If you ask me, BBC and Sky are both as good as each other. Let's not forget Sky are only in their third race of covering Formula 1 under the current contract, I'm not sure F1 Digital+ counts considering that was primarily an FOM operation.
BBC have the experience at the moment, Jake, David and Eddie have been working together since 2009 and so have been able to perfect the pre-show and work on the post-show. Sky haven't. It takes time to gel, these things do not instantly click all of the time. Simon, Damon and Martin on Sky did not instantly click. I'm not sure they will click because Damon grates too much. Yesterday in China, Johnny Herbert was a league ahead of Damon and seemed to fit in perfectly, whereas Damon was in the Mark Blundell league of watching paint dry.
If Sky stick with Simon, Johnny, Martin and Ant then there is no reason why Sky's presentation should not be better than BBC's come mid-season. However, if Damon does appear at more races, and he probably will given that he's deal is for 10 races, then I can see me tuning into BBC for the live races.
I don't get why people don't like Georgie either, her presenting is fine. I still maintain that The F1 Show is the best show of the entire F1 weekend and that is because of her and Ted presenting, the two work well together as a team. She should probably be used more on Sundays, I hope come Europe we will see her presenting GP2 and GP3 maybe alongside Ant so they build their portfolio with an actual program for GP2 and not straight into the World Feed. Georgie is fine on the Sky Pad with Ant, she is not there to do much, but just to throw discussion pointers to Ant instead of letting him get lost. Ant is not a TV expert, it makes sense to have Georgie in there with him.
Ted and Natalie do what is expected of them fine. Sky's Friday coverage I can't see what there is to possibly change, I can't see anything. It's Saturday's and Sunday's that needs polishing, just made a bit more relaxed, and Sky need to be more relaxed about when they get off the air, there should not be the constant rush to get off the air on a dedicated channel or to head to the next commercial, the program needs to be fluid, not rushed. This applies for the post-race as well, in China it was fine though, it would be difficult to find faults with Sky's coverage on Sunday. I myself thought it was exemplary. If I had "my way":
- keep adverts to a minimum as we had in China
- keep the 5 hour race day program
- dump Damon Hill permanently
- more Sky Pad analysis
- air Classic races on the channel
- air IndyCars on the channel
- have GP2 and GP3 as a proper program when we get to Europe
BBC's program I think most agreed on here, from 2009 to 2011 was the best F1 TV in the UK we had ever had, I think its difficult to argue with that. To expect Sky to come in and blow it away I think maybe have been unrealistic, given that the team needed time to gel and for the program to gel. You can have as many ideas as you like into your head, but its only when you get to the racetrack to practice it out. It's not like with acting you can act out a scene many times before getting it right, with presenting F1 you can only do it once, and that's live. You either get it right and the viewers love you, or they will just turn over.
I did think yesterday Sky was on par with BBC from 2009 to 2011 though, I would be hard pressed to find things that could have been improved. Although I say 'more analysis' above, on a race like yesterday's it is physically impossible to analyse everything, but I think they did an excellent job at what they did do.
BBC's team is fine, Ben and David are as good as Martin and David on the other side, although for me I will watch Sky as I prefer Martin's commentary (personal preference) and prefer Ted over Gary, Gary sounds too quiet at times but I suspect he will grow into the role. On both sides though, you would be hard pushed to find improvements. The only reason why Sky gets more posts in here, is because they have a channel, which means more airtime, meaning more discussion points and more posts in here.
The problem is though for Sky is that there is absolutely nothing to entice the hardcore viewer during the non-F1 days. There is:
- The F1 Show
- Season Reviews
- F1 Fast Track
- Weekend in Words
- Weekend in Stills
For original programming. The F1 Show and Season Reviews will keep people watching, but Season Reviews are insignificant if they are only going to be shown once. I have no intention of watching F1 Fast Track or Weekend in Works. I did just quickly fire up Sky Go and Weekend in Words is simply the interviews cut from the live broadcasts which I have no intention of watching again. Fast Track has zero appeal to me. Weekend in Stills may be worth watching though.
The schedule, though probably expected, is a disjointed mess and it seems they are focusing on the wrong areas with new programming. I sent an e-mail to Sky about Classic races (and why my long comment was seemingly being rejected...) and this was the reply:
Regarding your point about full, classic F1 races. The decision to show these has been reversed for the moment. I can’t tell you whether this is a rights issue or not, as I don’t know. I have checked with the F1 programmers though, and they have no full races from the archive scheduled. We only schedule season reviews from 1988 – 2011.
I would be extremely surprised if it really was a rights issue stopping Sky from showing them, and also quite bemused considering they have their own channel. IndyCars on the channel as well should happen, to bolster the content.