Guest Author - Christine Blachford
Formula One Management, and Bernie Ecclestone in particular, are known for being particularly stringent when it comes to controlling their video output. Of course, it is the basis of their entire business model, so it's no wonder that illegal F1 videos are always being torn down from sites like YouTube and DailyMotion. The problem that we, as fans, have is that there's nowhere else to go and see clips of the races.
FOM sell rights to the broadcast companies, and therefore can't just let the races be given away for free. However, now that there have been many, many calls to see footage from the Japanese Grand Prix, they've relented somewhat. After three very controversial penalties were handed out at the Fuji Speedway last weekend, FOM have put video onto their official website F1.com.
The video footage sits outside of the normal highlights package, and is a single showing of all three penalty incidents one after the other. The title of the page is: Japanese Grand Prix footage - what do you think?
It's an interesting move from F1's distributors, as they are usually so closely guarded about what video is shown and when. It doesn't seem like something they are going to make a habit of, as the page seems quite hastily put together. Perhaps they have finally listened to the calls of fans to be more open about what is going on out on track.
However, the problem they face now is that we know they can do it, and we're going to want it more often. Why couldn't they have done this for the Raikkonen/Hamilton footage at Belgium? This would have been very useful for that penalty as well. Also, the fact that they're asking for opinions, but not actually giving anywhere to submit them, makes me think that they're really just trying to rally the fans into action. They don't really want to know what we think, but they want us to start thinking about it. As if we weren't already.
It's certainly an interesting development so close to the end of the season, and is what I believe to be a one off video enhancement to what was already a fascinating race. We can only hope it happens more often, though, and perhaps in less controversial circumstances.