It is a well-known fact among the Formula 1 community that the media coverage in the prestigious motorsport is composed of mostly British-based people. Due to this, fans within the sport more often than not expect at least some sort of ‘bias’ to come from the commentary team from F1’s largest English-speaking broadcaster, Sky Sports, which is comprised of David Croft and Martin Brundle. However, there are instances where the ‘bias’ becomes disgustingly obvious with the commentary team drooling over British achievements in the sport — almost as if the media doesn’t care how overly apparent it may seem for viewers around the world.
Disregarding non-Brit fanbases
The usual argument when members of Sky Sports are called out for this ‘bias’ is that the content is primarily broadcasted on a British feed that is Brit-based and aimed at British viewers and consumers. However, this content is not exclusively dispersed around the UK, but to English-speaking audiences around the world — which even includes the pre and post-session shows media articles on the Formula 1 application. The ‘biased’ narrative towards British drivers and teams makes it rather unfair for non-Brit fanbases who pay subsequent fees and reserve several weekends of the year just for English Formula 1 coverage who would prefer a degree of impartiality and variety throughout the grid.
A recurring F1 trend throughout the years
In an attempt to showcase this ‘bias’, we can take a trip down memory lane — back when Sebastian Vettel won his 4th consecutive world drivers’ championship, and consequently, Red Bull’s 4th constructors’ championship in a row at the conclusion of the Formula 1 2012-13 season.
Martin Brundle and David Croft did not seem too pleased about the success of the pairing as both commentators gave back-handed comments towards Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, and Red Bull aerodynamicist and car designer Adrian Newey — implying that Vettel’s success had nothing to do with his ability on the track — and everything to do with the prowess of the team to create a motorsport masterpiece.
Earlier this year, Max Verstappen was repeatedly questioned on the 51-G collision he had with Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix. In one pre-race interview that featured Hamilton and Verstappen in the same segment, the Dutchman finally snapped at the interviewers as he had enough of the media’s efforts to insinuate controversial statements from the situation.
Via Matt Coch of Speedcafe:
“Now, can we just already stop about this because we had so many f****** questions about this, it’s just ridiculous,” he said. “Honestly. Honestly, the whole Thursday, we’ve been answering this s***** s*** all the time. So can we just stop about this? We are racers, we will race. Of course we’re going to race hard but fair, so we keep pushing each other.”
Formula 1 legend and current Alpine driver, Fernando Alonso shared his thoughts and experiences on the alleged ‘bias’ British media has towards certain drivers. In fact, Alonso states that he, along with Max Verstappen, are both painted as villains of the sport.
“It was what I felt when I was racing and it seemed like I was the bad guy in F1, when I was trying to fight against normally British guys. So when I saw the Silverstone thing or when I see what Verstappen gets some questions etc, I understand his position for sure,” summed up Alonso.
“It is a British environment you know all the teams they are British, most of you guys, journalists, or the media attention, I don’t know TV crews, everyone comes from the UK and understandable there is a little bit of preference of the guy on your country that can be competitive and keep winning,” he said
Finally, after the most recent Turkish Grand Prix, Skysports F1 gave British McLaren driver Lando Norris a post-weekend driver rating of 7.5 after beating out teammate Daniel Ricciardo. However, other than that it was quite an uneventful race for Norris — starting 7th on the grid and finishing 7th as well.
While French Alpine driver Esteban Ocon, netted a score of 7.0 even after starting from 12th on the grid to finishing within the points at 10th, all while surviving on only one set of intermediate tires, becoming the first driver to finish a race without making a pitstop since 1997 — something Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton failed to do — isn’t that something worthy of a higher driver rating?
Nevertheless, Skysports has delivered high-quality content for English-speaking Formula 1 fans around the world throughout the years — although it wouldn’t hurt to see some changes to their delivery one way or another.