May 28, 2006


I always enjoy Monaco, its the one race where I can tolerate ignorant celebrities turning up and parading their complete disinterest in the motor–racing world. And some really great driving on display, especially from poor Kimi. This guy has got to be the unluckiest person in the world ever, how many times has he seen that engine go boom in the past few seasons? But thats what you get for letting Mario depart and the Germans take over. Also much sympathy to Mark Webber, the frustration must have been all consuming – even without the retirement, where the hell were those blue flags?? And that engine. It saddens me to see the way Cosworth has gone in the last decade, which is mainly backwards. I am only suprised they are still in operation, having witnessed some of the tremendous mismanagement at the place firsthand.

And then there's Michael Schumacher. I don't know why he occassionally does these things that make him so unpopular. They're so unnecessary. Lets not forget, the guy is a truly great driver. He probably got what he deserved starting from the pitlane, but still managed to haul ass to be ahead of his teammate at the end. And as for the holier–than–thou crap from the rest of the pitlane, like any of them are above dubious tactics on occassion. Who are they trying to kid!

Most annoyingly of all is the TV coverage, maybe because I missed so much of the recent seasons due to work commitments I've got rose–tinted glasses or something but it definitely seems to be getting worse. Here we are, 2 laps from the end with Schumacher persuing Reubens hell–for–leather to the finish line and we're treated instead to Alonso cruising home and Flav in the pit lane! Martin and James were bigging up this big fight to the finish then had to totally abandon the commentary and make some pointless comments about AF's championship lead. The advert breaks are also too numerous and irksome. You can imagine the uproar from football fans if even the most insignificant game was interupted at 10–15 minute intervals. Come on Bernie, sort it out.

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  1. As long as ITV are paying the cashmonies to Bernie I don't think we'll see the end of ad breaks any time soon. If the public were willing to pay for BBC to try and outbid ITV the next time contract comes up for tender, then perhaps we can get back to 90 minutes of interrupted bliss.

    As for the Schumi/Rubens battle at the end, it really was always going to be a non–event. 2 laps isn't enough to pass anyone at Monaco really, Schumacher looked like he was gonna try and fly up the inside coming out of the tunnel, but Rubens was wise to that, covered his line and let Schumi make a 50–pence piece of his tires.

    I'm not entirely sure your general dig at the rest of the drivers in the paddock is entirely warranted. Theres racing incidents, and occasionally some slightly below–the–belt blocking going on (see the Midlands), but some of Schumacher's tactics over the years are a million miles from "sporting". "Adelaide" and "Jerez" were both mentioned a couple of times in the program, and for good reason, they were both shining examples of the lengths Schumacher will go not to lose. On both occasions turning in on someone in a blatent attempt to take them out of the race, once succeeding, once failing. Saturday's antics backfired big–time, and in my opinion he deserves a lot more than a simple pit–lane start.

    28 May 2006, 17:13

  2. It doesn't matter that it was unlikely Michael would get past, the point remains it would be interesting to see him try. Interesting (or potentially interesting) tussles are often overlooked now, sadly, especially if they're lower down the grid.

    Probably Michael has overstepped the mark on occassion. He's certainly not the only one, only the most high profile. When I referred to the pitlane this was not limited to the other drivers but to the teams and manufacturers in general. There's serious money going round that track and F1 is about winning , which is everyones main concern. Sometimes it's underhanded, and sometimes it's obvious. Mostly its not. If you think for a moment that its about sporting think again.

    Sad but true.

    28 May 2006, 17:33

  3. When you're doing 200mph every driver out there has to have complete and utter trust in the people they're driving alongside, if you can't trust them to drive "sensibly" then inevitably serious crashes will happen, and people will die. The FIA has already demonstrated with Ide that if you can't compete to a high level, then you're gonna get kicked out. The same should apply to drivers that start trying to take each other out, this isn't a video game, people can and will get hurt if other drivers start thinking they can collide with other drivers to stay ahead.

    I'm obviously referring a little more now to Schumacher's previous "incidents" than his "error" yesterday, but he has already proved, beyond doubt, that he is willing to crash into other people, and in a sport where that can cause someone to die, it is appauling. The fact that he never has the bottle to admit when he's made a mistake/error of judgment tells me that there's something not quite right mentally with Schumacher, however his talent often covers this up. Ever since I started watching F1, the (presumably) unwritten rule that if someone gets half an overlap on you while trying to overtake you let them go through has been apparent. This is "sporting" behaviour, and while drivers may perhaps stretch that to 3/4 of an overlap if they are feeling determined to defend their position, you won't find many drivers going to the lengths Michael has done to prevent people passing/getting the better of him.

    28 May 2006, 17:50

  4. Although the adverts are ITV's responsibility, what we see of the race is down to the local broadcaster, over which ITV can do nothing. For example during the Barcelona race, instead of seeing what was occuring during the first lap in the mid field tussles all we got was a lot of love from the Spanish tv producer of Alonso kicking everyones arses. Spanish tv producer decided what was most interesting for them (Alonso) and we all got treated to it.

    When I was in Barcelona for one of the first races in the season (Malaysia I think) we could watch the coverage on two channels– a spanish and a german one. Apart from the adverts and the waffle over the top, the coverage of the race was identical, and probably peeved the spaniards as whilst the main topic of conversation seemed to be Alonso, there was much better coverage of the mid field than of him.

    There are definately some advantages to watching the highlights– only three breaks and some of the tedium is cut out. Having said that, there were some great shots of in car footage from Raikkonnen.

    29 May 2006, 10:49

  5. I realise that ITV aren't responsible for what we see. ITV are only responsible for the pointless James Allen. But is it beyond the wit of Bernie and co to have a quiet word with the local broadcasters and make sure the coverage is both passable and impartial? No.

    30 May 2006, 14:57

  6. Yeah, sometimes the TV's a bit weird. FOM will try to get all the juicy bits out one week, and the next, they're just watching the leader from start to finish. Yep, I really don't like seeing Flav celebrating with his sweaty arm pits!

    Yes poor Kimi (already gone to Ferrari?). Crappy Mercedes engines get you nowhere. I had so much hope for Kimi and Webber.

    30 May 2006, 16:16

  7. The best way to improve F1:

    30 May 2006, 18:11

  8. FOM will try to get all the juicy bits out one week, and the next, they're just watching the leader from start to finish.

    FOM's involvement in TV broadcasting was a fairly brief experiment which finished a year or so ago. Unsurprisingly not being large enough for their own major TV station, the Monegasques use French channel TF1 – hence the minor obsession with Renault. Expect to see more at Magny Cours.

    30 May 2006, 22:28

  9. I've grown used to James Allen, I can just about withstand his whining. I'd feel sorry for the poor guy if he got sacked cos of all the anorak work he must do behind the scenes. But I guess it would be better to have a funnier partnership like the BBC and Eurosport have for MotoGP.

    30 May 2006, 23:55

  10. Mathew Mannion

    The best way to improve F1 would be to have James Allen doing all the commentary, and that biased git Brundle to go back to loving DC or whatever he does. Really bored of his constant over–the–top geeing up of Coulthards "talents

    31 May 2006, 11:37

  11. I can't imagine anything WORSE than a whole race dogged by James Allen's never–ending stream of the blindingly obvious! If i hear about the torro rosso rev–limited v10 one more frickin' time ….

    Martin is the only reason I don't hit the mute button for 75% of the race.

    31 May 2006, 12:13

  12. Martin's great. In my view he doesn't talk about Coulthard as much as I would have thought. I reckon he's quite unbiased. He only uses Coulthard as someone to bloody well talk to on grid walks.

    James Allen has to state everything that's happened during the race after every break just in case someone's just tuned in. And the same for the STR V10 fact and other silly trivia.TBH formula 1 is one of the hardest sports to commentate on. You have to fill up gaps with words, cos otherwise it would be very, very boring. But yeah… someone else please.

    01 Jun 2006, 02:16

  13. James Allen's problem is that he speaks utter rubbish unless he's had time to think about it, so for example, when he's doing pieces to camera in the pre–race show, or voicing over the GP2 commentary, he's actually pretty good. He's clearly very knowledgable about the sport. However, for real–time commentary, he HAS to be replaced ASAP! He's really not very well suited to it.

    03 Jun 2006, 21:18

  14. Mathew Mannion

    He only uses Coulthard as someone to bloody well talk to on grid walks.

    Isn't that because he's pissed everyone else off?

    05 Jun 2006, 18:35

  15. And he's getting lots of RBR love all around (although it only a R05 being used for demonstration purposes) so has to pander a bit to DC. He's bound to favour DC over Button (if it's purely about talking to a British driver at regular intervals) as he's his manager.

    It's the stupid ideas like trying to talk to Kimi on grid walks that I find the most amusing!

    I don't like Allen, but at least I don't have to turn the volume down stupidly low as we used to have to when Murray Walker was commentating!

    Having said that, we've got a habit of listening to radio coverage with the tv on, and live timing running in tha background…

    04 Jul 2006, 21:29

  16. It never occured to me that any discerning F1/motor racing fan could dislike Murray Walker. Nobody loved the sport more wholeheartedly or did more for furthering the enjoyment of others than Murray. Irrespective of mistakes (as beloved and hilarious as he, I submit) – the guy knew his stuff.

    The saddest retirement from a grand prix indeed …

    05 Jul 2006, 11:38

  17. I didn't have a thing about the commentating, not at all. It was just the sheer volume, although that obviously reflected his enthusiasm for the sport, that got to me. Two notches quieter and it would have been perfect.

    05 Jul 2006, 12:49

  18. thank goodness for that!

    I always liked Clive Owne's (or was it Clive James, well whoever) intro to Murray a man who "in his quiter moments, sounds like his trousers are on fire".


    05 Jul 2006, 18:15

  19. :–) Indeed.

    I do like the multi sensor approach to the race and qualifying though as it means that you get more info (especially on whats happening further down the pack on live timing) than you normally get on tv or radio coverage and the advert breaks are less frustrating!

    06 Jul 2006, 09:11

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