The F1 Show is to be revamped for the 2014 Formula One season and will feature a studio audience, it has been confirmed by Sky Sports today. The past two years have not featured a studio audience, and have been presented by Ted Kravitz alongside Georgie Thompson and Natalie Pinkham respectively. Sky did deviate from this last Summer with a 90 minute special taped the day before, which 62 percent of you wanted to see happen again. The revamp will feature a completely new studio, presumably you can expect one similar to that last Summer. Audience figures for the past two years have been generally low, rarely hitting 100,000 viewers per week.
My first thought is that I hope that the Midweek Report will move into The F1 Show’s old studio, possibly a scaled down version, personally I’d be very happy if that happened and extended to an hour, basically taking its place in terms of format. With a studio audience it means that the entire format of the show could potentially change depending on how involved the audience are going to get. Sky have an audience for Saturday Night Football, and I’ll be honest, they clap when they want to clap and be silent when they’re meant to, and it doesn’t add to the show (unlike say, Top Gear). Audience members do ask questions after the football game finishes on Saturday nights, but these are pre-prepared and generally are cookie cutter in nature.
One fear is that the show could become too lightweight, but this hinges on their guests. If you had Christian Horner and another Formula 1 boss on the show, and the audience was able to throw questions at them (yes, double points, I’m looking at you) then it could be great. But if we have more ‘samey’ guests who don’t give us much, I’m not sure it will work too well. Let’s have people on the show who fans want to get up close to and ask key questions to. The guests I think will be the deal breaker here. For reference, these are the studio based dates for The F1 Show this season:
– March x2 (7th and 21st)
– April x2 (11th and 25th)
– May x3 (2nd, 16th and 30th)
– June x2 (13th and 27th)
– July x1 (11th)
– August x4 (1st, 8th, 15th and 29th)
– September x2 (12th and 26th)
– October x2 (17th and 24th)
– November x2 (14th and 28th)
Note that those are based on my calculations, quite possible of course that Sky may end up with a mix of audience vs no audience shows, whilst two of those August shows will be a mid-season review and a Journalist’s review I imagine. What is unclear from the article is whether the show will be live, reference is made to a live studio audience, but then mentions that the programmes will be recorded later on, but I imagine we will get the answer sooner rather than later.
Update on February 27th – Gaz in the comments says that he will be in the audience for the first episode, noting that the filming is taking place between 20:00 and 21:00, meaning that the show will indeed be live.
Update on March 1st – Sky say that Natalie Pinkham and Simon Lazenby are presenting Friday’s show, I strongly hope that is just for the launch and not for every live studio show going forward.
Update on March 2nd – Ted Kravitz noted in the final testing Notebook that the presenting duties for The F1 Show will be shared around in 2014 between himself, Pinkham, Lazenby and David Croft. I suspect it will be Pinkham and Kravitz for the paddock shows, with it being a mix of Pinkham/Kravitz, Pinkham/Croft and Pinkham/Lazenby for the studio shows.