Atlas F1

Rory's Ramblings

An Occasional Column from the Antipodes by Rory Gordon, Australia

It was a busy, busy weekend some time ago. Non-stop the whole time. Go, go, go.

As a matter of fact, it got to the stage where I now cannot remember exactly where I was at any particular time. That whole weekend has become a bit of a blur.

What I can recall is a geographic sequence that spanned the globe. It started off in New Zealand with the New Zealand/Argentina Rugby Test. Then it was just a short hop over the water to Australia, where there was another Rugby Test, this time Australia and France. After that, with a few stops along the way, into South Africa to see that country take on the British Lions in yet another Rugby Test.

Then it must have been time to head north, into Europe for some GP. There was the French F1 GP at Magny-Cours. But, not that far away, there were also the bike GPs.

There must have been something happening in Britain, but I really can't remember what exactly it was. Well, there was supposed to be something going on in Britain, but the rain was tumbling down and the courts at Wimbledon were empty.

But that didn't matter because the big one was about to go down in the USA - Holyfield and Tyson.

As I said, a busy weekend.

But, before you get the wrong idea, I have to disappoint you and tell you that I was not clocking up the air miles and the frequent flier points by zipping all around the world in a series of jets. No, I spent most of the time perched in front of a TV monitor of one kind or another.

Yes, it was a weekend of non-stop TV sport. It might not look like very much, but when you toss in all the previews, and then the post-event analysis and commentary and replays, you find rather suddenly that there wasn't much time for sleeping or reading or anything else really - not if you wanted to be on top of it all.

I am still a little over-awed by all this technology. I find it quite hard to believe that the pitter-patter sound and the puddling sight of the rain onto the covers at Wimbledon can, in mere milli-seconds, be shot around the world to, basically, anyone who wants to watch and listen.

All in all, while the Northern Hemisphere events were "damp squibs" - if you'll forgive me - the rugby in the Southern Hemisphere did tend to get a little monotonous.

Wimbledon was a definite damp squib, with the rain tumbling down, causing unheard-of delays. And the Holyfield/Tyson event, the actual event, lasted a mere 3 rounds. But high up in their control rooms, the TV directors worked wonders with these events, turning non-events into, at least, happenings (with a little help from Tyson).

There must be only so much you can do with a tennis tournament when it is not going on. Having "expert analysis" will keep a few people content for a while, but it soon comes time to plug into some of those replays.

For the events that did actually have something happen, the TV directors must have been delighted with the ability to be able to send out some pictures.

We've probably all seen pictures of the inside of one of these control rooms, with its banks of TV screens, people issuing commands, and switches being flicked. To me, they always look like total mayhem, but the fact that the pictures and sound seem to come through in an apparently organised way to our TV sets must indicate that someone knows what they are doing.

In a way, the director must have terrific power. I've seen TV coverage of a GP that I knew was a great race, and the coverage seemed to imply that the race was a fairly mundane affair. On the other hand, I've watched what I thought was a dreary race, only to have my mind changed by a brilliant TV coverage.

But I've never wanted to be a TV director ... well, not very often!

I suppose that nearly all TV F1 GP watchers have, at some time or another, thought that they could do a MUCH better job of covering a GP than the person who's actually doing it.

After all, with all those monitors showing pictures from all those camera all the way around the circuit in front of them, they MUST be able to see where the real action is, because it's certainly not what is being beamed out to the world.

Well, maybe.

I've been thinking about Bernie's famous (or should that be "infamous"?) digital TV. Let me make this clear, I have not yet actually even seen any digital coverage of a GP, let alone had a chance to actually play with it. So, you may want to take what follows with a pinch of salt.

For a start, you're going to have to pay to get it. Personally, I don't watch a race (as opposed to report or comment on it) to have to sit there and think about what camera shot to use next. I want to be able to sit there and watch it.

Next, I don't know about you, but I would probably make a lousy director ... and that, to me, is what digital TV of GP is all about really. You will become the director of the coverage. All of a sudden, you won't be able to blame some poor faceless person sitting in a control room somewhere else. You will be the one in control.

If you miss the best overtaking manoeuvre of the season because you're too tied up following John Smith around a lap of the circuit, that's your problem.

Just think about that. No more throwing cushions at the TV set. No more cursing at the director. You'll just have to bite your tongue.

Thanks, Bernie, but I'll stick to the "normal" coverage, if it's all the same to you. That's all part of watching a GP on the TV ... oh, and moaning at Murray's latest gaffe!

But that's just me.

Rory Gordon
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