Pirelli make really good tyres

On this weekend’s preview show, the BBC F1 folks wasted 10 minutes talking to a load of dull as ditchwater feeder series drivers, all brits. I don’t even remember which feeder series it was, but it was either F2, GP2 or GP3. Anyway, two of the drivers hadn’t even bothered to master use of the words ‘for sure’ but luckily one of them (I think he’d come second in something) did have it nailed, and used for sure, four times, in one short and banal statement about his future hopes and dreams.

The one saving grace in this whole sorry mess was that Lee McKenzie was cheeky enough to take the piss out of him for saying it so much.

So why was this desperate feature included? My guess, it’s a sop. The BBC F1 people, fearing for the future of their coverage, are trying to bolster up the ‘look look we support grass roots sport here’ subsection of whatever ghastly, overly beaureaucratic report the BBC Trust will force them to make in the name of ‘consultation’ before shutting them down and letting the rights go elsewhere.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I love the BBC F1 coverage, it’s great.

On the other hand I f**king hate the ‘unique way the BBC is funded’ and the ‘nanny knows best’ attitude of the BBC Trust which comes as a result. Make no mistake, the BBC is screwed, it’s got a financial settlement tighter than schumachers mid 90s overalls, and desperately needs to cut costs, fast.

If it was down to me I’d let the commercial broadcasters get on with it. Nothing’s more commercial than F1, so there’s no less suitable place for F1 than on a ‘non-commercial’ channel.

Why? The small matter of sponsorship activation.

When someone sponsors something they want something in return. It’s human nature. It’s good business sense. It’s also contrary to most of the arcane rules governing the BBC.

The BBC’s rules are so arcane that even when someone DOESN’T sponsor something they STILL get their arses in a twist about it. Cue the anquished series of multi-level meetings which must have accompanied the decision to cover Jake’s iPad in layers of carbon-look sticky backed plastic.

When the BBC screwed up by allowing Robinsons to sponsor sports personality of the year it created such an almighty f**ktastrophy that I’m surprised anyone involved with the decision is still alive.

Yep, the BBC is one messed up organisation.

So, when I saw a nice feature on tyres in the show last saturday, I scarcely raised an eyebrow. Mid way through I thought ‘Pirelli have done alright out of this’ and chuckled. When I heard that the last line was DC saying ‘thank you Pirelli’ I thought – ‘kudos, pure marketing gold’.

It wasn’t until they returned to Jake, who introduced the lovingly assembled collection of gleaming tyres and referred to the ‘press officer’ who had recently departed the scene that I began to fear for Jake and team’s naivete. This feeling of ‘guys, guys, stop, tone it down’ grew as the plaudits continued.

I don’t think there was anything wrong with the Pirelli report, I quite enjoyed it. It’s OK that Pirelli invited Martin Brundle to test their car. Pirelli are part of F1, they’ve paid to be there (oh god) and they have a right to exploit that (err).

I’ve lived with American motorsport coverage, I’ve lapped it up and I would be quite happy to hear ‘Fernando Alonso is carrying the Santander onboard camera’ and ‘let’s recap the overtaking moves with Perky Jerky, your overtaking friend’.

But I’m not the BBC Trust, and THEY are ****s. THEY use words like ‘undue prominence’ in big weighty reports entitled ‘taking your sport away and giving it to Channel 5’.

That’s all I’m saying.

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