San Marino Grand Prix - An apology…

Posted 26 April 2005, 09:10 | by | Perma-link

So, I wasn't impressed with the fact that ITV decided to cut to an advert break 3 laps before the end of the Grand Prix on Sunday - I guess quite a few people weren't! Anyway, in my new role as "a complainer" I filled in the contact form on their web site to complain about it, and I admit, accused them of abusing their monopoly of the UK terrestrial rights to the Grand Prix.

Well, I actually got a response!

ITV would like to apologise for cutting to a break at the climax of yesterday's Grand Prix and we are sorry that it affected your enjoyment of the race.
As you are probably aware, we always try to cut to adverts during the least contentious parts of the action and update viewers with anything they may have missed as soon as possible after the commercials.
ITV is contractually obliged to include a certain number of adverts during the race - we are a commercial channel and Formula One is a commercial sport.
On Sunday, the race was very exciting throughout and it was a tough call as to when to cut to adverts - for example, we didn't want to interrupt the race when Jensen Button was in the lead. Our production team make these decisions and have done so since we started F1 coverage in 1997, by and large they get it right.
In the event we delayed taking the break until the last moment but had to do so with three laps to go. Yesterday's race was a particularly difficult one to call as Michael Schumacher caught Fernando Alonso so spectacularly. It appeared that he would take the lead at any moment and we were reluctant to cut away from the action.
Unfortunately, the pass moment never came and we were forced to take the scheduled break too close to the finish. Coverage returned for the final lap to see Schumacher and Alonso battling for the lead. We know it is of little consolation but their positions didn't change hands during the advert break and we screened the final three laps in their entirety after the race finished.
Nonetheless, we are well aware that the timing of this advert upset many viewers and can only apologise to you again.
Whilst the strategy for cutting to adverts is not an exact science, we will do our utmost to ensure that this scenario does not happen again in future and your comments have been passed on to the production team plus the Controller of ITV Sport.
Thank you for writing in to us.
From the Duty Office, ITV

Although I'd take issue with the fact that the advertisers would have appreciated it - I know I was too incensed to pay attention to the adverts in that break, and would have been perfectly happy for them to cut just after Alonso had crossed the line…

Unsurprisingly, at the time, the main ITV-F1 website was unavailable.

Filed under: Personal