F1's On-Screen Graphics Might Suck, But They're Better Than What We Used To Have

Illustration for article titled F1's On-Screen Graphics Might Suck, But They're Better Than What We Used To Have
Screenshot: Formula One (Chain Bear via YouTube)

Plenty of people have been thoroughly annoyed by some of the latest Formula One graphics that have been popping up mid-race. Do we really need all this excess information about the probability of overtaking and tire performance? Do we really? But for as pointless as some of these new inclusions seem, they are at least better than the absolutely terrible excuses for graphics we used to have... if we even had them at all.


As new and terrible things are introduced into F1, it’s always a good thing to remember where we started, because that starting place was probably also really awful so at least it’s not that anymore. Which is why I’m very thankful Chain Bear on YouTube once again went out of his way to show us how things could have been.

In this latest video, we take a trip down memory lane to look back on all the graphics F1 has used over the years.

I’ll be totally honest—I don’t mind the inclusion of pointless graphics because I spend an obscene amount of my free time watching old races from the 70s, where you were lucky to even have graphics. Who’s leading the race? Is that a backmarker running up front, or are they just being lapped? Who knows! It’s a mystery! It wasn’t until 1994 that a graphics package was actually standardized and you could kind of follow a race.

This video puts the relatively harmless—albeit stupid—new graphics into perspective. Back in the day, graphics were relatively simplistic because the quality of broadcasting at the time didn’t really enable anything smaller or more complicated. And, I mean, it makes a pretty good case for the whole “you don’t actually need tons of information to follow a race” argument.

We have the capability of shoving tons of information at viewers nowadays. Whether we actually need it or not is probably a matter of personal choice—but at least things just look better in 2019.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.



Do we really need all this excess information about the probability of overtaking and tire performance? Do we really?

Any question that needs to be phrased as “do we really need this?” is best disregarded because that’s pretty much never the point. It’s not about what’s needed. It’s about what adds to the experience. You don’t need seasoning when you cook but it enhances the base ingredients.

Probability of overtaking is a legitimately interesting and useful stat as long as its accurate. And thus far it seems to be decently accurate, because it’s based in pretty solid data. You can easily look at 2 cars lap times, the lap times of other cars in similar situations, and pit deltas to figure out if someone else is going to maintain or close a window by the time they pit or run out of laps. Being informed on just how much of a gamble an alternate strategy is makes it more engaging.

the only graphic I have an issue with is the AWS tire condition thing, and that’s mainly because it’s clearly full of shit. It’s about as revealing of the true conditions of the tires as lewis hamilton’s radio messages. I mean this didn’t show up on the F1 meme subreddit for no reason:

Why is the bare minimum of what you “need in order to follow the race” the standard for the broadcast? To bet true to that reasoning we should drop all pre and post race interviews, all the low to the ground and corner camera shots, 99% of the commentary,and just reduce everything to a top-down helicopter view with the timing and scoring next to it and nothing else.

I mean I hate this whole stupid “ok boomer” meme but this reads like the most boomery set of complaints.  It’s literally a “back in the day we didn’t know what was going on and it was just fine” argument.