The world is changing. There was a time when we were satisfied with the simple things in life, but the rise of the internet and 24/7 TV has made us hungry for ever more entertainment. Not long ago four channels was a luxury and we put up with whatever they were showing, even if it was just the test card or Terry Wogan checking what’s in his fridge.
We were satisfied with a simpler Formula One, too. There was no DRS, no double-points, and no artificial sparks. And we were happy then. We sat in our simple world watching Senna, Prost and Mansell duke it out on a Sunday afternoon, then switched over to see if Terry Wogan was re-filling the ice trays yet.
But we have to roll with the times. And just as F1 has spiced up its product by adding needless frills, so its TV output – specifically Sky’s F1 Show – needs to follow suit. To help them out, we’ve got a few suggestions for improving the viewing experience…
Great New Features
One sure-fire hit we’ve been tossing about the Sett lately is ‘Toto Wolff In Sheep’s Clothing’. Every week the Mercedes F1 chief dresses up as a giant wooly sheep, parades up and down the paddock and starts conversations in his distinctive Austrian drawl. The first person to guess that it’s Toto inside the costume wins a sheep-related prize (probably a wool sweater – we’ll thrash out the details later).
Get the Audience Moving
We like the F1 Show’s studio audience, but they’re a bit stationary – come on guys, this is the fastest sport on the planet! So, how about getting them to constantly circle the studio in a rhythmic march? It would give the place a sense of energy to match F1’s high-speed image.
Between segments, Ted Kravitz’s grinning face should appear on screen, moving quickly towards and then away from the viewer like the Batman logo in the 60’s TV series.
Asking the Tough Questions
Natalie Pinkham should attend important political press conferences and demand to know world leaders’ opinions on trivial F1 matters. Obama’s views on the Syria crisis are all well and good, but let’s get serious – does he really think Perez deserved a five-place grid penalty for Austria?
Nuisance Phone-calls – F1 style
A regular fixture on chat and entertainment shows for decades, given an F1-spin this could become seriously popular. You could call up Bernie pretending to be a high court judge and tell him the charges will be dropped if he sings an Elton John medley down the phone. Or impersonate the Marussia accounts manager, give Max Chilton a buzz and tell him the cheque has bounced. And Kimi Raikkonen? Just imagine the fun to be had from bothering him at on a Sunday morning.
We haven’t done any studies, but we think we know what the audience wants (certainly better than they do). They crave more involvement from their sofas, so why not let them turn off one of the presenters auto-cues? Viewers could vote by tweeting at the person they want to confuse using the hashtag #AutoClueless. Imagine leaving Crofty stumbling for words while Karun Chandhok explains lap 45 of the 1987 Spanish Grand Prix in agonising detail – priceless!
Okay, we’ll admit it – some of these ideas are a touch over the top. The F1 Show is actually quite good as it is. Any tinkering would be unnecessary and could even end up costing them viewers.
Formula One has a great product right now. Two world-class team-mates slugging it out for the title, emerging talent, evergreen veterans, and a few mad pay drivers. We’ve seen great racing more often than not in 2014, from the Mercedes duel to the Marussia-Caterham scrap at the rear of the grid. And fans love it.
So we’re left wondering why the F1 Commission is introducing a raft of changes which – and we’re being very polite here – are daft in the extreme. Because let’s be honest, even dressing Toto Wolff up as a sheep and having him walk the paddock isn’t as stupid as double-points or the new safety car restart rules.