Brought to you by Adam Macdonald
Some acts are near impossible to follow due to the constant comparisons to the predecessor in that position. One example that springs to mind is the largely unenviable position David Moyes finds himself in at Manchester United. Whilst most would jump at the opportunity to manage what is arguably the biggest club in the world, doing so after the most successful manager ever will always be, at best, daunting.
It really becomes a matter of how you are willing to market yourself then. Moyes must create his own image, and try not to follow the formidable footsteps of Sir Alex Ferguson. This is something that the new BBC Formula One anchor, Suzi Perry, has failed to do thus far. 7 races into the new season and she has failed to follow up on the entrance she made into the role, as seen below.
David Coulthard looks sincerely unimpressed by the end, which is obviously for effect on the video, but does have some relevance in reality. The Scot has appeared sincerely unimpressed by the lack of impression Perry has made on the role. Jake Humphrey acted as the glue for the dynamic trio of himself, Coulthard and the loose cannon that is Eddie Jordan. Perry lacks the knowledge of the sport and the authority over the two experts.
Her appointment is all the more strange given the fact she quit Moto GP, a largely European (Italian and Spanish) dominated sport, because she could not take the travelling and stresses that it put on her. It’s lucky the Supremo that is Bernie Ecclestone is not looking to move the sport into emerging markets, and away from Europe; oh wait!
Then there is the problem of branding. Being the glamorous, leather clad, sexy icon does not work in the world of F1. Looks alone will not get you the respect required for a prolonged career. Competing with the image of the dazzling F1 grid is a fruitless task, something that Georgie Thompson found out at the end of last year.
Perhaps 7 races is too shorter time to judge Perry on, especially given the act she is following. However, for me, Lee McKenzie would have been the sensible choice to take over the lead role. She is underutilized, and really has a right to feel aggrieved at not getting Perry’s position.
So what now for Perry?
Of course her knowledge of the sport will increase as time goes by, so continuing to study the sport is essential. An example of someone who does very well in her role is Natalie Pinkham, for SKY F1. The Buckinghamshire born presenter gives herself a different trademark. One such example of this is the jet-ski feature of the show for the Monaco GP, as seen in the video below. Set aside from the fact that the BBC do not have the resources to do such a feature, it would not work for the image of Perry.
As Pinkham does not define herself by the sexy image that Perry does, basing herself on actual knowledge instead, it gives her more flexibility to adapt to different situations.
It would appear that now the only option for Suzi Perry is to base herself more on F1 knowledge, than on the smouldering look that she gives DC each race weekend. Jake Humphrey talked of how he got in contact with Steve Ryder before he started the BBC role. Ryder’s advice was that ‘you will never have enough knowledge compared to the experts.’ Therefore, the only option for the anchor is to make sure they get on well with experts. Therefore, keeping DC happy is of paramount importance.
It certainly does not help having Jake Humphrey, a still very recognisable presenter criticising F1 this season. He weighs in with his opinions on this season’s tyres, then continues by talking about his relationship with DC and Eddie Jordan in an interview with the Metro, stating, “What I am missing is the friendship and the comradeship with David Coulthard. It was genuine, we see each other away from the races and we’re going on holiday this summer to Eddie Jordan’s villa in Spain.”
I guess Perry’s invite must have been lost in the post.
If Suzi Perry fails to build the kind of rapport that Jake Humphrey built up, then her stay in F1 could be a short one, and she could be left trawling back to the Italian and Spanish dominated Moto GP season sooner than she had planned.