I refer to Motor Sport of September 1977, page 1143, the letter from a Mr. Sherrard. I must agree with him over the lack of Grand Prix coverage on British TV. I must confess I am not aware if the British Grand Prix has ever been televised as I have been in Italy for 2 years, and when I was in the UK I used to go and watch the race; probably as I didn’t have much faith in the TV coverage.
However, here in Italy things are vastly different. Last year I watched seven Grand Prix on TV here; the ones from Belgium, Monaco, France, Austria, Italy, Watkins Glen and Japan. This year the coverage is even better. Out of the Grand Prix held to date, the only ones NOT shown on TV have been the Swedish and British. Obviously there will be full coverage of the Italian GP on the 11th, and no doubt the remaining three races in North America and Japan will be televised. The race from Japan is tiring for the TV spectator, as it begins at 0700 on the Sunday, but last year it was worth getting up to see it, and watch James Hunt clinch the world championship. Maybe because of Ferrari or their national enthusiasm for racing the Italians seem to make more use of the facilities of Eurovision and the TV satellite system than the BBC.
The BBCs main use for this Eurovision link up would seem to be the Eurovision Song Contest and It’s A Knockout. Say no more!
Like Mr. Sherrard I also wrote to the BBC concerning TV coverage of GPs and advertising on racing cars. I enclose a copy of their letter.
I notice also that a letter on the same page of Motor Sport from a Mr. Yates in the USA stating the French GP was shown in the States, obviously by satellite direct from France. Come on BBC, how about it? Give us a rest from football, cricket, horse racing, and in this Silver Jubilee Year, let’s have some motorsport on TV.
Many thanks for an excellent magazine. Having spent three days at the Nurburgring in 1972 the German Grand Prix I can understand how D.S. J. feels about this circuit and its premier race. Similar feelings exist for me over Spa, but that is another story.
BFPO 8 – CPL. J. D. Upton
PS A colleague at work recently met a Mr. Butler at Paestum (south of Salerno) who used to race a Vauxhall 30/98 at Brooklands.
* * *
From time to time in Motor Sport I read complaints of motor racing coverage in newspapers and on television in Britain. I thought you and your fellow readers might like to know what coverage is like in a country where “sports” means hockey and football.
In Canada, the Atlantic series and our Grand Prix are telecast, not by the CBC, but by the CTV, a private network. Sound familiar? Most cities in Canada pick up the American networks, and two of them, ABC and CBS, are competing to be the motor racing network. ABC delivers the GP of Monaco and very good Indy 500 coverage, both with J. Y. Stewart hosting. CBS has fought back with same day coverage of two GP races this year, Long Beach and France, as well as many USAC and NASCAR races, with none other than David Hobbs doing the talking. The other network, NBC, leads in baseball and wants to stay there.
Here in Victoria one radio station leads all others in spreading the word about racing, with clear, factual reports and a fairly complete rundown of finishers, all this in between country and western music! Other stations are a bit lost, reporting Lauda crashing Porsches, Wolf-Brabhams on pole after the first day of practice, etc., but the most shocking mistake came after the Spanish GP in 1975. Rolf Stommelen was reported as having died in hospital after his accident in the race. It was not until several months later that I learned that Rolf was still with us.
And now for a note about British reporting. The only item I have read in the English press that really made me wonder was the comment by a vastly experienced writer in one of the weeklies, concerning your British World Champion. Recalling Hunt’s trials and tribulations on his way to the title last year, this scribbler said, in effect, “So what if Lauda had an accident and was nearly killed, James was affected for three races by a problem concerning the airflow over his rear wing after the rule change in Spain!”
Thankfully, Motor Sport has not been too guilty in matters like these. Apart from D.S.J. pining for a Lotus win for three years, then complaining when the moment arrives …!
Victoria, B.C., Canada – Alan Bushell
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