TSN cancels popular F1 pre-race program
The good news today is that The Sports Network (TSN) will broadcast all Formula One races and qualifying sessions live this year, starting a week from Sunday with the Grand Prix of Australia.
The bad news is that a couple of familiar faces and voices will be missing from the broadcasts.
For years, TSN's F1 coverage has featured a 30-minute pre-race show hosted by Vic Rauter that included expert commentary and analysis from Gerald Donaldson, a Canadian journalist and author of some two-dozen books on Formula One.
Rauter would introduce the race and talk about the circuit, the point standings and so on and then conduct a telephone interview direct from the paddock with Donaldson, who would fill viewers in on the latest news, gossip and controversies.
After the race, they'd do a review before wrapping things up.
For 2009, TSN has contracted with the BBC for race coverage, replacing ITV. Whether it's costing TSN more moolah to carry the BBC program, or the Beeb's pre-race show is part of the race package, who knows? But TSN won't have a "local" lead-in to the Grand Prix races this year.
Which is a shame. Rauter has long been recognized as TSN's auto racing "voice" and he's done an excellent job. And Donaldson, so far as I know, is the only Canadian journalist who travels to all of the F1 races and for that reason it was a pleasure to hear him reporting "from the scene."
Disclosure: The Star employed Donaldson to report on F1 races when Jacques Villeneuve was driving but concluded the arrangement after Villeneuve retired and there was no longer any "Canadian content" in the series. Wheels.ca