News and views on motorsports

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

ITV Coverage

In this story on PlanetF1, they take yet another swipe at ITV's Formula 1 broadcast for last Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix. PlanetF1 has twice criticised the UK television station for not covering Takuma Sato's allegedly brilliant pass into Turn 1, overtaking Jenson Button and de la Rosa. The incident happened early on in the race. They further lambast the lack of coverage on the Villeneuve vs Coulthard incident.

Granted us viewers missed that on the telly. I'm not entirely certain about this, but I thought the television shots we receive are really at the discretion of the local broadcaster. From time to time in races, you can hear Martin Brundle for instance praying for the broadcast director/producer to switch to another piece of action happening on the track. If this is true in Bahrain, then PlanetF1's pot shots at the ITV team seem to be misplaced.

Of all the broadcasts I've seen on TV and this includes the BBC, ITV, ESPN Star Sports and Eurosports, I think the ITV coverage is the best by a country mile. Of course, the ITV team largely transferred from the BBC when ITV took over the broadcast rights. They do make mistakes especially when Murray Walker was around but live broadcasting rarely is perfect.

But their added value as compared to Eurosport and ESPN Star Sports is that they have these roving reporters on the scene to interview the drivers and team personnel whereas the satellite broadcasters simply view the race from the commentary box. Also, getting folks like Mike Gascoyne to join them from the pitwall is priceless. You get to sit in with a real pro.

Eurosport commentary is a bit dry. The worse has to be ESPN Star Sports. Chris Goodwin is ok to listen to but that Steve Slater is a complete moron at times. Not helped that he's such a Ferrari fan and especially a Schumi fan. OK fine you're allowed favourites but the way the slobbers over the Italians and the German is disgusting. Martin Brundle may be Coulthard's manager but at least his commentary seems less biased most times. Well, its nice having Goodwin around to keep Slater in his place. In any case both Eurosport and ESPN Star Sports commentators sound like they're just living in the commentary box with very little knowledge of whats going on elsewhere. And Slater's level of knowledge is very wanting.

So give the ITV guys a break, won't you? Perfect they are not but the best available I think they certainly are. Well, from my limited experience anyway. Here in Malaysia, its either them or ESPN Star Sports. I pick ITV every single time.

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