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Classic F1 2011 - Sebastian Vettel

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Andrew Benson | 06:00 UK time, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Welcome to the first edition of BBC Sport's classic Formula 1 series for 2011.

The feature has been running for two years but after showing highlights of more than 200 grands prix since 2009, we have decided to change the format for this season.

Rather than us choose the races, the Formula 1 drivers themselves will do it.

So we have asked every driver on the 2011 grid to tell us their five favourite all-time grands prix. In the week before each race of this season, we will reveal the choices of one of the drivers and - where we have been given them - the reasons why they have selected them.

We will then broadcast the highlights from one of those races - including, where the BBC covered the race in the first place, the full 'Grand Prix' programme shown on the evening of the race.

As before, the highlights will be available both on this website and via the red button on interactive television.

Some of the drivers have chosen only races from their careers, while some have delved into their memories and come up with a selection of grands prix that have made an impression on them as well as races in which they have competed.

And who better to start us off than the reigning world champion himself, Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel?

These are the 23-year-old German's selections in his own words:

"1) The 2008 Italian Grand Prix - because you never forget your first win in F1 and it was great to see from the podium the happy faces of the people cheering.

"2) Abu Dhabi 2010, where I won the championship for the first time.

"3) Japan 2009 - from the beginning to the end a very good race.

"4) Japan 2010 - from the beginning to the end a very good race and it's special to win somewhere two years in a row, especially a great track like Suzuka.

"5) France 2008. I only finished 12th and didn't get points for Toro Rosso, but I was very happy with the result because we made a big step forward as a team that weekend."

Vettel's first choice is the one we have selected and highlights of Monza 2008 are embedded below.

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His talent had been obvious to those watching closely from the first time he stepped into a Formula 1 car as BMW's Friday test driver in 2007, but this was the race in which he really announced himself to the wider public.

It was Vettel's first season, and he had started it relatively quietly. But as the second half of the year progressed, he became increasingly impressive and he peaked with this quite brilliant victory.

Unusually at Monza, it rained for both qualifying and the race, and Vettel superbly overcame a car disadvantage to claim pole position before driving away from the field in the grand prix.

The victory meant Vettel took the honour of being the youngest winner in F1 history away from Fernando Alonso.

After the race, Vettel's team boss, the former Ferrari and McLaren driver Gerhard Berger, predicted the rising young star would go on to win multiple world championship titles.

Two years later, he has already won the first - becoming F1's youngest champion, this time replacing Lewis Hamilton - and Berger's words look more prescient by the day.

UPDATE, 1100 GMT Wednesday:

Oops, a comment below (number 35) has reminded me that we also intended to re-broadcast short and extended highlights of last year's races as part of this feature. Sorry about that. Here they are:


UPDATE 1130 GMT Wednesday:

We have been finalising the details of when this feature will be available on the red button on digital television in the UK and we now have them.

On satellite and cable, the 2008 Italian Grand Prix and the long highlights of last year's Australian Grand Prix will be available from 1400 on Wednesday until 0800 on Thursday, and again from 2200 on Thursday until the end of F1 first practice at 0300 on Friday.

Unfortunately, because of a lack of bandwidth, they will not be available on Freeview.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Boring. Been waiting for months for the resumption of Classic F1. The previous format was much better. Have to say I'm pretty disappointed but then maybe, like Bahrain last year, this is just a blip and the rest of the season will be blazing.

  • Comment number 2.

    I actually think it's better to have Classic F1 with drivers. Just like to see some older races mixed in.

  • Comment number 3.

    Are the drivers only picking their own races, or is just a manifestation of their (justified) super ego's?

  • Comment number 4.

    I do hope some of the drivers will pick a few races that are not from their era. Watching the classic races last year was fantastic. The races SV has chosen whilst important to him are most definately not the best or most exciting. Could you maybe include a rule that one race must be from the previous century?

  • Comment number 5.

    Yeap very poor idea. What a waste of what was a great feature. More dumbing down?

  • Comment number 6.

    It's OK getting the drivers to select, but many of this generation of drivers weren't even born when the likes of Jones, Andretti et al were driving

  • Comment number 7.

    What a shame. The best part of this series was the 1978-1996 material. Now we're going to have floods of drivers with short memories selecting races in the past 5 years.

    We have a list there showly a uniquely 'classic' selection of races from an age afar back as 2008. At least we can re-live the 2008 French Grand Prix at long last - satisfying the thousands of F1 fans who have been saying ever since that race ended "If only I can watch this again!"

    If capacity doesn't allow for voting it would have been better for you, Andrew, just to take an arbitrary decision each week.

  • Comment number 8.

    If we are going to have this new foramt to a great feature, could we at least stipulate that drivers cannot choose a race they won?

  • Comment number 9.


    A very bad idea this, please go back to the old way. The races should be from at least ten or fifteen years ago.

  • Comment number 10.

    Blimey! Give Andrew a break! The old way of choosing had run its course, 'classic" GPs were running out. I think this is a good way of choosing, but it's such a shame that Vettel choose to focus on himself rather than on good races. Blame Verrel not Andrew!

    France 2008

  • Comment number 11.

    So, there's more drivers than there are races this season. Who are the poor souls who don't get a say? :p

    I think the general feel is agreeable with me - the older format was better, I don't need to see the most recent races, I've wathed them already! Bring back the proper races from years ago!

  • Comment number 12.

    Why is there only one race. and why is it embedded on here and not a seperate page? No times are shown to when this race will be on the red button. This is a poor format to what was a great feature. Please sort this out for the coming races!

  • Comment number 13.

    Please, please, please ditch this idea. Nip it in the bud right now. Having drivers pick their favourite races has a very obvious conclusion. Maybe excluding their own race victories would be a help. I loved the old format, don't go down this road, please,please, please.

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree.........Who's rubbish idea was this format ? it would have been better to see the season highlights from some classic seasons or a selection of World Champions classic races.

  • Comment number 15.

    At Least Barrichello and Schumacher might choose something from a few years back. They have certainly seen and been in a few exciting races over the years. Hockenheim 2000 through the old course (better than the new one) and Belgium 92 and 95.

  • Comment number 16.

    What a waste of the BBC archive, Drivers should at least have had to choose one race from 1979-1996 so we could enjoy the full BBC highlights.
    It will be interesting to see which if any of the current F1 drivers have any appreciation for the history of the sport.
    I will not be watching any of "Vettel's classics"

  • Comment number 17.

    Ah, so this is what we mean by BBC cost cutting. For what its worth, this has took Andrew no work in that it is only a blog, all five of the races chosen were already uploaded before this weekend (hover over the race title and you can see the end of the URL is substantially less that the current 94XXXXX's).

    What a stupid waste.

  • Comment number 18.

    Given the reaction so far, I don´t expect to see part 2 on this! "New idea" has to have an element of "good idea", and this should never have got beyond the pub door.

    If a concept is tired, kill it. Taking it down the celebrity route is just lazy. We´re not that dumb. Yet.....

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't think it's a bad idea, but I do hope Vettel has just misunderstood what this feature is about and isn't an egocentric superstar.

    Can you imagine if this was a modern footballer saying, " And this was the match I scored with my left, and in this match we won 1-0 and it was a tough battle."

    As a sportsman I would have thought he would have even more enthusiasm for classic races from the past than the public. What got him excited by this sport. With football in particular I could mention several matches that I will never forget.

    Also, with the greatest respect, are we going to get drivers like Sutil and Buemi saying "oh and in this race I finished 12th when I was missing 3rd gear" and then there be absolutely no footage of this rather insignificant event from our point of view as spectators?

    Hopefully Webber, Alonso and Webber will make this feature better.

  • Comment number 20.

    What a crying shame. I am with about95% of the posters so far in that this is such a waste of a good thing.

    As posted above there is no such thing as a bad idea and any idea is worth a go *but* ones that produce the, clearly, wrong result as this one has should be abandoned and the lessons learnt.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think this has the chance to be a good feature and it will show which drivers just think about themselves and which drivers love the sport and not just themselves. Vettel has chosen to just love himself.

    Also Vettel replace Hamilton as the youngest driver to win a championship so please ammend this.


  • Comment number 22.

    Meh - how many Formula 1 drivers are going to pick a favourite race won by anyone other than themselves? Can you imagine Alonso saying 'Wow, that race in Silverstone where Hamilton blew everyone away was magic'?

    Let's go back to showing highlights from past decades, that's true 'Classic' F1, not 2008.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am making my first ever comment on the bbc to say that this new system is not good and definitely not "classic" anymore. I understand that the races were running out but in the post last year about ideas for this season many people suggested perhaps a season at a time that corresponded to this one and as we have more races now the blanks can be filled with a good race. That would have lasted 60 years so why this?
    If this has to be it (and the bbc doesn't listen to the people who pay for it) then at least make some rules on races that driver has won or have at least 1 or 2 that inspired the driver (ie from before their time).

    This would make it so much better with just a little more effort.

  • Comment number 24.

    Oops! Sounded good on paper, but turned out to be a bit rubbish. Looking forward to the next one, and hoping it will have been chosen by a GP fan!

  • Comment number 25.

    So here I am thinking where's the Classic races and what do we get? Races from the previous two season's............ Sorry but this should have been abandoned once you saw what "cry-baby" had chosen. I was hoping for Australian classic's not a Greatest hits that resembles the worst of Westlife!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Not impressed. Too easy for drivers to choose races involving them. Only getting to see highlights of 1 race (and certainly none from the ITV era apart from 1 race which you've presumably edited for this and which you may do if a driver chooses an ITV era race). Very very VERY poor. Feels like a complete waste of my time to be honest. Couldn't be worse if you tried.

  • Comment number 27.

    Basically Vettel has chosen his own. Surely you could have chosen a Australian race. 1989, 1999, 2006 or 1998. Ahu Dhabi 2010 is far too recent indeed.

  • Comment number 28.

    great idea andrew, we can now get closer to the drivers as a person

  • Comment number 29.

    Hello all,

    Thank you for your responses so far. I’ll try to answer the main points that have come up.

    The first thing to say is that there was no way of continuing with the old format. As I mention in the blog, since the BBC got the F1 contract back in 2009, we have broadcast highlights of about 200 past races under the “classic F1” banner. By no means were all of them classics, although the ones that were not did at least have the virtue of being at the circuits where the forthcoming race was held.

    I would hope that you can all see that we simply did not have anywhere near enough races left to feature – either, in the case of the newer venues, because we’d shown all the races that have been there, or there simply were not enough races left in the archive that could be termed “classic”.

    I should make an important point here – the BBC archive of F1 races is not what some of you think it might be. Yes, the corporation covered the sport from 1979 to 1996, but prior to that we have very little in the way of footage that could be used in the way we did in the past here. And from that period, I think we have run the well pretty much dry. And, frankly, the same goes for the ITV era from 1997-2008, too.

    There was another reason why we could not continue as before, for which you need to understand the context here for the BBC. Firstly, classic F1 is not a core part of our output. It is what some people would call “added-value content”. And the previous format of classic races was very heavy on resources.

    I’m sure many of you follow the news, in which case you will have heard that BBC Online is facing a 25% budget cut. This has already led to some important changes on the Sport website – including the impending closure of our 606 messageboards, the ending of our sports news bulletin and the closure of the Sport Academy website. Other changes are on the way, as you can read in this blog by Ben Gallop, the head of interactive and F1:

    In that context, we simply could not justify an approach to classic F1 that took up so much time and effort.

    So, something had to change. We considered ending it, but decided not to. So we looked for a new format that fitted with our wider editorial approach to F1.

    The point of this feature is to whet the appetite of the audience for the race weekend ahead. And, editorially, we could not justify some of the alternative ideas that have been proposed among these responses. The feature needs to be relevant to the present day.

    You should view this series in the context of the BBC’s approach to F1 since we returned as rights holders, which has been to give the audience a sense of the whole of the sport.

    So, we won’t concentrate only on the British drivers, or the British teams, or solely on the front-runners. We want the audience to understand who all the drivers are, and get to know even the less famous ones a little. After all, if people have not heard of Sebastien Buemi, for example, don’t know what he looks like or anything about him, their viewing experience when he is battling on track with, say, Michael Schumacher, is much less rich than if they do.

    We have started with Sebastian Vettel because he is the world champion. And it was happy circumstance that he picked as his favourite race his first win at Monza 2008 – a race, incidentally, that some of you have criticised us in the past for not showing already.

    Vettel happens to have picked five races from his own career. But that doesn’t mean all the drivers will do the same – and I can tell you they have not. Don’t underestimate them – I think the choices of some of them, including some of the lesser-known names, will surprise and even delight you.

    Lots of you seem to be unhappy about this new approach – but I also note that a significant number have been supportive. For those of you who are not, I hope that if you give it time, you will enjoy it. You’ll certainly learn some things about the F1 drivers that you do not know already.

    But the BBC does listen to its audience, and if it turns out that this is not a successful approach, we will have to think again about classic F1 and its future.

  • Comment number 30.

    To me 'Classic' means looking back further than a couple of years. To bad that Vettel could not of any races that he did not compete in. It's a pity as I used to look forward to seeing the clips/races that I remembered watching as a kid and got me hooked on F1. I am reserving judgement incase there are any drivers who can buck this limp start....

  • Comment number 31.

    Thanks for your response Andrew.

    I appreciate the effort you have gone to and understand the points you make.

    I have to say though that I still agree with the above comments. I do not often comment on blogs but I chose to last year as I suggested an alternative route for this blog.

    The other 2 BBC blogs I read and enjoyed were scrapped last year, so I wanted to keep this one going as I really enjoyed it.

    I remember there were some great suggestions about showing classic seasons, something I as a newcomer to the sport was very keen on. This would have meet your target of giving the audience a whole sense of the sport, with an easy way to link it back to the present, comparing drivers cars and rivalries. Also it would have been far more informative.

    I will continue to read this and look foward to this section as I am sure it will have some nice elements, however even in light of the scaling down I view this as a missed opportunity.

    I hope that I will be proven wrong.


  • Comment number 32.

    Terrible terrible format. Surely would have been a lot easier, entertaining and educational to have picked a season say 1986 or 1993 and then rebroadcasted all of the races as live. Clueless BBC

  • Comment number 33.

    @Andrew - it I'm to be honest, I'd take one longer 45 minute BBC highlight show over 4 shorter 10 minute ITV-era highlights. Not sure if others agree, but I'd much prefer a longer highlights of a race not yet covered, even if it meant cutting from 5 races covered to 1 race covered.

  • Comment number 34.

    Two things to say.

    1) Schuamchers' choices should be interesting LOL!

    2) All this talk of the BBC's budget being cut. Well how about getting rid of Andrew Benson? A postive step and a salary saved. A win win if you like! :-)

  • Comment number 35.

    I think its a great idea it will be really interesting to see which races drivers will choose. Will the long highlights of last year's races come up because I loved those

  • Comment number 36.

    One wonders if BBC have the intelligence to listen to their audience for once...quite clearly a huge majority think the idea is woeful...still BBC and It's employees know best.

  • Comment number 37.

    Vettel...hope you have a dnf in Australia...thanks for

  • Comment number 38.

    I always find highlights of older races to be more interesting, mainly the 60's and 70's when both cars and tracks were more exciting than they are now (although it's a good thing both are safer these days). Therefore I have to agree with many previous posts and say that for me this change in the way classic races are chosen is a very bad one. The situation could be rescued if most drivers have chosen races from before their own era, but I suspect that the chances of seeing anything from the 60's and 70's have completely dried up now. I don't know if Vettel realised he didn't have to just pick races from his own career, but this is certainly a poor selection, with the exception of Monza 2008 which was a notable race given the result.

    Please consider consider changing the format back to how it was. Given how many years F1 has been going there must be loads more interesting races that could have been chosen. At least could you assure us that it is worth keeping up with this feature, for those that want to see footage of races from the whole period that the championship has been running for?

  • Comment number 39.

    I think it is half right on reflection. Asking the drivers their choices is a good thing. More of their opinion on why would help especially if they are choosing races in which they did not participate.

    A bit of editorial guidance from the editor may have helped I feel.

  • Comment number 40.

    I agree with the majority that we all enjoyed watching the older races, but Andrew is working with the resources he has and I am sure that he will do a fine job with this season as he has done in the past.

    Bring on lights out on Sunday morning!

  • Comment number 41.

    What happened to "There is always next year" when popular races were not chosen in the past?

    Whilst I understand that cutbacks have / had to be made, surely this was not the best way forward.

    If the number of races in the archive are running out, would it not be better to show the full 'Grand Prix' highlights programmes for the selections that have previouslty been given only a 10 minute edit?

    I presume that the whole programmes were prepared for transmission prior to the 'popular vote' of the past couple of seasons. If they weren't, then the 'popular vote' was a farce.

    That way, we still get a wide selection of races from 1979-1996 and will satisfy those that thought that the wrong selections had been made in the past.

    A great shame. A terrific feature that will now die on its feet if this selection is anything to go by.

  • Comment number 42.

    Asking drivers for there choices is a good idea as long as they aren't blowing there own trumpet! If they think a classic has to include themselves then I'm surprised they can get their helmet on!
    A couple of things that could be considered is asking older drivers that aren't current like Stirling Moss also classic F1 isn't just the races there have been some classic qualifying sessions that could be included.

  • Comment number 43.

    I have to say AB I do understand that cost cutting is an issue we all have to deal with. However, last season you posted a blog asking us gp fans about the format of classic gp for this year, if memory serves me right someone suggested classic seasons and the majority agreed.

    Unfortunately I think the bbc have missed a trick here I also doubt that the well has run dry. Why don't you try asking us "THE FANS" what we want to watch. I do believe that most of us want to see all the past races I know I do.

    Lets look at 1983 for example an absolutely brilliant season from start to finish you have chosen 2 races in which 1 of them was probably the dullest of the season.

    AB, I bet you would be livid with this feature if you were in our position.
    The bottom line is we have all been waiting for this feature during the off season and I think I speak for most we are "DISAPPOINTED"
    Now lets look at the choices MR VETTEL (lets face it he is not a real racer not by a long way) has chosen, all shown before with the exception of france 2008. Logic please.
    I realy wanted to see races from the 80'2 and 90's. I just hope the rael racers will choose these

  • Comment number 44.

    Dear Mr Benson,

    Is this the new format for the Classic GPs throughout the 2011? That is, you ask different drivers what their top five classic GPs are and post the footage.

    The new format seems fair enough and the format from the last two years was wearing a bit thin.

    But what happens if more than one driver picks the same GP as one of their top five? Are you going to tell them to choose a different GP as you have already shown the VT this year or last year.

    Either we have a chance of seeing repeated selections from the drivers and repeated VTs or the top five for each driver will be selected based on previous VTs and not their actual top five classic races.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 45.

    Because I'm bored, I've just checked how many races BBC have shown in some form between 1979 and 1996. See:

    Between 1979 and 1996, BBC have put on 97 races of some kind. In this time there was a total of 284 races. So you've used about 34% of the races.

    Not enough races left to feature? Sorry Andrew, I disagree with you massively there.

  • Comment number 46.

    It will be interesting to see what the other drivers have picked. Schumacher's will be very interesting.

  • Comment number 47.

    What about qualifying sessions?
    If you had the choice to pick five from Australia what would it be?

  • Comment number 48.

    its a bad idea,no offense but classic gran prix was my midweek fix until the practices started on fridays.I have already seen these races and im more interested in the history,the classic gran prix of gilles villeneuve,aryton senna,jim clark,juan manuel fangio and alberto ascaris and the forthcoming season which the FIA promise to be a future classic such as last year, please keep the original format and show us races from adelaide lol

  • Comment number 49.

    I remember somebody suggested doing a classic season with all the races from that year ran chronologically. I was very much looking forward to that cos I thought it was a fantastic idea.
    THIS on the other hand, is a lame choice by the BBC. For one, Japan 09 and 10 were absolutely BORING. Yawn.

  • Comment number 50.

    I have to say I agree with a majority of these comments - the previous classic F1 feature was better. As a compromise, perhaps 2 drivers picks and 3 "classics" would work?

    I appreciate & recognise the points Andrew made in his last response. Surely though the size of the archive is large enough & not too much effort is needed to pick races from it & format into highlights (surely this has already been done in the past).

    Speaking personally these older races don't need to be "classics" in the common sense of the word - just the opportunity to see racers & cars from previous eras is enough, and more interesting to watch than races fresh in the memory from the last 3-4 years.

    Notwithstanding this point of view - thanks Andrew & the BBC for continuing at least with the feature.

  • Comment number 51.

    Have drivers mention there best GPs by all means, but why not tell them the "favourite" GPs are ones they remember from when they were growing up or ones that weren't particularly special results for them but were good races to be in.

    I couldn't careless about Vettel's personal best races; most are processional and extremely boring.

  • Comment number 52.

    Simple instructions for the BBC classic F1 team:

    1. Pick a season between 1978 and 1996...earlier the better.
    2. Go to the shelf and pull out the tapes for that season
    3. Broadcast the tapes in chronological order, no editing the full live races where possible.
    4. Wait for the compliments to in on this page by the bucket loads

  • Comment number 53.

    "But the BBC does listen to its audience, and if it turns out that this is not a successful approach, we will have to think again about classic F1 and its future."
    Well if you are listening, the audience is making it pretty clear that this is not really wanted.
    Hopefully the other F1 drivers will have some other tastes, especially the drivers who have not won many races.
    The younger drivers might not remember anything before 1995 or so.
    The young drivers who have won a lot will obviously highlight their own success.
    The older drivers who have not won anything will probably pick good races.
    Schumacher will probably pick some very good races, he himself has been involved in many classics.
    I think so long as there is a balance between recent and 'classic' races, its fine, but I really hope that the selections won't go on in the same vein as the first.
    Let's see.

  • Comment number 54.

    Good of you to reply so quickly.

    May I suggest you consider changing the name from Classic F1 then, because the content you just described (Buemi dicing with Schumacher for 12th place) simply isn't 'classic' in anyone's eyes but Buemi.

  • Comment number 55.

    That went well...

  • Comment number 56.

    What this proves is that you can't please all of the people all of the time (if any time). Some people are so amazingly reactionary and unwilling to give something a try for more than one week. Having read through the comments, it also seems some people don't actually read the blog properly either as questions or points are made that have already been dealt with first up in the blog.

    If people are so keen to see racing from the earlier era I'm sure there must be content on Youtube?

    It is inevitable that from one driver to the next, you are going to get different results from asking them for their top 5. I think it's a worthwhile idea to get a bit of insight into the opinions of the drivers, being that this is what so many people seem to want these days and is a big focus of the BBC F1 coverage. I'm sure the likes of Schumacher will pick races from the 90's, but bear in mind a lot of his races were pretty dull to watch because he dominated so much.

    Some people on here so clearly lack the patience to give any variation on a theme a chance. Maybe the BBC website will get more hits on this blog as a result of people showing interest in what the individual drivers think.

  • Comment number 57.

    Hi Andrew,

    I think you deserve a lot of credit for keeping this feature going, I'd imagine there was a lot of internal pressure at the BBC to scrap it entirely. I think the idea of freshening it up by involving the drivers is a good one, but needs to be moderated. Unfortunately it seems Sebastian Vettel has little interest in the history of the sport and believes F1 only began the day he entered the sport. I think it's important to make as a rule, they can only select at most 2 races that they have competed in. This will give a good mix of historical classic races whilst still showing us more of the driver's personality. In future I would suggest imposing the following guidelines on the drivers 5 choices:

    1 - The best F1 race they have competed in - There is a distinction between their favourite race and the most entertaining, for example Vettel's favourite race will be Abu Dhabi last year but even the most optimistic F1 fan couldn't describe it as remotely Entertaining

    2 - Their favourite race involving their F1 idol - This would guarantee a race from the past rather than since they appeared in F1, even if it has been shown before, I'd still far prefer that to watching Japan 09 - the definition of 'classic' surely must be a race that is historic, memorable and will live through the ages

    3 - Their favourite race of all time - again they should look at this from a fan's perspective rather than their own eg 'This race was a corker - I managed to get 12th place in a Toro Rosso despite losing 4th gear for the last 10 laps'

    4 - A classic race from their favourite track - again, this will mean we still get a classic historical race possibly from a track no longer on the calendar whilst finding out more about the driver's personality

    5 - The first race they ever remember watching - this should be a classic as it will be the race that made them want to be a racing driver, again a good mix between history and personality

    Another concern I have with the new format is that the interactivity with the fans has been lost - how about you put the driver's five choices up and we pick our favourite for the long highlights? Or alternatively, if the choices are rubbish like Vettel's then you show the best one out of his bad bunch and then we have a poll for the other 4 to be shown, with you picking the selection you think is best - this would really get the fans involved with the blog and I'm sure many, like me would be delighted to see 'This week's Classic F1 comes from Mike Jones in Surrey' etc.

    Hope you like my suggestions Andrew - I honestly believe if you apply them then Classic F1 can be returned to it's usual excellent format.

  • Comment number 58.


    I worked in a television news library for a few years and I know the F1 classic archive is vast. If you are not going to do the job the fans are asking you to do, you should go. That would cut costs. To the BBC, listen to the fans.

    Can you comment on reports in the press that the BBC are going to axe their Formula 1 coverage, because of buget cuts. I was so looking forward to the 2011 season in HD, all this has rather taken the edge off it. I think I might stay in bed.

  • Comment number 59.

    I've always supported the Classic F1 feature for the past couple of years as for me (and if we're honest, a small minority) of F1 fans want to see this stuff, however, thats not to say it shouldn't be shown.

    Its true that you have shown 200 races, but only about 20% actually had highlights of longer than 10minutes. I know where possible you've shown the highlights package broadcast at the time and it makes me wonder, how much strain on resouces does this put on the BBC? Obviously editing down full race highlights does use resources, but surely just broadcasting an exisitng program that was shown at the time wouldn't be so resource heavy?

    Anyway, i see the 'Bandwidth / Freeview' line is being trotted out again. Just be honest, the Freeview controller hasn't got room to broadcast the highlights in amongst all the other stuff on Freeview which he/she deems rightly or wrongly to be more beneficial - thats the actual reason.

    Anyway, enough criticism, glad to see this feature back - but have to be honest, the way it has been altered is not a good move and seems to be very unpopular.

  • Comment number 60.

    Its easy to judge something on its first edition and be someone mentioned above, if you showed anyone the Bharain GP from last year and asked them to judge the whole season then the reviews wouldnt be great. Look how that turned out. Admitadly the selection here isnt great but then again things can only get better! Plus the debutants cant pick themselves.....

    My memory of Monza '08 mainly consists of me thinking 'oooo, a chance for Kovalainen to win.' Didnt quite anticipate just how good Vettel might be....

    Plus wasnt this the race where Hamilton stuck one up the inside of Kimi into turn one from a mile back? Those extra points came in handy in the end....

  • Comment number 61.

    Have to agree we were running out of races. I've been watching the hour long retro F1 seasons on ESPN (between 70 and 80 I think) and what it has brought to light is there weren't many "classic" races. In fact in many cases this programme doesn't even bother showing you some rounds they were so dull, just makes do with a quick "lights to flag victory" voice over. Lost count of the number of times when a handful of cars finished with only two on the lead lap - snore.

    Admittedly some of the truncated highlights from previous "classics" could be broadcast in full. Was so disappointing when a 70s race would miss out for everyone voting 1997!

  • Comment number 62.

    Thanks Andrew for the response to what have been some very harsh critics.

    I for one appreciate this change in process because the last few seasons have become cumbersome on here with the 'vote' that wasn't a vote system, and you had the same tired idiots arguing with one another about voting.

    Add to that the same people or new users coming on here & having their first comment as 'I want Spa '98' despite it not being an option! It got tedious to read & join in this forum.

    I for one hope that this new format gets a chance, if after 5 or 6 races there is still a lot of resistence, then fine so be it & you may need to revert back. Perhaps picking only 3 to vote on rather than 5 as to not dry up the rescources so quickly.

    Thanks anyway Mr Benson & I hope you as all of us are looking forward to a fantastic season (hopefully without the use of sprinklers...which daft bugger came up with that?)

  • Comment number 63.

    Can't believe all the "moaning Michaels" there are on this blog! Personally I think we are very fortunate to be still getting this service in the greater scheme of things. Yes, its not ideal but i'll take it over having NO classic GP service at all.

    Hopefully some of the other drivers will be broader-minded than Seb. Thats the problem when you have all these youngsters in F1, they dont remember anything before the 2000's!

  • Comment number 64.

    take no notice of these people who are critizing it before they have even seen it

    as andrew has come up with great idea and it will help us know more about drivers and also if the blog posters who are critizing it before they have even seen it would remember that andrew had said last season that after running 4 races + previous years they were fast running out of races .

    and i think this is great solution as it is this or nothing

  • Comment number 65.

    nice to see classic f1 return again!!!!! keep it up BBC. good to see the f1 drivers pick the races.
    also nice to have a look back to last year race in australia

  • Comment number 66.

    Actually, I think this will work well. I'm looking forward to seeing which races every driver picks! And we also get last year's highlights too which is great, particularly for Australia!! (we even get to miss the Bahrain snorefest :-) )

  • Comment number 67.

    Thanks very much Andrew, I've been so looking forward both to the classics and watching the previous seasons highlights. I really like the idea of asking the drivers for races as by their selection we get an insight into what makes them them, what they consider classic or great. Wish we'd get to watch all the selections but i guess that's the result of cut backs. Keep up the good work T minus 2 days and counting!

  • Comment number 68.

    Ah we do get to watch all the choices my bad. xD

  • Comment number 69.

    Sorry, Andrew, I used to enjoy Classic F1 - both reading about your selections, "voting", and viewing them. But I'm afraid this revision is pretty lame. #57's parameters I wouldn't have thought to have been too onerous, even with the budget cuts, and the potential for what Vettel has done should have been pretty obvious.

    Regardless of who thinks what makes a race classic, it's clear on any level that Vettel's last choice is a pointless choice - "I only finished 12th and didn't get points for Toro Rosso, but I was very happy with the result because we made a big step forward as a team that weekend." - brilliant! - I doubt a race is ever considered a good race by viewers on the basis that a midfield-to-tail-end Charlie makes a big step forward and still finishes midfield.

    The BBC should have returned Vettel's choices to him and told him to get a grip. I won't be tuning-in for Classic Vettel, I'm afraid, and while I appreciate your explanation of the pressures BBC Online/Sport face, I have to agree with previous contributors and say that if this is all that can be provided, Classic F1 should probably have been canned, in favour of something else.

  • Comment number 70.

    Great Idea andrew. People will spout rubbish because they just dont like change. And for the last two years we have been voting on classics races on on every track. Surely we wer gonna run out of races because you would have showed them all. We cant keep seeing the same senna/prost races every year!

    And the definition of 'classic' is of the first or highest quality, class, or rank. something that can withstand time. Just because a race happened 2 years ago deosnt mean its not a classic!

  • Comment number 71.

    France 2008- Can't Watch
    Italy 2008- All right but NOT a classic race to be honest
    Japan 2009- Boring apart from Alguersuari's crash
    Japan 2010- Boring apart from the first lap crash
    Ahu Dhabi 2010- Boring

  • Comment number 72.

    as long as i get to see some racing to get my appetite going for the actual race weekend, it's fine.
    vettel's choice might not be that exciting or "classic", but who can blame him: he's young and he spent most of his life in the cockpit of a racing car. i guess every single race he raced is a "classic" in his mind - drivers' prospective is totally different from fans'. should be interesting at least to see who chooses what, and why.

    what really upsets me is that Classic F1 is not likely to be shown on the red button (like last year). who cares about darts or repeats of comedy shows extras. can't the BBC find a window of a couple of hours even in the middle of the night to show Classic F1?

  • Comment number 73.

    If you are going to stick with this rather odd way of doing Classic F1 then at least introduce a rule where the driver can only won one of the races he has chosen.

  • Comment number 74.

    Some ridiculous comments coming from above, albeit mixed in with some pertinent ones. Clearly some did not read Andrew's response, nor have any idea of how much space and bandwidth a video can eat into.

    Let's just bask in the enjoyment of having some access to some of the original TV footage of grands prix over the years. Sure, it's a shame Vettel hasn't exactly delved too deep into the annals of F1 history, but here's hoping that Rubens, Schumacher, etc will.

    And why stop at drivers? Let's get the team principals, commentators and the great and good of the F1 circus to select their top fives too. Off the top of my head, it would be interesting to see the top fives of Brundle, Jordan, Ecclestone, Whiting, Ron Dennis, etc. You would get a more historical perspective off of some of these too.

  • Comment number 75.

    Oh dear, was Vettel not encouraged to consider races/seasons outwith his own F1 career, or did he have no recollection?

  • Comment number 76.


    What is classic F1. In my mind, I go to Goodwood in July and drool, up close, over the all the classic F1 cars in the paddock that I could not get near to in period. My life spans the complete history of F1, I was born in 1950.

    However, the classic F1 cars are not racing up the hill at Goodwood. To watch real F1 races from the past, 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s we rely on the many archives you have acccess to. Please do not deny us the pleasure of seeing these races again.

    Many of these races were boring, but that is not the point, we get to see these classic cars being driven in anger.

    I well remember watching Sir Jackie Stewart in Tyrrell 006/2 in a four weel drift at 160mph through the original woodcote corner at Silverstone in 1973, that to me is a classic moment. It was just before Jody Scheckter spun, while in third place, in front of the rest of the field, causing one of the biggest shunts in F1 history. If my memory serves that was a classic race, and was won by Peter Revson. Sir Jackie ended up spinning into a track side corn field.

    Please, don't fob us off with so called (they are not) classic F1 races chosen by this German boy.

  • Comment number 77.

    I wouldn't expect much creativity from Schumacher as he has stated in the past that he never really followed F1 on tv in his younger days, so i'm pretty sure his selections will be from 1991 onwards.

    I believe the format is fundamentally flawed when asking a selection of people who are primarily in their early 20's for their choices.

    Exceptions could be Webber as he is a bit older and may perhaps opt for some of Alan Jones, or even Jim Clark.

    Rubens has stated he used to watch Gilles Villeneuve drive at Interlagos as a youngster. But as for the others drivers, I wouldn't expect much.

    I agree with what somebody else said, if we are going to view classic races, lets ask the experts, not a bunch of guys that barely shave.

    Nigel Roebuck step forward and give the classic f1 team a hand please!
    Frank Williams, Ron Dennis and so on have been there and done it...I would find what they have to say regarding the topic of much more interest than Vettel and co.

  • Comment number 78.

    Andrew...speak to the guys at motorsport magazine!

  • Comment number 79.

    How about asking the drivers to pick races which they weren't in, that would be much more interesting than a load of boring races from the last 2 years.

  • Comment number 80.


    If the BBC can't pay for the correct bandwidth for freeview. What chance have we viewers got that the BBC can pay for the bandwidth to give us Native 1080i HD at 43mbps.

    Respond please

  • Comment number 81.

    BOOOOO! Its like you've tried to ruin this format on purpose because current drivers are only going to think of themselves when they think about their favourite races rather than what was a good race for the fans .You can't blame them for doing this because they're all focusing on their own individual races when they take part in a GP rather the race as a whole so how are they supposed to know? Thats why this format is inherently flawed.


    1) Just make all the races the bbc has access to for the next track available in short highlights and get people to vote on which one they want to see full highlights of. Eg for this weekend you could have made all previous austrailian GP's available in short highlight format then get people to vote on the one they wanted full highlights of. You'd be able to do the same the next year but eliminating last years full highlights choice from the votes to keep it different.

    Or you could...

    2) JUST PUT ALL RACES THAT THE BBC HAS IN BOTH LONG + SHORT FORMAT ONTO AN ONLINE F1 LIBRARY THAT PEOPLE CAN WATCH AS THEY LIKE EG CHOOSING BY YEAR, TRACK, WINNER, COMMENTATORS ETC. You could get guest writers each week to recommend races to watch - but not control the selection itself!

    What does everyone think?

    If you disagree I challenge you to come up with classic gp format your self and post it on here! You couldnt possibly do worse than what the BBC have choosen could you ? lol

  • Comment number 82.

    Thank you number 69 for endorsing my suggestions in #57 - I would also like to support the idea of F1 journalists and team principals telling us their favourite F1 races - it goes without saying that someone like Frank Williams who has been in F1 for over 30 years will have a better insight into F1 history than the likes of Sebastian Vettel who has only been on the scene for 5 minutes in relative terms. Do you think this could happen Andrew?

  • Comment number 83.

    Just reading the last line of the blog. Isn't the 'lack of bandwidth' excuse getting a bit boring now Andrew? I'm sure 1 race weekend last season you trotted out that all too familiar line, when all that was being shown was a Doctor Who preview on a loop for days on end, and maybe something else that was on a loop for hours on end. You can't honestly expect people to believe that there's NO time/bandwidth/whatever you try to dress it up as on the majority of Wednesday/Thursday/Friday's coming up to a race weekend for this feature to be on Freeview.

  • Comment number 84.

    Andrew...working through the archive in chronological order will keep everybody happy, season by season as ALL the races will be is informative and entertaining to young and old... it seemed the common sense and simple thing to do... We were delighted when the BBC annoucned it had rights to rebroadcast old races, finally access to coverage that has been impossible to see up til now.... But this "genius" idea for the new format leaves a bitter taste because it is frankly speaking a load of rubbish and a waste of a great opportunity.

    If you really think we are going to fall for this idea about "getting to know the current drivers", I think you are sadly, sadly mistaken. Why not just write in a single blog what their favourite races are...fine perhaps that could be of interest...but then then do us the honour of allowing us to watch REAL classic F1....

    Chronological order, from the first race you have coverage of. Simple as.

  • Comment number 85.

    I should add, I wont be watching Vettel's classic F1!

  • Comment number 86.


    At least we have something to work with. I have really enjoyed the last 2 years of the old format. If I'm honest I'll be patient with this. However, the start is not great though I reckon there will be the likes of Hamilton will have something good (as well as some of the more experienced drivers).

    Senna27's idea of asking those @ Motorsport magazine is interesting, probably a good one.

    Could we have a 1/5/10/15/20/25... yrs ago (akin to what Autosport used/may still do). Or, maybe ask some of the driver stewards?

    However, I am greatful for what you've done. I sincerely hope that the "Classic GP" continues, in whatever format. This format is better than no format. I would like to thank you for keeping things going. I agree that the previous format was better, though I remember you saying near the end of last season that things had to change.

    Thanks and Best wishes.

  • Comment number 87.

    I think we should all be thankful that the BBC and Andrew have delivered us this excellent service of classic Grand Prix over the last couple of years.

    I cannot understand why people are getting their knickers in a twist when it is obvious that 95% of the best Grand Prix of 1979-1996 and 1997-2008 have already been seen.

    It would have been easy for the BBC to not bother with this feature at all. I think it just shows how highly F1 is regarded there nowadays that they have continued this feature.

    I also think the new idea is pretty good and innovative. Unfortunately, Vettel has indeed decided on some uninspiring races (except Monza 08 which you chose) but he is just being honest and France 2008 was obviously a key race for him, and that is the whole point.

    Continue the good work, Andrew. I will continue to watch the classic races on the red button and sending my girlfriend to sleep! Haha!


  • Comment number 88.

    1. It's never about cost, it's about value.
    When a clip is watched more times by more people, its value increases.
    Present the archives in a library so they can be accessed by the people that paid for them.

    2. In 2009 M Walker chose his 5 classic races of all time - three of which were in the 1980's, two were in the first half of the 1990's.

    3. "Firstly, classic F1 is not a core part of our output" - the payer calls the tune, not the piper.

    4. "The point of this feature is..." - no, the point of these features is to satisfy their consumers.

    5. "...a significant number have been supportive..." - I counted THREE out of 28.

  • Comment number 89.

    "Lots of you seem to be unhappy about this new approach – but I also note that a significant number have been supportive.": Andrew Benson

    AB, only a PR guy watching his back could see as "significant" lukewarm support from less than 20% of his public. With so much instant and negative reaction from a loyal and knowledgable core, you´d best be humble and stop digging.

    I don´t really care, life goes on, but please don´t justify an error of judgement with a list of your problems stopping you from doing a good job.

    Whoever instructed Vettel clearly asked him for his personal best 5 races, not 5 classic races from history. Vettel , if he notices, should be pretty annoyed at being involved a BBC mess. Surely, he would prefer to convince sceptical Englanders that "the German boy" is likeable, intelligent, a commited talent and worthy champion, able to drift a Tyrrell through Woodcote with the best of them!

    Personally, I enjoy change, but it should be better than what went before. This is about maintaining quality, not being fobbed off by lame excuses, me-too thinking and lazy "professionals" . If you don´t have the resources or the imagination to do this properly, let it die. There are other places to see this stuff......

  • Comment number 90.

    Karun chandhok better choose, he'll be the best along with Schumacher

  • Comment number 91.

    As someone said earlier "To me 'Classic' means looking back further than a couple of years" So the 2007 2008 2010 seasons could not be classed as 'Classic' then?! What about all the down beat attitude from fans after Bahrain last year. And let's be honest, most complainers will watch the highlights anyway. I welcome the change and look forward to each race, and each driver choice (which is probably already in the can). When F1 was on ITV lots of people were screaming for it to be shown on the BBC. Then complaints about the commentary team. Now with budget cuts, be careful for what you wish for. This feature could go all together or worse BBC TV coverage. See the complaints rocket if coverage were to go to a non free to air channel such as Sky Sports or ESPN. Enjoy it.

  • Comment number 92.

    I can't work out whether the ungrateful lot complaining about this feature are the same people who complain about Special 1 TV and who just love complaining, or are genuine racing fans.
    Andrew has explained himself and yet the comments still come barging in, demanding an improvement as if people have a god-given right to watch classic F1.
    It's heartbreaking to read - all this abuse despite all the great articles, blogs and reports that come from the entire BBC team, not just Andrew.

  • Comment number 93.

    Somewhat confusingly, the France 08 link seems to just link to the race report - have you not uploaded a video for this race?

  • Comment number 94.

    Bloomin hell people!!!

    Stop the complaining and be grateful for the red button content, it wasnt so long ago on itv we didnt have any of this. Andrew, there are plenty of people that like this new format and Im genuinely interested in the personal touch of what drivers will pick. Will they be giving their own introduction to each race?
    I just think Vettel's choices were a little uninspiring thats all, I can imagine someone like Lewis Hamilton picking a lot of stuff from the 80's.
    And classic doesnt mean old necessarily, 2008 was a classic season so theres no problem with that if its say Brazil 08!
    If you dont like it, go and buy dvds of all the races!

  • Comment number 95.

    I think there has to be a stipulation here that drivers pick 5 races they didn't race in (or at least didn't win!).

    Oh god I dread to think about the imminent, arrogance drenched: 'how great was I in this race' interview with Fernando Alonso...

  • Comment number 96.

    Hi again,

    I'll come back on here with a further response tomorrow, but for now this is just to correct a misapprehension a few of you have. It is not the case that we had covered Monza 2008, Vettel's number one choice, before. We had not featured it previously and what you see in this blog is a fresh edit created specifically for this feature.

  • Comment number 97.

    Here, Here, Senna27

  • Comment number 98.

    Abu Dhabi 2010!?!?

    One of the most processional races ever, on one of the worst circuits ever made.

    Sort it out and go back to the old format!!

  • Comment number 99.

    What a disappointment. I was really looking forward to this! I started reading your text at the top wondering which races may have be chosen.

    What a disappointment!!!!!

  • Comment number 100.

    Look forward to what Andrew has to say tomorrow.

    Some people are criticising others that are opposed to change. I am sure that everybody is grateful to have this feature. It is an added bonus in the build up to a race weekend and more than we ever got from ITV.

    The problem is that such a high standard has been set over the past couple of years and it is expected to continue. All that this change does is to disregard the wishes or opinions of the fans who, although relatively small in the bigger scheme of things, have loyally supported this feature since its inception.

    Clearly, from the number of negative responses to this issue, the decision makers at the BBC must realise that the changes are immensely unpopular and the wrong way to go. Hopefully, something will be altered in time for Malaysia.


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