BBC F1 versus Sky Sports F1: Your 2014 Verdict

Lewis Hamilton is the 2014 Formula One champion! BBC’s and Sky’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix programming have just come off the air, which ends the third season of the current contract, set to last until the end of 2018.

I’ve commented many times over the course of the year about BBC and Sky, sometimes on more than one occasion also commenting about the quality of Formula One Management’s World Feed.

The F1 Broadcasting Blog wants to hear your opinion. How have you found the coverage this season? Have you enjoyed it? What have been the best bits? What haven’t been the best bits? Is the coverage better than ever before, or is there room for improvement? If you were in charge of the respective BBC and Sky production teams, what would you decide to change?

As always, your thoughts are much appreciated, and the best thoughts and opinions will be merged into a new blog post in a couple of weeks time. And for those of you who want to comment on BT Sport’s MotoGP coverage, head this way

36 thoughts on “BBC F1 versus Sky Sports F1: Your 2014 Verdict

  1. Sky have generally upped their game e.g. the Williams specific grid walk and the tv helicopter feature and remain my default choice (BBC need rid of EJ before I’d make the switch back) but the US GP was a low point. It had this is for the casual fan written all over it and of course it was no coincidence that it was also on Sky Sports 1.

    As for FOM there have been good points e.g. ‘hybrid thermal onboard’ but also too may lows. I think it was the last lap of the Spanish GP was the nadir of the pitlane WAG shots (well until ESPN’s Indy 500 coverage). Also far too many shots that were all about the MS Paint virtual ads and don’t get me start on Bernie’s thank you messages!

    It doesn’t quite make me long for the days of local host broadcasters (RAI were always particularly dreadful) but it does make me long for the F1 Digital + days.

    1. Spanish tv was the worse for technical quality especially from 2003 to 2006.. Do a you tube search for formel 1 premiere and… Enjoy 🙂

  2. Despite having to pay for Sky F1 which still grates – I have given up on the BBC coverage completely. I think Sky have improved – interviews are good, features great. Teds notebook for me is a personal favorite plus they covered the whole Caterham & Mar. debacle in a thorough & questioning way…….

    Cant beat Crofty & Martin B on commentary & great insight from Herbert & Hill.

    I have not comment to make about the beeb !

  3. I am very happy with the BBC coverage, I far prefer it to Sky. The BBC commentary team seem far more clued up and discuss far better things than the Sky team. Eddie Jordan can grate on people but he knows his stuff and can give an insight into Formula 1 that very few others can match. Suzi perry improved this year and will no doubt improve her presenting next year. The BBC features were all very well made and a joy to watch so overall considering the BBC cannot cover half the season in depth they have done a fantastic job!

  4. Sky are now my main choice. Their coverage has come on leaps and bounds compared to the BBC’s that has just stagnated. I still watch both, but I’d rather stick with Sky when they’re head to head as Lazenby is now far less annoying than Perry! As much as I love Ben Edwards’ commentary elsewhere, I don’t think it really works for me, especially with the monotonous DC alongside – that man may be a decent pundit, but he’s got a long way to go to match Brundle as driver-turned-commentator.

  5. bbc f1 was terrible this year .
    ben edwards and david coulthard haven’t been in tune this year with the rules and correctly idendifying drivers and spotting on track action quickly.
    suzi perry just doesnt add anything and also doesnt gel with dc and ej
    some of the highlights shows have been woeful particularly at hungary when we missed almost half the race.
    the red button forums have been rubbish this year as they just stand around watching driver interviews.
    the worst part about the coverage this year is not having gary anderson part of the team which has left a massive whole in bbc f1s coverage as we get next to no info about car development.

    the only postive is that bbc introduced a multiscreen feed at japan which is good.

    i’ve watched a bit of skys practise and quali coverage(via internet) which was ok but david croft is not brilliant however ant and bruno have been good. teds notebook is brilliant and the best part of sky f1.

  6. I agree, Sky for me too. Once the BBC lost Gary Anderson they lost the final reason for me to watch. Sky coverage has got better each year and for me no one comes close to Martin Brundle for the commentary.

    The World feed in general is good, although the CGI ads do grate.

    It’s clear there are still big changes and possibly pain ahead for F1. Lets hope the grey men leading it become a bit more forward thinking and help encourage new fans with new viewing options (bring back sector times to my browser too please).

  7. I have pretty much only seen Sky coverage this year. To be honest it will always win as I’m paying for it, not going to choose much else while that happens. The weak link, and has been since Sky F1 began, is Simon. The rest all add something to the coverage but he is a waste of space.

  8. You should just be grateful that you get to choose between BBC and SKY. We here in the states are stuck with NBCSN, whose coverage is absolutely dreadful.

    If it were allowed, I would gladly pay to access either BBC’s or SKY’s coverage.

  9. I generally watch it on Sky but will also watch the BBC build ups and post race stuff, after the coverage on Sky has finished.

    The Sky team work together much better now than they did in there first season. It’s a well oiled machine now and for sure they have delivered on what they promised at the outset, by giving it the full Sky Sports treatment. Yes it may be expensive but it’s worth it in my opinion.

    I’d like to see a bit more of Bruno Senna on Sky, as he is one switched on cookie and spots things others may overlook.

    The BBC coverage I watch is still very good but I feel it’s let down by Suzi, who doesn’t seem to fit in too well and looks uncomfortable in her role. I love the banter between driver DC and ex team owner EJ. I agree that the loss of Gary was significant but he has now retired after this race, working for FOM.

    Overall, which ever provider we use, the standard is infinitely better than it was just 10 years ago.

  10. You’re not kidding William, I saw the coverage in Canada and USA this year at first hand and it sucks big time. Little or no build up / post race analysis, advertisements during the race and qualifying etc. etc.

  11. Once again Sky, well better coverage and better and longer builds than the BBC has, their graphics are mind blowing and their features are fantastic. The BBC is so bad now, losing some of their popular staff (most of them moved to sky) and plus the analyses are well behind compared to sky’s analyses.

    Sky will always win on me

  12. I’ve had to swap between the BBC and Sky during my last 2.5 years at university, and I can honestly say that Sky’s coverage is by far the best. Their line-up is better and their programmes are better. Lately the BBC has been waiting hours to put races on iPlayer, which I had to use because I could not afford a TV license. I had to get up a 4 or 5am to see their highlights programmes, and I get the feeling that they can’t wait to get rid of it.

  13. I’ve written pages here about Sky’s coverage and the downward spiral of the BBC coverage so I shall try and keep it short.

    Sky = Self indulgent, mediocre, technically poor crap made by generic media students.

    BBC = Low budget copy of Sky.

    F1 is dying, and in the UK and possibly globally, Sky could toll it’s death knell.

  14. Bbc over sky by a long way….
    Whilst on sky you have to put up with brundle, herbet and hill (I quite like lazenby) the beeb’s only weak link is dc in commentary and suzi. My only criticisms for next year is to replace suzi and improve the features a bit. I never liked Gary Anderson and I think that mcnish is fantastic

  15. It is Sky all the way for me. Ben Edwards is a blathering idiot – no better highlighted by the Bianchi accident when it wasn’t until the drivers were out their cars that he realised what had happened. He was too busy reading from crib notes to pay attention to what was happening on screen.

  16. I always watch the BBC coverage when they are live and Sky for the other races. Whilst I am a massive Martin Brundle fan and I think David Croft is good, DC and Ben Edwards are the better pairing. I did I missed Gary Anderson this year although Tom Clarkson has been good. Ted’s note book is the highlight of the sky coverage.

  17. TBH both commentators are as bad as each other.

    Both get obsessed with researched triva and stats.

    Edwards get disingenuous with his excitement, although not as bad as the awful James Allen. Saying that at least he has a background as a driver and mechanic, so can talk with some confidence about on track specifics.

    Croft on the other hand is just as bad for fake excitement yet has forgotten that he is an unqualified commentator. He feels he can speculate on driving styles and mechanical failures with absolutely no training or experience at all.

    He needs to STFU and just do his job, which is to verbalize what’s going on, on track. If I were struck blind and wanted to know whether a driver has a wishbone failure or a puncture I’ll asked my girl friend as even she knows more about vehicle mechanics than Croft.

  18. BBC have been great once again, and this year, I’ve really grown on the Edwards-Coulthard pairing. As for Sky, they are getting more and more biased towards LH, which is very bad…

  19. I think its Time for the TV rights to go back to full free-to-air coverage, that isn’t the Beeb. The Been are running low on money and I’d rather see Channel 4 give it a shot. You have some good presentation on both coverages….Take a bit of both and you’d have a legendary line-up

  20. I have seen both Sky and the BBC coverage and will always choose the BBC. Ok there coverage has dropped considerably from the Jake Humphrey days but it is still a lot better then Sky. Suzi has improved – yes she still makes the odd mistake but don’t we all!? I am shore she will be even better next year. DC and Ben are a fair better pairing than Brundle and Croft. Brundle doesn’t seem to be the same as he was at the Beeb or good old ITV days! He seems to have got too big for his boots and in some ways even comes accorss a bit “cocky!” Mcnish, Lee and Tom are all great – Tom’s role is getter a lot better. As it goes for EJ – yes he can be a bit annoying but he is a great addition to the team rather then just driver views Sky have. Normally his comments are right! I though the Abu Dhabi forum the beeb did was one of there best this year as that had been going down hill but they wnet in the garage and mixed in with everyone! The only thing BBC need is a really good technical expert as I do believe there coverage lacks that part. Yes Mcnish and Tom give it a go but they are not Gary Anderson. Overall though I am still happy with the BBC coverage lets just hope it doesn’t all go to pay TV else the figures will fall sharply!!!

  21. Don’t have Sky so restricting myself to BBC only…

    Suzi Perry has definitely improved this year, though still prone to the occasional shocker. EJ has been good this season, he’s obviously got a line to Bernie for breaking news and has been good on the actual practicalities of running and managing a Formula 1 team. They’ve got good use out of Tom Clarkson too.

    The problems with the BBC clearly come when you see the various restrictions creeping in. Running a feature in Canada featuring Alonso on a yacht in Monaco. Struggling for co-commentators for practice sessions. Short build ups (why wasn’t the Abu Dhabi race given an hour?) As others have said, the forum is a patch on its former self, it looks like an extension of the main programme with driver pen interviews and Horner, Boullier etc in the pit lane.

    Still hard to avoid the general conclusion that both channels have some excellent people / ideas and some dross and that if you put the two together it would be much better.

  22. I only watched one Sky Race this year (USA) along with all the live Beeb races and most of th highlights shows and agree with a lot of what has already been said. However there are a couple of things i would like to add.

    Sky’s coverage is obviously more in depth and in many ways seems more experienced than the BBC’s (which isn’t suprising when they took half the BBC’s original team). The best thing I can say about their coverage is Ted, and I am pleased that even if you don’t subscribe you can still watch his notebooks on the website. I agree that Brundle has dropped his game, but I think this was inevitable when stuck with David Croft. I actually think the best commentary line up was the Beeb’s in 2011 when Brundle/Coulthard and their genuine friendship & charisma came through and no matter which MBM announcer you put with (either of) them is never going to be the same.

    As for the rest:

    Lazenby is a Frat Boy. Although he is not a bad presenter, he is an annoying one.
    Herbert is trying to be EJ but without the knowledge
    Hill is good but sometime gets lost amongst the chaos of the 2 above.
    Brundle is and always will be the godfather of modern F1 punditry, but as was said above, you do feel he’s starting to believe his own publicity a bit.
    Pinkham is ok but compared to Lee it’s like trying to replace Iniesta with a championship player. I must say though that I have not seen the F1 show and form other reports she may be a better presenter than interviewer.

    As for the BBC there coverage is good, when allowed to be. You feel they have suffered with access, not neccesarily from the top teams but from those like Mclaren who over the past 2 years have rarely appeared (Drivers apart) on the Forum. The major issues with their coverage is the length of the programmes – especailly highlights as if there are major talking points these are almost glossed over due to lack of time (particularly in Qualifying). They seem not to have a consistent format.

    Suzi Perry has not improved. She has flashes of good moments (usually when she looks like she’s about to kill EJ) but needs to be replaced. For me, I would replace her, preferably with someone who is good at live outside broadcasting, but short of Jake who else could manage the range of style and role the beebs have to do? The only person I could think of would be Colin Murray or by promoting Lee or Tom.
    EJ is EJ and will always be EJ. He is a clown, a jester, a joker, a devils advocate and a scoop master. He is annoying but crucial to inflating the beebs coverage beyond simple cliches and soundbites.
    DC – covered already as a commentator but improving as a pundit. Giving him the Gridwalk was an excellent idea, but one which has only come into fruition this year. His coolness combined with dry sense of humour works perfectly and although he often over explains things, you feel he only does this because he has been instructed to and he manages to pull it off. If JB retires would love to see the 2 of them at a few races doing coverage next year.
    Lee – Excellent. Simply the best interviewer in UK Sports coverage. Even Innate repetitive questions sound like a psychoanalogical examination coming form her mouth. She is and always will be the best at her role.
    Ben – I like Ben. Yes he sometimes gets things wrong, and I know what people mean about Japan but unlike Croft he feels like the style he employs is his own.
    Tom – Hopefully people won’t get too upset by this, but i think in the long run, Tom could become as good as Ted. He seems to have what Ted had in his early ITV days, a mixture of solid understanding and genuine enthusiasm. Now, what he needs is more contacts within the teams and to develop these relationships as this could help provide the baalance the BBC is looking for on the techincal side.

    These are just a few thoughts, but i fear they will never alter until we have one braodcaster, and I fear that this when it happens will be Pay TV anyway.

  23. I care about 1h 1/2 of race and thats it really. I dont care if it has sky or bbc commentantors as long as i can watch the race live. If i cant watch the race live i dont bother. One of my mates was asking question about f1 knowing that i was fan over the weekend and i had to say i lost interest. Half the time i dont know when the races are , i dont know the points system anymore and i dont much care for qually any more. sky gets 25percent of viewers commpared to bbc and next year i can watch all wec on free to air motors tv.

    I was watching hunt verse lauda on bbc last night. I am not old enough to remember that season but just seems to much more exciting back then.

  24. Sky: They have Brundle and Kravitz, so a good start for them. The rest are average me to me, apart from possibly Davidson. One better thing about Sky generally is that they have the resources to commit to much more programming beyond the race weekend which the BBC simply are not able to do. Lazenby has improved, but still seems to me as if he is there for the glamour and money more than being an F1 fan, compared to Jake H who, despite probably being a football fan more than an F1 fan, showed that he was an F1 fan and wasn’t there JUST for money and glamour, he was there to make the programming fun, entertaining and engaging. Oh and Ted’s Notebook (although they are available for free on Sky website, and was no doubt taken from what he did in ’11 with BBC, just renamed, so we possibly have to thank the Beeb for his Notebooks!)

    I do feel however Sky’s race coverage (from theme tune to commentary to interviews) feels more relaxed, like having a chat with mates, whereas the BBC’s coverage feels more gritty, serious and builds up suspense a lot better, as if they are building the viewer up for something exciting, which after all F1 is (mostly), which is why I generally prefer the BBC race coverage, and only watch Sky’s when BBC is not showing (live or highlights) around midday, afternoon, early evening).

    BBC: THE CHAIN! Lee McKenzie (I couldn’t care less about Clarkson), Eddie Jordan – A bit of dimwit at times but very knowledgeable, overall an asset to their coverage. Perry – OK, nothing special. I think they have the better overall commentary team (Croft isn’t bad, but something about him just grates me at times, but have very few issues with Brundle. Edwards I have enjoyed since his BTCC days, Coulthard has been a better commentator than I thought he was going to be).

    1. Your comments about Sky’s lackluster approach are so spot on.

      They act like they’re covering crown green bowling, not the fastest sport in the world.

      The self indulgent, inappropriate, niche taste music they use for a lot of their VT packages is appalling.

      You come into qualifying, and to build the excitement they start with something Radiohead refused to release because it was too depressing.

      Then when they should be building to the next days race they end qualifying with some folk rubbish that would be more at home on a narrow boat make over show.

      Then race day, we have maybe had the most exciting race of the season and their end VT package uses some obscure blues/jazz track that makes us want to shoot up heroin rather than look forward to the next thrilling installment.

      This of course this is assuming they aren’t featuring Hamilton in the VT, in which case YOU MUST USE RAP MUSIC BECAUSE HE’S BLACK!!!!

      That’s good old fashioned racial profiling.

  25. BBC have improved a massive load from last year. Suzi Perry looks a lot more comfortable in her role. Eddie Jordan, as always, is the BBC’s best asset. He brings the news story before anyone else has it, let alone SKY. He’s got charisma without realising that he is funny. EJ analysis is fantastic as he offers it from the point of view from a former team owner. DC offers brilliant analysis from the point of a driver and this dovetails excellently with EJ. You can tell that he gets along with the important people in the sport on a personal level. The piece he did Jenson Button at the Abu Dhabi race sums that up.

    When I was a kid I used to listen to Murray Walker and his enthusiasm in the commentary box are real memory’s from my childhood. It really made F1 watch-able. No one will ever match Murray Walker and he deserves a knighthood, but DC and Ben Edwards in the box do Murray justice. They both come alive in the box.

    One last word on the BBC, it’s pretty obvious that the people paddock prefer the BBC as they get greater access. At Abu Dhabi, the BBC was right in the mix in the Mercedes garage when everyone else was celebrating Lewis’s win whist SKY had to wait their turn outside. And most of the drivers speak to the BBC before anyone else. Jenson and Lewis definitely do. SKY shouldn’t stick a microphone with a SKY logo on it in the picture whenever Lee Mckenzie does an interview. That just frustrates me SKY, not make me feel better about having to pay for SKY F1.

    But they do need to bring back Gary Anderson. Why they got rid of him I do not know!?

    As for SKY, they have improved and it is a very watch-able program. I like Damon Hill. They put an emphasis on analysis more than the BBC but they tend to over analysis at times and this often makes it dry. At times it comes across as a bunch of middle aged men in suits having a chat.

    I find Ted Kravitz annoying: “Hang on,there’s someone coming in pit’s, no. No. It’s just some pit crew moving some tyres. Back to you Martin”. Simon Lazenby is better than last year but he lacks charisma. Martin Brundle’s pit work’s are a lot better than when the BBC do their’s but that alone does not make up for the rest of the program which is significantly not as good as the BBC.

    I do wonder though if the BBC would improve on their coverage if they showed all the races live. I believe they would do as it would give it a better all round feel to it. CVC have to really think about that when global TV audiences are declining. Oh yeah and BBC podcast is fantastic. Clive Allen and Alan Mcneish are really good on that.

    When I have a choice of watching BBC or SKY, I always choose the BBC.

  26. I’m with William up there…After suffering NBCSN and it’s race highlight style broadcast in between endless adds and promos for the actual programme we were watching (yes they do that..) then returning with the 4 most dreaded words in motorsport “While We Were Away”… I’d say both British broadcasters were golden.

    I’ll quote the great Joni Mitchell.
    “Don’t it always seem to go,that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”


  27. 5Live for the win.

    Still think having three UK teams covering F1 dilutes the product, pick a winner and get on with it.

  28. I much prefer sky but just one slight annoyance is David Croft constantly going on about his 2 laps in an F1 car and then thinking he knows everything about driving an F1 car. Just a slight annoyance but overall sky is certainly better for me. They give much more extensive coverage than the BBC probably ever will and the FP and quali/race commentary duos just seem to work for me. However seeing as Sky have a dedicated channel I think at least for the european races they should have something like qualifying day live and race day live, where they are live from the start of FP3 through to the end of the GP3 race and then do the same on sunday with GP3, GP2 get porsche supercup rights and show, then have the f1 race. Also they really have proper presenters for the GP2 and GP3 rather than just using the world feed.

    Just a few things that I think could make skys coverage even better

  29. I watch live coverage from the BBC, as well as their highlights shows. I watch Sky’s live coverage when they are exclusively live.

    Regarding presenters, I think Suzi Perry has improved this year, I still don’t believe she is the best fit for the role but year-on-year, her rough edges have been smoothed out a touch. Simon Lazenby is as poor as ever. He is technically a better presenter as he rarely stumbles over his words and looks in control, but he seems to lack the essential knowledge required for the job. At then end of the day, neither of them are as good as Jake Humphrey.

    I still enjoy the partnership of DC and EJ on the BBC and love their regular debates. They rarely seem to agree which is good for the viewer thanks to their differing backgrounds in the sport. I just wish the BBC had more air-time available to them to allow the pair to provide more insight. I’ve liked the addition of Allan McNish to the on-air team but I think he should be a permanent pundit for when EJ doesn’t attend a race. I would also love the BBC to get Mark Webber more involved in the coverage, perhaps a more regular pundit. Fingers crossed Jenson Button gets that gig with the BBC next year too to give the broadcaster more flexibility.

    Sky’s punditry is still below par. Johnny Herbert still looks like an arrogant, smug spare part. He doesn’t add anything to the coverage and alongside Damon Hill, the pair are a car crash. The grid walk in Germany was probably the worst moment possible for them. Martin Brundle is still holding the Sky team up. His wealth of experience in F1 TV coverage really helps their current coverage.

    In terms of commentary, the BBC win in this department. Ben Edwards’ passion for the sport comes across very well and is complimented perfectly by the expertise and often comedic values of DC. David Croft on the other hand seems to shout far too often, over-hyping the situation. But Martin Bundle is as good in this position as he is as a pundit.

    Pit lane reporters. Sky desperately need to get rid of Natalie Pinkham. She is useless and her current replacement, Rachel Brooks is a breath of fresh air. She can ask the right questions and push a driver where necessary, unlike Pinkham. Ted Kravitz and his Notebook program are perfect. I’ve no complaints about him. Over on the BBC, Lee McKenzie is doing a top job as ever. She is probably one of the best interviewers out there in any sport. She has brilliant relationships with all the drivers and they are the first person they would go to after the race – this really is an asset to the BBC. Tom Clarkson hit the ground running when he joined the BBC and is still doing a great job as pit-lane reporter. Not as technically minded as Kravitz but he is the best they can get, especially since Gary Anderson has now retired!

    The BBC’s features are definitely blowing Sky’s out of the water. The BBC always know how to deliver a very emotional piece (Senna in Spain or Button in Abu Dhabi) and how to make the audience laugh (McNish with Grosjean or DC with the Williams’). Sky never seem to focus on anybody apart from Hamilton, not only on their features but also with their coverage as a whole. They always seemed to have a sit down interview with Hamilton which just gets boring after two or three. Sky’s interviews with Bernie are brilliant, however. You don’t get enough of them on the BBC so there’s a point to Sky, even if they are too short and Brundle never quite asks the questions we want the answers to!

    For next year, I would absolutely love to see Jennie Gow fronting the BBC’s coverage. She is doing a great job presenting on 5 Live and on ITV4 for their Formula E coverage. I would like to see DC and EJ continue as pundits but for JB, Mark Webber and Allan McNish be there to provide a greater wealth of knowledge. Commentary should remain unchanged, as should pit lane reporters. I hope to see Sky get rid of Lazenby, Herbert, Hill and Pinkham, but I have no idea who should replace them.

    1. A good assessment.

      I love Herbert as a person but I agree he doesn’t really add anything as a pundit but he is often the highlight of some of Sky’s build up VT’s (talking to fans etc).

      I also agree that Brooks is the best option for pit interviews.

      As far as anchors go, I couldn’t agree with you more, Lazenby has always looked like he was on a jollie or using F1 as a stepping stone to another gig. Perry still isn’t up to much and I whole heatedly agree that Gow should have been given the job

      The only thing I would say is that a couple of people have mentioned the team/drivers preference to talk to the Beeb. I would agree that as an organization that’s true but if you look at the post race press pen you will often see McKenzie in the background looking like a kid in the queue at the ice cream van while drivers talk to Sky.

  30. I’m not the main billpayer in my household so I don’t have an option. However, I did notice Carling were offering a promotion of free Sky Sports for 24 hours with each pack, so I went and bought a couple of those, finally enabling me to make a full and proper comparison, but starting with what I watched the majority of the season on:

    BBC has plummeted downhill for me ever since 2011. Edwards gets worse and worse. It seems they don’t actually want to acknowledge that any of Sky’s presenters exist – Edwards’s tone when he found out Brundle was doing the podium interviews in Abu Dhabi; Coulthard saw Brundle coming on the grid walk in Abu Dhabi and went the long way around Hamilton’s car to avoid him; Edwards will go “oh, there’s [celebrity] in the [team] garage” for every single celebrity except Johnny Herbert or Damon Hill…

    This year, I’ve followed what I’ve done since 2012, which is listen to the non-BBC races on the radio and try(!) to sync the live races up with the radio. I trialled it for India last season, and it did work perfectly in Spain this year, however, sync problems in the digital age means this became more and more impossible to get right throughout the season, so for Brazil I purchased those packs of Carling. One I used for Brentford vs Fulham. The other for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

    I’m glad I did. Lazenby is much better than Perry by a mile. Crofty and Brundle work very well together. As a Twitter user, I felt Sky were more in-touch with social media than the BBC, reading out various tweets across the show that had come up on my homepage, something the BBC never did. The features were more technical, more analytical, and it’s something I’m definitely doing throughout 2015.

    If anything, I felt both were pro-Hamilton this season, which is annoying for someone like myself who wanted Rosberg to win. In Canada, Edwards shouted down the mic “ROSBERG GOES OFF AND HAMILTON LE—-oh, sorry, no he doesn’t.”

    The BBC’s content in the immediate aftermath of the Japanese GP was disgraceful, so much so I directly complained to them.

    This is what I wrote:

    “[This problem occurred on both the main show and the “forum” show on the Red Button.] In the closing stages of the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, Jules Bianchi (Marussia) had a life-threatening accident, and, as I write, is currently in life danger. This overshadowed the race, and particularly that of Adrian Sutil (Sauber), who was indirectly involved in this accident. The conduct of the BBC following this accident on, mainly, the “Forum” show was an absolute disgrace to the entire BBC. When a member of the Sport that one is covering is in life danger, one’s thoughts as a presenter should be solely – or at least primarily – focused on this accident. Despite Suzi Perry’s insistence that “we will bring you news as soon as we get it”, I was able to obtain more information through Sky Sports’s website and Twitter than I did through the BBC’s coverage: namely, that they ignored the information surrounding the medical helicopter and why it did not take off. Instead, Perry, David Coulthard, and Eddie Jordan laughed and joked about certain matters throughout the show, whilst being told to be sombre (Coulthard could be seen switching between smiling and sombre almost pantomime-like throughout). Notably, they talked endlessly about Lewis Hamilton’s overtaking manoeuvre and Ron Dennis’s decision as to who to employ in 2015 (Alonso or Button). Lee McKenzie also pushed Sutil for answers regarding the crash and did not accept that Sutil, understandably, did not wish to comment on the crash.”

    This is what I got back:

    “We understand that you were left unhappy at how the programme handled the situation regarding the crash which happened to Marussia driver, Jules Bianchi. Although we appreciate your concerns, as details of what happened to Jules Bianchi was very sketchy at the time of the crash and the information provided by Marussia and the hospital where he was sent to, was limited, unfortunately we there was very little we could inform viewers about the situation. However, as it became clear throughout the final few laps of the race which was eventually stopped that the accident was extremely serious, we did reflect this in our coverage, noting that after Lewis Hamilton’s victory, the mood on the podium and around the pit lane was very sombre with the usual champagne celebrations not taking place. It must be noted that during the Russian Grand Prix which took place the following week, the topic of Bianchi’s accident was discussed at length before and after the race. We do note however that you were unhappy at how the programme covered the situation during the live coverage. We appreciate your feedback on this and can assure you all complaints are sent to senior management and programme makers every morning and we have made sure to include your points in this overnight report. These reports are among the most widely read sources of feedback in the BBC and ensures that your complaint has been seen by the right people quickly. This helps inform their decisions about current and future programmes. Thanks again for taking the trouble to share your views with us.”

    That’s a rubbish response in my view.

    This year I’ve learnt to block out Edwards’s commentary, trying not to “listen” to it (although I still hear it, I don’t pay attention to it). The Sky Sports website has been a godsend this season, putting up a lot of free clips for me to enjoy (including a short-lived “overtake of the day” video between Germany and Japan).

    FOM need to pull their socks up, really. The last lap of Spain was dire.

  31. Having watched both the BBC and Sky’s coverage this year, I have to say in my opinion that they achieve a very similar overall level when they are both live. For me this is somewhat disappointing considering the cost of Sky and the fact that they have a channel entirely dedicated to F1 – it just feels like they could do more with the unlimited time they have available.
    For my money the loss of Gary Anderson from the BBC coverage has been huge – it is a real waste having him interviewing drivers on the parade truck for FOM, and Ted Kravitz is now the closest thing to a technical expert on either side. It would be good to see someone like Craig Scarborough involved, who has delivered technical insight online through Autosport etc. and could really add a missing technical element, particularly with the benefit of Sky’s interactive screens.
    Also I have noticed that both the BBC and Sky commentary teams have started every sing,e race with ‘Lights out and away we go…’ Is this now the only way to call the start of a motor race? I like a catchphrase as much as the next man but for me this isn’t even a particularly good one?
    Out of The presentation teams BBC has been my favourite this year, with EJ’s pontifications continuing to be spot on more often than not and Tom Clarkson and Allan McNish being good additions (were they there last year? I can’t remember…).
    It really feels like The virtual adverts have been becoming bigger and bigger parts of the world feed pictures over the past 2 years and in some cases have been somewhat less than subtle. It would be nice to see them used more selectively but I don’t see that happening any time soon. I was also disappointed with the way the graphics covered the ERS systems, it would be good to see something showing how different parts of the systems (K, H) are being used for next year. Fuel use stuff was good though, and overlaying of thermal imaging on standard onboard cameras is inspired.
    Finally, for me the biggest problem is the coverage of Q3. I know there are up to 10 cars on their final laps at once but there has to be a better way of catching the crucial action. Currently the chances of us seeing the whole of the pole lap live are virtually nil. In the title decider in Abu Dhabi, not showing more than the last couple of corners of either Mercedes’ lap, even on the dedicated onboard channel, was crazy! The director needs to be more selective. I recall somewhere seeing the whole of the 9th place lap and virtually nothing of the the top 2.

    Looking forward to Australia FP1!


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