Alain Prost “really bored” by Baku and calls on F1 to shake up its TV coverage
F1 on TV
Alain Prost
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  22 Jun 2016   |  3:48 pm GMT  |  171 comments

Four times world champion Alain Prost has called on Formula 1 to improve its TV coverage in a bid to attract a younger generation of viewers to the sport.

Prost, who won three world titles for McLaren in 1985, 1986 and 1989, and one for Williams in 1993, described watching last weekend’s European Grand Prix in Baku via on-board cameras and said he was disappointed with how easy it made driving an F1 car appear to be.

The Frenchman explained that such camera angles would not encourage younger viewers to the watch F1 races because it did not come across as exciting.

He said: “I was on the on-board camera with Lewis [Hamilton] and he was talking at the same time. It’s not a problem to change something but it looks so easy at the same time something is wrong [on the car].

European Grand Prix 2016 Baku

“At the same time [with] the on-board camera, under braking, you cannot see the speed, you cannot hear the noise [or] see the difficulty on the neck.

“If I am a young guy, because I am really thinking about that at the moment [and] I am really aware about that, if I am [from] the young generation that won’t know too much about Formula 1 but I want to see what it is for the first time on TV but I am doing the same behind my PlayStation – it is not difficult.

“I want us to show something very difficult and it is maybe more difficult that we think in the car, but outside it doesn’t look difficult. So the show is not very good [and] I was really bored. I was really upset.”

Alain Prost

Prost, who was speaking to reporters at the FIA’s Sport Conference in Turin, also described the coverage of last Sunday’s race in Baku as “a disaster” because he felt the high-speed nature of the street circuit did not come across using the current camera angles.

He said: “I was behind my TV on Sunday, I did not watch Friday and Saturday practice and for the first time I did not look [at] qualifying, I could not do it so I could not see anything, I just followed on social media and everybody was [saying] the track was fantastic.

“I must say, that [it] was a disaster for me because I did not see the track that everybody was talking about. Everybody told me when they got back that the track was one of the best tracks they had ever seen, but on TV, if I am Alain Prost the old racing driver or if I am a fan looking at the show for the first time, I am not happy.

“I think the position of the cameras was not very good, it was really not a good show. Only making the cars in one corner, the left-right fast corners, look ok to get the impression of the speed.”

Daniel Ricciardo

Prost used a lap he drove in qualifying for the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez as an example of how old on-board camera technology conveyed speed and action better than the modern equipment.

He said: “For sure the on-board camera is not exactly the same level of performance of the new ones. [But] if you look at that, that is really something.

“The point is, when you are in the car, like this, you can feel exactly what I do more or less, and if you look at it quietly you will see that in some places when I brake you have the rear wheels locking and you can feel [it] because you can hear the engine.”

What do you make of Prost’s comments? Should F1 change its approach to TV to improve the show for future generations? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below or head over to the JAonF1 Facebook page for more discussion.

Featured F1 ON TV
FORMULA 1 ON TV Briefings
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!
1

Who else has noticed, besides how BORING the Tv presentation has become, that we have to see cameras cut to a sudden close up of an apparent celebrity, the crowed, the pit crew or some other person right at a crucial moment. I couldn’t care less if the Queen jumped out onto the track waiving her knickers, I want to watch the race, and ONLY the race get it.

Incidentally, do we have to always hear a running commentary of what we can see on the screen. Handy for the blind maybe and it happens regardless of what channel has the contract. Just occasionally (a lot) I would like to hear the sound of a car engine or two (yes I am a bloke. tut ) and would like to feel that I am there during the race. With all the tech available nowadays we should have as much audio experience as possible. From dts to dolby it should be similar to watching Rush but live and for real. But instead we seem to have to have constant discussion over and over without any gaps or hearing any of the race itself or the cars. Its not the radio guys! Some silence isnt going to get you sacked. Oh and I heard that Lewis Hamilton won. Good lad. Sadly I missed him crossing the line as I blinked at that precise moment they cut to him. After all they didnt feel it was worth showing his car for more than 10 laps before the end so it caught me by surprise. Still good man Lewis, well done.

2

Maybe they could stage the next European GP around the streets of London.

Oh wait. NVM.

3

Bored silly after all the hype, commentators betting less than 14 cars to finish, minimum 3 safety cars etc.
Also noticed you could have had a seat in any grandstand on race day, where were the spectators ? The odd balcony with a few bods but all in all the whole thing lacked “life”. Monaco is a boring spectator track but is visually pleasing for tv, Singapore is ok, I think it’s the backdrop and all the hoo ha that goes on and why we keep going back, going to try Suzuka this year as well for something different, hopefully it will live up to its reputation.
Bet if you stuck a camera on the nose it would be different

4
fernando is faster than me

halfway through 2016 and when it cuts to onboard the camera gltiches, it was especially worse this past weekend, almost every time. this is pathetic and needs to be fixed.

5

Totally agree with his comments. Not sure what he was about the Baku race, but it’s the first time I’ve ever switched off a race out of choice, through boredom….and I’ve watched some shockers in the 25 years I’ve been watching F1.

6

Prost is a very clever man and I agree with what he said. He confirms the fast bits were good – think he means last sector from T13 on which I mentioned in a previous post. The reason they are exciting is that you can see different angles even the slow corner exit front on shot at the castle was good but there was not enough of that elsewhere. More importantly there needs to be more fixed point shots with the car approaching, side on, braking and turning wherever possible because they give the best indication of their speed /’braking. I remember standing just beyond T3 in Melb many years ago watching them approach, brake right in front of me disappear for a split second re appear at 4 squirt down the short straight and turn left at 5 lightening speed it just blew me away- This needs to be captured mire wherever possible. Also replicating what the human eye sees rather than zooming in 10x and pan out as is often the case.

To a point I understand that we cant see the effort or forces acting on the drivers as much as the past but thats really more to do with the cars & tracks improving as much camera technology. I would also like to see more rearward facing shots between face & shoulder that give great perspective of car & driver especially corner exit, duals, and acceleration- like the 2005 clips on exit of eau rouge on the rise up to Blanchimont really quite stunning- jet fighter like shots!.

These are the things that make F1 a spectacle and if done correctly wont lose sponsors air time and visibility it may actually inspire more creative thinking in the livery. (Along with that S word which will trigger that S poster)

7

F1 must introduce yellow caution system as indycar does , to close gaps between cars and make races more interesting , in a normal race , Mercedes take the lead and it goes like that for a whole hour in a half

8

AP is right, it was boring but more so for me because of the commentary,to listen to it there was only one person on the track,virtually no one behind or in front of Hamilton was mentioned,why are they all so sycophantic about him? His name was mentioned in neatly every paragraph.There are some of us out here who are interested in everyone and every thing that is going on.

9

I never thought that I would find my self agreeing with Alain Prost, but Baku coverage was boring.Baku was predominantly another boring race, so how could the coverage enliven it? The Free Practices were more exciting (I missed qually so can’t comment).

I was so disappointed! I thought the circuit promised so much and delivered so little.

There is talk on other sites about Baku having been criticised for being ‘too dangerous’ and here in lies part of the problem for F1 in my opinion. Tell the two wheeled heroes who race around Macau or the North West or the Isle of Man that Baku was ‘too dangerous’ and you will rightly be laughed at with little or no mercy.

I am currently reading ‘Mansell: The Lion at Bay”. I recommend it to those that remember one of the few ‘Golden Ages’ of F1 and to those that get excited by today’s F1 Siesta.

I am prepared to accept that by not being one of The Play Station Generation, F1 isn’t meant for me anymore and that is why the constant navel gazing rather than excitement is slowly but surely alienating me, and no doubt many many others.

10

also, camera angle close to the ground watching the car go away, preferably over bumps with sparks firing out and the car twitching for control. That would show speed.

also, i didn’t get to watch the race. I recall a simulator shot on formula1.com that showed the cars from high above on one of the straights, passing between buildings. That showed speed. Like watching the IOM TT from a helicopter shot. You see the speed only when you have a reference.

11

One fix would be to turn off the image stabilization. It would look faster if you could “feel” the bumps through the tv.

12

having the on board camera look like a playstation is exactly what young people want to see. remember they’re the plugged in generation, pretty soon they’ll all be walking around with virtual reality googles on 24/7. I seriously doubt this young generation would understand the Prost and Senna or Hunt and Lauda style of racing.
reminds me of the TV episode of “Amercarna” with Ray Evernham where they have Kasey Kahne comparing a NASCAR car from the 70’s with one from today. he was totally clueless.

13

Prost has basically echoed my own sentiments regarding the Baku circuit. I only saw the highlights and was left underwhelmed as the camera angles simply did not show the circuit well or portray a impression of speed. They were supposedly setting record top speeds on that straight but it may as well been a town 20mph zone for it didn’t look fast at all.

14

Prost makes a fair point. Would be interesting for FOM to experiment with a couple of different camera techniques over a few races to compare it with current footage:

– remove/lessen gyroscopic stabilisers on a couple of onboard cameras
– using a less wide angle lens on the onboard camera (maybe combine with the new side view)
– remove/reduce the amount of compression or levelling or whatever it is they’re doing with the sound that comes from the onboard mics.

Mounting smaller cameras with lower image quality closer to the cars (e.g. on the armco near the apex of a corner in Monaco, in a kerb, etc) would also be cool.

15

Spot on.

16

I See a few Key issues in making it look less spectacular:

– Cars are so heavy that they are less ‘twitchy’ through the corners and we lose some the acceleration visual. – Make the cars lighter.
– Tyres are so delicate that driving styles dictate avoiding any twitching and aggression in driving styles. – Keep quick deg tyres but make them less sensitive to thermal deg, Tyres need to reward aggressive driving.
– Cameras are so well stabilised that we don’t see any of the bumps, vibrations or the twitching that we do still have though reduced- Head-cam’s are surely the solution?

17

Nearly unanimous agreement with Prost. Interesting. Interesting indeed.

Many even don’t think it is camera angles alone that’s the issue. Also interesting.

18

@ sebee…i can’t talk for anyone else but the sound of that engine being ragged really brought me back instantly to those years of sheer enjoyment. i am not advocating a return to the past in its entirety, we’ve all moved on but there are elements that were integral to the F1 ethos that are just not there now. they are sadly missed.

19

Has Prost just bought shares in a TV/camera company? What’s he on about?

The only 2 camera angles needed are on board front and back and the aerial view. I’ve watched whole races just on onboard. (With a little flicking back to see other moves).

20

I agree with Alain, about 10 years ago when I first discovered F1 it was the on board camera angle (and the screaming engine) that excited my imagination and put me in my place. That angle, the rough ride and amazing speed made think about how un-achievable this driving would be for everyday people. I cant put my finger on it but the TV coverage certainly doesn’t seem as exhilarating as it once was.

21
Stephen Taylor

James do you think Iran will ever host GP?

22

Anyone else struck by the irony in this? As a driver Alain Prost is to F1 what Steve Davis was to snooker. Brilliant, but not exciting.
I was struck by the beauty of the Baku circuit in places, but allying the circuit to the history resulted in some noodley sections which looked very tight coupled with a comically long straight. Looks like a dogs dinner of circuit design. And I guess the lack of space made camera positioning options limited.
The REAL problem was a combination of the weird circuit and the obvious apathy of the small number of fans that turned out who saw that F1 is currently is not interesting at all. Ruined by out of touch management, overly complex cars and silly rules. Lewis seemed to have a lot of time to talk, the engineer couldn’t help him and this prevented the fans seeing the only racing that was going to happen on such a silly layout. Even the TV producers hands were tied.
Very frustrating.

23

I agree with Prost. TV is terrible and conveying the speed and skill involved. I am struck when I watch old footage like that in the documentary “1”. In that footage you can feel the speed, quickness and danger. Prost is right, they need to radically re-think how they film the races. There must be a way to convey the reality of these cars.

24

I may well be the odd one out and was strongly anti before the event but I enjoyed the whole weekend. The winner may have had an easy ride but there was enough going on behind to make up for that. The proximity of the buildings amplified the sound and the speed on the main straight was very evident.
It has always been a problem showing speed when panning up or down a straight and I am sure they will improve camera positioning next time.
It is completely false to believe that F1 racing has a history of being close and exciting for that reason. There have always been better/worse races and seasons.
For me it is the whole package that is the attraction.
Having said all of that I still believe the circuit is inherently unsafe and a major accident waiting to happen.

25

Regarding camera angles: I was watching Channel 4 coverage, and at the start they had a long-distance, rather hazy head-on shot of the grid. So when the lights went out, you didn’t get any impression of the cars moving away, or any idea of who got a better start. Totally pointless. Surely at the start you need a slightly elevated view of the grid, so you can see who gets away well, who bogs down etc?

26

Starts are crushing to me. I remember the sensation you would get from 20 or so V10s at red line waiting for lights to go out, screaming to be released. On TV it sounded awesome too, but in person you could not believe the insanity if it as you had ear to ear grin. I can only compare the whole thing to an F1 equivalent of an orgasm build up and release! Even V8s were fine. Now, they hum away peacefully and quietly. Starts make me sad.

27

prost is certainly right about his experience but completely wrong about young fans. most prefer reality to fiction..

28

So now is real and then was fiction?

DRS, wastegate, fake sparks, fuel flow restrictions – would you not put that in the fiction category?

29

prost is calling for changes to make f1 exciting. those changes will certainly be fake.
he should understand that he has had his time and it’s no longer his time.

30

Maybe F1 had it’s time and we’re just all hoping for some glory revival? Other piece declared F1 peak 1990s-2000s decades.

31

It is a shame, a missed opportunity for the cameras to get really close to the cars. Some lovely shots through the last series of bends onto the straight.

I want to see more cars blasting past a meter from the camera, to hear the noise of the debris raining on the armco.

For onboards, i think the major comparison with Alains lap is the apparent violence on the car, the driver, the energy transmission through the steering. All of that seems so dampened now on these billiard smooth tracks. I also miss the raw scream of the NA motors, the turbo soaks up so much of that excess energy that you can’t hear the impact of the road on the drivetrain.

Top Tags
SEARCH News