Whitmarsh: Sky deal is “cautiously good news”
F1 on TV
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2011   |  6:17 pm GMT  |  281 comments

FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh has given a cautious welcome to the news that F1 in the UK will be partly on Pay TV and partly on terrestrial as SKY will share the coverage with BBC.

Whitmarsh has long maintained his position that Free to Air is the model the teams wan and he seems to be trying to force Ecclestone into a position where the BBC will show entire race deferred on Free to Air TV, a few hours later.

The financial package is also clearly attractive enough to teams, who share 50% of all the sport’s commercial revenues.

I’ve written about this extensively over the last few years and regular readers will know that I’ve been forecasting for years that something like this would happen, as it has been the model in Japan and Finland for some years now. In Japan the arrangement generates £240 million a year, with 2 million subscribers each paying £12 a month.

I’ve learned that this BBC/SKY deal came together very quickly and in the last few days. It was looking as though BBC might give up everything and at one stage Channel 4 was looking like it might share a deal like this with SKY. It seems that the SKY part of it has been on the cards for a while.

“From what Bernie has said it’s better than expected,” Whitmarsh told reporters after his meeting with the commercial rights holder this afternoon.

“The BBC will show every grand prix in full, half of them live and half of them deferred, so free-to-air is available to everyone.

“Sky sound like they are really going to commit to it as well, so it sounds like there is a little bit of competition between the BBC and Sky. So overall, from Bernie’s view, it will increase the total viewership within the UK. Bernie assured me, and I asked him several times, the deferred coverage will not be highlights, it will be a full race.

“That, to some fans, will be very important, depending on exactly what races they are, so hopefully that means it’s a good deal for everyone.”

“Based upon that, if it increases the total viewership, and it maintains the ability of free to air for all of the viewing public in the UK, then cautiously it’s good news isn’t it?”

Whitmarsh had questioned how the new deal would work under the Concorde Agreement which stipulates that in key markets F1 must not be solely on Pay TV.

This is a bold move, but one which has been coming for a long time and now many other countries are likely to follow suit, with France likely to be one of the first.

In Germany RTL is financially very robust and earns well from F1 so it is likely to hold onto the exclusively free to air model for some time.

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Anyone remember that Likely Lads sketch where they try to avoid finding out the football result so they can watch the match later? Get used to it!


I think Bernie's telling Martin a pack of lies. The BBC have said they will show highlights, not the full race. Either way, it's crap.

"In Japan the arrangement generates £240 million a year, with 2 million subscribers each paying £12 a month."

I wouldn't mind paying £12 a month but for the basic Sky package + Sky Sports and HD, you're looking at over £600 a year. Add your TV licence fee and if you want to watch every race live and in HD, we're paying well over £30 per race now.

Whitmarsh is so naive and as much of a traitor to loyal fans as Ecclestone. I didn't expect Ferrari to care much but I had hopes that at least Whitmarsh might take a stand. I'm really considering giving up on F1 altogether now and I NEVER thought that was something I'd say.


Like everyone else I'm gutted. The been do a great job. I will be interested to wee what sky bring to the table. I vote for James Allen as lead commentator!


Until very recently this was the standard operating procedure for pretty much every motorsport fan here in Australia.


Well said except i may have chosen different words and approach!.I think it is fair to say from the emotion in all the replies so far that the UK viewers are in disgust over the situation.!. and maybe rightly so.. What is clearer is that what a great position they have been in for so many years. Not until ONE HD started in Australia did we get all races live( with ads) since previously ABC/Ch9/Ch10 was always delayed on sunday nights.(except for Oz and Asian GP's). f1.com was a relevation for me since i could follow and visualise the race since the telecast started after the race finished. After 40 years i for one will continue my love of F1 no matter who broadcasts it and when. Possibly like most of the rest of the world.

Thanks again James for a great coverage. Some of the criticism of your previous entries by others as not being 'sensitive' enough i believe was not warranted, however life goes on. I will conyinue to follow this great sport and your site. Well done.


It's not so much about the money for me, though that hurts. It's more the principle of paying Murdoch who in my opinion is a lying cheating scum who deserves nothing.

I'd happily pay for F1 coverage, I'm just not paying Sky! The cost is extortionate anyway, £40-£50 a month on a minimum 12 month contract is £600 just to watch 10 races!

Yes you get more than just that with Sky, but I don't watch or need it now for anything else, so I'd only be using it for F1 coverage. That means I'd be paying the equivelent of £60 per race!


I have been watching every race, no matter what the broadcast time, since 1982. I'm English, and if there's one thing that will stop me watching F1, it's the thought of handing money over to that vile piece-of-work, Rupert Murdoch.

Maybe people in New Zealand don't have the same sense of principles people of the UK have ... I have many NZ friends so actually I doubt this ... but the general attitude to Murdoch is bad enough without the current wave of disgust that's sweeping the country with the phone-hacking scandal, so people like myself, who really do care who's pocket our hard-earned money lines, will take a stand and be forced to give up on the sport they love. A really dark day as I know my biggest sporting passion is coming to an end.

Ted the Mechanic

Hi Westy, perhaps I was a bit harsh with my comments. But after reading post after post after post complaining about every aspect of your new deal and I was still only 1/4 of the way down the page... I just felt compelled to respond.

We've had all the crass phone-hacking details headlining our 6 o'clock news here as well, so I understand why you feel that way about the Murdoch's. However you might be more effective offering to pay the BBC a fee to keep F1 with them...

It will be interesting to see what sort of effect you and all the other UK people with the same principles can bring to bear on the evil empire.

Has there been a call to action from other SKY subscriber audiences (movies/doco/comedy/smut?) to throw their decoders into the streets and flush their remotes? Good luck with the campaign.

I guess I'm a hell or high water F1 fan.


Real fans will either wait andd watch or pay to watch. Cry babies will stop watching.


Jez.. your either one of these options :

1.. A murdoch employee

2.. On the payroll of Mr. Ecclestone.

3.. A fatcat BBC exec.

4.. Simpy put your not a real fan and don't understand the implications.


Nuff said


And real fans will show some passion about their sport, voice their concerns and try to have something done about it! Unlike the part time fans who just put up with it and post rubbish to wind people up.


Yes really! As for not having a choice, if we all voice our concerns we might have that choice in the future, INSTEAD of following your example, which is hardly passionate!

Anyhow, I've said my piece in many forums, thanks very much.


Oh really? So now we have the "real" fans as opposed to the ones which have a different opinion than you.

Pay up and/or shut up, its really not like you have a choice. Just how many real choices in your life do you have or exercise?

Perhaps you are just writing to wind some (certainly not me)people up and are one of the fabled partimers? Anyhow I suggest you follow my example an find some passion!


Actually recording the race and watching it in the evening means you do not waste an afternoon in front of the telly.


Absolutely right. Although most people, it seems, can't find anything better to do. I guess that's why we are having such an outbreak of lament here.

'What the heck am I gonna do for 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon?' (scratch, scratch)


Mario, I can think of better things to do with the £50 per month than give it to the ..[mod] Murdochs via SKY. And the entire race WILL NOT be availbale in the evening will it? Highlights only.


Here's a suggestion: sign up as a Marshall at your local race track....


That will suck, no twitter or facebook while the race is on. Oh yeah also forget about the race timing on F1.com or iPhone apps (if only they could find a way to delay that)

I wonder if this includes qualifications too.


Yeah, on quite a few occasions I have recorded either the qualifying or the race and have NEVER been able to avoid finding out the result - there are just too many outlets for news now to avoid then all (unless you shut yourself in a room - but if you were going to do that you would just watch it live eh?!).

Delayed will ruin the enjoyment for me - not to mention denying me the use of things like the timing apps etc.



I record the majority of races because I like to get on with stuff during the day, and I've been very successful over the years. All you have to do is close down Twitter and don't visit the news sites. Of course it's easier if you have something to do in the meantime. The other thing is places that are "danger zones" - pubs, service stations and television stores. All these types of places are likely to be showing the race or results. I once had to walk into Sevenoaks and negotiate a warranty repair while staring at the floor!


I understand it does.


Ahh damn it, I knew they'd sell out as well, don't know why I thoght that maybe they wouldn't. Now the horrible cringworthy backtracking begins alongside the insulting spin. Shame on you all.


Well, Wayne, it looks like you were right after all. My apologises.


I meant "Apologies". Tch Tch!


Of course....I said in my other posts, the Sponsorship departments are now climbing over each other to have Sky on their front wings.


Was the sound of the final nail in the coffin I just heard?


No - that was Bernie's wallet being put on the table, ready for another large addition.


This clearly hasn't been thought out, otherwise full details would by now be announced.

So we've gone from a highlights package to deferred race coverage. Deferred when? 12 hours after the result has been announced to the world? A day? A week?

I'm not blaming Martin, he appears to understand the fans concerns and I respect him for that.

But many in F1 seem not to understand or care (Mr Parr this means you) that watching the race LIVE is a huge part of what makes sport so exciting, and that £600 a year for 10 races is too expensive for those without Sky.

It is not a 'good deal'.


Agree with you and Sarah. This is being spun and re-spun. Can't wait to see what EJ says tomorrow!


EJ will be gagged.


Agreed, all the BBC staff have been gagged. The only one brave enough to say anything was Martin and i suspect only because he will be out of contract.


It will be a great deal when after a year or two all races are "deferred"


Agreed Phil. The BBC really has rolled over on this one. If they had refused to negotiate with Sky, NONE of the coverage could have gone to PPV...


Sarah it isn't PPV. It's subscription. You may not see the difference but their is one. Those who curently have Sky will not have to pay extra for F1. Who is to say that if the BBC had dropped it we wouldn't have had a Sky/Channel 4 split of the same type? Except both would then be with adverts.


It will be on Sky Sports. If you don't pay for Sky Sports then you don't see that race live if it's not on the BBC live that week.


Whether PPV or SUBSCRIPTION, is irrelevant. The point is, it is paying extra for nothing gained.


What if you just refuse to pay for Sky? I have zero intention of supporting the corrupt Murdoch machine in any way...


what if you do have sky but do not have sky sports?


It's sound no bad, at least until 2018 when BBC could withdraw all together.

Having full coverage and not only the highlights is good news for now.

Anyway it goes I'll not pay to Sky their prices.


The BBC will pull out way before 2018, as the viewership declines - they've pulled out of this contract early so why not another one. And in any case does anyone believe it will return to FTA after 2018? Sky will see this as a stepping stone to fully subscription coverage.


Unfortunately I fear the same 🙁


Boy this sucks...it means this is a done deal



I think it would be a good idea for the BBC to have your basic package which does not include sport. If you then want say F1 the beeb should charge you a small additional fee to cover there costs. That way it would stop all the wingers moaning about there being to much sport on the beeb. I know we already pay a fee to watch the beeb, but avid fans I am sure would pay a little exta to keep sport on the beeb. I know we have to except that times are changing, but we should all do what we can to preserve our sport on the beeb. Ive watched F1 on free air now for some 42yrs.


Paul, that sounds like a great idea. I would pay the BBC licence fee an extra amount to keep it free-to-air, as once it moves to Sky, my 30 years of supporting and watching each race live will end as there's no chance I'm going to hand my money over to the likes of RM. A really sad day for F1.


Delayed coverage takes all the tension away... I simply will stop watching.

I've been emailing FOTA, please do the same.



I feel exactly the same.

As someone commented in one of the other articles, it's a good idea to email the sponsors of the teams as well, and the companies who sponsor grands prix as well. Let them know you won't follow F1 if it goes to Sky. Hopefully it will help them understand how damaging this will be in terms of viewing figures and exposure.

If the teams would rather rely on money from Sky than their sponsors, then so be it.


...anyone know of a list anywhere already with the sponsors and contact details of the F1 teams?


Agreed - I think this stretegy is the most likely to work. The sponsors and the teams. Let's create a list somewhere...


I agree, email the sponsors that want UK coverage. The loss of these will never be covered by the payments from Sky.

I have emailed FOTA as well.

This will probably still happen, but if we dont do something it definitely will !!!


If they want to create a successful package for viewers then don't force them to get SKY to do so. Provide the option to pay a fee for each race to view online. Bernie move into the 21st century and provide Internet streaming of the races. Therefore you get a revenue stream from people who don't want to fork out £600 a year for SKY for 10 races and you satisfy the sport's fans who are quickly getting alienated.


Contractually they can't do that.

Many broadcasters around the world buy exclusive rights to the f1 broadcast in that country. Putting a service on f1.com to buy the coverage would go against these exclusive contracts & cause a lot of problems.

If there was a central online service provided by FOM on f1.com the broadcasters would be against it may cost them viewers.

To get f1 online & avoid these problems the online rights are sold to the broadcasters with there tv package & its left to each broadcaster to provide the online coverage & this coverage is then region locked (Or in some cases made only avaliable to subscribers of the tv package f1 is on in that country).

When I was at FOM (I was there from 1998-2006) some form of online platform was discussed internally yet was shelved for the reasons I mention above.


GT_Racer you're quite right but as this was a new contract being hammered out then FOM should have taken exclusivity off the table. There is a huge area of middle ground between £0 FTA and £600 Sky yearly charges. If FOM had the initiative to give half to the BBC (with streaming), all to Sky (non-exclusive streaming, and a reduced fee from Sky as a result) and sold the a yearly streaming subscription themselves it would be a better deal for the fans and they might have ended up with even MORE income.

Or at least the BBC should have considered a subscription model if they need to subsidise the race.


Easy, you can't watch iPlayer in Spain. Same sort of DRM would solve the problem. As the OP says, time to live in the 21st century.


Using DRM is easy when your a broadcaster from one country wanting to protect your content from people in other territories.

However DRM is from what I have been told not as easy to handle if your dealing out something worldwide as you would be with a dedicated pay service on f1.com.

Plus if you figure out a way to do that, You will still be going against what most of the broadcasters want & what they may also have in there contracts.

For example Sky have Sky Player which broadcast's Sky Sports live online to Sky subscribers. I cannot see them agreeing to allow another PayTV service on f1.com whihc would be potentially taking viewers away from them on Non-BBC weekends.

We had some issues similar to that when we had the F1 Digital+ service running. We were unable to launch it in some regions which we aimed for because local broadcasters didn't want the competition.


how does the sky deal increase total viewership when the bbc can already be received all over the uk?


According to the Broadcasters Audience Research Board July report (http://bit.ly/nZQfHN) the BBC1 has an average daily reach of 29m (49%), Sky Sports (1 to 4) 2.4m (4%). The latest F1 news doesn't make good reading for advertisers.


I was wondering this myself. If Sky has around 10mil subscribers in the UK, how many of this is with a Sky Sports package (which is an extra) and how many people watch F1 to begin with?

If anything, F1 is going to loose a lot more viewers then ever in the UK.


Not sure ho wit will increase viewing - if you have Sky Sports, you'll watch it, if you don't you'll watch the re-run on BBC.

Does Martin think people are going to watch both? Or does he think there are a bunch of Sky Sports subscribers who currently refuse to watch anything on the BBC?

Either way, makes no sense. Sold out to Bernie's promises of ever increasing riches. The hypothetical increase in viewing could only come at the cost on many folks not being alloede to watch live. Shame.


“Sky sound like they are really going to commit to it as well, so it sounds like there is a little bit of competition between the BBC and Sky. So overall, from Bernie’s view, it will increase the total viewership within the UK. Bernie assured me, and I asked him several times, the deferred coverage will not be highlights, it will be a full race.

Anyone who believes this claptrap wants their head examining. Bernie is only interested in the cash and has jumped in with the disgusting Murdochs in pursuit of it. The teams won't rock the boat cos he's told them how much they will get paid. So just the real fans based in the spiritual home if F1 wil suffer...


I don't agree. Sky are the reason that the BBC's coverage has been so good of late.

Sky will take the coverage to another Level. I can forsee the red button option and possible choice of which Driver to follow? I can imagine a lot more dedicated team that will allow us a view into strategy. They will do things that will have us wondering how we put up with the BBC?

If you don't believe me look what they have done to all the other sports they have taken on.......

Why I am such a fan of Sky? Simply because when I was a Kid I didn't get to watch any sport? When Sky came along they allowed me to watch sport live from across the world and all different timezones.


Apart from perhaps Cricket, Sky's commentary on other sports [read Football and Rugby] is atrocious. It's not simply about the whizz-bang camera angles. It's the likes of Martin Brundle that make the coverage so great.


Looks like he will do both channels



Have you considered the knock on effect to sites like yours?

I really will stop watching, and if others do there is no reason to visit your site any more...

Please tell FOTA that it is just wrong!!!

P.S. Thanks for the great site - I do enjoy it!


Don't get me wrong, but I find the UK fans behaviour somewhat childish. It's like they are used to have F1 on TV free so now they whine about it won't be free anymore and threat that if so, they stop watching it. So lemme ask - do you watch F1 because it's free or because you love the sport? I agree that 600 bucks a year is a lot of money, but there are other ways to follow, lots of good quality streams, other language televisions, etc, etc. It's just a matter of getting used to.


You're missing the point lecho. In the UK we all HAVE to pay a license fee to the BBC by law - not doing so can see one fined a lot of money. We pay this fee and expect a service in return. F1 on the BBC is pulling in larger audiences and larger audience shares than any other program, yet they feel it appropriate to cut their F1 coverage in favour of rubbish that has a much narrower appeal. So, by going to a subscription channel, a UK F1 fan is being expected to pay twice: once to the BBC, and again to Sky, and we know that 99% of that money will be spent on crap that we don't want and don't watch. It's got nothing to do with being spoiled - it's about being ripped off.


Yes, but because it's a license fee they have to provide programming FOR everyone - they can't just provide what you want them to provide. If F1 is too expensive, they can't cover it in its entirety, because they have to budget around EVERYONE that pays a license fee. That's how you can have BBC stations as varied as Radio 1 versus Radio 3!

In other words, for the BBC it's not totally about ratings, they HAVE to cater to those 'narrower' appeals (or as you described 'crap''), because they have to cater for everyone that pays the license fee, and provide top quality with what they broadcast. They are providing a service for you - they show 10 races live, and 10 on delay, and show them in excellent quality. They also show programming for the people that have no interest in F1, as it should be.

I know it's irritating that some people won't be able to watch 10 races live, but believe me, it's not that hard to avoid spoilers if you really have to, and at least they're providing a full rerun (apparently). The only thing I fear, is that the quality of broadcast will go down because they're not that as committed anymore.

Also, you don't have to go to Sky directly - I get Sky Sports 1 & 2 through BT, because I wanted to watch the cricket. That's a little less money to Murdoch ...

And finally, to those saying they could afford it if they cut things like the forum etc - the actual coverage isn't the expensive bit, it's the owning of the rights that costs the money - they'll still have to take out the same people to broadcast the re-runs as they do now anyway.


lecho, why would you be interested in reading - and commenting on - something that I assume won't be affecting you in your country? I'm guessing you are in the States? I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable to post criticism of something I had scant understanding of, that was going on in a different country.

As MrNed said, we already pay for F1 because our "Free TV" costs us a compulsory £145 to the BBC already. I think a lot of the posters here who aren't living in the UK don't understand the basics of the UK FTA TV system, so they don't understand why we are so upset by this.

And in answer to your question - I watch F1 because I love the sport. I have done for 40 years. But I will stop watching it from 2012 because I don't just want to watch half the races live and I don't want to pay Sky TV any more money either.


Indeed I come to this site a lot, but I wouldnt dare want to come here to see James analogy of the latest race etc before I had even seen the deferred race on BBC. And as per the very first reply, trying to avoid all media to ensure I dont know the result before I see the race will be nigh on impossible 🙁

Mohammed Al-Momen

I do this all the time since I live in Saudi Arabia, and timing of the races is always wrong as Weekends over here are Thursday and Friday. I usually download races on Sunday night and watch them Monday night. Avoiding news can be done you just have to get used to it 🙂


This is, indeed, a problem. As a lot of the races for us in Australia are late night, I have to record a fair few of them and try and avoid all TV and radio news coverage until I get a chance to sit down and watch. If I hear the result by accident then I often don't bother watching the race, unless James has opened his post-race analysis with something like "Well, what a cracker of a race that turned out to be".


Thanks for your loyalty


Thanks for reading and enjoy whatever sport you love onto. This site is global, only 40% UK, so a growing number of fans around the world to compensate for any drop off in UK.


Surely a more sympathetic reply would have done here James....!


So,we only have to listen to 40% of all this entitlement ranting? Good.

Now... is anything actually happening in F1 today? Like, y'know a race or practice or something?



Says it all really, and is exactly the stance Bernie and the teams will ultimately take.

The UK isn't F1's only audience, so a few alienated fans in this country really is of no consequence to anyone in the sport. It has a global audience, so there are always others who will pick up the slack.

Yet another different Danny

Nice to know each and every reader is so valued, James. Speaks volumes.

However, I do think people are being a little melodramatic.

This country meekly accepts - if it even notices - the privatisation of patient transport, the prison system, public housing, heck even the royal mail. Then throws it's arms up and becomes all left leaning free for all socialists when a rich bloke pays another rich bloke for the rights to screen a load of rich blokes massive scalextrics set that we have no ownership of in the first place! Only in Britain.

So live timing wont work with a slightly delayed race, erm - get a life. Most of us watch F1 to see some fast cars, the odd tussle, the political intrigue and a good crash now and again. All of which will still be available to us. I really feel this story is being blown out of all proportion.


We'll see how much it grows next year, James.



I'm sorry but that reply could have come from Bernie himself. I'm sure the poster wasn't attacking you or your site, and was just making a point. Shame you had an easy come easy go attitude to it, which is just what the people who run F1 have at the moment.

There are many other ways this could have been resolved. SD only basic coverage on the BBC (bit like the pre-ITV days) and all sing all dancing coverage on Sky for ££ (not my idea, this is from elsewhere but could make sense).



that seems a little bit arrogant and almost in keeping with the whole thread of this story, you dont care if people in the uk stop reading your blog ? ok so be it. Sky, the bbc, f1, BE have woefully underestimated the public's reaction to this. Ok the uk is only one country but the majority of the f1 teams are based in the uk. Also as many people have pointed out the concorde agreement says it has to stay free to air, by screening delayed episodes that skillfully negates that issue however if the bbc had stood firm it would be a non issue. These technological times can be very fickle its take me a second to delete you from my rss feed and when i have done this in the past i rarely add one back, i'm not the only but good luck with your global blog


I don't like to start with apologies but I will...sorry to suck up but I think its clear what James was saying. I love the fact F1 is expanding into new countries and cultures and also by the presence on the grid and calender of drivers/races from those nations.

I would have liked coverage to stay on the BBC but compared to what could have occurred I'm pleased I can still follow the sport on the BBC.

I will be interested to see what sky bring to the table, they have a lot of money and a track record for good sports production.

Itv moved F1 coverage forward as have the BBC. perhaps this is part of our sports evolution (however un-welcome).

We brits are lucky to have so much coverage/teams/drivers and F1 heritage. Like some posts have stated residents in other countries still have to pay to have any F1 coverage.

I love the sport and couldn't walk away!


That's not what I said. The post expressed concern that the site would suffer from his withdrawal as a fan of F1 and from others like him in the UK. My point is that the site will be fine as it isn't a UK site, it's global and we need to remember this today as 60% of the readers are not affected by this story. Of course I'm sad for everyone who has been turned off F1 by this development and of course I don't want people to stop visiting the site. To suggest otherwise is stirring


Hi James,

So I'm guessing from your comments that you don't oppose this move? It's sad to see that you seem as bothered about losing UK fans to your website as the BBC and F1 are of losing fans to the sport!

I think you may be out of touch with what the UK F1 fans really want. Maybe you have your own reasons for thinking this is a good move, but it surely isn't.

It's a shame and it's wrong.


You guess wrong. I'm reporting what's happening, without passing judgement, but pointing out that I've been saying for some time that this exact scenario might happen.


So basically James can we say you don't really see what all the fuss is about? How about you write an opinion piece about this (rather than reportage) so we can see where you stand?


Wow I wish I could afford to take a 40% hit on my bussiness, ah well lets hope the states defaults on its debts and the global markets crash and the whole world collapses, this news might seem better then


I wonder how delayed the telecast will be. Hours? Days?


I don't know, but looking at Fox/Speed I can tell you it's pushed back 4 hours. So Live at 8AM in EST, and replay on Fox at Noon. So in UK they will probably put it on at 6PM since BBC probably has a Sunday 8PM routine lineup of some sort that they won't disrupt with F1.

It's actually not too bad, because you can save a lot of time. Remember - this is Sunday - your day of rest and time with family. You check the result before replay and if it's Vettel again, you just saved yourself 2 hours. If you read that something happened on lap 23, you go about your business and come back on 21 to the action. Really a nice time saver routine. Especially in UK where GPs are smack in the middle of the day for you.


That's fine for some maybe but the truly passionate fan wouldn't watch F1 like that.

It's like suggesting why shouldn't everyone only ever bother to record the race, find the result, then scan to the known interesting bits? Or in a similar vein only watch the highlights? And this infers you suggesting why ever watch a live race at all?

This clearly implies you aren't - or don't understand what it is to be - a true fan of a sport. It's being able to watch the event live, with the anticipation and suspense of action and the unknown, even if it turns out there isn't any!!!

Jane Cattermole

Sadly, I will not be following F1 anymore. This follows 30 years of being a full on fan. I won't be put in a position where I either make do with watching half a season or have to subscribe to SKY. Check out the BBC comments board - seems many fans feel the same way.

I can't help feeling that as many fans as possible should boycott the rest of the season to make a point.


People seem to have short memories. 30 years ago most of the BBC coverage was about 45 mins of highlights shown late on a Sunday night. So next year if you want to watch the BBC, half of the races will be live, the remainder being highlights or the full race deferred. So if you are 'a full on fan', why are you going to stop watching now when next years coverage on the BBC is better when you were watching 25-30 years ago?

As with most stories like this, those who don't like are generally the ones that post.


So let's go back to the Dark-ages! It was so much better then. Not.

That's the point, Andy. We have moved on since those days, and right now the BBC's F1 coverage is excellent - without a doubt the best coverage we have ever had in the UK. We all understand that the BBC needs to cut costs, but we (or 99% of the posters here) disagree with how they are making those cuts.

I followed the sport through the 70's and the 80's and, frankly, I don't want to go back to watching races that aren't live. So given that I will not pay any more to Sky out of principle (and economics), and I'm not interested in watching just half a season, then I have very little option but to change my perspective, and enthusiasm, towards F1.

Between the BBC, FOM, FOTA, Sky and the like, they've just killed off a die-hard fan!


I fully agree with you Jane, suddenly it doesn't make any sense to continue ruining my weekends because of F1 that i have followed since 1993.

I quit!

simon mitchell

so what about qualifying is that going to be shown on the bbc at all?? or if we want that we have to get sky


so we may get the races delayed but in full. problem with that is that it makes using extras impossible.

when i watch the current live coverage i use the live timing on f1.com as well as f1 app avaliable on my mobile phone & also the onboard feed.

with delayed coverage or highlights we lose all that, the timing is an essential part of a race as well as qualifying, especially with tyres the tyre drop off & stuff we have today.

also with delayed coverage you have to avoid the tv & also the internet to avoid spoilers.

this whole situation is a joke which will cost f1 a lot of viewers, especially the casual one's which f1 claims to be so intresting in getting!

Luis Rodrigues

Exactly my dilema... F1 live on TV with the live timing from f1.com on the laptop is the way to watch the race and get a better picture of what's happening on the race track.

I moved from Portugal to the UK in June 2007 and exactly in 2007 F1 gone from free-to-air to pay-TV in Portugal. Hadn't I moved to the UK and I would had stopped following F1 altogether. I've lost half that season, and what a season!

I now pay my TV license but I'm not even considering paying to get Sky, let alone SkySports, just because of F1. I would however consider paying a smaller subscription fee to watch it online (either from Sky or any other English speaking channel).

James, do you know if in those countries where this scheme has been running (or even other countries) an F1 only (or certain sport only) subscription has been an option from the pay-TV channels?


Think so in Japan, but I'm not certain


just knowing its not live destroys the experience for me. just know that the result is already out there even if i dont know it detracts from a good battle between drivers.


I find it hard to believe that FOTA could sell us fans out so cheaply and easily! I know that money talks, but I expected more of a fight about this deal from FOTA. Obviously the wedge of cash Ecclestone waved in their faces was larger than they were all expecting.

I have had so much respect for Martin Whitmarsh over the years, but to suggest this is a good deal for the fans is ludicrous and patronising. In no way is this a good deal for the fans who watch F1 on TV in the UK. F1 needs to be live, nothing else will do - I'm not interested in watching it after the event.

I think I've had enough, actually, and I hope this ends up blowing up in everyone's faces and hitting them all where it obviously hurts most - in their wallets!


Spot on! Earlier today I thought it was just a case of greedy Ecclestone's 2012 ransom demands to the BBC that screwed it all up. Now we find that the likes of Martin Whitmarsh and FOTA are backing the little greedy Ecclestone in the hope of more cash. Realistically I think they will find quite the opposite.

I for one will not be spending my time trying to avoid F1 results on deferred viewing days. Better to just not watch at all.

What goes around....


I don't care what BBC, Sky, or Whitmarsh says - it's bad news.

I actually have sky and the main point for me is that the coverage on the BBC is fantastic. It's obvious the team will be split with MB, DC maybe more moving to Sky, but you can bet your little finger Jake will stay at the BBC, and that is sad news.

Also, a lot of people can't afford to pay the premiums that Sky ask for and rightfully so, we're in a recession too and need to save money.

Whitmarsh has made that statement because the teams will get more cash - end of.

After 2018, can anyone really see the BBC continuing its coverage?

It's wrong and I feel let down by FOM, FOTA, BBC and everyone else that is involved.

Murdoch can go and take a running jump as well!


The BBC have backtracked on their existing contract with two years still to run - chances are they will bail out of F1 coverage altogether, well before 2018 and leave the door open for F1 to move exclusively to Sky.


Yep. Would you want to stay at the BBC if you were Coulthard and Brundle? You'd never know if you commentating on your last season. No way will the BBC go all the way to 2018.


I wish the BBC would finish its coverage altogether. If it can't be bothered, bow out gracefully. A half cooked attempt is pointless, especially if Brundle goes to Sky.

In fact, I don't see the point of Brundle and Coulthard staying at the the BBC and watching half the races at home, or the sidelines. They're fans like the rest of us.


Nothing really changes to me, then. I do not watch live coverage anyway, only on iPlayer in the evening. All this fuss for nothing.


Not a true fan then


Unless the deferred coverage is free-to-air only and not available on iPlayer??


'Free to air' does not exist in the UK. You are required by law to pay 146 GBP/year if you have equipment in your house capable of receiving a signal. Not much free in that.



You can have a TV, with a DVD player or games console plugged up and use it for free without a license. You can also watch iPlayer on demand (but not streams live) without a license.


Yes, you are required to pay licence fee when you receive signal as it's being broadcast, that is when you watch or record live TV. Now, the thing with iPlayer is that it allows viewers to watch non live/pre recorded programs without the need to use any recording equipment nor having to receive live TV signal. That is if you only ever watch iPlayer or similar and never watch national live TV or listen to national live Radio you're not required to pay the licence fee.

However with the TV and Radio ever present in our lives, literally shoved up our throats whether we want it or not, it is quite difficult to claim that you don't need to pay.

Difficult, but not impossible and with a plethora of services such as iPlayer or free commercial online radio stations there's still plenty to watch or listen to.

That is if you want to. Another way is to completely break free of all this stuff, and fill your life with outdoor or indoor activities that don't involve watching or listening to anything you don't really want to see or hear.

Needless to say you're always free to decide what you want to do with yourself, until you're not, but that's another matter. I bet Mr. Murdoch is quite fluent in that area.


More you need to pay for it if you watch it live when being broadcast, (That would include recording it at home). As it stands I can have my TV not tuned and connected to my PS3 (without the iPlayer) and no license and be legal I wouldn't want to though for a 146 fee i'll have the TV tuned too please.


I'm opposed to the current situation with only 10 races live on the BBC but, saying that, I don't see the races being shown 'as live' as presenting anything like as big a problem as some across the web are making out.

Essentially, if you lost track of time (and didn't have a clock to hand) you'd be none the wiser as to whether the race is live or not. So just turn off the TV/laptop/phone and watch the race when it's finally shown later that day/evening.

Too many people seem to be obsessing over access to data the second its created - it's not financially viable right now, unless you're willing to pay. I'm not, so I'm happy with watching ten races live each year and perhaps enjoying the outside world until the 'as live' broadcast begins on 'Sky days'.


So now it is indeed 'full race deferred coverage' for the BBC? Not just 'extended highlights'?

I find it incredible how such a detail can be misconstrued. If this is indeed the case, then the deal is insormountably different to what was first reported, and many Sky no-goers (myself included) can now watch the full race after all albeit a few hours later. That certainly beats paying 48 quid per race to the dark side, and i dare say is something that most people will be able to 'settle' with.

So, is this part of the original deal that was lost in translation, or was this a knee-jerk 'Oh dear we've just tried to back-stab 6 million+ viewers (not to mention overseas viewers) and they're wiser to it than we thought, so we better come up with a plan B pretty damn quick - reaction?

Either way, i am amazed that Sky have agreed to this. If the race is to be shown in full a few hours later then no person in their right mind is going to pay 48 quid a race to murdoch for the sake of gaining a few hours, so surely the whole thing is gonna die a horrible (and deserved) death anyway?

I understand that nothing comes for free anymore that's fine, but i refuse to pay for countless hours of dirge for the sake of a few hours of f1 every other weekend. Either utilize a (reasonable) pay-per-view system or leave it as it was on the BBC. Don't come up with a ludicrous deal and then change when you realise you've 'messed up' royally.

This whole thing is a farce. The sooner 'f1' (under whatever guise it may take - formula breakaway anyone?), realises it is dead without fans the better, and the sooner it is helmed by someone else the better.

Sort it out.


Agreed. If this IS the deal, I for one am happy. I often watch races an hour behind on my PVR. Sky will be the real losers if this happens! I agree, farce is right.


I have been watching Formula 1 since the 2000 Season, and refuse to pay to view the sport, I will make do with BBC's half race half highlights/delayed footage.

I have also spoken to quite a few different fans I know, one guy has been watching F1 since 1978 and hasn't missed a single race, but he cannot afford to pay for Sky TV.

Another elderly man I know, has told me that the only programme he watches these days is Formula 1 and if it is taken off the BBC, he will sell his colour TV and get his old black and white set out of the loft as he doesn't see a reason to pay for his license anymore.

But it isn't just me and these two people, a petition that was started about 10 hours ago to keep the Sport on BBC so far has over 7,000 signatures.

It is beyond me why the BBC is getting rid of it,as the Canadian GP had more viewers than the Champions league final, and last weekends German Grand Prix had a peak audience of 47.9% that is almost half of all people in the country watching TV were watching F1.

If the BBC want to save money how about reducing some of the coverage? How about ditching the practice sessions, I can liv without them, how about cutting down the Pre-race show?

Or just do away with BBC4? Formula 1 grand prix's get millions of viewers while BBC4 programmes struggles to get into the hundreds of thousands of viewers. I can't help but think thee BBC bosses are showing BBC4 some favouritism.

I am yet to talk to a fan who is happy about this, or read a comment on the internet from a happy fan.

For those who are lucky enough to have a Sky Sports subscribtion, they are still upset due to there friends and fellow fans who will miss out.

Fofa Rep.


where is this petition? can i have the link please?


Putting aside the fact that watching it LIVE means quite abit to the Average F1 fan.

What i cannot understand now is if the races are deffered how on earth is that a good deal for Sky?!?! This doesnt make much buisness sense for them to have half the races via timed exclusivity. F1 is clearly expensive and if they are going to throw everything at it then surely they would want to know that people are going to have no choice but to watch their coverage. Otherwise whats the point?

In this day & Age their is no reason that Bernie and the BBC couldnt have come out with an option for BBC PPV/Top Up. If thats what it takes and that is also clearly stated to the fans that this is the ONLY way to keep F1 in full on the BBC i would Guestimate by todays outcry that somwhere between 60%-75% would purchase most races and at least 50% purchasing all of them.

Like many F1 ,Top Gear,MOTD and BBC Comedy Panel Shows are all i watch on TV. Im a very happy license payer because the Beeb is all i watch. F1 has played a huge part in that.

So the problem is £48 a Race on Sky. No one can justify that in todays climate.

And now with deferred races how can SKY justify whatever ungodly sum they are paying for Timed Exclusive coverage.

Oh and Thanks FOTA for doing the thing we all predicted you would. By Coming out and saying It'll probably be alright.

This gets more and more baffling.


Greed wins the F1 race.


I am absolutely fuming that the BBC holds it's licence fee payers in such disregard. I'm forced to pay to support the irrelevant, uninteresting and unstimulating garbage that the beeb churns out... How about getting rid of the additional BBC channels that no-one watches? I feel I'm being forced to pay twice to watch a sport I love. This is my last season as a formula 1 fan... I think others should also vote with their feet too.


You won't stop watching 🙂

March 18th you'll be there with the rest of the fans from around the world, be it deferred or live, you like many won't be able to not find out what's the latest in F1.

Why do I know this? Well you wouldn't take the time to post On this site or have the inclination to find james' site in the first instance. 🙂


Good point Mike. Maybe we will resent paying through the nose for it tho!


In some ways it is the worst of both worlds. At least if it went to Sky entirely they would be able to take the key people.

When sky do sport well they are very good (world superbikes in the 90's anyone?). I'd rather it stayed on BBC with Jake, Martin, DC et al. But if it has to move I don't want two platforms with the best people only on half the time.



We were told this morning that it was highlights only for the "non-live" shows on the BBC.

Now Martin Whitmarsh has been assured that these races will be full length. Oh really!

So was the BBC not telling the truth this morning when it said highlights? Shifting of positions?

And will the BBC bother to show the full race. Will they be able to resist just offering race highlights in the light of lower viewing figures for non-live races?


There is no such thing as free to air. Somebody is paying. If you are a true sports fan you would pay to watch such an incredible show. Bludging off the taxpayer is so bad.

Contrary to comments it is not the end of the world. I live in a country where Sky is the provider and I love it because I get every session live plus qualifying and the race with no adverts. How good is that.


I have loved the BBC coverage but could see this coming, I will watch where ever it is shown - luckily I have Sky and the quality of picture will be much higher as it is on the football.


Pictures will be identical. All the broadcasters get the same feed provided to them from FOM!


I'm dissapointed that apears the teams seem happy to go along with this deal going off Whitmarsh's comments.

I was hoping the teams would offer more resistance, but it looks like the F1 fans will suffer.

Jonathan Powell

Its a shame that we wont get the same BBC coverage of all the races as before and I can udnerstand why people are disappointed, although atleast half the races will still be shown live with full coverage of the others.

Couldnt any interesting situation happen in the future though James whereby if, as could happen, there are more races in Asia which are shown live on Sky at, for exmaple, 5am and then the BBC show it say at 10am and therefore get more veiwers anyway? People arent gonna choose to get up early when they can watch a race at a reasonable hour are they?


I won't be paying for Sky Sports, and if I now need to disconnect the TV and Internet so that I don't know the result until the later-in-the-day re-run I'll do it because I love the sport so much I NEED to see the full race. I've watched a couple of the races as re-runs (eg Japan, which is shown before dawn, then in full at lunchtime), usually when I've had a Saturday-night hangover(!) and so long as I don't know the result the tension is still there, even though I know it's not live. However it will be difficult to avoid the result on a Sunday afternoon until the whole race is shown (presumably Sunday evening). The highlights-only option would have been a much bigger disaster. I don't like it but I'll have to live with it. We can all blame Bernie for giving us no choice - he sets the price, after all.


F1 will remain FTA on RTL for the foreseeable future?

Well, I for one won't be pointing my satellite dish 19.2degs East and watch that whilst listening to Radio 5 Live. That would be immoral! 😉

Santino Sirignano

its alright for F1 personnel to not really care, they constantly have the best seats there is!


We have been sold out by the BBC, benie and now Gita too. Just proves that they have no interest in the fans.

Let's be honest the BBC coverage has been fantastic, now we will get some hyped up American style rubbish and I doubt there will be any intelligent presenters.

I feel sick as a pig


James here's my calm thoughts:

I'm a family man, and at least 10 or so races each year I record and watch in the evening after my young kids have gone to bed.

Therefore as long as the delayed transmission is full coverage it won't affect me that much. I never have enough time to watch the pre and post race stuff so providing the commentary is half decent it's not all bad.

The teams will rake in more money - 1 million or so new subscribers would bring more money into the sport than the Beebs contract, so maybe its good for the sport too.

We are, after all, fans and spectators we don't slog it out running an F1 team so I respect Martin's view to be honest.

So in reality a few more years of free to air. 'For sure' though I will NOT be paying for Sky Sports.

Finally this problem would not have arisen if Bernie did not charge such large fees. He is so woefully out of touch with public opinion it's unreal.

Great site as always.

Andy the Irishman


Delaying broadcast means that fans can't enjoy a lot of the exciting new opportunities that newer technology allows.

For half the races I won't be able to enjoy live car trackers, live streams from team websites, live twitter commentary from the pitlane etc.

The delayed races will no doubt be really late on a sunday, so most people won't be able to avoid the result before watching the re-run. Not to mention with a re-run you tend to skip all the pre amble& therefore a lot of the value that bbc adds to its coverage.

Personally i'd prefer a pay to view online stream. SKY is expensive & love F1 but won't pay that much to view it.

I think Whitmarsh has failed in his role as FOTA leader. The Concorde agreement states races must be free to view. It'll be interesting to see what sponsors make of this & how viewing figures change next year.


Guess that's it then.

I thought FOTA would at least give it a day before disappointing me.

It's the end of an era. Not sure I can even summon up the enthusiasm to watch tomorrow.

So disappointed.


What a joke BBC half drops F1 "because it can't afford it" yet they still have the money to produce the full length show to show after SKY have had their exclusive.

Some cash grab by bernie there.


F1 is only worth what people are prepared to pay.

If everyone just sticks together and do not subscribe to SKY they will earn no money from having F1.


So far I have not heard anything from BBC nor Sky about 'deferred airing' on BBC. At contrary, their announcements state 'extended highlights'. Negotiations are still underway. Game not over yet!


James, any word on what this means for us colonials in Canada yet? F1 is shown on cable tv, but it's the BBC feed and commentary.


It's a great relief that the races will be in on the BBC.

More and more people these days record races to watch at convenient times, especially the crack-of-dawn ones. So it may not be too bad after all.

It's interesting though to see the slight disconnect on this issue between the F1 crowd, including perhaps James, who don't rely on the telly to watch the races, and us fans who do. We love our free BBC coverage!


so why does it work in germany?


I don't know who BBC, Sky and Bernie are trying to fool by thinking it's great news, they must think we're all idiots.

Watching live races for years and years of being devoted fans, then basically getting the middle finger by Bernie and co. Plus to add salt to the wounds, it gives an opportunity for the corrupt Murdoch to line his bulging pockets.

Business and money speaks louder than the fans. What an utterly disgraceful day for F1. The BBC, Sky and Bernie should all hang their heads in shame for such awful treatment.


I have to say that I feel for all the fans on here and in the UK about this decision to have half the races on the BBC and half on SKY.

It really does suck, and the thought of time deferred races for the other 50% of the races is miserable.

I am a Brit, living in the USA. Formula One has been available on Speed TV (A division of Fox, part of the Murdoch empire) for a good few years now.

The races are covered live, as is qualifying and also FP2, with FP1 and FP3 available on SpeedTV.com.

However, for the past 3 years or so, Fox have taken over the rights to broadcast the races time delayed, 4 times a year, including Monaco and Silverstone on the regular Fox channel. So they are at 11am here in the USA, a good 6 or so hour after the race has actually been won, just to make it convenient for the American audience.

Means I can't use the F1 timing and scoring app on my iPad, and I have to dodge the internet for hours the day of the race.

This is an aim to get Formula One among the masses in America, when in reality, all it is is a filler between the Basketball season ending and the American Football season starting. But they don't sell it that way.

It really makes for tough watching, that's for sure. My wife isn't into F1 as much as me, so she checks Facebook or Twitter as usual while I am waiting for the race to start, and when something important happens, she says 'yeah, I knew about that, sorry'.

Just dilutes the experience. Live is where it's at.

I guess the only saving grace for me, is that I pay for satellite TV ($220 a month) and SpeedTV is part of that package, and I have already been 'upsold' to the HD package for SpeedTV, so I shouldn't be affected by the live race shenannigans proposed in the BBC/SKY deal, unless SpeedTV choose to invoke the 'blackout' rule for the F1 races whereby you have to pay yet another fee in order to watch channels that you are already paying twice for (once to actually get the channel and then again to get it in HD).

I truly feel sorry for the UK F1 fans in this instance.


I have a lot of respect for Martin, he is a very fair and considered person with the media...but all that statement basically amounts to is:

"All the teams will receive more money, so we are all happy to change our previous views"

He's a spokesperson for the whole paddock, so him saying this means it is the view of most (if not all the teams) so its fair to say this is the final nail in this coffin.

Whats the point in all the advances in technology with iPhone apps that show live timing and track position, or forums where there can be immediate debates, or following teams on facebook/twitter if all that results in is watching a delayed version of the race where you can't enjoy any of the above?

I've never posted on you're site Martin but read it daily for a year or so....this is my 4th post today. Speechless.


Goodbye F1. Nice knowing you. The end of a 27 year relationship.


The only way to make a point on this is to start boycotting F1 sponsors products (Voda, Pirelli, Santander, etc).

Though clearly its not their fault Bernie would soon sit up and take notice if the revenue streams were threatened. Doubt enough people would do it though.

How anyone can spin this as good news for F1 is beyond me. Its a black day for UK F1 fans.

Shame on the BBC and Ecclestone.


Forgot to say, I am currently a Sky Sports subscriber.


I understand that financially for all involved commercially this benefits those making money out of F1.

It will be very interesting to see what kind of level Sky's coverage is at. Judging by football, again compared to the BBC I feel their coverage lacks a lot of depth, for example the analysis is generally pretty poor. They do bring a certain cinematic experience to the whole thing in the build up etc, and in that sense, it may work on one level. They do however have a habit of looking like puppets when they are trying to talk up what are sometimes incredibly dull football matches for example.

I would have preferred a new way of making it more accessible to the fans however. Although not ideal, a pay per view channel dedicated to Formula One would seem like a more sensible approach to please both parties. Many have already said that they would happily pay for coverage of the quality the BBC has produced the past 2 years, but the cost of the Sky deal is really only going to suit fans who already have Sky TV. By getting Sky, you're essentially forking out £60 a race, given that the equivalent is already on TV.

Here's their first bit of content.



There is a big difference paying £12 a month (as is the case in Japan) to watch all races, and forking out £40 to see half of the races. I would happily pay a tenner to watch F1 as it is now.

This model they created (BBC+SKY) is a way to circumvent the Concord Agreement and only serves to screw average Joe.

I can afford the £40 a month, but will think VERY hard whether I go for it or not (would need to know more details).


If all it takes is to have half a seasons races defered a few hrs, but otherwise FULL..FREE coverage of hundreds of hours of television..if thats all it takes for folk to "im not going to watch anymore" bla bla bla...

well see ya...bye bye...dont slam the door on the way out.

I detest sky. I will never give them a penny of my hard earned, but if in this climate the bbc will still be showing half races live, other half defered a few hrs, but otherwise complete second by second coverage....then im good with that.

I suspect that wasnt actually skys idea of how it was going to be...but i think it is the only compromise the teams will accept.


In a digital world of instanteous news, tweets, blogs and internet... a deferred race is not at all attractive when the viewer already knows the Outcome!

Alistair Blevins

Races will not be shown deferred in full, according to Ben Gallop of the BBC:


'Extended highlights' only.

Whitmarsh has been hoodwinked by Bernie.


any ideas for how fans can best protest this?

unfortunatly i have bt internet, shame i dont have sky coz then i could cancel it and tell their complaints department why im cancling...

any other ideas?


Does Martin Whitmarsh think we are stupid? I frankly find him insulting.

He’s changed his tune somewhat, It seems once Bernie told him how much sky is going to give his team, the idea is like mana from heaven.

F1 has lost the plot! James tell them that they need to get their act together with the internet too, they are so behind the time and blind to medium it’s going to killing F1.

It didn’t escape my notice that BBC are running test live HD stream of F1 this weekend , sign of things to come ? (pay per view online)


From what I've read, heard etc. one of the main drivers for this change is the BBC's drive to cut costs. But have they really saved that much money? In providing coverage for 50% of all races and provide the quality coverage we have been used to they surely have to maintain the infrastructure to do that unless as part of the agreement their TV feed is SKY based? The BBC have sacrificed F1 in an attempt to maintain their grip on what they class as their flagship sporting events which are held either annually or every 4 years and are still at the mercy of commercialism. Overall a very very poor decision which will marginalise the UK's F1 fans. And this from a sport with such strong links to the UK.

Will the last F1 fan to leave, please switch off the lights.


The infrastructure is not the expensive bit, it's Bernies prices for the rights, and a lot of that will now be paid by SKY, hence why it saves the BBC so much money.


Today the BBC and Whitmarsh/FOM should be ashamed of themselves. So the BBC needs to save money (why not go ahead and close 6 music with less than 10% of an F1 audience, or simly cut back on the glossy production of F1 - at times it seems that they can't throw enough money at the production) and that justifies giving up a contract which gives them rights to comprehensive coverage for another 2 years to showing a few races and we're supposed to accept that it's good news and they've got the best possible deal for fans?

I cannot stand the patronising attitude of the BBC on this. So the head of sport announces that they're "delighted" to have extended their rights to the sport until 2013. Maybe, just maybe, if they'd come out and said that they couldn't afford the contract, they're sorry and this was the best deal they could get, it might have been easier to stomach. But to say you're delighted with the deal - and therefore we should be too - is quite astonishing. And why should we believe you when you say you'll do your part-time coverage until 2018 when you said you'd be doing full coverage until 2013? For a media organisation with what you'd assume is a well developed understanding of the importance of communication they have handled this appallingly.

I'd have had more respect for the BBC if they'd seen out their contract and walked away. Or negotiated their share agreement with another terrestrial channel. As it is, all the resources they've put into promoting F1 over the last 3 years has simply handed SKY an increasing audience on a plate.

And as for Whitmarsh/FOM, we shouldn't be surprised by their change in attitude. They're interested only in money and if they think there's more in it for them in this deal of course they'll accept it. But no doubt with sackcloth and ashes out of concern for the fans. Save us your insincerity.


What you say in para 2 is the reality, having spoken to various BBC people today


Whoever negotiated the original deal on behalf of the BBC has no understanding of F1 - or of any form of sport, come to that. The idea of showing half the races live and the other half as highlights was nonsense. You have to have the same level of coverage for every race otherwise the viewer is left feeling cheated. Bernie now seems to have renegotiated the deal under pressure from FOTA. If we are now saying that the eight European races and the two Gulf races are going to be shown live on the BBC, with the seven Asian races shown delayed on a Sunday afternoon and the three races in the Americas shown delayed on Monday evening, that's not such a bad deal for the viewer who is unwilling or unable to pay for Sky. I for one don't get up in the early hours in order to watch the Asian races. I watch them deferred. However, if this is what Whitmarsh has been promised, I find it very hard to imagine that Sky would be prepared to accept this change to the deal that was originally agreed. They would be in direct competition with the BBC at ten races and for the others they would be left only with those viewers who are sufficiently keen to get up early on a Sunday morning in order to watch F1 or spend their Sunday evening watching F1. However, if delayed coverage in full means the BBC being expected to show some of the European races in full on a Sunday evening instead of their normal schedule of light entertainment, I can't see them agreeing. It would upset far too many non-F1 fans. Wouldn't it have been better if these matters had been discussed and resolved between all parties - FOTA, Pirelli, sponsors, FOM, BBC, Sky, Ofcom - before making an announcement instead of announcing a half-baked piece of stupidity as a fait accompli?


If the deferred race is on the same day then this could be a workable solution. There have been many times I have recorded the race (Using a non Sky system!)and wathced later, having avoided all the news bullitins in between !

This will be a good opiton for the southern hemishpere! and Brazil and Canada will not be too late either.....

I know its not "Live " Live, but better than giving £40 per month for the season knowing that you would be drawn back to the beeb for the free ones anyway !


is anyone surprised how this story came about, i'm not. sky having being planning this for a couple of months, with there extra focus on f1.

The issue with this is that other free 2 views sports will in the end go, like your fifa world cups & the tennis.

its so laughable that this would "increase the viewing numbbers", when bbc1 on its own gets aleast 20% of the tv market share monthly, where the all sky channels (Sky1,sky sports/mopvies) together only get a a fifith.



I'm not a big fan of this plan, but I can understand the BBC's point of view.

There is bound to be a demand for experience F1 broadcasters. Just one plea - if Sky tempt you to do their coverage, please don't abandon this site - I think many would say it is their first point of call for F1 news and analysis.


Here, here. I guess we are lucky in Australia as we get to see and hear James provide regular input and news reports on the F1 show and RPM. Long may that continue. I would, however, LOVE to have the James and Martin pairing back on TV - although from what you say about Martin's view of this deal we may lose him to F1 commentary altogether. DC is very knowledgeable but just doesn't give us the excitement we like in commentary - his emotions are too measured and not much of a foil for Martin. The mix of knowledgeable and excitable enthusiast (James) and knowledgeable and almost as excitable ex-driver (Martin) was a great combination.

Love the work you do on this web site, so would also not want to see it suffer too much.


Don't worry. Thanks for the support


I am completely against this 'deal'. James, and others, have said there is some inevitability regarding the move to a pay model. Fine, if that's a given, why hasn't Bernie, FOTA et al approached the fan base to discuss what would work, rather than riding rough-shod over us all? Yes, other countries have a pay model, but I'd be very interested in knowing how much it costs to watch a GP weekend live in these other countries. I for one resent the idea of paying into generic sports channels when I have no interest in paying for, or watching, any football (for example). It sounds like other countries just pay for the F1.

People are brandishing the idea that there are 10 million UK households that already have Sky, and some of those people are suggesting that that means 10 million households that will suddenly be able to watch F1 live, which is obviously not the case. Furthermore, how many of the 10 million pay for the additional sport channels that would be needed for F1? That information is harder to find.

The Friday press conference transcript is now on the F1 website. It makes for interesting reading 'cause it sounds to me like the teams have either been lied to, or that they are blindly toeing the party line, or have simply no idea how the TV system works over here and don't care to find out. Someone needs to sit down with them and show them exactly how much it will cost to watch the sport that they rely on us watching.

Regardless of what a lot of people say, Football has taken a turn for the worse in this country (and that's coming from someone in the industry) since it moved to Sky. Cricket is following that trend. F1 itself suffered during the Ferrari / Schumacher years and the processional races that followed and it's only now (the last 3 / 4 years) picking back up again. This new found enthusiasm will wane for a lot of people and I envisage that the sport will eventually become very minor over here. All that needs to happen is the MotoGP, BTCC, Le Mans series and others to have slightly higher profile TV slots (on free to air of course) and F1 will largely be forgotten.

I will try to carry on watching. When I'm in the Middle East (living in a country that has no F1 circuit) it's free to air so I only need to add the Radio 5 commentary and I'm good, but it'll be much harder back in the UK. I mean, how daft is that? This 'deal' will not make any difference to my opinion of Sky; I will not be subscribing.


So that's the head of F1 saying we're better off with highlights of an F1 race, and the head of FOTA saying a commercial tv deal until 2018 is a cautiously good idea.

How is the concorde negotiations going guys. I'll tell you, it has nothing to do with us.

These quotes and news articles are just silly and im not sure who these people are talking to anymore.

Seems more logical that it's meant for the sponsors, so why should us fans bother listening.


I have to say I am an F1 avid fan (as my regular saturday and sunday arguments with my good lady will confirm)

I will not be subscribing to SKY Sports to watch all the F1 races.

I will be reading this website and papers for the detail of the races.

If Bernie/F1 goes down the pay to view (SKY) route - then my viewing is lost.


£12 per month like Japan would be pretty reasonable, but £50 per month is not. And to News International of all people.


It doesn't sound great but for as long as I will be able to watch all the races.Still. It is about the only thing on BBC that is worth watching. I can't understand how it all works.

We are the licence fee payer and yet programs they produce for our money are so poor.

It will not be easy to stay off the internet while waiting for the race rerun, but it is much more acceptable then highlights.

Teams have a lot to gain from it as it has been said over and over again that current sponsorship levels required are not achievable in todays economy.

It looks like CVC is gearing up for sports takeover. Profit margins suddenly went even higher.


Deferred viewing doesn't work for me, because I need the live timings, the team broadcasts, twitter, etc at the same time. We don't live in the stone age any more, where all we do is sit in front of the TV. It's an interactive experience, and it will no longer be supported by pay-per-view.

Either the rich people who run F1 are so far removed from the fans now that they have no clue how we watch it, or they don't care.

I'm sad to see Martin Whitmarsh backing it, even if "cautiously", because he's someone I had a lot of respect for. But this article backs up my feeling that now is a good time for me to give up F1 and find some other way of spending my weekends.




Oops, I didn't mean pay-per-view, I meant free-to-air!


If the coverage is deferred on the BBC please, James, can you spread the word that all the news journalists on all channels should be given lessons in how to write the headlines. By this mean, rather than...

"Lewis Hamilton has won the Australian Grand Prix after a thrilling race..."


"After a thrilling race, the Australian Grand Prix has been won by Lewis Hamilton... "

It doesn't seem much but at least it gives one time to stick one's fingers in one's ears and close one's eyes.


I had exactly the same thoughts - the radio will have to stay off all weekend, and the TV news. I'll be in current-event limbo until Sunday night or Monday afternoon...but maybe that is not such a bad thing either.


Anyone sensible has long known that what we had was too good to last forever. What surprises me is that I don't really see how the BBC are going to significantly drive down production costs as a result of this proposal. These were often reported as one of the key issues and I think a lot of fans would have been very understanding of a cut back in the scope of the coverage. If all races are still to be broadcast in full it's hard to see what savings can be made that couldn't be achieved with scaled back live coverage.

As for pay viewing, the £12 per month in Japan may be a relevant precedent but that's a lot less than we have to fork out for the whole sky setup and subscription packages. People talk about ppv as if it's the ultimate evil but I'd far rather pay a standalone rate for something specific that I want to watch than pay even more to subscribe to channels I have no interest in. I wish formula 1 would look at the NFL gamepass model which allows exactly that through a brilliant hd service delivered over the internet.


The game pass model is ultimately the future of F1 and to me BBC's effort to keep some association with F1 demonstrates they know this too.

My reading of the situation is that ALL could have been lost, this is the best they could do with their current resources.

Expect the Internet to be the real future of F1 broadcasting, but probably only once Bernie passes on.


I watch F1 on the BBC from Belgium, but this will end now. Quite a lot of people on the continent have access to the BBC (cable TV) and F1 will lose all those people.

So it is probably over to the Belgian TV (without ads, Dutch of French) for 2012, but I will miss Martin and David.


This is not as bad as at first thought.

The litmus test of the announcement (clearly not a fully hammered-out deal) showed the utter dismay of the fans and manifold threats (including from myself) of deserting the sport altogether.

Now that all full races are on free to air, I don't really see what the problem is, aside from the usual dodging of race results in news summaries.

I'm a lot happier with Martin Whitmarsh's clarification here (great job, by the way - I think he must have read my email to FOTA!). I was really struggling to see how the sponsors would have allowed a captive audience of millions to disappear like that.


Did you write the one to FOTA which talked about what he said at the Fans Forum? If so he did read it because he mentioned it to me at lunchtime!


So lets get this straight: We have no choice but to pay £12 for a tv licence. We now (if we want to watch F1) have to also add £20 a month for sky and another £9 a month for the sports channel? So just exactly who is currently sat waiting for it to come on sky so they can "add" to the audience? What kind of idiot is Martin Whitmarsh to fall for this rubbish from Ecclestone?

Also, didn't Bernie categorically say recently that F1 would never go to pay tv?

Paul Rodríguez

James, any clue of what implications this would have on the broadcasting for Latin America, specially Mexico?. F1 currently shows on Cable TV via Fox sports latam. Thank you very much. As always, you provide the most complete insight on the matter.


Absolutely none.

FOM sells the rights directly to FoxSports Latin America. Nothing to do with the UK negotiation.

It's already broadcast through subscription channels, so it will all stay the same for us.

And that's great, because the "free to air" transmission in Mexico, deferred around 6 hours is beyond terrible and simply unwachable.

FSLA does fairly good transmission, no where near as good as the BBC team, but who gets close to them in terms of quality really?

Having said that, I'm sad as well because some hours after the race the BBC pre race, race and forum are available in P2P, so I've been watching the races for a second time every sunday night and that will be lost in fome of the BBC team goes to Sky and others stay.

Really sad for that, I share everyone's feelings, but to say F1 will die because of this is going a bit too far, it's a global sport! Sure UK numbers will definitely suffer, but F1 will survive simply because it's not only watched in the UK, far from it.

If you feel you are being forced to search for live Stream options to see races live, there are plenty of places out there for you.


I think I have lost all the respect I had for Martin over this. What is good for f1 fans is the way it is now. Anything else is bad. Simple as. Everybody I would imagine has bbc1. How many people have sky. The amount of pr rubbish I have heard from bernie, Martin and the BBC makes me sick. They all lie and treat us like we are stupid. Hardly great role models are they. I know I won't be feeling sorry for Martin next time the rumours start he is to be sacked. And if all the races are still going to be on the BBC why won't they all be live. I don't understand that part.


It won't work. Ecclestone tried it before with his own hugely expensive pay-to-watch plan that ended as scrap. Everyone in the biz knows that multiple trans-national sponsors pay billions to hit millions of free-to-air eyeballs. The BBC delayed-watch will trump the Sky audience by over 80% and Sky's remaining percent will be mainly outside the sponsors' aimed-for demographic. The new TV sport will be fun: we can call it Watch the Sponsors Walk Away!


Yes, they will be examining their potential ROI's very closely and weighing up their options.


After being an avid fan of F1 since the late 1970s, 2011 will be the last time I drag my bones out of bed in the middle of the night to watch a live race. I may watch an occasional live race on The BBC, but I see little point in watching a race after I know the result.

I certainly will not be lining the pockets of the Murdoch empire. I would have even payed (over an above the licence fee) The BBC to watch all the races live.

Coverage on The BBC has been excellent, viewer numbers are on the up and The BBC had two years of it coverage contract still to run.

We still have BTCC on ITV4 ROFL!


Martin! I’m a big fan but redefining the meaning of free-to-air fools no one.

Murdoch has already stated that he wants to buy the TV rights from CVC/FOM. If that happens then he will dominate the sport. F1 will be his to mould and modify. Will pace car deployment increase to allow adverts and to close up the field.

FOTA will be sidelined.

Murdoch said in an interview with Thomes Kierman:

“You tell these bloody politicians whatever they want to hear, and once they deal is done you don’t worry about it. They’re not going to chase after you later if they suddenly decide what you said wasn’t what they wanted to hear. Otherwise they’re made to look bad and they can’t abide that. So they just stick their heads up their asses and wait for the blow to pass.”

So what chance the BBC negotiations? What chance for FOTA? We already know there is no chance for the spectators and the fans.

Do you know, for a while there I actually thought the future of F1 looked good. Silly old me. I forgot about money.



And to think I was beginning to like you Whitmarsh!


So those who cannot afford Sky Sports, like we cannot afford to pay our fuel hikes, and the increased cost of living, now have to miss out on F1 as well.


Waited all day for Whitmarsh comments. Really thought(I don't know why) he would make some sort of stand or show some balls. Just counting the money like the rest. Very very sad.


It's been said before; but UK fans have been spoiled with live free-to-air coverage for a long time now. It's not how the real world works, and the sooner everyone realizes that there's no such thing as a free lunch and stops all this whining the better.


Free? We pay a compulsory license fee every year...


Is F1 the *only thing you watch? I doubt it. So in your mind you should amortize the fee over all the other things you or your family watch on the beeb.


BBC is not free its £145.50($238)a year without an option to not pay. If you have a TV in the UK you have to pay this fee.

So not only do we have to pay this Fee but we now have to pay £48 a month for the same experience on a Cable provider in order to recieve all the races.

Resulting in the Cost of being able to watch F1 in the UK in HD from £145.50($238)in 2011 to £600+($985+)in 2012.

We havn't been spoiled as we've only had the Worlds best F1 coverage since 2009 before that it was very average. Thats now been taken away in the most confusing and insulting way possible.

BBC should have a Top UP TV Sports Package to allow them to compete in coverage of Sports. Formula One should have been the Flagship program for this venture.


Sorry, Nigel, but obviously you are wrong. There *has been a free lunch, but it appears it will be 1/2 price in future.

If it was Greece there would be rioting in the streets.


Is there any idea out there what effect this will have on us across the pond? I'm in Canada and we get the BBC feed live on TSN (Speed in the US). I really hope this continues (free-to-air).

I'm really not impressed with this and really feel for the UK fans out there. Hopefully something good comes out of this.


I'm in the same boat and won't be surprised if Sky charge "extra" for across the pond broadcasts, or TSN just decide to drop the coverage altogether - the only reason they keep the coverage at the moment is because the late night slot doesn't interfere with their indigenous sport coverage (the Canadian GP aside). It'll be a case of waiting for someone to post the Torrent of the coverage online and waiting to see it that way...the whole sport could be driven underground...



As long as the BBC can show the race within an hour or two all it means is that you get to lie in until 10'ish for the 'flyawayroundtheworld' races. Half of the races are on the Beeb anyway and the remaining 6 or 7 can be caught early evening after you've actually spent a day out with the family for a change.

You don't actually have to pay anything, and lets face it the Beeb do a good enough job anyway - there's nothing more SKY can add as it would take up too much of our time. we don't actually need any more added 'analysis' or it'll stray into the speculative. Just a step away from making it up for the sake of it - anyone who thought News of the World then, hush your brain !

As long as we have that and this website to bitch-on we're OK. Get used to it and save yourself 480 quid a year.

By the way, anybody see Tony Jardine's release today - job application or what !?

PS - You beeb presenters - stick at it, you're good, you're good together and we like you.



Agree with Johnny Mol. Jake's good, very good.


Screw them all. There are many sites who stream the live races for free.

Yeah illegal but what do you expect? I am not paying 40 bucks a month to watch 2 races.



This is the website for your petition against the selling out of F1 to pay per view.



Not quite sure how Bernie's sums work.

If the whole country has access to 'free-to-air-TV' how does putting it on a pay channel in the same country increase the viewers ?



You know what.

It's not F1's job to provide more viewers for SKY, its SKY's job to get more viewers for F1. It's the only way the sponsor dollars are going to keep rolling.

And the great thing is, SKY's probably paying for the privilege.

If SKY don't 'do it' for F1 ------- they can F... Off.


Its a complete farce, as a F1 fan i now have to pay to watch the races Live on Sky. Really disappointed, and disgusted to be honest.


The original announcement was that the BBC would show highlights of the races it wouldn't cover, not delayed, full coverage. Why isn't anyone reporting this? Kudos to you for this, James.

If this is true, it softens the blow for fans who refuse to get Sky. It's a terrible deal, given what we'd become used to with the BBC and ITV coverage, but this development makes my options much more clear cut for me: I'd much rather have complete, delayed coverage than pay for a Sky subscription.

It's still a bad day, though - I don't think Sky will grow its share of the viewership much, and it's highly likely they'll expand their 50% share of exclusive live coverage to justify their investment.


It's obviously being turned into a deal maker/breaker with teams.


This is Whitmarsh talking to Bernie. Not the BBC. There's no representation of the BBC management in that announcement is there? If the BBC get full, but delayed races it's certainly better - but does anyone know if the BBC would even agree to show these? Wouldn't SKY force some of the cost back on the BBC if they lose some of their appeal?


Great news. Hope they stand their ground. Changes everything in my opinion.



Don't forget, finally - must get my dinner - remember the pub landlady who won the case recently in the UK. She was taking the SKY sports feed for free by using a Greek supplier. Court ruled it's OK !!

Check that one out, but there are a shed load of installers in Europe that will do this.

For some people SKY really is 'free-to-air' I guess.


I mostly agree with the sentiment that is being portrayed across all of the sites and reports.

I, as a license fee payer, do not believe that our interests have been taken into account. I am a very very big fan of F1, as well as other television. I would be disappointed to see other programmes canned just to save F1, but I do believe there is a level of hypocrisy in the whole affair.

What has not been made clear is what other sacrifices have had to be made across the spectrum of BBC programme.

For those that are stating that they are never going to watch the sport again then I pity your view a little bit. For me the presentation is important, but fundamentally it is the sport I love, not who introduces it, not how fancy the graphics are and certainly not what channel it is on.

I do not personally have Sky, and I do not have much intention to fund a subscription either...but I certainly will find a way of getting to watch the races, whether that be finding someone with Sky who shares my passion, finding a pub with it on etc.

It is not the ideal by any stretch of the imagination but F1 as a sport still has my unequivocal devotion, whatever channel it may appear on.


Can I have a reduction in my TV licence fee now?


Definitely a nail in the coffin of F1


I must agree with most of the fans, I too am disappointed with all of this. I've watched F1 since 1997, on RTE here in Ireland, went they took ad breaks, switched to BBC/ITV etc. RTE wouldn't pay up anymore, so then it was ITV and then onto now the BBC.

I have the sky sports package and BBC here in Ireland, but on a hungover Sunday morning after a hard week of work, I'd rather stay in bed watching the F1 streaming from a site on the laptop, instead of going downstairs to the TV :D. With Sky, I can go on to the SkyPlayer on the laptop now and watch the F1 streaming legally in good quality when the contract begins.

It might make my life easier with better quality, but I'm still totally against this. I was shocked this morning hearing about the contract. I know a lot of die hard F1 fans don't have the skysports package and never will get it.... the argument about go to a pub to watch it, no way in hell in Ireland will a bar show a F1 race, there's usually Gaelic Football, hurling, rugby, golf, snooker etc on in these pubs that take preference. So the Irish people will be stuck now too also. What about the races in the middle of the night that the die hard anoraks love getting up for etc. This all makes no sense. No sense whatsoever, in a sport that's so rich..... F1 without free to air british commentating throughout the years, Murray and Hunt, Murray and Brundle, Brundle and Allen etc.... it was these commentators that brought this sport to so many fans and created fans out of the naysayers who disregard F1 as guys that drive in circles. These are the people who casually tuned in for a few laps, got interested in the commentary and may have even gotten hooked, like myself. WIthout free to air, this target market is now gone.

Money talks. Think it really is time for Bernie to pass on the helm to someone else. Even giving the BBC a margin by reducing the fees, or even give them a few years to pay, for such a rich sport.... it's not as if the FIA/Bernie could have waived there commission/interest or whatever it is, they get enough from the tracks as it is. Bernie, I think dementia has set in, go see a doctor.


Yeah, see, at £12 a month that works out to £224 a year. That's less than half what it costs here in the UK to get a Sky TV subscription with the Sky Sports package. £12 a month I could possibly start thinking about. £25 on top of my current bills, that's just not going to happen before a sizeable pay increase.


Actually, scratch that. It's £19.50 a month for Sky and then for 1 Sky sports channel only, an extra £12.25 on top, making for £31.75 total a month. And then you've gotta hope Sky don't decide to swap it to a different Sports channel halfway through the season.


"This site is global, only 40% UK, so a growing number of fans around the world to compensate for any drop off in UK"

Sounds like you are Ok with the number of UK contributors dropping down. Good Luck with the rest of the world thang. Sayonara Mr Allen


If you are using an ad blocker then it really doesn't matter much if you visit at all.

This site and Joes are the only ones that scratch deeper than the surface... without having to pay extra.

James saying that if there is a drop off from UK visitors the site will continue unchanged should be a comfort, not an opportunity to be offended.


Exactly. Thanks for that


Not at all, it's just pointing out that there is no threat to the site.


Bernie has confirmed it's highlights not full race delayed according to Daily Mail so Martin's telling porkies.


Is it actually possible for the Daily Mail to "confirm" anything? I prefer to get such things from newspapers and organisations, not comics.


#34 Unless I'm mistaken it appears that you have to donate before signing the petition? Really? In a thread discussing paying for a sport that should remain free to air? Does Bernie own the petition site?


The BBC aren't going to show delayed coverage in a primetime evening slot on Sundays on BBC1, if it isn't on BBC1 the viewing will drop.

You'll probably get a false picture with many people watching it on both channels, and Bernie claiming an increased audience.

It may work for some fly away races.


Does FOM, the BBC and FOTA really expect all us F1 fans to shell out hundreds of pounds extra per year on top of our TV licence fee DURING A RECESSION! This just shows that they are all living in cloud Cookoo-land and are completely out of touch with your average man on the street. People are losing their jobs, wages are being frozen, petrol and food are at all time highs and Bernie et al think we can all afford to pay SKY a fortune for a years subscription to see only 10 races! I find this whole concept ridiculous! It would be OK if sky offered F1 fans a season ticket for 10 F1 races but NO we have to buy an entertainment pack, then upgrade to Sky sports then another £10 per month for HD, all that TV content just for F1, NO THANKS! I've always thought sky was a complete rip-off, they even charge premium rates to phone up customer service then leave you on hold for ages. I would only watch F1 if I had sky so the price simply isn't worth it. I've got more important things to spend my money on like childcare, petrol, holidays, food and home improvements! Think I will vote with my feet and watch the deferred races on the BEEB or watch live on the bbc sport site (I think I read somewhere that all races will be shown live on the bbc site?!)! I'm not giving Sky my money or my viewing figures! Hopefully Sky viewing figures for F1 will plummet and the BBC's will remain high until everyone gets the message, NO F1 ON PAY TV - EVER!!


It's far from ideal, but I can live with delayed (assuming by no more than a few hours) full race coverage on the BBC. The ability to watch a full race is absolutely key for me, otherwise I'm afraid I will probably lose all interest in F1 if I cant follow a "complete" season, as there is no way I am shelling out for Sky.


James, you're saying in one of your replies here: "My point is that the site will be fine as it isn’t a UK site, it’s global and we need to remember this today as 60% of the readers are not affected by this story."

I think you - and the BBC! - underestimate how many F1-fans in the world who have access to BBC actually follow the British broadcast instead of the local one, just because of the outstanding quality of it.

I'm Belgian and yes, we do have a dutch and french broadcast here. But really, the coverage of it is simple laughable, with commentators who try to sound interesting but for a true F1-fan who reads websites like jamesallenonf1.com it's just unwatchable.

Trust me, this isn't just a big topic in the UK...

Does the BBC have numbers about BBC F1-viewers from outside the UK or does Bernie simply 'forget' about that market? (which simply doesn't have the option watch on Sky btw)


Who get the extra races when Bernie decides to have > 20 races?


The problem with "delayed" coverage is you immediately lose Live Timing, the driver tracker, twitter, etc.

Furthermore, you have to spend each Sunday on Mars to avoid seeing the result before the race is shown.


Of course RTL is financially robust. With pre-race and post-race advert breaks extending to more than 7 minutes each, and with even some of the mid-race breaks extending to 5 minutes, how could they be in anything other than good shape, with all that revenue coming in?

Actually, credit where it's due - I watch their coverage because of a lack of alternatives where I live and it is pretty good. There is a very definite pro-German bias in the pre-race features, but the actual race commentary is more or less neutral. If only they would get rid of that horrendous pit lane reporter of theirs...


Well this sounds like the end of watching F1 for me. I live in Australia where the races are shown at around 10pm on a sunday night, its not too bad, a little late but watchable. If the race then is delayed a few hours it will be on at what 3am on a Monday morning for me? Or delay it so much to 10am Monday - when i am at work.

Which means i and most other Australians will not be watching it, so there goes a small market, but one that currently has 2 drivers on the grid and was expanding its viewer numbers.

RIP F1 in Australia if this deal goes ahead.


The reality is that we came pretty close to losing the BBC coverage - some were even talking about the BBC paying a termination fee to get out of their contract a year early (such is the pressure on them to be seen not wasting money).

On careful reflection, and assuming the BBC can keep doing a good job of the production, we're in a better position than we might have been if F1 had ended up with, say, a split Sky/Channel5 deal (with adverts in mid race).

As somebody who often has to record the race (and avoid the news all afternoon) before settling down in the evening to watch a recorded race, this deal is ok for me (assuming the full delayed broadcast occurs).

The only concern is that this is all just the 'thin end of the wedge', and after a few years the numbers of live BBC F1 shows vs Sky dwindles, then they'll get to the point where they say "we haven't been properly free-to-air" for years and F1 is still doing OK so let's drop the free-to-air rule completely.....


Thank you James for the great coverage all day long. The new situation is perhaps a good and new opportunity for pubs, local F1 clubs, F1 Factories, RedBull and other sponsors etc. to put up big screens and we watch and enjoy F1 together in a new and even more entertaining way. Lets get creative not angry!


reading the comments in the forum has given me a shock. I understand some are not bothered as they either have sky sports or have deep enough pockets to get it.

But I think we are getting derailed at whats at the heart of the issue.

1. what implications does this have on the fans

2.what futhre effects shareing the rights may have


3.Whats happens after the bbc contract ends

I will go into number 3 first, and from what i see is SKY will test the waters and see if F1 is worth the investment. This may be because of the past 5 years and the new and exicitng drviers and teams that haave come into the sport.

Best case for sky is, People start ordering sky sports wholesale to watch F1. many free to air fans will say'good luck mate' coz they are sure pay tv wont work. but as i see it sky must have cruched thier numbers and looked at the figures so its not all good news. I worry we will get a senario where sky will break even but wont let go fot the sake of keeping it under thier banner.

I say boycott sky.....or we will face this 10 race free senario perpetually


A key point only very few are getting here is how Bernie really felt pressure from FOTA.

The deal IS that BBC does 50% of the races live, the rest only highlights.

Bernie said so himself and the BBC blog (lame) "explanation" said the same thing. JUST HIGHLIGHTS!

Then, after B.E. talked to the teams, he backed down right there and then, feeling the unrest within the UK fans and said that BBC would transmit full races but 50% of them deferred.

He got that out ..[mod] without consulting SKY, which will simply NOT agree to that, and who would? As has been mentioned here, who in their right mind pay the subscription if they can watch the full race a few hours later?

That is definitely NOT in the contracts signed, they are as reported by BBC themselves, they wouldn't make such a mistake in their announcement would they?

There is pressure coming from FOTA, that is clear from this post by James. What will happen then?

If I were to bet, I'd say it's going to be as announced, not full races deferred. It would be illogical as a business plan for Sky to accept those terms, and they won't.


The sadest thing in all of this is that the every day fan has to pay the Murdoch machine to watch F1. The deals might look good now, but sponsors etc etc will not consider F1 as good value in a few years time as the numbers will reduce dramtically over the next 7 years.The money will drop out of adverts very quickly. Look at the WRC now! No, free to air means less coverage and less sponsors, the sport is deadin the long term! a very sad day


This story has a long way to run yet. Martin Whitmarsh says elsewhere that part of his sponsors deal is a free to air tv deal in the UK for maximum effect. He says all F1 races will be on BBC with half delayed transmissions. (He asked Bernie twice) Head of BBC F1 Ben Gallop says hightlights only for the non live races. SKY wont be happy with delayed highlights on the BBC after paying big money.


If we get 100% of all races free on the BBC (50% live and 50% deferred) then I'd be more accepting of this deal.

What hacks me off is the potential of only getting to watch full coverage of half the season. That and Bernie lining Murdoch's pockets when the world is finally waking up to what he is like.


How does Virgin Media fit into this? Do they already have a deal to show Sky sports! They could have a very good angle to ensure all F1 Fans get free Sky sports etc etc!!



I just wonder, who will provide the english based commentary to the likes of Australia and SA, that is so often mentioned in the BBC broadcasts?

And I have to say if Sky use John Watson and Tony Jardine, I shall NOT be taking there package.

I would welcome Martin Brundle, yourself and even DC in a package. Not bothered about Jake Humphreys or Eddie Jordan.

I can remember when commentary was done by Murray and James Hunt only, and half the commentary's were done from a studio in London, with no pundits.

Perhaps a return to those days would save the money that the BBC needs to save .

Do we need two pit lane reporters, EJ's self promotion, and the anchor of Jake?

Perhaps a leaner broadcast could use a local camera crew and say yourself or DC anchoring, a pit lane reporter and the anchor co commentating..

Not quite as grand as before but a leaner production for these leaner times...



Very disappointed overall, and was livid this morning when I heard.

However, and its a very big however, if it is true that the full races will be on the BBC, not just highlights, that makes a massive difference. Fans will be able to enjoy every minute of the track action, as long as they avoid finding out the result, and in all honesty I can live with not seeing every race live.

If only they had said this before, the sheer rage which has filled the web today might not have been so pronounced.


I've got it, the solution to all our troubles. We simply ignore (boycott) all the races that aren't shown live on the Beeb and have our own 10 race championship. Now if we could only find some enterprising website owner to post the drivers' and constructors' points tables and we'd be set. 🙂


Side step here: when I can't watch the race live I've now found a new way to enjoy the 'show' live. Whilst heading down and coming back on the train from the champions league final this year, I switched my iPad to run tune in radio for 5 live and put on that fantastic live timing / gps app for my iPad and was able to enjoy the thrills of the event. Intact just listening and visualising and taken in data from another source made the Monaco Gp weekend one one my favourite experience when observing f1 (except when I go to the gp's of course lol)


Anyone have Whitmarsh' email. Either FOTA or McLaren would do. For the first time ever, i actually want to point out the numerous errors he has made with these comments via email!

Can't understate how let down i feel.

First by the BBC, who i have always staunchly supported, for giving up the last two years of their exclusive contract.

Secondly by Mr Ecclestone, while it shouldn't suprise me, who has once again shafted the true fans of his cash cow again.

I mean seriously, if you are one of the 1 million ish that carry sky sports you are fine.

If you are one of the 9 million ish that carry Sky (on any platform) and need to upgrade you are looking at between £10 and £25 a month (depending on your platform) for a minimum of 9 months of the year, so thats between £90 and £225 a year for 10 races.

If you don't have sky at all you are looking at a minimum of £35 a month for sky plus sports package, so £315 a year, FOR 10 RACES!!!

Thirdly i feel let down by Fota (what was all that nonsense at the Forums about then??) and idiots like Whitmarsh who try to justify this. It stinks, you know it stinks, you said it would stink in the past, so why not just say it stinks now?


What an utter disgrace.

If we get deferred races on BBC, no one in their right mind will buy Sky, why would you? The coverage will not be better than the BBC team. No one will watch the adverts on Sky, if you bookend a program with crap, then people are very good cutting it off.

If we don't get deferred races, then F1 in this country will lurch backwards radically. No one will pay 600 pounds a year to watch 10 races, even if the only alternative is highlights. People wont be interested in watching half a season of F1, so viewing will drop for both broadcasters, sponsors will get reduced value, everyone loses.

F1 was just getting back on track in this country, with fantastic coverage and rising viewing figures, now, because of a crass money grab from Bernie, and a limp wristed flounce from the BBC, f1 fans are being sold down the river.

As I said, everyone loses.


James, beyond the obvious with this nightmare situation, I'm struggling a bit here, trying to understand why FOM actually need to earn income.

Obviously they are a business and therefore need and want to turn a profit, I get that, but FOM charge millions to the tracks for the privilege of holding a race. A percentage of which goes to the teams (Do you know how much, roughly? In my head it's 50 percent or less, but I might be wrong) and the rest going to FOM I imagine, but for what? Does any of that money actually go back into the sport? What do they actually do?

I understand Bernie has done a good job in recent years with the sport negotiating rights etc.. ahem, but do they actually advertise the sport? The only advertising I see coming from them is the website, the rest it seems comes from TV, so TV pays for the privilege to advertise F1? Again I ask what do FOM actually need money for?

Maybe there's a simple answer to this that I'm missing? (beyond them just being money grabbers, which is clearly how this is coming across to most F1 fans) If you can shed any light I'd appreciate it, It might help ease the pain...


A part of the cash FOM get goes to the TV production.

FOM produce the broadcast's for all the races apart from Monaco & Japan which are still done by the local broadcasters.

FOM supply all the onooard cameras, All trackside cameras, Timing equipment, GPS equipment & some other stuff which is used on the TV broadcasts & of cource there is all the staff.

Even at those 2 races FOM don't cover they still send a team out to install/operate the onboard cameras & run all the timing/gps equipment Etc...

They also need to maintain all that equipment & replace any which is damaged. They upgraded all the equipment to HD over the winter to provide us all with HD broadcasts & brought all new HQ onboard cameras to go along with it.

Don't forget that the same is true for GP2/GP3 & The Porsche Supercup, They supply all the TV/Timing/GPS equipment.

The teams get some of the prize money but FOM also pay for all the teams travel as all of the big DHL cargo planes the teams gear is flown around the world on is paid for by FOM.


Thanks, for that, yeah that dawned on me whilst struggling to sleep. fair enough, I still have to question this though, as the teams budgets have been cut dramatically, and the amount of personnel FOM have to move is considerably less than only a few years ago, Okay the main new expense with be upgrading to HD kit, have you any idea of FOM's profits, so after they've forked out for the above?


Leaving aside the matters of duplicity, cost of Sky etc, the remaining part of the season is going to be tinged with sadness when I see F! cars streaming through Eau Rouge and the racing through the Park at Monza and I realise that this is the last time I will see this.


So it sounds like Bernie's interview later on Friday flat out contradicted Martin Whitmarsh and says no the BBC will get a highlights package from the SKY production, not the full race.

Interestingly BBC Sport producers not actually contacted about this at any stage - now being told they may be sharing production facilities/crew with SKY. I'm not sure if this applied to on screen talent or the actual technical crews, though I expect Jake Humphrey as the presenter for the Olympics won't be shared out of contract.


I read with some dismay the news today that live F1 coverage in the UK is to move away from free-to-air on the BBC, to an expensive subscription model using Sky Sports.

Only 10 races (tbd) will be shown live from BBC. No word on what they plan to do for qualifying.

As a fan, 10 races is as good as none. Only seeing half the season is a nonsense. I am not likely to get a sky subscription, and faced with only half a season, will probably stop watching/following F1 altogether.

The teams should unite against this change. F1 WILL lose millions of viewers. The sponsors will recognse this and will either leave the sport, or pay much less.

Maybe a breakaway series wasn't such a bad idea. F1 is in debt up to it's eyeballs. Start afresh with a new, but similar series, keep better hands on the purse strings, and provide value for money - both to broadcasters, and spectators.

John Wainwright

The more I read about this decision, the more spin I hear from the powers that be, the angrier I get. I pay my TV licence and apart from Top Gear (which is gradually getting less and less car orientated), F1 is the only the only thing I watch. Bye bye BBC and iplayer...hello torrents.

John Wainwright


Try cutting BBC4 if you want to save money...or keep inflicting the teen orientated BBC3 with such culturally enriching programs as 'Snog, marry, avoid' upon the masses!!


Such a sad day for British broadcasting. It's either been a rushed announcement without the detail finalised, or there is worse to come. I'm guessing the BBC will get the less poular races (with the exception of Silverstone, Monte Carlo and the finale).

I don't have Sky and do not pay the £30 a month that current "standard" subscribers pay so I certainly won't be paying a £480 or so annual charge to watch F1 on SkyHD for just six months.


Not to be unduly harsh, but I reckon 99% of you having a whinge right now will still be watching next year. We had to deal with delayed coverage for most races up until about 3 years ago in Australia. It's not the end of the world. If your that into your f1 that you must have your live timing and track positioning whilst watch the race, you'll find a way to get live coverage...


Its going to be very interesting how Sky handles its broadcasting of F1. The Beeb coverage is excellent so Sky will really have to up the ante a lot in order to impress people all round. Not just us fans but the teams, sponsors and organisers as well.

I guess the British GP will be sponsored by Sky and The Sun and they will be starting the day with a wet T-Shirt contest for all the Brolly babes followed by another contest between the Sky presenters as to who can shout and scream the loudest throughout the entire race. With the race trophys being handed out by Mr R.Murdoch, J.Murdoch, Mrs Murdoch and the constructors trophy by the winner of last weeks Sun bingo.....Ho hum


Seeing as you James, do the f1 news features for Australian television one HD for quail and race as well as RPM. do you see Australia heading the same way ?


Ecclestone and the BBC have shown nothing but utter contempt to the UK audience.

If FOTA backs this I honestly hope the sport dies, and I love it! I felt/feel exactly the same about football in this country.

Sky didn't enhance it, just Americanised it so it totally lost its charm. It is not even a shadow of its former self.

What a terrible decision



Its all good saying we pay fees and all. But that's fine. I am 18 - I started watching F1 from 2000 - I was 7! Now as a young person I never had Sky Subscription or a Sky Sports Package - but because I could watch the sport on ITV, I fell in love with it - and haven't missed a race since than.

My question is how are the next generations, the youngsters who fall in love with the sport when no one else they know are interested, supposed to afford a Sky Sports Package?

If the sport doesn't loose as many fans right now, than surely in the future, with there being less interest in the sport than today - its sure to die out.


Pay TV is a dying distribution model. The digital age can only be ignored by content providers for so long before it costs them dearly. The music industry resisted change, vilified consumers and fortified their content too. now they lose just as much revenue through illegal channels as they get through digital distribution. This looks like the only likely outcome from this scenario. Power to the consumer.


In the early days of F1 in Canada, the CBC used to show the race in a delayed and edited fashion. You know what I did? I waited for the newspaper report the ext day. Talk about free.

Then we got TSN, an extra charge cable station that showed the race live, but inserted commercials, usually at the most inappropriate time. I still watched.

If coverage goes back to a delayed format, I will choose not to watch.

Do the right thing for the fans Bernie.

Mohammed Al-Momen


I live in Saudi and am not affected by this, but doesn't FOTA/F1 think of how valuable the internet is? why don't they create a global option where one could stream or view the race online at the time of his convenience ? I would pay for a subscription that would offer that. Could you please somehow pass this suggestion to FOTA?


Votes for JAMES ALLEN as the lead Commentator on Sky - that would be something really special ????


Can't wait for F1 to get on Sky.

They have a history of technical innovation within sports coverage that F1 is crying out for in this country rather than 3 men on a tandem riding through English villages and poetry over classical music.

My guess is that the BBC will show full races deferred on the red button and extended edits on a main channel.

I can also see Sky offering the full race with ads on one of their "cheap" channels like Sky 1 and a non ad version on subscription Sky Sports.

If the upshot is I see less of Lewis messing about on a jet ski and more analysis of how Vettel and Webber get different things out of a Red Bull then I'm all for it.


James - what is your view on this news in the light of the talk of CVC/FOM sale to Murdoch? There HAS to be a connection surely?


It's the costs to the Fan that is eye watering in this deal and Whitmarsh and others seem not to realise it. The Japanese deal seems reasonable 20 races for £144 is £7.20 per race. But with what is propsed with sky if you want it in HD is £610 for 10 races, a staggering £61 per race. A ticket for Monza is only £72 ! even if you don't go for HD it's still £49 per race. That is ridiculous. Why anyone thinks this will boost viewing numbers is also beyond me. Coverage switching to sky has decimated the viewing figures of almost all sports, the only notable one that hasn't is Football which keeps being refered to. But only a handful of live football games were shown on free to air before going to sky, sky now show about 400 live games a year, at a cost of only aboy £1.50 per game...but that just isn't going to happen with F1


Poor show Martin.I am sure football fans never watch defered telly it needs to be live. I have Sky but flatly refuse to pay for the sports. I love F1 and cycling but your viewers will drop http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/keepf1onthebbc/0/13


Along with thousands of others i have no intention of subscribing to Sky Sports so 2011 will be the last F1 T.V i shall watch.


Reading this post and your subsequent one, James, I'm glad Whitmarsh has said this. The abandonment of 10 full races by the BBC was to me unacceptable, and as I have posted before I had some decision making to do regarding my commitment to F1.

BUT if (insert Murray Walker quote here) Whitmarsh gets his way, and we end up with the full race shown on e.g. BBC3 at a reasonable hour (starting 6 - 10pm on the same day as the race) then I think that I can accept that. I trust people to develop delayed live timing so I can press play at the start of the race and effectively watch the race 'live'. Of course, I'd have to avoud all social media and plug my ear for the whole afternoon.

I believe there's already a delayed live-timing app on one of the mobile platforms, though I can't recall which.

We shall just have to see whether this position can be reached, or whether Bernie is determined to let the BBC get away with showing only a 75 minute programme. That would mean highlights of, say 50 mins or so. Not good enough.

So, let's all pester the teams and their sponsors to see if we can get some of this sorted.

Robin Rainsley

Martin, I thought you understood better than most in F1 the importance of fans and their support not just for Mclaren but also your Sponsors. I watched your recent interview on BBC and again on their web site and Bernie's version one after the other and Mr E admitted on air he had lied about the 'full GP being shown but delayed' to you the Chairmain of FOTA.

I can't believe that is acceptable to anyone let alone the representative of the F1 teams business. Perhaps Bernie took media advice from Rupert Murdoch before the interview.

Craig Richardson

If this is true and BBC will be showing the Entire race this is fantastic news, everywhere else is saying it's highlights only.

personaly I can only record the race anyway and have to avoid the news etc. if they dont show all the race then will be my last year of watching F1


What about races like Canada? Will we have to wait until Monday to see them?



If the BBC are only doing highlights for the 50% of races that they don't broadcast - assuming SKY put their foot down and insist on highlights only - forget it. I'll just watch half the GP. Assuming I can't get a feed on-line from someone.

I still don't see how you can increase a national (or from some of the correspondence here - international) audience by moving a broadcast from a free channel to a pay-channel.

Can anybody help me with that one ?

Of course, it does free you up to double-count if you think that'll fool your sponsors.

But in reality, the bottom line is what SKY are prepared to pay and how much the teams get. If it is big enough and the teams are prepared to argue it through with their commercial partners

- It may look as though you get less air time but in reality its more because - - - - -'.

As long as the SKY money beats what they might lose from other partners that walk away - they're happy.

It might reduce the audience but as long as the money increases I'm sure the teams won't mind.

As for me, I'm off out every 4th weekend from now on the watch some live racing in the UK. I'll watch the highlights that night when I get home - just like we did 25 years ago. Ahhhhhh progress.


James,can you please answer this if you can?if every home in GB already has a television licence then we can ALL watch F1 with the BBC team doing a superb job,that is EVERY home can watch!so why then does Eccelstone insist on saying his sport or our sport we love will get more coverage when it is on Sky aswell?it is purely money for him,he wanted to get more money out of the BBC which they dont have but already pay him a good sum for.More people will watch it on free to air than satelitte and i thought that was what he wanted at the start ot this year?also can you tell us what happenened to the 2yrs left on the current BBC contract,was that just ripped up or hadnt they paid that?thanks


I can't speak for him but BBC highlights show like a kind ofvMatch of the Day will be on at 6pm Sunday night, so prime time. We'll see how it rates. Sky will probably do long shows as they do for Champions League etc. Hard to see how overall audience number grows


So, are we back to 'Highlights only' for the non-live races on the BBC?

Has the 'deferred full race' show been dropped 'for sure' now?


In such a global society as we have today, is it really a good idea to have deferred races? Not only do some teams (particularly Team Lotus) tweet live during races, but my friends and I use Twitter mid-race to comment on the action. Not all those friends are based in the UK. I do not want to stop watching F1 as I love it, so I will probably end up doing what I already do for GP2 and GP3 since I cannot afford anything beyond the TV license. Even the TV license is a stretch for me. However, I'm paid up there until next August (I bought it just before the news came in) as I thought it would be worth it even only to watch the F1.

I cannot see how this will increase the number of people watching F1 legally in the UK. I think instead it will increase the use of illegal live streams and the deferred coverage won't see anything like as many viewers as yesterday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

With F1 receiving more viewers yesterday than any other program, including Top Gear and the new series of Dragon's Den, I can't see why the fans are being ignored so much. What happened to 'majority rules'?


Teams had a simple decision to make.

Money or fans?

They chose money.


real shame for the British F1 fan!

James it does seem no one is intrested in what the fans think, i have been watching for 28 years now have spent money where i can on products from F1 and their sponsers(tyres on car are always what F1 cars use) but next set will be not be Pirelli i have sent an email to them also , cancelled my Sky sub end of July after hearing about this,have now cancelled my vodafone contract, and looking to boycott anyone who puts sponership on the cars ( will be taking notes next race see what else i can boycott) this is my last year as an f1 Fan (really depressing) i would have preferred the BBC withdraw completely (would have more respect for them that way) i have always watched races live getting up at 3 in the morning to watch the Australian GP even managed to watch races live when i am abroad on holiday, have 28 years of F1 memorabilia that i will stop adding to this year.

simple way to show how most people feel is by looking at Rugby Union and England seling out to sky and kicking the fans in the teeth, i stopped watching English Rugby quite a few years ago now and now support the Britsh TEams who did not sell out to sky, i did try to watch highlights on BBC3 but soon got fed up as could not get into the game with the amount that was missed out on the highlights so no longer watch English Rugby, so the only sport i really watched was F1.

i work in the industry and supply every team on the F1 grid with parts, so will still have to deal with them next year but no longer will allow my intrest to be held by the F1 Teams. think i will have to see what tickets i can get to other Motorsport and start supporting the BTCC again as it is slowing getting back to the good old days(remeber when we had the Volvo estate take to the track exciting days!)

F1 has lost another fan and 6 of my friends who were not quite such big fans (they were the casual watchers that everyone keeps talking about but seems none of them will bother next year either ),31000 have signed the petition so far and more will follow!!

why has no one stood up for the F1 fan????

why do you not stand up??

is this really what F1 needs right now??

how on earth are sky going to get more viewers than BBC?

2012 RIP F1 in the UK


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