ITV Issues

ITV Issues

I have never been angry at ITV‘s coverage of F1 before. For sure, I have been frustrated – Imola 2005 et al…

…But I have never been so upset as recently.

I’m aware of protests against James Allen’s commentary on UK F1 coverage, and there are many sites that one can read on his faults. But surely this is just a man who sees what is on the screen and well, reads…?


During qualifying, Mr Allen said that Schumacher would be partnering Raikkonen next year. A little presumptuous, me thinks. During the race, he made several blunders. And the icing on the cake? The fact that because a safety car had been deployed, that meant (UK) ITV could cut to a commercial break. When we returned, we learned that Alonso had backed Schumacher up in the penultimate turn, forcing him to pass to the Spaniard. Because Michael had made a pass, he was forced to back off and allow Alonso to regain position at which point, Fernando nailed the gas and created a margin on the re-start. A fantastic display of driving that was missed because ITV wanted to make some cash.

What the flaming hell are ITV up to? I know that we get it better than some other countries, and I should be grateful, but it seems very little consolation when I’m talking about an organisation that has showed Formula One for almost a decade now.

And James, when you start something but get interrupted by on-track events, be sure to pick up where you left off. This is something Martin Brundle does very well, and he shows you up no-end.

Sort it out, before I sign the petition…


  • There’s many petitions.

    Allen also said how great it was that everyone got through the first corner safely – as on screen Ralf tagged the RBR and STR…

  • You cant always blame ITV for the coverage. Its not always their fault, look at the san marino GP. They decided not to go with the FOA coverage and it was even worse.

  • The thing that winds me up most about Allen is how often he repeats something. I appreciate that some people may be new to the sport and might like something explaining – that’s cool. I also get that even die hard fans sometimes miss qualifying. But how many times do we have to hear that there was a mistaken red flag in qualifying and that’s why Fisichella missed out on the top ten shoot out? In case you missed that, there was a red flag in qualifying that messed up the times. That’s a red flag. Just in case you weren’t listening.

    Honestly… when Brundle has nothing to say, he just keeps quiet. I’d much prefer that.

  • Mayhem – I’m not upset with the video footage as general it is good. My issue is with the commentary and the placing of adverts at important moments of the race.

  • There was a rumour that ITV were going to replace their ad breaks this season with a tickertape along the bottom of the screen. Far less intrusive and nothing would be missed. A great idea, so obviously it was only a rumour, although they do seem to be far more careful with its placement now.

    As for coverage. Mayhem, I know that ITV can’t be blamed for the coverage of foreign GP’s, but for Allen to claim that everyone was safely through the first corner safely while the back half of the field are still negotiating the corner is just plain stupid, and Ralf’s cock-up showed him up. He’d have got away with it otherwise.

    As for his MS&KR blunder – well that’s just idiocy. It’s bar-room speak, not for a prime broadcaster like them. I prefer Ted Kravitz to be honest.

    Brundle remains their main star attraction – and he knows the first rule of commentating as Chris says – knowing when to shut up is key. Unfortunately James Allen usually sees Brundle’s quietness as an invite to open his gob again.

  • I don’t know about ITV, but the coverage we get from ESPN-Star Sports does gets quiet annoying at times.

    Like confusing one driver with another is very often. Damn I look at car and I know who the driver is, but the commentators … I better not say anything about them.

    Also goofing up on Qualifing time is common. Especially during first 2 rounds, when the time of 17th and 10th driver is shown, our commentators think it’s the provisional-pole timmings.

  • Would it be possible to have uninterrupted coverage of the race without ad breaks?? You never see ad breaks in the middle of football game do you…so why does it have to happen in f1? Its sickening…i’ve been watching f1 for 11 years now and thats the one thing that i just cant stand!! I would be willing to pay more for cable tv or a sports channel that brought uninterrupted coverage of a race…anyone with me?

  • Hi Ikes

    Its probably due to the fact that footie isnt run by that money grabbing Bernie Ecclestone!!! He may be an ugly little ferret but an extremely shrewd businessman.

    Also there was for 1 season a F1 channel on digital tele. It was abxsolutely fantastic with 8 choices of action to go to but it was £12 per race. Not something I could afford very often

  • Agreed, £12 per race is an awful lot, especially as the seasons seem to be getting longer with more and more tracks wanting to get involved! Although I think the money-grabbing Ecclestone doesn’t have a (direct) say about UK’s ITV ad breaks. ITV are required (unfortunately) to run a set number of ads during the race. Unfortunately, there aren’t any pauses scripted into F1 unlike Coronation Street, so ITV try to get it right – but they often fail. Hopefully the BBC will get it back when the current contract expires…

  • Brundle and Allen really need to get their metric units sorted.

    Allen just mentioned the wind speed at 4meters per second in qualifying, adding: “whatever that means”. Well it means 14,4km per hour, which is a slight breeze, and therefore incorrect, judging by the flags flying at the track today. Could it be 14 m/s i.e. 50,4km/h?

    Come on, guys, there are lots of metrified countries taking your feed, please don’t display your ignorance this blatantly!

  • I’ve put up with James Allen, but when he announced the football result during the commentary today before I got to see the match I am just plain angry.

    The man is just not suitable for the job.

  • What would be the reaction to James Allen commentating on Formula 1 if it was back on the BBC?

  • If James were to go, Ben Edwards would probably be the most suitable replacement for him. Edwards does a decent job commentating on the British Touring Car Championship. But then ITV could well do the same thing as they did when Murray left, and promote the pit lane man to commentator. In this case how would Ted Kravitz do?

  • I think Ted would do okay. He seems to be a very straight-talking man who is only interested in the facts. He also doesn’t mind asking Martin questions whilst on air, or deferring to someone who clearly knows more than him. I quite like Ted and wish ITV would make more use of his skill. But having said all that, does he have enough ‘sparkle’ to be a ‘full-time’ commentator? Would he keep me engaged during a race? I think so, but then I have been following motorsports for quite a few years. He may be a little too bland for new-comers.

  • I have seen the race on the german channel RTL whilst on holiday. Some of you may know that they too have advertising breaks, but they have a solution to stopping the action. They shrink the F1 coverage to a small but viewable size and place it in the corner of the screen, whilst the rest of the screen shows thier Tv adverts. I think ITV should seriously consider this as it would mean we could watch the F1 and they could make thier money (and we would get a break from James Allen).

    Alternativley, we could wait until 2009 when the ITV contract expires and hope that the BBC return to broadcasting F1.

  • Italy have a good system whereby their TV adverts are only 5-10 seconds!, Although they are more frequent, it tends not to detract too much from the action, it would also allow James Allen to talk all through the ‘Cornflake’ ad ……

  • Actually if the adverts were 2 hours long and Allen was talking we still wouldn’t miss anything he had to say. If you are in the uk turn the telly down and listen to the BBC – quality commentary

  • On 8 March 1997 John Major was still Prime Minister, Glenn Hoddle was England manager, Ricky and Bianca were the talk of Albert Square – and at Albert Park in Melbourne, a certain ITV Sport figure was saying, “Do not adjust your sets. This is Formula 1 on ITV, I am Jim Rosenthal.” It is hard to believe that it has been a whole decade since ITV began their coverage of Formula 1. And to think of all that has happened during this time – Michael Schumacher’s dominance, Murray retiring, Beverley Turner coming and going, Steve Rider arriving from the Beeb, and all the criticism of James Allen and advertisements. But overall ITV have done a great job at covering Formula 1. Assuming they extend their contract beyond 2009, what might the next ten years hold?

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