ITV F1 wins another Bafta — they must be clueless

ITV F1 have won their second Baftas in two years. For the many non-British readers of this blog, the Baftas are the most prestigious television awards in the country — our equivalent of the Emmys.

Can you guess which race they won it for?

*drum roll*

The Canadian Grand Prix

The most dire F1 broadcast of last year. The programme was so bad that ITV were inundated with complaints and even offered an “apology”, although it was more of a “lame excuse” if you ask me. Strangely, however, the apology has completely disappeared from the ITV-F1 website, Stalin-style. In its place is a mysterious article entitled ‘How BMW turned its form around’ that contains no text. Were ITV worried in case the Bafta academy saw it? (The original article lives on in the Web Archive.)

But F1 fans are not fools. We know a bad broadcast when we see one and we don’t have fish-like memories. Here is Keith Collantine’s post about it. You can also read mine.

Even if you are a Lewis Hamilton fan, ITV’s coverage of the Canadian Grand Prix was less than fitting of the Brit’s maiden win. The coverage was abruptly cut short immediately after the podium ceremony. There was no press conference and not even a sniff of analysis — just a rushed wrap-up.

Even James Allen’s usually awful commentary reached a pretty low nadir as he messed up Hamilton’s chequered flag moment. He started his “winning yelp” far too early which just made him sound a bit silly: “LEWIS HAMILTOOOOON……… … … … [checks watch]… … [reads newspaper] ……WIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNS!” (Check the audio here.)

Furthermore, no other Grand Prix last year was littered so much with adverts. 17 minutes and 15 seconds of race action was missed by British viewers because of ITV. That is over 16% of the race. It is also around three minutes more than even the next most advert-interrupted race. If this happened during a football match there would be nothing short of outrage, and you can bet your bottom dollar it wouldn’t win a Bafta.

ITV won a Bafta last year for its coverage of the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. This also “happened” to be another maiden win for a Brit, Jenson Button. But that was also if anything a sub-standard ITV broadcast as Martin Brundle, the only decent person on the ITV F1 team, was not present.

As with Craig from Craigblog, I am spotting a pattern here. No matter how bad their coverage is, ITV F1 will win a Bafta as long a Brit wins a Grand Prix for the first time. We all know that no matter how good their coverage was, ITV would not have won that Bafta unless Lewis Hamilton had won. In which case, the Bafta should go to Lewis Hamilton, not ITV / North One. And last year’s should be handed to Jenson Button.

Bafta are an absolute disgrace. If academy members had carried out even a cursory web search they would have found out that ITV’s coverage of the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix attracted several complaints. Moreover, they would have found out that the vast majority of F1 fans are less than enamoured about ITV’s approach towards F1.

I wrote about ITV winning their Bafta last year. Today, it is one of the most popular posts on the blog (908 visits in the last week alone, compared to 520 for the 2nd most popular post and 255 for the third most popular).

Let us not also forget that no less an authority than Ross Brawn has criticised ITV’s coverage of Formula 1. And I haven’t even touched on the overwhelming Hammy-hype. We F1 fans really have got a bum deal from ITV, and the fact that they are showered with praise in MSM backslapping events just rubs salt into the wound. It widens the ever-growing divide between we fans on the ground and our overlords in the mainstream media.

All I can say is, thank goodness F1 coverage is moving back to the BBC next year. I don’t think I can stand much more of this.

Now where’s the sick bucket?

Read more on this travesty at F1Fanatic.


  1. Assuming Anthony Davidson can manage a win next year then the Beeb are odds-on to win the BAFTA next year!

    And you never know, a rain soaked incident-packed race and it might just happen!

    The whole thing is just a disgrace, not only against ITV but also against BAFTA.

  2. Seriously guys. Do you think a F1 coverage is worth any prize? Does ITV send cameras to the circuits? Do they add something to the official broadcast?. Don’t you think that TV is the perfect way to follow F1 (refer to previous post).
    I am sure you have great examples of football or rugby coverages…

  3. I didn’t think Anthony Davidson did too badly while Brundle was on holiday when Jenson won in Hungary personally.He did a good job of giving an insight as a test driver at the time.

    But yes , this is a bloody joke which discredits whoever’s won that BAFTA in the past.As you said , they seem to award the gong based on the occasion on the basis that ITV have covered it for us to “enjoy” and should get the award.If Hamilton won the championship in Brazil they’d have got it for that.

    Ponzonha , ITV do send their own camera crews and presenters to the circuit , and do a 1 hour buildup but it’s become really myopic over the last year.Particularly in Brazil I’d have rather they did what Grand Prix did – run you through the grid positions , championship tables and take you out to Murray and Jonnathan for the formation lap.

  4. […] An episode last year highlighted the sorry state of ITV’s F1 coverage – and the lack of comprehension in traditional media about the contempt most fans hold it in. After a frantic Canadian Grand Prix which saw Robert Kubica suffer a huge crash and lewis Hamilton score his first win, ITV rushed through the post-event coverage so they could hurry on to other programming. After masses of criticism fans ITV published a pitiful attempt at an apology. Despite the hammering they took from the public, ITV were inexplicably handed a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award – and quietly took the apology down for their website. […]