Q2. Grosjean however is again having troubles, good of FOM to quickly get a replay up for us.

14:33 – More yellow flags, looks like Bruno Senna.

14:35 – FOM on form so far, they haven’t missed anything…. yet. It looks tight on the edge of the top 10 though.

14:35 – The track again is quiet, so much so that the timing tower has disappeared.

14:39 – The timing tower has returned. I am not sure Mark Webber deserves a five place drop for impeding Timo Glock, after all the latter was never likely to get out of Q1.

14:40 – A lot of movement is possible here. Hopefully FOM just leave the camera on the start finish straight and keep it there in the final few seconds to avoid missing anyone pop a surprise in.

14:43 – Good directing there from FOM, I think they caught just about everyone across the line there.

14:47 – Q3 is coming up soon. A quick reminder that as with Monaco, it will probably not be FOM directing in Japan, more than likely it shall be Fuji Television.

14:50 – The final part of qualifying has now started.

14:51 – The main battle here is definitely between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, so expect FOM to focus more on them.

14:55 – New rule needed for Q3 in 2013: “Any driver who does not set a competitive lap time will be sent to the back of the grid.”

15:01 – FOM detected Maldonaldo’s super lap before he got across the line, good direction by them. Fantastic direction by them, and a fantastic lap by Pastor Maldonaldo!

15:02 – The first time since 1999 that McLaren have had four pole positions in a row, nice statistic by Croft!

15:03 – Time to switch back to BBC F1 until 15:30, then I shall switch back to Sky until the end of their show.

15:05 – Obvious shout by Eddie Jordan that McLaren need to re-sign Lewis Hamilton immediately. Difficult to disagree with him at this moment in time.

15:08 – BBC interviewing Christian Horner and Paul di Resta. For those wondering, BBC wouldn’t be able to interview the top three straight away as they are in the post-Qualifying press conference.

15:12 – The press conference is now on BBC One, Bob Constanduros doing the unilaterals.

15:16 – Coulthard has joined Humphrey and Jordan as they review Qualifying. So far so good, always a slick show from the BBC, and today is no different. It will be interesting to see if the show is as slick next year with a new presenter.

15:18 – Surprised Jordan did not doorstep Button just then! Button looking like he was walking faster so as to avoid them.

15:19 – Heh, Coulthard’s mic just got cut at the end of him talking over Hamilton’s onboard lap. Thankfully we can hear him now.

15:22 – Thanks to stevvy in the comments for noting that Sky are talking to Toto Wolff. Hopefully BBC can get Maldonaldo for a live interview before the end of their programme.

15:24 – BBC now showing Fernando Alonso’s interview in the pen. I think they have managed to get a soundbite from all of the top contenders now, aside from the Mercedes drivers’ and Romain Grosjean.

15:26 – And as expected, BBC are now interviewing Schumacher. I guess BBC could have got a live piece with Maldonaldo, but that would mean not showing one of the pen interviews, which they would probably want to avoid as they would want to get as many people as possible.

15:27 – BBC are rounding up, so over to Sky Sports F1 I go.

15:28 – Lazenby is interviewing Vijay Mallya. But the more important question is: How many minutes until they go to a commercial?

15:29 – Well now, there’s a surprise. Not…

15:30 – I knew it was coming, as BBC have just gone off air, but it is incredibly petty that Sky only go for breaks when BBC are not on air.

15:33 – And they’re back from commercial.

15:34 – Kravitz is now interviewing Christian Horner.

15:37 – Sky are now rounding up, ready to go off-air. Very glad to see that there will be a piece on Mitch Evans in tomorrow’s programme, however.

15:40 – That concludes this broadcasting blog, which I thought I would write as an experiment. As a regular piece, I don’t believe it will work, but I shall definitely think about doing it in the future. Both BBC and Sky had good build-up’s today, although both broadcasters’ started with different stances, Sky had a Sid Watkins tribute, while BBC talked about the Singapore Grand Prix contract extension.

Overall, it is extremely difficult to say overall X is better than Y, both broadcasters’ have their strengths and weaknesses, some more than others as I have outlined before on this blog over the past few months. As always, your comments and thoughts on any of my blogs are welcome.

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this blog piece, and hopefully we have a fantastic Singapore Grand Prix tomorrow!

29 thoughts on “Live Blog: The 2012 Singapore Grand Prix Qualifying session

  1. At the top of the Sky show, Simon Lazenby announced the new Singapore deal as having just been announced in the last few minutes. BBC announced it in last part of FP3.

  2. I also wish that the on screen graphics were set up to be used for 16:9, as they are too far inside the screen, to account for the very few people that must still have a 4:3 CRT.

  3. You’ve got a 4:3 crt, or am I mistaken? My picture is full screen but the timing graphics are positioned about 1/3 the way in on the left.

  4. I wonder when they’ll use HD cameras for in car footage, I know that the existing cameras are already very very expensive.

      1. I’ll watch the BBC’s build up on iplayer later on, having watched just the Sky buildup.

  5. I find it difficult to understand what Gary Anderson says. He is very knowledgeable but when he’s talking from the pitlane, the background noise almost drowns him out.

  6. Agree, there needs to be a rule change to make all the teams run competetively in Q3. Or take away an extra set of tyres off the team, the reason why they don’t run.

  7. Just a quick thing, and not strictly related to the coverage, but it doesn’t matter whether a car is likely to get out of a certain qualifying session or not, impeding a driver is impeding a driver regardless of the situation.

  8. Oh and I know you’re watching BBC F1, but to update with Sky, they’re currently talking to Toto Wolff about Maldonado’s sensational qualifying lap.

  9. No great shock with Sky going to commercials as soon as the BBC go off air. Either show commercials every race whether exclusively live on Sky or not, or don’t show commercials every race. Same goes for practice/qualifying to be honest. Plus only having commercials before the BBC go on air and after they go off air is irritating.

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