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GRAPEVINE - SOFT NEWS, RUMOURS & SPECULATION 

BBC promises broad F1 coverage

The BBC is keen to build interest in all the drivers on the grid, not only reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, when it broadcasts its first live Formula One race from Australia next month.

Mark Wilkin, producer of BBC's TV and online coverage, says that the build-up to both qualifying and the race will give them the opportunity to put the spotlight on the other drivers.

"During that hour of build-up time on the Saturday and Sundays, the last half-hour before the race is sacrosanct and it's going to be live, or very nearly live," said Wilkin. "We will be having all the build up you would expect and that will include some grid walks from Martin Brundle.

"We've also got and hour-and-a-half of feature material to do on Saturday before qualifying and before the pitlane opens on Sunday. It's into that period that we want to put the personality pieces.

"We want to personalise these guys because we don't know who they are. The British public knows who Lewis Hamilton is now, but there are 17 other drivers that we need to get to know as well."

Wilkin also believes that the coverage must strike the right note in informing the viewership about what is a highly complex and technical sport.

"We need to de-mystify F1 as well," he said. "There's a lot of jargon and we take a lot of assumed knowledge. If we don't watch out, we can switch people off. So there will be plenty of those stories, as well as track guides, some history and some perspective as well."

The BBC is also planning to integrate some 3D graphical devices during its extensive post-race analysis, which will be accessible through the "red button" on digital TV.

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