Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

A night at the Oscars

Glenn Dunbar/LAT

Glenn Dunbar/LAT

At the Autosport Awards last night, otherwise known as the Oscars of motorsport, Martin Brundle and I were presented with an award for our commentary on the final laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix, the “Moment of the year”. It was a great honour, made all the more special because they chose Murray to present it to us.

They played the video of the final few corners on the big screen and my heart was thumping in my chest all over again – it really was the most extraordinary moment of sport.

I’m absolutely delighted with this gong as it provides such a perfect full stop to the whole 12 year ITV project.

Martin also took the opportunity to set the record straight on his feelings about working with me in the commentary box for the past seven years.

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The new BBC F1 team

The new presentation team, which will bring Formula 1 to UK audiences on the BBC for the next five years was announced today.

Jake Humphrey, who hosted some of the Olympics coverage on BBC this summer, will host the programme. David Coulthard and Eddie Jordan will stand alongside him as pundits. Radio 5 Live’s football correspondent Jonathan Ledgard will commentate with Martin Brundle, while Ted Kravitz patrols the pit lane along with Lee Mackenzie, who despite her name, is a woman, with extensive A1 GP and GP2 experience.

I wish them all well and hope that they can keep all you lot satisfied, which is no easy task! Don’t miss out on the chance to give your views on the new line up at:

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The end of an era

Poignant night at the ITV farewell party yesterday. It was held at the Langley in London’s Covent Garden and pretty much everyone who has worked on the programmes over the past 12 years was there, even some who only worked on that first, 1997 season, which seems like a different lifetime..

Neil Duncanson, the boss of the North One Production company, read out his diary from that first year with many great stories I had forgotten, like the first Monaco GP where the show was presented from a boat and the water got really choppy, so Simon Taylor had to be carried off seasick, or the moving camera in the pits at Silverstone, which came off its rail and smashed into the pit lane about five feet from where I was standing.

As well as all the current team, Jim Rosenthal was there, as was our old head of sport Brian Barwick, who has been running the Football Association since. So too many of the engineers, cameramen, sound recordists and so on. As most of them work for what was the BBC outside broadcast unit, I sincerely hope that the Beeb retain them for next year because they are the best in the business and there is no point trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the highly complex business of getting pictures and sound safely back to the truck and from there to the viewer, from some remote location in the paddock. ITV F1’s emphasis was always on “taking the helmet off the sport”, in other words personalising it and above all on “being there”, using the various locations of the circuit and giving the viewer a real feel of what it was like to be there.

It’s amazing to think that ITV had such a long run of producing F1 in the UK. In all we did 206 Grands Prix, only seven drivers have started more races. I was the only person to attend every one of those races , even managing to fit the birth of both my kids around the races! I’m very proud of what we achieved and of course we had the best possible ending to got out on.

The team is now disbanded. I know that many people had frustrations with the ad breaks and some found the build-up show’s emphasis on Lewis Hamilton unjustified, but there is no doubt that ITV raised the standard of F1 TV production very high indeed.

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A question of luck

I talked a lot about luck during the broadcast on Sunday. Luck always has a role to play in big sporting events; the rub of the green, the ball hitting the crossbar, the engine failing three laps from the end.

When the hard work has been done and the results are what they are to that point, a final race will often come down to a question of luck and so it proved on Sunday, with the rain showers, Glock’s gamble on dry tyres, which almost paid off and almost handed the title to Massa. Then the crucial piece of luck, the one which handed the title to Lewis, when it started raining heavily with less than 130 seconds to go to the end of Hamilton’s season. Glock couldn’t control his car on dry tyres in this narrow sliver of time and Hamilton caught and passed him. No rain, no title.

What I didn’t get around to mentioning in the broadcast, because of all the thrills, was that the organisers at Interlagos had placed Hamilton and McLaren in garage number 13. [ more ]

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We’ve had our first session here in Singapore and there was plenty of spectacular action and a few near misses out on the track as the drivers get used to it. At the end, Hamilton very nearly hit Fisichella who had spun in one of the blind corners and was across the track. Lewis was fastest, by a few hundredths from Massa and Raikkonen. Kovalainen had a huge moment at the final corner, as did Vettel. Luckily for bthe there is plenty of run off area there.

Mark Webber hit the wall on the outside of the corner which passes under the grandstands early on, so Red Bull lost a lot of set up time, which is not ideal on a new track.

It’s very dusty out there, as you’d expect, but also very bumpy and the cars look very lively out there. They move around a lot, buck and jump over the bumps and generally look as though they are on the edge. Perhaps the artificial lights exacerbate that too. Lewis describes it as a ‘very busy lap’ and there are plenty of traps lying in wait for drivers if they lose concentration for a split second. Even if we don’t get much overtaking I think we will have an eventful race on Sunday with a high chance of a safety car because someone will go into the wall at some point.

The controversial chicane where the oversized Tic Tacs had to be removed, is not in fact a chicane, the cars go straight through it and then turn left. It’s a road narrowing device to ensure that the cars will be in single file for the Anderson bridge. The problem with this is that in the race it will spread the field out massively, so overtaking will be made more difficult and it will mean that qualifying at the front is absolutely critical, because if you are running around in fifth place in the opening laps, as Raikkonen has s few times lately, you will be 20 seconds behind the leader by the time of the first pit stops and totally out of it.

Last night we were all woken up by what sounded like a giant bomb going off. It was a thunderstorm, which lasted a few hours, with torrential rain. If that happened on Sunday there is no way they could start the race.

The track is not as bright as I’d expected it to be and the cars are not as illuminated as you’ll be expecting when you see them on TV. It’s 8-45pm here now and I’m off for lunch…weird.

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The Financial Times recently asked me to narrate a multimedia presentation on their website offering an insight into the Formula One experience. It was a unique opportunity to share some of my more personal impressions of this wonderful, passionate environment. Click here to view it

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