So, what did you think of Extreme E??

It was the inaugural round of this new motorsport series. Did you watch it?

Hmmm, it was interesting, that's for sure.

Extreme E sees 9 teams competing in electric SUVs in remote parts of the world to highlight the problem of climate change.

This weekend was inaugural race in the desert of Saudi Arabia, and it was OK.

What I liked

I loved the high spec electric off-road sand buggies. They looked like so much fun, and I'm still waiting for my passenger ride in one.

I also liked the fact that each team has a male and female driver.

And I kind of get what they are trying to achieve by using 'environmentally friendly' motorsport to increase awareness of the problems that climate change is having on the world. And visiting the parts of the world that don't directly affect us, but ultimately and indirectly will, by increasing global temperature, sea levels, etc.

The tagline 'race without trace' and their attempts to leave the landscape as they found it, with no litter. (Which to be honest could be a great new slogan for littering in the UK. Don't get me started on the litter that was left after one beautiful spring day earlier this week, totally disgusting)

What I didn't like

First off, qualifying. 3 hours!! Seriously, it was way too long. Each team ran their qualifying session with no one else on the 'track', and it just slowed the process down to a snail's pace.

Stupid penalties! 17 seconds for speeding in the pitlane, and one team even got a 2-minute penalty. It rated up there with that spate of ridiculous grid drop penalties dealt out in F1 one season.

The actual coverage. I watched on Sky Sports Action, not the Extreme E You Tube channel, so I can't comment on that. As I was on my daily early morning constitutional both yesterday and today, I missed the 6am slot, but switched on for 11am. Now the thing is, I got a bit bored with qualifying yesterday, so I switched off. Today when I switched on at 11, I thought I was watching the final, but I was actually watching the 'best bits' from yesterday and also from the earlier 6am coverage. This was not, however, noted on screen. So again, I got a wee bit bored. And when it did get going, the actual final lasted all of 20 minutes. So we sat through 3 hours of qualifying, 3 other 'races' before getting to a final of 3 cars. Did I feel a bit cheated? Yes.

That said the plus side of the coverage were the commentators. They were excellent, and giving as much information as they could, without having a Crofty apoplectic fit!

The last thing that they kind of went overboard on was the 'eco-friendly' aspect. Yes, it's important, and the main reason for doing it, BUT mentioning it every 5 minutes, and showing the same video every half an hour was a little bit much!

Conclusion

Good idea? Yes.

Racing format - needs a major overhaul. At the moment it's not so much a race, but an exhibition of extreme rally driving.

Coverage - needs sorting out. If it's not going to be broadcast live on Sky, but a pre-recorded, edit then (1) Split it into smaller 'programmes' and label them and (2) at least show the good bits.

Commentary - great considering what they had to work with.

I'm not dissing it, far from it. I appreciate any new series is bound to have teething problems, and I will be tuning in to the next race in Senegal at the end of May.

But, I've a feeling that if it carries on like this, it won't take off and fail to get the message across that it wants.

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Comments (6)

  • I watched a mix of coverage - Youtube Saturday and ITV (UK) on Sunday and have to agree with your comments about it being a bit of mish-mash - not sure who to blame for some of the issues (producer or director) but, although this is a new series, these people are not new to their game - unfortunately some of the coverage looked quite amateur. The idea behind the series and the aims it has for raising global awareness (and doing something about the issues through the legacy programme) are all good but if the 'show' isn't good enough you can have the best message in the world but no-one will know because no-one will be watching..

      1 month ago
  • It tried to mix the wheel to wheel action of Rallycross with the off road capabilities of a Baja trophy trucks. As a result it failed to really capture what makes those two series so special. I’m not overly impressed by what they had to offer but to be fair this was their first outing. But the race format really needs an overhaul.

      1 month ago
    • It did seem to be a mish-mash of many series, and yes, completely agree it was probably just teething problems being a new series and it needs a complete overhaul of the format. I will stick with it though, it has the potential to be rather...

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        1 month ago
  • Personally I thought it was crap. Coverage jumped all over the place. Couldn’t get it on sky as I only have the F1 channel. Didn’t know it’s was on itv or YouTube as I haven’t seen any advertisement for it. Basically completely forgot it was on until I caught qualifying on the BBC red button by accident while trying to check the weather. Turns out I have sky sports mix and got highlights of the entire weekend so watched that last night and thought it was all just a bit pants. Qualifying (which I watched live for a bit) just went on and on and on. The races themselves were pointless as who ever got to turn 2 first won the race due to visibility in the dust being kicked up. Fingers crossed at different destinations this will improve. I’m not going to discount it just yet but there definitely needs to be improvements if they are going to generate a fan base

      29 days ago
    • There did seem to be a lack of advertising as to when (and where) it was on.

      And yes, hopefully it was just teething issues that can all be ironed out, I'm not discounting it either and will see what Senegal has to offer.

      But you are completely...

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        27 days ago
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