The McLaren racer had become accustomed to winning championships in previous years, but admits was the ideal learning experience for him ahead of his rookie Formula 1 season… Norris certainly knows a thing or two about winning, having enjoyed a stellar rise through the karting ranks before highlighting his undoubted racing talent with a string of single-seater championships, including the European Formula 3 crown. Those exploits saw him enter his maiden F2 season as a McLaren junior with a glowing reputation, and while he ended as runner-up, with just one race victory to his name, his performances were enough to persuade his Woking squad to hand him a F1 drive. That has helped me win races and championships. I have been able to experience different things to other drivers. There are smaller things you can change, but you can still be separate to other teams.
Thus, it seems appropriate to review the broadcasting output of what has been a thrilling season of racing.
The NBC product has been fantastic, with increased viewership stateside. An average audience of 5.
Overall, audiences increased by nine percent compared with Diffey, Bell and Tracy steer the show In my view, the increase is partly down to the excellent commentary team of Leigh Diffey and his analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy — both former IndyCar drivers.
There is also an extensive line up of pit reporters who often speak to strategists during races. The excitement the trio clearly have for the racing is infectious, mixing analysis with just plain enthusiasm.
Diffey does not dominate the commentary, often allowing for his co-commentators to converse between themselves for periods of time.
They are not shy of speaking out when they see something wrong — Tracy called for Takuma Sato to be suspended after a serious crash at the Pocono race.
However, the trio share an appreciation of the racing and a willingness for all drivers to do well. Tracy was one of the first to congratulate Sato when he won the next race at the Gateway oval.
The actual broadcast is also strong. The build-up is generally just analysis and driver interviews however there have been on occasion some excellent driver features, which NBC should continue to do into The graphics are sleek and do their job during the race. The coverage provides a wide array of camera angles throughout the broadcast including the standard camera mounted above the cockpit, a cockpit cam facing the drivers, as well as the infamous visor cam.
Looking back from Alexander Rossi towards Josef Newgarden. However, not all on-board camera angles are available to viewers watching at home. Fans at home only see between ten and twelve camera angles where third parties are sponsoring them, meaning that we sometimes do not get the best view of incidents if the main camera operators have not picked an incident up.
The visor cam really shows the thrill of the ride — particularly on the bumpy street tracks allowing us to see the speed of the cars as well as sensing the rough ride the drivers are going through. IndyCar often uploads these clips to their YouTube channel in addition to extensive race highlights, helping to cement their strong online presence.
NBC has heavily promoted races on other parts of its network, which benefited the significantly. Little improvement for Sky compared to BT in UK Closer to home, it is disappointing that Sky have been unable to build a larger viewership of the sport than it generally had during its BT days.
The racing product has been excellent, with absorbing, incident packed, overtaking laden races. There have been seven different winners and nine other drivers finishing in the podium positions — including drivers classified as low as 22nd in the championship.
The racing itself is certainly not the reason for the lack of viewers. Sky is in a strong position with an already present audience of committed motorsport fans regularly watching its coverage of Formula 1.
So why the lack of interest in IndyCar? However, there is familiarity for British audiences — drivers such as Sato, Max Chilton, Marcus Ericsson, and Alexander Rossi are names familiar to the committed F1 petrol head.
Oval racing is also not familiar to many of us in the UK and often dismissed the Rockingham circuit which hosted Champ Cars in the early s recently closed down , however the ovals have seen some of the most thrilling races in IndyCar this year.
Commercial breaks are a problem for IndyCar and its international audience. Unlike British motorsport coverage, American networks take advertising breaks during races. Whilst Sky do not cut to adverts during the US breaks it does mean that commentary falls silent in the gaps as Diffey and co.
Looking at Colton Herta as he tackles the corkscrew complex at Laguna Seca.
The on-screen graphics also disappear during US ad-breaks for UK viewers, which may confuse new viewers who are trying to follow the on-track action. It is also not thrilling for viewers to watch cars following the pace car with no commentary.
It would be great for Sky to provide this at more races like BT did. As an unashamed fan of Alex Jacques, it would be great to see him call some Indy races, however this is probably impossible and merely a wish of mine!
Whilst the race was bound to gain a larger than usual audience due to its place as the top event of the season, there is a chance this promotion of the race could have directed more viewers its way. Many races take place at reasonable times for UK viewers to watch however some of the night races take place in the early hours for British viewers.
Sky could replay some of the races at more reasonable time slots during the week, as BT Sport did on occasion. Whilst this may not draw huge audiences, it would still allow a dedicated IndyCar following to build.
The IndyCar Series has fantastic racing and NBC is providing an excellent product for UK viewers to watch even with presenters of motorsport in full suits! However, Sky needs to push advertising of the series more. Sky could do this through cross promotion, which seems to have worked well for NBC to build its own domestic audience as well as perhaps adding in some of their own personnel to make the broadcasts a more seamless experience for the UK viewer.
There is no doubt that the potential is there for the series to become far more popular in the UK than it is at present.
Have you been watching IndyCar this year?
What have you enjoyed or not enjoyed? Do you think Sky could increase viewership through involving their own personnel or simply more advertising? Have your say in the comments below. Fancy contributing to Motorsport Broadcasting?