The Formula 1 season starts this weekend. And whether you choose to watch the race on Sky or the BBC, there is one thing we can all agree on: thank goodness we don’t have to watch it on ITV any more.
No-one ever liked the adverts. But looking back, you have to admit it: when ITV got the rights to show F1 in 1997, they brought coverage of the sport to another level. However, by the end of their tenure the coverage had become formulaic, lazy and parochial.
The extent to which ITV’s coverage had regressed can be summed up with one 30 second clip: the final ITV F1 title sequence.
A woman wears nothing but a chequered flag as a car blasts past her
I’m sure we all recognise this scenario from real life.
Believe it or not, this is actually one of the least ridiculous moments from the title sequence.
A Chinese opera character is surprised to have been roped into all this
This was pretty much my expression when I first saw this title sequence too.
An eagle sidles up to a car leaving a trail of smoke behind it as the God of Juan Pablo Montoya looks on
Whoever storyboarded this must have been on a very bad trip.
A woman in a tight outfit waving a chequered flag walks straight into the path of oncoming cars
A Renault drives around a roulette wheel overseen by a giant David Coulthard wearing a tuxedo
Note to F1 title sequence producers: This is not what Casino Square looks like.
A snake crawls over a naked woman’s shoulder in Silverstone while Kimi Räikkönen’s suspension breaks after being attacked by two women waving chequered flags vigorously
We’ve all been there.
And finally, that well known F1 tradition:
A car is projectile-launched out of a giant helmet
All of this goes on to the tune of Moby singing “lick me out”, or something.
This title sequence is a parade of dreadful clichés, dated sexism and dire CGI.
If you can handle it, watch the video in all its glory and remind yourself of how far we’ve come since the bad old days of ITV’s F1 coverage.