Why Was The F1 TV Direction At Monaco So Bad? - WTF1
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Why Was The F1 TV Direction At Monaco So Bad?

We all know that the Monaco Grand Prix isn’t the most exciting race on the calendar. With such a tight and twisty circuit around the Monte Carlo streets, overtaking is quite a rarity. However, in today’s race, we looked to have a tasty battle on our hands with Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly… until the TV direction cut away to a totally irrelevant clip of Lance Stroll running wide.

Fans everywhere couldn’t believe it. The one bit of action at the most processional race of the year, and we missed it to see Stroll run over some kerbing. Unbelievable.

Things seemed to go from bad to worse when we were finally shown a replay before THAT cut away, too, for a Sergio Perez pit stop. It seemed whatever happened on that run up to Casino Square was so good that TV direction didn’t want to share it with anyone.

Even commentators were gobsmacked.

“What’s happened? We need to know who’s going to come out in front?”
“Mr Race Director, show us the action, please!”

So, why was TV Direction so disastrous this weekend? Well, in short, it’s the one race that F1 isn’t in charge of. Instead, TMC, a french television channel, is responsible for what’s broadcast around the world.

This isn’t a new thing. BBC and ITV both have experience organising the British Grand Prix direction, with Fuji Television looking after the Japanese Grand Prix until F1 took control from the 2012 season onwards.

By eliminating the need for local production teams, F1 has provided more consistent coverage for fans. With more experience and knowing their equipment, they’re able to deliver skilful and professional coverage – something that was severely lacking from this weekend.

With the world feed being shown to millions of people globally, it’s vital to choose up the best racing action.

FOM – Formula One Management – have previously explained what TMC are accountable for over a race weekend. As well as making sure the cameras and microphones are in sensible places, TMC oversees replays, selecting which cars they want to follow and the general direction of the world feed.

 

They’re not in control of things like the timing screens, though, or setting up all the onboard cameras; that’s FOM’s duty.

I understand that following a live sporting event like the Monaco Grand Prix is going to be challenging. With 20 cars on the track, all doing their own race, it can’t be easy to switch cameras to follow a car around the track constantly. I imagine it’s similar to patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time—multitasking at its finest.

However, at what point does TMC have to hold up their hands and admit their coverage of their home race is not doing it justice? I’m not saying that with the FOM’s help, Monaco will become the best race on the calendar, and we’ll discover that there are actually hundreds of overtakes happening that were never shown on the world feed, but something has to be done. Surely?

Liberty Media and F1 need to step in, and soon. When watching an F1 race, or any motorsport event in general, it should be simple and natural and like you’re following that driver on their journey around the circuit; not suddenly abandoning the action to show a replay of a car going over some kerbs.

It completely ruins the viewer experience and leaves fans beyond frustrated.

What did you think about this weekend’s TV coverage?

14 thoughts on “Why Was The F1 TV Direction At Monaco So Bad?

  • Gary Grant says:

    100%. Get shot of this further stupid “Monaco tradition”.

    This race has absurd little allowances other tracks don’t get – and always has had. Thursday practice? The lorries parked at the top of a hill miles from the paddock because there is nowhere for them to go? The podium? The local TV coverage idea, like all of those, stinks.

    From a sporting point of view it needs to go. Yes it is a huge driving challenge, but it isn’t a contest, it isn’t a *race*. It is a Saturday time trial. While Formula E has shown that slower cars and categories can race round the layout, F1 long outgrew the track. Formula E could easily supplant F1 at holding a Monaco GP, with far better racing, the same great visuals and minimal financial loss to Monaco itself. So why is F1 still going there?

    Commercial reasons only. Wooing sponsors. Media hype bringing in viewers. There’s a point when “tradition” becomes a palm-off and not a positive. If you’re for Monaco staying a track “as is” and staying in F1, you’re for these things, not for motor racing.

    • Much as I agree with your comments about F1 having outgrown the track (and FE being more suitable for it), I’d rather some changes were made to the F1 formula than dropping Monaco. The cars are too big and too fast now – which of course is what loads of people were pointing out when Bernie brought in the last set of regulations that noone asked for. Hopefully the 2022 regs will be a step in the right direction – Monaco has never been a race for overtaking, but I don’t remember it being impossible in the past like it is now

      I think it’s important to retain some tradition. If Monaco can be dropped then Spa, Silverstone and Monza will be fair game next time some government comes in offering loads of money for another race in a concrete Tilke-drome

      • Use formula e cars from the manufacturers who are trying to ease into road car battery use to show their stuff just for this one race for a while they need a way to evolve into the new world by making the battery powered electric cars more relevant with larger battery power than fossil fuel power

  • Agreed! Thank God I’m not the only one absolutely dumbfounded by the coverage I watched. Let’s be clear though this is not only a problem during the Manaco gp. It is a regular occurrence there’s less action here so it’s more impact ful. It isn’t as complicated as the type of multitasking you described as they were literally already ON the action and made the insane decision to cut away from it. More then once. Mind blowing.

  • Jack Sparow says:

    TMC is not a french channel, TMC means Télé Monte Carlo. Monte Carlo is in Monaco. This is basic knowledge ffs

    • Katy Fairman says:

      TMC was formerly a national television channel for Monaco, which is where the Télé Monte Carlo comes from. However it is owned by the TF1 Groupe after acquiring the country’s share in the channel.

  • Nina D'Arcangela says:

    Monaco is steeped in F1 tradition. I don’t feel the circuit should be removed from the yearly lineup, but there may be ways to improve the weekend. Sprint races? Widen if and where possible? I know, it’s a street track and that limits options. The cars are longer and much faster, so what can be done to keep F1 racing there? I’m not an engineer, I can’t answer that, but Monaco is big – everyone wants to win there. It seems the real race in Monaco is quali, so maybe a little more fan emphasis on qualifying would help in that regard. As to the TV coverage, yeah, they really blew that, but it’s not unusual. It’s Monaco. Keep it for the tradition and the bragging rights, but bring in an additional new circuit to help the fans accept that while Monaco is F1 pedigree, it isn’t a make or break race for podium points only. Sprints for points, quali for excitement, and Sunday for the acclaim. Some things just deserve respect based on longevity and pedigree, and this street track is one of them.

  • Nina D'Arcangela says:

    Monaco is steeped in F1 tradition. I don’t feel the circuit should be removed from the yearly lineup, but there may be ways to improve the weekend. Sprint races? Widen if and where possible? I know, it’s a street track and that limits options. The cars are longer and much faster, so what can be done to keep F1 racing there? I’m not an engineer, I can’t answer that, but Monaco is big – everyone wants to win there. It seems the real race in Monaco is quali, so maybe a little more fan emphasis on qualifying would help in that regard. As to the TV coverage, yeah, they really blew that, but it’s not unusual. It’s Monaco. Keep it for the tradition and the bragging rights, but bring in an additional new circuit to help the fans accept that while Monaco is F1 pedigree, it isn’t a make or break race for podium points only. Sprints for points, quali for excitement, and Sunday for the acclaim. Some things just deserve respect based on longevity and pedigree, and this street track is one of them.

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