Avoiding spoilers

Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?

This weekend was the first time in very many years that I have had to avoid spoilers for a grand prix. I missed quite a few races live during 2007 due to work, but I always watched them as soon as I got home so there was not much problem with spoilers. Today, I had to spend five hours awake, actively avoiding everything until the BBC’s highlights were broadcast at 2pm.

There are plenty of potential traps. I love listening to the radio. Luckily, during weekends mornings I currently tend to listen to music stations, meaning I just have to switch the radio off for the hourly news bulletins. It would be different on the days when I listen to Radio 4 or Radio 5 Live or the World Service, all of which could potentially mention the F1 results at any moment due to the current affairs nature of the output.

Then, of course, there is the internet. I have to avoid Twitter and Facebook. I can’t visit any news websites. Google Reader is out (although my brother fell into this trap — whoops!). I am even wary of checking my emails. It’s a big effort.

But, incredibly, I managed it. The only hairy moments were yesterday morning when I was trying to avoid the results of qualifying. I knew I had received a tweet from someone, because my phone told me. But I managed not to look at it. I also knew that someone — an F1 fan — had posted on my Facebook wall. This knowledge alone set my mind racing as to what might have happened, but in the end it was nothing.

All in all, I was surprised at how easy it was to avoid the result. But it’s one thing to avoid the result of an early morning flyaway race. The race goes on while I sleep, and the highlights are broadcast reasonably early in the day.

When it comes to the European races, I imagine it will be a much tougher challenge. In these cases, I may well choose to listen to the races live on the radio.


  1. Without wishing to sound patronising, good for you for taking the initiative to avoid discovering the results for yourself.

    I’ve had emails from people asking if I’ll refrain from running race reports until the highlights have appeared on the BBC. I’ve even seen people complaining that the results were reported on the news – how unreasonable for a news programme to report the news!

    I do sympathise with those unable to see the races live this year. It is an awful lot of money to pay for Sky. But those who want to watch BBC’s highlights without knowing the result in advance should take the steps you’ve described instead of just expecting everyone else to work around them.

  2. Thanks for the comment Keith. I totally agree. It is unreasonable to expect news websites to stop reporting the news. There is a large class of people that now have no choice but to wait until they can see the race, but the world can’t stop turning for us. It is not that difficult to avoid using the internet for a few hours.

  3. Hahaha I managed it too but psychologically found it pretty hard! I’ve taken the student route of not getting a TV license, so I had to wait until the highlights were uploaded onto iPlayer after broadcast! You’re right there’s so many traps you can fall into. This hit home when I accounted for all the usual news websites, social media, email etc. and vowed to watch The Andrew Marr Show on iPlayer during lunch (it being Budget week and all) only to remember just in time that they have the news headlines at the start and end of the programme!

    Fortunately my non-term time house (i.e. my parents’) does have Sky so I might not miss too many races, and will probably also tune in to radio for those that I do miss live – particularly those like the Hungaroring which are European races not shown live on the BBC.

    For all that I do agree that it is up to the individual to try and take steps to avoid learning of the results, rather than asking those tasked with reporting the news to refrain from announcing the results!

  4. I wish it was as simple as avoiding the news, because had I not have the radio to turn to, qualifying would have been spoilered for me twice – by random strangers having loud conversations in the street. It means that on Sunday mornings (when James gets too carried away by the race to be decipherable and Jaime mumbles too much for me to be able to pick out the words), I will have to stay at home and not even go downstairs (in case anyone happens to visit and randomly mention the results).

    I might not be able to do anything meaningful about it. That doesn’t make the situation feel any better.

  5. If you can, why not get a satellite dish and point at Astra 19.2 and watch it on RTL with the 5 Live commentary. Worked a treat for me on Sunday

  6. I can’t. We’re only allowed one dish and it’s pointed at Freeview (my parents insist on being able to watch some programs that Astra 19.2 doesn’t have).