The Sky’s The Limit
With Formula 1 gearing up for a new season, Sky have decided that they need something to back up their brand new coverage of the races on their new channel Sky Sports F1™ HD But more about that later!)
So what have they done?
Firstly there will be a Sky 1 Gadget Geeks special and then the appearance of the magnificent film Senna on Sky Movies.
And then there is THE PETROL AGE, a four-part series that tells the story of British motoring across the ages, presented by British actor Paul McGann, ex-Doctor Who and one of the stars of the cult film Withnail and I.
Featuring iconic cars and the incredible personalities that British motoring has introduced to the world in its role a major driving force in global motoring, each programme looks at one aspect of the phenomenon: Speed, Glamour, Icons and Trail Blazers. And, in each episode, presenter McGann looks at a key story that is related to the main theme. There’s archive footage, visits to motor museums, interviews and, as McGann said “I might even get to drive some classics!"
Paul continued: "It promises to be something of a personal journey of discovery into our national love of cars, our spirit of invention and design, our sense of adventure and competitiveness and our fascination with beauty." Clare Handford, commissioner for the show, said: “Paul McGann will take us on a revved up ride through the very best of British motoring, from the most glamorous and iconic cars we've ever produced, to the superfast hybrids we are creating today. It’s a unique way to look at British innovation over the last 100 years.” And, judging by the trailers that have appeared for the show, it’s going to be a a fast and interesting ride.
All this to publicise and compliment Sky’s brand new channel Sky Sports F1™ HD, the “new home of Formula 1™ [which] will be the only place to enjoy live coverage of the whole Grand Prix™ season, including all practice and qualifying sessions and every race in the calendar.” All you have to do is have both Sky Sports 1 & 2 or have Sky HD to get the new channel for free.!
Sky’s purchase of Formula One caused a bit of a furore when announced, especially from lovers of terrestrial television (or haters of satellite) but now the dust has settled, it’s time to accept and watch.
They’ve put a lot of effort into the channel with a stackload of special ‘effects.’
Viewers will be able to pick from eight video feeds — including cameras on-board and in the pit lane — and get access to a host of stats, Race Control provides access to highlights of the race so far, and other features including an F1-related Twitter feed, statistics such as lap times and standings and a chance to explore the circuit are added to by a new Sky Sports app for the iPad includes a dedicated F1 section — and by the summer an update to the app will allow fans to watch up to three views at the same time. (The app isn’t available until just before this weekend’s first race in Melbourne)
Show slots will also explain the workings of cars — using a huge 3D interactive car that appears in front of Presenters Anthony Davidson and Georgie Thompson will also be using a huge 3D interactive car that appears in front of them to help explain the cars’ inner workings. They can spin that car round and focus on small parts of the car to explain how, for example, down force works.
Lead commentator David Croft said "This is going to revolutionise F1 coverage - in the same way Sky has changed the game for all sports it covers."
So what does this weekend offer?
Broadcasting every session from every grand prix in 2012, the new channel will be going to air live at 1am on Friday morning to cover Practice One from Melbourne with Practice Two at the rather more reasonable hour of 5.15am.
At 9.30am the first edition of The F1 Show, presented by ex Sky Sports news anchor Georgie Thompson and Ted Kravitz, pit lane reporter ‘nabbed’ from BBC’s coverage..
The action then resumes at 2.45am on Saturday morning with coverage of the third and final Practice session and is followed with live and exclusive coverage of Qualifying from 5am (re-broadcast at both 8.30am and 12.30pm.)
Every session of the weekend is then repeated in full from 8pm, culminating in the start of coverage of the Australian GP from 4.30am with Sky Sports F1's coverage of the race both live and exclusive as well as uninterrupted, with commentators Martin Brundle and David Croft, along with expert analysis from the likes of Damon Hill. .
Barney Francis, Managing Director of Sky Sports, commented: “We can now tell the whole story of the season, from every Grand Prix, from start to finish. Formula 1 will get the full Sky Sports treatment. We have big plans for live shows and a rich line-up of Formula 1 programmes; getting to the drivers, exploring the technology and lapping up the drama.”
Sky changed the world of football. Maybe they’ll do the same for Formula One?