Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

F1 television realism // Could Formula One benefit from a reality TV show?

Published by Mr. C

It's about time Formula 1 had a dose of reality, or rather a dose of reality television.

You see it everywhere these days, in the UK it seems there's always some C-list celebrity doing something daft to get themselves TV exposure. Eating bugs, prancing on ice or whatever. Even IndyCar got the jump on F1 when Helio Castroneves recently won a television dance competition.

It's not just the stars that get a go either, after all Simon Cowell became a household name spotting the planet's untapped talent and putting them on our screens. A never ending stream of fresh-faced hopefuls paraded in front of a society that appears to have an insatiable appetite for more of the same.

Formula One should take note, a reality show could expose the sport to a much wider audience, specifically targeting armchair viewers which, let's be honest are the ones FOM are really interested in. So, if F1 could benefit from such a program, what would it be about?

Right now I'm led to believe there's a program on British TV that has something to do with choosing a singer to appear in a West End musical. Seems like a perfectly reasonable idea, the musical gets promotion, the audience gets to pick the star, the television company make money from phone-in voting.

Cheap content, everybody wins, oh yeah this show is currently being broadcast on the BBC. They just won a big contract to show Formula 1 next year didn't they?

Okay, so we have a broadcaster, a sport in desperate need of some good press, and a sensible business plan, but what should the viewers vote for?

Well, there's still that niggling question of commentators that the beeb need to sort out for next year. Everyone has an opinion right? A favourite lineup, a preferred team. It's the viewer who has to put up with whoever sits in the commentary box for the season, why shouldn't they get to vote on who that might be?

The BBC have the knowledge and infrastructure to pull off such a programme, okay they recently had some bad experience with phone-in competitions, but they're over that now, right?

As far as I'm aware no sports show has ever given this kind of control to the armchair fan, but it's those people who will be directly affected by the choice of commentator. Why not open the auditions to the general public, get the likes of Murray Walker, Martin Brundle and even Bernie himself to pre-select the bunch of hopefuls, Simon Cowell style, and leave us to do the rest?

The show could run during the close season, with the winner picked shortly before the opening race. Each week said hopefuls could be inducted into the art of F1 racing and F1 commentary. No experience necessary and the viewers can learn along with them, providing the twin solutions of training a bunch of fresh commentating wannabes whilst explaining the intricacies of Formula One to the masses.

As far as I can make out there aren't any downsides.

Okay it's not great news for the old hands like Brundle, but he could wear his trousers high and reinvent himself as a talent Svengali. C'mon, there's even room for Tamara, she could be the backstage girl hugging the tearful failures.

What do we think, is it a winner? Is there anyone else who'd fit neatly onto the judging panel, say in the Paula Abdul role? Who have I missed, and would we like to see a brand new, unknown F1 commentating line up?

Oh yeah, and finally, what in the world should such a show be called?