Flashback: 2000 European Grand Prix

On the eve of the Nürburgring’s return to the Formula One calendar, Motorsport Broadcasting has decided to be a little nostalgic, with a throwback to the 2000 European Grand Prix!

Funnily enough, many fans remember the events of the 1999 running of the Grand Prix far more than 2000, as Johnny Herbert climbed to victory in mixed weather from 14th on the grid. But, reviewing that race from a broadcasting perspective feels too obvious.

And, whilst the 2000 race may not have been thrilling in quite the same way, it for me is still a classic wet weather race in the Eifel mountains with twists and turns along the way.

Would McLaren be able to outsmart Ferrari, or would Michael Schumacher’s wet weather prowess show once again? Here we go…

  • Date: Sunday 21st May 2000
  • Time: 12:15 to 15:15
  • Presenter: Jim Rosenthal
  • Reporter: James Allen
  • Reporter: Louise Goodman
  • Commentator: Murray Walker
  • Commentator: Martin Brundle
  • Analyst: Tony Jardine

By this point in their coverage, ITV dedicated around 45 minutes of build-up to the European races, with another 30 minutes for analysis post-race. The build-up gradually expanded in length year-on-year, and before we know it, the commercial broadcaster was dedicating an hour of programming to build-up.

Pre-Race
Following Simon Taylor’s departure from ITV’s Formula 1 line-up, the team opted to bring an additional guest into their studio for some of the build-up, an array which included the likes of Sir Stirling Moss, Bernie Ecclestone, and even Ant and Dec!

For Nürburgring, it was the turn of Mercedes’ Sporting Director Norbert Haug in the studio, Haug joining Jim Rosenthal and Tony Jardine.

The build-up for this race feels split in two: the first 20 minutes focusing heavily on the McLaren and Ferrari scrap, with the latter 20 minutes looking at some of the other stories making the F1 agenda.

In my view, the format works, and more importantly covers a lot of ground across the segments, meaning that the viewer feels well versed in the world of F1 by the time the lights go green.

Haug’s insights were not the most engaging however, but nevertheless helped bring additional context to the McLaren and Ferrari battle.

2000 European GP - refuelling.png
ITV’s pit lane reporter James Allen goes behind the scenes with the BAR team during refuelling practice.

Following the usual qualifying round-up and summary, conversation moves onto the big incident from the previous round in Spain: a botched refuelling pit stop from Ferrari resulting in a broken ankle for Nigel Stepney.

The conversation provides the opener to an excellent segment from James Allen, who joined BAR during their pit stop practice to demonstrate the many roles and responsibilities during the pit stop sequence.

McLaren versus Ferrari remains the theme in the pit stop piece, with comment from McLaren’s Ron Dennis and Ferrari’s Ross Brawn. Next-up, on-board for a lap of the Nurburgring with Rubens Barrichello!

A thrills and spills VT showing Johnny Herbert’s spectacular victory from 1999 follows, with a segment on the other side of the ad-break taking us further into the world of F1 through Martin Brundle’s ‘Inside Track’ series.

Brundle’s piece for round six of 2000 looks at F1’s strict weight limits, well timed given that Prost’s Nick Heidfeld was thrown out of the weekend after qualifying for fielding an underweight car.

Attention turns further down the pecking order to two F1 struggles: Jaguar, and Jacques Villeneuve. Jaguar had yet to capitalise on Stewart’s strong 1999 season, the team the subject of Louise Goodman’s segment.

The thing I really like here is that the segment was not a ‘talk to camera’ segment, but rather an all-rounded segment that offered different perspective, with the opinions of technical director Gary Anderson and drivers Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert on show. The editors made clear the purpose of the segment from the outset, which made it even more engaging.

An interview segment between Brundle and Villeneuve followed. You really got the impression from these two segments that every second of the broadcast counts, there is no waffle, no glitziness to the output, but why should there be?

The piece touches on Villeneuve’s disappointment with his move to BAR, his relationship with Craig Pollak and whether he, in Brundle’s words, can “really walk away from a works Honda deal?”

2000 European GP - final turn angle.png
An excellent camera angle as the cars head out of the final bend onto the start-finish straight.

Rosenthal and Jardine filled the gaps in between the VTs, but this was a segment heavy build-up, with Brundle’s famed grid walk not in sight, for this round at least. In ITV’s early days, the team did not overuse the grid walk, gradually bringing it in until it became a permanent fixture at most races from the mid-2000s onwards.

With the scene set at “a cool 10 degrees,” it is race time!

Race
I have mentioned this before, but the 2000 grid is gorgeous, with the red Ferrari’s, green Jaguar’s, and yellow Jordan’s amongst the colours on offer.

Back in the early 2000s, F1’s television operation for most viewers was decentralised. ITV directed the British Grand Prix, Fuji Television would direct the Japanese Grand Prix, and here at the Nürburgring, it was German broadcaster RTL who controlled of the European round from Germany.

Off the line, Hakkinen stormed into the lead from third, swapping places with Coulthard, as Schumacher remained in second. The first of Murray Walker’s prophetic pe-race predictions came true, as Villeneuve in the BAR jumped up to fifth from ninth on the grid.

Only four drivers are on the harder compound Bridgestone tyre. They’ve got the super soft tyre here for the first time this year, and the soft tyre, which is actually the harder one here today, is being used by both the Ferrari drivers [Rubens] Barrichello and Michael Schumacher, by Jacques Villeneuve and by Jos Verstappen. And I certainly know in the case of the Ferrari’s that, as Martin has said, it’s because they just get a better balance on the car. They tend to go off after about ten laps, so Michael Schumacher will be looking to get ahead as soon as the race begins, and in order to do that, he’s got to pass David Coulthard. – Murray Walker talking tyres.

The local RTL director had a limited choice of exterior angles to play with for replays of the start, with no on-board angles during this sequence.

Remember that the local director was ‘competing’ against F1’s own digital operation during this era, meaning that on-board angles were rare for most viewers worldwide.

Shots from Heinz Harald Frentzen’s Jordan, Jean Alesi’s Prost and Rubens Barrichello’s Ferrari were on offer throughout the mixed weather race, none of whom ever had a chance at victory (and Frentzen’s race lasted just a single lap).

Unsurprisingly, the director focussed firmly on Schumacher’s attempts to take the lead off Hakkinen, the German harassing the two-time champion lap after lap, meaning Walker ended up reciting the order every so often.

With rain threatening, a lot of chatter was about refuelling, with Brundle adequately explaining the rationale behind a heavier fuel load at race start.

The director did miss Benetton’s Giancarlo Fisichella overtaking Villeneuve live in the early phases, but under the circumstances, an understandable omission. Schumacher eventually dived down the inside of Hakkinen into the chicane he designed, as the forecast rain intensified.

2000 European GP - lap graphic.png
The rainmeister at work, two seconds a lap faster than his team mate.

At which point, the race kicked off in many different directions: Jos Verstappen, Marc Gene, and Pedro Diniz all lost it in the tricky conditions. Considering how patchy some of the television direction was back in the day, the German director on this day in history did fantastically well to catch the key bits.

Both Walker and Brundle through this race relied on the World Feed pictures and just one timing monitor, as the front runners carved their way back through those who had yet to switch to wet tyres.

The commentary felt very instinctive, but it also felt like they were living through the moment with us, which made it all the better. Walker described it as a “commentator’s nightmare,” Brundle called it a “commentator’s dream!”

Also inspired was ITV’s lop-sided ad-break structure for the Grand Prix, with the first 26 minutes running without adverts. It did mean more frequent adverts later (five ad-breaks in total), but was unavoidable at time. ITV did capture Schumacher’s overtake on Hakkinen live, so you cannot complain, really.

A late pit stop meant that Barrichello dropped back through the field, which probably pleased the director given the on-board camera on Barrichello’s car!

As the order and conditions settled down, so did the coverage, with the director focusing more on the battles in the latter half of the points paying positions, with heavy focus on Arrows, BAR and Benetton. On the commentary side, Allen provided additional analysis on the movers and shakers from pit lane throughout the Grand Prix.

One battle caught in its entirety was a three-way scrap between Irvine in the Jaguar, Ralf Schumacher’s Williams, and Verstappen’s Arrows. Unfortunately, it ended with both Irvine and Schumacher eliminated at the first corner, followed by Verstappen shunting into the wall towards turn ten.

This is where you can see how radically Formula 1 has changed in even twenty years: Verstappen’s off would have necessitated a Safety Car nowadays, but back then controlled under yellow flags.

One man making a good impression was Verstappen’s team mate Pedro de la Rosa who had crept up to third, which Walker hyped on commentary as “something F1 really needs!” In the end, de la Rosa did need to pit again, dropping him further back.

If anything, the direction for this race was not too dissimilar to a Grand Prix in recent times, given what the director had to work with. Safety Cars aside, the major differences were the lack of team radio and on-board angles, both of which would have added an extra dimension.

RTL’s director caught Ferrari’s error in under fuelling Barrichello at his second stop instantly, which the ITV team picked up many laps later.

2000 European GP - Verstappen.png
A huge off for Jos Verstappen prompts yellow flags, but not a Safety Car.

In the end at the front of the field, Schumacher picked up his fourth win of the 2000 season, with Hakkinen finishing 13 seconds behind! Coulthard and Barrichello finished in third and fourth, but one lap behind…

Post-Race
With the race overrunning slightly, analysis from ITV was thin on the ground, but nevertheless covered the key events.

Brundle called the race “a very significant day in this year’s World Championship.” As it turned out, Ferrari would only win two of the next seven races, with McLaren largely dominating the Summer months before the tide turned in Italy.

Paul Stoddart is an interesting sighting during the podium celebrations with the Ferrari crew. Although not yet a Formula 1 team boss, Stoddart was present in the paddock, his European Aviation outfit sponsoring the Arrows team.

Following the podium procedure and an ad-break, a young sounding Tom Clarkson is the man asking the questions in the post-race press conference.

Coulthard was amiss to explain the issues with his McLaren, although the ITV team were keen to praise him afterwards, Jardine calling his performance a “very, very brave effort”, the bravery cited due to the plane crash he was involved in a few weeks earlier.

Back in the paddock, Allen interviews Barrichello to wrap up analysis of the big two teams. A brief comment on Jaguar follows, tying up the loose ends from the pre-race build-up, before a few promos and standings concludes ITV’s broadcast of the European Grand Prix!

If the action is anything as thrilling this Sunday, we are in for a treat…


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How Motorsport Broadcasting has covered F1’s transformation under Chase Carey

Last week, Liberty Media announced that Stefano Domenicali would be succeeding Chase Carey as Chairman of Formula 1.

The news, first revealed by RaceFans, is not a huge surprise given rumours about Carey’s replacement were swirling for a while (even if Domenicali himself was not publicly linked). Nevertheless, the announcement means that Carey will depart his role at the end of 2020, ending a near four-year tenure.

Carey’s tenure began in January 2017, when Liberty Media completed their acquisition of Formula 1 from CVC Capital Partners. In that time, Liberty Media have overhauled the sport in many different areas.

Here, we look back at some of the key broadcasting moves from across the past four years, as covered by Motorsport Broadcasting…

Before Liberty – Although Liberty have made huge strides in recent times, we cannot thank them for everything.

For example, Formula 1 launched their social media platforms in 2014 and 2015, whilst preparation for F1’s over-the-top platform began in the ‘Bernie age’ as well, with rumblings around an app featuring on-boards from every car swirling in October 2016.

So, whilst Liberty under Carey did oversee the eventual execution of the likes of F1 TV, some work in the background did pre-date them.

March 2017 – One of Liberty’s first actions was to encourage teams and drivers to exploit social media. To begin with, Liberty gave teams and drivers flexibility to upload short form videos to their social channels. Boy, we really have come a long way in three and a half years, have we not?

June 2017 – Whilst Carey could (and did) change many aspects of Formula 1, one aspect they could not change was Sky Sports’ UK deal to broadcast F1 exclusively live from 2019 to 2024. In Liberty’s first public comment on the matter, then-Managing Director for Commercial Operations, Sean Bratches said that Liberty intended to ‘honour and respect’ the Sky deal.

On all fronts, the genie is out of the bottle. There will be bad moves; there will be experiments that fall flat on their face, by both the teams and Liberty Media. Now is the perfect time for mistakes to happen when fans are generally accepting that change is happening, and are prepared to accept that there will be early bumps in the road. You would rather make mistakes now when these forms of communication are niche for Formula 1, working to establish common ground, themes and decision-making as the season progresses. I would much rather see risk taking over the next few races instead of an organisation that is clearly relaxing or unable to adjust, as was clearly the case with FOM in previous years. – Me writing in March 2017

July 2017­ – Arguably Liberty’s first statement of intent, hosting a live event in the centre of London on a Wednesday evening, prior to the British Grand Prix.

Well received by fans, the likes of Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard and Martin Brundle hosted the event. Liberty has tailored follow up events to the respective follow audiences, and to date there has not been a repeat of the London iteration… yet.

November 2017 – Who knew a logo could prove to be so controversial? If ever there was an instance where Liberty was spot on, and the fans were wrong, it was here.

Fans online panned the new Formula 1 logo, including myself. I admit, I was wrong. The reaction was a little over-the-top. And speaking of OTT, that was where F1 was heading next, as Liberty concluded year one in charge of F1. For them, it was about laying the foundations for the future: kick start future initiatives (Esports), whilst also strengthening every area of the business, which they seen as flailing under Bernie.

February 2018 – The official announcement from F1 that they were heading into the OTT space. Joining F1’s in-house team? None other than ex-NBC F1 colleagues Will Buxton and Jason Swales. The platform, which launched behind schedule in May, gave select territories access to the live action across a multitude of feeds.

A cheaper tier gave fans worldwide (including the UK) access to a wealth of archive material, F1 also taking the opportunity in recent years to stream classic races on YouTube. Not everything was straightforward: US broadcaster NBC cited the launch of F1 TV as a key factor for them dropping out of the sport at the end of 2016.

March 2018 – A new graphics set, a new weekend schedule, and a new theme greeted fans watching F1’s coverage of the Australian Grand Prix. Brian Tyler’s F1 theme is brilliantly awesome, inspiring many different renditions.

Some of the early mooted changes, such as a mid-race highlights package, never really came to fruition (other than Heineken’s floating stars, which I want to forget about). F1 canned other ideas, such as mini-sectors during qualifying, the previous year.

August 2018 – Liberty continued making moves across their social media output, bringing fans closer to the sport. From a broadcasting perspective however, not much gets better than seeing how F1 operates inside the gallery in the heat of the moment.

The team released a fantastic video (below) showing how they handled Sebastian Vettel crashing out from the German Grand Prix, which this site dissected in detail. For anyone who inspires to get into motor sport broadcasting, the video remains a must watch.

Year two really built on Liberty Media’s research from year one, the sport expanding into new areas of growth, such as podcasting. The sport also began to pay more attention to Formula Two and Formula Three, both of which have become far more integrated with F1 in recent times.

Under Liberty’s watch, F1 has given some new voices a go behind the microphone on commentary, with the likes of WTF1’s Matt Gallagher benefiting as a result.

February 2019 – Live testing! Yes, F1 aired the entirety of the first test live in 2019 on their over-the-top platform in selected territories, with Sky Sports taking each afternoon live as well. Fans enjoyed F1’s offering, and coverage returned earlier this year, with both of the three day tests airing live.

Also launching prior to the 2019 season was Netflix’s Drive to Survive, which has helped bring the sport to a new, younger audience.

October 2019 – F1 began to live stream races on platforms such as Twitch, with the Mexican Grand Prix airing live on the platform in selected territories. In a fortnight from now, the Eifel Grand Prix will air live on YouTube for fans in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

January 2020 – First revealed by this site the previous July, a new documentary series focusing on Formula Two premiered on F1 TV. The tragic death of Anthoine Hubert shone a different light on the documentary, as fans witnessed events through the eyes of his rivals, and friends, at the time.

COVID-19 pandemic – The COVID pandemic has meant that many of F1’s plans for their 70th anniversary year have not gone as anticipated. A documentary series produced by Sky in collaboration with F1 celebrating the seventy years premiered earlier this month. Other developments concern F1 in the UK and Germany: with F1 TV Pro mooted to launch in the UK next season, whilst F1 in Germany will move behind a pay wall.

Overall, there have been more up’s than down’s when you look at the broadcasting and social media picture in totality for F1 at the end of Carey’s regime compared to where they were at the end of 2016.

As Dieter Rencken on RaceFans recently highlighted, however, the incoming Domenicali has many waves to battle through over the forthcoming months and years.

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and many broadcasters may seek to reduce their investment in F1 at rights renewals stage, although F1’s recent deal with Sky in Germany should give Liberty confidence that the news may not be all bad.

Then, there is F1 TV, and continuing to monetise that, whilst ensuring that the technical issues that have plagued the platform since launch do not continue.

Of course, the above achievements do not cover all avenues, merely a reflection of how Motorsport Broadcasting has covered recent events.

What do you think is F1’s biggest improvement, or misstep, on the broadcasting and social media front in recent years? Have your say in the comments below.


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F1’s Tuscan Grand Prix coverage prompts 133 complaints to Ofcom

Coverage of the inaugural Tuscan Grand Prix across Channel 4 and Sky Sports has generated 133 complaints, statistics released by the UK’s communications regulator Ofcom reveal.

Although their weekly bulletin does not outline what the complaints relate to, it is likely a result of Lewis Hamilton’s decision to wear a t-shirt related to the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Hamilton’s t-shirt contained the words “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor” on the front, with the words “Say her name” on the back.

Viewers logged 75 of the complaints against Channel 4’s highlights programme, with 55 complaints for Sky Sports’ live offering. For the week, F1 attracted the second highest number of complaints.

Britain’s Got Talent led the chart, due to a Black Lives Matters routine from Diversity on September 5th, which has attracted over 20,000 complaints.

Ofcom have yet to confirm if they plan to investigate the F1 matter further.

How often do people complain about F1 races?
Whilst the number of complaints recorded here is far higher than usual for Formula 1, it still only comprises of around 0.004 percent of the three million viewers that watch each Grand Prix.

Two other races in the past 15 years have recorded over 10 complaints.

126 people complained to Ofcom about ITV’s coverage of the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix, where the broadcaster took a commercial break in the closing stages of the Grand Prix, in the middle of a close contest between Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher.

Three years later, Ofcom received 14 complaints about the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, as Martin Brundle used the word ‘pikey’ to describe those relaying the tarmac prior to the start of the race.

Ofcom considered the grid walk matter resolved, whilst they deemed ITV to be in breach regarding the ad-break situation.

Other complaints in recent year have primarily surrounding swearing over the team radio, as well as before and after the race. The most recent complaint however came because of a superimposed Rolex clock during coverage of the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix qualifying session.

Although Imola 2005 and Mugello 2020 currently have a similar level of complaints, it is likely that will change over the coming days.

Outside of the Ofcom spectrum, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) slapped Sky with a warning for misleading advertising following their 2019 pre-season promotional campaign.


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Analysis: How F1 and MotoGP have interpreted Mugello differently from a broadcasting perspective

The Mugello circuit in Italy is renowned for two wheeled action, with MotoGP fans flocking to the race track each June to cheer on their favourite stars, including Valentino Rossi and the Ducati team.

This year, COVID-19 has meant that MotoGP has had to postpone its visit to the legendary circuit, the first time Mugello has not been on the MotoGP calendar since 1993.

The unusual circumstances have resulted in Formula 1 making its inaugural trip to Tuscany, with the circuit set to be one of the most physically demanding on the calendar for its 20 drivers.

As readers of this site will be all too aware, any new circuit represents a new challenge for those working on the broadcasting front, and Mugello is no different.

Formula 1’s production team comes to Tuscany from Monza with their own intentions and goals, meaning that the result from a television perspective will be significantly different to MotoGP’s own output from their yearly Mugello visit.

But just how different were Formula 1’s camera angles compared to MotoGP’s usual positions for two-wheeled action? Motorsport Broadcasting analyses the running themes from today’s F1 practice sessions…

Higher or lower?
Both championships’ take a significantly different approach in terms of camera height. When analysing last year’s MotoGP race with today’s practice action, it is clear that throughout the 5.2km circuit, F1 have opted to position their cameras lower than MotoGP’s historical positioning.

 

The lower angles help show the direction change of the single-seaters much better than a higher angle – a strategic direction F1, under Liberty Media’s watch, started to take back in 2017. Critically, the lower angles give viewers a better side-on view of the car, which is important for sponsors whose brands are located there.

In contrast, MotoGP’s angles give fans a better idea of the elevation on offer around the Mugello circuit which, in my opinion, F1 does not convey as well as their bike rival.

This is obvious in two main places. MotoGP’s camera angles at the start of the start-finish straight and turn six are higher than F1’s, the bike series making Mugello look like a rollercoaster ride compared to F1. However, F1’s angles show off Mugello’s picturesque backdrop.

The angle at turn six though is deliberate from F1’s perspective. All of the cars will be going flat out heading into here during qualifying, and F1 wants to show the change of direction on offer at high speeds.

Further round the lap, both display the same traits at turns eight and ten: F1 going for the low angle, with MotoGP venturing higher up.

Slip-streaming is a common feature of MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3, and the higher angles will make it easier to identify when slip-streaming is occurring as the race progresses.

One straight, many cameras
Motor sport is renowned for long straights that head into sharp corners, and Mugello is no different in this regard.

Combined with the elevation change, one camera angle is insufficient to track the machinery from the exit of the final corner to the start of turn one.

At some circuits, such as Shanghai, one camera angle would be enough if you were short on resources, but such an approach would also make for boring viewing.

As Sergi Sendra, Dorna’s Senior Director for Media Content, Television and Production explained to me last year, the TV team typically splits long straights into three: one for the exit from the previous bend, the second for the mid-section as the bikes head to top speed, and finally for the braking zone.

Both MotoGP’s and F1’s positioning in Mugello follows this rule to the letter, with the second angle close to pit lane exit after the starting grid.

Positioning of angles
A common trait from MotoGP is to position additional angles on the inside of corners, and use that as their main angle. During last year’s MotoGP race, the production team utilised an angle on the inside of turn one, using this to show the bike’s lean angle throughout the constant radius hairpin.

For turn four, MotoGP positions their camera on the entry to the corner showing the riders turn into the bend, whereas F1 opted to go for a more direct angle with their positioning.

In my view, MotoGP does a better job in making Arrabbiata one continuous corner, whereas it is not immediately obvious with F1’s angles that the two corners seamlessly link with one another.

The key to all this though is that there is no right or wrong answer to positioning cameras around a race track.

F1 switching its angles to the same position to MotoGP’s angles would not make F1’s product infinitely better, or vice versa.

The answer is much more nuanced than that depending on the constraints that both championships, commercial, budgetary, or otherwise, are working within.

In addition, the action points for bike racing and single-seater racing are inherently different on a circuit-by-circuit basis, meaning you cannot apply a one size fits all model from a production perspective.

For now, F1 will have learnt a massive amount from today, and will no doubt be making tweaks to their camera angles as the weekend progresses in Mugello as race day approaches.


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News round-up: Study published into “excessive alcohol advertisements” during F1 races; Alonso docuseries to premiere in September

In the round-up, a leading university has published findings looking at alcoholic content during F1 broadcasts, whilst two big documentaries are hitting the airwaves this September…

Where possible, Motorsport Broadcasting endeavours to link directly to the original source instead of linking to a third-party site that may have misinterpreted the original headline.

The round-up gives a bite sized view of the latest news making the waves, as well as interesting snippets that I have picked up along the way.

All the round-ups to date are located here, and as always, all feedback on the site, positive and negative, is more than welcome.

Formula 1

  • The University of Nottingham has published a paper looking at advertising of alcoholic products during Formula 1 coverage on Channel 4.
    • Unsurprisingly their research, which focuses on the 2018 season, finds that young people “are being exposed to excessive alcohol advertisements during televised sporting events,” which they believe could lead to increased consumption for children.
    • The research shows that F1 is heavily reliant on brands such as Heineken and Johnnie Walker, with 56 percent of Channel 4’s F1 broadcasts containing some form of alcoholic content during one-minute intervals of race footage.
    • “Our study clearly shows that alcohol content was highly prevalent throughout the 2018 F1 Championship broadcasts,” study author Dr Alex Barker said. “This is worrying given the young viewers this branded content would have reached.”
    • “Previous research has already shown that advertising of this kind can lead to alcohol consumption in young people, and this is one of many sporting events that uses advertising in this way. We would urge Ofcom to consider the implications of this, and whether restrictions need to be put on this kind of advertising.”
  • For those not watching, Formula Two’s World Feed has featured a raft of commentators this season.
    • Alex Brundle (Austria, Britain, and Spain), Matt Gallagher (Styria), Alice Powell (Hungary) and Peter Windsor (70th Anniversary) have all stepped into the hot seat alongside lead commentator Alex Jacques.
  • Viewing figures for the feeder series have surged in the UK since the start of the 2020 season according to consolidated audience data from BARB for the TV set.
    • At its peak, an average audience of 177,000 viewers watched the Formula Two feature race during the British Grand Prix weekend on Sky Sports F1, a significant increase on the equivalent race last year which failed to make Sky F1’s top 15.
    • More recently, 141,000 viewers watched the feature race during the 70th Anniversary weekend. The sprint race on Sunday morning failed to make Sky F1’s top 15 however, this a likely result of the audience being split across Sky’s F1 channel and Sky Sports Main Event.
  • Formula 1 is to live stream coverage of the Eifel Grand Prix on YouTube across several territories this October.
    • All three practice sessions, qualifying and the race itself will air live on the platform in Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The deal is in addition to their existing rights deals in place within those territories.
    • F1 says the partnership is an opportunity “to give back to those fans” who would have attended the Nürburgring round, but cannot due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Tomos Grace, YouTube’s Head of Sport in the EMEA territories, said “70% of Formula 1’s YouTube audience is under the age of 35. Sports broadcasters and organisers increasingly recognise YouTube’s ability to reach these new audiences and generate incremental revenue.”
  • The long-awaited documentary series focusing on seventy years of Formula 1 will premiere from September 12th, as first reported by RaceFans in Summer 2019.
    • Race to Perfection will air exclusively for UK fans on Sky and Now TV, with the series also being made available to TV channels and streaming services worldwide via NBCUniversal Global Distribution, although further concrete details are unavailable – including whether it will be available to subscribers of F1 TV.
    • The series interviewed over 40 of F1’s biggest names, with new archive footage contained within the seven episodes. Full synopsis details are available on the Sky F1 website.
  • A recent survey on F1 Fan Voice has hinted at some documentaries that F1 are looking to produce in the forthcoming months and years.
    • The choices on offer include an origin style series based off Netflix’s Drive to Survive; a ‘Last Dance‘ style series focusing on the 2021 season; and a Bernie Ecclestone biopic.
  • F1 has extended their rights deal with AMC Network in Czech Republic and Slovakia to broadcast the sport until the end of 2023.
    • The action will remain on Sport1 and Sport2, with every session covered live. In addition, fans will be able to access F1 TV Pro for the first time, the platform launching in those territories prior to the 2021 season.

Elsewhere…

  • A five-part documentary following two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso premieres on Amazon Prime across 240 territories on September 25th.
    • The series, produced by Madrid company The Mediapro Studio, sees the team follow Alonso as he embarks on the Indianapolis 500, Le Mans 24 Hours and the Dakar Rally.
    • “Fernando has been one more challenge in my career, a commitment with myself and with the public to show the work, the sacrifice and the high requirement that implies competition at the first worldwide level, as none of this never transcends beyond the circuits,” Alonso said. “Only two companies with the experience of The Mediapro Studio and Amazon Prime Video could make it possible with a powerful storytelling and global reach.”
  • Formula E has launched a talent call aimed at 18 to 24-year olds to join their presentation team for season seven.
    • The series will whittle candidates down to four finalised, who will “be assigned experienced mentors and receive professional media training,” with the winner joining the team from the season opener in Santiago in January.
    • The competition, open to residents of the UK, Germany, and France, closes on 12th September.
  • Meanwhile, the electric series will air live on free-to-air television in Germany for season seven on SAT. 1, taking advantage of F1’s recent decision to move to pay television in the territory.
  • Stateside, MotoGP debuted on NBC to 527,000 viewers on Sunday 19th July, beating both IndyCar races that weekend.
    • The two IndyCar races that weekend aired live in primetime, but on NBC’s sister station NBCSN, to an audience of 356,000 viewers and 334,000 viewers.
    • Things have improved for IndyCar recently, with live coverage of Indianapolis 500 qualifying on NBC averaging 824,000 viewers and 933,000 viewers this past weekend, beating the Spanish Grand Prix on ESPN earlier that morning.
  • BT Sport are continuing to cover MotoGP from Triumph’s HQ in Hinckley. Keep an eye on Motorsport Broadcasting over the coming weeks for behind the scenes content from Triumph…

If you have spotted anything else making the rounds that I have yet to mention on this site, drop a line in the comments section below.


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