Across an entire Grand Prix weekend, the BBC F1 and Sky Sports F1 teams produce around eleven hours of extra content, in addition to the Formula One Management (FOM) World Feed that they, along with all the other broadcasters, have access to. There’s a fair bit of content that probably will not get watched by fans outside of that particular race weekend, probably because the segment is no longer relevant or the VT is just… bad.
However, there are also features that the broadcasters produce each race weekend that do deserve a second watch. The purpose of this piece is to talk about those features for readers who may have missed them first time around. A VT takes a significant amount of time to put together. From getting the perfect shot, to getting the filming location correct for the feature and onto making sure the sound levels are all correct. It takes a lot to put a good feature together. It takes even more to put together something that goes above and beyond those levels.
Max Verstappen has been one of the revelations of the 2015 Formula One season so far. The BBC piece on him felt like it could have been produced by the Top Gear team it was that impressive. The length of the VT allowed the subject, in this case both Max and Jos, to be explored in detail. For me, this was probably one of the best pieces that the BBC have produced in a long time. There was something special and enjoyable about it that is rarely replicated in F1 broadcasting. The piece was split into three distinctive sections. First, a look at Max’s racing career growing up. Second, a more personal look at Max’s life so far, with more of an input from Jos, and lastly Max racing around in go-karts. It was a fabulously produced piece, and one that clearly had a lot of planning – from the initial concept to final execution on screen.
An honourable mention also to the piece that Lee McKenzie did with Fernando Alonso, which is also worth a watch. Note that the Alonso piece is geo-blocked because it contains FOM footage, whereas the piece with the Verstappen’s is not geo-blocked as no FOM footage is present.
Sky Sports F1
Interviewer: Martin Brundle
Personnel: Stoffel Vandoorne
Link: Sky Sports website
Staying in the same vein as the BBC’s Verstappen piece, Sky Sports used the Belgian Grand Prix as an opportunity to interview Stoffel Vandoorne. As with the BBC piece, we were treated to beautiful shots this time in the August sunshine. There were some big talent in the other Sky pieces, notably the team did a feature with Idris Elba in the snow at Spa. The casual viewer may remember that Elba piece better than the Vandoorne segment from an enjoyment perspective, but the Vandoorne feature is more important in the long run.
On occasion, broadcasters focus too much on the past and present, but fail to look ahead to the future. Barring any mishaps, Stoffel Vandoorne will be a major name in Formula 1 in a few years time. It is important that viewers are introduced to future characters early in their career, so that viewers can build a relationship with them, and see the young man turn into a champion one day (hopefully, they say). The piece between Vandoorne and Brundle sets the tone for the future. It builds a storyboard, and that storyboard with Vandoorne has only just begun.
Whilst BBC and Sky produced some great television during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, you cannot overlook the fact that FOM’s Digital Media team are producing more content that will no doubt make the end of season DVD review. I won’t go into as much detail as above, but one piece I’d strongly recommend watching is a piece with Fernando Alonso talking about the challenges of Eau Rouge. Yes, a piece of that nature has been done multiple times over the years. But cleverly, I felt that FOM managed to put a different spin on things here. With some great graphics and archive footage, this stood out to me as one of the best Eau Rouge pieces that I’ve seen in a long time.