Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

The race of the unwatchable champions - Broadcast woes make the end of year spectacular a disappointment

Published by Mr. C

So that didn't exactly go according to plan, did it? I guess it should have been expected of course, past experience and all that. 12 months on it's a familiar case of history repeating. For two years running now we've missed sizeable portions of the Race of Champions and we managed to catch about as much of this year's event as we did back in 2009, which put politely, was not a chuffing lot.

Lock and load

No doubt those responsible for providing the official online broadcasts will be ready with an armful of platitudes, but ultimately two years of awful coverage have left us with nothing but disappointment about an event that really should be one of the racing highlights of the year. Non-stop action, rapid driver turn around, wall-to-wall entertainment and a fantastic lineup of stars. In return all we get is a video feed that resets itself randomly, loops endlessly and then locks you out for good measure.

If I have to type in that Freecaster TV unlock code one more time, I swear I'm going to strangle our panda. Refresh, unlock, unlock, refresh, unlock... It's the Krypton Factor of online streaming.

The problems didn't end when the video stream occasionally worked mind you. By definition Factbyte Factbox requires a certain amount of facts in order to operate. Many things in life are open to interpretation, but in racing the stopwatch should never be one of them. On several occasions during the time we were viewing, drivers, commentators and organisers all managed to disagree on who finished where. As Sandy in the comments put it:

How can timing screens get it wrong?! That shouldn't even be possible.

*has trust issues now*

- Sandy

At one point during the broadcast it became clear that the rules for the event were still in a state of flux. Clearly discussions had been ongoing prior to the event as to what would happen if there was a tie, to the point the commentary team really were not sure which ruling would be applied. As F1 fans we're more than used to a little incompetence from those who define racing regulations, but you couldn't help feel that RoC organisers took their own incompetence to a whole new level.

Money for nothing

For two years now we've tried and failed to enjoy the Race of Champions, last year the event was beset by a multitude of other issues. After struggling through one half of the two day event, we're throwing in the towel. Nobody asked us to cover anything, but it was something we wanted to do and were excited to do. The Factbyte Factbox doesn't magically materialise out of the ether, we stupidly put a lot of thought and effort into it - creating custom widgets and more, solely for these two days.

Despite previous disappointments, we gave this year the benefit of the doubt, paid the requisite streaming fees and encouraged others to do the same. If our expectations were too high so be it, but there are better ways to waste our time than on this nonsense. Can we have our 4.99 EUR back please?