Reviewing the F1 2013 official season review on DVD.
Another season of Formula 1 racing coming to an end means that it’s time for the annual DVD review, which has been released just in time for the festive period, giving racing fans the excuse to lock themselves away from the rest of the family to re-live the 2013 season.
It’s fair to say that 2013 wasn’t the best year in the history of the sport, but the DVD does a good job of capturing the action and conveying the high points of the season.
In the 2012 review there was a baffling lack of any footage from practice and qualifying. Fortunately this is rectified in the 2013 edition, although there still isn’t a huge amount. Qualifying shunts in Australia, Monaco and Canada are captured, but there’s no pole position laps on the DVD version: this is reserved for the Blu-Ray release.
There’s good analysis of winter testing, explaining what went on at the three tests in Jerez and Barcelona, providing a build-up to the first race of the season in Australia. The races come in packages of around 10 minutes, with all 19 events featured (and all on one disc, so there's no mid-season disc pit-stop). The story of the year flows much better than in 2012, with Ben Edwards once again voicing the narrative. Certain aspects of the year are dealt with very well, such as the intra-team battle at Red Bull in Malaysia and the subsequent fall-out. That particular scrap is covered alongside radio messages, while the DVD looks back at the relationship between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber across the last few years, which also features Vettel’s highly charged radio message following their shunt in Turkey in 2010.
With the tyres featuring prominently in 2013, there's a brief explanation of the compounds, an interview with Pirelli's Paul Hembery and a mention of the International Tribunal. The tragic deaths of marshal Mark Robinson and Spanish racer Maria de Villota are also poignantly covered.
There are no extra features on the DVD version but these are amalgamated into the main feature: Webber reflects on his career in the sport, while 1964 champion John Surtees discusses the challenges of Monza next to the iconic banking. Young drivers are also featured briefly during the mid-season test, although such is the rapid change in the sport that for talented drivers such as Robin Frijns, their chance in Formula 1 may already have gone.
Most races have brief thematic introductions (such as shots of the British countryside or snippets of city life in Singapore) that add to the enjoyment of the DVD but there are a few negative points.
The final few events feel somewhat rushed with certain moments completely omitted, albeit this is partly due to the races lacking spark after what was a feisty first half of the year. There’s also woefully little coverage of the battle between Caterham and Marussia, with Giedo van der Garde’s Q2 appearances disappointingly absent. There are a few interviews with drivers - especially pre-season - but they’re limited (I don’t recall any comments from either Force India driver) and this makes the drivers feel slightly detached, particularly the rookies. There are very few 'behind the scenes' aspects of the DVD, which is something that offered an insight into the sport in past DVDs, while humorous moments from press conferences - of which there were a few and which would have been welcome - are not featured. One introduction from the underwhelming 2012 DVD was the same incident from multiple onboard angles, or a driver guiding us through a certain moment in the season, but this has been axed from the 2013 DVD.
Overall, it’s an improvement on last year’s offering, especially considering that 2013 wasn’t a patch on 2012 in terms of racing action. Devoted fans won’t learn much new from the DVD, but it’s nonetheless one to enjoy and add to the collection.
- Distributor: Duke Video
- Format: DVD (reviewed), Blu-Ray
- Running Time: 3hrs 35 minutes
- Released: 23rd December 2013 (DVD), 6th January 2014 (Blu-Ray)
- RRP: £16.99 (DVD), £24.99 (Blu-Ray)