There is a code that James uses to describe the local race fans. When in Germany or Italy he will start up his commentary by talking about the weather and then describing the fans as passionate. Whereas here in the UK and in the US we are always knowledgeable. Other countries fall in to one or other camp. Some are neither seemingly but nowhere is both. This has always annoyed me because I like to think of myself as knowledgeable and passionate about Formula 1 and I bet lots of German, Italian and American fans do too.
But having been to Italy and watch the grand prix on television there I think what James is saying may be code for something else. In Italy they watch Formula 1 like champions league football. You support any teams from your country in the league even if you hate them when you play against them at home.
What I mean is this, although everyone knows that Italy loves Ferrari they supported Renault last year because Ferrari couldn’t cut it and at least an Italian is in charge at Renault and Fisi races there too.
This position of bias might be explained by a number of things but I think I know the answer. This is the complete list of people who were interviewed on tv during the race, the sporting director of Ferrari whose name I can never remember, Massa, Fisi, Flav and Trulli (and one more I’m going to hold back a bit).
The difference between that line up and one for race day in the UK is massive. Here we would have spoken to at least one representive of every team but there? They mentioned McClaren only to say that Montoya left and that Pedro had not done too badly. I’m not even sure they mentioned Kimi.
All of the people that they interviewed were Italian or worked for an Italian team and if that doesn’t make you feel a bit biased then I don’t know what will.
Actually it’s not quite true because the one I held back was Rubens. He’s not Italian or racing for an Italian team but he is fluent in Italian as is Massa. In fact there was no English the entire race. If you couldn’t speak Italian then you weren’t getting on tv. And I’d bet the same thing happens in Germany but probably nowhere else. They must be the only countries where there is enough of a wealth of speakers to make your program interesting.
The interesting read across is for what this means for the driver market. Did Honda choose Rubens for his driving or to balance up the italian press with arch rivals Toyota having Trulli?
Actually Rubens must be a really good catch for a formula one team as I think he even speaks German.