Home > 2010 Season, Formula One > The Australian Grand Prix and my disgust over F1 broadcasting

The Australian Grand Prix and my disgust over F1 broadcasting

The Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne was a fantastic race! Certainly the weather can be thanked for most of the action at the start, but as conditions were acceptable, there was still a lot going on and this proved that the boring procession of Bahrain did not present us with the standard racing we’ll see in 2010.

Australia gave us something completely different. Three world champions coming together at the first corner was really interesting to see, and this tussle was practically a gift from a higher being for Robert Kubica, who started towards the end of the top ten cars. By the end of the first lap, Robert was right at the sharp end of the grid. It was fantastic to see! You just can’t script stuff like that.

While Kubica had a positive “feel good” race, four men suffered dearly. Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, and Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher’s race went to hell at the first corner when he was involved in an accident with Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. The Ferrari and McLaren escaped cleanly, but Schumacher had to pit his Mercedes to repair a bit of damage. This dropped him to the back of the pack, and it would not be until almost the end of the race that he would turn things around by passing Jaime Alguersuari almost at the last minute to finish tenth and pick up one point for the team. To add insult to injury, Schumacher was beaten convincingly yet again by Rosberg. Ouch.

Vettel suffered an even worse fate in Melbourne than he did two weeks ago in the desert. At turn 13 (or so I think), Vettel went off track. The onboard camera shows him twitching his wheel in desperation moments before the car cruises off track and spinning in the gravel. Vettel told the Red Bull team over the radio that he seemed to suffer from some kind of brake failure. This put him out of the race.

Hamilton and Webber both suffered from the very same acccident. On lap 50, Hamilton (in fifth) and Webber (in sixth) were coming into turn 13 (is this corner cursed?) when Webber made a very bold move and tried to squeeze past Hamilton. Instead, he vaulted himself off the track, along with the McLaren. This was the second or third accident that Webber had been directly involved in throughout the race. As a result, Hamilton lost one position and Webber dropped to ninth place.

Prior to the accident, Hamilton had almost been guaranteed a podium finish until his team brought him in for an additional pit stop which dropped him from third and down to fifth. In the closing stages of the race (and before his collision with Webber), Hamilton was blasting his team over the radio about the decision to bring him in to change his tires. The stop was a logical thing to do, as it was said that Hamilton’s tires were suffering tremendously. I’m not sure if that is true, but if it is then it makes Hamilton look like a whiny boy.

Jenson Button ended up cruising to victory after Vettel retired. Now that he has won with three different teams, and doing it without the help of dominant Superman of a car this time, I’m starting to respect Jenson a more and I believe that his newfound mountain of confidence is probably playing a large part in his performances this year. He looked decent againt Hamilton in Bahrain, but in Melbourne he beat his fellow Brit, plain and simple. Good job, Jenson.

With the race out of the way, I want to bitch about broadcasters. The Australian Grand Prix was aired live here in Nova Scotia at 3:00 AM or some horrible hour. I tried very hard to stay up for both qualifying and the race each night over the weekend, but I couldn’t do it. After missing the race, I was livid when I discovered that the two channels that I receive which broadcast F1, SPEED and TSN, neglected to fit the Australian Grand Prix into their Sunday morning, afternoon, or evening schedules. They didn’t even put it onto their Monday schedules! What is this? Why would they only air the race at a terribly inconvenient time early Sunady morning?

I was not going to admit defeat though, and thankfully the internet pulled through when I found a torrent for the race early in the afternoon. I didn’t get to watch the race until 7:00 PM when I transferred it to my Playstation 3 and watched it on TV, but it was well worth it. The race was absolutely fantastic, and I’m just totally confused and lost that the broadcasters would neglect to air the race again at a more acceptable hour.

The Malaysian Grand Prix is this weekend and will air at 5:00 AM local time. I have no problem waking up at this hour since I do it all week long to get ready for work in the mornings, so I doubt that I’ll miss the race in Sepang.

I think that the fact that I had to “illegally” download the Australian Grand Prix to watch says something very clear. F1 should be more readily available on the internet to fans. formula.com for example should offer live streaming (for a fee, of course), and each race should be available for download for a reasonable price. FOM, please get out of the stone age and offer these services already! And please broadcast F1 in high definition as well. That would be superb, and F1 fans all over the world would thank you for making such a move.

Unfortunately, nothing of the sort will ever happen until Bernie Ecclestone bites the dust. That little old gremlin’s days are almost numbered, so perhaps we’ll see change in a few years? One can hope.

My final word… Seeing John Travolta in Australia to wave the chequered flag and present the second place trophy to Robert Kubica made me chuckle. This makes me believe that Travolta is an F1 fan to some degree, and that’s pretty interesting!

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