Deconstruction of Channel 4’s Formula 1 coverage

Right then. On Saturday and Sunday (mainly Sunday), I saw many comments via social media such as Facebook and Twitter of people getting very annoyed at Channel 4’s new coverage of Formula 1. In this post I will look at these comments on their coverage, and analyse them, so people understand the ins and outs on what is happening with their coverage.

Now, the one that has come up the most is the advertising breaks. Channel 4 is a commercial channel so, they will show advertising breaks. But not during any of their 10 live races. During their highlights races, they will show adverts mid race. They are obliged to show adverts, however in those 4 minutes whilst the ads are on, you will miss none of the action. For example, for the first break during the action, when they returned, it was a matter of corners from when they left off, so minimal to no action is missed during their coverage. There are natural breaks in qualifying, so like ITV did, they will go for a break during the gaps between the parts of qualifying. I think, like Sky, there will be ads mid way through practice, there is no way we can avoid that. There will be many breaks in the build up and analysis for the race to avoid the usage of breaks in live races and to minimise the usage in highlights rounds. I’d also like to point out, that prior to the races there is a ‘Pole position ad break‘ where seconds before the formation starts, the channel will air a 30 second Mercedes advert. and then that’s it for two hours while the race in on.

The next issue is their main man, Steve Jones. Yes, Steve is new to the sport, so will take a few races to get comfy in his new role. We should see him as a Jake Humphrey version 2. No one was confident about him at all after Australia back in 2009, and yet nowadays he is regarded as one of the best F1 presenters there is. So to the haters of him, give him till the end of the season to see how he goes, in my eyes, he’s already better than Simon Lazenby (however, that’s not exactly hard to do.)

The next issue is All4 (some still think it’s still called 4OD). This is Channel 4’s version of iPlayer. Channel 4 came out to say that it takes 4 hours after the programme finishes to upload their coverage to their site. Yes that is a bit too long, but All4 does have to factor in the ads as well (even if they were in all the wrong places). Should take probably 2 hours. especially the highlights races, which are all pre-recorded.

Those are the 3 main issues people are going on about. However I have some issues that aren’t in there. I was frustrated about the amount of build up. You don’t need 30 minutes of build up to a highlights race and certainly not in 3 sections. All you need is one 15 minute build up section, go for an ad break, and then show the the race. That would be satisfactory. Also on both days I do not think there was enough analysis going on and I think that that is due to the heavy amount of build up. For example, you don’t need to have feature’s in highlights. It is very unnecessary.

So, Channel 4, Stephen Lyle and others, I am now speaking to you, what you need to do is you need to clarify to all these people what Channel 4 is doing, and why all these things are happening, because I know that they would not listen to me. What you need to do is talk to those angry fans on Facebook and Twitter, calm them down and tell them what is to come, and what is going on. That is all I ask of you.

I hope those F1 fans reading understand a little more, and I hope Channel 4 make some tweaks to make their coverage the absolute best it can be. Thank you.


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