Over the years Bernie Ecclestone's TV production crews have worked wonders in upping the standard of Formula 1's broadcasts, so much so that the remaining two independent productions - Monaco (hosted by Tele Monte Carlo) and Japan (Fuji TV) - are found wanting in many areas, be they camera angles, breakaway or atmosphere shots, or the simple task of identifying a race within the race, and focusing on that.
Where once F1 fans were at the mercy of partisan host broadcasters, who fervently followed the local hero's every move - even when said driver was battling away in total solitude in P26 - Formula One Communications' (FOC) grey-tented village graces 90 per cent of grand prix venues, and there is little doubt that the commercial rights holder, having introduced the 'world feed' in 2007, is aiming for a monopoly.
F1's camera operators are a talented bunch of guys and girls © LAT
It makes sense; kit and cameras are owned, as are production facilities, while FOC's camera operators are well versed in the art of following cars travelling at 200mph on various circuits in all weather. Above all, the producers understand the sport, and instinctively know where to seek action, and identify dramatic situations.
Would a Magyar Televizio producer have known where to start investigating the cause of Felipe Massa's 2009 Hungarian accident, let alone identify the wayward spring that struck the hapless Brazilian? Doubtful - yet within minutes Bernie's boys found the footage, then 'slo-moed' it to a worldwide audience.
Get back on track. Join today for unlimited access to all Autosport news and features.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from monthly, yearly and two-yearly packages.
South African-born Dieter trained as industrial engineer before holding down a variety of senior motor industry marketing and manufacturing positions. At the age of 40 he decided to follow his passion, and became the first and only South African journalist to cover Formula 1 regularly. Dieter joined AtlasF1 at the beginning of 2004 – a year prior to its merger with Autosport – and his regular column offers an intriguing analysis of F1’s politicking and commercial chicanery. Although now also proudly Belgian, he gives his domicile as "Wherever F1 duplicity lurks".@RacingLines More features by Dieter Rencken