With Formula 1 about to go in for a mixture of technology and entertainment, it might be worth reflecting on the lead which the IndyCars have in that regard, and on where Formula 1 might learn a thing or two.
Quite apart from what is seen trackside, as a TV spectacle the lndyCar Series seems to be superior in several ways. Because the coverage is mainly by one network only, the standard of telecasting is much more consistent than in Formula 1, where things fluctuate woefully from race to race, usually depending upon the country of origin.
If you were to sit down and list the information viewers would most want to have (quite apart from a decent coverage of the racing itself, that is) it would probably include: frequent complete updates of cars and positions; lap times; reasons for dropping out; monitoring of pit stops with elapsed times, and re-runs of overtaking manoeuvres, collisions, and the like, which have a nasty habit of coinciding with commercial breaks (they do in some countries, anyway). All of the above seem to be done rather better by the Americans than their Formula 1 counterparts, too many of whom seem to think the field consists of one, two, or at most five cars. How many times has one heard Murray Walker almost frantic with frustration because the picture is firmly planted on the leading car, even though further down the field an exciting race-within-the-race is taking place? Many Formula I telecasts are obsessively concerned with leaders and winners, where a more balanced (the Americans might say ‘democratic’) coverage is preferable.
Finally, on a different tack, how is it that the IndyCars can get all four wheels changed with only one man per wheel in about eight seconds flat, whereas some Formula 1 teams do little better with two?
More haste, less speed?
John Day, Scullin, Australia.