While Damien Smith had a close-up view of the inaugural Extreme E (XE) event in the Saudi Arabian desert, I had a more distant perspective: a couch in Somerset. Still, given all of the challenges Smith describes, the action looked pretty good on TV, aided by smooth, well-produced coverage with smart graphics, unusual camera angles, and, in particular, commentary. enthusiastic about Andrew Coley and Jennie Gow,
The dust problem meant every race was essentially over from the first corner, but Coley’s exuberance kept a level of drama where there was actually little. It is not easy, that; Murray Walker would have been proud.
Coley and Gow also shone in guiding viewers through the intricacies of a new category of motorsport, with their own sometimes bizarre vocabulary. They had to introduce us to new features like Hyper Drive, Grid Play, Crazy Race, Switch Zones, Control Centers, etc.
This is vital: if you are going to launch a new form of motorsport designed to attract a new audience, it must be accessible. You don’t want viewers to have a hard time figuring out what’s going on by taking on some weird jargon. It’s something other categories – Formula 1 in particular – could learn from.
Modern Grand Prix racing is full of terminology that even some of F1’s most avid fans must have a hard time keeping up with. Pilots are now boxing instead of poking. The difference between two turn or sector times is called a delta. Instead of defining the fastest sector or lap, a pilot turns purple. There are undercuts, undercuts and even virtual security cars. There’s also the drag reduction system, which, to add further mystery, is widely referred to as DRS only.
Of course, you will find unusual terms in many sports. No one has yet explained to me why VAR in football can’t just be called video replay, and cycling events like the Tour de France seemingly have their own language. But when motorsport, and F1 in particular, actively tries to broaden its appeal and attract new fans, resorting to obtuse phraseology only makes life more difficult for newcomers.
Naturally, those who cover the sport, whether they are writers or commentators, try to appeal to both die-hard fans of the sport who ignore the terminology and newcomers. It’s a delicate balancing act, especially in the heat of the moment. And I am certainly not suggesting that this is just right.
However, perhaps reducing unnecessary complex terminology would allow viewers to focus more on the entertaining action happening on the track.
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This notice was published: 2021-04-16 05:01:25