According to Guardian Unlimited, ITV are trying to get Steve Rider to present its Formula 1 coverage.
I actually suggested last week to my brother that ITV were trying to shift Jim Rosenthal away from F1, because Rosenthal has been presenting both boxing and football recently, and Angus Scott took his place in Belgium.
Could it be part of a bigger shake-up of ITV’s F1 coverage? I personally think ITV do a pretty good job with it, although I would obviously prefer there not to be any commercial breaks. Jim Rosenthal knew nothing about Formula 1 when he anchored ITV’s coverage from the off in 1997, and he’s got a bit of stick from some fans because of it. But I reckon Rosenthal has quite a bit of knowledge now, and his style is a lot more conversational than it used to be.
Remember also the rumours that James Allen is going to be replaced after Japan. Allen gets the goat of a lot of F1 fans, including me. Mind you, I have to admit he doesn’t seem as bad recently as he often has in the past. It seems like he’s taking criticism into account.
There’s been a significant shift in the time slots dedicated to coverage aswell. ITV don’t want to put North and South American qualifying sessions on ITV1 because it’s Saturday prime time. In the past they would have just recorded it and shown it at midnight or something. They’re still doing that, but today I was able to watch the Brazilian qualifying session live on ITV2. Last year I wouldn’t have been able to do that. Hell, ITV once even took the actual race off ITV1 completely, and showed it on ITV2 instead. That was years ago when most people didn’t have ITV2, including me.
When you consider everything, ITV are treating Formula 1 with a lot more respect these days than they used to, even when the sport itself probably deserves less respect than ever at the moment. If it really is all part of a shake-up in ITV to try and gain more respect from F1 fans, it’s quite an interesting development. It’s good that at last they seem to be taking criticism on board.