Formula One coverage in the UK is something to behold, it may not rank as highly as Football or Rugby in the public consciousness, but for those several million who do tune in on the right weekend are rewarded with the best coverage license money can provide. So what does £145.50 buy you? A raft of talented and knowledgable presenters that range from opinionated former drivers to a diplomatic former childrens television staple. It also includes an effervescent former team owner, and several people who can sniff out a story at a moments notice without hesitation. In short the audience has every angle covered for them during a race weekend.

The fee also funds consistently excellent shorts that punctuate the qualifying and race day live programming, with input from drivers and teams alike. Whether it’s an interview at home or a track walk with a difference, the high standard the BBC can promise allows personalities to rise to the surface and difficult questions to be asked. Yes, humour and ease of communication between BBC team members is necessary, but when it comes to pitching the question we are begging for from our more comfortable racing seat they aren’t afraid to do so. Direct, to the point and occasionally off centre, the BBC has done a lot for Formula One in their latest three year stint.

So here’s some of the highlights we’ve been treated to since 2009 when the BBC crew has been in town.

The Forum

Thanks to social media we’ve been able to get enviably close to Formula One, and the BBC have also had a helping hand in this with their forum that often follows the race. After 4 hours of practice, 1.5 hours of qualifying and around 2.5 hours on race day the guys then come up with an extra hour of content to round out the weekend. But it is no ordinary ‘extra’ hour, this is when the fun starts, cake, pools and frisky team principals are just some of the goings-on you can expect.

The fashion

Germany has Kai Ebel and we have Eddie Jordan. Eddie Jordan wears shirts worth in excess of £100,000. Eddie Jordan needs no explanation. You just need to see it to believe it.

Canada 2011

Here in Montreal the case closed evidence that this team is pitch perfect was provided in black and white. The pre-race footage showed Coulthard being driven around the circuit by Michael Schumacher, joined by Sebastian Vettel who revealed an interest in some German ‘videos’ once owned by the Scot. Funny stuff. Then when the rain came down in torrents the red-flag wasn’t something to be feared, it simply meant more BBC. They stayed with the race right until the bitter end, but not before encouraging academic discussion amongst its viewers. Ornithology was a hot topic, “Do birds have shoulders?” As was the delights of the English language, “Race car spells race car backwards.”


Ah Monaco. The glitz and glamour was already in doubt when Geri Halliwell compared Vettel to a well known bottled water brand, but it got washed away when Mark Webber dunked Humphrey in the Red Bull motorhome pool. But that wasn’t enough, we wanted the rest of the team to take a dip too. DC (wearing white trousers surprisingly) squealed and held onto the rails like a little girl but was no match to the mighty mighty Red Bull lads. EJ also fell foul of an obvious ploy, Humphrey sent him in search of Vettel but instead got a taste of the wet stuff. It’s your turn next year Brundle…

The Intros

The Chain so eloquently leads into the BBC coverage and theirs start with a mini Formula One film that gives the lay of the land. It’s slick and well written, with just enough puns to keep the humour high but the cheese at bay. Just take your pick from the plethora at your disposal. Monaco (2011) stands out and other agree, it won them an award! You can watch the making of here. China (2011) saw the driver star in a martial arts film, Silverstone (2009) reflected on its prestigious history before (almost) handing over to Donnington and scooters were the mode of transport of choice in Monza (2010).

Those ‘moments’

This covers a multitude of sins, although guilty pleasure is perhaps more appropriate. It’s those moments of complicity between the BBC F1 gang that has come from truly getting along and enjoying each others company, failing that its bloody lucky hiring. They rode their bicycles, ripped up Monaco, got handsy with Schumacher and took on the Hamiltons. Jenson Button declared his love for cake, Petrov went faster that Coulthard, EJ almost losing it in the pitlane, and Brundle Vs. Tanya. The editing in some of the clips is something to be marvelled at as well, this is BBC at its finest. Why have a video clip, when you can have a BBC video clip?

The Team

There is no doubt that the biggest highlight of the BBC coverage is the team itself, each bringing an unique angle to the proceedings. Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard are the main protagonists of the weekend, fronting the programme Humphrey offers a central point in which Coulthard (usually found on the fence) and Jordan (never afraid to forcefully give his opinion) argue around. Martin Brundle gifts viewers a frenetic and [in]famous grid walk that has lauded and looked forward to all weekend long, the former driver is then joined by Coulthard in the commentary box (following the footsteps of Jonathan Legard).

Ted Kravitz is found poking around the paddock with Natalie Pinkham (taking over from Holly Samos), both unearthing tidbits of information during the run up to the race in practice. Lee McKenzie often finds herself interviewing drivers before, during and after races, and as can be seen some have taken a fancy to her. Not just content with ruling the visuals, David Croft and Anthony Davidson have the radio coverage sorted that is not only broadcast across the world, but are often joined by amazing guests.

This isn’t goodbye by any means, but with the finer details yet to be revealed, BBC’s new partner Sky has a lot to live up if they intend to persuade those used to getting it for free to dig into their pockets for the 2012 season.

So is Sky up to the job?

And on a lighter note, what has been your favourite BBC F1 moment?

2 Responses to “#BBCF1”
  1. You know what my answer is ..

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