Ready for the off
Melbourne 2018
Australian Grand Prix
BBC and Sky drop F1 broadcast bombshell, teams seek answers from Ecclestone
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2011   |  11:13 am GMT  |  463 comments

This morning’s announcement by the BBC and BSKYB that they are to share the coverage of Formula 1 in the UK has come as a bolt from the blue to the F1 paddock and to fans of the sport. It is clear that the teams and sponsors have not been consulted and it remains to be seen how they will react when they learn the details of how this arrangement will work. And it could start a trend across the international broadcast landscape of F1.

The teams are likely to resist any deal which reduces the audience number. Whereas the BBC currently enjoys audiences of around 6-7 million per race the SKY audiences for Premier League football suggest that they might get an F1 audience of around 1-2 million on their pay sports channel, far less when the race is also on BBC at the same time.

Until recently it had appeared that the BBC was likely to drop the expensive contract it signed in 2008 as the BBC Trust looked to make significant savings. The word in the TV sports industry was that Channel 4 was a possible destination.

But with ITV not in the running and no other competitive free to air offer on the table, F1’s commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone clearly wasn’t satisfied with the money on offer from Channel 4 and has struck a bold deal, which doesn’t completely go against his and the team’s stated credo that F1 should stay on Free to Air TV, but which offers a rather awkward compromise for fans and sponsors, whereby half the races stay on BBC with the mass audience, while the whole season will be covered in great depth and with significant resources thrown at it by Sky Sports.

Although half the races are free to air, this will still require the dedicated fan to get a Sky dish or sign on to a Sky package on at around £40 per month on BT Vision, Freeview or Virgin Media.

But the economics of the situation mean that as fans will get 10 of the 20 races for free on the BBC, they will still have to pay the monthly subscription for only half the races which are not shown free to air. That seems an awkward sell to me.

Sky also runs adverts during its coverage of long-form sports like cricket, but has confirmed they will not put adverts into the 90 minutes of the live race.

There is already a strong reaction to the principle of this deal among F1 fans in the UK.

Here is my analysis of the situation.

What’s the deal?

Sky Sports will cover all the races, qualifying and practice sessions.

BBC will continue to broadcast F1 in its current format but for only half the races. The only races they have confirmed are Monaco, Silverstone and the final round. This is likely to save up to half the roughly £8 million production budget a year plus offer a possible discount on the rights. But crucially it extends the BBC’s relationship with F1 until the end of 2018 (its original deal was due to end in 2013 and would not have been renewed). They will continue to be active online and on mobile.

“With this new deal not only have we delivered significant savings but we have also ensured that through our live and extended highlights coverage all the action continues to be available to licence-fee payers,” said BBC head of sport Barbara Slater.

How will the gaps be filled in?
There are a number of questions arising; for example what races will the BBC show live? If they have a strong negotiating position, they would prefer to go for the races in the UK friendly time zones, which means Europe, Middle East, USA, Canada and Brazil – in other words not the ones which show in the middles of the night.

But one wonders whether it will be as simple and convenient for the BBC as that. Sky need to have some marquee events if BBC are showing the crown jewels of Silverstone and Monaco.

Another question is how the commentary and presentation will work. Will it be two separate units or will there be crossover?

Sky is likely to want the Martin Brundle/David Coulthard line up because they are established and offer credibility. Brundle is not under contract to the BBC and it remains to be seen whether he will want to be part of this. He has described himself as “not impressed” this morning.

One school of thought is that the commentary might perhaps be shared across the two platforms. I think this is probably unlikely given the way the two broadcasters work.

Either way the two broadcasters will obviously have two separate presentation teams. if the BBC really want to save money they will host the race from a studio in London and have just the commentators and reporters on site at the races.

David Croft and Ant Davidson could get either job or may fill in the gaps covering the practice sessions, as they do today on the BBC TV Red Button. It’s all to play for.

F1 will be on a hybrid free to air/pay TV platform in UK in 2012

What do the teams and sponsors think of this?
Since the NewsCorp/Exor takeover of the sport was first announced FOTA’s chairman Martin Whitmarsh has made a great play of teams insisting that F1 stay free to air in the major markets. Ecclestone himself told me four weeks ago in an interview that F1 would remain based on a free to air model. But circumstances have made him change tack in order to keep the value high.

As I’ve posted here before it’s been inevitable that at some point the UK F1 fan was going to have to pay for his/her pleasure like football fans have been doing for over 20 years on SKY. Williams’ boss Adam Parr, who is reserving judgement on the deal said to me this morning that the balance between revenue and audience reach needs to be right and that, “Nobody asks ‘Where can I see football on TV in the UK?'”

And as with SKY’s investment in sports like football and cycling, F1 will inevitably get much wider coverage in the NewsCorp owned newspapers like the Times and the Sun.

However Whitmarsh has already questioned whether the deal aligns with the principles in the Concorde Agreement which have to do with Free to Air TV. Ecclestone argues that this deal extends the level of coverage of F1 in the UK, Whitmarsh says that the teams want to know the details of how it will work and whether their safeguards under the Concorde Agreement have been protected before giving a detailed response.

Many fans will be unhappy at the idea of having to pay Rupert Murdoch, one of the main shareholders in SKY and its driving force, in order to watch F1, especially in the current climate with all the goings on at the News of the World.

This is a typically bold deal by Murdoch and a strong forward move in the teeth of adversity. To me it feels like it’s been coming for some time. F1 fans will provide new cashflows to the Sky coffers, in a business which always needs to generate new lifeblood.

Who knows, Murdoch may even have personally had a hand in the deal, popping in to see Ecclestone while he was in London appearing in front of the Parliamentary Select Committee last week!

Major sponsors I have spoken this morning have mixed feelings; on the one hand they are concerned that the mass audience will inevitably fall in size, but on the other hand they have more opportunity to activate their sponsorship on Sky as it is a commercial station. And their return on investment from F1 is so much greater than the spend in any case that it is not going to fall in value below what they spend, even with the shrinking of audience.

Foreign broadcast colleagues have already resigned themselves to their own networks looking at this deal and seeing a way forwards for the future. Who said the revolution will not be televised?

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

sky want £20 a month not from me ill be watching half the races skys a rip of ill download the other half torrent files like i did last year


I’m absolutely furious about this. I’m a fanatical fan of F1 and have never missed a race along with the brilliant commentary on BBC1. I have a virgin media package but will absolutely not pay to watch a race. Simple greed and is going to ruin a well tested well loved and highly watched package.


A person necessarily lend a hand to make severely posts I would state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this particular publish extraordinary. Magnificent job!


Well it has finally happened, another british sport taken away from its loyal and dedicated fans. I will never pay to watch the F1 motor sport, this is a very sad day for all motorsport fans, and what is next?…..Tennis, Snooker…they have already ruined the cricket.Many have stood back in the past and have let other homegrown sports disappear to money grabbing networks, i am heartend to see so many other people comment on this dire situation. My father introduced me to the grand sport of Motor Racing when i was 7yrs old, i am now approaching 50, i never envisaged the day i would walk away from it, but after 43yrs, i bid a sad goodbye!


I cancelled Sky years ago, not on cost but their all out approach to gaining rites to Football coverage. Has all their money input been good for the game as a whole, i think not. Will Sky be good for F1 and provide more sponsors for the teams or will the smaller teams suffer only time will tell.

I for one will watch the BBC coverage then use my motorised satellite dish to watch the other races live on a German FTA channel.


Ecclestone is just Money hungry. But I believe the change will make no difference to ch OneHD in Austraia.


To all those people that think Sky will have the best interests of the F1 audience at heart – what channel do expect f1 to be on? Many of the races will collide with football and there is no way Sky will shunt premier league games onto SS2 to keep F1 on SS1. In fact you may even get F1 on SS3. So you will need package that supports all of these channels. No hope of watching the pub if the footy is on or if it’s an early am race.

Sad sad day…..


I have a daughter on the way and every penny I have is spent making sure she has a roof over her head when she arrives. I work long hours for next to minimum wage, and one of my main pleasures in life is to relax on a Saturday / Sunday afternoon with my feet up, drinking a cold beer and watching the excellent F1 coverage on the BBC. I dont have the money to pay for a SKY subscription and even if I did, I wouldnt give Murdoch’s Umbrella Corporation a penny of it. It’s massively sad time for all true F1 fans.

I havent missed a race / qualifying session in years – no matter what time of the night it’s on, or where I am, I’ve always found a way to watch F1. But now I have NO CHOICE but to turn away from the sport – as other posters have pointed out, in some ways watching half a season is worse than not watching it atall.



Pathetic. I have hardly missed an F1 race in the last 30 years but no way will i be getting Sky. Ecclestone should have offered the Beeb a better deal to keep it free to air. This is a detrimental move which will hit profits for all


The pole should have another option for “I already have Sky”.

That said im not impressed, the beebs coverage has been top drawer. Im less bothered about the price and more bothered about the quality of the presenting and commentary.

The biggest thing I would miss is iplayer which I regularly use to watch the qualifying and red button shows, just so my weekend isnt completely wasted watching F1. That said of course with Sky you get Sky+.

It was always inevitable, the beeb say they cant afford it, Bernie will never ever reduce the price of anything, 2 + 2 = 4 last time I checked, Bernie and that #$”! Murdoch are cut from the same cloth, like I said, inevitable…

Mark Pinchbeck

I’ve been a loyal follower of F1 since 1992 and this has to be the worst thing to ever happen to the sport.

I am not paying the extortianate fees charged by Sky when I don’t have an interest in Football which is primarily what Sky Sports is for. If I can’t watch every race then it looks like this season will be the last I’ll ever watch. To quote part of James Allen’s artical “F1 fans will provide new cashflows to the Sky coffers”, well if the F1 fans refuse to follow F1 to Sky then their coffers will rightly suffer.

Unfortunatley others will suffer from this deal done by those who care nothing of the fans. I’ll have to cancel my subscription to F1 Racing magazine and there’ll be no point buying James Allen’s book at the end of future seasons.

I’ve never felt compelled until now to submit a comment before despite reading this website regularly since JA started it. But this travesty deserves it. I just hope that it all back fires on Sky and F1 remains or returns rightly on free-to-air.

The question is, how can a “World” championship use the word “World” when it restricts its viewing audience to only the wealthy?


If I couldn’t afford Sky Sports when they stole all the equestrian events; if I couldn’t afford Sky when they stole cricket… I sure as shit can’t afford it now they’ve stolen F1 at a time when I’ve had a salary cut and a cost of living hike.

The papers love to talk about two-tier this and two-tier that – well, now we have two-tier TV as well.


Also, I’ve read that Sky will keep the free-to- air status of the F1 but how are they going to do that, as all there Sports channels need a monthly subscription & how long will it be before they start to charge a PPV charge as they do for boxing & some other sports!!


I would like to know how us fans who don’t live in the UK & are unable to get a Sky account due to our location are going to be able to watch the races every week???


The beginning of the end.

There’s plenty of other exciting and less arrogant sports on TV that deserve more exposure.


I live in Japan and as James mentioned, we get a split service. Advert free, all sessions on a subscription service and advert riddled, delayed broadcast on the terrestrial channel. The difference perhaps is that I pay about 10 GBP a month for my subscription as its F1 only. If FOTA has any sense they force this model for Sky Sports as it’s not bad value at all, and I’m happy to pay for a full service TV GP weekend. Ironically R.Murdoch also runs the service as part of his Sky Asia empire.


What is this going to mean for the rest of the English speaking world, who predominately get their commentary feed from the BBC?

I know that here in Australia we our broadcaster has bought the rights to BBC commentary for next year, but what will happen for those races that the BBC won’t cover?

Am I going to have to listen to crap commentary from people who seem to know nothing about the sport whilst putting up with more adverts during the race to pay for it?

Or will we get 2 different commentary teams throughout the season?


I live in Australia and have happily enjoyed FTA broadcasts of F1 for a long time. (Always look forward to your comments on One’s broadcast)

I am concerned that this will set a dangerous precedent for other regions (ie F1 is sucked up by Pay TV in Australia)

Over here Rugby League is split between pay and FTA, and that works ok as I just go to the games that are on Pay TV.

Unfortunately the global nature of F1 makes it difficult to go to each Formula 1 race.

I love sport like most Aussies, and unfortunately there are just some sports like A-League soccer that I just will not follow due to it being a “Pay TV exclusive”.

It would be sad for Formula 1 to become one of those sports.


I can understand why all this is a “shock” to UK residents, but seriously come on guys wake up and smell the 21st century!!

I live in NZ, have done all my life, and ever since I can remember watching TV, my parents, and now myself, have always had a Sky subsciption. There is simply no other way to get live sport in NZ other than on pay TV. It does cost a fair bit ($100 NZD) a month, but all the Cricket, Rugby, Football, F1, WRC, MotoGP etc etc is on there.

What else can you do but pay the money to Murdoch’s empire and enjoy your 50″ of escapism.

I don’t think any of this will effect me down here in NZ, as we will either get the BBC feed, or the Sky feed (more likely), and enjoy the same level of professionalism and production quality as now, at the same price, at the same time.


The only way that there will be a u-turn on this absolutely shocking decision is if the sponsers give an ultimatum to the little sell-out, but most importantly the drivers and the teams need to make a stand. Lewis, Button Vettel. The big teams just need to say to Bennie if the deal is not changed so that all the races are free to view, they will break off from formula 1 and form a new racing show.


Being on the BBC was what helped the growth in audiences for F1. Non-stop coverage, the quality of the pre and post race formats all contributed. Will sponsors be as happy when they see the 2012 viewing figures drop? When 3 of the drivers are British and the majority of teams are based in Britain I couldn’t think of a more deserving sport to free to air. We’ve already lost cricket and football to Sky. What’s next? This half-baked broadcast plan has left me fuming and disappointed.


Isn’t F1 on paid TV in most other countries? Not sure what the huge deal is about this.

Michael Saunders

our articles contradict each other. One says that BBC will be showing the entrire races but time deferred and another says it will be highlights. Why the mixed messages??


Sad news. It was all too good to last: great action, great coverage, great and growing ratings over the past 5 years meant it was always going to attract attention from SKY. No doubt in a few years time it will be SKY only. But it was the BBC’s most expensive show. It’s all very sudden too, with Football, changes in league highlights / Cup coverage are announced 2 or more years in advance. This has come as a big surprise to everyone. Which in essence means that any other deal could be subject to a further sudden change (probably in favour of SKY).

I’ve never watched so much F1 since the days of Senna, Mansell and Prost. I tuned out during the Schumacher years and the ITV coverage was woeful. I guess I’ll continue to follow it as much as possible as Hamilton is always exciting to watch. He and Button are a big draw for UK fans. Should Lewis leave the sport for some reason, I wouldn’t be interested as much in F1. That’s a partizan view I suppose but I’m sure most nations follow F1 to watch their home drivers / teams.

I won’t be getting SKY, though SKY are probably looking for some expert pundits that are not contracted to the BEEB so maybe a T.V role for JA???


Boycott all F1 coverage unless it’s only on the BBC. Threaten to hit the sponsors in their pockets and maybe there will be a re-think.


I think most people have failed to realise that we do pay for the the F1 via our TV licence. Its down to the BBC to provide a variety of sports on the free channels.

So with that in mind the question is why did the BBC decide to amend/terminate thier current contract, when the deal actually ends in 2013 after the olympics?

The BBC have a lot to answer for.


These videos give me no hope at all! I have my fears, and they are that they are going to be not a patch on the Beeb.

*braces self*


Gobsmacked. How on earth is this better for the fans. Just what is the man smoking. Maybe he meant shareholders not fans. I can afford Sky sports but it is a bit rich for me. I guess I will watch this last half season. What a shame. It isn’t just us fans that will lose out, the sponsors are going to lose big time. I hope the team bosses are ready for that. It really is the sport of the rich now. Again what a shame.


Like when football went to Sky, the big fans who can afford it will switch to Sky. The casual F1 fans are unlikely to, unless they are a current Sky subscriber. It’s the big F1 fans that can’t afford the Sky subscription, or refuse to pay for it, that I feel sorry for, as they obviously will miss out. Sadly in today’s world, in major sports it’s the fans who always get treated badly as money alway dictates. I already subscribe to Sky, so inevitably will switch to watching it on Sky, especially if they offer the better coverage compared to that offered by the BBC, which I suspect will be the case. Otherwise, it’s hard to justify the monthly Sky fees (which are vastly overpriced in my opinion) for just half the races.

Sky have a hard act to follow in the BBC, which have taken sports coverage to a new level with it’s Formula 1 platform, especially the online content, and it remains to be seen whether Sky can match this, let alone better it. However, given that it was clear the BBC couldn’t continue it’s coverage as it is now, and I think Sky will do a far better job than Channel 4 could have done.


Everyone needs to chill out and grow up! SKY revolutionised footy back in the 90’s and do a fantastic job with sport in general.

Don’t blame Bernie or SKY for this, blame the BBC and Tories for cutting their budget by 20%

At least BBC 4 will be saved ! LOL !!!


I’ll be having £40 pound worth of karting every month. Looking forward to it.


A letter to Bernie and FOTA

I know I am only one person, see if I can describe what the loss on one viewing member will cost you…if you go pay per view….(remember it is NOT just about the money in your pocket)…I am part of a very large economy that is part of the overall infrastructure of F1 (racing)

I will have no reason to attend the U.S. race

I have two online sites I subscribe to for F1.

I have three magazine subscriptions.

I will not watch only half a season on free TV, no need!

I am turning sixty next year and have never watched a tape delayed F1 race, I will not.

I will not pay for F1 viewing, if I don’t watch it I don’t need the sites and I don’t need the magazines, because I will stop watching. I know I am only one but hopefully there are millions like me.

Bernie you have in the past cared for F1…somewhere you lost it and only care about money…FOTA you need to care more about money so you can purchase F1 and keep true to what it is. CONCORD = POWER

Bernie you have enough money try finding why you liked F1 before you figured out you could make more than just a comfortable living.

It seems as this planet continues to make a greater delta between the have and the have not’s…F1 has forgot the little guys still pays your bills, and if the great divide between the upper-class and the rest of “us” continues….no doubt it will affect how F1 looks….don’t go for Pay-per-view.


If there is something I hate, that is people who say one thing and do another thing. People like Ecclestone. Well, thank you Mr Ecclestone… NOT!



Apart from Ecclestone and Murdoch, who we know have no scruples, have those others concerned no principles, no spine?

Rather then receive a pat on the back, those responsible, as well as those in agreement and/or going along with it, need their arses kicking.

Form a line behind me!


This would appear to be a very bad decision for the sport.

The inevitable comparison with sports like football is flawed because Formula One relies on its television coverage to a far greater extent. Unlike football, there is no home stadium that will host half the races, and it is not realistic for fans to travel all over the world to watch the sport.

A more apt example may be boxing, whose popularity has dropped dramatically since it went to pay TV.

Anything that reduces the potential audience for Formula One reduces the value of the advertising and thus costs everyone in the sport money. Maybe not in the first year, but gradually as the reduced audiences feed into reduced media coverage and reduced consciousness of the sport. F1’s survival depends on the widest possible audience in the most important markets.


The sport and its coverage (FOM) is getting further and further away from its fan base and the direct costs for watching it are getting higher and higher, whilst all the time the spnosor placement/advertising increases.

I won’t be subbing up to Sky to watch F1 I’m sorry to say, as I’ll very much miss F1, but there will also be many things I won’t miss.

Let’s hope that Bernie’s Paddock Club – annoyingly advertised at the start of every FOM broadcast – stays full otherwise he might find that every other bugger has tuned out and he’s only got a wall to kick his ball against.


The power is in the sponsors they are the only ones that can change this


Maybe this explains some of what has happened to Formula 1 today:

(1) Ecclestone is just a greedy man! Why can’t he just retire, or something?

(2) I posted the below on Andrew Benson’s blog at the BBC:

From Wikipedea:

On 12 July 2011, former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown claimed that BSkyB’s majority owner – News Corporation attempted to affect government policy with regards to the BBC in pursuit of their own commercial interests (i.e. BSkyB).[30] He went further, in a speech in Parliament on 13 July 2011, stating:

“Mr James Murdoch, which included his cold assertion that profit not standards was what mattered in the media, underpinned an ever more aggressive News International and BSkyB agenda under his and Mrs Brooks’ leadership that was brutal in its simplicity. Their aim was to cut the BBC licence fee, to force BBC online to charge for its content, for the BBC to sell off its commercial activities, to open up more national sporting events to bids from BSkyB and move them away from the BBC, to open up the cable and satellite infrastructure market, and to reduce the power of their regulator, Ofcom. I rejected those policies.”

I, for one, won’t be subscribing to Sky and, for another, have no intention of watching part of a season – what’s the point? BBC, this is a BIG MISTAKE! – Number of Households in UK in 2010 = 26,000,000 – Total Customers of Sky around 30/06/2011 = 10,187,000.

I can’t find out how many households have BBC but would it be fair to assume from simple arithmetic that 15,813,000 households do not have Sky?

That’s an awful lot of viewing lost by the BBC for Formula 1 but, more importantly for the sponsors, an awful lot of “free to view” customers – the ones they actually like!


“And their return on investment from F1 is so much greater than the spend in any case that it is not going to fall in value below what they spend, even with the shrinking of audience.”

As someone who works in market research, calculating media RoI, I’d be interested in knowing how this is calculated. Not that I don’t believe it – using our methods, it’s extremely difficult to calculate RoI for sponsorship deals.

As for Sky, I’m not against paying for F1 in principle, so long as the coverage is uninterrupted and of high quality. What I am against is being forced into spending as much as £20 a month for channels full of football I have no interest in watching when all I’m interested in is my home town team which is shown live once a season. A dedicated motorsports channel at the single channel virgin rate of circa £12 a month with coverage of support races would be much prefered.


Would you consider a job with Sky James?


Followed F1 since I was 7 but certainly do not have the funds to pay £400 a year for half the races.

Does anyone know any good ways to either stream Sky online without paying, or else streaming some other broadcaster who shows F1?

I know there’s various ways of killing your IP address… but any ideas on this would be most appreciated.


I’m as annoyed you all, but what’s the betting James gets offered a job and takes it, and Brundle,DC as money talks more than principles

Sad to see F1 go this way, but it had to happen in the end as Bernie is a greedy [mod].


I for one am ecstatic. The coverage on Sky will be excellent – they have always taken sports coverage forward no matter what the sport (cricket, football) and I think they will take F1 up a level again.

My only problem with the whole deal is that I am now paying BBC a load of money for absolutely nothing – currently the only thing I use the BBC for is F1.

I hope Sky bag Brundle – great analyst. I would like him partnered with a real commentator. I think there’s one not currently on UK TV by the name of Allen who might do rather a good job.

Edward Valentine

Next season why don’t the true, hardcore F1 fans just recognise the 10 BBC races as the championship! If everyone with a bit of sense decided to give up on Sky then they’d go bankrupt and all of the sports that it has its greasy hands on would be on free to air!


I echo most of the comments on here, this is dreadful news.

All I will say is that this ‘half-way house’ of showing half the races on BBC will please no-one.

Serious fans will either pay for Sky or will end their association with F1 altogether.

Fair-weather fans will not be that bothered in turning on occasional races.

End result – F1 sold down the river at a time when it was winning record audiences.

But, could this mean the teams walking away from the new Concorde Agreement and set up their own deal with someone like Channel 4, leaving Sky Sports with a load of, er, nothing to show. Let’s hope so!


I’ll begin by stating that I’m not happy about this, so I won’t pretend to be neutral.

The quality Sky’s F1 programme could well be excellent. It’s quite possible that Sky would like a programme that wins award for its high quality and I’m sure they have the resources for that. It could be a flagship in Sky’s portfolio and, itself, a way to promote the Sky brand as being able to offer a quality product.

The additional cost for the viewer is my first concern and has already been discussed in detail above.

My second concern is more to do with the involvement of Murdoch and the longer term strategy of Sky/News Corp. Murdoch has already been linked to Ferrari through the Agnelli family and as Murdoch’s influence grows in F1 (it’s not limited to the UK) will there be any safeguards to ensure Ferrari doesn’t end up with controlling the direction of Formula 1?

If Sky produce an utterly brilliant Formula 1 package, they could well use this to gain broadcast rights in other countries and once they control enough, they can start to exert influence on the teams.


What more added value could pay tv through Sky reasonably bring to F1 that would be worthy of paying them for it when BBC and ITV have provided high quality as a free to air service?

Only 3D comes to mind but I suppose one would need to pay even more a 3D package!


First off let me add my voice to say that I am shocked by this decision and well cheesed off by it. The BBC coverage of F1 is very, very good and the thought of how Sky will “butcher” this by giving us super slow mo replays and other such sky wonders fills me with dread.

Im not worried however of Rupert Murdoch using this as a leverage to eventually buy F1. Considering how Murdoch is viewed in the world, and in the UK in particular I reckon that the second he tried to buy the F1 rights all of the big F1 teams would give him the middle finger and breakaway. Frankly F1 is not F1 if their is no Ferrari, Mclaren, Williams etc, so this does not worry me.

Frankly I seen some of the coverage and commentary from some of the races Sky have had in the past and if they use the same people again I will straight up refuse to watch any of their coverage.

If Sky are smart they would do well to do everything in their power to get some of the faces of BBC F1 to join their show…the likes of Brundle and Kravitz etc. It would go a long way to showing that they “GET” what F1 is about.

Its important that they get F1 people involved….if they bring in the likes of Jeff Sterling or some1 of that ilk….it will be a total disaster.


Forgot to add…considering how many of the teams have their homes based in the UK etc I wonder how they will feel on the possibility of reduced viewing figures etc? The teams rely heavily on sponsorhips etc….what company will want to pay a premium sponsorship spot on a car where instead of 4-6 million viewers they will only get around 1 million?

Its a hard sell, and Im not sure how this will go down long term etc.


James, at the recent FOTA fans forum at the McLaren MTC that I attended you had asked the panel of team prinicples about the prospect of coverage going to pay-to-view and my recollection is that a) in the show of hands there was a sizable proportion of the audience (real F1 fans) that would NOT pay to watch (which appeared to take Martin Whitmarsh and Ross Brawn by surprise) and b) an assurance was given by all principles that moving to pay-to-view would have to be with the team’s consent and very unlikely. So why do we find ourselves in this situation today? Did anyone ask the teams or REALLY consider UK fans opinions?


I asked Whitmarsh that question at lunchtime in the McLaren motor home. No, is the answer


Although I live in South Asia where F1 is broadcasted by a company that has close associations with Sky for their Premier League broadcasts, and will probably not be affected by what happens within the UK, I am still not pleased with this development as I feel that my favorite sport is falling within the clutches of the corrupt.

It seems as if decision is only an attempt for profit-maximisation without due care to consumer satisfaction.

Consumers who are not well off cannot allocate their budgets based on the desire to watch 10 race weekends per year–especially if you consider the subscription payment scenario.

Pathetic decision!


I haven’t had time to read all the comments, but probably like the majority disgusted.

It is coming to the state where if you wish to watch any sport on TV it will be on Sky.

They are becoming a monopoly only the crown jewel sporting occasions will be exempt.

Absolutely gutted and to be fair to the BBC I have enjoyed their coverage including the red button.

This is dangerous territory for F1 and the UK economy. A vastly expensive sport which we enjoy, bringing employment and quality engineering jobs to Britain could find itself marginalised.

If anybody remembers England home 6 Nation games used to be on Sky and that changed back, so we will see.

I suppose it will depend on FOTM. Always dangerous to change a strong business plan, short term more money, long term??????


I read through the first 130 comments and gave up looking for someone who though that this was a great idea.

Universal condemnation/dismay – looks like Bernie isn’t really interested in what the sport means to the fans – sorry, it’s not a sport, it’s a show nowadays. Maybe they shoul launch ‘F1 – on Broadway’

This is a serious miscalculation on behalf of those entrusted with safeguarding the future of this great sport. There is a world wide recession taking place now and Joe Public is being squeezed for every spare penny – I doubt that many fans will take up this offer.

I can’t see sponsors paying through the nose to advertise on cars that barely anyone will see on TV – what’s the point?

Now it’s up to the teams to make a final stand, I’m hoping that the breakaway threat comes to fruition and Sky are left with a souped up version of GP2.

Totally gutted with this ridiculous decision.

Comments from all concerned at this weekend’s meet in Hungary should be interesting!!!


we need a centralised petition over many fans’ websites like this f1 racing magazine, autosport, f1fanatic for f1 to stay on the BBC. I feel that the BBC has massively neglected its duty to the license payer.


Do we know how much the BBC are paying for the revised rights? I read they are paying 2/3rds of what they pay now for half the races? I can’t believe that’s correct as that would be a horrendously bad bit of negotiation.

Anyhow.. personally I would rather have the BBC scaled back their coverage than lose complete live FTA races. Hell, I’d have even said losing the live practice sessions, F1 forum, BBC blogs, etc, and even.. shock! live qualifying! would have been better than what we’re presented with now.

I think Bernie may underestimate the UK sentiment towards a Murdoch owned business at the present time. I like many other people always have resented the idea of putting any money in Murdoch’s pocket. But now, after the hacking fiasco, for me personally, absolutely NO WAY not a single penny.

The poll at the bottom of the article says it all, less than 10% of JAonF1 readers are prepared to pay for Sky..

Sure that figure will increase a bit when it comes nearer to air but remember we’re in difficult financial times for a while yet, so do people even have the money to pay £20 or £30 a year for a few races.. I’m not convinced.


Typo, per month not year!

Black White Grey & Brown

i am in America. i haven’t watched a single US domestic F1 broadcast in years…

i rely on the quality and integrity of the British press coverage race to race.

i most certainly will not purchase a SKY subscription.

i will continue to download the broadcasts (practice, quali, race) as i do currently – via torrent files – and view them on my desktop albeit a bit later in the day on which they were originally broadcast…

i only hope the inclusion of pay-to-air television for F1 does not reduce my ability to locate torrent files for each broadcast within a reasonable amount of time after their live airing.

and that the quality and personality of the presentations at present does not suffer with Sky.

point being – the current bbc broadcast represent the pinnacle of all english language coverage of F1 to date. the US domestic coverage is a joke. its my hope that SKY is also able to maintain this level of tact and personability …


What does this mean for viewership in other countries? I get my feed in Canada from TSN which I assume is the BBC feed (with commercials). I do not think we even have the option to order SKY TV in Canada.


Nice choice of picture to illustrate this piece James… gathering storm-clouds indeed!


i think i’d prefer to give up those few non-live races and spend the saved £480 per year on karting and live motorracing events like the british gp, motogp, british touring car championship.


I think that’s an excellent idea, especially as we’ll have an extra 10 Sundays free next year too 🙂

We’re fortunate in the UK to have a tremendous calendar of domestic motorsports. Not just the big headliners like BTCC and British Superbikes, but thinks like British F3/GT, Historic Masters and the British Truck Racing Championship provide great entertainment, as do numerous club events. BRSCC, the 750 Motor Club and the MG Car Club all have race meetings this weekend where you can see a hat-full of races for £13 or less.

If the BBC’s loss of half the F1 races sends a few more people through the gates of our domestic circuits then at least some good will have come from it.


£40 per month for Sky? OK. I’ll pay, as long as the BBC refunds me. I believe that comes to £3,360 per fan for the seven years to 2018, so about £23.5 billion working on the audience figures you quoted.


Let me say first that I am moving to Australia from the UK in September, so it doesn’t affect me in the medium term.

I would happily pay for this, in HD 3-D whatever as long as:

1. The amount of coverage is not reduced. This includes the fan forums etc.

2. The quality of the journalism and anchoring is not impaired.

3. Martin Brundle (and JA if there were any justice) is commentating on all races.

4. No adverts in the races.

When you think of what the BBC does (and ITV before that) for the licence fee it is remarkable. It is such a shame that they cannot see that they are creating something world class here and their cold feet marks the end of free to air broadcasting for F1 in the UK. They have done a tremendous amount of harm to the only sport I truly love.

I hope that this doesn’t hurt F1 in terms of sponsorship. What we need is an affluent and successful F1 which listens to its fans and which develops and delivers new technology to the car industry and beyond in a responsible and sustainable way, and above all, exciting racing!

Would I pay the money? Without hesitation

Would I be happy to do so? Absolutely

Do I think the BBC has acted correctly and with the best interests of the viewers in mind? No, and I will never forgive them for it.

James, is it true that you are on Aussie telly?


Yes it is true. I’ve worked with them since the start of 2010 and very much enjoy it.

Douglas Revill

And we love having you. I hope we still see you next year…


I have to admit I am completely dismayed at today’s news.

I can’t believe given recent comments about F1 staying on FTA only a few weeks ago from the likes of Bernie (he’ll argue it is on FTA, but none of us foresaw this shambles), we have found ourselves in this situation of F1 being split up over the BBC and BSkyB. Ok yes, the BBC has retained Silverstone, Monaco and the last race of the season (probably Brazil) but what other races will it have access too? Sky are going to want some high value races to make getting hold of the rights worth their while. Does this mean we won’t see such tracks as Spa, Monza, Suzuka etc on FTA.

Bernie has been short sighted in that it’ll make the sport un-accessible, people won’t want to watch a few races as you can’t build up the whole picture. Key moments of the season will be confinded, to most, to a short highlight program late in the evening or on a round up on the news. Especially if a season is decided by chance on a race shown exclusively by Sky.

The BBC’s coverage is second to none, and I cannot see how Sky will improve it without slapping big go faster stripes on everything. The BBC’s coverage will also suffer as I can’t see them retaining the current team they have, so we will be treated to second rate coverage which will reduce the viewers even further.

I’m not convinced that similar situations such as Test Cricket going to Sky was a good idea, so soon after the nation hype of England winning the Ashes in 2005. There is no way in hell it was as popular when they won it again a few years later.

A bad, bad decision.


I have been reading many internet pages this morning regarding this news and now feel compelled to contribute to this discussion.

I am utterly astounded by the news today and can not think of any short words to describe my feelings.

After giving 20 years of my life to F1, attending many races, spending money on merchandise, reading materials etc and having booked my tickets already for Silverstone next year (was contemplating also going to Melbourne, maybe not now), and watching every race weekend without fail and arranging my social activities around the sport – I feel so betrayed but sadly not surprised that us fans that keep the sport going have been treated like this.

I am basic Sky tv customer but paying an extra £20 a month to watch a full season live is not fair.

How the BBC think this is a good deal is beyond me, yes they have some races but reading everyones comments today I think people will start voting with their feet. A very very sad day for the sport and all the UK fans who give their all to follow their heros week in week out.

Thank you James for such a good article, the best I have read today. I will sign the petition but sadly think this is beyond our control unless the teams do something to help out their ardent, dedicated and wonderful followers.


Why exactly is it not fair?

You have a choice in the matter – you can pay the extra and get the service or opt not to.

I have *no* choice over paying the license fee. Not subscribing to Sky Sports does not stop you watching other channels. Not paying the license fee (in effect a legally enforced subscription) *does* prevent me from watching something else.

It might not be to your taste, and you might be unhappy, but in no way is it unfair.

The only unfair thing is that the BBC has the legal right to compel people to by its service irrespective of quality, personal opinion and so forth.


I completely agree with you over the license fee, it is unfair that we are forced to pay for something we don’t get in return with a quality service and programming. Unfortunately I live in a very poor signal area where I am lucky to pick up a handful of freeview channels, have a very grainy non digital signal. I also don’t have an option of cable in my area and so the only option has been Sky, although I am investigating now BT vision as my only other option.

That doesn’t take away from the argument that it is still wrong to take away half the season from the masses as most people here seem to be agreeing with.


What annoys me is that F1 is not just the pinnacle of motorsport but it is also the pinnacle of a very hi-tech and successful British industry that showcases our brains and skills across the world.

Marginalising F1 is the opposite of what we should be doing, we’re the best at the world at it and many people directly or indirectly benefit from F1, not just as employees or third party businesses but also in the areas of materials science, advanced production techniques and so on (re. the McClaren Specialized Venge road bike that’s just ‘won’ the Tour de France).

By going down this route the people in charge of handling TV rights have in effect pushed the sport under the carpet.

As with many here, I’ve followed F1 for an age, back to the 1970’s when as a 7 year old I can just about remember coverage on the news of James Hunt winning the WC in Fuji.

Since then, and the hoo-ha over the FISA/FOCA war, coverage has steadily improved and the sport’s status has gone hand-in-hand with that to a point where the current BBC coverage is genuinely fantastic. Throughout that growth, easy access to view F1 has been crucial.

I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of ever buying a Sky package for the following reasons:

1. I don’t agree on principal to paying Murdoch. I wouldn’t pay to watch online, on my phone, on a tablet, on a TV or anywhere in fact.

2. I don’t agree on principal to paying to watch a show and then having to watch (even in part) moronic adverts. I loathed the ITV years despite James being a good commentator and the basic show being sound (apart from Louise jangle-bangle-girl).

3. I cannot afford to pay £477 min a year to watch telly. The licence fee is enough.

I will continue to follow F1 online through quality bloggers, both professional and enthusiast which already make up a huge part of my F1 consumption. I will rarely watch F1 on TV anymore and my two sons (aged 8 and 5 who can already recognise Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel’s cars) are unlikely to become life-long fans.

That’s the true price that this move is costing.

Stephen Kellett

Really bad news.

Not sure if this means I can only watch half the races live on the BBC or if I can watch all the races on the BBC, but only some of them live.

I’m not subscribing to Sky just to get F1, so I won’t be watching half the races. Now the question is, “If I can’t watch all the races, what value do half the races have?”. I’ve got to conclude that the answer is “much less than half the value of the races” where value is defined as “reason to watch”.

I’ve been watching F1 for at least 17 years – not sure how long. Thats quite a while. I’ve only missed a few races (nearly all of the non-event Monaco) due to other commitments, so you can hardly class me as a casual fan. I’m also not a die-hard F1-nerd (I didn’t know the last circular steering wheel in F1 was a 1998 Sauber – good grief! Its not important.).

On that basis (given the limited information I have right now) unless all the races are shown on the BBC, with some of them time delayed, I can’t see much reason to watch from 2012 onwards. No point watching a partial contest.



Firstly, great blog James. Probably the best thread of discussions available online that I have read on this topic.

Secondly – and this is for you Bernie – YOU SOLD US OUT!

I get the business side, no probs. But, without the fans you don’t even have a business. No product, nothing.

£50 per month for two races – did you think this through?

Please everyone don’t let the Sky monopoly take away our sport. No-one should sign up for their F1 coverage and send Bernie a message where it hurts – in the £££!


Divide the £50 per month subscription (which you will need to take for twelve months) by the eight month long F1 season and you’re really looking at £75 per month for F1. Crazy.


Ecclestone has been accused of bribery, I think this adds fuel to that fire

Brian Morrison

This morning I have cancelled my F1-related subscriptions online and cancelled my F1 Racing magazine subscription, I will also stop watching any F1 TV and listening to any F1 radio broadcasts.

It’s Murdoch and Sky, it’s poison, I don’t want it, I won’t pay for it and I won’t dignify F1 with my attention if it associates with people like this.

And for anyone that thinks this is me railing against the recent phone hacking furore, think again, I’ve been an F1 fan for more than 40 years and a foe of Murdoch and all he and his spawn stand for for over 35 years.

Disgusting! Bernie I had thought better of you, but clearly it was misplaced.


Luckily this season I have taken a liking to Moto GP.

I travel too between 2 and 4 races a year (whenever I can) for the last 4 years and have watched F1 for the past 20 years on free to air TV. I am able to fund my F1 expeditions partly due to it being free TV and my desire for F1 came becouse it was the only sport the BBC could hold on too in the 90s (so thats what I watched)

Sadly I can see my time as an F1 follower coming to an end with this new deal. I may as well follow moto GP around than being able to follow a half season and the odd races I go too.

Does F1 know how much there are about to lose? It’s not about money it is about the tremendous support it gets from its fans, which will diminsh quicker than Bernie knows.

Looks like this is going to be my last season following F1


Hi James

Could this be a tactic to avert or indeed force some kind of break away. I seem to recal the last break away talks involving a pay per view tv company.

Also, isn’t the concorde agreemet still up for nagotiation. So how can a six year deal have any value. (£40 million)

Finally, I refuse to subscribe so it is then of my 30 year relationship with F1

Cheers NK


Having recently got rid of Sky because its only benefit over terrestrial TV was a greater choice of rubbish, I am really not relishing the thought of paying over £400 for 10 races and probably nothing else, so I very much doubt I will do it.

Inevitable or not – and I do not believe it was if Ecclestone had kept prices sensible, especially during a recession – the question is how much damage will it do F1 as there can surely be no gain. F1 is not football, it is not embedded in the national culture and hardcore fans are still a minority. Its more casual audience may well disappear in millions.

As for Ecclestone, with all of his bovine droppings about benevolent dictators, he has just proven with this unilateral action that he is just another vertically-challenged dictator of the standard sort.


At a time when people are calling into question Murdoch and the way he runs his empire – in one of the biggest and most disgusting scandals in British media history – Sky lands one of the last great events in the sporting calendar. Says it all, doesn’t it?

Sky’s coverage of F1 can be the best EVER coverage that F1 has had, but I for one will never subscribe to a Sky package. (If Sky were the only broadcaster in this country, I just wouldn’t bother with a television.)


I understand the reason, but I like many I can’t afford to pay the subscription. I would very rarely watch highlights as you usually now the outcome before.

I would not pay sky with Murdoch involved, full stop.

Good bye F1.


Couldn’t help noticing the similarity between this deal and the coverage in the US. All practice and qualification sessions on a cable channel and it’s website along with most races live (Speed) and a subset of race only coverage (including Silverstone and Monaco) on the national Rupert Murdoch owned Fox network.

I grew up watching F1 on the BBC and ITV in the 80’s and 90’s, never missing a race. I moved to the USA ten years ago and despite the premium cost, if anything my addiction is worse than ever. I put this this down to the excellent in depth new media coverage now available (that’s you James 😉 ). F1 is a habit that’s hard to kick no matter what the cost.


Hold on and hear me out, this may get a bit ranty and disjointed…

For everyone blaming Bernie and Sky hold on a second and realise this is about the BBC and their “money saving”. Only a few days ago there was a piece on here about how the BBC were planning to buy their way out of the contract to save a net 5m GBP of what is essentially UK taxpayers money for no benefit to the tax payer.

The BBC is “uniquely funded” and by this they mean they tax every UK home at source with the threat of prison for non-compliance. When has Rupert Murdoch ever done this? It is a choice to buy Sky TV or any NewsCorp publication and as such if you wish to receive the product they are offering then everyone knows where they stand.

An earlier poster wrote: “They will no doubt use a couple of pretty blonde presenters who know more about the makeup industry than they do about F1, its legacy and history” which obviously shows your ignorance about Sky Sports coverage as they tend to pay good money to presenters who do know what they are talking about to front programming, usually ex-professionals with a vast depth of knowledge. Are you telling me Jake Humphrey was hired for his in-depth knowledge on the BBC, or was he a young, safe pair of hands who would not have looked out of place on Blue Peter at one point? I’m sure the excellent Keith Houwen on Sky would have something to say about that remark as well.

The BBC wastes money from the top down and F1 is the high profile sacrificial lamb to get everyone up in arms about it so they can blame “government cuts”, to which the Corporation’s stance is very clear from all their broadcasts. The fact is all the BBC know how to do is waste money that they get with very little challenge. MotoGP is a case in point – Eurosport put on a fantastic coverage of the warm up, qualifying and other analysis hosted by knowledgable experts. The BBC look to show “diversity” in it’s sporting portfolio by buying the rights to the races so they have to send a crew out to cover something only a small number of people watch (and to go back to presenters, think Suzy Perry – hardly made into an expert by wearing leather trousers). Most people I know wait for the repeat on Eurosport as the coverage is far better.

Other wasteful acts by the BBC: 250 people to Glastonbury for BBC3 coverage; hundreds to cover Wimbledon; overpaid “celebrities” to front chat shows; un-funny comedians being given prime time wages for shows that go out at 11.20pm on BBC3; MediaCity in Manchester being built that no-one wants to work in and so employees are being bribed to go and work there; 200 people being sent to the 1-year-to-London 2012 countdown when ITV sent 22; the list goes on and on. But no-one cares until something is taken away, and as I said, F1 is the sacrificial lamb to get everyone up in arms.

I have Sky Sports and what they do for sport is fantastic. I choose to buy it and of course I will watch F1 on it else I would be cutting off my nose to spite my face. If people don’t want to buy it, then watch it online. If people are so against it, then one could take the illegal act of withholding one’s licence fee – something I would not advocate at all. I would also draw people’s attention to the pioneering work Sky have done in sports – they revolutionised the way people watch football and the technology they introduced in cricket (Hawkeye, hotspot, snicko…) has fundamentally changed the world game.

The problem is the BBC and the naivety of people on here is astounding. Sure, Bernie’s gone for the highest bidder, but the BBC have set a trap to make sure it hasn’t gone to Channel 4 so as at least for half the season they can have market share and the gravy train of sending laggers around the world to cover the highlights on the races that they don’t broadcast can continue. It’s all about spending YOUR money for THEIR gain.

The BBC are accountable to US as tax payers and Parliament as State Broadcasters. So write to the Trust/Director General/Chairmen/ your MP/The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and stand up against the BBC and get them to justify themselves. This shameful decision is purely political grandstanding to get a reaction.

There, I said it would be ranty…

PS – James, love the work and your insight on here and on TalkSport. Maybe you should send your CV to Sky!

Marty McSuperFly



“The BBC wastes money from the top down and F1 is the high profile sacrificial lamb to get everyone up in arms about it so they can blame “government cuts”, to which the Corporation’s stance is very clear from all their broadcasts.”

Very well put.


I will never give murdoch any of my money, for the races i cant see on the bbc il find a website to stream them from. Then sky can start a large expensive court case against me and all the others that will be doing it.


Bernie took the money. Had he been interested in the fans he’d have offered a better deal. Maybe he could have offered standard def to the BBC at a good price and high def to Sky.

Whatever, half is not good enough. You need to follow the full season to get into the racing and issues. BBC might as well save all the money since I will not be watching it on that obnoxious thing called Sky or the BBC. Last F1 season for me.


Absolutely. This is about te BBC saving £25 million pounds a year. To Mr Ecclestone the technical term for £25M is “peanuts”.


After 20 years of not missing a single race got my sundays back, Not going to Silverstone now either as planned, Stopping watching with immediate effect, Good to see how much the teams really care about their fans.


F1 is a global sport, unlike the football league. You can go to any country and most if not all will show it on free TV, the only sporting event with as much scope is the Olympics and can you imagine if that went to Sky for 2012?

BBC, give Sky the Olympics instead please!


Oh NO we are all doomed!

Spare a thought for us here in South Africa who pay the equivalent of £58 to watch anything worthwhile, our National broadcaster can’t afford to compete against the Satellite power (it appears this is rapidly becoming the case there too):

The F1 you enjoy for free, we pay for, and we get 3 of the most irritating pundits imaginable on race day, missing out on the hour build up, now that’s worth complaining about.

our National Rugby Team play ANY match, we pay.

Cricket too, we pay.

Football local, International… yup we pay…

The only time we may get a sniff of ‘free’ tv (we have to pay for tv licenses, for 3 free channels, the pay channels don’t see a cent of that money, and don’t care if we have a license), is during the rugby/football/cricket world cups or olympic games, which are all shown on Satellite anyways, where the pundits are better and the shows more professional.

This is hardly a surprising turn of events given the times, I and the rest of the world are relieved that we are going to get improved coverage from Sky, we were dreading the thought of Channel 4 or 5 or even ITV covering the race.

So +1 to a deal rather than streaming in video on the net from RTL or something… it could be worse everyone!


From a ‘quality’ perspective this is actually a pretty good move I reckon. A move to Channel 4 would have been more accessible but I think it would have really struggled to match the standards the BBC have set in recent years – not the commentary or anything like that but what they’ve done with their red-button packages and online bits.

Sky will match those standards and perhaps accelerate an improvement in them over the years. For years fans have been crying out for better, more-encompassing TV coverage (I haven’t actually been too fussed) and I think this could happen in this scenario. There’s even talk of BBC providing all races online.

There are still lots of questions to address – and James has raised some of them. Even if it’s not the way they work, I do think it would be better in the short-run to pool resources and share some things like commentary. Then-again, it depends on whether Sky are looking to compete (coverage-wise) with the Beeb on weekends when both are showing the races or have they simply taken on the extra races to help the BBC pay their way while simultaneously giving themselves a chance to enter a sport which has untapped potential for them.

The interesting perspective from the comments here is that a lot of fans commenting seem to mainly be F1 fans on the sporting front. In that case, it is not so much of a given that fans will subscribe – particularly if it’s only half the races they’re doing it for; I think the idea of providing a cheaper ‘F1-only’ or ‘F1 focused’ subscription offer (mentioned by someone further up) is a brilliant idea if it could work. Of course, this wouldn’t attract those who are against BSkyB in principle but it probably would sway those who simply can’t do it on financial grounds. This is sensible for the broadcaster and the fans given the current climate of squeezed real incomes.


Channel 4 would also have had to put adverts in the race coverage


With adverts we miss 1 in 4 minutes. With the BBC idea we miss 1 in 2. I know which I prefer.


What a shambles. Only F1 could come up with a solution that’s even worse than coverage completely going to Sky. Genius!

I also will not pay for a Sky subscription so it’s crumbs from the BBC table and declining interest for me.


Pleae, pleease, please let this be the time for FOTA to grow some b**** and break away.

This could be the wonderful sound of a certain self-serving, lying little dwarf shooting himself in the foot.


Cheers james, informative article, please pass our messages onto Bernie and the teams if you can, because there is a lot of anger here. Half the races **** me what a crock of ****. There are clearly more important things in the world, but I am not alone in loving my F1 and also being too poor to afford SKY. Felt angry earlier, now feel pretty upset


Will sky tv want to reschedule the race times to maximise viewing figs like they have done with the football.


I can’t help but wonder if that’s why Bernie was promoting this new “revised” race calendar for 2012.


This is terrible news and I would echo the same sentiment as most people that not one penny of my wages will be put into the pocket of Sky… at my loss unfortunately.

I would however remind people that we still have BBC 6Music as a result of the overwhelming support the station received through public lobbying, social media support and so on.

Time to make our voices heard I think


Dear James,

There was recently a court case ( whereby a pub was allowed to watch a Greek feed of Premier League football on the cheap due to EU law.

Could this apply to F1 too? I’d be willing to pay a few pounds to get, say, a Greek stream of F1 and then just listen to Radio 5 or something!


PS +1 to the general outrage at paying so much to watch so little, particularly when Murdoch is involved.


Hello from Greece. Unfortunately, it’s sad times for every F1 fan….The live coverage in my country has adverts breaks and it’s hugely annoying! Actually, hardcore F1 fans watched the races through BBC online streaming (although unofficially…) But basically, what you say is the best option. Get a free stream from anywhere, and then just listen to Radio 5! The only drawback in this is that Radio 5 will be a few seconds faster than the picture….


Being a passing fan of F1, (got bored with schumacher) and not minding missing races before this season I’m certainly not getting Sky to watch all the races. Doubt i’ll bother too much with the bbc coverage either. BBC should have played harder with Bernie, they need FTA coverage.

If murdoch dare come near my motogp there will be blood spilled.


This is terrible news. I have been watching F1 since I was a child – really, as long as I can remember.

I will not be paying for a Sky subscription – The entire business model disgusts me. I’m actually considering giving up on F1 all together. However, its likely I will end up streaming the races off the internet, possibly from foreign lanuage channels while listening to Crofty and Ant on 5Live


Very sad!

I definately won’t be paying for a Sky sports

package and if I only get to watch one race a month, then I expect that I will begin to loose interest in the whole thing.

I am very disappointed with all involved. How can the BBC claim not to be able to afford the coverage when they can provide a multitude of half-empty digital TV and radio channels. It’s not quantity we want, but quality. Get rid of BBC3 and BBC4 and half of your radio channels and concentrate on providing some original content like F1.

Fans of 6-music managed to prevent that service from being axed. Would a fan petition make any difference for us?

As for SKY, I’m sick of them buying up everything decent that ever comes on TV (eg Lost, Dexter etc) and then charging through the nose for it, so only the well off can watch. I wonder how many F1 fans even own Sky Sports packages as I’m sure that a large percentage of them are not fans of Premiership football. I will never give Murdoch a penny of my money.

And lastly, for Bernie and CVC, they are not fans of F1, or interested in its future, it’s just a cash cow for them to milk dry. Our only hope is that this is merely the beginning of a new piece of political intrigue within Formula 1 that will spur the teams on to form their own new breakaway series.


I had Sky a couple of years ago. Miserable experience. Constant adverts for channels you don’t have. Broadband pushed on you every month. When I was particularly skint one month my DD didn’t bounce like others might, it pushed through and landed me with a £40 charge on top – not even service station petrol stations have that sort of power!

I would happily pay a reasonable fee for F1 but I will never subject myself to being a Sky customer again, they are never happy until they’ve extracted the maximum possible from you, rather like a short man I know.


No, I’m sticking right here on JA on Interesting times, lots of opportunities.


If Sky’s icy penetrating tentacle hadn’t already gripped me by the goolies I’d cry.


Pity, I was just reading that the iPlayer was going to be available outside of the UK and was going to buy a subscription when F1 coverage was also broadcasted there. if only to sponsor the BBC. Now I don’t have to.. and will start watching the crappy local coverage which is free but plastered with commercials during the race…


James, is this a done deal?


Yes, they wouldn’t announce it as they have if it were not


So, with a Sky Sports HD subscription and my useless license fee I am looking at around £740 a year to watch F1. Forget it. Bernie Ecclestone’s greed has just gone too far this time.

F1 is finished.


Disgusted with this and No way will I pay Sky to watch F1. Wrong move Eccelstone, you’ve screwed Formula one good and proper this time !


So we already pay the BBC a licence fee, now they want us to pay £40 a month on top of that. I dont watch any other sport so if we sey 2 races a month, it works out £20 just to watch a F1 race as I dont have Sky now as I dont watch any other programmes

Marty McSuperFly

If its not good value, don’t buy it then. Football went through all this 20 years ago, other countries have it also. The market will decide if this succeeds or not.

F1 is not a protected sport for free to air coverage. Maybe if people were really scared by this prospect, they would have petitioned the government to act. But they didn’t.


We must remember to look at F1 as a global sport. UK is only one market, albeit an important one as many of the teams are from there


I’m yet to hear people criticising the now short-sighted decision by the Government in 2009 not to protect F1 as a free-to-air sport as it does (and has done fo a number of years) with a number of other “jewels in the crown” such a Wimbledon, the grand national, the olympics etc. 6-7 million viewers, every other weekend surely would have been a convincing enough indicator that fans in the UK care deeply about F1 and count it as a key sport that must stay on free-to-air TV.

A different outcome then would have prevented this situation and saved us all the heartache of deciding that the numbers just don’t stack up to get a sky subscription.


Goodbye F1, we have had our ups and downs but it has been good knowing you for 15 years.


It never ceases to amaze me how out of tune with real life those at the top in F1 really are.They really live in a bubble.

And what about the timing of all this – right in the middle of a News Corp scandal where Murdoch and his associates are derided by the UK public??

They couldn’t have released this at a worse time.


I too am very disappointed by this, but I was also shocked to read recently just how much the BBC were paying for F1 (£45m+ a year if rumours correct).

Whilst I don’t like the idea of F1 going to SKY I also don’t think the BBC should be spending that amount of money to show F1. I had assumed they got it cheap when ITV wanted out, £5-£10m a year or something.) so whilst I don’t like the decision, I can understand why it’s happened.

I don’t blame Murdoch, SKYs aim is to hoover up all the best sports so fans have to pay to watch them. If fans are then prepared to pay SKYs fees to watch them, why is anyone surprised that SKY keep buying up even more sports.

The only way for fans to ‘win’ this battle is to vote with their feet and refuse to pay. Then it’s up to the sport to decide whether it wants a large fanbase, or TV revenue. I just hope everyone who is so angry today, doesn’t end up paying in the end anyway, as that will just prove Bernie right.


As one of the older generation of F1 fans, I remember early coverage being patchy with little or no practice and qualifying coverage. Race coverage would sometimes start with the flag at the start of the race and finish as the winner crossed the line. No build up no post race stuff. Not every race was televised.

We’ve been spoilt in recent years. Despite criticism of ITV, I believe it was they that set the bar for the current (IMHO excellent)Auntie coverage. Look at the pre 1997 offering and compare.

I won’t bolt a dish to my wall but I will consider the options to pay via Freeview and Virgin Media, for the only sport I consider myself to be a true fan of, for the best part of forty years.

If all else fails there’s always the local pub or my brother-in-law who’s a mad keen football fan with a subscription…………


You are right about ITV, but BBC have definitely taken it on again.


Given the small amount of Football, Rugby, Cricket, Snooker, Darts, Golf… well, pretty much any other sport, that gets covered on live BBC tv… I have to say I do agree that this is a logical way of saving some money.

Is it really necessary to show every single F1 race on the BBC? Is this not a huge luxury that F1 fans, of whom make up a relatively small portion of tv license payers, have enjoyed for long enough?

I’m a huge F1 fan and I will be very sad to miss half the races from next season, but I can’t really justify being critical towards the BBC for making what was, presumably, a very tough decision during hard times.

Fair play to the BBC for being responsible with our money and putting forward a real, workable compromise. Good work on insisting we keep the British and Monaco Grands Prix too!

To answer your poll above, I’ll not be signing up to any Sky packages. I’ll probably nip down the pub and watch it there – could be a nice experience actually, compared to the usual live football that’s always on.


F1 and Have I Got News For You are the only programmes I religiously watch on TV. I actually consider the licence fee fair value in that light. However, now that half the F1 races have been chopped, it’s not. Have the BBC not considered that many F1 fans will have changed their position from supporting the licence fee to opposing it?

It’s even more infuriating when I think about some of the dross the BBC will quite happily spend my money on; Little Miss Jocelyn, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, My Family, Mrs Browns Boys, So You Think You Can Dance, anything with any of the Top Gear boys on it that isn’t Top Gear (Hammond’s new geography show, that stupid thing where he giggles over people falling into a pit of mud, James May’s Manlab etc etc) AAARGH!

So, I guess that next year we’ll all be streaming the non-BBC races illegally from some dodgy internet TV site, while listening to David Croft and Ant Davidson on the radio?


I have Sky already with the whole package, which isn’t cheap and half of which I don’t watch. But the news of this deal is devastating for a Hardcore fan like me. I was lucky enough to Good to the Jordan Garage as it was then in 94 with a family friend and have a look around , fell in love and have be and avid follower of the sports since then . and since the switch back to BBC have not missed a single race weekend catching Practice on BBC website on a Friday if the Boss isn’t looking . I do believe The Coverage is the best it has ever been , and I think this new deal is a massive step back . I’m lucky enough to have Sky already but I hate adverts when watching sport and after watching there coverage of goodwood I just felt “ this would be so much better on the Beeb “ Good knows how bad they will make the F1 . Bernie You have really messed it up this time and I can only hope outcry and the voice’s of FOTA and the UK F1 Fans carry enough weight to change this foolish move to Sky .

Gutted is an understatement


Correction to my earlier post: didn’t spot that the new deal starts next year. Perhaps we should all just stop watching now, just to get used to the idea? I can tell you the result now if you want: Vettel and Red Bull win driver and constructors’ championships. Sorry to spoil it for you.


This is how I’m feeling about it right now. If I have to stop watching it, then why wait…


a very sad day, I have been watching F1 since the 70s, I will NOT be getting Sky. What next from Bernie and Murdoch a name change to NCF1 (News Corp F1).

Bernie go NOW you are killing F1.


I dont see much point in frothing at the mouth over this, BBC cant compete with Sky because BBC is having to reduce spending.

Bottom line is that this will reduce UK viewing figures for F1. I’d be interested to know what knock-on effects, if any, this will have on viewing figures in other regions.

Obviously the English Premier League will be brought up frequently as to highlight how a successful competition can prosper on Sky.

Im sure Sky will point out how they can deliver a high quality product globally, sponsors and teams will just be buttered up and be on message soon enough.


Talk about drama. I’ll reserve judgement until we know alot more.

But as things stand it looks like this deal has ensured the BBC can continue showing F1 races. Even if the only show half of them.

It’s a bit like a doctor saying you can keep both your legs for two years but eventually they will kill you. Or you can lose one leg and stay alive for much longer. Of course noone wants to lose a leg but one is better than none.

So the issue is maybe (and it was a big maybe) all races for two more years on the BBC or half the race for seven more years on the BBC. Clearly we all can’t have our cake and eat it. Well unless you have Sky too.

I would also like to thank James Allen for a very imformative article on the deal. Much better than what the BBC are currently providing. In fact the BBC seem to be sheepish about it all. Sky could do with an informed F1 fan like yourself James.


No the BBC have played a dastardly role. If they had pulled out completely Ecclestone would have been faced with the choice of accepting a more reasonable price from Channel 4 or breaking all the agreements and going to 100% pay TV, which would have been unacceptable. The BBC have enabled him to claim he hasn’t broken the free to air agreements while taking the inflated price from Sky. I don’t believe the BBC will stick with it until 2018. They’ll let viewing figures quietly decline then pull out in 2 years time, having played the vital role in making F1 a subscription only minority sport.


I will add my tuppence worth. Murdoch’s evil empire won’t be getting a penny from me. I am fed up of that lowlife scumbag not only committing criminal acts, but also dragging the standards of the country into the gutter.

From a BBC perspective I don’t see how this will come across as an efficiency. They’ll still have to pay retainers to their team, who will now be doing only half the work. I’d rather see them cut down some excess baggage – why do we need separate radio and TV commentary teams for example? Also, do we really need to pay millions to so many ex-participants? I’d happily make do with Anthony Davidson if it saved the taxpayer a few million on DC and EJ’s salaries. There is far to little weight given to the analysis that expert journos like yourself James can provide.

(This is something that I acknowedge is MUCH worse on football coverage across all channels where broadcasters think we are keen to listen to cretins who can barely string a sentence together just because they used to play the game. Sorry. Rant over.)


Probably a commentary / presenting gig going down Isleworth way James… be surprised if your phone hasn’t rung already.


Good luck to Mr E and Sky. As usual pretend to listen to the fans, have debates, fans forums etc then,regardless of how many millions of people have been tuning in to the excellent coverage during the last few seasons, take it away from the fans. I will not touch sky. Will have to keep up to date via the Internet and BBC coverage when available.

An excellent appraisal thank you again. Can’t wait to hear Whitmarsh on the subject.


I’ve been watching F1 since 1976 and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so let down by the sport. The coverage on BBC was already good, but when then kicked-out Legard it went stellar – the pairing on MB and DC is just fantastic.

I don’t have Sky and will not buy sky either – I shall download the race from a torrent site later in the day if necessary and mux it with a R5L commentary feed if necessary.

But that isn’t the issue, the issue for me is that clearly no consideration at all has been given to the fans in all of this. Furthermore, F1 will be dead to the less hardcore watcher. The best comparison I can make is with the cricket – the 2005 Ashes became huge as it was on Channel 4, since it moved to Sky it has become a minority sport IMO – more tellingly perhaps I have no idea who (of even if) English cricket has any commercial sponsors.

So I’m feeling totally betrayed as a fan and gobsmacked by the short-sighted money-grabbing of Ecclestone (once again).


Bernie had no other choice apart from Sky….There is alot of people above who’s life seem to revolve around F1 so im sure you will all find ways watch it…

I know its frustrating but obviously this is the next evolution of F1…and for Bernies and the teams sake it happened during the Pirreli and DRS era rather the Ferrari/Schumacher era…


This is terrible news. The BBC have provided excellent coverage, which I have paid towards through my license fee. Next yr, Sky expect me to pay a massive amount of money to watch all the races live in addition to the license fee I will also have paid for. So basically fans are being asked to pay twice for what will be an inferior service. I don’t have the hundreds of pounds that Sky costs so, like many fans, I’ll miss half the races live. Highlights are never the same, lacking that sense of drama that comes from “this is happening now, anything could happen”. Sky already have the monopoly in football, cricket, boxing etc. These are all sports I used to enjoy watching on terrestrial but no longer really follow, mainly because I can’t afford Sky. Basically the fans are being stitched up. Ecclestone and Murdoch couldn’t care less, so long as they add to their already vast fortunes. To save their formula one coverage, the BBC could have easily closed down the pointless BBC3 which consists of a handful of shows per week, which are then repeated endlessly. I doubt many fans will welcome Sky’s raid on the sport…


For me, this is now probably going to be my last season watching F1, unless I can find a nearby pub showing the races. I do not want to fund Murdoch, nor do I want to watch half a season. And since F1 is the only thing I watch on TV, I do not want to pay my license fee anymore either.


I have to pay for Sky (Satellite subscription service) in New Zealand to watch F1. Been paying $70 a month to effectively just watch the races. This has been the case for the last 2 years at least.


My Grandmother once told me people start to think illogically once age 80 is reached.

Murdoch, George Soros and Ecclestone are 80.


I am really quite distraught. I’ve been watching F1 since 66. this is a disaster.

Shame on those who put pressure of the BBC to spend £900m on the move to Salford but don’t think it worth paying £45m to show all the races.

This will hurt F1, of that there can be little doubt. This will hit the fan base in Britain. Who on earth, int heise straightened times, is going to pay an extra £350+ per annum to watch an extra 10 races?

Unbelievable decision.

I was going to cancel my subscription to Sky in September when my current contract expires over the hacking scandal. This move only makes my determination stronger. I’ll spend the £400+ I save on a luxury day at the British GP.

I see flooding is a problem on here. I’m not surprised.


as if bernie hadn’t screwed enough money out of F1 – this to me is the final nail in the coffin. he will finally come to realise that F1 is nothing without the fans. this *will* affect viewing figures. that will affect the popularity of the sport. that will affect the number of fans who watch on tv and attend the races. it will not take long for audiences to drop to a level where circuits and broadcasters find hosting the races unfeasible. and without an audience, sponsorship will dry up pretty sharpish too. but he’ll be out of it by then – he’ll have his trust funds nicely topped up, he’ll quit when it’s on it’s way down, and then probably claim that it won’t survive without him.



That’s a good point – Silverstone and the GPDA must be furious. They’ve just spent all that money on the new Silverstone and in three or four years’ time they won’t be able to fill the stands, yet they’ll still be paying the astronomical fee for the race. They’ll probably go bust.


I mean BRDC not GPDA, sorry.

Douglas Revill

I support most of the comments I read. Very disappointing. Impossible to justify a Sky subscription to watch half a season of F1 – especially when the money is going to a company that is prepared to stoop so low.

This proves to me that despite Bernie’s wealth, he’s prepared to prostitute himself for a good deal – morals and commitment to his sport’s fan base be damned.

How will Max feel about this? That would be a question worth asking James.

As a fan, I’m gutted. Shame on you Bernie. Good time for FOTA to break away. They would have my full support.

Thanks for a great article James – a great read as usual.

Steve Quinnell

I’m already a Sky Sports subscriber, mainly for the big Champions League matches that aren’t available elsewhere. The thing is although I’m in the lucky position of being able to afford it & will still have coverage of all the races next year I’m still absolutely gutted about this for a number of reasons.

Personally I think Sky tend to dumb-down most things they cover. Look forward to F1 coverage for the “lowest-common denominator” fan. Presented by James Corden and Jodie Marsh maybe? I’m only half-joking! They also steadfastly refuse to criticize any aspect of their product, meaning if you’ve just watched the dullest race in the would you’ll then have to sit and watch as the presenters try to convince you it was the best thing you’ve ever seen.

I think this is a big own-goal. How can they spend a whole race weekend dithering about exhaust gases and anal technical rule changes that no-one except themselves care about, stuff that doesn’t really affect anything much in the long term, and then make a decision like this which I would argue is more far-reaching and important than any of the usual politics and affects far more people and their view of the sport.

I have been an F1 fan since the Mansell years. I’ve missed no more than a handful of races on TV since 1987 and have travelled all over the world on holidays to Grand Prix as well following the sport I love. And despite having Sky Sports I don’t think I’ll be watching the races on that channel next year. I think the coverage will be too unbearably annoying and I don’t want to watch F1 like that. Which means I’ll probably lose touch with the sport and stop watching the BBC coverage too over time. And stop going to the races. Life moves on.

Bernie is usually proved right in the long run, but unless this is a cunning bargaining strategy as another poster suggested I really doubt he’s picked a winner this time. Nice one.


Imagine watching BBC at the ‘final’ race of the season only to be greeted by Jake that the championship is over without watching it happen the race(s) before. Farcical. This is BBC and Bernie/CVC’s fault and goes to show that money talks – F1 is business. What I don’t get is that current F1 teams are spending less these days, sponsors are paying less (Sauber couldn’t get any sponsors last season), and yet costs to broadcasting rights and race hosting fees could not be compromised.


I’m also very intrigued by the fact that teams and sponsors have not been consulted and will this lead to yet another threat of a breakaway series? More bad publicity to focus on over a racing weekend!


I am really happy about this. I can’t wait to pay the extra £40 per race for those not on the BBC….and then I woke up.


If any SONY reps need an idea, put a browser of sorts on the PS3 so we can stream in F1 in HD from the BBC Website. BBC is still going to steam it online at every race and it will be an easy way to get it on the old box & in HD (Trials this weekend on BBC Iplayer in HD).

I’m an xbox 360 guy, Sky has that contracted up and I don’t use the sky side of the XBOX (tells you something), but I would be happy to buy a PS3 (get a free blu-ray in the process) and trade in the XBOX. It would be cheaper than subscribing too Sky and its a one off bill of a couple of hundred quid I would pay for a console.

Sony, step on it. redeem yourself with the old Sega gamers!


PS3 already has a browser, and an iPlayer application (well, link to the website really). Doesn’t do HD yet though – one day perhaps! 🙂


The BBC will only be streaming races they are actually broadcasting live on TV.


Been watching F1 since ’76, haven’t missed a race since ’78 – seems this year will be the last.

This whole arrangement is mad – those with SKY will (probably) watch the whole season thereon for continuity whereas those of us without will get to watch a highlights show half of the time. Sorry, but if I was happy paying I’d have SKY already and if a highlights show were satisfactory I wouldn’t persistantly get up at stupid o’clock to watch the fly-aways live.

I will NOT be paying SKY, whosoever the owners of F1 happen to be OR the teams/sponsors anything to continue watching this sport – if 35 years loyalty isn’t enough then ciao.

Furthermore, Mr BBC, I will henceforth only send you half of your licence fee – you can have a photocopy of the rest.


This is horrible…. does anyone have any idea how this will affect TSN coverage in Canada?


I’m in Canada also. I figure TSN will be able to buy either the BBC commentary or the Sky commentary.


“As I’ve posted here before it’s been inevitable that at some point the UK F1 fan was going to have to pay for his/her pleasure like football fans have been doing for over 20 years on SKY.”

Or…. we’ll just walk away, and leave Bernie to count his money.

It’s one thing to put Football on pay per view – all you need for a match is a bit of grass, a ball and 20 players. OK, so they spend silly money on wages, but that’s optional.

F1 requires an aweful lot more money to put the show on, and if they loose 80% of their UK audiance (from your poll), then that is going to make a dent in revenue.


For the BBC to drop F1 like this is disgusting. I’ve seen pretty much every race live since the Brazilian GP 1989. This will now stop; I’m not paying Sky for the privilege. Also, I will not pay my TV license next year – why pay for a load of talent show crap I don’t want to watch.


Already have Sky as its where the most coverage of football, tennis and cricket are, which I watch a lot of, not to mention 2 golf majors and the Ryder Cup. So this deal doesnt affect me in the slightest. Although I do feel for those who dont want/cant afford to have sky, I am afraid this was always going to happen eventually.

At least half the races are on the Beeb, thats 50%. 0% of cricket is on free to air(I think!) and very little tennis is on free to air, Of all football shown in a season, I reckon no more than 20% is on free to air, and I would say I am being optimistic on that


How do I feel? Hacked off. If it wasn’t for the fact that the BBC were going to drop the coverage completely then this would be a total disaster.

I have no idea how I’m going to square £40 per month with the missus.

pissed off aussie

Hi James,

Massive long time viewer,

Im here in Australia

We have advertisements when we watch the broadcast.. but most of the time its not so much of a problem (occasionaly they break just when you least want them too.. grrr annoying, but other then that no complaints as I can see advertising playing a part in broadcasting the sport)

But ever since (Channel 10) ONEHD have taken over the broadcast whether it be back when ITV had the feed or once bbc took over… soooo smooth. I look forward to and love hearing your insight everyweek as you are so repected in the F1 field. (and give such and unbiased opinion)

I hope this debarcle in the UK doesnt hurt us as there is absolutly ZERO, Nudda NOT A FREAKING CHANCE I would give up any more of my hard earned dollars to the scum that is Murdoch.

Its already hard enough to watch the sport here most race’s kick off at 10pm or later (Canada is live here at 4am, IMHO the best race of the calander.. I try to stay up to watch)

I fear that what is happening in the UK is only to benefit Bernie, as lets be realistic he hasnt got many more years left and is obviously trying to line his gready pockets with more cash before he quits.


Could this enhance the possibility of the teams starting up their own breakaway series?

I for one will be buying a Sky Sports package, as much as this really annoys me. I’ve been a massive F1 fan since for 23 years, so I can’t see myself not watching it live. Although with my first child on the way it certainly isn’t ideal, so I guess I’ll have to make savings elsewhere.

However surely this will impact viewing figures massively and may spur teams on to setup their own rival championship.


I think this sadly goes to show how little the BBC commissioners understand F1 as a sport.

Bring on a pay-per-season internet TV subscription like they have for American Football.

Richard Fletcher

The long run situation isn’t good.

While on the one hand this deal looks to me like an illegal cartel, since it has only been done mid-deal then it’s not interfered with the bidding process for the F1 broadcasting rights in the UK. Now let’s look at what happens when the deal comes up for the next bidding process.

Scenario 1) The BBC and Sky bid together. Possibly against no-one. This strikes me as bad for ecclestone who may complain that they should be bidding against each other. It’s like a monopoly in reverse, rather than monopolising supply BBC/Sky get to monopolise demand.

Scenario 2) BBC and Sky bid separately. The viewing figures will have diminished dramatically by then I suspect, meaning the BBC will not feel compelled to bid high because “F1 has become less popular over the last few years”. Sky win.

And in the meantime every race shown on the BBC will act as an advert for Sky.

As the viewing figures go down, so will the team’s income from the UK. Hopefully this will be the spur for them to stop the deal in it’s tracks.

And hopefully the sponsors would find the drop in audience too great to warrant what they spend on the teams. This too would lead to pressure to reverse the situation.

However, on the other hand Bernie Ecclestone is 82 this year, he may no longer be thinking about the long term interests of the sport.

dave neath f1 fan

so …..

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “We are absolutely delighted that F1 will remain on the BBC.

the point is …..

half the races are on the bbc Barbara ! f1 is all about THE SEASON ! so go back to watching eastenders and leave f1 to be sorted by a true f1 fan, its a sad sad day when a program that got a great team and great ratings gets the boot i vote to lose the last ten minutes of

Eastenders , caualty , and the boring bits of bbc news and why not finish the golf on the 17th tee bbc whoever came up with this one is

having a great big laff on us ripped off f1 fans !!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Looking at the comments on this and other sites it’s clear that the only people who are going to be in favour of this deal will have the surnames Murdoch or Ecclestone. What I haven’t yet seen is any focus on ensuring that overwhelming sense of anger from the majority of the fans is heard by those that made this decision. Are there any online petitions protesting this decisionl as was the case with Barhain?


BBC are paying 2/3rd of what they are now, for 1/2 the races, I’m no maths wizz but that can make good money sense!??


There’s an interesting point for the future as well. No new fans will come to this now. Female and younger viewers are ruled out – who gets into a sport you can’t watch properly? Unlike football which can be played by anyone as an amateur and can get into a match of your local team for a lot less than paying for a trip to one GP, the grassroots connection to F1 can’t be compared to football. It’s ludicrous.

Secondly – having watched SKY NEWS during the Murdoch/News International scandal, their anchors are often insanely biased towards Murdoch – defending him and his empire in a way that would keep sister Fox News proud. When CVC sells up to the Axor/Newscorp – expect the Ferrari bias to come flooding in.

Some of the technical aspects of SKY sports coverage is admirable – but the SKY sports division is run like a mini fiefdom of studio-bound airheads. Expect no truly incisive coverage, technical rundowns or behind the scenes forum. It will be corporate, bland, loud, press-release stuff. And the worse thing is, the BBC can’t justify their high quality elements for half a season, so expect a tiny production with no sense of drama, passion or technical knowledge. it will be a minimized MOTD approach to F1. Say goodbye to the FORUM (where most of the interesting interviews happened anyway).


To your first point – Can you say that about Premier League football? Kids are attracted to it all the time. And yet it’s on Sky Sports as F1 will be. Sky is now in 10 million homes


But the point is kids can get into football without TV – watching their idols in the Premiere league then follows. With F1 you need the coverage to get the fans in the first place.


RIP F1….


I think the responses here say it all. No consultation with the teams, a move to line the pockets of Bernie and co and then a half arsed compromise to those who will be priced out of the move.

For years people at the top of sporting events always tried to get the most viewers as for sponsors, this is an attractive proposition. Most sports of national interest were shown on free to air TV. Slowly but surely they are being moved over onto pay TV (for example the football world cup could soon be all on Pay TV).

Sky has done this before, remember “rugby fever” in 2003 after England won the world cup? Look what happened there, their coverage is poor in the views of many fans and viewing figures went down 50% in one season!

I think most F1 fans would have stumped up some cash for a dedicated F1TV type channel, but now we’ll have Skys coverage (which could be anything from questionable to average judging by their other sports coverage.)

No wonder the Murdochs are running scared of the BBC, I would be if my main competitor produced brilliant programming with record breaking figures that wins awards. In fact I’d stop them by simply buying the rights to their coverage, so one day I’ll have no competition. Hmmm think we’ve been here before.

Sad, sad day.


I thought it was only the races they were also showing on tv?


This just has to be the worst move ever for F1. I for one will NOT be purchasing any additional packages from the likes of Murdoch. Bernie, you should be ashamed of yourself. I used to believe you were an honerable man and did your best for the sport. If what I read here is true, then it is clear you have zero feelings for the sport and the fans alike. It’s all money, money, money. Don’t you think it’s time to give something back to the sport Mr. Bernie Billionaire?

John Wainwright

Hi James,

Long time reader of your excellent site but this is the first time I’ve been moved to post.

I’ve followed F1 closely throughout my life. My earliest memories were back in Graham Hills’ days. I remember watching James Hunt winning the title in the monsoon in ’76. I remember cheering Damon Hill on against Schui (especially during the infamous collision…however my opinion of the German has mellowed as he himself has). In short F1 has been a large part of my life for many years.

This development has the greatest potential to damage F1 more than any of the scandals which have brought the sport into disrepute (crashgate, etc). Like many posters on this site, I will not be handing over any of my hard earned cash to Mr. Murdoch and am absolutely horrified of Bernie’s decision. How can this possibly be for the good of the sport?? Cutting viewing figures, involvement with a corrupt company, no UK night time races (part of the enjoyment of following F1 is the getting up in the early hours to watch a race from some far flung country), etc.

I hope that Bernie reads your website and sees the basklash from the real fans of the sport.

Thank you for your excellent coverage and it seems like your website will be the most accessible way for any fan to follow the sport in the future.


Well this looks like the start of the “phasing out” of F1 coverage by the Beeb.

I won’t be paying for Sky.

Looks like I’ll get my F1 online and on the news from now on.


Not really – they are staying in F1 until 2018


This deal is a complete joke, but, and i hate to say it… Look hard enough on the internet and you can find virtually anything, so look for F1 live streaming on the day (JustinTV) and stop Bernie/Murdoch from fleecing anymore of our hard earned cash.


It’s the same old story, just as something starts getting good (current BBC coverage is good, but I do prefer David Croft and Ant Davidson especially the practice sessions which have been fantastic) someone decides to change the format!

We all know Jake is the face of the Olympics next year, maybe this is the end of his F1.

A very sad day which will end my 26 yrs of watching every race.


I have Sky Sports from Virgin anyway so it doesn’t make any real difference but I am distraught at the decision.

There are so many questions which I’m sure will be answered as we go but it’s a poor comprimise.


Stop Moaning you lot.. Remember, “Man does not live by F1 alone…” I will be taking up Morris dancing and Origami


No way will we pay £50 a month for Sky, just for F1 (I have no interest in the other sports).

New plan – find a pub showing it. Have done that on holiday, why not here. A couple of drinks is much cheaper than Sky!

Still awful news though. The BBC coverage is great, and it’s a real shame that can’t be kept up for the whole season.


Formula 0.5 on the BBC!

It will destroy the sport.


The coverage of the last few seasons on BBC has been outstanding. The Brundle/Coulthard combo really works, informed passionate love of the subject, Jake’s been a top draw presenter, Eddie’s a diamond, the F1 forum the cherry on the cake, etc etc…

Now Ecclestone has tricked the BBC into betraying a generation of Licence Payers to the New World Order… i.e. more profits for the super-rich, and screw the millions of poor saps that pay for it! Murdoch, and particularly little Damien, sorry James, are just soulless psychopaths, like many heads of governnment and industry, systematically eroding all that is good in the name of personal gain.

Capitalism only really benefits capitalists with capital!

…and we know what J Murdoch thinks of the BBC…


I think this will be a fantastic development for F1 coverage in Australia. Why?

Because at present it is very hard to watch practice sessions live in Australia, the only way is to watch a pretty dodgy, low-res illegal feed off one or two websites that are known to show the feeds.

With this new deal I am guessing there will be dozens and dozens of illegal feeds popping up, hopefully some with a decent resolution, to satisfy all the disgruntled UK F1 fans who don’t want to pay for their F1..!


Rupert Murdoch is poison.


So now F1 is only for the rich. The beginning of the end for F1.


After my initial outrage, I’ve stopped to think about what would make it worth my while paying to watch this. I would suggest to Sky:

1. Have a Motor Sports channel that can be subscribed to separately and give us good value for our money. Most F1 fans are not into football, cricket, but are into other motor sport / bike racing / behind the scenes engineering.

2. Don’t dumb it down and make it “shouty”. Be have intelligent, reasoned, non-orange presenters. Look at the really successful BBC F1 team. Get them, or model your team on them. Don’t talk down to the audience.

3. Don’t whatever you do get respected motorsports figures to stand in front of a touch screen pointing out positives and negatives of cars and drivers like you do to those poor boxing pundits.

4. Pundits touching and feeling at the track/paddock, not in a CGI studio.

5. No Ads – I think you get this bit.

6. HD, 3D no extra cost.


Oh well, it was getting a bit sameish and the increasing manipulation of the formula in an attempt to create some competitiveness was just a joke. After following F1 for some 40 years, this is exactly the nudge I needed to find something better to do with my Sunday afternoons.

In the UK at least, F1 will be a minority sport – in terms of active followers – from 2014. Money, greed and power ruins everything eventually.


Horrible news.

Just because such a move “has been a long-time coming” doesn’t mean we should take it lying down.


“The teams are likely to resist any deal which reduces the audience number. Whereas the BBC currently enjoys audiences of around 6-7 million per race the SKY audiences for Premier League football suggest that they might get an F1 audience of around 1-2 million on their pay sports channel, far less when the race is also on BBC at the same time.”

I doubt if that comparison is valid. Football is far more part of the national identity than motor racing so there is a greater chance of the fans paying premium rates. Also, how many of that audience figure comes from group viewing such as at pubs? That won’t happen for F1 where it would often be in competition with football anyway. A much better comparison would be with cricket and that would indicate viewing figures rather less than a million (and the subsequent large drop in general interest in the sport outside of the core fan base)


I will never get Sky so will not bother to watch anymore, shame cos Ive enjoyed this year, still it will free up quite a lot of weekends for me next year !


Oh my god!Paying to watch sport…its the end of the world!

When i last looked Test Match Cricket and Premiership football were on sky and their coverage is first rate.

Get a Life everybody!


I think you missed the point. Plenty here are willing to pay – but they’d like to pay a reasonable amount to watch F1 – not a gouging to watch F1 and then have access to Cricket and the Premiership which they couldn’t care less about.

Mike H from America

Here in the US we’ve been getting screwed like this for years, I can’t remember when (if ever) all of the races were on free to air channels (60s/70s maybe). I am currently in the midst of changing cable companies as a) new company is cheaper and b) new company carries the channel F1 is aired on for all but 4 races in HD. The other 4, this year Canada, Valencia, Silverstone and Nürburgring, are on Free to Air channel Fox (owner of the cable channel Speed that airs the others) and the last 3 of the 4 are all tape delayed. And to get speed I have to pay for both a basic cable package and an add-on package.


‘f1 must stay on free to air tv’ i remember bernie and whitmarsh saying not so long ago,, thanks for selling the fans out for a few extra quid. i am completely digusted and outraged!!! i am (was) a lifelong fan and have not missed a race in years, making sacrifices to see the live broadcasts as many other fans do. this is a sport i breath and dream, and to think that because of mr e’s greed i would only see a fraction of the season, i feel cheated! thanks for nothing


just download or stream it peoples. They even cut the ads out for you 😉


The last time it was on sky was with F1 Digital+. That was a a total failure just like this one will be. I can’t see it taking off and limits audience too much. If the audience goes down, sky would drop F1 and then who would pick them up? With the cost of showing it with low ratings no one pick it up.


I’m as disgusted by this as everybody else.

To those of you criticising the BBC, just remember that one of the the coalition’s first actions was to force a freeze in the TV Licence fee, something which was widely praised by lots of people.

This is just one consequence of that decision. I would guess that if the licence fee had continued to rise by a few percent each year the BBC would still have been able to compete for exclusive coverage.

How many F1 fans who supported that freeze would now happily pay a few pounds a year more to keep it on the Beeb?


A few years ago, Stock Car (Brazil’s self proclaimed most important motorsport series) was hard to follow. Then they went into free to air live TV and I could followed every race. Then it moved into a format very similar to this BBC/Sky one and it never crossed my mind that I should have pay-TV only for them. Not even F1 would have me pay for TV.

Sad for the UK fans and hoping this thing doesn’t go global.


Time to back the breakaway series. Keep the same rules, same teams and same drivers. The teams need more control and I’m sure many sponsors will leave the teams because of this coverage restriction and being related to Murdoch!

It was my only fear with the breakaway that it would go to Sky, now it wouldn’t!

Come on Ferrari, Mclaren and Mercedes, this is your chance to put those threats into motion and capitalize.


So far from what I’ve read of the deal, I’m not particularly happy with it. There’s no way I’m paying for a Sky TV package just for the balance of the races; I’d rather listen to them on the radio.


“As I’ve posted here before it’s been inevitable that at some point the UK F1 fan was going to have to pay for his/her pleasure”

They already do! That is what the advertisements on the cars are for.


This is a real dog’s dinner. Like many others here, I am a liflong fan. I have failed to miss only two live TV races since 1997, all through the BBC and ITV years. Coverage on both channels has been excellent. I will not be buying SKY, however, for three reasons, so I suppose my F1 TV watching days are just about finished. They are: 1) SKY sports is a boring, vacuous load of old tosh 2) You have to buy football and other rubbish just to watch a race 3) Most of all, the company is associated with the Murdochs and, quite frankly, after the News of The World (and more to come probably) I don’t want to touch any of their tainted goods. I will continue to go to the British Grand Prix, as I have done for 13 years now, (so I’m not averse to paying serious wonga to see F1 – it’s the principle).

Hey ho…perhaps take up running on Saturday afternoons instead…


on an unrelated note, I’ve got the BBC classic F1 (on red button) on and how refreshing to hear they are now showing the older races with your commentary! I wonder if we’ll be hearing you on Sky? I know you like these kinds of comments but really, you and Brundle make a better team than Brundle and Coulthard. Also, I wonder if Sky will pounce on Ted Kravitz?

I can only echo the comments of others on here though. It’s depressing that Murdoch is able to extend his reach. Sky have changed football dramatically in lots of ways and most of them, I think, have been for the worse. However, I don’t think you’ll find much support for that position from the F.A. or the teams. If Bernie wanted to inspire the teams to overthrow him he couldn’t have done a better job, although I think this odd arrangement will go through as the smaller teams will be eyeing up that extra Sky cash.


If they must go PPV, why not start-up a dedicated Sky Motorsports channel – a magazine show. Which includes all the F1 gubbins and is priced around £20/month.

This I could go for.

The full £60 Sky Sports 123 package can kiss my ass.

When is Sky going to adapt to meet customers actual requirements – without making them pay for content they are never going to be interested in. All ethical considerations aside, on a pure customer care front they really do deserve to die a death – to adapt the words of William Wallace “You may take my Formula 1, but you will never TAKE MY MONEY!!!”.

Bring on internet TV as soon as you bloody well can and put these greedy dinosaurs to the sword.

And Bernie should be ashamed of himself. i was warming to him these past few years – but every now and then he reminds us what a self-obsessed little bastard he is.


Sky weasel their way in and then take over completely e.g. Test cricket.

I already have Sky subscription otherwise I wouldn’t bother paying £40 a month extra for F1. Very surprised that this doesn’t have to be vetted by the culture department first.

Having two production teams going to half the races covering the same thing for the same audience hardly fits in with the green image Sky and F1 try to claim they promote.



I can’t post – same problem as Dave.


The compromise between Free to Air TV and Sky is in a sense a truly reppresentation of a kind of way such as, how can I get away with it?

I am not here to say that Ecclestone is this or that but I would like to present a different view

Without Ecclestone F1 will not be where it is now

Without the teams F1 will not exist

So the two parties needed each other but not anymore

F1 teams, thanks to modern technologies, could tranfer the broadcasting of F1 away from Ecclestone and CVC and do that themselves with a bigger share of the revenues.

The underline supsicious is that ecclestone would like to introduce the Murdock empire with Sky in a view to sell him the lot, probably this was his masterplan bewfore the NoW scandal.

Murdock had, untila couple of months ago, the financial power to buy F1 and take away Ecclestone headache since the German court case.

But now it is a different game all together, I can see F1 teams to dig their hells and take F1 away from Ecclestone and produce the same series without him


I feel let down.

The BBC coverage is that good, you feel part of it. Jake and co bring you into F1 in a way I don’t think I’ve seen in any other sport, let alone previous F1 coverage. (no offence JA)

If Sky can match that, great. But I’m seriously cheesed off about paying sky all that money, especially as I have just got rid of it finally! I’ll probably end up paying them but i want some serious promises that it gets decent coverage. Full on weekend coverage would make me happy, GP2, support races etc etc. Plus a decent after-show like the F1 forum.

Or, keep it as it is and stick it all on a FTA sky channel.


I know a lot of people will buy a Sky package to see F1 next year.

That’s your right, but I urge you not to, if it’s a success for Sky then F1 will end up there for good.

If it’s not a success, and the Beeb are feeling wealthier post-Olympics, it will be back on Free To Air.

If anyone is starting a campaign against this, count me in.


This deal s*cks and I will not be paying to watch F1, Is this deal not in breach of the concorde agreement?


Thiis is the worse situation that could have come out of all of this. To have a muddled picture of who’s got what race, what a farce. I for one will NOT be giving any of my money to Sky or by association Rupert Murdock, he can go jump!

You’ve got to question as well what the BBC thought when they signed this deal. Surely they knew that the teams and the sponsors would all want a say in it going away from Free to Air and to get into bed with public enemy number one can only be seen as a PR blunder of the largest proportions!

Like everyone else has said here, this is a sad day for F1 indeed.


I think F1 and the BBC has deeply underestimated the British F1 audience, they are going to pay dear for this deal in the future. I feel very bitter and makes me think we should call time on the BBC TV “tax” licence.


Err, so, does anyone know of any other good sports to watch? I’ve only watched almost every single quali and race for the last fifteen years so it’s not like I’ll miss F1.

As F1 is just about the only thing I ever watch on television I consider that is what I PAY MY TELEVISION LICENSE for. So which one should I choose to pay, BBC or Sky? Oh, wait, if I want to watch a whole season I have to pay them both! Awesome! Taken advantage of? Not a bit of it.




Gutted. F1 on the BBC is the only thing the wife and I watch together. We have a Sky basic package, but will not pay an extra £20 per month for sky sports. I feel bad enough as it is paying the Murdochs for my TV.

Can feel my interest in F1 will wane when I can only watch half the races.

Can we hurt the sponsors into acting. What if I cancel my vodafone subscription in protest?


R.I.P. UK F1-coverage

So-long F1, farewell, I have known you all my life, but we have finally been ripped asunder by pillaging brigands.

Though, in truth, this parting has been a long time coming; the death of a legend, a tyre-war that left good cars and drivers unable to compete, one-lap qualifying, the unmitigated bias of the governing body, the castration of the F1 engine, grooved tyres, championships dictated by lawyers through dubious interpretations of well understood rules, devilishly-ugly cars, Bahrain, artificial playstationesq overtake-buttons. These things bittered my love for you; your affair with Murdoch has killed it.


Like a lot of others I very rarely miss any of the races on TV. Also like a lot of others I don’t watch too much other sport. I currently don’t have Sky or any other pay-to-view TV system. I certainly won’t be paying £500/year to see half the races, that’s over £50/race. The fact that I would have access to other programs as part of the fee isn’t much of an incentive, we already record more free-to-air programmes than we have time to watch. To be honest, even as a die-hard F1 fan for over 30 years, I still find myself fighting to stay awake in some of the races so in these times of trying to cut back on expenditure adding £500/year to my house-hold bill is a non-starter.


I would just like to add my condolences, RIP F1, its been 19 good years for me, you will be remembered. Its by far my favorite sport and its one of few BBC programs i consider quality and worth paying my TV licence for.

A couple of interesitng quotes:

Barney Francis, managing director of Sky Sports, said: “This is fantastic news for F1 fans”. I don’t think that is factually correct.

Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: “We are absolutely delighted that F1 will remain on the BBC.” Half a season does not equal “remaining on the BBC”. Do these people not understand that the excitement of F! lies in the rollercoaster ride of a season not just the individual races.

BBC understandably need to make cuts but apparently the BBC will be covering EVERY hour of the 70 day Olympic torch relay, sounds over the top to me.

I bet all the ITV coverage bashers wish that they were taking the rights back, doesn’t seem so bad compared to sky! (In fact I actually thought ITV were pretty good, showing qualifying, pit lane reporters, good build up, interesting tech pieces etc. BBC prior to ITV were pretty poor I thought)

I would be happy to pay BBC a pay per view fee, but Murdoch & friends, no chance.

James, any chance Whitmarsh & friends will bring the breakaway idea to the table again?


Lets stay open minded and wait and see how everything plays out at the end. Maybe it is also a good time to review and think about how we consume F1. On 20 Sundays, Mornings + Afternoons 3-4 hours F1? Maybe it is a good idea to do something else and just follow the live development on your phone, on Twitter, James Allen etc., and watch the highlights on BBC TV later in the day. How knows.

Marty McSuperFly

Agree. Haven given up on live F1 apart from maybe one or two races, I can honestly say I prefer to watch a recording of it.

I read an interesting article that suggested (from market research analysis) that people who tend to watch an entire season of F1 live, rather than do something else like go to Thorpe park or do some DIY on a Sunday afternoon, are the type of people who just prefer to spend a Sunday watching TV. So I guess it’s those people Sky want to tap into, the ones who don’t watch F1 ‘cause it’s exciting or high stakes drama, but because they enjoy watching a sports broadcast over doing more sociable things.


I prefer watching F1 live. Not because I couldn’t be bothered doing something else but because the experience is much better. If something big happens in a race chances are I would find out before watching the recording and that ruins the experience. It’s just not as exciting.


I’m out.


I hear going to dog racing is pretty cheap these days. Pretty disgusted. I can’t see the teams dragging their heels to be honest. So a barrier has been put in place between me viewing my fave sport. Not my loss, it’s F1’s. I will loose interest

Marty McSuperFly

Well, that’s what happens when you have Bernie in charge! Lol.

Surely you’d be interested in a gig at SKY James? To be honest I thought your pre-race stuff on ITV was of a higher standard of analysis than what the beeb currently offers on the red button. Oh I know, BBC gets great access and good quotes from teams and drivers, but so too did RTL about 10 years ago. All it does is just please fans who want the show to go on for longer.

To all the Sky naysayers, I’d recommend comparing the BBCs match of the day against the likes of goals on Sunday, or other similar highlight shows on Sky. They really do a better job.


What a disaster! Not just will the Sky audience figures be much lower than the BBC, the BBC’s figures will surely also fall as well – as people will have lost the plot.

by the way if David Croft does the commentary you can halve those figures again.


So 30 years of watching F1 goes down the drain for me.

Ah well, there’s always ITV4 BTCC coverage to look forward to I s’pose

So what’s next Aunty Beeb?

The first week of Wimbledon with you and the second with Sky?

Eastenders shared on alternate nights with the evil empire?


I don’t like this deal and I don’t think the comparisons to football coverage are fair. Football is generally on every weekend, and there are many games for fans to watch. F1 is typically only every fortnight and most people will watch a 1 hour qualifying session and a 2 hour race. £40 per month for 3 hours of sport is asking a lot, even of dedicated long time fans.

I will also be interested to see how this affects coverage in other regions. For example in Canada is think that TSN uses the BBC coverage. Will they only show half the races now too?


So sad that for two men in their 9th and surely last decade of life that it is still all about the money – screw the punters.

Tom in adelaide

Brilliant comment. So sad yet so true. Bernie may be financially richer than all of us combined, but i actually pity him in the same way i pitied Darth Vader as a kid…


That’s it for me. Tried to watch every race since 1984, but absolutely refuse to pay Murdoch £50 a month for the privelage.

To me this is just another example of greedy corporations controlling our lives and bleeding us dry. With never ending rises in fuel, gas and electric prices and stagnant business in the uk many people simply won’t have the required £50.

I find Adam Parrs take on it very one sided and cynical – what teams lose in viewing figures could be gained in increased revenue from Sky. Well without fans what purpose does the sport serve.

As for the BBC showing half of it, how utterly nonsensical is that. Half a film, half a book, half of anything – it’s pathetic.


This is very much an “it depends”. With 20 races, I’ve got to the point where it is too much of my life to get immersed in every race, so there is a side of me that thinks this is good!

If the selection is the UK overnight races and dropping the likely dull stuff like Valencia (so BBC are able to use their knowledge of likely poor races) then it could actually work for me (and it is just that sort of attitude that should be sending alarm bells to the F1 teams as I am sure there are many who are thinking the same).

However, I’ve always been fundamentally opposed to Sky (never forgiven them for making my Squariel obsolete!), and it bothers me that the BBC will not be able to hold a great team together and they will simply not do the quality of coverage that they are doing at the moment.

For the record, another Virgin Media customer who has the XL package but will never ever pay for a Sky package. Sky cannot be trusted – take Sky Atlantic as a typical tactic for taking viewers into upgrades, and the Sky 1 dispute.


The only reason I can see why the BBC still have half the races is so that Ecclestone can still say it’s on free-to-air TV.

The whole attraction of F1 isn’t just the race, it’s not even the practice sessions and qualifying. It’s the entire sport that I get wrapped up in. The politics and gossip and all that happens between races and even between seasons with the races being the climax to each mini-break.

Having half the races on the BBC loses that appeal completely, how can you become wrapped up in a sport when you only see half of the action. My link to the sport will ruined. I went to my first GP last year in Belgium and was planning a trip to Barcelona next year but am having seconds thoughts now.

All I can see happening is that the BBC audience will reduce over the time of the agreement which will be used as a reason to drop it entirely from the BBC so in the end it will be shown exclusively live on Sky.

Not happy at all about this decision.


Hi James, Clearly with this being such an unpopular decision it will be interesting to see whether there is an instant reaction in terms of viewing figures this weekend. Especially after the highs of silverstone and nurburgring.

Do you have any figures on the trends in TV audiences over the years. I’m shocked the BBC is backing out as I assumed that the figures would be higher than they’ve been for a while at the moment.


i have had loads of people txt me this morning about this – all outraged!! apparently everyone at my sister and partners work are all talking about it and are all fuming and refusing to get sky to watch it, also i work in a mental health hospital and my patients are really upset as they have no option to be able to watch sky….

a revolt of the fans is on the cards……..


I agree this is rubbish for British F1 fans who don’t currently have Sky, but I don’t honestly think whining will do anything. (and I’m sorry, but comparing this to the death of two drivers is completely over the top).

What we need to do is campaign for SKY allow non-SKY customers can pay to watch certain races on a pay-per-view platform via Freeview or online.

We should put our collective energy into making this happen, not complaining about a done deal.


Not happy at all.

If your a keen sports fan then the total SkySports package may be worth it. But if you only like F1 then there is no way its good value for money.

If the option was there to view just the race with a one off cost (like Boxing) I would pay (despite my hate of Rupert Murdoch).

50% of races & the highlights for me I guess.


I furiuos about this, and it looks like so too are the majority of F1 free to air viewers, but sadly as usual it will make no difference what WE think….


This is very bad times for F1 as an industry and for F1 fans. I’ve already got Sky as my other watched sport is Rugby League.

Audience figures are sure to decline (significantly) and therefore turn advertisers off F1


My cousin told me that since F1 went to pay per view in Finland hardly anyone watches it anymore or has much interest (although lack of decent Finnish driver does not help).

I take Sky Sports in the winter for the football then cancel my subscription, as Virgin allow you to, in the summer as I never watch it. I refuse to pay out an extra £30 a month to watch 2 races as I dont watch cricket or golf so it will be highlights only for me for next year…….a shame.

On a possitive note it is good news for pubs and bars as I might consider that route next year as they will undoubtably cash in on it…

But in life nothing stays the same forever and you have to move on….


Please support the Petition for BBC F1

License Fee Payers want F1 and should have been asked before such changes were made.

Please have your voice by signing

*Please* Sign It, Tweet It, Pass it on

Ayr Town Centre

If you dont want to give Sky the money then dont. There will be plenty of medium quality internet streams availble for the Sky races – not that I’m saying you use them.


Hugely disappointing for the UK

Fully understand the Beeb’s position, though lament their failure in 08 to cut a better deal in the context of ITV’s termination. Doing so would have benchmarked broadcasting rates and ensured sustainability and averted this measure.

This is unlikely to be a payer for SKY and with several teams struggling to attract sponsorship already they’ll will see what they have got at risk.

Question is will their income increase to compensate or are we looking (I realise we’re only talking UK, at present) reduced grids?


I’m not against paying a reasonable amount to watch F1, it’s certainly worth the money at the moment. But I am not a big TV fan so we don’t have Sky/Virgin/anything equivalent in my house, and I have no interest in any other sports. How is it going to make financial sense for me to pay the requisite amount just for F1? There must be some other way of working it.


The BBC really have sold themselves and our beloved F1 down the river. Who wants to watch one race a month on the BBC? The BBC have really failed their F1 watching fans here and the sport itself will suffer from lower exposure and interest.

Those who run illegal streams can expect some benefit, on the other hand.


Despite already being a SKY Sports subscriber I m very disappointed with this decision but unfortunately it was inevitable. This is a real shame as F1 was beginning to appeal to more new fans than ever.

SKY Sports has already taken Premier League Football, Champions League Football, Heineken Cup Rugby, England Autumn Rugby Internationals, Test Cricket, etc to the pay per view platform so it comes as no surprise F1 has followed.

BBC is going through a massive cost cutting exercise and is essentially selling the family silver.It gave up 2 days of its US Masters Golf to SKY earlier this year, from that time I feared for F1.

BBC is now left with 6 Nations Rugby (watch this space), Wimbledon, British Open Golf and some horse racing. You only have to look at the BBC schedule to see it is struggling, the amount of repeats is ridiculous.

BBC’s coverage since 2009 has been excellent, the red button has added a new dimension and has to be applauded. It is a real shame that its execs could not see the value of F1 instead of just looking at the cost.

My only hope now is that SKY sign up all the BBC commentary/track team (bar Jake Humphreys – who is going hang around for BBC Olympic Coverage). If SKY can do this I will watch the whole season with them, despite half the races being live on BBC.

Hopefully with an F1 race being similar in length to a football match SKY will not interupt live coverage with commercial breaks. I would not mind breaks in the buildup show, post race, etc.

BBC having a highlights package is not the same as you invariably know the result before you sit down to watch. Most people’s preference is for live coverage.

Could you be tempted back James ? Perhaps as an anchor to the SKY coverage ?

PS loved the strategy report this week. Great nuggets of information ! Keep up the great work.


I’m undecided about this as there is a bag full of details to be confirmed that will determine whether this has a positive or negative effect overall on coverage. For example, it has been confirmed on the BSkyB website that there will not be any adverts during the race.

The BBC will still show highlights of all races so if the races that I would normally watch live are still shown free-to-air then it may not have such an impact for me. I’d be surprised if BSkyB have gone for that within the deal, though.

I will be reticient to pay a significant amount for a Sky Sports subscription that I will hardly use other than for F1 but I’m sure there will be some ‘tempting offers’ thrown about to get subscribers onboard prior to the 2012 season.

It will be interesting to see who goes where from the current personnel covering the sport or whether any former presenters will be employed by Sky Sports, James!


You don’t read half a book skimming every other chapter. This scheme seems crazy.


I totally agree Giles. I have watched F1 since I was 10 years old and used to walk Brands Hatch with my Father. The thing about F1 is continuity – and to watch only half the races just spoils the anticipation of the event and severely disrupts the continuity from one race to another. If this is a done deal then there’s probably not a lot that can be done. I hope this is actually a ‘testing of the water’ and that changes can be made before it’s too late. It’s a very sad day indeed – first Internalional Rallying and now F1. Makes you wonder what will be next!!


I’ll watch whichever channel has the best coverage – Luckily I already have Sky sports, but I’d be mightily hacked off if I didn’t.

When I say the best coverage, I’m really meaning the best commentary/presentation team – the current BBC set up is the best there’s ever been imho.


James – intrigued by your comment that Martin Brundle isn’t under contract to the BBC. What’s the deal then, can you expand? Could he in fact walk out on the back of this if he’s really that ‘not impressed’?


“And it could start a trend across the international broadcast landscape of F1.”

Didn’t this already happen a few years ago? For example in Scandinavia and Finland you can’t see any F1 live for free. And isn’t the situation somewhat same in France, Germany and Spain? Why is the media only picking this up now?


Slightly different – they have live on Pay TV with full race delayed on Free to Air


Not quite. In Finland you can watch live and advert-free on a subscription channel, while free-to-air has highlights in the evening – definitely not full race. I believe the situation is similar in Sweden. In Estonia it is also live on subscription, but the full race is on free-to-air with the delayed coverage of the European races starting before the race has finished – in other words, not delayed by very much.

In Germany there are parallel broadcasts – live advert-free on subscription, and live definitely not advert-free on free-to-air.


this is the end of f1 in the uk.when i was told this morning i didnt think it was ture.But when i found out it was my heart sank.I have already gone of f1 a bit it just dont feel the same now sky has.the watered down version bbc has next season is a joke.Its a sad day for f1 fans across the country today


That’s me out too. I’m not investing my Sunday afternoons, if I’m only getting half the deal.

This comes at a time when many people in the UK are having to make choices about which way they are going to watch TV from now on, as our analogue transmitters are being phased out. Do we get a digital box and go for Freeview, Freesat or a Sky subscription? Where I am, analogue has been switched off already and I’ve found that all the TV I want to watch is available online through the various TV channels Iplayers. I can find all the shows, vids, music I need, on my computer screen without switching on a TV and it’s portable, room to room. Sky is going to have to do far more to get me as a subscriber.


Disgusted. After everything Murdoch’s been on the hook for over the last month, we’re supposed to line his pockets? No way. Bernie finally takes a step too far. I’ve had enough.


Exactly how I feel. This is a disgrace, and it always would’ve been. But at this exact moment in time, to expect the regular F1 Fans to queue up to pay Rupert Murdoch more money? This just shows how divorced from any reality these ‘negotiations’ must’ve been. Thanks for the (14 years) good times F1, but there is no way I will transfer to Sky for you.


I’m so gutted to hear this news, as with everyone else. But I would be interested to know any details of the Concorde agreement that may allow the teams to revolt against it?

Surely even Bernie halving the fees to the BBC wouldn’t make him struggle? Its business I know but somethings are just a step too far 🙁


One word: Gutted


Just when the Senna film had been encouraging new people into watching F1, this eclipses all the good work and will be sending them away again. I am gutted, I cannot afford SKY, period. Also my children were just starting to show interest too, that will now wain too.

This smacks of short-termism. Cricket has yet to feel the full force of its decision, but its coming. I help run a youth group and none of the kids talk about cricket anymore.


Not only will I not buy a Sky package, I will not passively support this by watching F1 on BBC where I can.

As far as I am concerned it is all or nothing and I have therefore made other plans for this weekend. F1 has just lost one viewer with immediate effect.


I am gutted, sad, and a little bit angry.

I am a massive F1 fan and think the BBC has done an amazing job since getting the F1 deal.

I will not be getting SKY, I can’t afford to in the current economic climate.



It’s a sad but inevitable day for F1 I’m afraid. I’ve watched F1 on tv for over 25 years and it’s a shame its resulted in such a compromise. It says a lot about the current finances of the existing free-to-air channels and their inability to compete with what SKY can offer (finance wise).

It also surprises me what little interaction there is between the free-to-air channels. I remember many years ago when the First Division (now Premiership) prior to SKY’s birth, was shown on alternative Sunday’s on BBC and ITV. It’s a shame that a deal couldn’t have been done between 2 of the free-to-air channels (eg. BBC & ITV or ITV & C4)to show races on aletrnative weekends, they could even have shared platforms, commentary teams etc – but that of course would make too much sense and actually involve a working partnership.

Let’s hope it somehow works out, however much as everyone else, I have my doubts.


I won’t give up entirely, your site and some others will no doubt keep me up to date. But I will only actually watch the free to air stuff. Whether that be live or highlights.

There is no way I can justify paying for a package just to watch a few races.

I’m sure it will marginalise the sport….and just when it had been at its peak

Such a pity…


Bye bye Formula one. At least I’ll get my weekends back now. I’d be interested to see how hits to websites such as this are affected as interest is bound to wane in the UK. Such a shame.

It’s a pity the BBC wasn’t able to negotiate a time delayed broadcast for all races, I could live with that quite easily.


I’m wondering how this will effect other countries coverage? For example I’m in Australia and as far as I’m aware the Ten Network get the world feed from FOM and the play the BBC commentary over the top. The best I can see this turning out we continue to get the world feed with the BBC Five Live commentary or possibly the Sky commentary.

Although I have a much better idea, and now would be a perfect time to trial it. Google or Apple come in and do an online deal with Bernie. All the races, quali and practise sessions are shown live on either companies dedicated site. This could hopefully done using HTML5 standards so we could watch it on our smartphones or Apple/Google TV boxes as well. Charge $100 a year ($5 a race I think is acceptable). Later in the week a highlights package is uploaded and made available until the next race roles around.


+1. Good thinking…


How does this deal affect iPlayer. I understand it has very different licensing, separate from traditional broadcast licencing.


James this seems like an absolute slap in the face to British fans, and it seems that Bernie has sold out to the highest bidder. It seems that he has our interests at the bottom of his list of priorities especially when you consider how much of F1 is actually UK based.

He was brutal in the way that he handled Silverstone, giving the GP to Donnginton so easily, and then going back when it was clear that they were never going to be in a position to host a Grand Prix. We as fans are so lucky that the BRDC did such an amazing job to revamp and make sure that Silverstone is the fantastic venue it now is, The tack was never in question !!

I sincerely hope that this is in contravention of the Concorde Agreement, and that F1 should remain on Free to Air TV. I’m sure that the BBC will claim that by showing highlights that they are still “covering” F1 for free.

The BBC has been doing an absolutely brilliant job with F1 of late and it seems such a shame to off load half of it !! What amazes me is that we now live in a country where our National Team can be competing and yet we don’t get to see it on terrestrial TV, cricket and rugby (not the 6 nations) are prime examples, could you imagine this happening in a sport obsessed country like Australia, no way !!

Let’s hope they all see sense and change their minds !!

Tom in adelaide

I for one will never pay a single cent for what is essentially an exercise in advertising. If this happens in Australia F1 will be dead here i can assure you of that. In this age there are just so many other, better ways to spend that money.

Look to the torrents british friends. The F1 fan community will do for fans what F1 itself seems incapable of…..


i have sky already so will still be able to watch the coverage.

however i cannot afford to pay the extra monthly fee for the sky hd pack so my brand new hdtv which i brought primarily for f1 will be stuck showing low quality f1 (as sd content can look quite poor on a hdtv) in sd on sky sports 🙁

this is the worst decision ever in the history of f1, way to kill the fanbase.


I have to say that this stinks.

It’s bad enough on those odd occasions where I can’t watch the race live and I have to avoid all other media (in case they report the result) until I can watch it later. Having to do that for half the season would be a joke.

If Sky were to broadcast F1 on an unencrypted free-to-air channel (on Freeview and Freesat) then I could live with that, but if the comments by the editor of the Sky Sports website are anything to go by then it will mean purchasing the Sky Sports package if you want to view F1. There won’t be an F1 only package.

I’m an avid fan – my wife reminds me of what she considers too great an interest frequently – but I cannot justify spending the best part of £40 a month to watch the remaining races.

I can understand the pressures the BBC is under to pare down their coverage (which I have to say I cannot imagine being bettered) but I would far rather that it was given to a production company to put together and then that company shared the coverage with another terrestrial channel – even if that meant a limited number of ad breaks.

Sorry, Bernie. This time you’ve made a big mistake.


After 50 years of following F1 avidly I am now retired. It’s not a matter of choice whether I pay as being retired I can’t justify signing up to SKY as I hardly watch TV anyway, and it’s too much money for a pensioner. It’s a stab in the back after all these years. Sad. Dead soon.


I have watched other motorsports on sky namely A1GP and Nascar and got to admit i ws never very impressed with the broadcast quality of either.

Another warning is that when Sky lose interest in a sport you need to hunt through the channels and under the red button to see where they have hidden the coverage for this week.

Not impressed and not sure i want to pay again for any motorsport from Sky after past experience.


I would be happy to pay to watch F1 live, but I will not pay Murdoch. Matter of principle.

Also a little concerned with how the deal has been done. Teams, Martin Brundle and others seem not to have been told. Professional courtesy ring any bells?


Register your disappointment and sign the petition:

Probably too late to have much effect, but a better outlet for one’s anger at Ecclestone than booting the cat.


This is going to kill F1 as we know it. Sky is far too expensive for anyone to consider paying for half the races.

Why on earth are we stuck with this outdated model? Why isn’t there a pay-per-stream available from FOM? Charge £10/event, offer every camera in every session on demand, allow replays up to 7 days after – direct income for FOM/teams, and the die-hard fans get a cheaper route to seeing all the action.


difficult to know what to say – this is a decision made about money and no matter what either party say it’s got nothing to do with the fan’s enjoyment of the sport. Sad, but typical of F1 and to be honest I have no doubt that FOTA will do nothing to rectify this. I am sure their income from Sky will smooth over any fears they have about loosing fans.

I havent missed a race (as far as I can remember) since the early 90s, never once thought of quitting F1 during all the controversies that have taken place during all that time (of which there have been many) but I’ll tell you this – I won’t be paying for Sky.


It’s a sad state of affairs when it comes to this.

Fundamentally CVC and Bernie are taking too much money out of our beloved sport. When the BBC and ITV can’t afford Bernie’s fee’s, and the Nurburgring (scene of a fantastic race just last weekend BTW) doesn’t want to keep the German GP because Bernie’s fee is too big, you know something is very wrong at the core of the sport.

What are the multi million dollar paying sponsors going to make of their investment when the coverage is on sky sports 3?

Greed pure and simple is the problem.

It’s very sad.


I’d love to think that the races that the BBC do not show on TV will be shown on the web.

However, I cannot imagine Murdoch would have allowed that.

However, if it is correct – Laptop->Telly = fullscreen (probably HD by then) BBC web broadcast. And no extra money to Murdoch.


The ridiculous thing is that i’d have to pay the full price for sky tv just to watch HALF of one sport (i literally wouldn’t watch anything else on sky).

That sounds like one of the worst value for money deals ever.



Interesting to note that of the 115 votes placed when I made this comment, only 4 said they would watch on Sky, while 7 said they were undecided and the remaining 104 (90%) said they would not pay.. Those kind of figures speak volumes…

For 2/3 races a month (max) for 9 out of 12 months it hardly seems worth it.. That price works out almost the same as a general admission ticket to some races, and look how many people complain about ticket prices..

Sky Sport’s fees are too high – one only has to look at the number of hardcore football fans that have to watch Sky down at the local pub or else miss the game.. How many local pubs will give F1 the same treatment.. Not many I suspect.

Personally, I believe this is a horrendous mistake for a sport that is trying to boost its popularity and reach.. IMO – The BBC’s coverage to date has done wonders for boosting F1 appeal both in the UK and other countries that use the BBC coverage, almost to the point where I think Bernie should have offered them the rights for a lot less money because of the value they add to the sport – but then again, Bernie has always had a thing about “exclusivity” – maybe this time it will come back to bite..

I refuse to pay for Sky specifically for F1 – and do not watch enough other sport to justify the cost anyway, so yeah I guess my interest will dwindle when I can no longer watch all the races live.


I already have Sky but not Sky sports, so I am not concerned about the Murdoch association. But I have just looked at the prices! £20.25 extra a month or £30.50 for HD. For 10 races (as the other 10 will be on the BBC), that works out as £24.30 a race or £36.60 in HD. Sorry, I am not paying that just for F1. I have no interest in the other sports on Sky. It looks like I will just have to put up with the highlights on the BBC for the races it doesn’t show live.


Sky are showing ALL the races, not just the ones the BBC don’t get. So it’s £12.15 or £18.30 in HD. And you are not paying that “just for F1”. You get all other sports on the Sky Sports package as well you know – Football, Golf, Cricket, Darts, etc

I’m not really a fan of this deal as I believe that all F1 should be on FTA. I do already have Sky Sports though for the other stuff too.


What you say is true, but I am not interested in any of the other sports on Sky Sports, except perhaps IndyCar. I was just considering the extra cost to see the 10 races that the BBC are not showing live.

I can live with not seeing the races live, especially the early morning ones which I usually record anyway and watch later, but it will be a shame to miss the whole race.


Hi James

One of the questions I wanted to hear asked at the recent FOTA forum at the MTS was “Who should own F1”. My own view on this is that where we have a financially driven venture capital company taking a huge slice of revenue merely to cover their debt is detremental to the sport.

Here we have a deal that on the surface of it feels like Sky have made CVC an offer they couldn’t refuse. If F1 was under more appropriate ownership I don’t think this deal would have happened.

BSkyB is joined at the hip to News Corp and it’s a relationship that’s only going to get cosier in the future. After the recent revelations (in the UK) I want to have nothing to do with any News Corp publication or broadcast and certainly can’t see myself taking out a Sky subscription while they have links to News Corp.

I would implore the FOTA to reject this deal afterall it’s worthless if the teams take the show elsewhere.


We had that at the Montreal one. Have a listen to the audio of the team principals section


It is a disappointment that F1 is to leave the BBC. The BBC coverage is currently second to none.

The only advantage of Sky winning the deal ahead of Channel 4 (for example) is that we can watch races without adverts (I’m 99.9% sure that Sky won’t have adverts during the actual race). F1 with adverts is a disaster, as we know form ITVs coverage.


Absolutely livid with Bernie over this. Most of the stuff the BBC put out is dross, except F1 which they won a BAFTA for. Could they not have shared it with C4 thus keeping it free to air. To those that do not have Sky already it does seem very expensive on a cost per race basis. F1 is differrent to football, we can’t go to watch every race live. It is a sad day!


Bernie has sunk to a new low and shown that he just dosen’t care about the fans at all. How can it be better coverage for the fans as he states when in this ecconmic climate most people can’t justify spending an extra £40/50 a month to watch one F1 race (if the other is on BBC).


Re: Post 14 – I too would pay a fee to watch the BBC’s coverage in addition to the TV licence that pays for the BBC … oh wait.

I’m just being daft there – I genuinely would pay an additional fee for the Beeb’s F1 coverage as I think is it excellent and I am a fan.

I don’t want to pay a catch-all fee to Sky to fund their football coverage (a sport I loathe), their Golf coverage (not a sport IMO), their darts coverage (not a sport either), their boxing coverage (urgh) etc. etc ad infinitum.

If they came up with an F1 HD package for a sensible price (£10-20 pcm during the season for example) and the BBC’s quality standard maintained then I’d be interested. Otherwise, “I’m Out”.



there are a lot of internet sites where u can watch skysport and other channels from UK,even if ur not from there!So i think this is the solution,convert ur tv into a computer screen and watch the races like that!


Your report is admirable both for its measured tone and its comprehensive overview. The reaction in the UK has been anything but: narrow-minded and melodramatic.

The BBC must, must prioritise and right now that F1 contract is just too expensive.

But at least put the plame where it belongs, with Bernie Ecclestone, not the BBC. He and he alone sets the price. This one is his call, from start to finish. And for all we know this is just another “bribe”, his way of fending off that much talked about Fiat-News International consortium by giving BSkyB the toy up front.


Very disappointed with this news. Hopefully the teams find this breaches the Concorde Agreement and veto this deal.

James – very early days I know, but out of curiosity should either the BBC or SKY be looking for a new lead commentator would you consider throwing your name into the hat?


What about viewers from other countries ?


Many of us have found a way to watch the BBC’s coverage and would gladly pay a UK license fee for it (the BBC) – because the coverage is excellent. In fact, compared to many other countries, the BBC’s services are second to few.

I do wish those “in charge” would see the big picture – could charge a reasonable per-race weekend fee and stream all the races online (in user-selectable languages) for a reasonable 5 pound/8 dollar per-race-weekend fee. They already supply the world feed… we might not get the excellent pre-race BBC coverage, but we’d get something afordable and (hopefuly) advert free.

It will never happen though – big media is too close minded, hence all the “sue the fans” non-sense and pricing themselves out of existence. I haven’t had cable/satelite/commercial TV in years now and can’t stand adverts. I would gladly pay broadcasters/production companies directly for the products I want to consume/view rather than pay some random (and poorly managed) middle-man, just as much money to offer me hundreds of choices I care not for.

I love Formula 1 but as an industry it’s getting to the point of being unsustainable, both fiscally and environmentally. This move proves as much.

I read on autosport that some teams were happy to hear they might each get a 1 million dollar/pound (can’t remember) increase as part of this deal. That’s less than one percent of big team budgets and, ultimately, does it matter if no one is watching the sport anymore? You increase your cashflow but your overall (and generally passionate) market/fanbase plummets? I’d say you’re in sport for the wrong reason.

ICLMS, ALMS, WTCC, DTM, WRC, IRC, GP2 – there are so many great racing series around. Heck, despite poor viewing figures (and again poor fiscal management) the last four or five A1GP races were stellar, overtaking-filled events that made F1 (at the time) pale in comparison.

Wow.. lost my train of thought here.

Oh yeah, other countries… we’ll do what we always did, find the races and watch them.

I think the issue for us is largely the same as for UK viewers. We’re not trying to use “grey market” or even “black market” means to watch the race. We’d gladly pay for race coverage. In this day an age though, it’s senseless to make anyone pay for hundreds of sports they don’t want/need and then turn around and claim the fans are stealing when we would have paid in the first place – for the races, not the rest.

The world is slowly going open-source. That doesn’t mean free (nor should it). It means choice. Media production and delivery is no different (if still sadly living in an archaic infrastructure that robs fans – of any sports/content type – of what they love for the sake of extra bucks.)


So I guess F1 as a show is official. BBC will show certain one off events which will have no bearing on the championship but be little motorsport festivals independent of everything else. I know there are highlights but there wont be the same ability to follow the ups and downs of the season.

And where does Silverstone stand? We now have two successful drivers at a British team and attendance is guaranteed, but how many of those people who are new fans going to stick with it if they can’t watch it? Surely there will be a drop off as people don’t get into it in the same way.

And finally where will the new blood come from. If people don’t have sky where will they watch it all from, children can’t get hooked if they can’t see it all. It’s not like football that people play as a child, this is something that is only available to select few and only enjoyed by tv. I now go to Silverstone yearly with my dad, and he only got into it because I wanted to go to silverstone because I’d watched the races on a little tv upstairs while they all sat downstairs eating Sunday lunch when I was 7. I’m now 27 and hate how the race/event is more important than the sport.


This is a bad bad dicision for F1 fans in the UK. I can’t justify paying for sky sports to watch 10 races, when it’ll be the only sport I’d watch on Sky Sports, not really interesting in watching football. F1 will be loosing millions of fans. I’m sure I won’t be the only one that can’t justify it.

Does anyone know how long after the race the BBC would be showing the ‘Extended Highlights’?


How very sad

I already pay for Sky HD + movies + multiroom (61 quid a month) to get Sky Sports on top of this would add another 20.

Not going to do this as I have no interest in watching any other sports shown on sky.

I did notice on the sky web site you could just get Sky Sports 1 for an extra 7.50 a month – if Sky show all races on SS1 then I might do this.

At least the BBC will show highlights of the races it doesn’t show live – this would be ok if they do this for the fly away races and show the European ones live.

Great article as always


Gutted for all the British fans, and extremely worried about the implications for overseas audiences. Having made so many leaps and bounds in previous years with excellent coverage, the wealth of data (team radio etc), the rise of quality journalism and its availability to fans, and the ability to follow live timing, this feels like a massive step backwards for fans of the sport.