BBC F1 vs Sky Sports F1: Your 2013 Verdict Revealed

Last Sunday, at the conclusion of the Brazilian Grand Prix, I asked for your opinion on the BBC and Sky Sports Formula 1 programming this season. Once again, the response from readers has been fantastic, with 21 comments on that post.

It should not be a surprise that the main topic of conversation was Suzi Perry’s role as BBC F1 presenter. In the comments that were made, it was difficult for me to find a positive, to be honest, with the main consensus that she is the weak link in the BBC team.

I have become increasingly tired of Suzi Perry tripping over her words when speaking live. I know that she has to do the tricky bit of listening to instructions in her ear and talking but even this last race was littered with minor errors that really grate after a while or is just me? Prime example: referred to the V8 engines in the build up show as being the “start of an era” or “the end of a new era”. – b1uenose

Suzi clearly is not a fan of F1 and it would certainly be best for all concerned if BT came calling for her for MotoGP. If that were to happen, I would hope that Lee McKenzie would get the job. – Sean

James Rowe makes a point that Perry’s presenting has meant that the standard of the forum has decreased compared with the high quality of 2012, however velvet argues that Perry has done well in 2013, when considering other previous efforts:

She was better than I thought, wish she’d stop tripping over her words but she was way more comfortable in this arena than Simon [Lazenby] was at first.

Whilst Perry has been criticised above, it appears the jury is still out on Lazenby, with several readers believing Sky are better off looking elsewhere:

Don’t get me started on Lazenby, no idea why Sky haven’t replaced him yet. – marc

For Sky, get rid of Lazenby for anybody else, along with Herbert, he seems far too smug and in your face, shall we say. – James Rowe

Connor McDonagh is more positive about Lazenby, but is not as impressed with Herbert’s contributions:

I disliked Lazenby but have started to like him a bit more, his presenting has improved and making it better for the viewers. Some of Herbert’s comments are ridiculous and offer no insight whatsoever such as ”You need a car which drives well”, however I like Johnny, can be quite funny alongside [Damon] Hill.

Another key subject was the commentary, with readers on the whole leaning towards the Ben Edwards and David Coulthard combination on the BBC:

I can’t put my finger on it but [Martin] Brundle seems to have lost his shine and Coulthard has overtaken him. It could be down to Coulthard being experienced with modern cars or just that he’s fresher to commentary than Brundle. Also, I can’t stand [David] Croft, his voice grates on me and his excitement sounds forced. – marc

In terms of commentary, BBC wins this. Ben Edwards is one of, if not the best commentator around and with Coulthard alongside him, they create an almost unbeatable duo. Gary Anderson’s snippets during commentary is also very useful, especially when he makes the strategies easy to understand. David Croft for Sky is far too shouty. The emotion which he tries to portray sounds forced and ruins it for me, although Brundle is still a vital asset to Sky. – James Rowe

While the BBC commentary is a highlight with readers, it appears the BBC highlight shows themselves are not winning readers over, JackiJam was particularly damming:

The coverage of the Austin, Texas race was abysmally poor, and the so called ‘replays’ of live coverage were nothing more than highlights, often less than 1.5 hours.

The point that Sky only have drivers’ as pundits was raised by velvet, however others say that Sky’s coverage has improved versus 2012:

Fantastic coverage, loads of insights, Ted Kravitz, Martin [Brundle] and Anthony [Davidson] really make the coverage of races and practices amazing. Testing coverage has made the channel come alive this year and is great to see a channel do so. – Chris Robey

I’ll finish this piece with one comment, which is some food for thought:

Ultimately though I don’t think either side is near the level of BBC from 2009 to 2011. – Sean

There are a lot more comments on the original blog post, some of which are really worth reading, but the above is just a little taster on what blog readers are talking about.

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5 thoughts on “BBC F1 vs Sky Sports F1: Your 2013 Verdict Revealed

  1. As far as I’m concerned, we’re never going to get the level of quality we got from BBC 2009-2011. That will never be topped. *And* it was all free-to-air! It’s such a shame that this was broken up and I still feel disappointed when I see two meagre highlights shows in the BBC’s weekend schedules.

    A crying shame…

  2. I’m inclined to agree with Robert, we have had our Concorde moment as far as F1 broadcast goes.

    It’s been packed away in a museum and now we must settle for slow, below par fodder.

  3. 2011, though a boring year for F1, was one of the best years of broadcasting from the BBC. The team was absolutely brilliant. Shame that the BBC couldn’t continue, but the BBC and Sky are still producing great outputs for the fans.

  4. For me, the Sky coverage has gone into overkill now, it is simply too long, and this is coming from someone who has watched every race since 1992. I’ve taken to starting to record the live shows then start watching them half way through, fast forwarding through the padding and just watching the interviews, films, gridwalk etc. Lazenby has been preserved as the Sky F1 producer came over from their Superleague coverage and Lazeby was the anchorman there, so there is no likelihood of him being dropped any time soon, unless he walks of his own accord. Having said that he has improved but is nowhere near the level that Jake Humphrey used to operate at. Jake used to produce blogs for the BBC that showed what a professional he was, being offered nights out with EJ and MB and sundry other stars but often eschewing them for the hotel room where he could work on perfecting his script for the following day. I don’t think Lazenby has quite that level of drive and commitment, knowing that his job is safe whatever happens on screen.

    However one weekend while staying away, we watched a race in its entirety on BBC and I was amazed by how poor quality the coverage had become since 2011. Perry came across as being just as bland as Lazenby, while the race coverage itself was very poor with Ben Edwards, who I used to enjoy listening to on Eurosport from 1994 – 6 failing to read the race and generally just being a nuisance.

    I would hope that the BBC coverage from 09 – 11, while high quality, will not be the high watermark. Sky have invested too much in the channel and are pushing to become the FOM broadcaster at all of the races so that they can showcase their 3D technology, technology that the BBC has already ditched following Wimbledon 2013. Having lost out on the Champions League to BT, Sky will commit ever more resources to develop and sell the F1 coverage and over time it will improve – it has to.

  5. Peter I couldn’t agree more regarding Sky’s padding/inane chat but I don’t think the broadcast time is too long, just not utilized correctly.

    The shortcoming comes from the lack of true understanding of the sport, what is achievable and what the likes and interests of the viewer are. Sky’s production team is massive and should be generating 2-3 times the original content that it does.

    I work in broadcast and know only too well how much content can be generated by an efficient, passionate team driven on by good management. I’m not suggesting they spend more money, just make better use of the personnel they currently have.

    If memory serves me correctly on the Brazilian GP race day they’d spent their time and money on yet another drab intro VT featuring Capoeira (the wettest and dullest martial art that has nothing to do with F1), a simple 1+1 interview with Hulkenburg, a chat with Mark Weber and a season highlights VT that could have been made at any time.

    The size of their team they should be producing double this content, not everything needs to be made on race days and not everything requires senior F1 team personnel for an hour.

    What they lack is the freshness and originality that comes from passionate, true fans making a program for other fans.

    Regarding the BBC they’ve lost their way. They’ve gone from being the innovative leaders to the followers, attempting to mimic Sky’s hackneyed output. Add Perry’s incompetence to this and it’s a slippery slope.

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