F1 2011 – The Coverage

In my opinion the F1 coverage in the UK has been very much improved since it’s move back to the BBC two years ago. But this year will see a few new changes to put under the spotlight.

The first of these is the promotion of Martin Brundle and David Coulthard. Many people have been disappointed with Jonathan Legard’s commentary since he took over the TV coverage in 2009 and this year the BBC have reacted, removing Legard and giving the job to his co-commentator Martin Brundle.

David Coulthard has been moved to Brundle’s former role of co-commentator . At the same time as commentating, David will still be a pundit alongside Jake Humphrey and Eddie Jordan, leaving the pair shortly before the race to join Brundle in the commentary box.

I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this. Both Brundle and Coulthard have a wealth of experience in the sport and will no doubt bring a very knowledgeable commentary to the sport. But at the same time, I fear they wont have the enthusiasm and excitement in their presentation that is so needed for this kind of commentary. I’m also unsure how David will be able to interact with both Jake and Eddie and then move to a commentating role.

I suppose it has worked in other sports (notably football where it regularly happens), but it will be interesting to see how this new format and new pairing works.

I am, of course very happy to hear that both Jake and Eddie are staying. Jake has been the most competent, likeable and watchable presenter I have ever watched in F1 coverage and Eddie Jordan (love or hate him) brings excellent debate to the coverage (and an awful lot of laughter. Good call BBC.

The other big change this year – for broadcasters worldwide – is the announcement of HD coverage for F1. Right from this weekend the FOA will be providing an HD feed for every event.

Now I’m not a big fan of HD – I’m yet to see any major improvement in picture quality – but this is of course great news that the sport will be getting the quality it deserves. I can imagine it being quite awesome to see some of those super-slowmo shots in beautiful High Definition!

Bit despite the BBC still bringing us the quality we expect from their broadcast in 2011, there are doubts over it’s future. With the cuts the corporation is faced with and the lower-than-expected license fee agreement, the Beeb are trying to shed costs and if rumours are true sports such as Wimbledon and F1 could be under threat.

I think it would be an absolute travesty if the BBC did give up on sport in this way. It would all end up with Sky purchasing yet more of our valued sport (as I can’t see ITV or Five having the money or Channel 4 even caring).

The Beeb have the F1 on contract 2013, but are forced with cuts within sport by 2014 (and are apparently putting all their efforts behind football instead of diversifying like they should be 😩 ). I dearly hope that this rumour does not turn out to be true as I think it would set out a bleak future for F1 in this country.

And that sums up the F1 coverage – looking interesting and hopefully very good… for as long as it lasts.

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