Google+ Jack Leslie F1: Sky Sports F1 Press Day

20 February 2012

Sky Sports F1 Press Day

I was extremely privileged to attend the Sky Sports F1 press day for bloggers and journalists today (20th February) at London's Grosvner House Hotel. All the F1 team (Brundle, Hill, Croft, Pinkham, Thompson, Lazenby, Davidson and Kravitz) attended despite Davidson waltzing in late.
(c) Sky Sports F1
The day was for us (around 15 other journo's or bloggers) to get a better understanding of the dedicated F1 channel, ask questions about it and ask about their views. It was great to sit just a metre or so away and hear all their views and opinions. I also feel extremely honoured to of been invited, who would of thought! Just me, a normal Suffolk 17 year old.

Click "read more" to see all the changes and answers to some of the questions.

Having waited in a posh room of the Grosvenor House Hotel, a 5* hotel in one of London's trendiest area's, we were then directed to a large boardroom with a long, rectangular table. On 1 side were Sky's talent in the order of Lazenby, Pinkham, Croft, Brundle, Hill, Kravitz, Thompson and Davidson. The invited all sat opposite. I grabbed the nearest seat next to PortalF1's Alex and @Formula1_com's Jordan Hamilton and Matt Flanagan. Also in attendance were fellow Final Sector writer Gary Marshall, F1 Tech expert ScarbsF1 and the daily mail's Philip Duncan. There were also people from , Badger GP and as well. 

Before we even started off we received a press briefing. It revealed Sky Sports F1 will stream in Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound. This is a first for F1 as it is with many other sports. It will be on all the F1 sessions and will match the stunning HD images. Having later on experienced the surround sound i can tell you it is incredible. You pick up every bit of audio, highlighting everything in view. Sky's executive producer for F1, Martin Turner, said "For the first time viewers can hear the drama of F1TM as well as see it.  The stunning HD pictures will now be matched by stunning Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound audio that will help take our viewers track side.  This is another example of us giving F1TM the Sky Sports treatment and I know those that hear the coverage will be amazed by it.”
(c) Sky Sports F1
Then came the questioning. You can really tell the team all get on extremely well which is vitally important. There was also a good amount of banter to mix in with the serious stuff. Before starting the questioning the team asked us who we were, our twitter names and sites. I wrote notes throughout the Q and A, many of the questions i had written down to ask were answered. Immediately they told us they did not care about comparison or competition between the BBC, they just wanted to "have fun", do the "best job" they can and participate and watch the sport they love.
(c) Sky Sports F1
One main subject is the magazine show, hosted by Georgie Thompson and Ted Kravitz. They told us that the first show will be a 2 hour special, 2012 season preview on the 9th March 2012. The show will be every Friday, something stressed alot, from the preview show to the review show. Even when F1 is not there, on the summer break for example, it will be on air. Each show will be 1 hour long, bar the review and preview show like i revealed above, and will be reviewing races, previewing the next one or going over the top news.

Simon Lazenby will be presenting the show, and he predicted that the BBC are clearly going to get more viewers but the channels views will grow. They also stressed that because the channel is just focused on F1, the schedule is not fully fixed. If they have some news to broadcast or have not finished reviewing a segment of the race they can. Pinkham said the channel meant they have "more time for the other teams" as the current BBC format focused more on the top 3 teams and their drivers. Also, because they have no shows waiting to be broad casted they can, if they want, go on all day. They have predicted being on air 14 hours every race weekend, certainly a long weekend for the team but they all seem extremely determined to try their best.
(c) Sky Sports F1
Brundle, who moves from the BBC, also revealed that Sky Sports have over triple the amount of money to spend, meaning they have lots of "new" and "unique" features. He also expressed that he had lots of idea's, Pinkham joked he had a "Brundle list" of over 50. Martin also said that people will have never seen some of these features. Some of these new features will be things like a large range of red button features like driver tracker, a range of onboard camera's, pit camera and a Ted cam. This will immerse and bring the fans closer to the action, with alot more range.
(c) Sky Sports F1
They are always going to be compared to the BBC, but commentator David Croft said it is "not a competition between them" and that the audience will inevitably choose which channel to watch. They also said that because of the large scope and potential viewers they will have, F1 will be a prominent feature of Sky Sports News, they will bring in more fans. Croft also expressed how people moan about having to pay extra, when it is not as expensive as people may think.
(c) Sky Sports F1
They also all agreed that Vettel is favourite for the 2012 championship and has to be on that possibility list. Brundle and Croft both said Hamilton and Button can take him, with Martin also saying he thinks Toro Rosso will be the dark horses. Hill and Brundle both agreed that Ferrari wont be at their best, and Webber has missed his chance.

After the Q and A we were led into the next room where a giant TV and surround sound speakers were in place. We met Martin Turner, the main man of Sky Sports F1. He explained how they wanted the most impressive, respectable and experienced team on the grid and that they found it. He explained that Brundle was the main man their wanted, they could not take David Coulthard as he is loyal to the BBC but Brundle was the main man. Martin and Martin both expressed how the ex-Mclaren and Benetton racer is more comfortable in the co-commentator role. They have been itching to get Croft on their team for a while and feel that Martin and Crofty compliment each other. We were later shown a practice of them commentating over the Australian GP 2011 together and it sounded amazing, they knew their facts and Martin seemed much more comfortable in that role. Martin Turner also said Ted is the "best F1 reporter" in the business with an enviable reputation. The others were the "star dust" on top of Sky Sports F1, with Lazenby and Thompson renown Sky Sports presenters with a big passion for F1, Hill has exceptional knowledge and is coming back to the F1 scene and Pinkham is an extremely good pit reporter and journalist.
(c) Sky Sports F1
Martin Turner emphasised the words time and quality while explaining the aims for the channel. Sky Sports is known for its 360, 24/7 coverage of sport and he is carrying that over to the F1 channel. Due to the dedicated platform they will be showing constant features, re-runs of the F1 and other formula. They will also show old races in full, similar to the classic F1 segment of BBC but the races will be in full. They will delve into the teams more, with features on other people involved. He used an example of a front wheel pit crew member and what else they do. He also says the extra time means all the teams get more coverage, something the teams like. I did ask, many of you have been wondering, about the GP2 and GP3 coverage. They will show all of the feeder series practice and qualifying sessions as well as the race. The commentator will be the world feed voice Will Buxton who continues commentating on the races.

We watched a number of clips previewing some features, like a snippet of the legends series interview, some features from the up coming shows and hearing Crofty and Brundle's practice commentary. We had it all on surround sound, completely absorbing you in what you are watching. The channel will give everyone a 360 degree view of the sport, and with a top team covering it Sky Sports is upping the game. With more features than you could ever imagine, it will certainly be a channel constantly on my TV.

I must also say that the whole team were lovely. We all said our goodbye's and they all seemed really positive about the channel and are all extremely nice and friendly, while also being extremely funny too.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Buxton is a top bloke and great commentator, were lucky to have him for GP2.