The Formula One website first produced an exclusive video from Formula One Management at the end of 2007 in the form of a season review. Since the start of 2008, every Grand Prix has had its own video appear on the website anything from a few days to (in the case of Abu Dhabi 2010) several weeks later – but they are always worth the wait. You may have read my blogs about BBC, Sky and ITV all producing great montages of the sport over the years, but the F1.com edits really are like nothing else.
These videos are highlights of each race set to contemporary pop music and are possibly the most underrated regular sports media output around. They are pushing the boundaries of what can be done with live footage, all from camera crews having to react to the unpredictable nature of a sport with so many variables. The edits are now so slick and sublime that they feel like a Hollywood trailer that’s had months planning, not a mash up of video designed not for a highlights package but for a live audience just days previous. It also helps that the F1.com editors have access to camera angles not used during live footage, where the repetitive camera angles can get monotonous. Many of them are beautifully positioned amongst the crowd to give a fan’s feel to the sport whilst keeping the HD quality to capture the intensity and excitement only experienced by witnessing a Grand Prix live. You also get the odd celebrity cameo at the start expressing their joy of being at the race and how staggering the noise is, usually.
Here is my selection of some of the best videos F1.com has ever produced. They only stay on the Formula One website for a year, so some of the older ones I have had to spend a long time looking for and the quality may not be superb. All the ones listed below are definitely worth a watch though.
This is just a great start to the season and the best Australia edit to date of the five. It captures the unique attitude of Melbourne and that back-to-school feeling of the first Grand Prix. “Aisha” is a great track to begin with, too. The slow motion camera when Timo Glock crashes his Toyota is sublime.
Many of these videos are made by the music that they utilise. In 2008, The Hives featured in the French Grand Prix edit whilst Ida Maria featured in the Malaysian Grand Prix with “oh My God” before it became a hit. It is simply beautiful how in the Bahrain edit the desert Arabian music drifts into the Editors and I for the last four and a half years I have not been able to hear “Munich” now without hearing the cars leave the line at the start in my head.
Primal Scream’s “Can’t Go Back” was the perfect choice for a day when Lewis Hamilton defied his critics who had been rather vocal in the build-up to the race, and delivered one of the all-time great wet weather drives. In a crazy race, he was joined on the podium by Honda’s Rubens Barrichello. I was there on the day and can honestly say that this video captured the spirit of an afternoon that will live long in the memory, not least because of how wet it was. Watching car after car slide off to the chorus of “Can’t Go Back” is a treat and after you have finished watching, you will go back and watch again, trust me.
Spa-Francorchamps was the scene for a spectacular soggy late-race showdown which was critical for the championship. This video captures the tension and the relentless pressure of the race on the top drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton perfectly thanks to a bit of Pendulum accompanying it. “Stay out! Stay out! Stay out! Stay out!” the engineer shouts down the radio to his driver, and it actually feels like it should be part of the song. (Cars spinning and crashing just seems cooler when Pendulum is the soundtrack, especially Kimi Raikkonen binning it here – see Fernando Alonso in Belgium 2010, also).
This race was famously controversial because Lewis was stripped of his win for passing Kimi Raikkonen over the Bus Stop chicane, despite giving the place back. This is spectacularly portrayed without the need for subtitles at the end of the video, when the track is slowed down and CCTV style footage of the overtake and Hamilton heading to the stewards’ room says a thousand words.
The Valencia 2009 race is not often remembered as being a classic, but in reality it was a brilliant showdown between Rubens Barrichello for Brawn GP and Lewis Hamilton for McLaren. This video uses Kasabian – Underdog perfectly to portray the glamorous summer’s day juxtaposed with a fierce battle. The CCTV style staccato shots of Mercedes boss Norbert Haug are brilliant (of course, Brawn GP used Mercedes engines in 2009 and morphed into Mercedes GP for 2010). The fading of Hamilton into Barrichello going around the same corner around forty seconds in is frankly gorgeous and the pit to car radio traffic works excellently as the tension builds during the pit stops. The clock ticks and Barrichello’s engineer instructs “FIVE qualifying laps, Hamilton has f*cked up his stop…. You BEAUTY Rubens, that was awesome!” Again, the song choice was contemporary at the time but could not have been better.
Abu Dhabi 2009
F1 Abu Dhabi 2009 Race Edit – Funny blooper videos are here
My favourite edit from 2009 was either this one, Silverstone’s one with Kasabian, Sebastien Vettel and Fire, or the Sao Paulo Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos with Kimi Raikkonen, fire and the Prodigy. Sadly, I could find neither of the other two on the Internet anymore, but this is by far the best Abu Dhabi edit of the last three years. The music (Wolfmother – New Moon Rising) goes brilliantly with the wide vista shots of this completely unique landscape setting for a Grand Prix, which is of course the only day-to-night race, making for some incredible shots. Bizarrely, the following year was the epic title showdown between Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso and Sebsatien Vettel, but F1.com used Ellie Goulding’s Starry Eyed as the soundtrack. I am a big fan of these videos because they can and do utilise all manner of music genres, but even so that was a strange choice.
This would probably be many people’s number one from that season, purely because it’s the only video edit to date to make a mainstream impact. The reason for that is because it contains previously unheard team radio audio assuring Lewis Hamilton his teammate Jenson Button would not pass him should he back off as instructed. This assurance was false and Button did indeed pass his team mate, only for Lewis to steal the lead back two corners later, leading to visible tension on the podium. These events came after the infamous Mark Webber/Sebastien Vettel collision earlier in the race, thus making team mates colliding a big worry for McLaren. It was only later in the week when this video was released that we found out just why Lewis had seemed so frosty after claiming his first victory of the season. Sadly I can no longer find this video on the web as of July 2012, but I couldn’t not include it.
Like Turkey 2010, and indeed like Belgium 2008, the Belgium 2010 video made fantastic use of a Pendulum track, this time ‘Witchcraft’. The grandeur of the Ardennes forest and the classic sweeps of the Spa Francorchamps track somehow lend themselves to an epic video edit and this year was particularly special. Some of the camera positions in the crowd and carefully framed in Armco gaps just made this one of the sexiest sports videos ever made, capturing the drama of the occasion but also the human element such as the shaking of hands on the grid as Pendulum’s Rob Swire sings “shaking your ground…” Beautiful videography and clever editing of the audio to match the video rather than sacrificing the quality by keeping the song’s entire intro makes this a stunning and very clever package. I was in Ohio, USA when I watched this race (early in the morning) ; by the time I got to Miami a couple of weeks later, the edit was out and it will always remind me of that summer. There are so many comparisons between this race and the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix – both videos used a stonking Pendulum track and were one of the best videos of the year, a Ferrari crashed out at the end and was the focal point of the video’s climax, and Hamilton won. In 2010, though, he made up for the victory he was stripped of in 2008.