FIA Formula One World Championship —A Review of the 1987 Season produced by FOCA. 120 minutes. (distributed by Duke Marketing Ltd, PO Box 46, Douglas, Isle of Man. £32.50.)
For its longest seasonal review video yet, the Formula One Constructors Association’s television unit has adopted a two-tone approach, with unenthusiastic compere Peter Ustinov interrupting scriptwriter Simon Taylor’s familiar radio voice whenever anything other than race action arrives on screen. It is an approach which works well enough, although for entertainment value this annual production again fails to rival Clive James’ classic 1982 commentary.
Many of the jokes were stillborn, especially those in Ustinov’s introductory and concluding pieces filmed (for reasons which are quite beyond me) against the ugly backdrop of the Berlin Wall. For all that, Ustinov’s poetic pronunciation of Italian names is a delight to the ear and the remainder of this chronological treatment of the racing year gelled comfortably. Unavoidably, most of the dramatic moments are extracted from the entertainment provided for us throughout the year by the BBC, but welcome interlopers include footage of Piquet’s exploding brake-disc in Adelaide, Johansson’s deerhunting wreckage in Austria and Alboreto’s fiery Monaco collision with Danner. On-car camera-work which the television missed out on includes a frontal view of Nakajima ramming Warwick and a rearward view of de Cesaris’ BMW engine expiring. . .
Important to one’s intimacy with the F1 circus are snippets of interviews with drivers from both ends of the grid, Nelson Piquet stealing the show with his typically mischievous suggestion that Williams should sign Ayrton Senna to replace him as Nigel Mansell’s 1988 team-mate!
Semi-witticisms such as the subtle “A Painless Half-Nelson” notwithstanding, this is a fair and accurate record of how the World Drivers Championship was won, and by its very nature it holds an enormous advantage over the various documentary attempts which are dependent on the printed word. It is not cheap, of course, but nevertheless it represents better value for money than most other motor racing videos. GT