FIA Formula One World Championship 2019: The Official Review (Blu Ray)
Blu Ray, 376 minutes including Extra Features (2 discs)
© 2019 DUKE Video
Our Rating:

In the wake of the very well-received opening season of Netflix’s Formula 1: Drive to Survive series, we at MotorsportM8 had some hopes that Liberty Media might carry that into its own production of its end-of-year season review released on Blu Ray and DVD by DUKE Video.

Its 2017 and 2018 efforts were both dreary ‘colour by numbers’ affairs that weren’t worth their inflated price tags.

After last year’s utterly breathless two-hour production, the 2019 version returns to a more traditional two-disc Blu Ray format with a rather staggering six hours of content proudly boasted on the tin.

Are casual and die-hard fans alike given a more complete picture of what was an at times exhilarating World Championship battle?
Is an interesting pre-season testing build-up covered?
Will we be provided with never-before-seen footage and camera angles that weren’t available on the (admittedly excellent) world feed productions available during 2019?

Not a chance.

Each chapter is simply the race highlights reel from F1’s official YouTube channel, although there’s perhaps the small mercy of actually being able to mute the commentary from the SKY F1 broadcast. No one really wants to hear David Croft’s blindly parochial commentary and bad ‘Dad jokes’ in a repeat viewing.

Practice or qualifying action might make the briefest of appearances in each round’s summary, and even then it will be pretty limited to the competitors from the ‘Big Three’ teams.

Bonus footage-wise, an ‘Onboards’ section on Disc 1 provides a commentary-free replay of the pole-winning driver’s lap at each event. Yawn.

On Disc 2, there are (just) five bonus featurettes – the majority of which were published to the official F1 YouTube channel at the time they were filmed. At least Will Buxton’s masterfully narrated tribute to Niki Lauda made the cut, but the same treatment could have been given to FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting who died during the Australian Grand Prix’s build-up.

The only feature we found interesting was a lengthy interview by Tom Clarkson with Jody Scheckter at sitting amongst the 1979 World Champion’s private racing car collection. While it’s essentially an abridged version of the South African’s splendid Beyond the Grid podcast, it’s good watching and one of the few saving graces of this interminable title.

It’s an embarrassment to DUKE Video – one of the finest specialty production companies in the sport whose 1980s and 1990s era efforts were generally excellent – to have to put their name to this dreary, unimaginative effort for which they’ve had zero editorial input. What a terrible shame.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.