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Inaugural qualifying session marred by TV problems

NEWS STORY
25/09/2005

Race fans sitting down to watch the first ever A1 GP qualifying session on TV on Saturday, were left disappointed and frustrated.

A failure of the timing system meant that viewers were forced to rely on the commentators to give them information as to who was quickest and the deficit rival teams were facing. However, cars were often halfway through their slow down lap before their times were read out and there were no graphic displays to inform fans what was happening.

Despite a splendid effort by (in Britain) John Watson and Ben Edwards, the session fell apart leaving many race fans feeling very angry.

"Where are the live onscreen timings?" wrote one race fan on the Pitpass forum. "Why do we only see the time of the fastest team? Why are Ben and John having to 'wait' for times to come up on their screen?"

"I was embarrassed to have to watch what was a confusing mess," wrote another. "With aggregate times knowledge of the 'actual' times is crucial, yet they were only occasionally mentioned (being the casual drop-ins of the commentary rather than the on-screen display)."

"A1GP has the potential to be a superb series ," wrote one forum member, "but only if the tv coverage improves."

"The coverage in Holland was terrible!" said a Dutch fan. "Not because Jos didn't do well , but because you couldn't find out who was on track, in or out lap, what times they were recording, or which cars still had to do their lap.

"It wasn't because the commentator wasn't doing his job (Allard Kalff is the best around over here), because you could hear him struggling to find times. I sincerely hope my 'complaints' will be read and solved, because I'm very enthusiastic about the series, which should provide us with excellent racing during the winter."

Aside from the lack of timing details, there were also complaints about some of the TV coverage and in particular the on-board footage, and the failure to follow the right car at the right time.

Pitpass sources say that series founder Sheikh Maktoum is aware of the problems, and they are being "worked on".

On a positive not, fans at the track have told Pitpass that coverage was superb, and that they were kept fully up to speed.

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