Ecclestone to meet teams this afternoon over Sky F1 deal
F1 on TV
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2011   |  1:24 pm GMT  |  265 comments

Bernie Ecclestone arrived in the F1 paddock at 2pm this afternoon and is set to meet with the F1 teams after the ninety minute practice session to discuss the SKY/BBC F1 broadcast deal which was announced this morning.

Both Ecclestone and the teams have made it clear in the past that F1 must remain on Free to air TV and yet the Sky part of the deal, where they will broadcast all 20 F1 races and practice sessions live, would seem to contradict that.

Ecclestone's Mercedes arrives in Hungariring paddock for crunch meeting with teams

I’ve spoken to FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh in the last hour and he says that the teams want to understand how the deal will work in the context of the Concorde Agreement wording about TV broadcast.

My understanding of the crucial clause in the Concorde Agreement is that it says that the Commercial Rights Holder must “avoid” a situation where F1 coverage is “only available on pay TV” in key markets, such as the UK.

Ecclestone may argue that this clause has been respected because all the races will be shown on the BBC, it’s just that half of them will not be live but will be highlights. Either way he is likely to have found a wording which allows this to happen.

BBC staff at the Hungaroring are stunned by today’s news and have not yet been informed of the details of how this arrangement will work.

Whitmarsh confirmed that the teams were not consulted on the deal despite the fact that it appears to go against the Concorde Agreement and makes a mockery of Whitmarsh’s recent claim on the subject of Pay TV that “The sport is going nowhere without the teams.”

However when presented with the figures they may change their minds as the revenues from F1 on Sky are likely to be large. If just 1 million people pay £600 a year to watch F1 on SKY that’s £600 million of gross income. The BBC currently pays around £45 million a year in rights. One would imagine that the deal is likely to be based on the actual take up numbers, so there should be a back end for F1 and the teams get 50% of all revenues.

SKY had F1 a few years ago at the time of the multi channel digital coverage. Ben Edwards, John Watson and Damon Hill were involved. That didn’t do so well because ITV had F1 live and free to air at the same time. This deal is quite different to that.

As I understand it the model in Finland and Japan is slightly different again; there the race is live on pay TV but is also available in its entirety delayed on Free to Air TV.

In Japan the audience for the pay TV show is around 2 million, each paying £12 a month. The terrestrial audience is around 5 million. This is down on the Senna days when around 17 million watched F1 in Japan.

Meanwhile word coming through from SKY is that they plan a full scale production of F1, with no adverts, which they say will take the coverage of F1 “to a new level.”

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Good to see the no adverts statement. As an existing Sky Subscriber I can't see what the fuss is all about. If you don't want to pay then you will have to watch the highlights. I for one can't wait to see how Sky changes the way we watch F1


Lucky for you that you subscribe to SKY, and to be honest that is your choise.

I did not and still do not want to pay out extra money for Sky, I pay a TV licence to watch the TV channels that I watch. I do not want to pay out extra for channels I would probably watch once in a blue moon or when F1 is on (As I do not watch Football) - thats why I use FreeSat.

So as of next year I will probably be up the road doing car boot sales and listening to the F1 on BBC Radio!

Simon Rutherford

Bully for you! Glad you can afford sky and have no morals supporting its corrupt bosses. Your either a fan or you're not! The true fans have been watching for years. In my case 44 years and we have just had our sport decimated again. I can remember a time when we could go to races and wander round the paddock chatting to the drivers before the money ruined this sport. It's been on a down hill run ever since the big money arrived now it's finished. From next year I will no longer watch F1 R.I.P. F 1 just like BTCC does now! McLaren et al.It's the right time for that much vaunted breakaway series starting in 2012.


If you are an existing Sky subscriber then I've no doubt you will have no problem pressing 3 different buttons to watch extensive live coverage of the sport you love.

However some fans of the sport do not have the funds to stump up an extra £600 per year to watch 10 motor races.

All major sports have been taken away from the people, now we can add F1 to that list.


Is 600pounds a common amount to paid for a year??? We pay like 50 pounds a years for something like 500 + paid channels in India. Sometimes its far more beneficial to be livin in a Developing Country 🙂


To be more precise, currently we can access F1 in the UK for the license fee of £145.50.

From next year, you'd have to pay some fees to Sky to keep following it, even though half the races will still be on the BBC. Currently the Sky box, installed with all the Sports channels is £50 per month (or £600 per year.)

If you only get that for F1, that is an expensive deal, and this is why many here are disappointing. Unfortunately it seems the BBC have had to be seen to make cuts, and the F1 is it's most expensive production.


Good for you. Can you lend the rest of us who can't justify nearly £600 a year your login for Sky's online streaming of the races..??

Black White Grey & Brown

i'll just continue to pirate the race broadcasts via torrent... to hell with "paying"...

hopefully the quality of the sky broadcast will still merit my viewership.


"As an existing Sky Subscriber I can’t see what the fuss is all about."

That's so typical. Of course you don't see the fuss because you are prepared to pay as demonstrated by the fact that you are already a SKY subscriber. That is your choice if you wish to pay for tv broadcasts. I do not when I have watched F1 as a free to air broadcast.


I am appalled by the announcement today that the TV coverage in the UK will no longer be Free to Air- this is wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong !!!!

I have been a fan for F1 since the early 70's, avid watcher and visitor to GP's - never missing a single race, or qualifying session... and now that the practices are on the red button.. I watch as many of them too.

Viewing figures are now only recovering back to the levels they were when BBC last had the coverage.

Jake Humphrey tweeted earlier in the week, it was the biggest tv viewing for the German GP for many years… and all those are License Fee payers…. so who out of these approx 8 million people, want to lose the coverage? – NO ONE !!

I can understand the points in Adam Parr’s comments on the subject, however the money should be coming from Bernie, not the fans !!! I am sure some of the teams sponsors will have clauses in their contracts for TV exposure etc… so expect them to quit the teams, or certainly cut the amount of their sponsorship…. so while the teams will get more TV revenue, they will have to balance that with the reduction in sponsorship revenue.

The big question is How on earth can Bernie justify selling the rights to Sky?

Not only are the people in charge of this company, being investigated for illegal and immorale acts, but who is going to benefit?

How long will it be that the GP cannot be shown live, because there is a football match on ?

The loss of fan base can only come from this.

All this announcement has done is make Bernie and the rights holders richer.

Time for FOTA to break away I think… Bernie has lost the plot


Hmmm, Whats all the fuss about?? What a stupid comment!!

The fuss is quiet simply that most people don't subscribe to Sky Sports but love F1. So now if they want to see the Live race they will need to get Sky Sports, which if they dont currently have it means they have no real interest in the other sports being shown so are subscribing solely for F1.

So thats £14.50 a month (£174 a year) which works out to be £17.40 a race for the 10 races no being shown on the BBC! Thats something to make a fuss about for most people.

And as Jase say's Highlight's dont compare to Live..


The fuss is simple Jon, most people don't want to watch "highlights" (falling short of actually going to an F1 race if you can manage to get hold of a ticket, let alone afford one)alot of us went for the next best thing, watching it on the BBC and live at that!! Sky will no doubt send F1 down the same path as Footbal and boxing, maybe not straight away but eventually they corner the market and then make it pay per view. A sad day for F1 in my humble opinion. I won't be watching it once Sky get their grubby hands on it thats for sure.

Mairi MacKenzie

Not everyone can afford the Sky subscription, and for those of us who can't this deal is offering us only half the season and I can't begin to explain how gutted I am.

I want to see all the races live, and I mean all the race, I don't just want highlights of half the races!!

If I were a football fan I wouldn't agree to a deal that gave fans just the first half for free and then they have to pay for the second half.

I'm sure Sky will do a grand job, lots of coverage etc but Bernie has broken a promise to fans regarding free to view and that is just sickening.


Highlights shows are always disappointing and never give a true impression of the race; nor do they convey sufficient suspense. As great as BBC2's Grand Prix show appeared in the late '70s and early '80s, I hate the idea of going back to it now!

I could live with (reasonably) delayed full coverage. After all, we've all had to record the occasional race and they never lose anything, providing you don't know the result.


Exactly my point everyone talking about free-to-air and now it is better that the fans pay for it.

It is awful.


I would be all for the teams breaking away stop lining people like Bernie and Murdoch's pockets. Hold your own championships where all the money is split between the teams. The teams supply the sport and any money made of the back of it should go to them.


Drivers Championship and Constructors Championships are not measures of success. To FIA and FOM it's irrelevant who wins them, even a Virgin can.

The Revenue Championship is the one that really matters, and it is a complete sweep in that category, with B. Ecclestone holding the trophy since the start of modern era. Since teams need that revenue, they are not going anywhere. Today they are learning what this wonderful Sky deal means for their bottom line. Tonight they will release statements about how wonderful it is for F1 as they start fighting for Sky team sponsorship.


Goodbye F1


Well. . . . it's not about the sport anymore anyway, its simply become a cash cow for those who seem to want to alienate us hard working class folk from watching it.


I sympathize.

But don't you understand that the reason for F1's existence is to monetize? It's more about monetizing now than the racing. The racing is now in the passenger seat. Revenue is at the steering wheel.

You have always been paying for it, now you'll pay even more, and more directly. You will pay to see the marketing show on wheels. There will be no ads in Sky broadcast just like there is no ads in a football game. Except there are constant ads in a football game, and there are constant ads in an F1 race.

Red Bull, Voda, Johnny, Ferrari - it's all brands, all ads. Look at the team kit you wear to the weekend race. You paid for it, to advertise those brands! Bernie has a model where people pay to watch advertising and pay to advertise for them! He must be rubbing his eyes each morning in disbelief as he rolls in the cash we pay to support the sport.

It's always been a cash cow, but since that happened with the first sponsor on the team, the cash cow had cash calves - many of them. It's now a whole bunch of cash cows, as far as the eye can see.

It's not about sport. It used to be one day - but even then it was with a hope of cashing out. It's all about revenue now, for all professional sports.


I'm surprised you can get building regs passed for a SKY dish on the side of ivory towers.


You bribe the Ivory Towers Council.


That's a bit of an odd statement isn't it? Even as 'an existing Sky subscriber' it should be easy to see what the fuss is about if you have the ability to look at the big picture and possess the human tallent for empathy.


Sky will change the way I watch F1 in the sense that I won't be watching it. I'll be listening to the radio with a laptop running live timing and Twitter. All told I don't think it'll be that bad once I've got used to it.


Since Sky is Murdoch, it's not a guess to think BBC/Sky will be same as Fox/Speed in US. Which actually means the races on BBC may not even be live - as they are not on Fox. They may be re-broadcasts at a later time.

It could be Sky will be live and BBC will be replay.

Plus, don't think 50/50 means every second race. It means most likely races in the middle of the season. But don't expect to see the opener and closer races.

Finally, F1 is a global sport, and as outraged as you may be, your viewership figures aren't as important to the total. It seems it's about posting big numbers, not about quality or knowledge of the viewers. UK is probably what - 2 or 3%of the total weekend viewership.


Yes doesn't sound too bad at all. F1 has let me down so I can follow it the way you suggest and not look at any advertising by sponsors what so ever.


Additionally here is a petition with more than 5000 signatures already:

Ok, it won;t change Bernie's mind but it'll feel good to sign it!


Well say it is not only of paying extra for Sky Sports or not. Here is clear betray to the fans, a mockery. Being promised of free-to-air tv.


F1 needs to be reborn without all the stink and wiffy personalities. Its time for a new beginning with humble sports professionals who care about healthy competition, sportsmanship, the fans and quality entertainment and not money. A new championship and a new beginning. That or chopping the kings head off (sorry bernie). Will Martin Whitmarsh and co lead the way?


You'd be in pole position for a chance to get back into a commentary position hey james?


As a fan of some 30 year plus, I feel let down by Bernie and Formula 1, I am passionate about the sport and plan my work, holidays etc around my viewing! BUT I cannot afford to pay the SKY subscription and so will no longer be able to watch the races live as I have for so many years. This is a betrayal of the fans and Bernie should be ashamed of himself. I will my sport, but will not support a money hungry individual who obviously doesn't support me as a fan.


Darren I couldn't have said it any better myself. I always thought bernie would shaft the fans for a extra quid. It isn't the richer guys who will lose out it will the hard working family men. Shameful.


and hard working family women!!


For the record, Murdoch, there are large swathes of people, myself included, who will not line your pockets regardless of how many national sports you desocrate and remove from the grasp of the masses who supported them to the point where you swooped in and gobbled them up.

Nothing you show on SKY will ever make me pay for a subscription. You should be more worried about what is happening with NewsCorp right now, eh?

Brian Morrison

Entirely with you there Wayne, even if Murdoch were surgically removed from Sky it would still be run by people who have associated with him and accepted money from him.



I'm really p*ssed with the deal, its going to cost over £600 a year to watch F1 live!?. i'm not even sure that take's into account your still paying your tv licence as well? Why the hell the BBC couldn't just decrease the build up to qually and the race and shift it say BBC 3 or BBC 4? With digital broadcasting taking over by 2012 everyone will have digital channels?! Surely there must have been some simpler way to keep everyone happy not just the accountants?! I think this is going to hit F1 as a whole very hard. Viewing figures are going to drop for definite!


However good the SKY coverage of F1 is going to be, it doesn't detract from the fact that I can't justify paying to watch 10 races of the year.

This is a big fail by Bernie et al.


Yes at which point Ecclestone will show them how many zeros this means for their bank balance and their shareholders and all their worries about the Concorde agreement, Fans and free to air will evaporate.

Then will start coming all the insulting platitudes and reasons why this actually is a good idea after all and why the Concorde agreement does not apply etc etc.

Once the Teams side with Bernie and abandon us fans the game is over.

Taxi for Wayne, someone get the lights......


You will be watching next year. We all know it.

The hysteria that has greeted this news is hilarious. Are British F1 viewers a special breed better than those outside the UK who have beenvpaying for F1 for years. The sense of entitlement from my fellow UK readers is astounding.

By hook or by crook. Anyone who wants to see all 20 races can.


In the UK we've never had it free as we pay a fee every year, this will add to the costs.


I'll be walking away too after some 40 odd years watching F1 on TV and live at a few races. I can't afford the Sky package prices, or justify the extra expense for just F1 even if I could. Bernie's statement that this will attract extra F1 viewers is preposterous - there will be less. It will be pointless following a sport where I only can see half the races. Sky customers can already watch it with the BBC - so where's the extra viewers Bernie?


Perhaps you forget that all UK TV viewers are compelled to pay for TV - it's not really free in any sense, even if it's on the BBC.

Also, perhaps you forget the proportion of F1 that is based in the UK.

Frankly, I can imagine that many UK fans will now look for a freely available stream online. Failing that, finding the race available to download afterwards. It's not live, but then again it's not £600 either.

Personally, I don't know what I'll do, I haven't decided yet. Scarily (and until now, inconceivably), a credible option that I'm considering after watching pretty much every single race of the last 20 years is just walking away and finding some other motor racing to entertain myself with.

Brian Morrison

If this goes ahead then I won't be watching F1 any more.

It's not the money, it's the association with people and an organisation that I have sworn to eliminate from my life that irks me, I don't wish to have anything to do with an F1 that would take the Murdoch coin.

If it's got too expensive for the poor darlings to run their teams without being given the Sky bung then it's too expensive full stop. I get off the train here, never to return.


I agree with the fact that a lot of people, no matter what they are saying now, will pay and watch F1 on Sky. I for one will as I'm a massive fan.

However surely you can see that this is going impact F1 as a whole in the UK. F1 was supposed to be trying to increase its viewing figures by promoting things like twilight races so Europeans don't have to get up so early and thus getting a bigger audience. However this will decline figures for sure! Surely a counter productive move?


It's not always just down to the individual fan either.

Would I pay for Sky TV so I could watch F1? Yes. Will I? No. Why? Because it's not really fair to ask my other half to cut back on other things (which is the only way we'd afford it) so I can watch F1...


Yes totally agree Wayne, many won't because they either can't afford it or won't want to on principal. However I think a lot of people make wild statements in the heat of the moment and later back track.

However my main point was more that F1 is going to lose viewers when they have tried so hard over the past few years to increase them. All seems a bit odd.


And a lot of people will not Mark. Fans threaten to turn off all the time and that is one thing. But this is different as fans will have to actively pay more whihc many simply will not do. Gone will be all the casual fans too.


Ross, I won't be paying SKY, count on it. I'll happily watch the BBC races if I am free but not as the religion I used to as I can only see half the races anyway I will not be as involved and engaged as I was.


I have been posting on this for a few weeks now, saying that UK's position was out of step. It's a difficult transition, but BBC ad free TV was not a sustainable reality for the sport, sadly.


important point James which some of us did not miss you making. UK and their viewers have received high-end (relative to F1) viewing over the rest of the world for a long time. Not saying that they were not entitled, just it was 'out of step'


There are 3 sports I really care about, and they are F1, cricket and Rugby Union. Since the Heineken Cup moved to pay TV and the cricket moved over from Channel 4, I haven't watched either of these as there was no way I was handing over my money to that slimey weasel, Mr R Murdoch.

And now we have the phone hacking scandel. I have been following F1 since 1982, and sadly F1 will now follow Rugby Union and Cricket into the abyss of things that I really care about but feel too much loathing to Mr Murdoch to line his ..[mod] pockets any further.

Shame on Bernie Ecclestone for doing this and if the teams accept this agreement, shame on them. I for one will no longer be following the final sport I love.


This happened in Sweden a couple of years ago and all the formula 1 broadcasting is on a pay channel that not all people can get and even if they can get it they have to pay for allot of other channels just to be able to ad the sports package that sends F1. I can tell you that they lost many viewers (me being one of them) and i have no doubt that the same will be in UK.
I have always thought that the teams should have broken away with their own series as F1 is no longer orientated towards entertainment and fans its all about money ..[mod]


Just because one can't easily measure the benefit to sponsors from a large free-to-air audience doesn't mean it's unsustainable.



With respect, Sky is a numbers game.

Their PR can spin any old yarn about it, they have enough practise don't they - footy, cricket, cycling, they'd take the 'kin olympics if they had half a chance.

So let's nobdy pretend they give a ...[mod] about F1.

"We should all just accept this", I hear..."We've been lucky so far"... We the fans who give F1 meaning in the UK, its birthplace - we should accept this because it's already the 'norm' in other countries??! Come on now. There's enough money in F1 to 'sustain' free to air in all its core markets. For anyone to suggest otherwise is just insulting.

Let's skip to the end; there is no reason for Sky in F1 bar greed. The fans lose, end of story.

Stick with the fans James, I'll subscribe to this site tomorrow if necessary because those behind it are F1 to the core - don't let yourself be bought.


Would be interesting to see an analysis of the minimum cost to watch all races live across the major F1 markets.

Mairi MacKenzie

Aye ad free tv is one thing, but having to pay something like £50 a month subscription to watch the Grand Prix season is crazy!!

I suppose I could fork out that extra £600 a year and ask my kids to go without Christmas presents I suppose .....


The truth is that F1 was doing VERY well by the BBC Coverage.

Good luck to them with Sky, I won't be paying for it.


The UK's position was not out of step with the concorde agreement was it? You know, the one that protects free to air audiences in key territories?


'the full Sky treatment' is just about the worst advert for sports commentry and production imaginable.

"avoid" a situation where F1 coverage is “only available on pay TV” in key markets. How can they get around this when 1 in 2 races will not be available. Highlights is not a 'race' it is, by its very definition, 'highlights of a race' damn it!


Its going to be expensive for us to watch on Sky.

I pay £29 a month for the basic package + HD (as the F1 is in HD). To add Sky Sports is going to cost an additional £20 per month not including the broadband which i use for the circuit tracking and lap delta times!


Shocked and very angry by this deal having to pay for the chance to see the other races live I for one will not pay SKY F1 is going down the root of very greedy football teams


"Full scale production with no adverts".

Are they trying to give us the impression that the BBC's coverage has been limp-wristed, incomplete, and full of ads? Typical "We're not quite lying but we're framing things in such a way as to imply someone else is incompetent" as News International bodies are so fond of doing.

Sky's idea of a "new level" of coverage, based on the quality of pundits they employ for football, will certainly be a new, *much lower*, level of quality than the BBC provide.


I wonder what journalistic methods will be employed by SKY to get news scoops?

F1 drivers should check their voicemail messages to check they have not been tampered with of late.


"A new level"

Laughable, but exactly what a business would say when they've acquired a new product.

I dont want to sound bitter but it's a little sad seeing F1 getting the Sky pimped treatment.


Not much point taking the coverage to a new level if there's only a percentage of fans left to watch it. Removing AD breaks, is irrelevant due to current BBC coverage. I'd rather have a BBC/ITV deal with ADS!!!! (And you commentating or course:)


Hi James,

I would have preferred for BBC to just not have any coverage at all. I'am a huge fan of their coverage but this half races thing is causing a huge problem. Because it makes the races £48 in HD for One Race on Sky. Unexceptable!

If Sky had full rights they could offer PPV coverage bringing the Price down to £8-£12 a race. Halfing the price to watch F1 on Sky and keeping the viewership in the UK at a good enough level.

They cant offer PPV like they did in 2002 for every race when half will be available for free.

So if it has to goto Sky then let then have it all and offer it via PPV.

Shame because BBC Coverage is Amazing!!


With Full rights and PPV Coverage. The Price is a 3rd compared to the price it'll be on the current plan.

£12 x 20 Races = £240

£48 x 10 Races = £480

I'am so frustrated. Fine the BBC can't afford it , sad but the cold truth. Then the BBC need to give it up so die hard fans who need every race can get it at a price which borders on Fair.

BBC Drop the rights and Sky give us PPV.


That is why it will all be on SKY only from 2018 and no-one will see it free to air anymore now that Murdoch has his grubby hands all over it.

Michael Cowley

There will still be adverts in the Sky coverage... the build up to a GP is a really important part... the tension before the start etc. Adverts can only interrupt this.

I am not convinced that Sky can do much better than the BBC are now.

Michael Cowley

oh... and new level that Sky will take the coverage to... is that the level where the number of people watching is about 5 % of what it was?


Nice one! I wonder what Mr Murdoch has on Bernie Ecclestone that has made him roll over so quickly and BREAK at least 2 of the rules in the CONCORDE AGREEMENT!


Whatever it is he probably got it listening in to Bernie's phone conversations 😉


Sad to see f1 leave bbc again they do a fantastic job. I like many love my f1 and feel its the fans loosing again i have sky but not a sky sports package looking at the rates it would cost me £52 a month to watch all f1 races live as would not be interested in watching highlights as like the tension of watching live f1.

My wife and i were discussing commentary teams and came up with the idea of same commentary team for both. Would like martin brundell as commentator for all races and see him in a job somewhere




Technically it's not leaving BBC, they are extending their deal to 2018, but the catch is they're sharing it..


They're being given the crumbs and acting like they've won the lottery. The news coverage is overwhelmingly positive. "BBC has secured..." etc. etc.

The blogosphere is almost universally against this.


Martin Whitmarsh before Sky deal: "Yeh, we're like totally in touch with our fans as they're an integral part of what makes F1 what it is, and we'd never screw them over just for a few more bucks"

Martin Whitmarsh after Sky deal: "We're just waiting to see how much more money we're going to get before we decide if we're going to stick with our previously stated principals, or if we're going to dump 90% of UK F1 fans for Murdoch's filthy money"

Grow a backbone.


Well put


+4 - and I'm a massive Martin Whitmarsh fan!


On the face of it - I'm immensely disappointed at the news of the switch. However, I don't care about the cost, I only care about the quality which has been fantastic on the BBC. If Sky can find a team that can gel as the BBC's team has or even poach the whole thing - then I think that £600 per year is a bargain. I'd gladly pay the same to keep on watching as I am on the Beeb.


You do realize that 600GBP is a nice new Sony 48" LCD every single year, right?

I think the scale of content cost for viewers is getting unrealistic. Especially since we tend to watch less and less TV as we're drawn toward computers, ipads, smart phones. For me especially my iphone has freed me from sitting at home at a keyboard or TV screen. I can enjoy my day and follow updates as they happen.

I would pay $2.99 to stream a race every Sunday, but I will not pay $60 for a cable package that includes 2 races a month.

I've had enough of this bundling crap. I will pay for what I want to watch only. There is enough content online today to at least supplement race watching. Not to mention highlights on youtube a few minutes after race.


Agreed. I would happily pay to watch F1, but I will not subsidise the rest of Sky Sports to do so. I have no interest in paying £50/month just for F1.


How can £600 a year (+license fee) be a bargain when we've had the BBC coverage for £140 a year?

Murdoch and Bernie must be laughing all the way to the bank if people genuinely think like this.


Hi James,

So does this mean that all that FOM has to prove to the teams is that the BBC did not intend to renew the contract after the 2012 season and that none of the other terrestrial channels showed a firm commitment to purchase the rights?


Shame is all i can without swearing TBH, ni-on in tears here at the news, finaly we get a comms team that comes near to you and Martin and what happens Bernies greed ruins it.


I know how you feel mate, this has ruined my day! It's like there's been a death.


I'm not going to pay for Sky sport when I'm not interested in watching any sport but F1.

Doesn't Bernie realise that F1-only-available-in-full-on-pay-TV will start a downhill slide for F1 and will cost the teams big time in terms of the amount sponsors will be willing to spend to get their logo on the cars and drivers.

Strikes me that Bernie's greed overrides the needs of the teams. I really hope they resist this move.


"No adverts" is hardly mitigation for the worst news pertaining to F1 in the fifteen years I've been watching it. No adverts just means more time for inane Sky Sports commentary and touch-screen absurd-banality. I'm not generally interested in sport, F1 was the only real exception. Was.

James: please draw as much attention as possible to the responses to this topic on your site to as many F1 insiders as you can. I've rarely seen such an overwhelming and unequivocal reaction to an issue.


@ #1 Jon - Good on you for being able to afford a full sky subscription! What a stupid comment.

The only sports I follow are F1 and cycling. One is available on the BBC and the other from Eurosport and ITV4. I will not pay the over inflated price to add SkyFootball(sports) to my current sky subscription when I simply won't be watching non-F1 content.

Pubs will not show F1 over football/rugby/cricket and besides which, I don't want to be having to go out to watch a GP.

I think even the idea of £8-£12 ppv is ridiculous.


This really is a cop-out and the BBC has provided just enough room for Bernie to squeeze this through and abide by the concorde agreement.

If the BBC had said no and cancelled all F1 broadcasts. Sky wouldn't have been able to do this deal and Bernie would have had to back down (as he had to with Silverstone after trying in vain to take the British GP elsewhere).

The BBC has basically just handed F1 to Sky and paid a fortune in the process. Would love to see the numbers on this deal.


Think about it. BBC won't be paying much if anything for this - it's a pretty good deal for BE.

He gets Sky and their megabucks in the backdoor

He keeps (just about) to the terms of the current Concorde

He justifies not going to a lesser terrestrial channel

I wouldn't be surprised if he'd paid the Beeb to play this role. Yet again; Bernie wins one, F1 fans lose one.


Excellent point. Had they stood their ground there would have been no possibility of it going to Sky. What a shame.


The BBC is good at this. Just think about Andrew Lloyd Webber (not for long, that might be dangerous). They pay him a small fortune to conduct his casting process and provide a greater fortune's worth of free advertising for his show into the bargain! Paying another fortune to act as Sky's trailer seems entirely consistent to me!


I have watched F1 since around 1980, pretty much every race and we all accept that F1 is a business first and then a sport but I have loved it for over 30 years now.

Today is a very sad day, you could say technically F1 is still on free tv in line with the concorde agreeement but a real fan does not want to see highlights and half the season! We had finally got rid of the adverts and could watch the whole race with good commentators, finally.

I will not pay SKY and will after 31 wonderful years not be able to follow a full F1 Championship. I am sure that many people will feel the same and maybe Bernie might realise its a bad idea to bite the hand that feeds you?

Lets hope the teams don't resign and we get another F1 run by the teams, come one breakaway series, now is the time!

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

I would like to suggest that viewers get a vpn connection to allow them to watch online or free in another country. Then turn the volume off and switch onto te superb radio 5 live commentary.

So this is Britain's reward to Murdoch for "humiliating" by puttig him infront of the shambolic and sycophantic select committee?

With this half-in-half-out solution, Bernie is obviously trying to break in the british public into having to pay for all races in the future.

Absolutely disgusted. Hope that the circuits and sponsors fight back. This is an obvious move to lock in revenues by CVC and Bernie before offloading F1 to Sky or another party in the future. Some of team owners must be very peeved off.


I like your suggestion to watch online from another country. Anything that breaks Murdoch's monopoly is a good thing.


Mentioned something similar in a previous post. Also, if you speak Spanish, they do great F2A coverage available online.


So it'll cost more to watch an F1 race on Sky than a PL football match LIVE at the ground. Nice one Bernie, really thinking about the fans there aren't you...


1 million extra sky sports subscribers? that seems a very optimistic estimate. I feel it will be far more like test cricket where the numbers have fallen from about 4m when it was on free to air to only about 200,000 on sky, and most of those were already subscribers. If FOTA go for a deal of a share of extra subscriptions they could be very disappointed.

Personally I’m disgusted, not sure what I’ll do next year but I certainly will not be forking out the extra for a sky sports subscription.


unfortunately 200000 * £600 = £ 120 million , nearly 3 times per year more than they currently get from the BBC .

200000 will grow each year due to murdochs worldwide media interests giving inordinate coverage of the sport .

I am afraid it looks like the end of televised F1 as we`ve known it for the last 25 yeaers or so.

Sponsors will not kick up too much of a fuss as they`re paying big bucks for `worldwide` exposure of their wares ,not just the uk.

I have had a satellite dish for 21 years and I`m proud to say I`ve never put a penny into murdochs pocket and neither am I about to.


James where do you get the £600 figure from? You get a full sky world subcription for that price.

Sky have gone away from the PPV model. If you're paying an extra £600 a season for F1 then the take-up figures would be in the tens of thousands at best.


That is based on a new subscriber taking the HD packages. It checks out. I think its actually £610 and that is minus the license fee.


The minimum required to see F1 would be the variety pack + the sports pack which would be £40/month. HD (currently free with the BBC) adds another £10, so £50/month = £600/year.


Can I just address the elephant in the room; p2p/internet/torrents.

Both Murdoch and Ecclestone have proved themselves to be hideously out of touch with the younger - digital native - population, and hopelessly incapable of adapting to the advent of "new media" and the Internet in general.

These two men have repeatedly used their amassed "old media" fortunes to cripple the developing media-opportunities afforded by new technology - which is patently beyond their comprehension - to the detriment of everything they hold in their parasitic grip.

Under ITV/BBC F1 has been freely available; paid for through either the License Fee or advertising. Consequently rates of "piracy" of F1 material in the UK have historically been insignificant. There is no need to pirate something that is freely available.

Removing F1 from its its free-to-air roots is going to result in a massive increase in the use of technologies such as p2p to pirate F1 material.

Three groups/parties will benefit from this move; Ecclestone, Murdoch, and the lawyers.

Black White Grey & Brown


i plan to pirate continue the practice of pirating every broadcast, as i do currently..

in the US, the fox/speed whatever coverage is appalling.

i like the bbc's commentary line-up... hopefully sky's broadcast doesn't "suck"...


James, I'm interested to know: Can the Beeb pick the races they want or do Sky get a choice on which races they are exclusive? (I suspect it's the latter)


Where did you pluck out the 600 million figure from? Skys gross revenue from their sports package pays for all their sports contracts, 600 mill would be a massive chunk of their subscription revenue (not including advertising). Sky paid 1.62 billion to show 115 Premier league matches a year from 2010 to 2013 so I really doubt F1 would cost Sky 600 million a year. The numbers just dont add up.


Who said they were paying £600 million. That would be the gross revenue from 1 million people paying £600 each. That's all I said.


What percentage of new subscriber money to you think FOTA would receive, assuming that's the deal? To offset fans' displeasure, potential unrest from sponsors and the risk that 1 million subscriptions might be overly optimistic, it would need to be 10-15% minimum, I would have thought.

109,19528,19501_7066689,00.html How much has John Watson been paid to tell us Sky will provide all the stuff that the BBC already do!


I'm not a Sky subscriber and I never intend to be. Moving F1 to Sky won't change that. I may elect to go 'pay per view' to get the races I can't watch live on the BBC, but in all likelihood I just won't bother. I may choose to use the money saved to go to a couple of European races instead.

I was disgusted with the BBC's spin on this announcement. They had exclusive rights to the end of 2013 but announced that they had "lost exclusive rights". Hang on... had them here a minute ago, ha ha, where's that contract when you need it, eh?


James this is really bad, how can the Sky coverage compete with the BBC? No one will watch it, similar to Cricket on Sky, when it was on C4 the whole country got behind it then since moving to Sky people follow it on the web and the papers but the viewing figures are very low!


I'm told that when England won the Ashes on Channel 4 it got 7 million audience.When they won it a few years later on Sky it was 1.5 million.


Exactly my thoughts, hasnt this occurred to Fota and their sponsors James?

F1 is at its peak in this country and Bernie has just thrown it all away because he was too greedy to cut a reduced deal with BBC.


says a lot......


I don't see how the sponsors can tolerate such an audience decline.


When it comes to broadcasting, surely the BBC and the F1 teams should have had some sort of consultation in this? As sponsorship deals as well as the presenter's jobs were affected?

Been watching Twitter all morning and there is a lot of unease and unhappiness floating around the F1 Fans today


Makes sense.

Run the SKY deal 50/50 with BBC.

See how it goes.

BBC can reduce their costs, and satisfy the bean counters and F1 fans at least partially.

Get true viewer numbers stats from BBC/Sky.

Then base your future deal on it for rights or sale of F1.

Don't stress Brit Brothers. I bet the good races will be on BBC. But you may not see the season opener and closing races. 50/50 doesn't mean ever second race. It can also mean 10 races in the middle - as FOX has been doing in US with 5 races in the middle of the season shown on FOX, the rest on SPEED.


I don't think the viewer figures from either BBC or Sky could be trusted as accurate.. Both will spin the figures in a way that best suits the current agenda at the time of publishing..

As for the future rights sale of F1. I suspect that CVC will sell the rights between now and 2018. Lets face it, Bernie and CVC have pushed the hosting/broadcasting fees as high as they are probably gonna be in today's global financial climate.. We're at a stage where countries pay for a GP, not circuits - and Free-To-Air TV channels seemingly cannot justify the expense of F1 without huge amounts of sponsorship/advertising.. Bernie and CVC know they are approaching the peak of financial worth, so have secured a long term high value broadcasting fee that will see them past the sale of F1, while adding considerable value to their asking price in that sale..

This is not about securing/defining the future broadcasting of F1.. This is about securing a good sale price for CVC/Bernie..


Hmm, having trouble posting comments from within a certain satellite company's network, it says I am posting too quickly... perhaps the positive comments here are all from Sky's PR department through the same proxy server...


CTRL+F5 to clear your the cache for this page. Should fix it.


I have Virgin Media.... I don't watch football, rugby or cricket and so have never been interested in Sky Sports... a total waste of money for me and my other half.

Why should I have to pay extra just to watch half the races of a season? When the rest of the time the channel will be ignored 🙁


BBC and F1 have really shot themselves in the foot this time. With only half the races live on BBC the audience figures will plummet. When that happens the BBC will pull coverage altogether blaming falling ratings. The BBC coverage is good because it is the BBC !!! I doubt the drivers and team bosses will be so accommodating with access and interviews with SKY. I do not believe that SKY will even come close to the BBC coverage.


I love my F1. Whether it was on ITV or BBC, as long as Martin Brundle, The short Irish one and DC are there to entertain in the begining! I love the thrills, spills, gossip and catfights. But now I FEEL CHEATED AGAIN BY ECCLESTONE, he is getting good at shafting the fans. I can only watch on TV and I REFUSE to have SKY or any cable apart from I cannot AFFORD IT. So I am to be denied FOR BEING ON LOW INCOME like many others then? Because MR ECCELESTONE IS GREEDY. Thanks for lettings us know what you think of us!


Who wants delayed highlights in this age on the NOW. I follow teams on twitter and facebook during the sessions. I already have sky but not sports. I hope there will be a separate F1 channel, I don't want to pay an extra £20 a month for 4 channels of football and other crape.


I can't believe a deal between the BBC and Sky has been worked out in the time since the rumours about the BBC losing the contract started circulating. It can't have been more than a month ago.

So I have to presume this is all connected with News Corp's hoped for take over of the commercial rights. If they get the broadcasting rights - which they have (and I have no doubt in a few years the BBC will be dumped) - and then they get the commercial rights, at that point they will surely OWN the sport. Except it'll no longer be a sport - it'll be an entertainment industry. You only have to hear a referee in an American Football match announcing to those in the stadium that play action has stopped because the network(s) have gone to a commercial break to understand the difference.

I'd hazard a guess that an advanced version of the pit lane speed limiter will be fitted to all the cars which Charlie Whiting will then activate to maintain the status quo during commercials (and I'm sure there will be commercial breaks - it'll be what the sponsors want).

The teams are the ones which must take a stand. Forget arguing about the next Concorde agreement - instead put all that effort into setting up the break away F1 "sport".


If the teams see this as anything other than a disaster then they want their heads examining. BBC does a fantastic job to improve coverage. F1 improves show to make more races interesting. Then this. BBC will give up coverage in a couple of years as cost per viewer will rise dramatically as audiences shrink. It's akin to be able to only watch every other episode of Eastenders.

Shocking lack of judgement by Bernie.


Bernie is gaga.


Or maybe he is too clever... Bernie could be playig the same tactics as he did with Bahrain GP. That is to keep the current status quo by letting NewsCorp/Exor and BBC run into off-side while he keeps a low profile, knowing that all of this is subject to an aproval by the sport's stakeholders (not the owners) that will not happen.


A bit like shock therapy for all of You. I think however, as Adam Parr said - devil is in the details. if the packages will be given in an appropriate way, then most viewers will remain, and it is very profitable.

F1 is Bernie`s business, and the most important function of the company is income. For viewers F1 is a sport, We take importance to other things. That we're different and why so many can not understand it.


I wonder who will be the first major sponsor to pull out from F1 due to lack of exposure.


The majority of the UK viewing population?



Very sharp!


Hahaha, well said!


If just 1 million people pay £600 a year to watch F1 on SKY that’s £600 million of gross income.?

Who in their right mind pays £600 to watch Sky? The cost of a full subscription is £52. There are about 10 million people that get Sky TV in the UK, and only about a third of them have Sky Sports. That will make Sky a tidy sum of £173,333,316... But the teams will be silly if they think the lions share of that will go to them. It's all going in Murdoch's petty cash box.


I don't see how F1 will make any more money from being on Sky. Their sports subscription isn't all going to F1, most of it will go to the Premier League.


If a full Sky subscription is £52 per month, you are paying £624 a year.


Let me get this straight in my mind.

Cars with ickle engines, on contrived tyres, using a manufactured wing advantage to overtake, drivers who have to look after their tyres and conserve fuel instead of racing and penalties galore for minor indiscretions - I can just about cope with that.

Now you want me to pay £600 a year to follow it?

I think I'll pass on that and get my Sunday afternoons back if you don't mind.


Sit back and watch as FOTA lets us down.


Rather than sit back, why not send the BBC a complaint, and contact FOTA encouraging them to act in a manner that benefits the UK F1 fans.. That's what I did! If we all voice our concern they have actual numbers to support any action/reaction, otherwise its just "some people are unhappy"..


Valid point.


Does anyone know if this new deal affects One HD's coverage of F1 here in Australia!


Commentary may change!


I fully expect the teams to go for the money rather than the viewers and fans. They always back down in the end. Yes 1m viewers paying £600 a year for Sky Sports is mega bucks, but not all £600m is going to F1 as Football will cream a lot of that.

It is a sorry state of affairs when a sport decides to go for money over viewers and fans. To lose the number of fans F1 is looking at is just insane in any business.

I certainly would not be putting up with things like Belgium 2008, Hockenheim 2010 if I am paying a premium for it.

simon mitchell

so if there is a great big carrott dangled in front of the teams to make more money what are the chances that they stand by the fans and refuse to sign off on the deal?? if there is a massive decline in viewers (some poles showing 85% of people will turn off) in the long term sponsors wont pay as much for space on the car, the british grand prix numbers will fall as the fan base reduces all in all it paints a very dark picture for long term formula 1 support in the uk with only a short term possible gain initaially in team revenue.


Angrrrrrry. Thats it. £100+ to see race live or £600 to watch it on sky. ..[mod] mister E. I would rather go on holiday.

If it stays like that (and it most likely will) thats it for me. I am swiching off F1 world for ever.


I will not pay Murdoch one red cent. Full stop. And I think that plenty of people think like me.

And yet, as is so often the case with human beings, their principles will be set aside because of their desires and they will pay in droves, just like they did for football and boxing; and F1 will survive. I guess I, like the minority, will just have to find a new sport to watch.


I have never contributed to Rupert Murdoch's profits and I never will.

BBC have done a great job so far, well done to all concerned.

I hope the sponsors realise how many viewers they will be losing.

What happens if you live in a listed building where planning laws prohibit satelite dishes?

Stephen Kellett

Price of everything, value of nothing.


There wont be a fall out from sponsors. I don't think there is one specific sponsor in F1 just for the UK market - Santander for McLaren possibly but that's more of a Hamilton/Jenson thing, if it was for brand exposure then they'd be on the car rather than on their overalls. Plus the F1 highlights will still receive good figures just as MOTD receives decent figures ever since Football went to Sky.

Fans make a sport yes, but UK fan exposure alone don't pay the bills for the teams or FOM. We need to get off of our high horse and stop thinking that it's us british that makes F1 so popular. Be realistic.

I don't have SKY and probably still wont have sky come the end of the 2012 F1 season - i'll watch the highlights on BBC. It's a pain and I'm pi***d about it but nothing more than that.

Us British have got to give up on the 'Bernie only does it for money' rants - what else do you expect him to do? He's a businessman, he runs a business where P+L is king - it's the way of the world. If any of you guys were in his shoes you'd do exactly the same thing and do what's required to subsidise the loss from a big money paying partner leaving (and don't even bother arguing that point, because if you do then if it was up to you you'd have run F1 into the ground many many years ago with your naiveness).


I posted my thoughts in response to James' first article (I think its 243 or something) so I'll not repeat that again.

There are so many other issues that need highlighting but for me one of the most important is Silverstone. Damon and the team have just been rightly lauded for all their work, investment and success in landed the new F1 deal. If the fanbase drops, however, as well it might, all that will be worth Ecclestone excrement.

Hopefully, there might be a sponsors' rebellion because the fans have insufficient financial clout, other than to affect the smaller shareholders, eg Silverstone. And possibly other circuits, too: the number of Brits that travel to overseas races is significant.


The BBC show has been excellent because they get right into the action moving up and down the pit lane so from my armchair at home I actually get to feel part of the whole circuis.

ITV got this part of their broadcast completely wrong with (latterly) Mark Blundell and Steve Ryder standing in some quiet part of the paddock largely ignored by everyone, they might as well have been in front of a green screen.

The worry is that Sky tends to take this hands off approach with its sports and might be even worse with a couple of know-nothings in a studio somewhere. I really hope they look at what BBC did right and ITV did wrong.


Oh and I would also like to echo the comments about piracy. Nobody is going to wait for highlights on the BBC when within an hour you could download and be watching the full race.

FOM had better be extremely hot on their anti-piracy measures.


I can see plenty of people watching live the races that the bbc shows then torrenting the sky ones the day after broadcast


They will be available to stream online from pirate websites during the race.


Shame! The current BBC team is excellent. Presenters, Production, Music, mini features, Eddie Jordan loud shirts... Why on earth change it! BBC dont give a 'flying' as I guess it's considered a minority sport, despite 10m viewers. I have sky hd but not sports. If they consistently broadcast on SS1 or 2 or 3, I think you can subscribe to 1 channel for £6/month ? BBC beancounters don't care, they wasted £900m relocating to Salford apparently! Bernie is a businessman in his 80's what does he care! I would love the teams to rebel, if course they won't though!


Well, if this is how the free-to-air-policy/principle materializes in such a major and key market... Bernie & Co have really squeezed their brains here! You can twist and turn it as much as you like, but this is a bad joke!

British Gigolo

This is the death of F1 for me. A disaster. I have been watching F1 for nearly 20 years & have hardly missed a race. I try to attend at least 1 race every year as well. There is no way on earth I am going to pay £600 to watch it on SKY. This is insane. The BBC coverage is amazing. Watching on highlights is just not the same. You get no feel for the tension or flow of the race. Time to do a "google" for live streaming of F1 so as I can watch it from another source & use the live timing from the web.

This is a dark day for UK F1 Fans.

Another stitch up from Eccelstone.


This decision can't be about saving money for the BBC; surely toning down the smarmy coverage of Wimbledon would've been a far better option to save a few £s.

What do you think that this means for the ownership of F1 rights in general? How likely is it that newscorp make a formal bid within a year or so?


I was actually defending Bernie Ecclestone the other day saying he made the sport more exciting and now he does this just to prove the point that he is nothing but a businessman. F1 viewer numbers will plummet and It wouldn't surprise me if the BBC loose interest when the numbers drop.


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 veery unlikely. So why do we find ourselves in this situation today? Did anyone ask the teams or REALLY consider UK fans opinions?


It's a pure numbers game. Just take in to account the survey on this site.

Excuse the crudity of the calculations.

Now my understanding is that the BBC viewing figures are approximately 3.5 million viewers. 8% of the JA survey said they would subscribe to Sky, so that's 280,000 viewers (8% of 3.5m). Multiply that by £600 and you're still talking of a figure around £168m. That's still over £100m more than the BBC are paying.


I won't pay sky & I urge everybody not to either then maybe just maybe sky & bernie will realise that they have made a mistake this time.


I bet you the races shown on Sky are the popular ones, i.e. Silverstone, Canada, Monza etc and the newer, less attractive circuits are free to air.


Terrible news, the best F1 coverage has ever been is now.

This is how to lose viewers.

I'd prefer PPV at least i'd be paying for what i want to watch. I'm not interested in anything else on Sky Sports.


I've been an F1 fan for over 30 years but unfortunately it seems for not much longer. It really is quite disgusting that we are now expected to pay to now see half these races, especially given these times of austerity. For people to be expected to pay to to watch F1 is an ask too far.

We are increasingly asked to pay for what, by rights, should be free for the fans and for the masses. If England are to play internationals, whatever the sport shouldn't we be given the opportunity to watch and support our top sportsmen/women? (The ashes being a good example).

You have to ask yourself what will be next, Wimbledon? Pay at your peril.


Angry by this move. The issue here is for those viewers that are not Sky subscribers. Personally, I have invested in equipment for Freesat HD. Now, just to get full race coverage of F1 next year in HD will be £600 (priced this morning).

I don't watch football and I am very happy with the Cricket coverage by the BBC.

Oh well, I am just a fan, what do I count?!


Be interesting to see if eddie Jordan keeps his views on the fans should be getting the best value or if he will have his BBC hat on. I hope the former but I suspect the later. Brindle usually speaks his mind also. Interested to hear his views. Jake is just a BBC yes man so not surprises from him.


Check his twitter feed hahaha. And Brundle's too. Not pleased, either of them.


When all is said and done highlights are what somebody else chooses for you to see.....I want to see the whole of the action. I seriously begrudge paying the corrupt Murdoch anything to watch my favourite sport. So in reality if remaining on free to air means just the highlights...I for one will not be watching next season....t'is a very sad day.


As I understand it, most SKY Sports are promoted in pubs around the country as a way to entice people to come and drink. I have always wanted to watch F1 in a sports bar, but they never show it. Now I think they might which would be awesome. Imagine packed bars for the races with complete strangers getting to know each other and exchanging irreverent F1 knowledge, just like football fans but without the violence? All on massive screens. This is a great opportunity for bars across the country to get more punters and those that can't afford to subscribe but can afford a pint or two : )

And if SKY get their commentary team right, ie Brundle and Allen it would be perfect. I would also like to see Humphrey dropped in favour of someone with a bit more excitement to their presentation style.

F1 on SKY will be even better than the Beeb, but only if the bars show it.


I hate to disappoint you if you think F1 will be screened in bars all over the UK. Over the years I have usually failed miserably to find anywhere in France, Spain, Greece or Italy showing F1. There, like the UK, football is king. That's what bars show to attract the crowds of drinkers. When I have found places showing F1 abroad they have been deserted. Lets hope Bernie hasn't used that as a selling point to Sky!


I think you'll find not many pubs will want to blare out an F1 coverage in their pubs on a saturday or sunday which tends to annoy the regulars & other people who may come in with families for a quiet outing.

Where I live....London near Heathrow...most of the pubs & their customers hate F1 & prefer football, rugby or cricket..the last thing they would want is to have their weekend outings ruined by the sounds that annoy them....and IF there is a football, rugby or cricket match on at the same time...then trust me F1 will not be shown...the managers will buckle to pressure and show just the football, rugby or cricket.

Not as many people go the pubs nowadays because of this declining economy.....SO why would the pub owners allienate anymore potential clientel by showing F1 - For someone who knows many pub/restaurant owners in the area I will tell you now that they wont show F1 for fears it will chase away most of the punters they do have.


I'd also point out that it's easy to watch football in a pub with no commentary (I do it regularly) because the game is easy to follow, unlike F1



Concorde Agreement question for you. Is the agreement's language on free-to-air broadcasts exclusive to certain markets such as the U.K.? From living in Canada and America, I can say there are almost no free-to-air broadcasts. In Canada, all F1 races are on The Sports Network, not even the Canadian G.P. is on CBC anymore, and in America all live races are on the SPEED Channel (owned by News Corp.). Over the last few years the Fox Network (News Corp) has aired tape-delayed broadcasts of four June-July races, but that's it in terms of free-to-air races in America.

News Corp. is not that popular these days, for obvious and deserved reasons, but it seems to me the model of struggling public broadcasters spending billions for sports properties is antiquated.

There's a strong undercurrent of selfishness coming from fan reaction. Their basic message is "I don't want to pay for it, I want it all live and I don't want any advertising." Next they'll be asking to get paid to watch.

What's the alternative? Should licence fees you pay BBC go up? Would that make people happy? Somewhere, somehow you need to pay for the right to broadcast F1. Should Bernie ask for less money? Easy answer is yes, but do we know what the knock on effect of that is? Would the teams take less money?

There's much chatter for a noble breakaway series, a gentleman's racing league I suppose, which isn't about money. Would engine manufacturers and car companies be on board with a scaled down F1? Visit Goodwood or a car festival if you want to see that. How many team chiefs will walk away from F1 for that? If anything the teams would breakaway so they could pocket more money.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how much I enjoy your site. Insightful and timely analysis.

Here's a thought: what would all your readers do if you asked for a subscription fee? Heaven forbid!


I will not be doing that. This site is free thanks to the support of my sponsors, whose branding you see on the site.


Thank goodness for advertisers. Shame they sometimes have to get in the way of free live sporting events 🙂

And what of my question on the Concorde Agreement and it's rules on free-to-air? Just in U.K. and other major markets? But okay for pay t.v


The move to 1.6 turbos putting out a paltry 600bhp was already putting me off the future of F1. Now seeing this in light of saving the teams money, more profits for the companies and then they ask us to pay to watch it?

Lack of testing again to make people more money, fewer younger drivers coming in to make people more money.

Reubens Barichello and Jarno Trulli making fortunes because its cheaper than having exciting prospects taking the seats.

Turgid venues financed by corrupt regimes persisting on the calender to make people more money.

Good tracks like Turkey being dropped because it doesn't make enough profit for the billionaires.

I am a F1 because I used to watch it on the BBC as a boys aged 5, my parents never liked sports they wouldnt have paid for access to it make then so if I was a 5 year old now chances are I wouldnt be a fan.

So no new drivers, no new fans all for the sake of profit.

The whole lot can GTF.


i am STUNNED at the prices you UK guys are throwing around. i honestly was convinced it was a typo.

as an international viewer, i don't think you realize how ridiculous those numbers sound.


We do, that's why many of us won't be watching next year.


If they stick to this, I wonder what F1's product-value will be by 2018... Instead of promoting the sport by developing a broader (and growing!) spectator-base, which at the and of the day is the commercial value of F1, they go for short term revenues... So short-sighted!!! ...[mod].

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

It's onvious...the BBC has much more important priorities than F1 such as:

a) Anne Robinson (why?)

b) Graham Norton (why?)

c) Remaking Pride & Prejudice every x no of years

d) BBC "News"

e) Continuing to justify the existence of Alesha Dixon on Strictly Come Dancing

f) Alan Yentob (why?)

g) Finding a gap in the market for Jonathan Legard

What an utter shambles. F1 is meant to be a jewel in the crown sport for the BBC that provided real interest for younger viewers.

Oh well, they can now concentrate on more important new sroty lines for Ricky and Bianca on Eastenders.

Chris Patten come across as completely out of touch. But what else do you expect from a man that lavished the Governership of Hong Kong as a reward for electoral defeat?


Shame the deal wasn't BBC and ITV,C4 or 5.

Same production team split costs and half races on each channel with highlights with the channel not showing live races.


Now that is the best idea I have heard today.

michael grievson

I'll be getting sky sports then and if the coverage is good then I'll be keeping it. If its bad I'll be cancelling it. I think once everyone has calmed down a lot more people will take up sky sports as well.

If you have to pay to watch it so be it. Nothing we can do about it apart from watch the highlights on BBC.


Is there not a 12 month contract...?


After you have paid for a SKY box!


R-E-A-L-L-Y Michael? I don't think so, you are probably in the minority. I have been an F1 fan for over 26 years and I am not tempted.


I can't see 1m NEW subscribers getting Sky because of this deal. I would imagine that most of the people watching the races on Sky will be existing subscribers- certainly the consensus on fan sites seems to be that the overwhelming majority won't bother. If they can make it work then good luck to them- they'll be shutting themselves off from the casual viewer that might watch it on a quiet Sunday afternoon however, and I'm not sure how sustainable that is long term.


Greed greed greed all middle names of Bernie & Co. Count me out - if the BBC lose coverage that's it. I will never subscribe to Sky!

No more lining the pockets of Sky, Bernie & Co.

I will have my weekends back which is a good thing.



So dissapointing and the fans who tune into F1 having seemingly been given no thought when this decision was made. Like many others will be forced to sign up to sky tv plus the sports package which I believe will cost in the region of £40 per month simply to catch couple of races a month. Mr Ecclestone rolling in his billions has to realise that he is in the minority and in the current climate where many of us are trying to cut back on expenses that this is an outrage. All Bernie is doing is alienating the fans and hope sense prevails as I have never seen so many comments from dissapointed fans on this and many other websites. A very sad day for F1.


If you do not watch a race live you will most likely hear about the result before you get to watch it, and then not watch it.

This leads to apathy, missing the live races and stopping watching altogether.

I will not enjoy the last few free seasons because I know for me it will be ending, and will stop viewing sooner.

This website is viewed by the more devoted fans, most of whom will pay. How about the majority of fans - the casual ones (who stopped watching during the Schumacher era) - they will just simply not watch.

I cannot wait to hear FOTA's reaction.


Guys and Gals ..Just get a live internet feed ....for quali and race day...sorted then


So, I hear £50 a month being bandied about for Sky. So, £600 a year. Twenty races in a year, half on the BBC - so that's £600 to watch 10 races on Sky. £60 per race! I used to pay that to go to Silverstone to watch it live!


It's a pity no-one ever thought of asking us, the people who pay the Licence fee, what our thoughts were on what we'd prefer to see and what could be dropped, by means of a survey such as the LG one for the FIM. I'd be quite happy to see the pre-show chat and the F1 forum go if that meant we could keep the coverage. Something similar to that for MotoGP would be better than the proposed model.

One thing is sure: JAllenonF1 is going to be in huge demand when the deprived masses find out where we get all our inside information from!

Hope you're not tempted to do a Murdoch, James.


Not sure if I fully understand what I'm hearing! But if I read it correctly, only half the races (most likely European) will be aired live via BBC, while all races will be screened via Sky. I would also guess the BBC coverage if only airing half is an iterim measure until dropped completley.

I for one will NOT be subscribing to Sky, and will NOT follow just half the races via the beeb. Just another value were greed comes before everything else scenario. Bernie needs to go ASAP, and the BBC might want to listen to their F1 following.

Shame on you Bernie, and same to you BBC. I won't have a pop at Sky as I don't want my phone hacked.

Farewell F1 (as we know it)


Agree. My sport interest is just F1 and I will not be paying to get Sky just to watch 10 races a year. I would think BBC will be cutting down on their coverage also if they are cutting costs. Too many money grabbers.

I think this will be my last F1 season.


I am not sure that the BBC had a say in the matter, from what I read it was a take it or leave it scenario for the BBC.

What Ecclestone does not understand is that everyone is cutting back at the moment. With my family food bills going through the roof, F1 is not a do or die for me.


A fair point. Having read further announcements it may well be the BBC had little choice if the likes of Ecclestone was demanding an increased ransome from the Beeb.

The BBC has done a stunning job with F1. I'm both saddened and bitter that it's seemingly on it's way out. Not even the half coverage will last long.

I don't believe for one minute the viewing figures will increase with Sky as some would say. Those with Sky already have BBC anyway. I truly believe the sport was damaged today, and viewing figures will drop, as will sponsorship.

I will continue to watch until end of season, but will have to give it a miss from next. As you say, the bills keep getting higher, and will continue to do so. This fact probably never crossed Ecclestone's greedy mind. An additional subscription is not for me, and many others I suspect. Additionally I don't see Sky doing anywhere near as good a job as the current BBC crew.


As the BBC is only going to show 10 races for 2012 onwards we (The Fans) are expected to pay £600 to Sky sports. Sorry BBC this is not a good deal for anyone. Neither the BBC or Sky have come out with a good deal. No one in their right mind is going to subscribe to Sky sports to see just 10 races and the BBC will not be able to commit to the coverage with such a minimal amount of airtime. If Sky does not get a significant increase in subscription will they commit to the sport? A bad deal for everyone. Remember A1 Grand Prix another great Sky success!!!


Someone already mentioned a Motorsport package.

F1, NASCAR, WRC, GP2, Tractor drag racing etc

If SKY could offer this seperatly from football/golf etc and at a lower cost than the all-in-one package it might be worth it.


Personally I’m very disappointed with today’s announcement. I’m an avid follower of F1 and have been since I was 12. Today’s announcement now means that I will only be able to watch half of the season Live and direct. This isn’t because I’m anti Sky etc… but purely because I cannot afford it. As a 36 year old with a family to support I simply cannot justify the extra outgoing that Sky sports will cost me each month.

I think we’ve all been thoroughly spoilt over the past two and a half years by the brilliant job the BBC have done (taking the already excellent ITV coverage up several notches), which makes this bitter pill all the harder to swallow… now my wife will tell me I have no excuse not to be carrying out some DIY related activity come Sundays afternoons next year.


This is a disgrace. I cant believe that in order to follow F1 i will have to pay Murdoch. I dont have sky currently. Im not interested in any of the other junk on SKy and i only see this as a way of making me pay twice for something.

They have already made F1 Events too expensive for us normal people to attend, now it may become too expensive for us to even watch !

as the old joke goes, how do you get a small fortune in motorsport - start with a large one and watch F1 on SKY.


My wife is very happy that she'll be seeing me twice as much next year..I'll never pay Sky. 🙁


And here it is, the death of F1 as a televisual experience, that captures the goings-on surrounding the races, as well as making sure we ALL have a chance to watch - now our only hope is FOTA deciding now is really the time to break away and destroy Bernie's stranglehold on the sport we love.

We all know [mod} Bernie has no respect for us mere mortals, but i thought even he had a modicum of respect for the Concorde Agreement and its 'Free to Air' policy, which i suppose now means 'Free to Air for part of the season as long as Bernie makes a few extra million'

As for the BBC saying 'we can't afford it' - thats about as realistic as saying 'rain falls upwards' - if they gave a damn about the licence payers opinion, they would take one look at the continually high viewing figures and realise they couldn't afford NOT to keep F1

Personally. i'm absolutely disgusted with this, and i'm not even going to go into the majority of the world's view on Murdoch and his 'Screw the World' attitude

That's it, after more than 30 years of F1 pleasure, i will be unable to follow anymore once this happens, like many, this is getting me as close to tears as anything in my life in the last 10 years (sad as that sounds)


Yes I am sure that the sky coverage will be good for those who can afford to pay for it, I already pay for the BBC and have thoroughly enjoyed how they have covered the grand prix. Only getting to watch half is a bit of a farce, the joy of the coverage just now is you get into every race, get lots of background information at every race during the free practice and forums. Only catching the odd one just won't be the same it is a real disappointment, anyway I am sure we will be able to look forward to the repeats of sit coms or dramas that have already been shown a dozen times on the BBC. I am sure that a lot of people just won't bother. It is even worse that the existing contract is being cut short.




Just when I was thinking of cutting my Sky bill, this decision with F1 is highlighted. Anyway, all I can say is goodbye F1.

I'll just follow F1 on the internet, that is good enough for me. Counting the pennies at the moment.


Will certainly not be forking out £100's a year on Sky just to fund the Ecclestone/Murdoch plans for world domination. P2P streaming all the way.


so F1 is going to receive the "full Sky treatment". does that mean dumbing down the sport into a bland production to appeal to the masses? I've watched many a sporting event on Sky and fail to see how they will understand and deliver on the nitty gritty stories that F1 delivers.



As a die-hard fan who has always faithfully followed and promoted F1 to the people around me...I feel absolutely cheated and robbed.

For a while the Beeb along with FOTA, FOM and the teams have been saying that they value the fans etc.....BUT this deal is the worst for fans and the fans have lost out bigtime.

In this current harsh economic climate which is crippling families everyday this is the biggest 2 finger-stick up to all fans. It seems like money once again has been a force to change the minds of the teams. F1 has yet again taken another step to make the rich richer and the poor even poorer.

To have a split coverage between the beeb & sky is criminal against the fans. NOW this means that those who do not have Sky and wants to watch F1 will need to take out a subscription & pay around £500-£700 a year just to watch SOME of the races as SOME will be available on terrestrial TV!!

Why should anyone pay all that money to Sky for them to only show part of a full season?? ALso this extra massive expense will cost F1 in tickets as anyone who has limited funds will find that the price they would pay for a ticket will now be swallowed up by Sky..meaning that thousands of people wont be able to afford to attend races.

Im very angry with people like Jake Humphries aswell, who have always given the view that the beeb F1 team are representative of the fans - BUT today quite astonshingly & inappropriately he did a U-Turn and said something along the lines of: "...and after the news from last week...Its only a sport!" - That was a cheap, flippant and totally inappropriate....I feel stabbed in the back.

For faith is now hanging by a single torn thread...for now I pray that FOTA & the sponsors can come through for us fans and reject this terrible & shocking proposal. If FOTA have any value for the fans then they will be the only ones left to support us fans & be our voice.

I also pray that James will do his upmost to be the voice of the fans to the F1 community - James you never let us down but we all really need you now more than ever before mate!!


If Sky end up with a B team of presenters and commentators, who on earth is going to watch it when superior coverage is available on another channel?

The only way this can work for Sky is if they have a package that doesn't involve paying £600 a year, and a superior product.

If Sky end up with a load of has-beens and pales in comparison with the BBC, who would watch? People who'd paid Sky wouldn't watch it and feel pretty aggrieved.

The whole thing is a mess. The BBC should just give up the whole shooting match and concentrate on tiddlywinks, or whatever it is they can afford now they're only interested in talent shows.


So the BBC are still spending around £25 million a year on a diluted half rights, half highlights package which will not bring in any dedicated fans to the sport at all? £25 million for half a job? Okay the British GP may (MAY) bring in a crop of new viewers, but the only real point in being into F1 is to watch as many races as you can surely? You may get the casual viewer to tune in for Monaco and Silverstone in the UK but you can't develop casual fans into hardcore fans without continuity. Just utter, utter madness.

And okay - so say 1 million people signed up to the £600 per year package for HD enabled Sky Sports upgraded package - you think ALL of that money is going to go to F1? EPL doesn't get that much cash on hand direct and it's still getting a lot more viewers than F1 will - and it sure as hell isn't going to pay out all new sub fees to F1 teams.

Now if this was a genuinely SHARED operation, they could say, allow joint production crews and commentary teams and allow Sky to retain the HD rights or extra features, but this bizarre 'half the races' deal is just plain weird. So we'll have BBC presenting a SKY edited promo package highlights programme not-live to air for half the season?

All I can suggest is F1 better allow 3 months of filmed testing and show races or something because the amount of actual racing on per year doesn't come in at great value to the average consumer.

And why does everyone keep banging on that Sky's coverage will be technically advanced? So they'll broadcast to Apple iPads with their usual shouty coverage. I love my technology and know F1 can do better but having watched Sky Sports coverage it's more like Kids TV. being talked down to with awful corporate gfx and a culture akin to 1980s NFL isn't going to sit well.


This is kinda like the deal in the US. I pay for Speed HD which covers the majority of the races really well but there are a few races each year where the coverage moves to the free to air channel (ironically Fox). However what's annoying is that Fox usually delay the coverage, dumb down the commentary and increase the adverts.

Black White Grey & Brown

i cannot handle even a half an hour of the American commentary...


I quite like David Hobbs, and Bob Varsha is solid. Matchett is so-so. Their pit man isn't very good.

I grew up with Murray, and of course he's tops. Everyone else pales in comparison.


And Fox is owned by? News Corp


SPEED is a News Corp. channel as well. The Fox coverage is slightly different, but they're assuming the Fox broadcast might be pulling in new fans who need more hand-holding. It's noticeable, but I don't find it that objectionable.


Clearly F1 is able to negotiate its TV rights as it sees fit and I equally able to decide that spending such a ridiculous amount of money to watch 10 races is a complete joke. So F1 has made a commercial decision to jettison me - someone who has watched almost every F1 race for 20 years. Is this what they want? The answer seems to be yes ... oh well, bye then.


James - I just wanted to reiterate one of the earlier comments, that you, as someone with a voice that can be heard and a background of a very fair website with lots of mature comments on many topics makes sure that the people in the right places no the huge reaction this has had on your site.

My fear is that most of you're comments seem to reside to the fact it was innevitable and that its just the way it is....and I agree that in this climate they probably can't justify £45m, but the obvious greed of Bernie's company to not meet somewhere in the middle to make it sustainable is just shocking.

No one wants something for nothing, but when all recent changes (DRS/KERS/Night time races) have been to increase viewing figures, it seems to belittle all that work by just going for cash instead. Yes it's an expensive sport, but at the end of the day it should be about the sport and inclusion of its fans.

I don't think you can compare this to the Premiership one bit, the UK audiences are hugely different in size, plus the amount of pubs that show football games makes it possible for average Joe to watch games without a subscription - pubs will not be showing F1 races when they clash with Man U or Chelsea...


The teams are reading the site and seeing the comments, I've had discussions with some of them about it today.


Thanks for the reply James,

Can you shed some light on what the initial feelings are? As the only reports relating to the teams views are from Bernie saying "The teams see this as positive" and Martin Whitmarsh was (quite rightly) waiting until he know the facts before making any comments. I just can't see how they can be happy about it after all that has been said over the previous months?


There is no way in hell I'm gonna be lining [mod] Murdoch's pocket with my hard earned to watch a full season of F1. What I will do and I suspect hundreds of thousands of other fans will do is stream the race live from the internet and listen to british radio commentary. Once the teams see that the Sky viewing figures are a fraction of what they are currently, they will demand that the sport be shown again live on free to air and we'll be saying good riddance Murdoch!


£600 a year/10 GPs = £600 per GP.


Until 2018?



Sorry, it's £60 per GP!!!!



i'd very much doubt there are anything like 1m viewers willing to pay anything like £600 in order to subscribe to sky for half the races. even if there were, who says that money will go straight into F1?

at least in the uk, this is going to decimate viewing figures, and regardless of how much sky and the bbc are paying between them, that's not good for the long term health of F1.


Some articles have commented on the fact that many games of football are on Sky Sport. The difference is football fans have a number of games every week to watch but how can the cost be justified for approx 10 races per year? Would hope if this is the way it is going to be that Sky would offer a discount for tuning into F1 races only. Good point Pete Brown about A1 grand prix.


Even if I am not a UK citizen I don't like this... Pay TV is undoubtly good for revenue, but it harms those, who don't need it and still loves F-1.

James, you know, for example in Russia the situation looks pretty similar (i fully understand, it's not a "key" market, but anyway it is not a pleasure).

We have 2 channels (one company) broadcasting F-1.

The "free" option offers you this: all practice sessions -live, qualification - live. Race - live for the first 10-15 minutes, then advertisements begin (every 15-20 minutes) and the race is shown in a record from that point.

The "pay" option offers you all of the above, except that the race is broadcasted live without advertisements (surprisingly, in some places, this channel is broadcasted for free... may be as an advertisement method).

"Pay" option requires you to buy all other 99+ channels of course and pay a monthly fee...

And you know what - I don't need any of these 99+ channels (and hopefully many more doesn't need them also)... the problem for Russia is that no one is familiar with all this "pay/cable tv" idea, no one wants to watch all this number of channels... and anyway - the idea was brought to life at the beginning of last year without any notice, press release or something like that

(I even tried to write to FIA, FOM and Russia broadcasting company for clarification - without any results of course.)

To what am I saying all of this - may be it is just a new trend? A new way of making money out of the core fan groups, who undoubtly will pay to see all the action...


Why can't the BBC setup a pay per view for F1?


Seems tv viewing is going the same way as trackside viewing, forget the real fans and focus on the money. I noticed all the hospitality guests eating and drinking last week in Germany just as the race was about to start.


It's crazy and the first person to comment on this section has lost all sense of perspective and shows an attitude most will find objectionable.

Perhaps he should recall that not everyone has sky, some are tied in to current deals, some are too poor to waste £60 on a Sky subscription when they can't afford to put food in their kids mouths and diesel in their tanks, some can't have sky as they live in a place unsuitable for it, ie in London.

Personally Mr M will have to prise the money out of my cold dead hands before I pay that company.


Sorry, ALSO...all the talk in the past and present to make F1 more accessible to fans has taken the opposite steps and now made F1 even more inaccessible for fans.

Formula 1 unfortunately is going backwards.


I will be watching all the F1 races next year live but i sure as hell wont be paying the extortionate price sky will charge. I will be searching the internet for sites that will show the races live and for free just like i do with the football now. If it means watching the race on mute as it has Arabic commentary and listening to radio 5 then so be it. I urge everyone else to do the same and then lets see if Sky's business model stacks up.


Rupert Murdoch - that's all I needed to hear. I alredy pay quite a bit for cable access in Canada, and don't mind doing so, but not a single cent of mine will go towards lining that [mod] pocket.

Goodbye, F1. It's a matter of principle.


James, You mentioned earlier the teams are viewing our unhappy rantings here. I'm not one usually for the politics of F1, but do the teams have a say in any of this, or can Bernie just do whatever he likes? It's hard to believe the teams are happy with this. F1 fan base and support has grown immensely over the last few years, most of which credit should go to the BBC and it's crew. Half that support I suspect could diappear in a flash.

Would it be possible with your insight and connections to enlighten us further.


I will as the picture emerges.


I could not agree more its not difficult to find sites showing premiership football for free, i will just do the same with the F1.


I'm done with F1!!!

Never thought I'd say that!


Just saw that Ecclestone claims this will increase the F1 audience.

Almost as convincing as Murdoch's select committee evidence.

The two clearly deserve each other - similar age; similar amorality; similar commitment to honesty...


Oh, and please everyone... go on Williams F1 Facebook and agree with my comments that Adam Parr has no idea what the fans want!



I hope the team sponsors air their concerns to the teams so that they can weigh up the added revenues from pay per view versus lower sponsorship income.


It's simple. You can watch the SKY F1 coverage for free, streamed over the Internet in HD via any one of hundreds of streams that can found in 5 minutes. Just like SKY Premier League games.


So which one is going to go over to the dark side first, Martin Brundle? David Coulthard? Eddie Jordan? Jake Humphrey? Lee McKenzie? Ted Kravitz ?



Bernie sold F1 down the river, after he promised not to.

If I were an F1 sponsor, I would wonder why I'm paying a gazillion bucks/euros/pounds to have my name splashed all over an F1 car that only pay-tv customers will see for half the season. Sure, the Beeb will carry "highlights" of those races, but "highlights" could take the form of a 30 minute summary. And forget about the race itself, what about all the exposure companies get in the pre- and post-shows? Lost.

And if the sponsors decide they aren't getting the bang for their buck, they will cut back on funding. Which will eventually whittle the entries down to half a dozen teams circling meaninglessly around some track halfway round the world in the middle of the UK night, where only SKY subscriber nightowls can see them.

But by that time, Bernie will probably be in jail so why should he give a toss?


At first hearing about this, I too was really hacked off, I do not have Sky anymore, I did have the full package but got really fed up with their Customer Services and to be honest If you want to watch a new film it is out on DVD first, so whats the point? (I have never been a fan of watching 22 grown men kicking around a bag of wind)

Then I remembered my 12 year olds prowess on the Internet so I dont care about this deal, I will still see all the races FOC and not have to pay News Corp a penny.

I do wonder if they have thought this through enough, as in, the average F1 viewer IMO is quite tech savvy, more so than your average football fan and to me it follows that a far higher proportion of viewers will use a torrent to see their favorite sport.

Radio for commentary and torrent for the picture on my 42" tv with the output from my home PC sorted.



Well, BT tell me it will cost £360 per year to watch the races on Sky. I can't afford that. (Well, technically, I can't *justify* that.)

Will I watch the BBC ones? Maybe. But I can't imagine I'll be as "involved" all season long.

Either this website will get more important to me, or I'll leave F1 and this website will matter less. I just can't tell.

I've been watching the races for 25+ years. Sad day.



"If just 1 million people pay £600 a year to watch F1 on SKY that’s £600 million of gross income."

I'm not sure what madness is used to make those numbers. Adding Sky Sports is (at best) £20.25 per month to a regular sky subscription.

Assuming that £20.25 was JUST f1 you'd still be wide of the mark. The reality is that that money is spread across all manner of costs and sport rights, and since Sky is broadcast once, receive by many, it doesn't really matter to them how many watch any individual sport - if they're paying for the subscription it's job done.

So actually once you've used more realistic numbers the bounty isn't so good.


Bernie, you sold us out!

I won't be paying Murdoch a penny and I'm not staying up till stupid o'clock to watch some poorly edited Beeb version.

I hope the sponsors have the commercial savvy and cancel their contracts.

Still, I suppose it free's up a few more hours for the Beeb to schedule even more repeats.

TV Licence under duress!

Ooh - I could crush a grape!


They have gotta be kidding us, right?! 😮 This is farce of epic proportions. I will NOT be subscribing to Sky. I have been watching Formula One since March 14th 1993 (Kyalami). I have only missed three races, and two of those were because of trans-Atlantic flights. F1 is a part of me, maybe not as significant as aviation, but it has become a part of me. I cannot picture a life without it ... until an hour ago 🙁

I have a fundamental dislike for Sky, its subscription-based business model, its leader, and its utter dominance in certain areas. I would have paid a higher license fee to watch F1 on the BBC, or even pay-per-view via another channel! Never mind .....

I have purchased numerous diecast models and even F1 car parts. Over the years I have purchased GP1, GP2, GP4, and rFactor, in order to give me an understanding of F1.

I am currently looking into other forms of motorsport ... F1 will no longer be one of my primary interests. What's the point?


OK...So,If the beeb is to loose some of the covarage..Do i take it we will get a reduction in the beeb`s TV licence...I think its a sham being honest...LOOSE THE LICENCE FEE`S AND PUT ADVERTS ON THE BEEB FOR ME....Just lets have something of value for our money instead of feeding Bernie the snake ...????


I think maybe Bernie and Sky are betting that F1 will follow the football model where many of the fans follow the sport onto pay TV.

I think that's a big misjudgement; let me explain. In the UK football is tribal. F1 is not. People were already used to spending money on the sport regularly, going to matches, going to the pub afterwards and talking about the game. So, as tickets got more expensive with all-seater stadia and more corporate involvement, the fan could afford to go less often, opening the gap for Sky to step into. With the Sky coverage, fans could 'go' to several games on the same day!

F1 is an entirely different sport. Over a whole year there is, say, a bit under 50 hours of competitive action. There is only one event in the UK, and a tiny proportion of fans attend it.

It could be argued that by paying for the football coverage on Sky, the football fan was getting quite a good deal, and a better one than before. This deal with F1 cannot be described as a better deal, or even a good deal for fans of the sport.

Let's see what FOTA have to say about it over the weekend. I can't imagine them rocking the boat too much, but one can hope. If their reponse isn't to kick up a stink, then I propose that we, as fans, target our complaints at the teams and their sponsors.


well, i have been watching F1 since the 80's, i DO have sky but not the sports channels, I can not afford to get them, so it looks like i will become an interested reader of F1 but will no longer be able to watch a whole season even getting up at silly times of he day to watch! I understand the need for finance BUT surely this will just reduce the fan base


I've been a fan of F1 since the mid-70's. I have probably watched 90% of the races.

If/when it goes to sky, I shall watch 0% of the races.

Its not about the money. Its the principle. I will not have Sky.

I will not use a proxy server to stream the content from other regions. But don't be naive, its trivial and the kids know how to do it. A VPN/proxy costs $10 a month. If its free-to-air anywhere in the world then it'll be proxied here.

To the teams, wake up and understand the technology. Its not about TV. Its about TCP/IP over the internet. Your future is in open content with a social internet backend. This will generate more money than a paywall.

So farewell then F1. It was good, but, alas not that good.


Why didn't the bbc just give up all of it?? keeping half, which they are not as its still going to be shown on sky at the same time is a complete waste of public money.

If this is the mentality of the bbc, then its time the bbc was released and turned into a commercial station.



I am totally disgusted by this deal.

I have been an F1 fan for 24+ years and I am seriously considering never watching it again after this year, whether it is free to air or pay-tv.

The only group who has no say in F1 is the fans. without us, there is no F1.

Bernie has sole us out to line his own pockets.



As avid F1 fans for 35+ years, we are totally disgusted with today's news. This is the worst ever as far as F1 is concerned.... F1 going to bed with the head of News Corporation! Ecclestone should be ashamed of himself. But then again greed and a lack of morals always rears its ugly head! F1 bye bye forever.


"Meanwhile word coming through from SKY is that they plan a full scale production of F1, with no adverts"

Considering it's Pay TV, I should bloody well think so!


They will have lost a lot of viewers, I for one.

How are the team sponsers going to react when they realise that there will be a vast audience lost, who at the moment watch their adverts on the BBC come round on every lap. Big business yet again is making the world a sadder place to live in!


The Bxxxx have sold us down the road again


Good bye to F1


James can you tell me has Sky won any BAFTAS for sports coverage ??????


Probably. Don't know. Not in last few years


James - time for you to rise to the forefront and champion the cause of the average UK based Formula One Fan. Give us someone to rally behind.


I've been reading, with interest the messages on this thread. A few have been saying that the countries they live in have had to pay to watch Formula 1 for some years and saying what is all the fuss about. If it was not for the pioneers of the sport in this country all those years ago there would be no Formula 1 to watch. This country is the home of Formula 1.


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