“How times have changed since those very early days of For­mula 1 tele­vi­sion com­men­tary!”

F1 Racing - - CHEQUERED FLAG -

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.

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