FIA Formula One World Championship 2020: The Official Review (Blu Ray)
Blu Ray, 352 minutes including Extra Features (2 discs)
© 2020 DUKE Video
Our Rating:

Long-time readers of MotorsportM8 will know that we wait – and hope – that the annual Formula 1 World Championship Season Review productions might do justice to the year that was.

DUKE Video continues to hold the rights for the 2020 edition, made famous for being thrown on its head by the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

After some dreary ‘colour by numbers’ efforts in 2017 and 2018, its 2019 release was perhaps the nadir.

With a tick just short of 6 hours’ viewing spread over two discs for a season shorter than recent years thanks to the pandemic, on the surface it gave us hope of an improvement.

With snappy graphics and an easy-to-navigate menu giving you the choice of a full season run-through or race-by-race chapters, it opened well with a neat run-through of pre-season testing and a quick explainer of some of the major technical developments the teams had developed in the off-season.  Mercedes-AMG’s dual-axis steering (DAS) system was also featured.

The season was famously turned on its head before it began with the sudden cancellation of the Australian Grand Prix, forcing the teams into a long shutdown.  There was a nice feature on how the teams rallied together to develop breathing respirators to support the healthcare systems plunged into crisis as the pandemic took hold.

That was unfortunately as interesting as the 2020 Season Review got.  Once racing officially returned to action in Austria, the subsequent chapters ran stale formula of (selective) major headlines and then a complete re-run of the qualifying and race highlights packages that Formula 1 uploads to its official YouTube channel – all with commentary by the SKY F1 team.  There might be a 30-second grab from a practice session and the odd post-qualifying or post-race interview with the major players.

Did Sebastian Vettel’s sacking by Ferrari make the cut? Not a chance.  Was Mercedes’ decision to adopt an all-back livery to support the Black Lives Matter movement given a mention? Nope.

Was the drivers’ pre-race anti-racism gesture given any meaningful coverage?  You must be joking.  Was the scandal over Racing Point’s illegal brake duct design investigated in any depth? Nada.  Was there an adequate recognition of the Williams family in the wake of the team’s sale to Dorilton Capital?  You can pretty much guess…

A season like no other, punctuated by COVID and thrust at the forefront of major social drama and technical innovation, was once again given a formulaic and completely ‘dumbed down’ approach.  A year dominated by Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking seventh World Championship title triumph and the Briton being at the forefront of shining a spotlight on the sport’s poor diversity was somehow sidelined by an incessant use of nausea-inducing 360-degree camera angles.

The five ‘bonus features’ on Disc 1 – if you could dare call them that – were really second-rate efforts, likely pulled from the least-viewed uploads to F1’s official YouTube channel or its official website.  The Jochen Rindt tribute, which runs at a breathless 5 minutes’ duration, is honestly the only chapter worth a look.

If you’re in desperate need of some F1 video highlights from last year, save yourself the twenty quid and watch the F1 YouTube feed.  You’re missing nothing if you don’t shell out for this.

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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.