Congratulations to Sky One for finally applying TV’s current fad for cretinously formulaic celebrity based competition shows to Formula One; or at least to a driving show featuring David Coulthard and Eddie Irvine.

But while I generally welcome the chance to see more F1 drivers on telly I’m not convinced that some hideously contrived motor racing offspring of ‘The Match’ and ‘Project Catwalk’ (imaginatively called ‘The Race’) is necessarily the way to go.

Between the Grands Prix themselves (whose television coverage in the UK seems to revolve largely around Jenson Button) there isn’t a great deal to keep the F1 fan occupied; no TV version of Autosport magazine or F1 Racing for instance (although I wouldn’t be surprised if some featherbrained exec at ITV Sport is thinking about starting up a rolling 24-hour Jenson Button interactive news channel at this very moment).
One intermittent show that’s worth looking out however is ‘Inside Grand Prix’ over on Motors TV (Sky).

‘Inside Grand Prix’ is a sponsor-based show (Williams partner Allianz being that sponsor), that is therefore a teensy bit team-biased, but nonetheless has loads of fascinating interviews and also useful technical articles with excellent 3d graphics.
Unfortunately, having originated in German and with variable production values, the voiceovers and graphics often don’t seem to match, and with a narrator who always sounds as if he’s reading the script at gunpoint it’s a pretty peculiar viewing experience at times.

I always thought that extending the old Bernievison digital TV channel beyond its GP coverage to become a full-time F1 channel with news and documentaries, season reviews, classic races and historical profiles would be an excellent proposition.
That would be hugely unlikely though, given that there aren’t even plans to bring back the original channel itself that I know of. But if any billionaire out there is planning on doing it, just email me and you’ll have your Director of Programming sorted.

In the absence of any full-blooded F1 telly schedule though, we can at least give two and a half cheers to ESPN Classic Sport for running genuinely classic Grand Prix races from decades gone by on their channel each weekend. It’s a feast for the eyes: cars that actually looked different to each other, thrilling racing, dangerous looking run-off fencing and quite terrifying haircuts. Well worth a look, honestly…

Apart from that, and short of Jenson starring in another series of ‘I’m At Honda, Get Me Out Of Here!’ it may be that ‘The Race’ is the best we can expect for now. Until the season ends – and we have nothing at all.