Formula One 2000 - World Championship Review Review

The Formula One Season 2000
The 2000 season saw Mika Hakkinen defending the championship for the second time, though this year the challenge from Ferrari and Michael Schumacher in particular seemed stronger than ever. Indeed, Schumacher got off to a good start, winning the first three races of the season. The first challenge to the German was from David Coulthard, winning first the mud soaked British Grand Prix, then impressively at Monaco. Hakkinen had by this time begun his challenge and in the end the championship was pushed almost to the very last race. There was plenty of excitement in the season, even though for the first time since 1988, two teams won every Grand Prix. Between them, Schumacher and Barrichello for Ferrari, and Hakkinen and Coulthard for McLaren Mercedes accrued 332 of the 442 available points during the 17 races. Other highlights of the season included new boy Jenson Button's debut for BMW Williams. Much was said before the season that Button would fail miserably and his inexperience would be a danger to other drivers. He proved them all wrong however, and enjoyed an excellent first season, scoring a respectable 12 points in total. Only a couple of incidents such as a shunt on the notoriously difficult Monaco circuit showed his rookie status.

An entertaining season also included McLaren's brushes with the regulations (leading to Coulthard being disqualified from one race), F1 returning to the USA for the first time since 1991, and the sight of Eddie Jordan's grim expression in the pits as his cars crashed out of yet another race.

The Disc
When first firing up the disc you are presented with a menu of all the Grand Prix from the season, starting with the first in Australia to the seventeenth in Malaysia (see "Main Menu" illustration below). Selecting a race takes you to the "Version Select Menu" (also see below) where you can choose either "Interactive" or "Continuous" modes.

Both sections contain five different video sections. These are:

Super is the main documentary style section for each race. This includes commentary on the race build up, major incidents in the race, and a snippet of the post race interview with podium placers. This section runs about five to six minutes for each race.

Track is a commentary-free section showing various views from around the track, to complement the video of the Super section.

OBC gives you on-board camera views from inside the cars. To be pedantic this is quoted as "exactly what the driver sees" though in reality cameras are mounted above, below or even behind the drivers point-of-view.

Pits section shows clips from key moments in the pit lane during the race.

Data is a brief amount of information (in video rather than screen form) initially showing the grid positions, followed by the same race position and timing info that is relayed back to the pit crews.

Running in "Continuous" mode simply allows each section to be watched in entirety. Choosing "Interactive" mode presents you with a menu system as shown above. Select the "Super" section at the first chapter to begin, then it is possible to switch to the corresponding "track", "OBC", "pits", or "data" section if this is available at this part of the race. This is not done by multi-angle functionality, rather a menu system appears in the top corner of the screen, allowing you to jump out to the corresponding chapter of another feature, say, in car view, then when that finishes it returns you to the beginning of the "super" chapter that you were previously watching. This can make things a little confusing and difficult to navigate, especially when menu items along the top disappear and re-appear quickly.

The running time of 4 hours and 15 minutes, divided by 17 Grand Prix, obviously gives you 15 minutes devoted to each. This means that clearly there is only time at each race to show the key moments, and no more. As such the "interactive" elements of each race are not as impressive as they first seem. For instance, the in car views are only brief snippets from various drivers. Of better value would have been to have shown at least an entire lap from the point of view of one driver, so that for instance it would be possible to understand why the Hungarian and Spanish circuits are so difficult to overtake on. That's not to say that some of the in car video isn't interesting, as highlights including Villeneuve's rash manouever in Canada, and the two Prost's taking each other out on the Austrian circuit are worth watching. The data section may have been more interesting if it was covering the entire race, as in just small chunks it becomes little more than a gimmick. And where's the data on the driver's and constructor's points through the season? Inexplicably missing.

In reality, the key section to be watched for each race is the "Super" section which contains the commentary and information about the race. This is generally well put together, covering all the main points about each race, though it would have been nice to have seen some video of the qualification stages, instead of say, which celebrities had showed up. A facility to just continuously watch all of these sections for all races through the season would have been welcome, but alas the menu system does not allow this.

To sum up, giving interactive elements to this disc is a good idea, however for two reasons it doesn't work as well as it could. Firstly, 15 minutes isn't enough time to fully do justice to each race, and as such the ability to switch to in car view for just a few seconds at a time isn't as exciting as being able to follow a driver for longer periods of time. Secondly, the system for switching between views is not multi-angle, and the menu jumping system doesn't navigate that well. It may have been better to have produced the whole video stream into one continuous feature, rather than leaving the viewer to jump around by themselves, making it ultimately into a feature for feature's sake, rather than usability.

Different locations, different filming and sourcing from television feeds means that picture quality is going to be both variable and never the best that has been seen on DVD. The picture quality is very good in places, basically resembling a high quality television broadcast. A few other times some artifacting is evident, and obviously a top quality picture is just not possible for such things as the in car camera segments.

It would have been excellent to experience the sounds and atmosphere of Formula One in full digital glory, but alas this is real sport broadcasting and not a movie. Hence we have to make do with television quality Dolby Surround which is competent without being anything special.

Final Thoughts
DVD is the perfect medium for having multi-featured interactive video presentations for subject matter such as this. However, the fact that there are 17 races to get through for an F1 season means that short visits only are possible to each race, and as such the special features are a bit disappointing. It's still a worthwhile purchase for any Formula One fans though, but hopefully the features will work better in the 2001 review.

As a very final thought, Columbia Tristar, as they are owned by Sony, now prominently display "Compatible with PlayStation 2" on their discs, and this one is no exception. As the packaging for the corresponding game is extremely similar, how many people will therefore pick this up thinking it's a game rather than a video?

7 out of 10
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out of 10

Last updated: 19/04/2018 20:27:31

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