“How times have changed since those very early days of Formula 1 television commentary!”
When I commentated from Monza for the BBC in 1969 I sat in what I always think of as the ‘Mussolini’ art-deco concrete grandstand, surrounded by hordes of excited Italians.
They would jostle with each other to look at my monitor, which showed pictures from two fixed cameras. One of them looked unswervingly down the main straight and the other showed the second of the Lesmo bends. As a result of this, the cars were, incredibly, totally out of vision for much of the lap, during which I had to just keep talking until they appeared again.
In those early days, only selected races were covered; the TV pictures were black and white; there was no pre- or post-race coverage; just one commentator; no graphics; no in-car pictures; no pits-to-car radio messages; no helicopter shots; no grid walks; no pitlane and paddock commentators; no driver interviews; and no monitors providing race order, sector times, lap times, personal and overall best times, weather information, and more, for the commentator. It was basic and, compared with now, the audience was small. But it all had to start somewhere.