|Who Can Stop Him? – The Official Review of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship Season|
|DVD ©2013, 215 minutes|
|Distributed by DUKE Video|
The 2013 edition of Formula 1’s official video review series comes via its fifth different publisher in seven years.
Having had short-lived stints with a number of different production companies, the latest effort comes via its traditional home of DUKE Video, who had a near-monopoly of producing some (largely excellent) review videos between 1981 and 2007.
That still hasn’t helped the overseas distribution of the DVD being hopelessly late, to the point that we only managed to pick up our review copy after this year’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix!
Coupled to that, DUKE Australia was resolutely unhelpful in providing us with a media review copy – we’ve dealt with many publishers and distributors who have been wonderful, but DUKE Australia would have to rank up there with Codemasters in the sheer unprofessionalism stakes. Small wonder the DVD is hard to come by and the Blu Ray version is non-existent.
Moving off our soapbox, the 2013 review largely follows the tried and tested format used in past seasons’ reviews, although it does have some significant improvements – and some slips – relative to its predecessors.
The 2012 Season Review DVD suffered from an appalling lack of contextual material, and this is one aspect where the latest edition has made some improvement, starting off with an excellent introductory chapter on the off-season line-up changes and the pre-season testing. There’s even a little of backgrounding between some Grands Prix.
But squeezing as much content as possible onto a single three-and-a-half-hour-long DVD has meant some content had to be jettisoned. The DVD version has no extra features, but perhaps that could be corrected by the Blu Ray edition – should it ever hit Australia’s shores.
Some of the bonus footage in previous season reviews’ haven’t really been worth the effort, so perhaps this was a worthwhile trade-off.
Let’s face it, the 2013 season – once Red Bull Racing got on its second half-season roll and romped to victory in the final nine races – was a bit boring, and that also translated into the review DVD at times.
Aside from the thrilling Belgian Grand Prix qualifying session, much of the Friday and Saturday action barely gets a look-in. That’s a great shame, given some of that track time proved as interesting (if not more) than a few of the races.
Matters aren’t helped by a rather dull voiceover given by the BBC‘s Ben Edwards. He’s very much a Murray Walker-style ‘pants on fire’ commentator, and that’s harder to replicate in a post-season review where you can’t make the action feel ‘live’. Added to that, he was hardly given the greatest of scripts or races to work with. And what was with the alternating use of the drivers’ first names, surnames and nicknames?
That being said, the race highlight footage is of a typically high standard, boosted by the belated advent of thermal imaging and rotating onboard camera shots, which both feature.
There’s a good smattering of pit-to-team radio to add further colour to the action on the track, but there are also some snippets – such as Felipe Massa’s dummy spit over his drive-through penalty at the Brazilian Grand Prix – which are totally overlooked.
There’s also a reasonable effort covering a few stories away from the front of the pack – Nico Hülkenberg’s superb end-of-season drives got good air time, for example – and there’s also some focus on the political scandals, such as Pirelli and Mercedes’ controversial in-season tyre test after the Spanish Grand Prix. Also covered were the deaths of Canadian Grand Prix marshal Mark Robinson and former test driver María de Villota.
But other stories – particularly any visibility on the struggles of Williams, Marussia and Caterham – were almost non-existent, along with any focus on some of the technical innovations seen over the course of the season.
One great feature that was sadly never replicated was a pre-Italian Grand Prix featurette involving an interview with former World Champion John Surtees. This added some excellent ‘past stars’ colour, and it’s something that the makers would be wise to do more of in future productions.
All up, the 2013 Season Review does a competent – but hardly spectacular – job of packaging a less-than-brilliant Formula 1 season into a DVD.
Using our unique ‘Chequered Flags’ rating system, we award The Official Review of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship Season…
OUT OF A POSSIBLE FIVE.
The The Official Review of the 2013 FIA Formula 1 World Championship Season DVD and Blu Ray (apparently) are available – if you’re lucky! – at selected specialist stores.