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Stepping back into Monaco history

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Jake Humphrey | 07:29 UK time, Wednesday, 20 May 2009

I feel weird. I'm sitting writing this at my dining room table, dinner is almost ready but I have a sneaky suspicion I won't be able to eat much tonight.

You know how you felt when you were six years old and it was 5pm on Christmas Eve and the sooner you sleep the quicker it's Christmas? Well that's just how I feel right now... I want to go to bed so I can wake up and it's time for... Monaco!

When I knew I was going to be doing this job, there were two races that I immediately got excited about for very different reasons.

Silverstone's farewell to Formula 1 will be a really emotional, possibly quite mournful day but an event I am totally honoured to be charged with bringing to the nation's living rooms.

The other race that gets my heart beating faster than usual is the point and squirt around the Principality this weekend, and for me it's all about walking in the shadow of motorsport history.

I guess this excitement about Monaco's past looks positively mundane when surrounded by such affluence from yachts to cars to opulent sea-front hotels (which the BBC won't be gracing!) and more parties than you can shake a dry martini at.

To be totally frank with you, though, over-the-top extravagance just makes me feel a bit self-conscious... not to mention it being mildly distasteful in the present climate. Mind you, you can't argue that the place that stands for ultimate luxury also possesses the ultimate test of driver precision.

Anyway, Monaco's past. It is a track that has changed little since wealthy cigarette producer Anthony Noghes organised the first Monaco GP in 1929, won by British driver William Grover-Williams (I'm jealous of that name) in his British racing green number 12 Bugatti.

On safety grounds alone, it's difficult to imagine the circuit being approved if it applied to join the calendar today, but 80 years of history and a unique status in F1 mean its place is secure - if there's one race Bernie won't be taking off the calendar, it's this one!

After "Williams", as he was known, romped to victory, the circuit belonged to Juan Manuel Fangio, the legendary Argentine racer who secured his first F1 win on the streets, then Graham Hill, who was the original master of the circuit with five wins in the 60s.

But for someone like me it was Ayrton Senna who really ruled the streets. I was only six when he threw his Toleman around in the rain in '84 to introduce himself to F1 fans as a star of the future, and what an introduction it was, hey? Just eight years later he had that titanic battle with Nigel Mansell as our British hero tried in vain to get past him.

Anyway, the point of this blog? Well, it's to explain the opening to the race this Sunday.

What you will see is me taking a step back in time to discuss the unique demands of Monte Carlo with some of racing's legends of the past.

Quite simply, the advice the likes of Hill, Jochen Rindt, Jackie Stewart and John Surtees shared with my compatriots of the time is identical to the thoughts the Buttons, Raikkonens and Hamiltons of today have running through their minds, and that's unique.

Where the racers of 50 years ago stood on the brakes, jammed the throttle down or went within an inch of disaster, so the drivers do today. But how could we bring this link with the past to life?

Simple - if we couldn't bring the '60s to the new millennium, we'd send me back to the '60s. Essentially what this involved was me taking the place of my predecessor on a show called Wheelbase and while producers Richard and Julian directed me where to look and how to talk, it was my job to make talking to some green paper seem convincing once the magic of modern technology (that I don't remotely understand!) had waved its magic wand.

So that's the idea, but what was it actually like in its execution? Well, I was keen for you guys who read my blog to see how it's done - after all you do seem to be keen on the backstage element of our production. So a BBC crew filmed the day as it unfolded and the finished video is right here for you to watch. The shoot lasted hours... the vid isn't that long.

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I hope you enjoy it, I hope you like the finished version come race day, and I really hope that during the weekend when people's gaze is distracted by the latest 'super-yacht' cruising into the harbour, that we'll all remember that Monaco is so much more than just what we see today.

May it provide a great story for someone on Sunday, just as it did for Grover-Williams 80 years ago.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Such an excellent idea! If this works (and with production values like in the vid, it surely must!), it will be fantastic. It'll be brilliant to see the archive footage anyway, but this is a fun, unique, and interesting way to do it. As for the outfit, don't you know that 50's is the way to go in 2009? Keep the shirt and tie for the big day! Thanks for the behind the scenes vid.

  • Comment number 2.

    Jake, will DC be hosting the BBC in his hotel?

  • Comment number 3.

    This may sound desperatly sad , But can please try and get on the biggest boat you can ? , And do tell us what it was like . AND who's it was ? .

  • Comment number 4.

    Really looking forward to this weekends GP and all the usual and unusual coverage.
    Don't enjoy yourself too much, you've got work in the morning!!

  • Comment number 5.

    Jealous! Yours and Gavin Strachans blog is by far the best on this website. A superb insight coupled with passion makes for great reading

  • Comment number 6.

    Also, I recognise you from my childhood on CBBC but I can't place you!

  • Comment number 7.

    Unclearengineer - you beat me to it!

    Looking forward to the weekend, but will be Sky plussing the race. Can you please make sure that the red button post-race round up is put on this site in its entirety this time?

    By the way, the feature looks good and thanks for the behind-the-scenes stuff.

  • Comment number 8.

    That was a great piece of filming, as always love reading your blog.

  • Comment number 9.

    one word = jealous

  • Comment number 10.

    It's a hard job but someone's got to do it!

    The VT looks great and I hope it's accompanied by some suitably groovy 60's music.

    For your post race blog, I request that you spill the beans on some of the post race partying. There may be a recession going on but that doesn't mean we can't all live vicariously through another's good fortune and not condemn you for it!

    Also in contrast to the yachts and hotels, why don't you take a camera and go and chat to the guys sitting up on the Rocher hill - I did it once, having arrived on the overnight train. Terrible view, incredibly uncomfortable but still totally magical and very very noisy.

    xJess

  • Comment number 11.

    Hmm.

    Not sure I like this idea, feels a bit gimmicky. In fact it feels remarkably like Lewis Hamilton's newest promotional piece where he's green-screened next to Steve McQueen in Le Mans..

    Is where you got the idea..?

  • Comment number 12.

    it is a very "gimicy" idea and it will work well, but the issue is whether this facney set of effects will distract the viewer from the content.. as to do the piece with just clips in one way would be just as good.

    If you want to waste licence payers money on fancy stuff like this can you do something with old f1 cars like itv last year... who by the way had far better pre race features.

    Second can you please link the vidoes you play during the weekend... you just stop talking abruptly.. there is a pause while someone thinks and then week get a 20 secon blast of something like "over stear" by martin brundle (they are good bits) but some sort of flow to your production wouldnt go a miss.

    Finally tell legard to finsish his comentry on somthing "like i will see you in..." rather than just stopping on a random point like a description of a corner on the rack.

    I cant help feeling that i could produce it better ahah

  • Comment number 13.

    Fantastic, simply fantastic. Love the video!

    Love the blog, although if that's an egg sandwhich, why does it look like a scone?

    Anyway can't waite for the race on sunday, even more so now i've seen this video. You have really hit a nail on it's head with this coverage this season, hats off to you all on the team.

    One thing though, Martin Brundle used to do an Inside F1 feture on the ITV coverage explaining all the little ins and outs of driving a Grand Prix car and how certain things (ie rain, wind, following another car) would affect the way your car handled. I know he's doing those little bits here and there about tyres and steering wheels and that, but will he be doing anything as comprehensive as the ones he did for the ITV?

    Thanks for the blog, keep it up!

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Jake. Many thanks for the great F1 presentation so far this season.

    Just one thought - it is exactly 50 years ago this month that Murray Walker began commentating for the BBC from Silverstone on BBC Radio. I do hope that the Beeb are planning to mark Murray's fantastic career in some way. Could I suggest that it would be fitting to have him commentate on this year's British GP either on TV or - perhaps more appropriately on radio.

  • Comment number 15.

    Welcome back! I have been eagerly waiting for your pre-Monaco entry. I really enjoy reading your blog, especially the behind the scene photos and the 'auto-signature' kisses of yours make it that much more personal and real. Loving the video too, looking forward to the final version on Sunday, think you should have wore bell-bottom though??

    I think you have done a brilliant job so far presenting the F1 despite not have any previous experience in F1 broadcasting, but clearly you're a thoroughly competent presenter and have the natural talent for the job. Keep up the good work! One thing though, I realised you don't smile much on TV.. please give us a smile in Monaco :)

    Just out of interest, do you do any other work in between races?

    Enjoy your weekend in the glamorous Monaco and I am sure you won't fall off the super yacht!

    Josephine xx

  • Comment number 16.

    Excellent blog jake.

    I think we really get the sense of just how lucky you feel being so close to the action. Coverage has been superb so far, getting used to leggie and even the missus is getting interested which doesn't hurt (Especially when I press the red button for the forum). Think her interest may have something to DC or EJ, haven't decided which yet....they're both so cute apparently!!!!

    I don't share her opinion exactly, but think the team is a good mix of humour, complete and utter eccentricity (yea, him!) and technical knowledge (yea, him!).

    Well done, and have a good time in Monaco, you lucky git!

  • Comment number 17.

    Yeah, I like it. Think you could have done with a little Brylcreem and maybe some glasses but I'm being picky.

    Love the blog and can't wait for the race - go Jenson & Lewis!!!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Is it just me or were you eating ALL THE WAY THROUGH !!! Getting in some pre-race practice for th epost-race parties no doubt !!

    Oh, and to the people complaining about the Beeb's coverage - frankly I'd be happy for the program to be presented by Jimmy Saville with The Krankies & Frank Spencer as pundits to be able to watch F1 uninterrupted on terrestrial telly. The fact that they've given the job to a professional presenter who's done the graft on kids telly and in torrential downpours as a supporting presenter at the Euro's (I still envied you despite the rain), is of an age that bridges the generation gap nicely but most importantly of all is a genuine fan of the sport is a masterstroke in my humble opinion. I haven't enjoyed watching sport on the BBC this much since Big Des left Match of the Day !!

    All the best and enjoy Monaco - personally it's not my favourite race but I love the history and heritage that it brings to the calendar !!

  • Comment number 19.

    Enjoy your (first?) visit to Monaco! I'll never forget mine. It is impossible to grasp from TV pictures how fast they are around such narrow streets. Nelson Piquet famously commented that racing there is like riding a motorbike in your living room.

    I hope you spare a thought (and maybe a comment or two) for the real fans who pay three months salary for an uncomfortable bench seat or to cling to the hillside at Rocher.

    Monaco isn't all boats and glamour you know.

  • Comment number 20.

    Don't you dare make the final Silverstone broadcast a mournful affair. Let them be sent off with a bang, not a whimper.

    On Monaco: does this feel even better than the night before your flight to Melbourne? Either way, I'm incredibly jealous.

  • Comment number 21.

    Fantastic article jake. Was just wonderin who you tipped to win title or win in monco. As anchorman we only get to hear you ask DC and EJ but never hear your thoughts.
    All things right with BBC Coverage (online and on tele)
    1.DC and EJ
    2.Jake
    3.Forum
    4.Blogs (Jakes in paticulair)
    5.Murray Walker vids (questions is fantastic)
    6.Brundle
    7.Legard (stop giving him hard time he is way better than James Allen)
    8.Red button.
    Sadly pre race features could improve but it aint a big prob keep up good work.

  • Comment number 22.

    Thanks Jake a nice teaser to wet our appetite for the real thing.

    Every F1 fan looks forward to the Monaco race and again it will probably produce more column inches from the media and fans than any other race.

    Enjoy it because we will if you do -- keep it coming we are with you!

  • Comment number 23.

    Cool Blog Jake,

    I always get excited about Monaco GP and that is just watching it on TV and after watching the vid (which was brilliant) has increased my excitment, can't wait to see the finished version on Sunday.

    I hope you have a fantastic time presenting your first Monaco GP Jake, and lets hope it will be another memorable race.

    Keep Up Great Work!

  • Comment number 24.

    It would be great if you could post in a little shot of the Tardis just over your shoulder in one of the shots!

  • Comment number 25.

    Yes Monaco is the daddy and I am especially looking forward to the gridwalk. Loving the BBC innovation and the idea to connect with the past is inspired. Can't wait. Just one gripe Jake - don't call it "Quali"! Drives my missus round the bend!! Other than that cracking job - I can't remember how long it's been since I have actually been whooping and hollering and punching the air durng qualifying and races. Probably Mansell late 80's. And The Chain....sends shivers as always.

  • Comment number 26.

    Hi, jake
    really enjoy reading your blog and watching the interesting backstage video. I am really looking forward to the finished version on sunday :D
    However it is this vedio that shows the hardwork you guys have paid. great job :)
    It's a brilliant idea to put you back into the old days in F1. Just reading the your blog and watching the segments of the video, I feel like I'm on the time machine dating back to the glourious days in Monaco.
    Despite of hardwork and heavy burden, being a presenter is lucky because it's a privilege not only to bring millions of viewers to the fabulous circuits by your experiences, words, pictures, etc. but also to be a part of F1 to convey the passion to us. :)i think it's really necessary to remember the past days of F1, the heros who have been forgotten by us and the simple passion and glory in this sport, especially in current situation.F1 is related with luxury and power, but it's not all about that. I hope everything goes well next year. :)

    p.s. finally i find that you are really tall and the hamburger is tiny ~~are you losing weight? lol.
    and you look really cool in that shirt of the 50's style ^^

    have a nice weekend there

    mandy

  • Comment number 27.

    Jake,

    Nice video!! Really enjoyed the inside scoop nature of it, its nice to show the history of Monaco for us young un's.

    I'm seriously looking forward to Sundays race, hopefully it will be a decent race for you guys. I could see a team winning it that hasn't won yet this year (well its only been Brawn & Red Bull so its an easy-ish prediction...) A Ferarri, Toyota, Renault or McLaren will hopefully win the race this year for me.

    Oh and by the way I am the same, I have to eat all the time when I'm at work too!! You work much better with a bit of food down your neck...

    Mint blog as usual.

    JP

  • Comment number 28.

    Jake, Yours and the teams efforts are not going un-noticed! Total re-vamp of covering F1. Blown away! Zac

    ps. No has shouted "Rocket, Yeah!"(the honda clips when itv went to adverts) yet. Dare ya dare ya . Ask Eddie a question, then do it ;)

  • Comment number 29.

    Great blog Jake,

    I have fond memories of driving the circuit in an F355 and sinking a few beers afterwards at the Rascasse last summer.

    Thanks to the BBC for the great coverage this year and long may it continue.

    See you at Spa this year.

  • Comment number 30.

    Good blog Jake,
    though I have to say the 'feature' does sound pretty gimmicky and potentially cringe inducing. I'd expect ITV to have come up with something like that. Why not just show the footage in its original form. We know your not really interviewing them so I don't really get the point.

    To leave on a positive note, the coverage has been excellent so far.

  • Comment number 31.

    great blog jake..off all the races i wait to see all year its monaco.
    my girlfriend recently returned from there last week on holiday and bought me a nice monaco GP skip hat.
    unfortunately i wont be watching the race live as my team is going for the league title up here in scotland and its on at the same ruddy time so am afraid that gets priority..thank god for sky plus!!! as the race will be going straight on after it.
    so best of luck for this weekend jake and best of luck to Celtic too!!

  • Comment number 32.

    Brilliant!

  • Comment number 33.

    Another great blog Jake and a great look back at the history of the place. Also glad to hear that you won't just be soaking up the glitz and glamour but focusing on the race; and what a race it should be! I think this is THE race that every F1 fan looks forward to and this year could be a classic but personally I wouldn't bet against the Brawns triumphing again.

    Enjoy this weekend Jake and I'll be sat there watching and wishing I was there!

  • Comment number 34.

    im loving the interview video idea! sure itll be great, the production thingy was! But you've got no idea how jealous I am of you Jake! what a fantastic job-being anchor at the monaco grand prix!

    try not to enjoy yourself though-Ill be even more jealous if you do! :D

  • Comment number 35.

    Dude!! That was the saddest looking egg cob I've ever seen in my life. Who's your union? Get them to have a word with the caterers, will ya?

    My lord! After having seen the culinary extravagance thats being lashed on you, when you say you wont be gracing the big sea-front hotels, I believe you!!! A LOT!!!!

    Keep yer chin up....and get better caterers!! That sandwhich should have been shot and put out of its misery!!! :D

  • Comment number 36.

    What i would like to know is why are the BBC not asking the question a lot of none ferrari F1 supporters want to know.
    Did the other teams know about Ferraris veto or was it a backroom deal between then and the FIA. Because if it was then it puts all Ferrari's titles since 1998 into doubt.
    Was what every other teams supporters said correct does/did the FIA realy stand for farrari international assitance or not.
    ask the questions that need answering.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hi Jake

    What a great idea, I have been a fan for about 25 years ever since I was 12 so it would be great to see the old footage and to have the "New Boy" interviewing the greats wow, well done to you all ands even better I can watch your video on the web even from Ireland!! Hip HIp

    Hope you have a good race weekend and I really hope the racing will be great,

    Robert from Dublin

    PS i hope you will be discussing the Ferrari Issue

  • Comment number 38.

    after watching it earlier on i have realised how pointless this feature is, if you want to show classsic footage do it and then have proper features like ITV, i thought the bbc would step it up, but you havent all that is good is the forum after the race and no adverts, your pre race stuff with ted and brundles good apart from that what are you doing? dc and jordan are so bad in front of the cammera, at least blundle and ridder has some sort of tv charisma to them, you make big deal about murry so why not put him in a feature like you do online... and brink back james allen????

  • Comment number 39.

    Hi Jake, the vid looks really good, looking forward to watching it in full. Can`t wait for Monaco this weekend, i`ll be looking forward to your blog aswell. Have a great time, wish i was there.
    ps can you say hello to Martin for me, i`ve got a bit of a thing for him x

  • Comment number 40.

    I just enjoyed your excellent blog. The only thing I would disagree with is that Silverstone comes second to Monaco. As a viewer of many years (my earliest memory of F1 is watching Jim Clarke) I always look forward to the Spa weekend more than Silverstone. Spa Francorchamps is another one that should be part of the "crown jewels" of F1.

    Also it is refreshing to see many (if not all) intelligent comments on your blog. Long may that continue!

  • Comment number 41.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 42.

    Excellent! Looking forward to seeing this on Sunday. Always great to hear of someone in modern F1 with a sense of history - wonder what Grover-Williams would make of it all? :-)

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm tired of this credit crunch nonsense affecting every part of our life. It seems people in positions of power are either stupid or afraid. The whole point of competing is to use every resources available to you to be the best. Manchester United are champions because they spend money. Microsoft, apple and Coca-Cola are leading brands because they spend money in advertsing, building their brands, etc. It take money to succeed. This is a CAPITALIST society for God's sake. Recessions will ALWAYS happen. It is a cycle!!! You deal with it no by taking stupid decisions like cutting the budget to £40m. How did he even come to this figure?
    Can we just get back to watching good racing and end all this nonsense politicking!

  • Comment number 44.

    Apologize for being often critical, but if we all agree all the time things get boring and there is no point in writing.

    Frankly, I really find the idea horrendous. It is a fake, just as it is Monaco race, which is glamorous for all the wrong reasons. You go to Monaco to see a nice cost line, (as are other part of that section of the Mediterranean Sea), and, for those who are attracted by luxury and gambling, to see the yachts, casinos and the possibility to run into some celebrities.

    From a pure race perspective, Monaco track is one of the least interesting: usually, there is no way to overtake, so the Saturday qualifying often determined the race (procession like), results, and, as we know, the Saturday qualifying do not show the real value, because it is run with fuel load. In Monaco, strategy is also often compromised by the likelihood of the safety car deployment: drivers work hard to build up an advantage, to see it vanish in the blink of an eye.

    In fact, if you ask the drivers, I bet that most of them would state that the most exciting track to drive is SPA Belgium GP, and the most exciting for the atmosphere is Monza.

    When I said above that the BBC presentation idea is as fake as the Monaco GP, I should have added, as fake as F1. In fact, it is, in my view, a travesty that they take away Silverstone, with all the F1 British tradition (most teams are also based in Britain), and that they, not only keep Monaco, but they add new races in remote areas (in the desert), with newly built Monaco-like tracks that make overtaking impossible, to run the race then in the night because of the time different and the bulk of audience being located in Europe (only because in those places there are a lot of extra money coming in).

  • Comment number 45.

    Great blog update mate, great to see the BBC getting inventive with its content.

    Looking forward to this weekend and what you and the rest of the production staff can present to us.

    Oh, and don't be shy to show the glamour of the weekend, Monaco is all about the girls. Make sure they are included.

    Good luck!

  • Comment number 46.

    Am I not the only one who watches the first one or 2 laps of the Monaco Grand Prix and then switches it off as it is by far the dullest race on the calendar. Not really any possibility of overtaking and now only the occassional crash, come back 1h 30 mins later and the same people in the same places. Dull, Dull, Dull.
    It is only on the calendar for one reason, which is generally the same thing for F1, MONEY!!
    Wish they would remove it, and put a better circuit on.
    Though I would love to go and am very jealous of Jake!!

  • Comment number 47.

    Another excellent blog, good luck at the GP.
    OTBC

  • Comment number 48.

    Hi Jake:)

    Another great blog post, and love the behind the scenes video of the openening sequence for Monaco - am really looking forward to seeing how it turns out, not to mention the whole Monaco weekend in general - a highlight of the year "for sure" (as these F1 drivers like to say!)

    One thing I just wanted to mention about the coverage was how brilliant David Croft and Anthony Davidson's commentary on the practice sessions was in Spain. I was off work on the Friday and it was excellent to be able to sit back and watch the F1. David and Anthony's commentary was informing and engaging and they handled the viewer/listener texts very well - somehow better than is the case on the F1 forum at the moment I think.

    Totally jealous of your trip to Monte Carlo of course:) I will be at Monza later in the year (which I am v excited about!) so will look out for you there!

    Enjoy the weekend - and say hi to us all on the forum:)

    Naomi

  • Comment number 49.

    Lol, inadequate dinner or not - that's an awesome job!

  • Comment number 50.

    Great blog Jake. Must say I'm very jealous.

    I agree with some of the others, find the biggest boat you can and give us a sneaky peak. We want to see how the other half live! Don't forget all the goss from the after race parties.

    See you in Abu Dhabi

  • Comment number 51.

    Ooops, forgot to add, please ask Martin to do one of random people interviews when he does his grid walk on Sunday. They always used to be hysterical.

    Thanks

  • Comment number 52.

    Yes Jake, we really do like this sort of behind the scenes stuff! Very exciting, I look forward to watching the finished item! Enjoy the weekend!

  • Comment number 53.

    Hi Jake,

    Three Grand Prix's I have always wanted to go to, Spa, Monza, and Monaco. And by September you will have been to all 3. I so hate you!!! Cant wait for the race to begin though. Enjoy it.

    Dave

  • Comment number 54.

    Loved that you have tahen notice of what we have said and you have shown us an exclusive behind the scenes of you making one of your VT's.
    I beleive this should be a good section, how ever it turns out it's good to know you are thinking of new bits to try, how will you know what works until you try it.
    Have a great time at Monaco, that is in my top 4 GP to go to.
    Silverstone (been there 2000)
    Monaco
    Spa
    Melbourne
    Unfortunatly not made it to the others yet

    Looking foward to youe after race blog
    Amanda
    xx

  • Comment number 55.

    Great blog as usual Jake. Can't wait for the finished vid before the race. :)

  • Comment number 56.

    Looks great, i notice its now online but im gonna resist until Sunday :-)

  • Comment number 57.

    This adds to my desire of being jealous Jake.
    You get to go to all this things and yes it looks hard work but I would love to be in that position , I like hard work.
    C'mon Jake, how about scrapping the useless F1 Forum on Sunday and have a Fans F1 Forum on the Monday, you can get rid of that awful Inside Sport for it.

  • Comment number 58.

    You confuse me, Jake. I read your blogs (god, I hate that word) & am so impressed by the atmosphere & passion present, & then I see your performances, either live or recorded, & cant believe its the same person. Perhaps its because, embroiled in the BBCs attempt to turn F1 into full blown superficial family entertainment something the ITV started, granted you, perhaps like the other commentators are restricted in what you can say & the way you say it (more than evident when the Primary School approach is used when explaining anything to do with mechanics, thereby assuming the vast majority of F1 viewers to be plebeians).
    F1 is car racing. Specialised car racing. But car racing nonetheless. It may mean different things to different people. But it is still car racing. Dont ever forget that.
    By glossing over the introductions its losing its gutsy nature.

    Your green screen idea was predictable really. An old trick now. I wouldve preferred the original interviews. Just as I would prefer real car footage with the theme music at the start of F1 instead of those stereotypical computer animations. The real thing.

    And to be honest, Id like to hear someone with a real, honest love of the sport next to Brundle, not a professional. OK, hes better than Allen, but not enough.

    The BBC rescued F1 from ITV. But its car racing. Its dirty, noisy, dangerous & exciting.
    Dont gloss it over & turn it into a sanitised computer game for the masses.

  • Comment number 59.

    Jake I think that you summed up the appeal of Monaco very well. It must be a thrill for Jenson, Fernando, et al to have the oppurtunity to face the ciruits such as Monaco, Monza, Silverstone and Spa where the great drivers of the past have had to face the exact same challenges. Your pre race feature sounds like an good way to highlight Monaco's past. I am looking forward to seeing it.

    You are right to say that there is no way that Monaco would find it's way into the season as a new entrant now. Some posts above say that Monaco is boring and that they watch the fisrt two laps and then tune out. That misses the point of Monaco. The Monaco grand prix is as a different challenge to the drivers. It is a test of accuracy and precision. Just finishing at Monaco is a great acheivement. It is a circuit like no other on the calender and to have a unique ciruit like Monaco on the schedule is a good thing. The championship should consist of a variety of ciruits requiring different driving styles and disciplines. For those that find Monaco boring, why not tune into the interactive coverage this weekend and watch the whole race from the onboard cameras? The onboard footage on the streets is spectacular.

    I agree that many Monaco grand Prix's can turn into processional races, but as has been seen from Andrew Benson's recent internet poll there are plennty of people who have fond memories of many of the past races, and on many occasions the grand prix turns out to be amazing.

    I also notice a few people saying that the pre race show is not good enough, and that it was better on ITV! No! I disagree. I would say more about that "but first here is another chance to enter our ITV F1 competition"

    AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

  • Comment number 60.

    Jake have first gotta say nice pants!!! there is a side of F1 that we never saw on ITV - LOL

    Great idea and it will get me tuning in before the GP for sure, not just watching it on catch up / IPLAYER.

    On the subject of Iplayer - why isnt the whole coverage up on there, i work sundays and feel i miss out because i cant se the whole coverage after the event.

    keep up the good work - and keep the excellent blogs flowing

  • Comment number 61.

    Re: #58, stee-vee-E

    I see your point, but Jake's role is to anchor the proceedings. He has to be shown to be neutral, and also inclusive to all (including novices like me!). I think if he showed the "kid-in-a-sweetie-shop" enthusiasm he does in his blogs on-screen, he would be open to criticisms of being unprofessional, especially as he's still relatively young. I imagine getting the balance right is quite difficult.

  • Comment number 62.

    I'm a Sound Engineer and was given task of bedding in your voice to the original footage and adding some fx and atmosphere on the final piece that will go out on sunday. Quite tricky, as the recording process was obviously a little more primitive in those days! The hiss on the Graham Hill interview around the swimmimg pool was particularly bad, aswell as the background noise in the pitlane on some of the other interviews. Great fun to do though.
    Nice to see behind the scenes footage on here.
    You're doing a great job Jake. Keep up the good work.
    I also created the sound for the Pre Opening title sequence "The Scream Of Science", used before the Australian GP, that will (I'm told) be used again for Silverstone.
    Here's a link if you missed it....
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYTwmKOHcGY

  • Comment number 63.

    I'm a massive fan of F1 and have loved it much more so since it has come to the BBC!!! There are no adverts anymore, which were always off putting!! You have a fantastic team of presenters & crew working to provide excellent commentary and coverage. I love it!!
    I love you too Jake...you are living the dream and i'm so happy that you have a job you enjoy so much. I'm really looking forward to Monaco too!! Keep up the good work!! X

  • Comment number 64.

    This isn't entirely relevant to this particular blog, but I can't find somewhere for posting comments about improving coverage so I'll stick something here.

    It struck me that since the Beeb is now giving more comprehensive coverage than ITV, and using the website to better effect, whether it's possible to get more in-car footage? More specifically, in car footage of the best laps (top 3 maybe?) from the practice sessions and qualifying. I ask this because the highlights reel doesn't really work as well for these sessions, ending up just being a little bit of footage of each driver as they are talked about rather than giving the viewer an idea of how the fast laps really feel.

    Just an idea!

  • Comment number 65.

    Fantastic blog, Jake!

    Loved the vid.

    I can smell the anticipation!


    Can't wait!

  • Comment number 66.

    Looking forward to Monaco a lot as ever, telling friends I'm in the principality this weekend, or as near as I can get i.e. in front of the TV!
    This time of year I think back to earlier days when duckings in the harbour were not inhibited by Armco, Graham Hill (remember his stiff appearence in 'Grand Prix - the movie' co-staring Bruce McLaren, Jim Clark, Chris Amon, Jo Bonnier et al), also sad images of Lorenzo Bandini in '67, before the first of many trips to Italia.
    Often I these days I've watched Monaco GP in the Gigi Bar in Stresa, Lago Maggiore. Since Schumy went, fickle support in Italy has been thin. This year I'll be home here in UK, but will see how Ferrari support thrives or not in Stresa next month. My guess is I'll be on my own in the TV room at the Gigi for Silverstone (surely not for the last time?), urging Jenson over posta pranziale cafe e amara. My friend Bruno Strolla will probably be watching with me unless he figures the golf course is a better bet!
    My classic circuit is Spa, but Monaco is close second. Go Jenson, good to his dad happy again, like to see his fifth digit uplifted Sunday!

  • Comment number 67.

    Another good insight Jake.

    Just a quick question - Uniquely, Monaco has its practice sessions on a Thursday. What do the drivers and the rest of the F1 circus get up to on the Friday? Is it PR or do they get time off?

    What about the Thursday night given it's not a school night?

  • Comment number 68.

    Jake, loving your blogs and the BBC coverage is really out of this world.

    However, I'm HUGELY jealous of you being in Monaco...we stayed in Villefranche-sur-Mer 5 years ago (where I understand you guys are staying; say 'bonjour' to the H. Welcome for me!) and we hired a Harley and drove to Monaco. My husband bought me a lovely gift; 2 pints of Guinness in the Irish Bar under the bridge!! See, not everything about Monaco is glitz!

    Looking forward to the race with immense anticipation; hoping Lewis will get a podium to give him back some of the joie de vivre he seems to have lost this year. My prediction, Rubens 1st, Lewis 2nd, Jenson 3rd...Oh my, maybe that's just a dream!

    Don't forget the diamonds for Harriet ;)

    Jane x

  • Comment number 69.

    Glad to see you advocate shaking the martini, not sitrring... I always feel the gin is better bruised!

    Oops my wife just spilled the beans about how I entertained her in Monaco... I thought Guinness in McCarthys was class! Who wants champagne, everyone has that...

    :-)

  • Comment number 70.

    I wondered what happened to Richard Gort... I remember when he was a trainee SM at Bush House. It's interesting to note that the (minority of) negative comments on this blog tend to be sent by people with such poor spelling.
    Hey ho.

  • Comment number 71.

    Hi, Jake and dear all,

    A quick switch from the Spain and heading to Monaco in just 2hours : ). Of course, just writing

    Hm: ). Monaco GP. Yeah, for me, and everybody maybe, its glamour, money, fame, etc. etc. But I have never looked at it that way! I just keep looking the RACES. And funnily enough its been boring many times. Long story, can tell you other time. Or write a novel : ).

    Until it came Monaco 2006This is DEFINITELY for at least 2 -3 pages very serious, and sometimes funny a little bit, writing. But more of the serious one! Just the WHOLE STORY and the history BEHIND the whole race, etc.

    The Qualifying was One of the very controversial things we saw in sport generally. And yeah, I still also think MS parked his car in order to damage the flying last lap of Alonso. But for me what I saw, heard, etc. AFTER THAT was too much. Almost crazy!!! The WHOLE paddock against. (Only Nico Rosberg gave it just a little doubt and wasnt that hard with his comments).

    Then the RACE came. Overtaking in Monaco? Possible? We couldnt believe. (Daily Telegraph Sports Pages on the following Monday. One of the VERY BEST SPORTS ARTICLES ever written and that I have ever read. You cant find it searching the web, only in libraries : ), etc. I have a copy somewhere in my paper cuts).

    Jake, dear all, I am telling you, this everything IS for little book : ). Now just few cuts of facts and infoAnd bits from me too. Will leave the story to the brainy people, who really love F1. The RACING. Cos Monaco 2006 was special too.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Monaco_Grand_Prix

    During the final lap of qualifying, Schumacher came to a stop at the La Rascasse hairpin, thus preventing his rival Fernando Alonso improving his time and most likely taking pole off Schumacher. As a result, Schumacher opted to start from the pitlane.

    Fastest lap Driver - Michael Schumacher Ferrari - Time 1:15.143 on lap 74

    La Rascasse corner,

    Date May 28, 2006

    Distance 78 laps, 260.52 km (162.24 mi). Weather Fine

    From 17 finishers 5th place for MS! How it happened?

    BOTH ALONSO AND M. SCHUMACHER are very good drivers, and simply I like them. I think they have GREAT RESPECT to each other. If anybody questions this pls, see many personal interviews, and many photos showing the right attitude between them. Yeah, on the track sometimes is a real battle. But we can talk other time about this too.

    So for 78 times (and even more if we add the qualifying on Saturday), I will have my little smile every time when we pass and see that CORNER. La Rascasse corner. Just like 2007 and 2008 : ).

    That FAMOUS and INFAMOUS CORNER!

    Are we going to see anything SPECIAL on Sunday, 24 May 2009? I mean RACING!!! Well see soon.

    But I will have my smile : ) many times. At least

    Good luck to all BBCs Team in Monaco!!! And enjoy it!

    Great respect from me too,

    julietalz

  • Comment number 72.

    you jammy git jake.

    doing a great job though, love nearly everything about the bbc coverage, the main commentary by JL remains the weak link but saying that, its still far superior to the previous incumbent.

    the interactive and on line coverage is particularly excellent, blimey, i even signed up with the beeb to comment on this blog.

    keep up the great work jake,

    good luck lewis and jenson.

    cheers.

  • Comment number 73.

    Can you please not refer to the qualifying sessions as kwally1 , kwally2 etc? It sounds really dork-like. Murray would have pronounced it clearly and forcefully - "the first qualifying session" etc.

  • Comment number 74.

    Let Kimi present EJ a golden bracelet for his advice.

  • Comment number 75.

    But what a great lap for Jensen. It should stand him in great stead for the race, provided he can hold off Kimi at the start.

    I know Rubens is still smarting from a few weeks ago, but I think that on the whole, the team treats them equally. But if Rubens is to retain any hope of taking the title, he needs to beat Jensen on the track - and the two are very closely matched. If current form continues, the Brawn will have no choice but to favour one driver over the other - it would be stupid not to - and Rubens knows this.

    The difference between now, and his time at Ferrari, is that it's not contactual this time. Which means that if he can get it together, win some races, and importantly, beat Jensen, then there is a good chance that the team would favour him, and not Jensen.

    Rubens has out qualified Jensen this season, but has yet to translate it to a win... But then of course, there's Jensen, along with the rest of the grid all wanting to be first accross the line as well.

    I think the race tomorrow will be one to remember: there's a great chance of a British winner; the tight circuit; KERS - which may turn out to be curse for this race at least; no engine breaking making it easier to lock up on braking - with only the Arm-Co to stop you.

    Lets not discount Hamilton though. He may be down in 16th on the grip, but if he can just keep it away from the barriers he might be in for some points - he did seem to be quick before he crashed.

  • Comment number 76.

    hi all,

    I just loved watch the archive footage this morning.

    The bbc must have LOADS of it. It would be great if we could have the same for every race this year.

    Would be great to be able to spend saturday or sunday morning while waiting for the race to start to be able to watch some of the great races for that venue.

    Comment on this if you agree, you never know we may be able to get the bbc to listen and let us watch their amazing F1 archive.


    Well done Jake, doing a great job mate (bet you thought all your birthdays came a once when you got this job! nice one fella)

    all the best people and enjoy the weekend

    glenn
    west midlands
    uk

  • Comment number 77.

    If i'd been stood next to Jake during qualifying programme, i'd have slapped him!
    Who do you think you are? Telling experiences, much-loved commentators, "you'd better go off to your commentary box now!"

    The size of your ego and head is showing and it's ugly!

    Coupled to the facitious, condescending comments; you maybe the new hope for BBC TV - but until you learn some manners and experience i shall switch the TV sound off until you disappear =- your a a pain!

  • Comment number 78.

    Nice coverage overall of Monaco.

    Nice to see that 'Commentary On' was the default setting for the Onboard feed as I and others requested last race.

    Didn't miss the CBBC and Five Live commentaries on Freeview - not needed. Were they dropped because of the Tennis coverage ?

    Monaco post qualifying interviews weren't shown on TV - If there are clashing needs on the main channels, please use the Red Button to show the post race interviews. 301/302 went straight into a replay of Qualifying instead which could have waited 15 minutes - so the capacity IS there - please use it! I'm not asking for a post Qualifying forum - just a proper wrap to the qualifying coverage.

    Repeat suggestion - use BBCi to carry text updates for those of us who come in part way through a race. The way the grid can be viewed in BBCi is great - please build on that with in-race updates.

    Jonathan's commentary was much improved - nice one and keep it up.

    Eddie wasn't too bad this race - so I'll give a stay of execution. Like the drivers though, he needs to improve at the next race if he wants a contract for next season.

    In season testing - why don't they have testing post-race at say 3 European races during the season - say the Monday/Tuesday or Tuesday/Wednesday after the race (when there's a 2 week gap to the next European race). It could be open to fans at a low ticket price and reserve/new drivers could run. Fans with race tickets could maybe have free entry if they've stayed on and it's all done in front of the public/fans. The facilities are already set up, and the teams wouldn't be able to use it as extra practice as it would be after the race each year.

    As said in past posts, it's great that feed back is getting taken on board.

    Roll on Turkey - Jenson will probably still win, even if he runs it on foot.......

  • Comment number 79.

    nice one jenson, blistering start, complete control flag to flag. looking superb, very promising for a good run at the title, back to back english champions, that would be most agreeable.

    cant quite understand how toyota get instant 'justice' by having 2 lap times deleted for 'straight lining' the chicane, while ferrari, during the race get 2 warnings! big surprize there...not. good job mclaren didnt do it, there would have been hell to pay.

    great coverage jake, keep up the good work.


    chris.
    sheffield.

 

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