The BBC F1 magazine was released yesterday, and in it contains a few interesting tidbits from BBC F1’s editor, Mark Wilkin.
The first is that, according to Wilkin, we will be getting a complete overhaul of the World Feed, with a new graphics set. Wilkin, speaking to the magazine, said “Together with our Host Broadcast partners, FOM, we have been developing a new graphics package, with much more information. This will enable commentators Ben Edwards and David Coulthard to be aware of what is happening on the track and in the pitlane and to be able to interpret it for the audience.” Given that specific reference is made to Edwards and Coulthard, it is clear to me that Wilkin is referring to the World Feed, although I imagine BBC’s own graphics have been tweaked slightly too.
A new graphics package is not a surprise, 2014 is a ‘new formula’, and it makes sense to overhaul everything from the bare bones upwards from a graphics perspective. It would be the third major iteration in graphics since 2004, the first from 2004 to 2009 was in the form of ‘squares’, with the second, more ‘swoosh’ style from 2010 to 2013. It is not too surprising to see BBC working with FOM on that, and they would not have been the only broadcaster to get involved, Sky would have been involved to along with a host of other foreign broadcasters. Obviously FOM never officially confirm graphic set changes, so I think we will have to wait and see until Australia to see what exactly has changed regarding the graphics, but there will be at least some change anyway.
Meanwhile, BBC have invested in a tablet for David Coulthard to use in the paddock. Wilkin notes that Coulthard “will be able to review footage and control the pictures”, and that the addition will be “a new dimension for the post-qualifying and post-race analysis which promises to be an exciting part of the coverage.” Whilst I am happy that it is in the paddock, and not in a cupboard like Martin Brundle had to suffer in the early part of 2011, this appears to be a rip-off of the Sky Pad. Of course, Sky have ripped off BBC ideas in the past (from the basics back in 2012 vs BBC in 2011) but it doesn’t make it any better. It’ll be interesting to see it on screen though, but whether it is actually a necessity, I don’t know. The last thing we want is for both shows to look and feel identical aside from the talking heads.
Lastly, highlights of the Brazilian Grand Prix appear to be getting a primetime slot. The magazine has a start time of 20:00, presumably both BBC Two, for both days. I expect that this hinges on whether it is a title decider or not, a title decider involving a British driver could see a very late move to BBC One (although this is unlikely), but on the other hand if the title has already been decided then it could well be 22:30. In other words I don’t think this tells us much.
Update on March 14th – Now that practice is taking place, we can see that there is some change, but only minor tweaks. I’ve seen a few people suggest that what I reported was incorrect, I quoted Wilkin who is clearly very high up in the BBC F1 chain! I did add a disclaimer above too “I think we will have to wait and see until Australia to see what exactly has changed regarding the graphics, but there will be at least some change anyway”. It would have been nice to get a complete overhaul, but that is not the case.