There are very few things in life that will force me out of my bed in the middle of the night. My daughter is regularly one of those things, the great quake of ’08 is another and anything F1 related is sure to get me to set my alarm for an ungodly hour. As I’m sure many of you know through my countless excited tweets that I set off from Sheffield at 3.45am to spend the morning with the Sky Sports F1 team for a Q&A.
With just three short weeks before the launch of the UKs first dedicated F1 channel, we were invited to the Grovesnor House Hotel to find out what is in store for F1 fans on Sky Sports in 2012. On hand to answer our questions were, David Croft, Martin Brundle, Anthony Davidson, Ted Kraviz, Damon Hill, Natalie Pinkham alongside sky’s presenters, Simon Lazenby and Georgie Thompson.
Whether you like it or not, the only way to watch all the races live in 2012 is on Sky, so what will you get for your £30 a month? The answer is a hell of a lot. After being treated to a behind the scenes look at what Sky have in store for us this coming season, I’m certain we will get value for money after F1 has had ‘the treatment’ from Sky Sports.
Martin Brundle talked about some of the technical features that were scheduled this year, including two days filming with Ferrari which will be shown in 5 parts, the first of which will be on the Friday of the Australian Grand Prix. Martin went on to explain that the production budget for the Sky F1 channel was triple that of the BBCs budget last year. The first of Martins technical pieces will be shown on the weekly F1 magazine shown hosted by Georgie Thomson and Ted Kraviz which will be aired every Friday. When asked about the show, Ted assured us that “It’s a good show”.
With all three practice sessions now getting full programme formatting, as opposed to the (very good) red button coverage from the BBC. Sky will offer the same level of interviews and features we have become accustomed to in the qualifying and race shows of late.
After (a very quick) hour with the team, we were ushered next door where, Sky Sports’ executive producer, Martin Turner. was waiting. Sky’s latest addition to their F1 coverage, Dolby surround sound 5.1. We were shown footage from last year’s Australian GP with David Croft’s and Martin Brundle’s sound test. The footage started in normal surround sound, which did sound very good. Half way through however, they switched to Dolby 5.1. The difference was staggering, we were told in the Q&A that the sound from onboard cameras was quite brilliant and it didn’t disappoint! The one thing that was more impressive than the 5.1 sound was the eagerly anticipated partnership of Croft and Brundle. To say that it was entertaining would be a massive understatement. Crofty, When describing the advantage of the soft Pirelli’s over the hard compound said, “It’s like throwing the Christians to the lions and giving them spoons”.
If you are like me and you have to see every race live. Sky’s F1 coverage won’t disappoint. I asked Martin Turner if he felt under any pressure to win the hearts and minds of F1 fans given the initial negative response to them becoming the UK broadcaster? “I feel under pressure every time I produce a programme.
“We will show F1 from the inside looking out, instead of the outside looking in”.
Martin was keen to elaborate on what he called ‘the treatment’, “The race is only part of the story” talking on the vast array of team and driver features planned over the race weekend,” We’ll give it [F1], we care about it”.
Thank you to James Mortley from Sky sports for inviting me today, images to follow tomorrow.