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!
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.