F1 Winter Break
SKY start making moves with launch of dedicated F1 channel
SKY start making moves with launch of dedicated F1 channel
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Nov 2011   |  2:36 pm GMT  |  320 comments

This is the last F1 race before Sky come into the sport and start their blanket pay TV coverage which will run until at least 2018. It will be a big change in the way F1 fans in the UK watch the sport. Meanwhile BBC has released details of the 10 races it will cover live.

Sky wants to appeal to F1 fans, giving existing subscribers another reason to continue paying, avoiding the dreaded “churn” as it is called when subscribers cancel.

And it hopes to attract at least 150,000 new subscribers, which would be roughly the break-even point against the rights fee and production budget spend.

And as part of their offering they have, as predicted, announced a dedicated F1 channel which will be available to subscribers who have Sky Sports package, which costs around £45 per month, or an HD package, which costs an additional £15 a month on top of a basic subscription. It will be found at channel 408 in Sky’s on-screen guide. It will carry all the F1 practice sessions as well as interactive features which allow fans to access on board cameras and as much data as Sky can get out of FOM.

All the live coverage will also be available via internet on Sky Go, through online, mobile or tablet devices, accessible by those with a Sky subscription.

Sky Sport boss Barney Francis said, “We have big plans for live shows and a rich line-up of Formula 1 programmes; getting to the drivers, exploring the technology and lapping up the drama.

“With a dedicated channel for Formula 1 we can also give all sports fans the depth and breadth of sports they demand every weekend, right through the year.”

I believe Sky’s rugby presenter Simon Lazenby will front the coverage and it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what their commentary line up is going to be. It should be announced in the next week.

Sky will have a good run at establishing itself as the BBC will start its live coverage at the third event in China.

It will then broadcast Spain, Monaco, Valencia, Britain, Belgium, Singapore, Korea, Abu Dhabi and Brazil. At these events there will be qualifying coverage as well as practice online and on the Red Button and a highlights show.

For the 10 races which are exclusively live on Sky, a 90 minute highlights show will be on the BBC starting at 5-30pm, while for Far East races and Australia it will be a two hour show starting at 2pm.

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So let's say there's two races a month, give or take, that's £22.50 to watch a race. I can't see every F1 fan paying that to watch - F1 has got something very very wrong here.


For a number of years we have had to pay for Formula 1 on Sky in New Zealand. However, they don't have any build-up to the races or qualifying whatsoever. For that reason, although I pay for Sky sports, I have always downloaded the BBC coverage and watched it the next day - at a more reasonable time of day I might add. With the change to Sky in the UK next year, I see no reason to change my way of watching and will continue to use the various torrent sites to download the coverage. When will these companies learn? If you charge exorbitant amounts to watch something, then people will look for a cheaper alternative.


People who can't afford to pay for Sky also don't go to races (so they are worthless to promoters, who need attendees to pay the fees); they don't buy Ferraris, McLarens, or Mercedes (so they are of little interest to manufactures); and they can't afford the buy team merchandise at 50 bucks a t-shirt (so they are of little interest to any of the other teams). BBC brought F1 to the masses for free, but maybe it was never meant to be there (after all, there is no WalmartF1 team). F1 is about glitz and glam, remember.


I disagree with that. I own a McLaren shirt, and have been to the British GP for the past 6 years. Yet I won't be forking out for a Sky subscription. OK I could afford it if I really wanted it, but I don;t want to fork out £50 a month (or whatever it costs) just to watch F1.


With respect I have 2 Mercedes cars, one brand new and one due for change in September next year and I can't afford , and don't want/refuse to pay for sky


The cost of F1 is already covered. It is priced into the things that are sold by the sponsors, and priced into all the other revenue streams.

This is simply about generating even more revenues, so that the commercial rights owner can make even more profit when it sells those rights.

When boxing went to pay TV, it substituted subscriber revenue for advertising revenue. My guess is that it lost out overall. Football on the other hand generated more income, but it gives that away to rhe players.

With a need to generate only 150,000 more subscribers (and/or reduce churn of existing subscribers), this is likely to work for Sky, and will, as a minimum, fatten the short term value of the commercial rights holder.

There are bankers, and then there is Bernie . . .


Boxing lost its mainstream audience as well. This is slightly different because the BBC still offers a big shop window to the wider fanbase and to the casual viewer. As long as it lasts it will keep F1 in the public eye in the UK. But the UK is only one of over a hundred markets for F1 TV


yeah, right and they are also that poor, they can't buy a can of redbull.

They are also so short on money not able to pay vodafone subscription, denifitely no money to buy renault twingo, and of top of that, absolutely noone of them would be able to open account in santander....


I was intending to be a bit more tongue-in-cheek than I can across, but my overarching point was that F1 is a very expensive sport with a very limited reach; the funds must come from the very few avenues they have to exploit.

I remember when ITV had the feed everyone complained about the ads. Then you hear people complain about the cost of tickets at Silverstone. Then ppl got lucky when the cost for f1 coverage became part of license fees, but that was unsustainable. It seems that any way they try to profit from f1 fans ppl don't like.

F1 costs money, and as such it costs money to watch it. I would rather not have to buy the 3rd tier of cable to watch it, or pay $500 for decent tickets at Montreal, but I lvoe the sport and pay to do so.

(Btw, now that you mention it, I do remember seeing a fleet of twingos across from the mega-yaughts at monaco this year...)


And to think I always enjoyed the beauty, speed and sound of the cars, and the highly skilled drivers & engineers pushing the boundaries of what's possible. The human drama, the internal politics, the global scope of the sport and the tracks, locations and heritage. The daring overtakes, the obsessive technical detail, the strategy, the build up and tension of 24 cars raring to go... all secondary to Jessie J, a few pitgirls, and the lifestyles of F1 plutocrats. What a fool I've been.

Incidentally, by what cack-handed method are people polarised into those that buy EVERYTHING and those that buy NOTHING? A passionate F1 fan might reasonably chose to spend their money on a trip to an F1 weekend instead of a Sky subscription, how does that fit within your myopic world view?


This is a complex topic we discussed in detail in the past since Sky happened. It really is a shame that you pay for something which had been free for so long.

As always, we have a choice. I think many said they will give the money to a pub, but not to Sky. I think that's an excellent call.



The ten races that will be live on BBC will be China, Spain, Monaco, Valencia, Britain, Belgium, Singapore, Korea, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.


Valencia and Korea, yet no place for Monza or Canada? Are they mad?


Richard Mee is right.

It's obvious that they probably were allowed to choose 5 and had 5 chosen for them, with clear rule that they can choose the opener or the finale (but not both) - which they called well as final event always has better ratings.

Doesn't take a genius to say the 10 list should be: Australia, China, Monaco, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Japan, Brazil - in my view.


Guys, let's assume the BBC didn't get ALL it's top picks here shall we.... you can't seriously think Sky would simply let the beeb choose the 10 they wanted?

The only 2 confirmed were Silverstone and Monaco (lord only knows)... personally I think they did well to hang on to Brazil and Belgium. That's minimum 4 full on race weekends sorted for next year then.



3/10 good races isnt that bad, I guess...

But Valencia? VALENCIA? Come on now BBC, if they hand picked these events, you could be forgiven for thinking the guy who picked Valencia was drunk at the time...


As I understand it BBC picked first, then Sky picked 2, then BBC picked 2 more... until they were all gone.

Which explains why they got about 5 good and 5 rubbish.


It's worse than that. Say you take out Sky HD package @ £30.25/m over the minimum period of 12 months. You then divide the yearly total by 10 to get £36.30 per race.

And why 10? Because your paying for the other half through your TV Licence!


I agree, with BBC getting bigger audiences all the time for their F1 show this Sky/BBC deal has wrecked it all.

The cheapest option is £360 a year so considering there are 20 races next year. With Austin almost certain to be dropped and Bahrain maybe makes it 18.

BBC are covering half races so you are paying Sky £360 for 9 races which equals £40 A RACE!!


Has there been any approach to yourself for a pundits or reporters roll?


As much as I love the sport, I don't think I can sacrifice £45 p/m to watch races live. Are BBC going to show delayed re-runs of the race or just the highlights?

I heard a rumour this morning that it was going to be £10 p/m! *rollseyes*


Just highlights, the bbc released details today. Can find them here



hi, i maybe wrong but i think it will be less than £45 per month.if i understand correctly, the F1 channel will be part of the HD Pack, so you can have a basic sky package, then up grade to the HD Pack - cost will be about £31 per month i think! not bad really for all the extra channels, plus broadband, and phone calls, and HD channels!


The F1 Channel will not be showing the live races or qualifying sessions. You will need a Sky Sports subscription to see those.


your wrong there mate!


Yes it is bad really.

- From experience of friends' Sky packages, most extra channels are a pile of garbage: think ITV but aimed at an even lower level of intelligence (which I had not previously thought possible)

- HD: OK, worth paying an extra couple of quid a month maybe but still struggling to think £31 is "not bad really"

Like countless others, I would much prefer a higher licence fee and avoid Sky completely though.


And presumably, there will be breaks for ads during the races as we had with itv?


Of course not. Sky has stated there will be no ad breaks during the races (but expect plenty in the 'breaks' in qualifying).

You obviously are not someone who realises that ITV in general is aimed at a very basic level of society. Sad really. I find it incredibly depressing (or, in common parlance, "devastating") that less than 10% of the population is actually educated these days.

Maybe I should go and get myself a tettoo and a Sky subscription and make myself one of the mainstream...


I guess the thing that most interests me at this point is not Sky news, but details of how/when the BBC are going to run/re-run/do highlights of the races that they don't cover live.



Ok, here we go! Sky talking up their coverage and trying to get viewers on board to pay thir exorbitant fees to watch 19 or 20 races in a year. For those of us who don't like watching football or any of the other sports on Sky Sports, this is a lpt of extra money to find a month. I am disabled and a wheelchair user and so on benefits, were am I going to find the extra £20 a month?

Why can't Sky offer a dedicated F1 package, as they did in 2002 I believe, costing a lot less so more F1 fans think it's worth it. They would then get way more than the 150,000 viewers they need and, perhaps, make a profit?

I bought their 2002 package and it was excellent so why not start there?


Whilst I can't deny that losing the BBC's current package is wrong, I am happy that I don't have to pay anymore than I already am. I currently have Sky+ HD so it won't cost me a penny more.

I do feel for the rest of you though...


I have Sky Sports and in HD but through Virgin Media. I checked their website today and they are "In discussions with Sky to acquire the F1 channel." If it's included as part of the Sky Sports package it should be included with my Sky Sports package on Virgin.


Hi Robbie,

Lucky you as you must already subscribe to Sky Sports on HD +. I subscribe to Sky+ HD and it's a brilliant service allowing me to record programs and see them when I want and as I'm disabled it's rediculously easy!

But, as I said, the extra £20 a month is a lot for me so I don't know quite what I'll do.



Hi Bruce

If you already have the Sky HD pack then you will not need to pay any extra, as you will get the F1 channel as part of this.

The way it is worded you need to subscribe to Sports 1 & 2 OR the HD pack. As you mention that you already have Sky HD, you presumably already pay for the HD channels pack? If so then you will get the channel, with no need to pay for the Sports channels.


You'll be happy to know, Bruce, that if you already subscribe to Sky + HD then you will get the F1 channel for what you are paying already. You don't need Sky Sports!

As a Virgin Media customer, though, I will be absolutely disgusted if the other cable providers are denied the channel by Sky.

If that proves the case then I shall be asking my MP to take it up with the competition commission as they are creating a monopoly on an important sport to British industry.


The way I read it, if you already have an HD package then you will get the F1 channel at no extra cost.


"The dedicated channel will be provided at no extra charge to all Sky TV customers who take both Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 or the HD pack of channels. It will be found at 408 in Sky's on-screen guide, after a scheduled move of the Sky Sports channels. Sky Sports viewers without the Sky+ HD pack will receive a standard definition version" - quote from the sky website!


Not sure how other readers feel, but the whole Sky deal still really annoys me. It annoys me more that the teams did sod all about. Surely they had some sort of influence and could of dragged their heels if they wanted to? I will watch the watered down BBC footage but that's not the point. Watching a race weekend is a very emersive experience. The access the viewer gets is incredible. To consume a race weekend in a watered down format, for me, is going to take away some of the charm. I might very well lose interest in the sport all together. I reckon Justin TV will have a cheeky stream ha


Stuart F

I totally agree, and one of the saddest things about all this is that it was bbc executives who worked out the whole deal themselves then put it as a ready package to Sky -- and they're supposed to be public servants those guys. They grew fat on big salaries from the taxpayer then threw the public to the wolves of pay tv. Wonderful.


hypocrital backpeddling from FOTA for the sake of yet more money. shameful.


"Sky included it in the HD package because it believes a large proportion of F1 fans are interested only in motor racing and no other sports" from the gaurdian, so i am right!


Apologies if this is obvious to everybody else but who you suggesting it will be when you say:

"it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what their commentary line up is going to be."

Is it Andy Gray and Richard Keys?


"did you smash it?"

"yeah, at the pit entrance"



James, there's a rumour in the Mail Online that the Sky F1 channel will be available on Freeview for £10. Have you heard anything in that regard?

Glad to hear Brundle and Coulthard would remain. Also hoping you'll stay on Aussie TV for a few more years!


Yes, very happy where I am thanks!



Note that you have answered item 11,part b,..... which leads us to believe you have no opinion on items 1 to 11(a).

I don't think I'm alone in wanting to hear your stance (and of those in a position to have a voice, i.e. the teams) on the BBC/Sky deal.


The teams are very happy I believe. It's a lot of increased revenue I understand, plus up to 10 races will be shown on two separate occasions on Sunday.

A good deal for teams and sponsors, a bad deal for fans in the UK.

And probably an excellent deal for Bernie as ever.


Oh well, time to focus on Moto GP I suspect - sadly F1 simply isn't worth £45+ a month, especially when there's only two races a month towards the start of the calendar. (As for watching the pre-recorded highlights, I'd rather not have to avoid the news/online media for a whole day.)

It'll be interesting to see how sponsors react to the inevitable drop in viewing figures, although I doubt the UK figures are much of a concern to many.


Illegal streams on internet...here I come.



no way I can afford sky.


I hope this comes to Freeview as well, even through TopUp TV. At least we'll have the option to subscribe or not.


I hope this means all the support races are screened live on quaily/race days too


Will it be available as an extra channel at a lower cost? I do not intend to subscribe to Sky Sports as I do not watch any other sports. If not then hopefully it will appear on youtube, or else that is me done with f1 like a lot of others I imagine £540 is way TOOOOOOO much for F1 nomatter how much we enjoy it.


No it wont be available as an extra channel for a few extra pounds ,i just spoke to a sky rep on phone ,HD upgrade for £10 a month or £35 or so for the sky sports package, neither of which i said i am willing to pay for. I even asked to speak to his supervisor but the p***k wouldnt even do that for me just kept reading from a bloody script. I had access to channel 408 over 3 days when this F1 channel first started then they turned it off , when i mentioned this to the guy on the phone he basically addmitted that it was a teaser to try to get us to dig into our wallets abit further. I said that that is not allowed its basically bullying us into spending more money and i said i am going to get legal representation about this and promptly hung up. All he wanted to do was sell me HD or sports package, i think £10 a month for HD which i dont have a HD telly for is a waste of time and i also hate football which is the only other sport it seems on the other sports channels. I offered to pay sky £4 extra a month just for channel 408 which is a SD sky sports F1 channel but they said they dont sell individual channels no more. Yea right thats cos they want more money for more crap.


Why can't they make the F1 channel available on it's own at a reduced cost?, then I might have considered subscribing. There is no way that I can afford to pay £45 per month for all the other stuff that I won't watch.


its £31 per month


This is a terrible terrible terrible thing. Sorry, but it's only just dawned on me how bad this new arrangement is. £45 per month to watch 4hrs of F1. How can these people sleep at night? (very well I'd imagine). I think it's disgusting.


£31 per month, was lots of other tv, plus, broadband, plus calls - not that bad really!


David, that's all very well if you want the Sky package, i.e., the tv, the broadband and the phone. I used to have Sky, but I cancelled it because everything I ever watched on it was also available on Freeview. The only thing I would want from Sky is F1. I don't want their broadband or phone because I'm very happy with my existing supplier. £31 per month is more than I'm prepared to pay just for the F1. If the rumours of access to Freeview at £10 per month turned out to be true, I would go for that.


I am coming to conlusion as I rewad this stream that you work for Sky 😉


lol no i dont really! just getting fed up with people saying how terrible sky is, if people just take time to take a look and see what you get for your money, is not that bad at all.


I don't have Sky Sports. I am extremely lucky that I have the capacity to pay an extra £45 a month, as I don't (currently) have a mortgage or family to support, and subscribe. Obviously I still would prefer not to have to.

However, surely this will mean that F1 will really need to put its money where its mouth is and provide nothing less than 2010 calibre seasons. As much as I love F1 and never miss a race live, as soon as I feel I'm not getting value for money and being entertained to the tune of £45 a month (£540 per year!!!£60.00 per month if only counting actual racing months), I will cancel my subscription. If I'm honest I will then look at alternative ways of watching the races live online or if worst comes to worst, not at all. Chances are I would then drift away from the sport as I don't see any appeal, but instead only frustration, at watching "select" Grand Prix for free on the BBC.

Have the teams pretty much moved on from this subject and accepted it whole heartedly?


The teams want more money from the commercial rights holder. The Concorde agreement is coming up for renewal. The Sky deal promises more revenue for the commercial rights holder - it can then share some of that revenue with the teams when it negotiates the Concorde deal, and not lose any of it's existing income.

What's not to like for the teams?


£31 per month!


Sadly I won't be paying to watch F1, so it will be the BBC when covering Free practices and the races they have bought into.

And out of interest is the F1 channel going to be available on its own ?


Still gutted by this deal. Am not going to pay Murdoch to see the other half of the live races. Extended highlights on the BBC or nothing for me.


Sounds like one or two BBC voices will be joining sky judging by your last comment 😛 I'm hoping Sky will offer online streaming, much like the BBC do at the moment. Being in Australia, channel One only covers quali and the race & no offense to Darryl & Greg (the hosts), but they lack the spark that the BBC currently gives.


Kudos to them for trying to do it justice but paying for the full Sky Sports package when you only want F1 just doesn't make sense.

If you could just pay for F1 however...

Otherwise many will switch off or over to other alternatives.


Whilst I am firmly in the 'should be free to air' camp, I do already subscribe to Sky Sports, therefore this isn't going to cost me financially.

I do genuinely sympathise with those who either don't want or can't afford it, I was in that position for many years with Premier League football. £45 a month is an amount which many simply can't spare, at least not for something which in the grand scheme of things is unnecessary.

I may have missed this point being made earlier this year, but will the races be free of adverts? That was one of my biggest gripes with the ITV coverage.


UK only? i live in mexico and would pay


I think it is difficult to compare the TV in the UK with other countries because of the compulsory subscription for the BBC, which is another £12.37 to add on to the monthly amount.


Rumour has it Steve Rider has been lured to Sky for frontman duties with messrs Brundle (seems like he has taken the SKy shilling) and Croft commentating . Details here


Also Sky Sports are considering running a dedicated Formula One channel for customers using Freeview with a ball-park figure of £10-a-month


I'd pay £10 per month.

It'd save faffing about trying to find a dodgy online feed, watching in German, or trying to find a pub with it showing.

That's £10 more than I'd like to pay, ideally, but if it's an option I'd reluctantly accept that. £31 per month? Not a chance, I can't justify that.


Its not just for the Sports Package though.

Its anyone who has the HD Pack too which a lot more people will be happy stumping up for than the whole Sports Package.

Its a pretty smart move.


yeah it is, i wish people could understand that, and read up on it first!


Seriously, do you work for Sky?

Why should I give up my package with my provider now for internet, HD, phone, etc just to see F1? And for a higher monthly fee than what I have now?

I can watch the Sky coverage live on internet. Illegal yes, but no one is gonna force me to change my subsription by hijacking my favorite sport and hiding it behind fancy talk.


Thanks for the update James.

As a slight aside - did you know that the Senna documentary has not made the Academy Award shortlist for 2012:


A bit of a shame don't you think?

Keep up the good work!


Re: Senna - that's amazing (that it's not been nominated)?! A stunningly good film and, by my understanding, successful too.


Sadly not that surprising, given the track record of the awards ignoring fantastic films. Mark Kermode made a comment on it today on his Radio 5 film show.


Yes, and rather surprising given that there aren't that many great docs in any given year


I don't understand. So, sky sports customers now get access to the F1 Channel as part of their sky sports package and at no extra cost?

For those customers on say BT Vision packages who don't want the full sky sports package, can they subscribe to the F1 Channel only for a nominal fee?

I'd be grateful if you could clear this up.

Many thanks James!


the i more i think about this, the more im looking forward to sky showing F1. with a F1 channel, the coverage will be great, plus loads of extra shows and re-runs in the week. i think this could be a really good move!


To be fair David does have a point. If you consider the package as a whole it's not a bad offer. They're very clever in the way that they end up making it beneficial to bundle everything together (even broadband etc.) but in mitigation they also seem to have considered that many people who watch F1 don't watch other sports when they made the offer. It's not going to be possible for them to get everyone on board but their offer is probably one of the best they could have come up with since the deal was signed.


And we have to remember that there is no unlimited money at the BBC..... In the UK - there is a legal obligation to pay the licence fee - how can I justify the huge costs of F1 coverage to my grandmother who only watches the Antiques Roadshow.....

The Sky coverage, whilst expensive is the only legal option. This is entertainment folks - not a right.


David, your enthusiasm for Sky is a refreshing in the sense that it definitely bucks the trend, but you're going to have a job convincing methat it's a good thing that the arrangement which ensured everybody in the UK with a TV licence had ready access to a world class service for nothing is coming to an end.


Sorry, Lucy L, even if it's in the loft, you'll still be liable. In fact, even if you bin it, give it to charity, torch it or post it to the BBC with a legally sworn oath that you haven't replaced it, you'll still be liable if your computer can receive television images, eg iPlayer, whether you use it for that purpose or not.

BBC 1, Public 0.


Are you sure you don't work for Sky? 😉

The TV in our house comes on for qualifying and the race. That's pretty much it. We occasionally watch the news. We don't watch any other TV. I won't be paying £31/mth for more TV not to watch just to get F1.

Sadly unless I disconnect the TV & put it in the loft, I will still be legally liable for the TV tax that currently pays for my F1...


I can't reply to the correct post, but in response to David...

I don't actually pay anything for my broadband. My mobile contract is with Orange, and that gives use of a free wireless router at home. The bandwidth is meant to be capped, but that's never happened so far as I can tell.

Arguably £1 per day isn't a lot for someone that watches a lot of tv, but for me it equates to something like £37 for each race I'd watch, and I can't put a value on anything else as I'd not use it.


Seems to me that David's enthusiasm for Sky comes most likely comes from from the monthly pay cheques he gets from them. Is there really nothing better be be doing there in Sky towers?


David, I have but dont personally pay for Sky (dont have sports), and I can tell you that the majority of Sky content is repeated week after week.

The only channels worth it imo are ones already available on terrestrial tv.


understand that but what people have to look at is the total package with sky.

what do you pay at the moment for your internet alone? - this is included with the sky package for the £31 per month, i think for £31 per month, you do get a lot from sky, if people just calm down and actually take a look!


It's not only available if you take the Sky Sports package, if you get Sky HD you get the F1 HD channel thrown in too. That means you don't have to pay for tons of sport you may not want, just loads of other Sky content you also may not want.

Clever move by Sky.



any clues on if this channel will be available to other platforms, mainly top-up TV?


I feel for the English when it comes to F1 right now. Here in Germany we F1 free over the air with RTL. And they do a great job if you ask me. They have an interactive website where you can view the race live and Qualy + you can IM the commentators Heiko Wasser and Christian Danner questions. Great team and everyone loves Niki Lauda even though he is not always politically correct (ask Robert Kubica about his "Polaka" comment). If I had to pay for what I get now from RTL I would fork out 15,00€ or so, but not much more. I don't live in Formula 1 and neither do most people. So 45 quid is alot of cash. I hope it is worth it. Do you think it is fair James that some have to pay for F1 coverage and most don't?


do you feel for the Scottish, Welsh and Irish too, or just the English?


Too bad they are not going to show the first race.... ;-(


Is the website viewable outside of Germany?


You can get RTL free to air relatively easily in the UK, you just need a dish exactly the same as a sky mini-dish but pointed in a slightly different direction plus a decoder which is just the same technology as a Freesat box so that's cheap. Google for it, there are guides already out there and I'm sure there will be more springing up.


Exactly what I was wanting to say.. 😉 Thanks for the replys that I should have given! I also watch the race on TV and turn on 5 Live, Anthony is awesome as a commentator! I really like the community feeling of this website. Thanks for everything James!



You can get RTL with just a satellite dish and don't have to pay anything more and if don't know German just listen to commentary on 5 live.

Here is thread on how to get RTL in UK



Commentary Team:

Tony Jardine and Jonathan Leggard?


I see your Tony Jardine and raise you a Jonathan Palmer...

Legard and Palmer, now THAT is a dream team.


I'm reading rumours of Martin Brundle (tempted buy the full coverage and being p'd off by BBC's reneging in its deal) and David Croft. Money is no object for Sky.

Legard is more likely to be the BBC's fallback, assuming they really don't care anymore and want to force everybody willing or able to pay £45 (or £31 a month for the benefit of David, surely the only commentator on F1 issues more tedious than Legard), thus being able to drop F1 completely and saving more money to spend paying the obviously destitute Lord Lloyd Webber to promote his musicals.


Would certainly send me to sleep very quickly 🙂


I really hope not.

Jardine has been poping up on sky a lot lately to discuss F1. He is quite possibly the most boring man ever


Add in Jonathan Palmer and the folks in the UK viewers will be falling over themselves to get a subscription!


If Jonathan Leggard comes anywhere near SKY i cancel my subscription!


"it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what their commentary line up is going to be"

- Leslie Grantham and Bruno Tonioli in the box with Keith Harris and Orville doing the grid walk???


Nope, sorry, not remotely interested in lining the Aussies pockets.


You haven't mentioned that it's also available as part of the HD package so there's no need for a Sky Sports subscription. I think this is a great move as I have no interest in paying any extra for sport


yeah thats right, you dont need to take out sky sports subscription - so great news!


You lot just do not seem to get it!

There are reasons why we don't subscribe to sky, we already pay a licence fee for our tv in the uk, it's not free. We do not want to pay extra for what the BBC was already contracted to provide. Unfortunately the gods who run the BBC have very little contact with their customers, us.

Why would anyone pay money to someone who for profit, it is revealed by cross examination of his henchmen daily in parliament, ever deeper and more grossly offensively, to have committed the most intrusive and illegal invasions of privacy in the history of mass media. Causing pain and anguish and family distrust in many cases. You want to pay his company?

Were there any real integrity amongst the general population, all those with Sky subscriptions would terminate them immediately,

as a sign of abhorrence at the depths to which this organisation has sunk.


Yes great news, as long as you already have Sky HD......


and heres a good reason to get it!


The BBC coverage of the GP is great, with good banter from EJ and DC and race entertainment, but this does sound promising due to the extent of the coverage, no adverts, and new tech and in-race features....it's always worth a change to see what a new broadcaster can bring to the sport (just like new drivers).

(I should also state that I do already have Sky and qualify for the new channel with my existing subscription.)


story on the daily mail website that the sky f1 channel maybe offered to freeview viewers for £10 per month!


Richard keys and me


That would be "Richard keys I"



Who is Richard Keys? Whatever, it should be Richard Keys and James ... or failing that Richard Keys and Werewolf!


What about English speakers outside UK where Sky Sport is not offered?


Can't wait for the sexual innuendo Andy...phhhwwwoooaaarrrrrr!


Jesus, £45 per month. No way I can afford that on my very small carers wage. Nice one!


Adrian Childs doing the grid walk rumour has it?


Well people could always try and do what I do. I live in the USA and have basic cable, so I do not get Speed to watch F1. But with a VPN service [40 USD/Yr], I can change my IP address to the UK and watch all UK TV content on streaming services, including F1.

Obviously, the BBC is losing full coverage so I am going to have to look for another country with online coverage, and hope I get access to a IP address in that country too. It may not be in English, but I can always have fun with trying to pick up a new language.


Possible to get a proxyserver program and watch RTL.de coverage with Radio 5 Live commentary? Just an idea. That is what I do.


Ok I'm now a little worried.

I have Sky Sports but through Virgin Media, and so when the move to Sky was announced I was annoyed but at least had the comfort that I would still be able to watch them, as I have Sky Sports 1-4.

A new Sky channel is concerning. Presumably Virgin Media are now going to need to negotiate for this extra channel, which means a) it's going to cost me more or b) it might stay as a Sky exclusive.

The more I hear of this Sky deal, the more I think it is a big mistake.


Unfortunately Sky have form in this area. Having taken over the Living TV channels, they canned Bravo and Virgin 1 (both carried on Virgin cable) and replaced them with Sky Atlantic, which Virgin didn't get because they "failed to reach an agreement." I think Sky are starting to see Virgin as a serious threat and aren't afraid to use the channels they own as ammunition.


How on earth anyone can justify £45 per month when the BBC are showing half the races live already is beyond me. If there are 150,000 stupid punters out there then good luck to 'em.


I have to admit 150,000 new subscriptions for Sky is impressive but what about the other millions of viewers that would normally watch on "Free" tv? OK they get the scraps but would they really do so if they can just read about it in the internet or just watch youtube and/or hulu? Now we will get pirated dvd's of F1 races! LOL Bad deal all the way round me thinks.


Not a chance! On principle, I will NOT pay Sky to watch F1 regardless of the cost so it will be 10 live and 10 highlights for me on the BBC.


This is all about Bernies pockets, he benefits from this. We are about to enter another economic crisis, this will effect the sport again. With F1 now on Sky, sponsors will suffer, fans will suffer and the only person who wont is Bernie. As for the team expect people who know nothing about F1 at least Watson and Edwards might return, personally i think a Edwards, Coulthard, Brundle team would be fabolous


well how will Bernies poor little daughters live without their 50k handbags, private planes and 100 million house without him screwing over the f1 fans???


Well Andy I hope you leave your mic off when the grid walk is ongoing. Them grid girls could get you 2 in trouble again


I'd gladly stump up the cash if this was available in aus. Endured delayed telecasts for over a decade until the last 3 years. You Brits have been spoilt!


BBC1 provide the most detailed coverage of the sport at present with commentators who are all closely involved with the sport, from ex-drivers to ex-team owners. Bernie Ecclestone has done a deal with the Devil in the form of Murdoch. Commercially it does not make sense as the number of watching will fall as they won't pay for it resulting in fall of advertisment revenues. Also Bernie Ecclestone should be hauled up in front of the Monopolies Commission

Isn't it about time Bernie Ecclestones hold over F1 be questioned? He has had F1 jumping through his hoops for too long.


The deal was between BBC and SKY. The first approach was by the BBC to SKY. How is it Bernie's fault?

"Isn’t it about time Bernie Ecclestones hold over F1 be questioned? He has had F1 jumping through his hoops for too long."

I assume you don't follow f1?

Bernie's 'hold' has been questioned for years and years but only by outsiders. The fact remains - without Bernie F1 would still be run out of garages by amateurs for enthusiasts.

Bernie made a lot of people rich beyond their dreams which is why they keep stum and toe the line.He also bailed out a *few along the line when it got a bit sticky which isn't widely known

*ever wonder why EJ always sticks up for Bernie?


I Have Virgin Media HD with all the Sky sports channels.. Does this mean i get the F1 channel aswell? or is it just for people with Sky boxes???


Sky's online story on this on the website does not mention Virgin or Freeview



I attended the FOTA Fans Forum at McLaren HQ this summer with 200 or so dedicated F1 fans. The show of hands taken there suggested that around 50% would not subscribe to SKY.

It seems to me that F1 Management, the teams and also the BBC hierachy have a total disregard for anything true F1 fans might want.

These were out and out F1 fans who would choose to view wherever possible. Most of the current TV audience, however, is comprised of those who have 'dipped in' to F1 and found viewing pretty OK, but I believe the bulk of that audience wouldn't opt for a £40 a month Sky package. I suspect viewing figures will plummet and advertisers will see falling value for money which will affect the teams where it most hurts.

Will I subscribe to Sky to watch F1 at £30 or £40 a month? Certainly not, because I'd be paying to watch only half of the races not shown live on the BBC. That makes it around £500 a year to watch 10 races, which I can watch the higlights of for free. I've been a fan of F1 for more than 40 years and will watch whatever the BBC transmit for as long as they're able to.

I'll keep clicking onto jamesallenonf1 for as long as you keep away from 'pay per click'. James, you have been warned...

Keep up the good work!


Does anyone knows if this Channel will be available to Virgin Media customers?


Virgin are saying they are in the 'early stages of talks' with Sky about the channel and are directing customers here:



Let's hope the negotiations are more successful than the ones over Sky Atlantic.



How will this affect the North American market. In Canada we get the BBC feed via "the Sports Network" (TSN). If BBC cuts their coverage then we are out of luck as well, don't think SKY is over here. The US gets their feed through SPEED channel (available in Canada too, BBC is better IMO). How will this be affected? If F1 is so concerned with US audiences cutting coverage over here is the worst possible way forward.


I haven't missed a race either live, recorded, or by being there since the early 80's. But I won't be subscribing to SKY.


I believe that in the UK if you have a dish pointed at the German station RTL you will be able to see live coverage of all the races in 2012


P.s I was quoted about £250 for a dedicated dish and receiver, fixed and ready to go!


yo are kidding ...if you can't do this for under £100 you are not trying

Aldi were offering a complete kit for £50 this summer , simple to install yourself

I'm a motorhomer and set it up each night when I stop!!!


Does anyone know anyone who is actually HAPPY with the new Sky deal? I sincerely doubt it.


I aint to bothered about the decission, i can see why people are upset ofcourse. But the people like me who have hd tvs and hd packages will get the channel for free, and tbh why buy a HD tele and not take advantage of HDchannels?


Yup! Bernie is very happy, he now has his hooks into a customer with the potential to pay 4 or 5 times more for the tv rights. Sky are rolling in money, well at present they are. Exactly how much the news international revelations will affect the subscription levels remains to be seen. My suspicion is that it wont hurt them at all, the Blair/Brown years which championed the removal of personal responsibility and the lowest common denominator in all areas has, had its effect upon public morals.


So essentially, we get to see most of the boring races for free on BBC! How very original!


autosport have details of what the BBC will show next year.


It sounds like Martin Brundle will be making the switch, then. He is the key player, I think, in determining the quality of the coverage. I half wondered whether he might shun the extra money and remain loyal to the BBC coverage, but fair play to him. I worry for the BBC coverage, though, which might have remained okay had he still been on board despite the reduced quantity. I think some of the more insightful features, "behind the scenes access", and access to drivers/engineers etc on gridwalks depended a lot on his experience and contacts within the sport, and this aspect of the BBC coverage, in addition to the commentary, will take a very big hit.


We won't be getting Sky - more on principle (that company is not having my money!) than on cost. We'll watch it on the BBC but I imagine we'll drift away from the sport again. This happened in the Ferrari-Yawn/ITV-adverts era for me - not intentionally - you just miss one race, and then another and then one day you're at a funeral and a relative asks if you are still F1 mad and you realise you haven't seen a race for 2 years...

The BBC coverage rekindled my interest in F1, but I expect the intermittent race coverage will put an end to it. It's like having too many races per year - once you miss one, it's easier to miss another, and then another...


Wow - having just seen the list of BBC live races - Barcelona, Monaco, Valencia - the drifting away could be pretty darn quick.

Valencia? What are the BBC thinking?



I guess the negotiation over the sharing of the races was always going to be swings and roundabouts. They have avoided Bahrain and Austin, the two that are most likely to get cancelled.


This is what I understood with the help of this thread:

1. Most of readers here are from UK

2. People say that they will not pay, not watch...but I am sure 99.9% of F1 will pay and will watch eventually.



I really don't think that even close to 30% of F1 viewers would care to pay extra to watch it. Which means a much smaller audience, less exposure and screen time and therefore a much less attractive sport on which to spend sponsorship money.


"It is important that people understand that Sky is Murdoch, is News International."

So why there is the deal with them and F1? Why Brundle is going there? Money talks....there are no principles in life, when money are on the table.


Look....I get it. This is what people are expected to say now. I am sure that by the end of next season we will see some statistic in terms of how many people gave money to SKY and I am sure that it will be 90% of all people that complain here. This is life. But yes, people are expected complain now - it is obvious.


It is important that people understand that Sky is Murdoch, is News International.


Ian, I get it, like I said - I really get. Knowing life and knowing business, I am sure that James is going to post some interesting statistics by the end of next season. We shall see whether SKY is going to be able to get new 150.000 subscriptions. In my opinion - they will achieve the goal.

I understand that people might not have extra money. Bu the way the business is working is that companies make you prioritize where you put your money.


You're missing the point - it's not just about complaining for the sake of it - some people, like myself, DONT HAVE the extra income to be able to afford to pay through the nose for SKY's F1 coverage. Then there's the (many) people, again including myself, who even if they had the money would not choose to give it to the Umbrella Corporation (read: Murdoch Empire) on a moral basis, regardless of their passion for F1.



I doubt it... I won't and I lived for F1...


Me n'all - I would have a hard time justifying switching to Sky if they had *all* the GPs, let alone half


Yes, Friday, tired, that was poorly expressed. I meant that I'd still be highly unlikely to make the switch even if the BBC had none of the GPs. As it is, I'm definitely not switching just to get the half the BBC won't broadcast.


They will have all, BBc will have half.


F1 is entertainment like football or golf. The cost of bringing such entertainment by broadcasters to ones living room is very expensive.

It appears that, by reading the comments so far, everyone feels they have a god given right to be provided with the live entertainment that F1 provides completely free of charge. The BBC's remit as a state broadcaster should be to provide popular television to the wider audience at value for money to the licence payer. F1 does not fulfill this criteria however much you argue.

More wideranging entertainment should therefore be broadcast on commercial channels and sadly in the absence of serious interest from ITV or Channel 4, F1 has gone to Sky.

I love F1 and watch every race but none of this surprises me as I expected it 10 years ago. We should all count ourselves lucky that the BBC will at least show 10 races plus extensive highlights for the forseeable future.

I also like football and the same happened nearly 20 years ago and look where football is now.

To conclude F1 is a commercial sport and expensive entertainment so we should expect to pay something for our enjoyment!


Another key point is that Channel 4 DID have a package made up for the F1 coverage, that they wanted - but the BBC went straight to SKY, and froze any other interest out. Even with adverts, Channel 4's coverage would be preferable to paying money to Murdoch (which won't happen in my house).


The cost of F1 is already covered. It is priced into the things that consumers already buy that create the F1 revenue streams.

This is about extra profits.

They will have made a commercial calculation about the loss of some viewers, with that effect on revenues, versus the additional revenues from Sky.


It's NOT free of charge!!! And, it IS value for money. F1 and Wimbledon were the ONLY two sports on the BBC that met targets for costs per hour, post per viewer per hour and the number of viewers. Rugby doesn't, but the BBC has extended its deal for that!

Check the BBC trust website for the figures - I'm not making it up!


And much cheaper than a lot of the dramas like Holby City 🙂


I'm sure I remember something mentioned at the time of this deal, C4 or C5 were interested to take over the whole free to air contract but the BBC wouldn't allow them to take the coverage.

Isn't that why one of the BBC commisioners was called up to a parliamentary meeting?


On BBC/SKY deal:

I'm even more annoyed, firstly because it seems that the BBC won't really save any money. They are still paying for a production team to be sent out to every race; still having the forum... The thing is, this wasn't about money. F1 and Tennis are the only two sports that hit targets for cost per hour and cost per viewer per hour as well as viewer numbers. Rugby didn't, yet they have extended that deal! Oh and the BBC hasn't faced 'cuts', just a freeze in the amount they can charge through the license fee. Disgusting really!

Oh, and as a result of the new deal, I bet that F1 cost per hour per viewer shoots through the roof and ruins the chance of the BBC retaining it in the future!

I hope one day we get answers... Who made the deal? How much of a 'saving' is really involved?


Isn't there some phenomenally expensive event taking place in London next year that the BBC needs to fund somehow? No, not Bruce Forsyth's gig at the Royal Albert Hall.


I've been following F1 for 37 years, and I will still follow it on BBC. I don't have $ky, I don't want $ky and I won't be getting $ky.


Likewise. The last televised F1 I missed was the 1973 Swedish Grand Prix (World of Sport on ITV, I think?) but having got rid of Sky because of all the rubbish I never watched, I cannot justify a minimum of over £300 a year for ten races - and perhaps the contents of various drivers' mobile phones! (A purely personal piece of satire and in no way reflective of the views of JA on F1.)


So reading off the BBC's website, they do not have the Canadian Grand Prix. This is a great shame, even though they have managed to negotiate some other great races. (though they are missing Monza too.)

My point is this; they have stated they will show Far Eastern Time Zone races with 2 hours highlights beginning at 1400 GMT, while European Time Zone races will have 90 minutes at 1700 GMT. A real shame that they are seemingly choosing their prime time content (currently Strictly Come Dancing) over an extra 30 minutes highlights.

What of the Canadian GP, this falls into neither Time Zones. Also if we look at the time delay of the highlights program to Sky's live showing, what time would the Canadian GP be shown? It already broadcasts about 1800 GMT, so would that mean a midnight showing or Monday morning?


It's great to see another sport being given the Sky Sports treatment, just like the cricket.


Very sad that we've been pushed into this situation. I for one won't be making the switch to Sky; I simply can't justify (or afford) spending several hundred pounds of my money just to watch Formula One, even as a 'die-hard' fan.

What saddens me even further is the selection of live races that we've been left with on the Beeb. Valencia? Abu Dhabi? Spain? Korea? Singapore? From those five races, that's already half the line-up made up of some of the more passionless, dull and uninteresting tracks and venues on the 2012 calendar.

With this in mind James, do you know how the BBC ended up with this selection? Surely these were not the BBC's 10 most favoured races?


The BBC website comments that: 'The presentation team will be at all the races, including those that are not being broadcast live on BBC television.'

I'm sure theyre not just being flown out for a jolly so does this mean its a joint team - i.e. Jake, Ted, Eddie etc on both sky and bbc...


I already have a Sky/Sports/HD subscription earlier this year & am very happy with whats avaliable even without F1.

The people saying its £45 a month & thus isn't worth it are forgetting that your not just getting F1, Your getting a full package with a varierty of different channels/programs.

I was against paying for Sky for over 10 years however decided to buy the service a year ago & absolutely love whats on offer.

Im very happy that Sky now have F1 because I can see them offering fans much, much more than the BBC ever did/could.

Practice in HD, Sounds like there will be a lot of Interactive goodies avaliable not just on TV but also online & on the SkyGo mobile service.

Sounds like the coverage is going to be a lot more in-depth with a lot more information avaliable & I for one am extremely happy with what will now be avaliable.

Im looking forward to the coverage, Its going to be fantastic!

Having to pay for what was free may be a pain, However its the way many things around the world is going. We have been lucky F1 has remained on FTA-TV for so long when in many other places around the world its moved onto a subscription based platform.


I'm very happy you guys enjoy your TV. I have phone, broadband and digital TV all through Virgin Media and I get good service, so no need to change. I will not fund 'News' International's agendas, phone hacking, red tops or other general devolutionary cultural activities just because I like a sport. I will gladly stream the races and listen to 5 Live, because since paying for the BBC is mandatory it may as well have some use next year outside of David Attenborough documentaries.


me to mate, i think there are a lot of people that just need to calm down and give sky a fair chance! The BBc of no right to show F1, i think some on here forget that!


Well I must be the only one who is quite happy with Sky's announcement! I have the Sky HD package so from what is mentioned I will get the F1 channel without stumping up for a load of sports which I don't need. Great.

As for Bernies F1 channel, IIRC it was £12 per race for the whole weekend, but there was deals to be had once Schumi wrapped up the championship early. I'm guessing it was because the viewing figures dropped off a cliff after that point....


I have just looked up on the Sky F1 web site to see what is says: It is free to Sky Sports 1 & 2 subscribers and to those who have Sky HD.


So I won't be paying out anymore a month after all! The site is worth a look.

And thanks to James and all those who have been in this discussion!



Just watch the BBC delayed coverage without knowing the result. For the early morning races this is what I've generally done in any case. I'm sure that 90 minutes of coverage is enough to fit in all of the interesting bits even for a race like Canada this year.

Watching it after the event makes no difference at all to my enjoyment of it. If everybody were to do this then Sky would have to ditch it.


I have also watched the 90 minuite races on BBC online, they are great, my only criticism is that they could have edited in extra stuff, like a bit of midfield etc) rather than just cut down the live broadcast.


I agree with the gist of this as I will not be spending the money for a Sky Sports subscription when I have no Sky at all at present. The big issue is how much of the seemingly appealing 90-minute show will be race action and how much will be other dross. Given a race runs roughly 1h 40m, that's 10 mins missing even without young Jake earning his crust.


Any word on what will happen to the countries around the world who pick up the BBC feed (and used to use the ITV feed)? I live in Canada and really enjoy the coverage Martin and David provide (and James and Martin before that and Murray and Martin before that). But I am afraid that my national sports station that picks up the BBC feed won't be able to either afford or at all able to pick up the Sky feed. So where does that leave us? It probably means that I will be stuck listening to the USA guys on Speed TV but I would rather stick sharp knives in my ears than listen to them for 2 hours every fortnight.


How is this going to work in Canada?


I am looking forward to watching F1 in 2012 exclusively on the BBC.



One thing surprises me most about today's announcement by the BBC:

There will be coverage of qualifying for ALL of the races, including quali for races not shown live. This is going to be an "extended highlights" programme of 75 mins at 1730 or 1300 depending on time zone, on saturdays.

...though quite how they can be extended highlights when the on track action only lasts a total of 20 + 15 + 10 = 45 mins is beyond me.

If they show less than 45 mins of action in a 75 min quali programme, then that would be unacceptable.

Am I right in thinking the announcement that all quali will be shown is a surprise?

Also, do you expect the BBC to take sky's commentary or get someone else (hopefully you, and i'm not just saying that) to commentate with DC, who's contract is not up until next year, i understand?


Good point. That's brave, putting qualifying highlights on BBC One at 5-30pm on a Saturday, right into prime time!


Have you thought that maybe it's in the contract between the BBC and Sky? Essentially, the BBC will broadcast a lengthy advert for Sky's programme on the following day......


Living as far away from any racing scene (Including NASCAR) as one can and still be in a reasonably civilized country, I have to say, how lucky you folk are that you got it for free all these years. In the U.S, there really never was a way to watch F-1 without subscribing to a cable channel. Where I live, one has to have either cable or satellite dish to get anything (We used to get just two Canadian channels over the air broadcast). That being said, we have never had to feel the pain you are now, since it's just another utility we have to pay for. However, with

SPEED, our carrier of F-1, we do get all on track time (P-1,P-2,P-3, Quali, and the race. Then in the winter, they replay the entire season, one race a week. SPEED's coverage also includes LeMans (All 24 hours, between TV and Internet) Rolex 24 at Daytona, Grand Am, and they are expanding their coverage of Aussie V-8 supercars (This year they sent a team to Bathurst 1000 and broadcast the entire six or so hours.) Hopefully, your coverage with SKY, whose parent company also owns SPEED, will include more autosports in their menu.


I understand what you are saying, but it is an misunderstanding that we get it for 'free' since we have a license we have to pay by law for the BBC. The other point is that the UK us tiny - in the US the market is so large it can have channel like SPEED and make it work. Alao, for me it is a bad deal for two reasons: 1. Someone is not telling the truth about how the deal came about, and 2. It was made by the BBC in such as way as to be bordering on illegal since it didn't allow any competition to make any bids. As the BBC we the rights holders, they were able to bypass competition laws, thus denying other free to air channels the right to bid.


This is politically motivated nonsense. You are just complaining for the sake of it because what you, as the rest of us Brits, got for free is now restricted or available only for some wonga. It is just narrow self-interest and that is not particularly edifying. Wake up and realise that many around the world have been paying for years to enable them to feed their F1 habit. F1 is a sport and an entertainment. No one has cut your gas off or taken your food supply away. The choice is pay up or watch the BBC. But you have no entitlement to free for life nor any justification for saying things like "bordering on illegal". Has this deal been investigated by the police or referred to any monopolies board? No and no. And it never will be. Stop whining about how little important you is losing out and stop living in denial.



it's going to be talked about at a Parliamentary Select Comittee. Something about the deal is underhand. I don't care if you don't beleive that.

Thirdly, We brits do pay for the BBC. It is NOT free.

Fourthly, the justification for bordering on illegal is this:

"The BBC had exclusive rights under contract with the Formula One Management (FOM) to F1 until the end of the 2013 season and whilst this contract was in place the FOM could not consider any bids from any other companies who had shown interest in bidding for the rights.
On the 29/07/2011 the BBC entered into a deal with BskyB and extended the period for a further 5 years effectively preventing other interested parties from making a legitimate bid once the existing contract came to an end.
Bernie Ecclestone (head of the FOM) was qouted as saying

‘Ecclestone added with the BBC’s original contract not due to expire until the end of 2013, it effectively scuppered any moves to go with Channel 4 or even return to ITV.
also when Asked ‘ if the BBC ’held all the cards’ over the new deal, Ecclestone added: “Yes, absolutely. If they [Channel 4] had said they wanted to sign a contract today to start Broadcasting for £45m a year, then we would have probably done it.

“But that’s the problem. We couldn’t deal with them, even if they had wanted to.”
“I spoke with ITV and came up with the same problem as Channel 4 had. We had a contract with the BBC which didn’t run out until 2014.“We couldn’t very well do a deal with other people for them to start doing something next year, because we had that contract.

As you can see from the above quotes ITV & Channel 4 were interested in bidding for the contract but were unable too until the existing BBC contract had ended"

Taken from the following petition:


There's my justification.

Clearly you're rich enough for Sky, and judging by you're response, it's you that's self-interested - 'I can pay, so I don't care'


I was considering upgrading my basic sky plus pack to hd for an extra £15/month - so £35/month based on the options I've chosen. If I get a dedicated f1 channel within that then I'm actually quite chuffed!!

I wish it was just staying on the beeb though.


What I can't understand are the reports that the BBC is still sending the whole presenting team to races that it is not broadcasting live. What about the huge savings they are proposing to garner?

I also find it bizarre that some races get 90min highlights but others 2 hours for no apparent reason (getting in the way of the Antiques Roadshow perhaps?).

I still reckon F1 is shooting itself in the foot with this; compared to football it is a niche sport - tucking it away on pay TV every two weeks will do for it what it did for the popularity of boxing & the WRC... The possible breaking up the partnership of Croft & Davidson would also be an act of utter stupidity, they are by far the best commentating double act in F1 today, they even make free practice unmissable.

If you haven't got Sky, are not too fussed about HD & can't or don't want to pay for it for whatever reason then a free-to-air satellite kit that gets Germany's RTL, mute the sound and put Radio 5Live on in the background. Some upfront cost but no ongoing subscription. Job done.


I don't think sending out the production team and presenters to races is actually what costs the BBC the money.

It's the cost that Bernie charges them.

I believe that, is probably a bigger issue to the bean counters.

They are not a private organisation that has to appease the share holders. They are a government backed institution


Yes, if that is the case, then why has the the BBC done this with F1 when it was one of only two sports (Wimbledon's the other) that managed to meet targets on costs per hour, costs per viewer per hour and the audience figures? Rugby missed some of these figures, but they extended that deal recently...

All available to view on the BBC Trust website:


See page 35


Dan82 you cherry pick figures to suit your point. You know very well that Steve D is referring to the amount per year it was costing the BBC yet you shift to per hour or viewer figures. Undoubtedly F1 has performed well for the BBC, probably better than expected - but at a total cost per year they do not want to pay within their allocated sports budget. Good value ceases to be good value if the total spend is too much as the BBC clearly thought it was. This is not that hard to understand. They now have a reduced service at a saving of millions. They couldn't have it all and made a choice. There's no rocket science here.


Where does it say anything about it being the 'biggest outlay'? It isn't, as clearly pointed out in the link I've added. F1 is relatively cheap per hour of content and per viewer. Cheaper than many dramas by many thousands per hour (although that is based on what I have heard rather than read personally). Point is though, it's good value and meets it's targets...


I think unfortunately this was a case of the BBC having to be "seen" doing something. People knew it was its biggest outlay, and wouldn't accept that it couldn't go. I realise the costs were large, but this talk of having to cut BBC4 or other channels were ludicrous.

In the end I'm sure with their budget they can run a good production on the F1, but now for £20m per year as they are only having half the races. That's a huge saving. I wish they'd stuck to their guns and kept it for the extra £35m per year it would have cost.


This season I have watched as many practice sessions as races. I love the BBC coverage of these; David Croft and Antony Davidson have been great, a good mixture of pro knowledge and banter.

Will I get Sky? No, I love F1 but this is a silly deal which could massively backfire of F1

After 23 yrs of getting up at stupid o clock to watch races I'll just be checking the web for the results.


James, any idea what this mens for 1HD coverage in Australia?


Nothing, as far as I know. Only question is which UK commentary they will buy - Sky or BBC?

I know the line ups but was told in confidence so cannot divulge here


Martin Brundle but no Coulthard.


Are you still providing commentary for One next year James? I feel lucky to live in Oz where F1 remains free to watch. Heart goes out to those who can't afford to watch anymore. Hope this NEVER happens here!


Yes, as far as I know. Enjoy working with the One HD guys


Integrity in journalism (not that we'd expect anything else from James); Murdochs take note!


Presumably sky, seeing that they will be covering all races...


James you tease!


Fellow F1 fans. Get a cheap DSat set top box and dish, and point it at Hotbird satellite for Italian or German free to air coverage....whilst listening to BBC Radio 5, on which all races are live.


Better still, if you're not satisfied with whatever the BBC end up providing, ask a friend or relative to record it. It's perfectly reasonable, part of the give and take that makes the world go around (and actually nil cost to them compared to the taxi services, garden materials, duty frees etc, for example, that I willingly supply without thought of charge; and would imagine others have similar arrangements, eg babysitting or free access to their professional skills).


Info on where to point your dish to get Hotbird satellite's and more, can all be found on the Lyngsat website.


I remember watching snippets of F1 on TV in the late 70's on kids programmes.

Who can ever forget a kid asking Andretti about the South African Grand Prix. The pronounciation of Prix was English rather than French, for anyone that never saw it.

Into the early 80's and we had Sunday Grandstand and they would show maybe the start of a Grand Prix and the first few laps.

Then it would switch to rugby, snooker or cricket for an hour or so.

Then we'd see another 4 or 5 laps, and then back to the swimming, darts or horse jumping.

Some 2 hours after the race started, I'd be waiting for the final laps to see who won, but this was delayed till 5pm.

In the evening we'd have a highlights show, between 35 to 40 mins of the race.

Eventually I simply waited for the highlights and got on with my life. The other sports bored the pants off me.

I've attended GP's since 1982, and have seen F1 and TV change massively over that time. A F1 meeting used to be air displays and 6 or 7 feature races. We don't even get a warm-up anymore

ITV and the adverts annoyed the life out of me and I was grateful to see it return to the BBC.

But I won't subscribe to Sky, I just am not interested in any other TV.

I watch F1 and MotoGP, but even then, I record it to a HDD recorder. I do not get up at stupid o'clock I just watch it later.

So I get to watch highlights later, no problem, I have 2 daughters and a life. They mean more to me, I guess I was obsessive about F1, and now at 43 I'm merely passionate, maybe I always will be, but I won't pay anymore than my license fee, and considering how much TV I actually watch, I resent that also.

Till next March, I won't be sitting watching any broadcast on Lucifer's box!


I'm not going to pay Sky to give me more programmes than anyone with a life could possibly want to watch. I pick and choose when I turn my TV on but am happy to pay my licence fee, watch commercial channels and shout at the commercials. Not interested in paying a subscription to Sky and becoming some sort of TV addict.


Absolutely! There's so much more to life than the goggle box; even with both Mrs. Werewolf and I loving F1, the present coverage is a huge chunk out of most of the summer weekends. Neither of us have any desire to spend any more time in front of the thing than F1 and maybe two or three other programmes a week (at most) request. I suppose we could give up work ... but then we couldn't afford the package anyway!


want to watch every fp2 session,quali and race without interuption it is easy, get your self a dish and box tune in to european sattelite tune in to the austrian channel orf you will get all of the above for a one of fee of around £200 then get your commentary from radio 5 live and bobs your uncle. serves you right bernie and murdoch for stitching us up!


afraid not ; ORF on satellite is encrypted except the euro channel


As James points out, Sky need to achieve a relatively small number of extra subscribers to make this work, so money (from the sport and the TV rights point of view) is not in any jeopardy from having potentially less viewers. I know many fans are put off by this move, and I can fully understand those not wanting to put money into the Murdoch empire. That said as fans of the sport I would like to think one of our primary concerns should be the quality of coverage and how it might attract new fans to the sport. For example the recent changes have attracted a huge number of new fans (and many female fans) which has been fantastic for all concerned.

Sky, as we all know, has a virtual monopoly on the Premiership football and (as a fan of that) at times I am left flabbergasted at the "Hello" style coverage. It really is cringeworthy at times apart from the odd very astute pundit/commentator in their team such as Ray Wilkins who genuinely knows his stuff. Despite their promises for F1, they seem incapable of getting under the skin of the sport and more concerned with biased coverage that refuses to acknowledge when their product is poor (a drab 0-0 draw for example.)

Given that the BBC has brought a new level of quality to the coverage, I wonder if the "full Sky treatment" means we will be indulged with very base level stuff, dumbing down from the technical aspects of the sport that really get myself and others inspired and involved. If the talk of Nigel Mansell is true, then they might be ripping up the BBC's well thought out "recent connection" to the punditry side of things too which could be a bad move. I like Nige, but they need someone with recent driving experience in there to help understand the key moments of races.

The world of F1 is absolutely tailor made for them in that sense. They can focus on all the paddock girls and the glitzy lifestyles of the drivers should they wish, but I hope they manage to get deeper into the sport that the BBC do now. I fear the former will be the way they go however. This would probably have me watching the races only, which is fine, however at the moment I enjoy all the coverage including the build up, wind down and the forum.

I realise the above is quite negative, however I'm sure I am not the only one who feels Sky's sports coverage is a great deal of shiny shiny but with very little in the way of substance. However I will go into 2012 with an open mind and hope that Sky do a good job. If they don't come China, I shall be switching back over to see a decent level from the BBC for a few races.

Would be great if James could somehow do a feature after the first few rounds to see how the TV audiences shift around when the coverage is more "shared" around the time of the Euro races and if after the initial glut of people moving to Sky to watch, people favour the BBC in the end.


That all depends on how much of the BBC team Sky has poached away!


It does to an extent, but don't think for one minute that this would mean they would do the same output. It will be done the Sky way, which is not to my tastes generally speaking.

I'll give it a go, I hope Martin Brundle is given the chance to retain his own style and integrity. He has made noises about wanting certain things to be set up his way if he moves over, one can only now presume that is the case.


if there is a full time f1 channel and race coverage as described, why wouldnt one pay? i would gladly subscribe if i could get coverage in mexico.


After watching every race except 2 or 3 live in the last 15 or so years, looks like this is the end of the road for me. I'm not paying for Sky Sports just to watch 8-10 events a year, I'm morally uncomfortable with watching a pirated stream on the internet, and I refuse to spend every sunday afternoon burying my head under a pillow avoiding all news reports so as not to spoil the results before the highlights come on. At least I can save on having to buy a TV licence since F1 is pretty much the only thing I watch these days.

At most, I'll tune into the Radio 5 Live commentary, if the presenters are decent (every rumour suggests David Croft is going to Sky, so its just a question of who will replace him). At worst, F1 is dead to me.


Absolutely appalling that Sky is moving into this field. A real dumbing-down of F1 coverage. I certainly won't be paying for a subscription, even though I've been a avid follower since the 60's, when it was necessary to tune into a long-wave radio station from France to catch what was happening in a race.


I have hated being at dinner parties or functions talking to people who "know" about F1 because they read a tabloid.

These same people follow football teams with their knuckles scraping the earth.

Obviously I'm exaggerating but you appreciate what I'm saying.

I always think they'd be better off with Nascar as they dont have to think too hard!!

This is what Sky is after, the couch potatoes, the TV dominated majority who don't know how to think for themselves. Thats why whatever they think will be brilliant coverage will be for the "Hello" and "OK" followers.

Sky and Bernie are not interested in "us" the real fans, the ones who have been watching through thick and thin, read all the specialist magazines and access the web for up to date information, the ones who will be in a sporting turmoil from tomorrow till March, lol.

Bernie has played a blinder, because with Hamilton and Button winning races this year, British casual interest, ie the football fan, is at the highest since maybe the Mansell era.


I think that's unlikely with some of the personalities they've signed. I think it will be pretty serious actually and very data driven


Wow, I remember those days. The interference was louder than the engine noise but it added so much to the reports in Autosport and Motoring News later in the week!


We take the FOM pictures and only audio from BBC. Quite a number of times during our One coverage you would hear MB & DC mentioning some replay that we Aussies werent seeing. We also get to see much more live grid pictures whereas the Brits watch DC, EJ and Jake Humphrey rabbiting on from pitlane. Oh, and we get the full unilateral interviews at the end. Been always cuts it after the first set of questions.


That should be "Beeb" always cuts after the first set of questions.


".....and it doesn’t take much imagination to guess what their commentary line up is going to be."

Well in an ideal world that would mean a return to the halcyon days of JA and MB. I suspect that I am exercising the imagination too much. It would be a shame to lose DC though, I think the chemistry between them has been good.

I've also heard that the channel will be available on freeview for a tenner a month. That sounds a bit more reasonable if you don't all the sky stuff. Now if only we could get that on Australia.....


I was disappointed before, but consoled myself with the belief that at least I'd still be able to see the races live. I have the Sky Sports 1 & 2 package through BT Vision (mainly for the cricket), and I (not unreasonably) figured that a major event like a formula 1 race would get broadcast on one of the two main sky sports channels. Plus Sky coverage of the cricket is pretty good ...

How wrong I was - instead, the money-grabbing [insert expletives] at Sky invent a random new channel, to effectively force anyone that wants F1 to come to them. I have no objection necessarily to the principle of a dedicated F1 channel, if the races at least were also simulcast on one of the two channels you can get via means other than Sky itself (whilst I'm disappointed to lose the practice coverage, it's not the end of the world), but it currently seems that that is not the case.

What's more, the BBC will only offer extended highlights. Extended is meaningless - even in the dullest races you need the full race, lap by lap, to follow the strategies, and read how the race is flowing, so you can invest in the result. Highlights just mean anytime that lap counter at the top skips a few then something is about to happen, removing any surprise when it does.

As it stands, we have been let down by everyone - Bernie and his golden pockets, FOTA for not kicking up enough of a fuss (if they have a requirement that it is free to air in important markets, then they should have done something!), Sky (though that's not a surprise), and worst of all, the BBC. I'm usually a BBC fan - would happily pay more license fee, but they let Sky in. If they couldn't afford it, they should have just left it to another free to air broadcaster. Instead, they wanted the 'glory' of F1, and made a deal with the devil. And now it's in, we'll never get it out.


And the deal was possibly against competition laws... By having the BBC negotiate with SKY for a deal without allowing other bids simply because they held the rights at the time, they have colluded with SKY against the spirit of competition laws, in my opinion. I hope someone looks into it...


This is just a smear with no substance whatsoever. Don't you think that if any crime or illegal uncompetitive practice had taken place they would have been all over it by now? Yet no one is and no one ever will be. It has garnered wide public attention and people such as yourself have prodded anyone who will listen. Nothing! This is just another pipe dream but that won't stop you spreading the smear until no one cares anymore.


In the absence of a shred of evidence to the contrary, yes, it does.


It doesn't need to be hidden, but someone needs to take it a step further. I may be wrong on the legal front - but that would be up to a judge to decide and as it stands I think there is a case to be answered. If only I had the money! Just because it has happened in the open, doesn't make it legal and above board does it?


Just what exactly that might be illegal do you think is hidden? Your "justification" given higher up in the thread is public knowledge and open to all and sundry. Far from being a secret this is in the public glare. Do you think Bernie, Sky and the BBC stupid (since you clearly think them criminal)? [mod]


And how many years did it take for the phone hacking activity to be made public? It needs to be brought to authorities attention before it's looked into. Just because it happened without any questioning, doesn't make it legal. Not every deal made can be looked into individually to check legality until someone speaks out!


James, any idea whether one in Australia will pick up the sky commentary?


Not at this point, no. Once the teams are announced then I'm sure they'll make their choice


After 34 years of continuous, steady improvement in F1 coverage in the UK (OK, very slight blip with Legard!), to the point that our beloved former minority sport now has one of the best presentations on television and is a major, target-hitting and award-winning production pulling in significant audience shares, this is a very dark moment. The expansion is over, the division so long sought by the EC has begun and, has Sky's cricket coverage has proved, the inevitable decline begins here.

For FOM, maybe the money is enough, for CVC certainly so. Maybe FOTA has also been persuaded by the cash register. Of course F1 is an expensive sport, ridiculously so in fact, but how many prestige brands, including manufacturers, will invest the necessary megabucks in the future if its exposure is seen to be dwindling rather than growing? No wonder there's talk of a commercial rights sale if the new UK model represents the future.

And how many circuits and promoters will risk the absurd hosting fees? Smaller TV can only lead to a smaller potential gate.

Yes, money is the most important commodity in F1 (only we fans think it's the racing!) but that money is dependent on the exposure the sport offers its investors.

The public is fickle, especially where nationality is concerned. The majority of the audience is not hardcore, lifelong (irrespective of how long that life is) fans but those with a casual interest, people who also have other interests, hobbies and passions, not to mention families, all competing for their time and money. Their continued support cannot be taken for granted, especially, in the UK, if next year's McLaren is uncompetitive.

As a (long) lifelong F1 fan, one who loves the sport and tends towards the pragmatic rather than individual fanaticisms, I wish I could say I was fascinated by this situation academically but I cannot. There is nothing in this for me - other than the reality of significant expenditure for something I am already paying for through my TV licence or significantly reduced coverage for the same cost - and longterm I do not believe there is anything in this for F1 either.


Only 1 race to go and I'm free of Jake Humphrey. Thank god! All rumours suggest that the Sky commentary team will be David Croft and Martin Brundle which is also excellent news. Brundle has become the new Murray Walker and is the gold standard for any F1 programme in the UK and Croft is an excellent, witty and knowledgable commentator who I've listened to on BBC radio for a few years. From my point of view the actual races on Sky will be better than ever with this line up. Well worth 31 quid a month just for the F1 but with phone, internet and other TV also accounted for (after cancellation of my other services) this is a win win as far as I'm concerned.


totally agree with you!


On another aspect of this I find it strange that some complain about the BBC acting uncompetitively in the way they let Sky into F1 but then want them to do the same thing with regard to other channels that just happen (coincidentally of course!) to be free to air. No self-serving reasoning there then!


Had the BBC opened up the bidding process properly instead of extending its own deal by 5 years via the Sky deal, there would be no reason to complain. As it stands, the deal was wrong as far as I'm concerned.


But far from illegal which was your former inaccurate claim. But why should the BBC open up anything anyway? They have shown they want to keep the sport, albeit on reduced financial terms. They found a way to do that and preserve what they think is in their interest. They may be wrong but it seems that at least at this stage FOM, CVC and the teams do not agree.


I agree with what you are saying. But assume for a minute (and I think you will always have to assume) that some BBC bod who was responsible for this came out and answered every possible question you had and you got answers to everything you wanted to hear. Imagine also that the answers were as you expect them to be. After all, it is pretty clear what the motivations were - keep it away from other free to air channels and find a way to keep some of it on the BBC whilst saving money. What would having all this confirmed from someone at the BBC achieve that means anything? Are you suddenly going to feel a lot better?

And just on the public service point. The BBC has to show that it's own actions have some public service aspect to them. It doesn't have any role in making sure that other channels do or that the process as a whole is in the public interest (whatever you decide that is). So it is not the BBC's job to make sure things get given to other free to air channels if it doesn't want them. It is responsible for itself, not others. Arguing that the whole process was not in the interest of the public is a valid point but not one against the BBC. As I said, they can say "We saved money and kept some F1 for the fans free to air" because their responsibility is what they do and what they do only. But what is the public interest anyway?


Well, I'm not a lawyer, so can't comment on the legal aspects anyway!

And as you say, the BBC had the contract. So there were two things to consider:

1. Is it in the public interest for the BBC to shell out a lot of money for the rights to one sport?

2. Is it in the public interest for formula one coverage to end up partially on a pay channel?

Clearly they decided it wasn't in the public interest for them to pay all that money. Fine, fair enough - disappointing, as their coverage has been great, but as has been said, they have to take into account everyone who pays a license fee.

But then we get to point 2 ... and that's where we need them to answer why they thought half the season going to pay TV was MORE in the public interest than dropping/sharing the coverage to a FTA channel.

It just looks uncomfortably like they decided that they couldn't pay, but still wanted the 'glory' of broadcasting F1 - they thought with their egos, not their remit, as defined in the BBC Charter:

3. The BBC’s public nature and its objects:

(1) The BBC exists to serve the public interest.

At the very least, it would be nice of them to address that criticism publicly, rather than staying stum.


You have a point but this is a moral argument and not a legal one. It is worth noting though that since the BBC already held a valid contract it was entirely within their own hands what they do about it. This is what Bernie Ecclestone himself said. In an ideal world it would have been a free for all but that could only have happened if the BBC gave up their contract immediately or were happy to share with another free to air channel. It is clear they were not willing to take either option. Personally I don't think public interest arguments get us very far because they are too nebulous. I'm sure the BBC would claim the saving they made was a good deal for the public, for example.


Yes, but surely in this case, the public's interest is in it remaining on free to air where everyone can watch?

My point being, they should have at least allowed other free to air channels to bid, rather than doing a back-room deal from a position of power. If no other channel then wanted to bid, then fine, this would probably have been as good an alternative as we would get, but the way the deal was done meant a proper competition was impossible.


The public is everyone, not F1 fans, and the outcome of that will always be a judgment call. There is no formula.


The BBC is public service. It therefore should have a duty to act in the public interest, not in its own interest.


I know a lot of people are saying the new deal will see a decrease in viewers, However Im not convinced that will be the case for 2 reasons.

#1 - The BBC Highlights will be on in the 5:30 time slot for the euro races. This is a prime time slot & a time in which more people are actually watching TV.

The races which are on at this time (Canada & Brazil for instance) already get higher viewers than races on earlier in the day for this reason.

Also other sports which are on either live, delayed or highlights, even on a subscription based channel also see a viewership increase when on early Sunday evening.

#2 - When getting a figure on viewers they will not simply look at the figures from BBC or Sky, They will look at combined figures.

The figures from individual channels will be looked at, However it will be the combined figure which will be the most important one.

When F1 has been shown on multiple channels in other country's this is how the figures were done & it will be the same in the UK next year.

An example of this is Germany where F1 is avaliable Free on RTL alongside a subscription service on Sky (Which shows everything live, uninterupted & interactive).

They say about 5-6m people watch each F1 race in Germany rather than x watched on RTL & x on Sky.


Got fascinated aged 6 in 1959. Probably lost interest early 2012.

I will look into the satellite and streaming options but the idea of there being a 90% who will be paying their money to the Sky lot by the end of next year just illustrates how out of touch with the various passions some people are. 90% ? pure optimism.

Shame on those with no more passion or backbone.

After 50+ years it's probably farewell, not to do with cost, everything to do with principles. .

Another sign of the sinister times that have now arrived.


Firstly lets put the "free" thing straight for our ex colonial cousins. The BBC in the UK is funded by a compulsory USD $20 a month TV receiving licence. Therefore BBC is not free, we pay $240 a year for the privilege. We have SKY a subscription satellite company, whose head is James Murdoch and who along with his father and News International is under investigation for numerous criminal acts in the UK by both the Police and Parliament. I as a responsible citizen who has a sense of morality do not wish to contribute to the wealth of people who have been likened to the Mafia and have been found to have interfered with Police investigations, given false hope to a murdered girls family.

I personally will not have any products of the Murdoch family or their companies in my house - my house, my rules end of story.

Sky and the money they inject and have caused to be injected into football (soccer) in the UK have I believe led to the demise of our national teams due to kids not seeing football on the TV as much as they did and so not playing football themselves so less youngsters are entering the professional sport.

I will miss F1 next year as I will now follow BTCC (British Touring Cars) on ITV4 where we get a whole days racing agreed interspersed with adverts but never during the races. In fact the adverts allow you to take toilet breaks and to make snacks etc. Starts at 11:00 and finishes at 18:00. This is free as ITV do not get any of the licence fee although it still has to be paid.

The audience for F1 this year has been the largest for any sport shown on all TV in the UK and the BBC have given it away. Funny how the head of F1 at the BBC used to work for SKY but I'm sure there is nothing in that.

The BBC choices are terrible I would not have chosen Monaco or Valencia for a start and no Monza - criminal, no Japan either. I can see the BBC is scaling down so it can drop F1 altogether in a years time or so. The team that head up sports have no interest in F1 and are much happier with their Strawberries and Champagne at Wimbledon.

As for SKY I cannot imagine them talking technical with their audience much more then e.g. this is what's called a slick tyre which has no tread and you couldn't use it on the road. F1 audience does have more than a few brain cells running about inside the head. SKY have a tendency to talk down to its audience I don't think they are going to manage the switch to talking up to them. They may find the F1 audience a bit to high brow for their usual patter.


Dave. Totally agree. I refuse to support Foxtel in Australia as it is supporting the Murdoch empire.

I am not sure what One HD will provide in Australia but I am assuming that we will get the Australian Grand Prix plus the other 10 BBC races


I am no friend of Mr. Murdoch but after reading all these [mod] anti-Sky comments, remember it was the BBC that reneged on an existing deal to show F1 free-to-air, it was the BBC who approached Sky and it was the BBC who blocked an attempt by Channel 4 to try and keep F1 free-to-air.

So why don't we identify the real villains of the piece here, the BBC. A company that would gladly sacrifice one of the crown jewels of world sport in order to:

a) provide massively over the top and hysterical Olympics coverage next year across TV, radio and online

b) retain the smugfest that is Wimbledon for the rest of the decade, an event remember that hasn't had a British champion since 1938

c) cough up millions for overpaid talent across its prime-time programming

So sure, Sky is 'evil', if that makes you all feel better, but the BBC is far worse and it is the BBC's coverage that should suffer accordingly in 2012, as it is the BBC that has treated loyal F1 fans with contempt.


Well said Lewis. But the BBC is "free" to air and so it will be allowed to get away with things because it is a possible lifeline for those who either will not or cannot pay. This is a completely self-serving reasoning but that what's a lot of those complaining seem to be. They certainly aren't financial realists.


Andrew! I think you understand, but just so we're clear - the BBC is not 'free' to air, it is funded by a mandatory (meaning no choice, must be paid if you have a TV) tax called the licence fee. I have been a staunch supporter of the BBC for my whole life up until this episode. I would have supported a higher licence fee for improved/continued BBC service up until this episode.

Yes, TV costs, which should be passed onto the consumer, but when the majority is cr*p it's advisable to pay the bare minimum. How's that for financial realism?

If you think the BBC is being allowed to 'get away' with how it's conducted itself about F1 then you're either unaware of or seriously mis-judging the mood amongst British F1 fans. BBC F1 internet forums are either flooded with anti-SKY deal comments or shut down, the Twitter streams have been awash with anti-SKY deal sentiments for months, and anyone with an informed view realises the BBC is entirely at fault for letting the devil in. As I mentioned up thread, I enjoy the BBC documentaries, but with a recession still going on and the biggest reason I got a TV licence again after a 5 year hiatus being drastically cut, the TV will be one of the first things to go in the new year, and whilst I'm sure I'm in the minority, I doubt I'm the only one. And I'm fully aware that this is all because of the BBC, thanks.

On another note, did you see how the forum got cut off without a goodbye tonight, and replaced with tennis? How's that for a FU to the fans?


Hi Andrew. Well argued points, and I'll admit that I was probably under the wrong impression about the way the forum coverage ended. That it felt a bit like a kick in the teeth aside, it's too crazy to suggest it was a deliberate play on the BBC's part. And going straight to tennis afterwards was an unfortunate reminder of why the F1 was traded off, which didn't help.

It's been difficult to ascertain from my position as an interested party the scale of public reaction to this. F1 was for a long time a minority sport in the UK, and I suspect that it will return to that level of support here which is sad, given this is the practical home of the sport. I'm not expecting swathes of people to cancel their TV licence in protest, and I acknowledge that many millions will happily continue watching on SKY, but I don't think I can bring myself to do that. The whole affair has saddened me because the sport that I love supporting has made itself harder to support.

What has been most frustrating, as a paying contributer to the BBC (and I know that doesn't give me a voice in the BBC's content, but I still have the choice of TV or no TV), has been its complete lack of openness or engagement with the fans since the SKY deal was announced. I would say that's polarised opinion as much as the deal itself, and led to a position where many people are questioning the BBC's commitment to its own charter.

I know money walks over everything, and I agree that F1 was lucky to make it this far on free to air TV (given the arguments laid out since the deal I think only the most irrational would disagree). But honestly, the deal still hurts for many reasons, and I think that anger at the BBC is perfectly valid. I apologise for 'frothing at the mouth' at you, and I'd like to say thanks for taking the time to write a reasoned response.


Joe, you seem to be missing a few facts. Firstly, the forum was cut off last night due to a power cut in the TV compound at Interlagos which apparently affected all TV companies. This, at least, is what was tweeted by Jake Humphrey. Yet you choose to paint this as deliberate action by the BBC?

Secondly, the BBC is free to air television. This is common terminology used by all sides within and without the TV industry. What that means is you don't pay a subscription to receive it. Yes, the UK does have a mandatory charge for owning equipment capable of receiving TV signals and yes the vast majority of this is given to the BBC to fund it. Incidentally, I understand Channel 4 also gets some of this money (or used to) as well as part of a public service remit. It is worth noting that this would be the case even if you chose never to watch the BBC at all.

Thirdly, it is worth noting that the BBC is not a democracy. You are not paying the licence fee in exchange for any influence or in exchange for specific content. You are paying because it is the law. This is different to Sky where you are paying in exchange for content you can yourself choose. It is important you notice this difference. You are paying Sky in order to receive specific things but not the BBC. As the BBC have made play of in their own advertising, "due to the unique way the BBC is funded"... It is partly due to the way it is funded that it has found itself losing premium sporting content for over 20 years now. In many ways F1 is lucky to have got this far on free to air TV.

Jake Humphrey has today tweeted that yesterday's broadcast got 5.1 million viewers. Some of those, perhaps more than a few, will have Sky. After all, apparently 10 million households do and TVs capable of receiving Sky are common in many public places such as pubs, clubs and hotels, etc.. Those who will be watching F1 on Sky in future will hardly make a fuss. They will just be happy and switch on. That many are upset I don't doubt. But the deal has been done. 10 live races plus highlights for the BBC and all races live on Sky. There are also other options such as a satellite dish allowing legal viewing of RTL coverage. I see little benefit in frothing at the mouth for the foreseeable future about something that any reasonable observer will conclude is not going to be repealed. But i guess that is your choice...


Surely must have got more than 5 million?

Qualifying for 3.4m. In our last race with ITV in Brazil 2008 we got 12 million, but then Hamilton was going for the championship


No way, not happening. A combination of cheeky post-race downloads and visiting mates with massive tellys who are flusher than me will have to suffice.


I've been watching F1 since the early 80's and love the history of the sport, but this whole situation galls me. The BBC had finally got the right commentary/presentation setup, the coverage was superb, and I was looking forward to watching F1 like this for years to come.

No way I'm paying the Murdoch's a penny, and I'm not willing to watch half a season on the BBC, so I'm afraid F1 has lost a committed supporter. I genuinely can't be bothered with it any more.

If it ever comes back to the BBC full time, I'll rejoin the circus, otherwise there's plenty of other things to do on a Sunday afternoon.


Got to find a way of hooking up to Rai Uno and watching the Italian coverage for free. Not going to give Sky a penny.


For sure, don't miss the lovely Stella Bruni!


@Lewis Jones, didn't you mean after 'not' reading all these anti Sky comments? The selfish ones here are probably those that will give the Murdoch's coin for their own selfish ends.

Fighting their corner to any degree immediately negates any point you may have to make.

Likewise the "all those extra channels, phone and broadband" adverts that people insist on posting. Common decency isn't your thing.

Decent people cancelled their Sky services over the recent revelations.

Yes, it appears the BBC have followed the leadership of an insider. Well some are working for a final resolution to some of these matters that won't just go away.


Amazing how many so-called "die hard" fans are complaining about this! I would expect that "die hard" fans go to races. Well that's not cheap. (A decent seat for the weekend is 200 - 300 pounds and that's before you get there, accommodation, etc.) Can they really not afford the one pound a day Sky would cost even if buying it for the first time? Of course they could! A die hard fan of F1 would not be poor since as a sport it is not cheap to follow to such an extent. I go to most European races and have done since the early 90s. You need money to do that.

No, what I think these fans are is fair weather friends not "die hard". They want F1 on the cheap and were prepared to watch it so long as it was free but now it isn't all they can do is complain. Their free ride has been taken away. They are the opposite of die hard, they are die all too easy. A die hard fan, a fan who goes to races and who backs the sport with time and financial commitment, would certainly have the money to pay for Sky even if he had to miss attending one race to do it (as I will).

So these fans aren't die hard at all. The only argument that makes sense is the moral one if you find that Murdoch's business practices offend you. If you do, fair enough - although I wonder how you manage to find your way in the world since Murdoch is hardly the only underhand person in the world or the media.


Agree with Dave that the previews of the sport coming to Sky were utterly cringeworthy. Sky have a proven track record of waiting for a production to become popular and then simply buy it out. They've done this with all manner of TV shows. Then (with sports) they take it down to the lowest common denominator.

If the F1 coverage wins a BAFTA on Sky, I will doff my cap and stand corrected. However (see comments above) I do not believe that Sky offers quality in the realms of sports coverage. Gloss over quality is their aim in almost all senses of the word.


The moral argument is not the only one. It is however the main one and just because others may be doing the same thing does not mean you stay silent - All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

I have seen the light of SKY on F1 and it is not a pretty sight. Sky talk down to their audience one only has to look at Fox News and the supposed F1 trailers featuring SKYBET. The F1 enthusiast is on the whole well educated and probably more knowledgeable than most commentators that TV throws up. The Beeb were getting it right but their coverage has gone downhill since they announced the Sky deal.

Having looked at the Channel 4 proposal it would have been preferable but the BBC in their infinite wisdom chose to drop a programme that ticked all the boxes regarding viewer value for money.

I am a die hard enthusiast but I've never been to a GP - to many non motor-sport suits and hangers-on around for my liking, but I've run a motor-sport team since 1998. F1 is needed to let the masses know about motor-sport but on Sky it will soon be forgotten like Cricket and Boxing. I'll watch BTCC next year and keep up with F1 as and when on the web or from the news.

I have already turned down Vodafone for company mobiles and told them why and if possible will do the same with other sponsors and informing them of my reasons.

Again My Gaff, My Rules. NO to SKY and the Murdoch family.


"The F1 enthusiast is on the whole well educated and probably more knowledgeable than most commentators that TV throws up. The Beeb were getting it right but their coverage has gone downhill since they announced the Sky deal."

So you are saying that a priori it is impossible that Sky might offer decent or even better coverage? You are saying that is impossible? That is a very bold claim. Pretty much every sport they have ever covered has received more and better detailed coverage as a result. Now of course it was at a price but they are offering a premium product (i.e. you pay for it) not a free to air service. Every free to air service has had to up their game since Sky appeared. That is very widely and egenrally acknowledged even by Sky competitors.

Go back to the 80s when terrestrial TV covered sport if and when it could be bothered, coming to events when they were already in progress, not having forums, data or different camera angles. What changed the broadcasting of sport in the UK? What forced other broadcasters to do a better, more professional job? Sky did. If you have a moral argument with their shareholders that your choice but I find it highly unlikely their coverage will be at a lower level than the BBC. It is simply not in their interests to do that and I think you will find they at least make an effort.


I don't see SKY offering better coverage, how can they? They will get the same feed as the BBC get so where can they improve? The race coverage will be the same but I can't see them getting it right with the enthusiasts Sky's way of doing it is LCD and that will reflect in their coverage. Yes It is a bold claim but I believe I'll be proved right in the end. Have a look at the Sky previews of this year with Tony Jardine where its all about SkyBet. Sorry but I and a lot of people watching F1 in the UK at least do not watch it to get a bet on-line and who in their right mind would bet on a sport where team orders could turn your bet on its head.

Motor-sport depends for its existence on new talent and if you reduce the size of the audience you reduce that talent pool. If you can't see that then you must be blind. How many people can name the UK boxing champions now, How many know the English cricket team now. BTW How many pubs are going to show F1 when the football is on?

If their coverage was so good why did they drop it before? If they are so good why do they get such miserable audience figure in Germany and are looking to drop it?

One other thing if I pay a subscription for something I don't want adverts as well. And we all know that the Murdoch mob are out to take as much of your cash as they can.

ITV4 has adverts during the days racing for the BTCC but I don't pay a subscription for ITV4. So next year I will watch BTCC and the odd F1 race as and when but I will watch it on RTL, and I don't need 5 live to know what's going on.


With respect, I think you miss the point. Many people love F1 but cannot afford to go to the races so they rely on the TV. I've met loads of people like that, we entertained many at the Fans Forums and we sent 14 readers to Grands Prix this year most of whom had never been before. TV is the only way they can engage live with the sport.


Indeed. Actually, since I can't afford an F1 race, I go to grass root motorsport events which are considerably cheaper. Like a weekend at Donington for less than £20. Pop in a travelodge £19 deal (or alternative cheap hotel chain!) and you have an affordable weekend. Those who support the grass roots are true motorsport fans in my opinion. F1 wouldn't happen without them!


Well said Dan82, and incentives like the Renault World Series days are another great, and cheap (meaning free tickets!) way for people who can't afford to attend F1 races to see the cars. And that promotes an interest in the lower formulas, which might lead youngsters into karting, and then who knows?

If obsessing over pre-season testing, pulling all-nighters over the Australian GP weekend EVERY SEASON and risking getting into trouble at work to follow the Friday practice times live, as well as having an encyclopedic memory of the sport from about '92 onward doesn't count me as a die hard, then I'm obviously not rich enough.

Maybe I should just casually follow football on TV instead. But then I'd have to - oh, wait.


Thanks for the reply James and I do realise this. I just don't wish to pander to the label "die hard fan" for this sort of person. Watching a "free" TV broadcast is relatively easy and something many people with only a passing interest in the sport manage. For this term to mean anything it is better reserved for those who sacrifice things and make choices to support the sport with their cash. F1 is not free as you know all too well! It only exists because people pay for it.


Andrew, I've been a fan for over 50 years. I've followed the drivers, the teams, the technology, even the politics. The first year I followed the racing there were, according to my scrapbook, 9 races with a total of 22 drivers entered from the UK alone.

There is a degree of "die hard" apparent but for some reason it appears to be die hard Sky fans.

The chap that suggested that 90% of those complaining will be paying for Sky by the end of next year didn't understand the principal of daring the determined. His smug comment polarised me further. I'm confident we can follow our sport of choice by choosing other sources.

To think this is ONLY about cost shows an inability to see the bigger picture.

In the beginning there was Pathe News....


I don't agree with the 90% figure. The fact is most of the BBC viewers are casual fans - or those taking advantage of the free to air scenario. These aren't all fly by night fans by any means and some will find other ways to watch which will demonstrate their commitment. A number of people will also just fall away. Will F1 benefit overall? Time and not speculation will tell.


been watching RTL's coverage of F1, I'm really impressed to be honest. Might have to learn German, but hey, as long as it's free. It is unfortunate that BBC didn't share F1 with Channel 4, looking at their advertising campaign I was really impressed with Channel 4's presentation. Then again, I'm not that surprised with the continuing Marketisation of Sport. The only things I'll miss from BBC F1 are the pre race build up and the commentary, though I am sure Heiko Waßer and Christian Danner will impress me 😛 I will still watch the 10 races on the BBC, but on principle RTL will do me very nicely!


[mod] Here in Australia we enjoy excellent free live HD coverage of qual and races plus they're shown at night so we don't waste our beautiful sunny weather siting inside watching sport all day like in UK when there's nothing else to do due to rain. And anyway F1 is not one of life's necessities, it's so elitist that average fans gain absolutely nothing from it, so bad luck to F1 if people stop following - it's not like there aren't any other sports to follow out there...


First I've heard about the channel being part of the sports or HD bundle (although I haven't looked that deeply in to it). Would make far more sense to have it available as a stand alone channel as they would only(!) cost an extra £14.50 a month on Virgin which I'd grudgingly pay for a dedicated F1 channel. If they show old races, interviews, test sessions, etc. during non-race times it could be awesome. There's no way I can or would stump up an extra £40 - £60 a month for the Sports package especially as I'd only ever watch the F1 channel! It'll be RTL online and Radio 5 live for me then next year.


Well, after 35 years of F1 that was my last race today - shame it was so boring. To be honest I'm kind of relieved as I've been chained (no pun intended) to the sport since I was 10 years of age.

But enough's enough. I can afford Sky, or I could choose to download the races from torrent sites later on the Sunday. But I will not, I'm walking away. I'm sick to the teeth with the [mod] money grabbing Ecclestone and to be honest the teams are no better.

We've been diddled ladies and gentlemen and for me they can get stuffed (I'd like to say it harder, but...)


Just a query that has come to mind.

Who will be 'host' broadcaster providing local director/production/cameras for the live OB race feed for the 2012 British Grand Prix.

$ky or BBC ? 'cos surely they both can't do it?


FOM is host at Silverstone and most of the races


James, any idea what this will mean to the coverage in Canada? TSN (The Sports Network) broadcasts the BBC's F1 feed. SpeedTV also broadcasts F1, but the live feed for quali and the race is blacked out (they have a replay later on). I like both, and tape and watch both. Both have their pro's and cons: TSN basically dumps the F1 feed right after the post-race unilateral, while Speed does full commercials during the race and has missed out on some big moments in some races, which is quite annoying as a viewer.

I'll assume if TSN loses their rights, that Speed will show the races live.


To be perfectly honest, I have never, and will never pay for Sky. Having been to people's houses, I already know it's a worthless waste of money.

And their sports coverage is really poor. So far I've not yet seen anything they have covered even as well as Channel 5. And that's not a compliment to Channel 5. Sorry.


If this deal is going to start a puerile football-style debate over whether those of us who object to the cost of following the entire season live more than doubling overnight are “true fans”, then I'd rather have nothing further to do with the formula I've followed religiously for the last quarter-century, quite frankly. If the rumours of Sky's new channel turning up on terrestrial turn out to be true I might be tempted, but there's plenty of other motorsport out there. F1 isn't the be-all and end-all.

And to those who bleat about nothing being free and the need to pay for what is, after all, an expensive sport, I don't disagree. But remember that the Sky deal was cooked up entirely between it and the BBC, with Bernie himself only learning about it relatively late in the process. This is all about the BBC paying the IOC, the IAAF, and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club; not FOM, the FIA, or the F1 constructors. If you're happy about that, then fine: knock yourself out and pony up several hundred quid to Sky. But don't fool yourself that you're supporting F1 to any greater extent than you have been for the last three years (and more) by paying your TV licence.


VERY sad that free-to-air live coverage is apparently over - the BBC did a great job this year. I'm a Sky subscriber but I'll not be upgrading....


Lets remember a few things.

TV is not a human right, it costs and it is something that can be opted right out of if you do not want it.

F1 is not a human right. It has to be paid for somehow. It is a luxury.

The BBC (wrongly in my eyes) has decided to spend the money it has on game shows and not F1 sport. It obviously thinks more people will enjoy, be educated or entertained by them than F1.

The BBC will not do full coverage now for at least 3-4 years, fullstop.

If SKY do not see a profit on this, they will walk away - again. SKY's only requirement is to make money for shareholders, as are Ford, McDonalds, Nokia and so on. They are businesses, without them our lives would be IMHO, poorer.

I hate this "I want it all for free, all others are B*****s if they have it if I can't..... coz I'm worth it..." rant rant

There are things I wish I had and cannot afford. Simple. I work harder and in a sector that pays and I will get it. If not - tough on me.

If you do not want to pay Murdoch, don't!


If you want 100% live coverage, pay twice.

If you can live with 50% live, 50% recorded, pay once.

Finally,there is always the choice to pay nothing and live with none at all.


Glad to see you are aware that Sky are involved in this though I'm not convinced you accept why that could be wrong. The full story is not about being able to afford. I haven't noticed any number of contributors saying they want it all for free or complaining about what others CAN afford. I also think the BBC have got it wrong and am interested to see how that relates to the other options that were apparently not given a chance to participate. How did this 'partnership' come to be? Do we just adopt the pose?

Johnpierre Rivera


From reading this post it looks like I will be able to access the coverage as long as I am singed up with sky go dispite the fact that I live in Los Angeles. Is that correct?


I have read and reread your posts.

It is some what illuminating that you have a bias against certain commercial companies.

Would it ease you pain, as a matter of argument and no more, if the rights had been taken by Mirror Group or Richard Desmond?

The BBC have stated that they need to save money (probably as they signed a very expensive building lease in the good years...) and need to be seen to afford it.

My bias would be for someone else than SKY, but they do bring experience, resources and we have to admit, great marketing to the party.

Partnership in business are common, far more common than most know. It is easier and more cost effective to sometimes share the profit than lose the sale.

Ultimately we are discussing the ultimate symbol of capitalist endeavours - F1 - and we cannot complain nor deny its route to market.


I presume you are replying to me Capt. I certainly do have a bias against Sky. Have you not been aware of the News Corp debacle(s).

Your reference to my "pain" would appear to be a ploy to make my comments seem petty. I don't have a bias as you suggest, I am totally polarised against Sky/News Corporation. I felt the need to comment as many contributors were only discussing the personal cost to themselves. I understand that is a major consideration but we still have to be aware of the more sinister implications of having this develop whilst disregarding the alternatives.

Another of the ultimate symbols of capitalist endeavour is News Corps belief that they can interfere with the messages on the phone of a missing person thereby giving false hope, to name but one of the things they will stoop to.

F1 is still about being the pinnacle of motorsport. Unfortunately the racing is becoming more and more the cabaret to draw punters to the bar. Ultimately F1 is being prostituted out to the detriment of the sport.

I will suffer no pain watching F1 on an alternative medium. However, the facts still remain to be scrutinised. Those that wish to selfishly roll over and accept whatever are free to do so.


I dont think they will be getting bigger viewing figures. I for one cannot justify getting sky installed and subscribing just for F1. I dont watch football or any other sports. I have watched F1 since being small and never miss a race. I am so annoyed. People are tightening their belts and believe me sky tv is one luxury which almost always goes when people are budgeting.

Thanks bbc for charging me a licence fee when i now watch almost nothing on your channel.


I have Sky and will be watching F1 on Sky when I can. I dont agree with the move at all but there is nothing really that can be done regarding this.

My worry was that Sky were going to dumb down the excellent BBC coverage to the lowest possible common denominator. I mean if Sky had any brains, they would see that the BBC are winning awards for what they do, and would use that as a basis on what they will offer in the future.

The first step is in getting the right team. We know Brundle is going to Sky but what about the others?

Brundle - Sky

Jake - Staying with BBC (wouldnt go with olympics round the corner)

DC - No Idea

Eddie - No Idea

Lee - Staying with BBC

Croft - Looks like Sky

Ant - No Idea

This leaves us with Ted Kravitz. Sky IMO would be nuts not to get him in their team. Nobody seems to be saying much on what Ted is doing, so any idea on this front James?


Sky is good for F1 - anyone see the football at the weekend? - nearly every ground had the hordings advertising the Sky F1 channel - premier league matches are shown to billions around the world.

BBC never had that level of advertisement for F1


Oh yeah, there's an F1 ad, let's suddenly take an interest in that. Not much scope for a pitch invasion.

Paint this as gaily as you like it still says Murdoch along the bottom. Sky finally get a foot in over the BBC as has been their ambition for ages.


No, it says sky....

Sky was formed from 50/50 from BSB (which was 100% british, nothing to do with Murdoch) and Sky - which was 50% owned by Murdoch company news corp (of which he/they doesn't own 100%).

Fast forward to present day, the Murdoch's own less than 45% of sky, and that "less than 45%" is owned by news corp, which isn't entirely owned by by the Murdoch's

Granted, they may be the men pulling some of the main strings, but BSkyB is a great british success story - be proud of it.

Sky were invited into this deal by the BBC - they have a long history of saving the BBC money on sporting events - for example, Sky provide the footage for most of BBC MOTD (the BBC provide some back to Sky, but it's Sky are the big player in this), but it's far cheaper than for the BBC to send their own crews.

Anyway - back to F1, the extra advertising it is getting is fantastic - F1 needs to branch out to new markets (hence Bernie making new race tracks left right and centre around the globe) and what better way of advertsing that than by putting it on one of the most watched sports around the world.


Sorry - I should have said "something to be proud of" - just because of the bad apple murdoch's, doesn't turn the whole company full of hard working individuals into a thing of hate.

I don't know if you have sky or sky sports, of have even watched any sports on sky? Sport on Channel 5 and ITV is far more commercial than sky (or at least just as commercial) - but Sky is Sky sports, it's in their interest to appeal to the grass roots fans. Look at what Sky punditry has done for football analysis (if you don't know, it's gone from 2 blokes in a studio talking to high tech video screens and stats), it can only improve F1 - if the BBC spend X on F1 coverage, the public will be "outraged" - Sky has no such issue. Any sport that Sky has covered, they have done well - just go ask Cricket and Rugby fans if you won't want to listen to a football fan.

As for advertising, I'm talking about the premierleague matches broadcast live on ESPN and Star Sports in India (who are just getting "in" to football), and the 600million viewers in 200 countries, including massive uptake in Asia, Africa and the US.

Anyway - I think we are nit-picking. I'm more interested on how people really can't see that this is a long term forward step... TV channels as we know it are on their last legs, the BBC won't be able to last much longer in it's current format - TV - well, internet TV is moving at a rapid pace. Soon it'll all be on demand, PPV and an endless amount of channels - no longer will it be BBC1,2 etc that show a mish-mash of stuff, soon it'll be channels dedicated to the show (or genere) people are watching and people will just pay to view that particular show (or similar subscription).

The advent of a dedicated channel to F1 is the way forward; I honestly don't think it'll be long until the sports federations (the FIA, FIFA/FA/UEFA) just run their own channels with people paying them directly to view something.


I'll choose what I'm proud of more selectively thanks. Amount of ownership doesn't naturally equate to amount of string pulling.

The extra 'advertising' seems pretty negative to me, not sure where you're looking James, maybe outside the UK (or possibly on Sky?). Sky have a long history of taking sports and putting a coin slot on the front.

Sky were invited into this deal by the BBC who have an ex Sky man at the helm.

New markets like India for instance? Bowled a googly there as far as the local sports fans are concerned. I think you meant to say " Bernie's back pocket needs to branch out"

Yep, F1 is dead. The name was bought and attached to this new 'sport' that keeps Bernie's babies in wardrobe fillings. If only we could have kept the real F1. I suspect it's only a matter of time before we get oil puddles, crossover jumps and one stint per race on cross-plys. Sky will no doubt be campaigning for a half time interlude for some of that lovely marketing.

That'll put the grate back in great Britain.

Channel 5 were the people saying they wouldn't be ready until 2013, not Channel 4.

Grreat. SMH.


I was at Fulham vs Liverpool last night and they were promoting the heck out of it on the electronic pitch perimeter hoardings


Unfortunately this is going to be the first season in almost 20 years that i cannot follow.

i cant afford to get sky, so i have resigned myself to geting a few highlights from time to time, and aslo seens as the beeb has only got 3 decent venues,,the interest will simply not be there.

i used to follow everything from practice onwards on bbc, so i am not sure i will get as involved when its not as in depth.

cheers Bernie


Does anyone have info on F1 coverage in New Zealand? I spoke to a sky representative earlier about signing up for sky if they had the F1 channel but the woman on the phone simply told me that she didn't know and that if it was I would be sent a personal TV advertisement to let me know (whatever that means haha). So far it looks like I am heading for the same boat as many others in that, for the first time since 1993, I will be unable to watch the F1. Not entirely through a lack of trying as I may well sign up to sky if the F1 is covered. So far though it seems like there is literally NO option to watch Formula one here in NZ. I know we are a small market but come on, this is supposed to be the 21st century.


I've just come over from the UK to NZ, and whilst I was happy to find someone else in NZ struggling to find out about coervage, I was hoping there might of been an answer.

I haven't found a single scrap of information about F1 in New Zealand for 2012.

Guess all I'll be without live coverage this season!


If you are in Wellington give us a shout, we usually find a way to watch it on Monday evenings. This sadly means avoiding the TV and internet for 24 hours or so lol.


Hey StuFoo

Funnily enough yes I am in Wellington!

Had a few conversations with sky (phone and email) seems like they've got live coverage of the first two races but won't confirm anything else (which means i won't be signing up to them!)

I'm trying to find a way to get UK coverage here. Either way drop me a message on twitter. (my website link)


Hi all

just a word to say how DISGUSTED i am at sky with all this F1 pricing a new channel which is great but at a time when the average person is finding times hard sky find another way to bleed more from its loyal customers SHAME on you.


The 3 day teaser for the channel 408 sky sports f1 was disgusting and i told sky about it .i said it was the same as bullying and would be seeking legal advice about it. They cant torment us like that then turn the channel off hoping that we would rush for the phone to order HD or sky sports both resulting in them gaining more money absolute bully boy tactics and if anyone else reading this agrees please say so. Not owning a HD tv or wanting to watch endless crap football, i cant justify the extra money for a service that was promised the british public could watch for free forever i think stinks and F1 are going to lose viewers ,which means they will have to charge existing viewers more who will eventually get ******** off at the increases then they will leave so resulting in the death of F1. Good luk Bernie hope u can survive (sarcasm)


Boycott the entire season, every race inc. BBC coverage. It is a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon but it will never be worth £120.00 minimum!!!!!!!

I will not watch 1 minute of F1 this year.

If enough people refuse to pay/watch F1 / Sky will have to answer to their sponsors

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