F1 In Canada: TSN Sucks and Return to Montreal

So the 2009 F1 season kicked off with a bang.  Rubens Barrichello managed to cause a four car pile-up in the first turn after chunking the start.  Meanwhile, some guy named Jenson Button won the race followed by Barrichello (who got back to second after some other guys crashed) and Lewis Hamilton (thanks to a stewards’ decision that went his way for once).

Over here in Canada, things weren’t quite so rosy.

TSN’s coverage leaves everything to be desired

For as long as I’ve been watching F1 (over 13 years), TSN has always had decent coverage.  They cover qualifying and the race live (with a race replay at 8:00 Sunday morning if it’s an Asian race).  Their qualifying, pre-race, and post-race coverage for that time has been handled by anchor Vic Rauter (although Vic has been replaced in recent years by some guy whose name I can’t remember) and Gerry Donaldson (live via phone from the track).  Race commentary was always handled by the British commentary crew.  Full disclosure: The Hamilton homerism has caused me to switch to Speed Channel for my F1 coverage.  Their production values and commentary team are the only ones that can challenge the Brits for the best worldwide.

Claiming the credit crunch as an excuse, TSN have dropped Vic and Gerry for exclusively BBC coverage.  That wouldn’t be too bad if they carried BBC video but instead it just carried the audio.  I saw some of the ITV races last season while I was waiting for my cable to be installed and they did an amazing job from start to finish.  Unfortunately, TSN is using the BBC audio only.  When I watched the replay at 8:00 AM (more on that later), I was treated to commentary cut-off for ad breaks and the FIA post-race press conference with Jake Humphrey, David Coulthard, Eddie Jordan, and Lee McKenzie interviewing Lewis Hamilton.  It was slightly unnerving to hear a woman’s voice coming out of Jenson Button’s mouth but I’m sure Jacques Villeneuve fans would have suspected as much.

I can’t tell you how the qualifying and pre-race coverage was because I didn’t see either.  I watched the race replay because I had taped the Speed Channel coverage of the race.  Sadly, that was blacked out.  I guess TSN must have noticed that more people were tuning into F1 on Speed because they actually gave a damn.  I’m glad I decided I wanted to hear Jonathan Legard’s first go in the hot seat otherwise I would have missed the race all together.

After being thoroughly disappointed with TSN’s coverage, I think it’s time FOM passes it on.  Sportsnet covers English soccer using in house studio coverage and British commentary, like TSN used to do for F1.  Something like that could work again but I could see Sportsnet try the Speed Channel treatment.  Scary thought but a commentary team of yours truly and Paul Tracy would be among the best in the world from the get-go.  Get ‘er done Rogers!

F1 back to Montreal already?

One of the hot rumours circulating through the Australian paddock last weekend was that the Yas Island Circuit, home of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, has fallen behind on its construction schedule and will not be ready in time for November.  As a result, the final round of the year would be held in Canada at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Let’s assume for a moment that there’s even a slim chance of this actually happening.  I didn’t realize that Bridgestone made snow tires for F1 cars.  The high ranges from 3.5 to 19 degrees since 2001 but the good news is that in odd numbered years, the temperature gets to the high teens.  Still, with this being Canada and the track being on the river, cold winds and lake effect snow could strike at any moment over the weekend.  And let’s be honest, with all the places in the world that are supposedly throwing money at F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestonee to get on the schedule, Bernie wants to run a race in a blizzard run by people he described essentially as deadbeats.


15 thoughts on “F1 In Canada: TSN Sucks and Return to Montreal

  1. Great site this lowdownblog.wordpress.com and I am really pleased to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂


  2. TSN and FI Coverage:
    I too am very angry with TSN. I have been watching F1 on TSN for over 10 years myself, and have invested heavily in HD television and channel subscriptions. At 8:00 AM this morning, the Malaysian F1 replay was only available on TSN 2, a standard definition, pay channel. After last week’s Australian GP, he TSN HD replay is suddenly gone – despite their website saying as late as last week that it would be on their HD channel. To add insult to injury, the 1:30 PM replay on Speed HD has been blacked out by my cable provider – likely at the request of TSN. Whay would anyone want to subscribe to TSN HD when it fails to deliver quality programming and interferes with other channels that do…


  3. great site this lowdownblog.wordpress.com nice to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂


  4. brill site this lowdownblog.wordpress.com formidable to see you have what I am actually looking for here and this this post is exactly what I am interested in. I shall be pleased to become a regular visitor 🙂


  5. TSN should get out of the F1 business. they aren’t committed to it and it is a horrible broadcast. Not only don’t they provide HD the BBC broadcast they carry is duller than dirt. A least the ITV broadcast was interesting, but The Speed Channel coverage is miles better. They are enthusiastic about F1.


  6. hey guys and girls, TSN has really sucked the big one on it’s 2009 F1 coverage. Why don’t we all file complaints with the CRTC. I already did.

    the link:


    Since most of us are paying for cable coverage, we should have a choice.

    Let me know if anybody out there would like to see a copy of my complaint. It may help you in forming your own complaint to the CRTC.

    Hey boys and girls, we’re all in this together. The more complaints we get into the CRTC, the greater the chance that they will lift Speed Channel’s blacked out coverage.

    all the best and Vettel rocks,



  7. The TSN coverage of F1 is DISGUSTING. I have lost all respect for the network. I used to be at least somewhat pleased with their coverage of F1, this is no longer the case . The block out of the Speed network’s coverage of F1 in Canada has got me one one step away from canceling them. Cable networks are hurting in this economic climate, this is not the time for them to drop the ball with customer satisfaction. We need to stand up to their deplorable coverage of F1 in Canada. I urge you to make your voice heard loud and clear to both Speed and TSN for this blatant disregard of your subscription fee’s.


  8. i fully agree with you about the coverage sucks.ilive in hamilton and tsn got cogeco to get rid of speed tv. all for their ratings.TSN REALLY SUCKS.IWANT SPEEDTV BACK.


    • Wayne, if you’ve got Radio-Canada TV (aka RDI), try there. I’m watching it there right now. Funnily enough, they also used to show F1 on tape-delay at 2 PM on race days. I’m assuming that the Canadian French coverage of F1 went to RDS.


    • I update in my grand prix recaps. Though you’re right that I should write up a dedicated 2010 state of F1 coverage in Canada post. Thanks for the suggestion, Jim. I’ll probably have it up after Monaco but definitely before the Canadian GP.


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