F1 Winter Break
Five BBC presenters move to Sky F1 team
Posted By: James Allen  |  07 Dec 2011   |  12:15 pm GMT  |  396 comments

The on screen team has been announced which will lead Sky’s F1 coverage when it kicks off a new six year contract next season.

It features five presenters who have been employed on F1 by the BBC this season, as the Pay TV broadcaster flexes its muscles and raids the Corporation’s staff roster.

Radio 5 Live’s David Croft will be lead commentator, with Martin Brundle moving into a role like the one Andy Gray used to have in football for Sky; live colour commentator, chief pundit and lynchpin of the operation. His hiring is the main coup for Sky and the coverage will be built around him.

The exclusivity of the 10 live races which the BBC does not have will drive subscriptions for Sky, but they hope that by hiring Brundle, fans with a choice will stay loyal to them on days when the two networks go head to head.

5 Live’s Anthony Davidson will have a role as part time practice commentator and post-race analyst at the Grands Prix which do not clash with his Peugeot sportcar racing commitments while BBC TV pitlane reporter Ted Kravitz and 5 Live’s Natalie Pinkham will do the traditional reporter roles in the pits.

Two Sky faces will transfer to the F1 operation; Rugby presenter Simon Lazenby takes the lead presenter role, he’s an experienced Sky anchorman and Georgie Thompson will work on the magazine show.

Behind the scenes offers have been made to producers and cameramen, some of whom are going, but many of whom are staying with the BBC, which will show half the races live and half as highlights only.

Host broadcaster FOM’s staff has also seen some defections to Sky, which is promising to provide in depth coverage of the sport on a level not seen before. They have launched a dedicated F1 HD channel which will not only cover the practice sessions, qualifying and race, but will also host magazine programmes.

It’s going to make significant demands on the time of the key figures in the sport, time which currently the major free to air stations like BBC and RTL (Germany) enjoy. Nico Rosberg, for example, already gives over half an hour every race weekend of his time to RTL alone.

For British drivers like Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton the demands on their time due to this TV competition are set to rise and it will be very interesting to see whether the two competing broadcasters get equal time with them.

Sky is promoting F1 heavily now in the UK. Moving banners were in evidence pitch side at Premier League football matches this weekend and subscribers have all been emailed with details of the new channel.

The calendar of races Sky will cover in its first season was announced today by the FIA.

Scheduled to run 20 races from March to November, the only question marks were Bahrain and Austin, but both are on the calendar.

Sky will have the first two races in Australia and Malaysia exclusively live.

Let us know what you think of Sky’s new team.

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bbc sell outs, sky skanks, i refuse to pay to watch, thank god for streamin sites 🙂


Leaving aside the love or loathe Sky debate, I'm more concerned about their team makeup. I'm sure David Croft and Anthony Davidson are nice guys, but every time I've heard them at work it sounds more like amateur hour compared to Brundle and Coulthard's polished, professional performances.


I hate to be cynical, but as I understand it, BskyB where involved in the financing of the (BBC)switchover to digital.

Now forgive me here if I stretch the boundaries, but to my mind, and this is only a personal concern you understand, is it going too far to suggest that there may have been an agreement, you (BskyB) finance the switchover, and we (BBC)will give you 50% of F1 coverage?

Now I read that the dreadful and unsuitable (imo) Jonathan Legard may be commentating. James, I for one welcome you back to the microphone and hope that the rumours are accurate.....but Legard...god no!


Much as I love motor-sport in general and F1 in particular I'm not yet ready to bow down before the Murdoch Mafia. Those of us with any decency simply will not stray across that finishing line.

Wayne, thank you for leading the way!



what does the new TV deal mean for Australian viewers through ONE? Will we be getting the BBC or feed or will the races be on FOXTEL, the pay tv network partly owned by News Corp?

And are you going to still do work for One next season?


Yes, I'll still appear on 10/ONE HD coverage.

They will need to decide whether to buy Sky TV or BBC TV commentary from FOM


After 30 years of watching F1 on TV 2011 was my last. There is no way I will give Sky any money. As there's nothing now that I want to watch as it's broadcast on terrestrial TV I have cancelled my BBC license. Perhaps I will find another way to watch F1 live but maybe I won't bother with what at the end of the day is a soap opera that appeals to men...


ive had sky for nearly 15 years and refuse to pay anymore money to watch f1, its the only sport i watch and cant believe wat they have done to it, when the bbc took it over i thought thank god, no adverts love jake,brundal and couthard its its fab, and now its just all gone to pot, im not guna pay all the extra money for sky SPORTS for one sport. if they want to keep customers they shud give it us for free (standard) they will loose more costumers than gain new ones. and i am seriously thinking of gettin rid of sky all together


Well said!


Totally agree, I will not be watching on the BBC as they caved in to Ecclestone & Murdoch.

I will not watch Sky either (I don't subscribe)& never will pass hard earned money to people like Murdoch.Despite being a long time fan of F1 I will be giving up watching as a matter of principle.


Could be a saving grace for pubs to show the race and get more custom while the race is on!


Good point mark ; ) dependant on the time zone ; )


Sigh indeed - for TV.

Instead, I propose that everyone here spend their £240 on visiting the British Grand Prix for the weekend - a far better way to enjoy F1.

20 x 3-5 hour quali and race TV watching time, which will cost a minimum of £20 x 12 (on top of a standard Sky sub).

Spend it on a real race instead 🙂


Already have our tickets, they were my birthday present last August:) To all those with Sky, why would you pay for hours of adverts? How long, I wonder, will it be before Murdoch starts dictating the F1 calendar, and wants the race times changed so as not to clash with the premiership football matches.


Brilliant idea! I'm in!


why sigh? competition is good, and perhaps needed...or are you not willing to pay for your F1?


Thinking about things can often seem dull to the unitiated.


"Given that the Sky TV coverage will likely contain adverts,"

They have already said there coverage will not contain adverts.


But its not really competition, If you want to watch all the races in full, as it appears the BBC will only be showing "extended" highlights of the races they'll cover, you have no choice but to pay for Sky, which I wont do as I don't want Murdoch to get a penny of my money ever.

Fortunately though in this day and age there are plenty of ways to still watch it for free.


Jeff, I'm no fan of Sky, but I'm pretty sure they said from day one that there wouldn't be adverts during track sessions.


Given that the Sky TV coverage will likely contain adverts, I think you'll find that the actual number of minutes of televised formula one RACING on the BBC's highlight shows may well rival that on Sky. The only trick will be avoiding news reports of who won before seeing the race.

Realistically though, I think you'll see F1 suffer the death of a thousand cuts on the BBC. You get 10 races live this year. Watch that drop slowly to none over the next few years.

Having no option over here in seppo-land but to watch it on Speed TV (another Murdoch channel), my DVR must skip over at least 20 minutes of advertising during a typical F1 race. At least I have a DVR so that I have the satisfaction of knowing that the people paying Rupert for advertising don't get to me.


Agreed, Ben. There are indeed many ways to watch if you do not want to prop up horrendous, disgusting and despicible organisations like News Corp.


Some of us don't get the option and others don't think it's a good idea to support people with poor ethics. Especially when said ethics are likely to lead to a massive reduction in F1's earnings in the medium term (thereby opposing the supposed benefit of this system to F1).


Ade, Freesat isn't terrestrial (that would be Freeview). If you can get Sky, then you are one dish re-alignment and one set-top box away from Freesat (the Sky dish is more sensitive than the typical Freesat one, hence why it doesn't always work the other way).

I can't get Freeview or other aerial services post-switchover either, but Freesat works fine. Planning law prevents the dishes from being swapped over at my house because it's old - we had to wait for the old broken dish to fall off a few years ago, else my house would still be stuck with the old analogue (and therefore increasingly pointless) Astra satellite. Sky Go isn't an option because the only broadband connection available is too slow to consistently support video (you need a connection with a peak of 8 MBit/s and mine has a peak of 4 MBit/s). So when I say that some people can't have Sky, it's because of personal experience, supported by word from other people with the same problem. Yes, the Sky decision does deny people the option of watching some F1 races given the increasing spoiler risk, and I get the impression some of the people thus denied would have paid for Sky had it been a theoretically viable option.

The whole point of F1 being on free-to-view was to get the biggest audience so that F1 could get the most money in a sustainable way. Now some people won't be able to get half the F1 races (except through radio, which nets FOM a lot less money) and Sky doesn't appear to realise how many new subscribers it would need to make its deal work, thus setting F1 up for a serious reduction in medium-term income (failure in one of F1's "big four" markets will lead to other broadcasters of all stripes getting the confidence to reduce their contract prices because they'll know Bernie hasn't got the alternatives he currently believes he possesses). That will affect everybody negatively, including the people who can/must use Sky services to access F1. So the "bleating" is due to the issue still being one of the largest medium-term problems F1 faces (along with the increasing environmental agenda and the Bernie succession). This deal strikes me as very anti-F1, which is the main reason I'm against it.


Re:Wayne...so you'd have no tv at all? I can get NO terrestrial...nothing not a sausage. I like to think that I'd let the other members of the household at least have the option to watch tv...

Yes it's my choice, but in the village I live in everyone has Sky because of the lack of tv. I tie it in with Sky broadband, and as a package it's less than we were paying BT for phonecalls and broadband, with HD tv. There is no prospect of the village ever receiving tv under the current system as it's not financially viable for them to install a mast for approx. 100 houses. I do understand peoples points, but in my case they're moot!

I just wish people would stop bleating on about it...


Re: Ade

You do have the option of Freesat though right? Satelite technology trumps radio masts, that's not the fault of the BBC.


Ade, that's because you either refuse to acknowledge or completely miss the point some people are trying to make.


and likewise, I have to have Sky otherwise I get no tv...no terrestrial signal here! I also get my broadband through Sky rather than go through BT, another company with some dubious business practices. Ethics withstanding, I will be able to watch my F1 channel, something the BBC would never be able to provide with its current funding model and am perfectly happy with this decision. Times change and things move forwards, your choice to find something else to watch or see the highlights on the BBC. I can't still believe that this decision is being raked up again online...


I would be willing to pay for F1, but not to a company which is managed by the same people who think it acceptable to hack into the phones of raped and murdered children.

Obviously that puts me in a minority of the happy-clapping-look-at-the-shiny-interactive-graphics-they-stop-me-having-to-think F1 fans.

I've been watching the sport for more than 30 years. No more.


Agreed. I cancelled my Sky subscription over this, and whilst I'll miss Brundle, I can no longer give money to Murdoch et-al.


Damn your life must be dull!


I never once suggested that other companies involved in F1 were morally superior. To suggest I did is a false equivalence on your part.

My point is, no others expect me to pay just to watch them.


if you think NewsCorp are any worse than about 90% of the businesses in F1 you are deluded


No, I don't buy Nestle products. And it's been years since I've bought a British newspaper.

It's not hard to live without the Daily Mirror or Turkish Delight, you know.

Equally, it won't be hard to live without F1.

Goodness knows it's had its fair share of egregious characters over the years, but it's increasingly apparent that amoral corporations thrive only because people shrug their shoulders and ask 'What can you do?' The only thing I can do is elect not to give peddlers of the lowest common denominator like Sky, Murdoch and people like them my money.

If you choose to do so, that's up to you. But at least be aware that Sky, which is metastasised in our culture despite holding no cultural values whatsoever, (other than to make as much money in as short a space of time as possible regardless of decency or dignity), will treat the sport with the tabloidised contempt and vacuous hype it deserves for getting into bed with them in the first place.


Then you better not look at any newspapers as every single one of them has been involved in that scandal, they just haven't been highlighted as widely. News International weren't even the worst perpetrator, in terms of amount spent on hacking, the Mirror Group taking that title. Even the holier than thou Guardian was involved albeit to on a smaller scale.

All the above is publicly available information from earlier investigations into phone hacking carried out by parliament.


But you think it's perfectly acceptable to watch races in countries with questionable ethics and human rights?

I have an idea, let's not blur sports with politics or ethics. Sport is and should always be about one thing - sport.

I shall not be getting SKY channel for one reason - I'm a tight git. I will not fork out money over something that should be free. If BBC does not show a race I'll either watch it for free on Polish satellite channel or download it from a torrent site.


Does that mean you don't buy Nestlé products either?


And there you have it. Plenty of us CAN afford Sky but we will choose not to.


Murdoch's moves to hamstring the BBC come to fruition yet again. It was all [mod] his lobbying of the UK Government about how poor little SKY TV could not compete with the 'mighty' BBC that led to the BBC's income dropping in real terms over the next few years. There really is no justice what so ever when people and corporations with (in my personal opinion) the morals of a sewer rate constantly escape justice for their actions and go on to prosper despite themselves.

A special thanks to FOTA for backpeddling like Olympic champions over their stance on this one as well.

Thankfully I won't be watching SKY TV turn coverage of this SPORT into a WWE-like pantomime next year. Not even a 20 year love affair with F1 could make me line the pockets of the people that own News Corp.


I fully agree as well, i loved the sport since i was a nipper & watched it where ever and when ever i could for 20 odd years now, but i refuse to watch it on SKY, never had sky, don't need it, never want it...........


Additionally, at some point the Sponsors who provide all the money to ensure the cars are built, raced and the teams are paid will wake up and realise they have just had the audience cut in the UK to 70% (rough guess)of what it was ...... Perhaps they may start getting pissed at this change around the world. Lets face it, at some point it will go exclusively Sky in the UK as per a huge % of the Western World. Therefore your sport has just been hijacked for the rich only. You may fill up with Shell because Ferrari uses Shell but you can't watch your team or support your team and the sponsor because you can't see them. Believe me, the rape of Sports to extract as much money from Joe Public can't last forever ( well it will last till the massive world crash ) - and Bernie (US$4.2Bill)and Sky will be gone with all their millions they have extracted.


Here here!

Google free F1 coverage.


I'm coming to this debate quite late but I think there is a risk of falling into a trap here. What the News of the World (NOTW) did undoubtedly looks despicable and hopefully they will be rightly punished but I think to follow this to the conclusion that all at News Corp are cut from the same cloth is spurious. The Times and Sunday Times are still very well-respected outlets and we also don't know at this stage how much phone-hacking was prevalent in the newspaper industry (particularly tabloid journalism - where the pressure for a scoop is large) as a whole.

Regarding Murdoch specifically I also think some people tend to use the negatives to overlook the positives he has contributed to media in the UK. The move to Wapping which broke the back of the print unions and was a boon for the entire newspaper industry, as well as the consistent innovation at Sky (although it's worth saying that - despite it being seen as Murdoch's baby - News Corp currently only owns 39% of it so they're not one and the same).

As The Economist pointed out at the heart of the phone-hacking scandal, what News Corp do have is an aggressive approach to market share. It helps explain their quality drive in some areas, and there is nothing wrong with it in principle. But it could be this pressure for market share led to NOTW's systematic yet disgusting phone-hacking. So from where I'm sitting I don't think it is right to claim that News Corp just throws morals out of the window, it seems more that their market share approach has lead to a (small) part of the company behaving in this totally underhand way. That said, we don't know at this stage what exactly the Leveson Inquiry will reveal - and that could still change things.


Great post, whether I agree or not.


Thnakyou Rupert Murdoch.


I agree. I'm absolutely gutted about the BBC losing this. I'm very close to abandoning the whole sport. I can't see who the BBC can recruit to match the team that they've lost. Such a shame.


BBC did it to ITV.... so what wrong with sky doing it....

I watch more programs on sky sports then bbc so why should i pay a tv license?

love the ref to WWE, wwe isnt made by sky btw they just pay for it. dont get where or how you think sky will turn F1 in to a joke.

Sky will make F1 like they have done to Dart Cricket Football and everything else it does only thing ill miss from bbc is jake


"Sky will make F1 like they have done to Dart Cricket Football and everything else it does"

Except there is absolutely no way Sky will become the ones responsible for actually filming F1, so they won't be in a position to change anything about the race coverage. Sky UK are just one of 50+ broadcasters that pay them to show their F1 productions.

People who think Sky is somehow going to make a difference to F1, need to realise that this is not going to happen.


Agree totally. How about a championship for the live races on the BBC only.

I won't be taking money out of my pocket to put into Murdoch's


barking up the wrong tree. bbc doesn't have to partner with sky. or for that matter, bbc doesn't have to keep f1 if it can't afford it.

channel 4 was bidding for it, etc. bbc decides to jump in bed with sky to spite all other terrestrial channels. fault lies with bbc and no one else. money or no money doesn't make a damn difference.


I'm not going to pay Murdoch to watch my favourite sport. The dilution of 20 years of loyal F1 following starts next year.

Ultimately F1 will go exclusively to Sky, but as with football we'll all adapt and make our own choices.

My choice not to pay won't hurt F1. After all F1 is a business, so it's about the money and not about the fans.


The Beeb screwed again by Sky thanks to this government's gutless decision over the licence fee. It also doesn't help that so many of the BBC F1 team have jumped ship as well, large £ signs perhaps?


Im sure Rupert Murdoch will be gutted not to be getting your business!


To be fair if we're going to take any consistent moral high ground then you can't watch F1 at all. It's just a giant advert for the oil and financial companies that have plundered the globe's financial and human resources and led us to the inevitable doom we face now. It openly supports deadly regimes and lines the pockets of dictators and corporations. It pollutes the world and serves no real purpose apart from furthering capitalism by creating false demand and wasting resources.

So, long story short, if you take morals into it you can't justify watching f1 at all. So you might as well watch it on Sky if you're an actual fan, just don't pretend you're not doing it for good reasons.


MattNZ, there is a difference between whining and taking a stance. If everyone quit what you dismiss as 'whining' the whole world would go to hell and we would all be complicit in its downfall. The world is full of greedy, moral-free, power hungry gluttonous monsters, only 'whining' keeps these evils in check.

It is also pointless to compare your free to air coverage to that available in the UK. We do not currently have adverts and the team and production values are extraordingarily good. Therefore we have much more to loose than you did.

Additionally, it's not 'cheap' to make a decision about where and how to spend your money, as your friend did. F1 is a luxury, it's not like your friend suddenly decided to save money by turning off the heating in his house.


Jack, this : "Oil companies are directly responsible for millions of deaths and essentially, the end of the world as we know it." is entirely too simplistic and sensationalist tripe.

The people who use and buy oil do so with the full understanding of where it comes from and the damage it causes. Additionally the act of extracting and selling oil is not illegal. Therefore you and I and everyone else who uses and generates demmand for oil are the real evil not the people dragging it out of the ground.

However, the people who bought the News of the World papers every day did not know that the company was conducting these disgusting business practices and were not complicit in their horrendous actions at all levels of society from the Royal Family, to celebrities to devestated parents.

You are right indeed, these things cannot even be compared.


Sky started as a " Pay to View " without adverts, therefore all the subscribers pay for the service. - How come Adverts have seeped back into Sky - Just because those with disposable income watch Sky and therefore the advertisers pay ridiculous amounts to Sky - so their profits just rise and rise. Totally and utterly corrupt. Thankyou Beeb - I'm staying faithful.


Well said indeed! When you come to think of it there is much to find repulsive about F1. The "conspicuous consumption", corporate tail wagging the dog, cars and drivers being a moving billboard but most of all the cultivated exclusivity of the attendees swanning around in paddock club or other VIP areas, receiptients of corporate largesse or celebrity culture whilst the plebs at the gates pay £00's just to watch qualifying! So lets not kid ourselves that Sky is the end of the world. Its just another bruise.


Exactly. I can't believe how many whiners there are that are anti this Sky deal in the UK.

Several years ago F1 switched from our free-to-air TV channels in New Zealand to Sky digital satellite subscription service.

It was the best thing that ever happened to our coverage.

Free-to-air TV used to pack the coverage full of ads (always at the worst times of course), and the extent of our "Race Weekend" coverage was the main race (usually live), and a qualifying highlights package. If the main race happened to coincide with prime evening tv time (which the Asian races usually do for us), then the Free-to-air channels would delay the races until 10pm at night.

Now with Sky TV coverage we get every practice, and quali session live and of course every race live. No advertisements.

Of course we had moaners here too. I used to have a mate who was also a "keen" F1 fan, but who was too cheap (note: too cheap, not too poor), to pay for Sky TV coverage. He now doesn't watch F1 anymore and that is his loss, whereas I'm loving it.

For the last two seasons my Sky coverage has been combined with my MySky DVR unit (a bit like Tivo), that just makes it all to easy to make sure that you never miss a single session.

I hate Murdoch as much as the next decent human being, but I'm not going to shaft myself out of F1 viewing based on some misguided ideal thinking that it will make a difference.


@Wayne - yes there's a massive difference. NewsCorp employees did something to give the mother of a murdered child false hope. Oil companies are directly responsible for millions of deaths and essentially, the end of the world as we know it. Don't even compare the two, compared to every oil company Murdoch is Jesus.


Very true. I don't defend the News of the World's behaviour in any sense, but if News Corp has broken the law, they should be punished by the justice system. If they have broken business regulation, that's a matter for regulators. If they have breached journalistic standards, that's a matter for press complaints people.

I am a customer and they are selling a service which I want to buy - if I don't buy it because of what another company in the group has done, that will not make any difference except that I will have deprived myself of the service I wanted.

I'd never buy the News of the World (if it was still going), nor indeed the Sun, but I have no moral problem with subscribing to Sky Sports just because it's part-owned by the same people.


Jack, there is a difference between F1 being a stage to advertise oil on and the News Corp Group who allegedly hack the phones of murdered schoolchildren to generate sales!


Well said.. The fact that F1 visits several countries with disgraceful human rights records and milks them of cash while ignoring the plight of millions of unfortunate citizens should be far more concerning to people than any UK tv deal.. Just goes to show how non existant peoples morals really are, considering they cant see past their 42" plasmas

Dimitar Kadrinski

Totally agree with your comments! I am now wondering why should i pay my TV licence any longer.... F1 coverage was the ONLY think that would make me sit in front of a tv...

Another think that keeps bothering my mind is how on eart they managed to land such a deal... wasnt a free to air coverage of the sport a main point with team sponsors? How did they all agree to this? And when there as inevitably so many discussions with sponsors, FOTA, FOM, teams... and still nothing comes out in the blue before the actual contract is sealed. A corruption at a very high level!!!!!

Tony Onesmallstep

+1 too


Very well said.

But it is a very good lineup! Must... stay... strong...


And for it to be spoiled by adverts every 5 minutes


100% agreement.

In 13 years of watching F1 I've never missed a race - I could count on one hand (just) the amount of races I haven't watched live but now... I need a new hobby. I'll still follow the sport but it looks like my weekends have just opened up.

The way that the Sky/BBC deal has panned out is cr*p. Dumb move by the BBC, hopefully they see that now. Selfish not to let it go to Channel 4 and God knows their motivations.


You're lucky, Tom. For those of us who've been watching for longer than thirteen years, we remember the days when the BBC didn't even show half the races live - or even send a commentary team out to the circuit.

F1 fans have had it good in recent years, but the BBC have been far from perfect in their coverage historically.

At least Sky can give it the consistent coverage it deserves, with a top class broadcasting team (and Steve Rider) at the forefront.


May be off the topic, but MMA has won me over and I am more keen in that these days.


Look - let's face the reality. If moral standards are of any importance and if people really mean it - noone will watch SKY and F1 on SKY. Guess what?


No, you'll have to tell me....


Couldn't agree more.


Totally agree


I agree with these comments totaly


Ian Hislop, it's not just sports coverage, it's 62 years of Free to Air TV coverage down the tube. I have SKY but I will be staying faithful to the BBC.


What a bunch of whinging losers you Brits are. Grow up. It's only a bit of sports coverage you're blubbing over. Boo-hoo-hoo...


Me too. And taking the best from the BBC just indicates to me the lack of original imagination at Sky.

Looking forward to the WEC though with what will surely be excellent coverage from Radio Le Mans!


Mistake by Sky, Brundle should be the main commentator, he's done a stirling job this season!

although it makes no difference to me, I can't afford sky :/


Fair play to Brundle, I have enjoyed listening to his 'wide-by' commentary and will miss his (usually) funny little jokes with Coulthard. I wrote the MB/DC partnerhip off beofre It started and I am glad to say I was completly wrong to do so. I still think DC's brilliant comment:

"The only way that message from the engineer could have been more scary is if it was delivered in the dark" in refernce to an engineers message: "He is behind you and he will catch you!"

Is comment of the year for me. I've never laughed out loud at F1 commentary before!


My best comment from coulthard was on the forum at Brazil to the pirelli man "there isnt alot of interesting things you can do with rubber?" lol classic or words to that effect ; )


Have to say though that everytime DC pronounces 'Vettel' as 'Vet-tell' it makes me want to throw things at the tv.


great one wayne. I remember the comment from DC, but for some strange reason I don't remember the message from the engineer. Thanks for reminding me.



Agree with that. I'm surprised just how good he was as lead commentator. He should be the new voice of F1 but the biggest shame is that now there won't be one recognisable voice every week when the racing is on. F1 is unique in that it has been the only sport to be able to have the same commentary team for every event in a season and it is a shame we will lose that familiarity.

I'd also be hesistant to describe this as a 6 year deal. Sky absolutely will take exclusive coverage once that deal is up, with terrestrial TV only getting a highlights package. We are never going to have a full season on free to air again sadly.


I agree - but this news cheered me up! If Brundle and DC were commentating for Sky, and Jake was presenting, I'd feel like I was missing out. But the only one of the team I will miss is Brundle, and Sky are wasting him as co-commentator. Croft finds things constantly funny even though they're not funny, Kravitz gets too much wrong, Davidson is non-descript.

But DC is always interesting to listen to, and Jake is a fantastic presenter. If the BBC can sign up a good lead commentator, like James Allen or someone, they'll have the better team.

But the most worrying aspect of the story is that Martin Brundle will be "moving into a role like the one Andy Gray used to have in football for Sky". I don't think it's fair of Sky to expect Martin to disgrace himself in front of the nation in such a way.


Martin played this role alongside Murray, James and legard...


I don't mind that they are leaving it shows in more ways than one that they are more interested in the financial side of the sport but that goes hand in hand with F1.

The BBC will be fine for me as I don't feel the need to sit in front of TV for 72 hours a weekend.

Ask yourself how many people can name the hosts of MOTD which is a highlights programme and then how many can name Sky full time host


Crofty, what have you done? That was my one remaining hope of listening to you on 5 Live. Guess money talks.

I 100% refuse to spend a small fortune for Sky when I will only use it for F1. OK, a dedicated channel is nice, but surely it will just like Sky Sports News, with F1 stories on 24/7 instead of football?


After the BBC kept inexplicably overlooking him for the TV I'm not surprised he's accepted a job with Sky.


Not surprised he missed out on a TV job. He just rambles on about nothing. Drove me up the wall listening to his crap comentary on the Red Button partice sessions. Don't rate Davidson at all .So it's downhill already at Sky


Sigh indeed. Team looks good, still no chance I'll be switching to Sky.


So lots of spaces to fill at the BBC - including main commentary roles on BBC 1 and Radio 5 Live.

Will you be filling one of these roles James?


We're going to get Leggard back again arent we? Think I'd rather read the subtitles!


Who decides whether they get equal time with the drivers? The BBC will probably have 10x the audience when they go head-to-head, doesn't make sense for Sky to reduce BBC commitments to reach Sky.


There are no rules about "equal time" but drivers are obliged not to turn down "reasonable requests" for interviews, irrespective of who's asking. All Sky has to do is get its oar in first and suddenly a huge chunk of each driver's free "interview time" is accounted for by pay TV.


This was certainly my biggest worry. Both for the drivers getting overly harrassed when they should be concentrating on their driving and for the BBC coverage which prided itself on close contact with the paddock, rightly so.

Like others have said, a 24/7 F1 channel actually doesn't interest me - it's 20 races per year not 20 premiereship matches a weekend. It would make more sense if they were doing a 24/7 motorsport channel that featured even just a few of the other excellent series out there (although I guess they'd have to buy the rights to each individually!). I imagine this F1 channel is going to be repeat city and if it has the likes of Rider to give us utter lack of depth analysis there's nothing to attract met there either.

Thinking about it, I'm not sure the power of 'not upsetting Murdoch's vast and many tentacled media network' is going to have as much influence as it might in another endeavour. F1 is global in a way even Murdoch isn't. The team bosses, drivers et al know the reach and draw of the BBC - even beyond UK shores. It will only come down to whether Sky get bruiserish about access to the people we're interested in and I'd say they're employing most of the BBC frontroom names suggests they will.

Ah well, I'll enjoy what I get to see and hear on BBC1 and 5Live and go onto the interweb for everything else. Sky can't own drivers' twitter feeds can they?


You don't refuse Sky.

Sky gets you love from the UK tabloids and also is a good bridge builder to raising US profile. If you care about your image and sponsorship (and LH and JB most certainly do) you'll make sure Sky feel well loved.

The BBC sadly can't offer them anything they haven't already got - household name status in the UK.


So, did you see jb's comments at the autosports awards (youtube)? Doesn't strike me that he is showing any love to sky?


I think this is a good move for all presenters concerned. Ultimately, they will all want to cover live action races, as opposed to appearing on a highlights package every other race.


But No Lee Mckenzie...Sacrilege


As a subscriber to Sky already, it can only be good news that there's going to be more indepth coverage, and the team they have put together is very promising. can understand the ppl who cant afford sky being non plussed but thats life!


As a Sky subscriber already paying £60 a month to this glorious organisation, I'm thrilled to see such a great line up of presenters!

However, as this deal is just plain WRONG I'm pleased to be stopping my D.D. to Sky and look forward to Freeview on Virginmedia.

If we all do it Sky will soon kick F1 into touch & it will be back on FTA again.


think your dreaming there doug, now sky have it they wont be letting it go any time soon, fair play that your sticking to your princples by cancelling sky but theres no hope of me following!!


Why not watch it FTA via sat?..RTL or Belgium

one off £60-80 dish and u r done..no Sky bleeding you dry for years!


This still leaves a sour taste in my mouth. The BBC have the resources to maintain a good coverage of F1. But they would rather spend the license fee on BBC 3, Radio 4 Extra etc, channels and programs that are essentially rehashes or re-runs of programs that have already been made.

I am a Sky TV customer, but there is no way on God's green Earth that I will be purchasing Sky Sports just to watch F1. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and there are more ways than just watching Sky to see the F1 race live.


If 4 Extra is just 're-running' shows then it doesn't cost very much to run.


Who runs the radio station? Robots?

It's run like any other radio station.


You don't have to purchase Sky Sports. If you have the HD pack then you get it included with that. If you don't it's an extra £10 per month, so not as bad as first feared.

I couldn't afford to pay for Sky Sports but luckily already have the HD pack.


I don't have the HD pack, so I would have to upgrade to that. I get the normal TV as HD (BBC, ITV etc), but I don't think that's covered.


if you have HD you will get F1 for free...


...and it only costs just over a tenner a month to get the HD pack if you're already a Sky subscriber.

Honestly, this was probably the easiest sell they've ever had to make!

'So, Mr Mc, just to confirm for the fourth time; you upgrade to the HD pack, and your full season's coverage of F1 is free of charge and presented in glorious HD. Yes I'm sure, Mr Mc. Yes, honestly...'

Personally, after all the speculation over the last few months that we will require a Sky Sports pack and have to stump up the best part of £600 for the year, I'm almost giddy with joy - ever since the anouncement I had been preparing to say goodbye to my one true love of the last 23 years. Now, though, the love affair can continue.

Which pleases the wife, of course...


Were you approached ? Much better than Ted


Hi James,

Perhaps a little to early to say, but for Australian viewers any idea on what One will be doing and/or your role with them for next year?

Any comments/thoughts would be greatly appreciated




Hi James

Iain makes a good point for the Aussie viewers - we all want to know which channel will be hosting the world feed.

One HD do a good job on F1 and I hope it remains free to air down under.

If you have any news that would be great and will you and Tom Clarkson continue to work with One?




Yes, we'll be there. It's certainly a Network 10 property. I've not been told of what the plans are for ONE HD part of the coverage. I'll let you know when I find out.


any info for Indonesian viewers, James? read comments #24...


Yes, I'm very keen to find out! Also which commentary ONE/Ten will be buying.

+ hopefully the races are live!


Thanks very much James - us Aussies would be very grateful if you could.


Fantastic line-up, couldn't have asked for anything better really. The majority of the team have many years of F1 experience, plus it looks like Sky's coverage will cater to the more hardcore, technically-minded fans, which the BBC didn't. I could sense Brundle was feeling frustrated there. Still, I just hope that at long last we will get high-quality non dumbed-down coverage. Shame the BBC have Ben Edwards though, he's better than Crofty IMO.


This is an absolute result for a tenner, there's going to be excellent coverage from both channels as they'll both be trying to out do each other, the HD feed is superb and the commentary team lineups for both channels looks really good. Personally, I'll watch all the Beeb live coverage and switch to Sky for the others, great choice in Ben Edwards so well done there folks. All that's missing is a dream presenting line-up of Jordan & Blundell which would have to go out on the Comedy Channel of course

Great website James


I guess this was inevitable. Money talks and they get to cover all 20 races live. It's also a big opportunity for the BBC to bring in some fresh talent, the sport doesn't just revolve around Martin Brundle.

How about bringing back John Watson, give Nigel Mansell a role and find some younger talent to work with them.


Well I'm really excited by the new Sky era, I already have Sky as I'm a massive football and Cricket fan.

They will take the coverage to a new level with the investment they will put in.

I just wish you James had joined the team, because you and Brundle are my favourite commentators.

James do you know what the magazine show is all about?


Completely agree, if they do to F1 like they do to football or cricket its going to be mega


They won't though, they are only going to do to F1 what the BBC did, pay Bernie to show the FOM feeds and have no control over how it is run.


Hmm! so what will happen to the Radio 5 Live coverage? Those of us ex pats not within the Sky coverage area rely on the informed commentary by that team who have now moved over to Sky 🙁


If I had the money Sky had it's what I'd do...take a well established team and buy them virtually wholesale. Shame really as the BBC viewing figures this year had been so good.


I'm not going to purchase it. I don't want Sky, so no chance of me purchasing Sky just to watch F1. No way.


Sky have yet to say whether the new channel will be available on BT Vision or Virgin.

Doesn't matter how many top names they poach if the coverage is dish eclusive and we can't all watch it!


I had assumed Crofty would take Brundle's place on the BBC team, but if Crofty and Brundle are both working for Sky who are the BBC going to get to do the commentary?


Wow, BBC F1 team completely demolished. Very very sad.

Sky's coverage is going to be brilliant - but it's a massive shame they're not sharing the commentary team.

Does anyone know if the Sky F1 channel is going to be available on Freeview via Top Up TV?


"Wow, BBC F1 team completely demolished. Very very sad." To me it's simple: BBC screwed its fans, Sky has screwed the BBC. Karma


Sky have already confirmed that they have no plans to bring the channel to freesat or freeview in the future


It was rumoured to be happenening but it doesn't look like there'll be a top-up system.


My suspicious nature is wondering how above board the whole negotiation thing was and where that leaves Five Live F1. Personally not wowed by the Sky lineup - the EJ, DC and JH trio float my boat - but the web seems to have another viewthey think its great. But I don't think they've actually read the detail

All in all no doubt a moving feast - as Sky stamps its mark on F1 and the Beeb withdraws to coevr tiddlywinks, synchronised swimming and curling others will jump ship


Interesting that Brundle said that he didn't care if it was only his mother watching him on Sky...I wonder what audience share they are hoping for?

Crofty and Ted going over is annoying as they both have a lot of experience and will be missed on the Beeb.


What will happen to broadcasters in Asia? Currently we in Indonesia are enjoying Beeb feed of Live Race on Free to Air local station. Will it be obsolete next year? Is it possible to have all the races live like we've had before? Or it depends on who is the station making deal with?

I sensed a 'sigh' coming...



I'm in Indonesia too. I don't think Global TV can afford (or even reluctant) to buy the Sky feed. Since I imagine it would be very expensive. And to keep buying from BBC is just a waste. So the options for us are just Star Sports (with rubbish commentary) or download the races from the internet a few hours after the race.


Damn, I'll miss F1 - thanks to Bernie & Sky...

Fingers crossed there'll still be people kind enough to leak live stream on the net... d'oh...


I don't know about live stream, but I usually download the torrent from the BBC feed on "the pirate bay". Try googling it. And the nice guy over there has informed us that he has had the Sky Subscription for next year. I know it's not live,but it's better than nothing.


Georgie Thompson was convicted of drink driving wasn't she? Does Sky condone drink-driving?

They seem to push betting quite heavily too.

This line up doesn't raise the bar, it is simply poaching the BBC's existing line-up which suggests a lack of imagination on the part of Sky F1.

Certainly I see no reason to spend £360 per year for the same faces and voices + one convicted drink driver.


How does this matter?


Doesn't really matter how good or indifferent the Sky line-up is, they'll only be broadcasting to a minority audience, the Sky race coverage will probably get 1 quarter the viewers the BBC get for qualifying.


I'd say Sky will 1 quarter of the viewers that watch the practice sessions on channel 301!


Can't wait, while the production quality was great. The constant referencing of Eddie Jordan's wardrobe and Jake's fascination with F1 Parties became tiresome very quickly. At least Sky have the guts to put Crofty in as lead commentator, something the BBC should have done back in '08.


Awesome! I have been saying for years that David Croft deserved a shot at the TV commentary job.


To be honest, I already have HD so will get this channel for no extra cost. I always enjoyed the BBC team and it does bother me that certain people will not be on sky. Mainly Lee Mckenzie and David Coulthard but I also enjoy Jake's presenting. I would be happier if they all moved to Sky.

I'm going to find it very hard choosing between the two channels when they air together. I don't think it improves the fans experience, teams take a while to grow and the BBC's were in a happy place.

I'd just rather one channel had the rights and not the split we are now in. I have no respect for CVC and Bernie.


It's easy when the two channels air together. At 12pm (or 12.10) I will switch the Sky HD box onto channel 143 and watch BBC One HD for their brilliant build ups and at 1pm I will flick it back over to the Sky F1 channel and watch it (unless the BBC get a cracking commentator a la Ben Edwards). After the podium, switch it back over to 143 and then press red.

For the non-live BBC races I'll put it on at around quarter to 1 in the hope of catching Brundle's gridwalks.

Obviously alter times accordingly for non-European races. Thank heavens non-sports viewers can watch with a normal Sky HD subscription.


So basically they've raped and pillaged the BBC twice. It's a VERY good team they've stolen.

Not sure how I feel about this really. It's a bit like a second kick in the nuts for the beeb, I feel sorry for them (the rest of the team left behind), given what an amazing job they've been doing.


It's not raping or pillaging if you offer them money and they agree 🙂

And don't expect to see DC at the BBC in 2013 when his contract runs out.


Father Ted I agree with you about DC. Also when BBC took over from ITV they took some of their personnel.

Furthermore I cannot see Jake Humphrey being around for too much longer. I think he sees his career beyond F1 and I do not think he will be prepared to travel round the world year after year.

I think BBC will become a shadow of its former self because I think fans will go with the stronger Sky team and as viewers drop so will the ability to attract top presenters.


I heard that Jake was approached but turned down the offer. The BBC have him lined up to be a big part of the olympic coverage next year and he wouldn't want to trade that in for 10 extra races on Sky.

Perhaps he will be off in 2013 if he doesn't get to replace some of the ageing sports presenters the Beeb keeps giving us.


First things first for Jake Humphrey. The 2012 Olympics on the Beeb are just around the corner...


Sky won't get my £540 a year.

Hope Martin Brundle and the lot of them enjoy their pay rises.


While it's alot, the cheapest you can do it for is £363 (12 * 30.25 Sky Entertainment & HD).


And you could cancel the hd option saving £40 for the off season.


Croft and Brundle will be an excellent combination. Just a shame for those of us who won't be watching on Sky.

James, any news on when the BBC will be announcing their team? Jake, DC and Lee McKenzie are confirmed but any news on commentary?

Could you be tempted back into the commentary box?


Bit gutted we loose Ant Davidsons coverage of the race. I often watched the race live with the primary coverage but then rewatched them later in the week with the 5Live coverage to get a different pov.


Talk about skimming the cream. Brundle has been promoted for years as the crown jewel of the BBC and although he tends to irritate me with his commentary his grasp of the intricacies of the sport and ability to get them across to a broad audience is excellent.

I always prefer listening to David Croft and Antony Davidson, they are a much more natural team and the range of topics covered during practice sessions usually offers really insightful and fascinating information missed on the general coverage.

Ted Kravitz is going to be a big miss for the BBC, not only for his knowledge of the sport and technical nouse but mainly his relationships with the teams and their personnel, build up over many years.

Whilst I like Jake's enthusiasm I don't see it being long before he moves on to 'bigger and better' things. Coulthard is still finding his feet and is still rather hit and miss whilst Jordan tends to just irritate. So whilst the BBC retains highlights who is going to be brought in to try and compete. Anyone I know who likes F1 liked the coverage for all the people who have gone to Sky.

Whilst it would be easy to say they have all gone for simply big money offers, I tend to think it is more that they have moved for the love of the sport and the fact that with Sky they'll continue their input a complete season, maintaining their relationships within the sport and the people involved.

The more I hear about the whole affair the more pathetic the BBC appear. I actually really like the sound of the the Sky team but just no way I can afford to get Sky. I use to enjoy football and rugby but it's telling that I haven't watched a match in years.


I'm a big fan of Crofty & Ant - love listening to them on 5Live and on Fan Vision at races.

BUT - I think I'll miss them being on Radio, which was a medium that suited. esp. I have the impression that more is said by radio commentator than on TV and Crofty was/is brilliant as painting a high speed picture with words:


Still at least they will be commentating...


Just seen the races the BBC will cover and out of ten there are only 4 I'd say were good tracks. Monaco, Silverstone, Spa and Brazil. Singapore is pretty good but still growing as a venue whilst Spain, Valencia, China and Abu Dhabi are without doubt some of the worst on the calendar. So of the reduced coverage on the BBC only half are even likely to produce decent racing. The new race in America isn't even covered live. Sky win even more!


EJ's confirmed too.



Oh no, this is not good. To be honest, I'd rather have Jake Humphrey and DC to move too if this how it turned out to be.

I think the team that BBC had this year is an F1 commentary dream team (with James as the official post race interviewer *wink wink*) And the moment where EJ crashgating Ferarri's presscon was just legendary.lol.


Confirmed by who? BBC or Sky?


Just when I thought my day was going well.


You mean you thought it couldn't get any worse?


James, with your involvement with One HD, do you know what commentary Australians will be getting in 2012?


This is my question.

Will Network 9 pick up the sky commentary?


Blimey. Makes me wish I could afford sky! Enjoyed David croft practice commentaries immensely. Would be good to know what the bbc intends to come up with


The good bit of news in the Sky announcements this week is that the F1 channel will be free to HD customers - no requirement for you to pick up Sky Sports 1+2 as previously feared.


I know it's not an intelligent comment ... but I hate SKY.

Specifically, this is because I listen to the Radio 5 commentary abroad, while watching the French HD feed of the races (adverts, but hey, it's free)

Ant and Crofty were the best commentating team available, and now they aren't going to be there - it's a real blow to the coverage in other media. Unless Karun steps up to take over, I'm not sure how they will replace these guys.

Nice to see, after generously being allowed into an exclusive contract, SKY are being utterly ruthless in destroying the skilled BBC team that has been built with such hard work.

Well, what did we expect? ... sigh.


Ha, looking at those names, it looks like the Sky team wins again for hey, no body wants to be associated with the losing team but pretty amusing though to see Sky even poach the BBC producers & cameramen.

The only sad thing is when Sky came onboard I thought they were going to give our JA on F1 a chance for honestly the Brundle/JA-on-F1 partnership was the dream ticket kinda like the Hammy-Alonso team back in the day.

Yes JA on F1 used to make me laugh for not only is he a patriot through & through but he's loud and melodramatic. F1 commentary has never been the same to me ever since (Began watching in 2003)

As for the British drivers commitments, this is how I see it play out, the BBC will continue being Team Jenson thanks to those annual dinners while Lewis will give most of his time to Team Sky (aka Team Hammy) after the nice cunning and provocative moves from the BBC journalists ever since Jenson came onboard.

Okay, it seems everything is in place, can we get this show on the road already - 6 champs on the grid, two Tv networks trying to out do each other

Bring it on!


ur very funny.

And you forgot that David Crofty is a Team JB commentator and he leads for SKY - Martin might be a neutral but looking at the maths or chemistry of it: Acid + Neutral = Acid.

JB understands the politics and has more of an age/cultural fit with the media personalities involved - (although he might not be able to afford to spread the love (dinners) to all and sundry)

I expect both Teams will be Team JB. At this point all I am hoping is that Sky is less Acidic than BBC.


I still think the James Allen and Martin Brundle show was the best commentary team we've had.

Crofty and Brundle will be good, I'm sure. Not sure I'm willing to stump up for Sky Sports just to watch F1 though.

If Sky offer a cheaper package just for F1 through Virgin Media then I might be tempted, just for the extra coverage. I don't mind paying for something else, just not the same as I was getting on the BBC.

What I really begrudge paying for is the license fee. Now more than ever I don't think I should be funding a channel I hardly watch anymore.


Just to point out that when you pay the license fee you are defacto funding the training of nearly every person that works in TV including all the ones that work on the TV you do watch. The fact that Sky is nicking so many people from the BBC is simple proof of this fact!


how the hell do you get f1 free to air when STAR SPORTS have broadcast rights ?


Don't get it wrong buddy ,they are talking about F1 broadcast in UK not Asia...


I don't know about India, but here in Indonesia, Star Sports don't have exclusive rights. So, we had 2 live feeds from Star Sports and from free-to-air TV


I cant afford to purchase Sky so I wont be watching but I am shocked that Sky should choose Georgie Thompson, a convicted drink driver who is still banned from our roads to spearhead a F1 and motoring magazine show.


I love F! but im not sure im willing to get SKY just to watch it... whats that gonna be £30 a month? BOOOOOOO


As I already have Sky HD the new F1 channel won't cost me a penny extra and as the BBC are the ones that sold us out by allowing the deal with Sky I say they get all they deserve. I'll be exclusively watching the Sky coverage :o)


I dont care who is going to sky I will not pay the phone hackers a penny.


Here's my view:

In this age competition is going to happen no matter what but I am not going to get sky. I did have them but no longer. The finances are tight and the first thing to go is luxuries such as Sky TV. I do however have a TV card for my PC and I plan on fitting a motor to my existing dish and obtaining free to air coverage from aborad (I think it's Greece) and playing the radio 5 live coverage over the top of it to create a seamless feed.

It is indeed annoying but I have said all along that you cannot blame people such as Martin Brundel has many on Twitter have done because he too has a family to look after and a job such as this is not to be passed up.

Rant over everybody....back to work.


It won't be seamless. Even now if you do as I do and listen to Crofty while having the subtitles on on BBC 1 or HD there are delays. sometimes it's obvious that Crofty is seeing things 10sec before the tv feed but last time he was about 10 sec behind the tv pic. The subtitles run about 20-30 secs behind the tv pic. It gets weirder if you have the iplayer stream on as well. If you watch the live timing on Formula1.com you will see that it runs ahead of the tv pic especially when Practice and qualy are on and there is a timer countdown on the screen.

Still good luck mate, I will be buying a freesat dish and box and pointing it at RTL. Who can replace Crofty on R5Live?


I've already got a dish (B&Q, £24.98) pointed at Astra 1H - RTL coming in nicely on channel 171! B&Q no longer offer at that price, but at the old one, £49 it's still worth doing.


that was to comment 24..


I think David Croft is a great choice for commentator by Sky.

However, I'll be sticking to watching just what is available on the BBC - unless the Sky prices come way down I can't justify the cost of going to Sky just to watch F1.

So, that leaves the question of who will take the commentator role at the BBC. Personally I hope his name is James Allen. 🙂


Good for Sky and bad for BBC but I am still not going to buy Sky.

My biggest loss will be Ted Kravitz, always enjoyed his video blog on the BBC after a race, very informative and he seems to be liked by the teams, especially Red Bull where Horner and Newey are always happy to have a word.


Agreed Ted is always interesting while the teams are packing up, he digs in behind the scenes.


Not going to pay anymore money to sky to have the sports channels, and the money I do pay to Sky at moment is only for the kids channels and movies, still don't think its worth the money.

Plus used to watch the free practices at work via the online service the BBC provided ...

And of course its going to be F1s loss, the coverage on the BBC has been excellent this year, the F1 Forum even better ... not happy


Does anyone remember Jonathan Legard? He could be in the frame for a return to the commentary box.


From Legard's Twitter page: "Various options under discussion. Decisions pending!"


Apparently the beeb have already lined up Ben Edwards for the lead role and this will be announced shortly.

Very wise choice although he should have got the job originally in 2009.

Dont really rate Croft, he spends too much yapping on about irrelevant stories from the paddock instead of looking at whats going on on his monitor


Oooo yeah. Forget Sky, bring on the Legard-isms!! Let's start an online petition.


That is a joke in very poor taste, I would rather watch in silence than have to listen to lego.


Ok that's it...I'm signing up to Sky now!


Sky can shove it where the sun doesn't shine. Their reprehensible business practices and hardcore right-wing outlook can take a hike.

I also see they're trying to spite the BBC by taking a wealth of their presenters (and probably making them more wealthy as well; I don't blame the team for moving). At least I imagine that's part of Sky's plan, other than the logical aspect of making it quicker and easier for the team to gel.

I remain to be convinced Sky will be for the more hardcore fan; for the more gossip-interested fan, I suspect. There's no need for such saturation of F1 programmes.


I have read a lot of comments from people who have been loyal followers of F1 for many years who make it quite clear that they will not be subscribing to Sky. I wonder if they realise that all the key stakeholders in F1 (teams, sponsors etc) are trying to appeal to a specific audience demographic that Sky, above all other UK broadcasters, is best placed to deliver successfully. Fortunately for F1's stakeholders the people making the 'I'm boycotting Sky' comments do not generally form part of this desired demographic.


Red Bull are the most successful team currently, and achieved over 30% of the total TV exposure, and they sell pop ... Hardly an exclusive and highly sort after demographic.

It's about brand awareness for sponsors, and that needs bums on seats, something Sky are unlikely to achieve.


It requires the right bums on seats though and Sky will attract two key groups of interest to F1; affluent people who will buy premium products ranging from TAG watches to enhanced fuels through to a youth audience who will buy more consumable brands like Red Bull or might choose to set up their first bank account with Santander.


Bec, to be more specific; one of the target audiences is Men 16-34. They are perceived to be a difficult bunch to reach for a variety of reasons. They are less likely to have children in the household than women in the same demographic which, in turn, has a significant impact on their media consumption. Nearly 60% are single, most work full-time and their careers and social lives are the focal points for their lives. Young men remain one of the lightest TV viewing groups but are also one of the most profitable. Sports are one of the main drivers for viewing for this group. The Sky platform is popular. nearly 80% have digital TV (including standard sky) and around 12% subscribe to Sky+ - well above the all adults average. Sky Sports, Sky Sports News, Channel 4, Bravo and Kerrang rate amongst the preferred channels, revealing their propensity for sports, comedy and factual.

Sky will want to develop their on-line platform quite quickly as the internet is a prime focus for young men. Around 70% have home broadband, with similar content preferences to their TV viewing with the additions of on-line gaming and shopping (particularly for games and software).

Sky is a much better platform to reach and hook this audience.

As an aside, why do you think the BBC chose Jake Humphrey to front their show? Why did the BBC allow/encourage Jake to churn out so many tweets, blogs, photos etc through the BBC F1 website? Why does Jake regularly feature on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show? He isn't trying to communicate with me! I'm too old.


Red Bull isn't a premium product.

Vodafone isn't a premium product.

Sanatander isn't a premium product.

Lada and TATA aren't premium products.

Air Asia and Kingfisher are budget airlines.

Of the 141 official sponsor/partners for F1 teams, I would say between 85 and 95 are everyday brands, from soft drinks to PC chip makers.

25 to 30 are premium brands, from expensive watches to investment banks.

and the rest are not looking to sell a product but raise corporate awareness, like PVDSA who don't sell to the public, and are there for B2B opportunities.

As for the audience, the BBC got on average 2.95 million ABC1 adults per race, I assume that will be over 2 million more than Sky will get, the BBC also rated 6% of the under 16s at nearly 400,000, Sky are likely to get 20,000.

So on both counts sponsors are better off with the BBC, also during the pre and post shows they don't have to compete with Sky Bet type adverts, which are hardly aimed at the ABC1 adults, and certainly shouldn't be seen by the under 16s ... Sky is more of a scratch card TV station than an upmarket broadcaster.


Yes you are right, Sky are following F1's lead in being interested only in those with more than average income. The whole sport runs on money. Us poor pensioners who cannot afford sky are not wanted.

Many of us are disgusted with Murdoch's empire anyway and hope he and his son will be charged formally and convicted when parliament has finished with them. With this hogging the news headlines daily. it is surprising people are not cancelling their sky subscriptions wholesale.


Partly, yes. But they are also after young people with disposable income who they can hook into their brands. It's the holy grail of the target consumption audience.


Yes. The 20-30 year olds that will be packing our town and city centres this evening. Vodka/Red Bull anyone?


You mean all those 20/30 somethings that are living with mum and dad 'cos tahey can't afford to get a place of their own!


It's a shame Brundle couldn't convince DC to move to Sky too - I think they've been a (surprisingly) good combination this year, and I'll miss the banter between them.

I got rid of Sky over a year ago after realising I never actually watched anything that I couldn't get on Freesat. I was angry at the Beeb for doing what they did, and the way they did it - and I still can't see the sense in spending the money they will sending everyone to races for watered-down coverage.

However, I think Sky have come up with a much better deal than many expected - the standalone channel is a big bonus (even better if they can show the support races too, though I don't believe they have the rights to those yet). Adding the fact you don't need Sky Sports to get it, I think it's a fair offering all things considered.

What has pushed me to go to Sky though is the general arrogance of the Beeb, and the people in it. I still get the feeling 'BBC people' think of it as a gravy train.


Agreed. Making it so you don't have to get Sky Sports and having a dedicated channel is a smart move by Sky.

It also leaves the possibility of having the channel on subscription via Freeview & Virgin.


They only created a dedicated F1 channel because they realised that F1 fans weren't dumb enough to pay for Sky Sports to watch F1 for 2 weekends a month.


DC contracted to the BBC for one more season


He won't say so, but I think Brundle's decision was just as much about being angered by the BBC as it was about being attracted by Sky. He was *not* happy when the thing was announced. Can't say I blame him though.

Good that the BBC have kept Jake, DC and Lee McKensie. There is some hope, although they must be doing some head-scratching about the lead commentator vacancy.

Who'll give me odds on Jonathan Legard?


I think you may find Jake off to the olympics and moving on to other things within the BBC


I can afford Sky but will not pay that organisation a penny.

I am a big F1 fan and have been enjoying the BBC TV coverage with Radio 5 commentary from P1 to the race throughout their time on air.

Maybe I cut my nose off to spite my face, but it's the unknown with Radio 5 and German/Austrian coverage from a FTA satellite for me. Even if Sky's F1 channel cost 25p I would refuse to give it to them.

Hopefully Bernie will soon start selling online streaming from an FOM website. I'd pay £250 for that rather than 25p to Sky.



Do you think there may be a place for Jonathan Legard in the 5 live commentary box?

Or do you expect USP to go for someone new to the sport, as they did in 2006.

One thing is for sure - Natalie Pinkham's career has taken off in the last 12 months!

It's astonishing, in a way, to think that she will be doing the same role that Louise Goodman did on ITV and Lee McKenzie does now - both of whom had a wealth of knowledge and experience following the F1 circus, prior to taking on their roles in 1997 and 2009, respectively.



I can see why people are anti-sky and paying for F1, but it isn't Sky who have made this happen.

The BBC are the ones not honouring their contract with us (albeit that I now live in Australia) the licence payers.

Yes, Sky have put together the best team they could buy, to protect their investment, but let's not pretend that this whole thing is down to some sort of chicanery on the part of Rupert Murdoch.

It is the BBC who have let us down in the first instance. It is still they who should be castigated over this issue.

I love F1 and if I could pay to have the full weekend coverage over here I would do, without hesitation. The Australian coverage is only adequate when compared to the BBC coverage, I would be delighted if Sky would commute their stuff over here.

I don't think that we know how good we have it in the UK.


Actually the first people who should be castigated are the interfering politicians, who came up with a neat trick to further their social engineering agenda without having to raise taxes, or make any spending cuts that they would be blamed for: just tell the BBC to spend the thick end of a billion quid on moving half their operation to Manchester.


interfering politicians with a social engineering agenda, really?. Come on, not everything can be blamed on politicians.


The BBC's move to Manchester was a direct result of political pressure exercised through the BBC Charter, which is written by the government.

They'll tell you that the move is to enable the BBC to "better represent the whole of the UK," but what politicians say is rarely representative of what they think.

It certainly wasn't motivated by cost saving, BBC management's most optimistic claim is that it will be "cost neutral."


Good to see Ted has been taken up. He's a real technical guy and his after race segments must be what made sky look at him for a bigger solo gig.

Was never really convinced by Coultard. I'm sure he's a nice guy, but never really has the flow for the comms job.


Snobbery Richard. You seem to be implying us peasants who aren't getting Sky are not buying the products being advertised? Even I can afford a can of Red Bull.


Indeed. But you probably wouldn't buy it because you thought it was 'cool'. It's all about the kids.


LOL. Well quite!


Would that be Red Bull who are breaking the resource agreements and thus cheating? opinions are a great thing, but some people choose Sky for other reasons than cost. Our tv service is pitiful without Sky because we get a grand total of 0 channels without it...yes that's a zero. No coverage whatsoever...so I'm extremely pleased that I will get a nice F1 channel in HD to watch. Remember, the BBC was willing to give everything up and leave you with no coverage at all until the Sky deal was done.


Sky have got an excellent commentary team lined up. Martin Brundle's qualities are well known, but Anthony Davidson is also an excellent summariser, and it's great that he will be reunited with David Croft for the free practice sessions, as there is a great chemistry between the two. David Croft is also an excellent commentator.

The BBC should look at poaching Ben Edwards from ITV, who currently commentates on the BTCC. He used to commentate on F1 back in the Eurosport days, and he is one of the best commentators in the business. David Coulthard has proved to be an excellent summariser this season, so it's great he is staying on with the BBC.


A reliable source has suggested Ben Edwards will be announced at bbc shortly.


I'm afraid the Ben and Tim show on ITV4 hardly inspires me to look forward to this prospect with any strong hopes... Maybe for 5Live, not for the main TV program...


Ben Edwards and Jeremy Shaw commentating on CART in the late 90s was glorious. That alone gives me hope for the BBC's F1 coverage if he is confirmed.


Don't get me wrong, I quite like his commentary on the BTCC and there is also Carlton Kirby on Eurosport but both of them seem to be 'general' commentators who can cover any sport rather than an F1-specific commentator.

Ben might just work with DC giving him a lot of help but I feel they need someone a bit stronger for TV especially.

I wonder if Murray could be tempted out of retirement.....


Its looks like a fairly good lineup, but like most British fans I will be unable to watch the Sky coverage due to it being so expensive. I'll have to make do with the BBC and hope they deliver on their promise of stepping up to the plate. So sad F1 in the UK has been demoted to such levels where the sport are happier to slash its viewing figures just to get a few extra quid out of a broadcaster. Looking forward to hearing Brundle's replacement and the rest of the BBC team.


Am i the only one who's noticed this...

but sky haven't made any mention of who will be the quali and race day pundits alonside Simon Lazenby!

Or have they?!

What's your take on this James?

Contract negotiation with the likes of Tony Jardine, John Watson and Nigel Mansell still to do?


Such a shame they won't be on radio 5 next year. Normally watch F1 on red button so I can hear Croft and Davidson. Definitely not paying for Sky - so it's DIY on Sundays in 2012....


Dang. Were I able to afford Sky, that would have sold it for me: Ant & Crofty staying together for practice, and then Brundle for the race would be brilliant.

Pity I can't now see any of them .... many a race this year I rewatched with the 5 live commentary, to get a different perspective. I've been impressed by DC this year, but mainly because it's clear he and Martin get on so well - I'm not convinced he'll be good with someone else.

And PLEASE let's not have Legard back on the telly (I suspect they may bung him on the radio, as they've now got to find TWO leads) - James, if they offer you the job (as they'd be silly not to) please take it!


What do I think of SKY's team? - I suppose the team will be OK, but it's immaterial as I won't be watching it. I buy a colour TV licence every year, and I flatly refuse to pay again for SKY. There's more than enough channels with freeview so I'm simply not bothered about SKY.

I thought Brundle was OK, a bit slow, but had of course in depth race knowledge being an ex.F1 driver.

When F1 was on ITV I thought their presentation was very good, but of course disliked the adverts. That said Steve Ryder was a very professional presenter with such a wizz and polish Brundle simply could not match dispite his in depth knowledge. The rumour I heard was that Steve Ryder was coming to the BBC to do F1 in 2012. - Anyone confirm?


I currently have sky sports for the NFL & don't really watch anything else on there. Mainly because having previously watched their output, I don't feel it actually helps the sports they cover. All they do is make those involved richer. The coverage is pretty by the numbers stuff. I like the NFL much more than F1, but as soon as the superbowl is over, so is my subscription. If only channel 4 could get one of the early games on a Sunday, I probably wouldn't bother with Sky at all!

I think it will be interesting to see the viewing figures from BBC/sky after each of the joint races. In the long term I don't see this as a good deal for F1. And I can't ever see it coming back to free to air tv!


Been waiting for crofty to commentate on tv for years, a great line up, sky it is for me even though I don't have hd. Gonna miss Jake he was a great presenter.


I looked into adding the skyF1 to my existing sky package (I been a sky customer for over 20 years) but I simply cannot justify £10 for an extra channel.

I will be sticking with the BBC.


I will wait and see what the BBC line up is before deciding. Martin is the main man though. BBC didn't handle the announcement of giving away all live races well. That's why Martin and possibly some others have moved. Only worry is if BBC pull out at the end of this new deal and leave SKY then they will be free to ramp up the cost of the channel.


The team sound good, no idea who the SkySport leads are, but the rest of the lineup is very promising. I wonder who the BBC will pull out of the bag, Ben Edwards??

Has there been any mention of support race coverage? I guess Eurosport maintain the rights, but how great would it be if the Dedicated F1 channel incorporated the F1 Weekend Support races?

I made a comment about the BBC having GP2 rights in the orginal terrestrial coverage. (part of 09 deal they decided not to use) If it were true they could make a pretty decent package promoting the series. Bernie would be furious!


No chance of you coming back to the commentary box, James? 🙁


No. As I posted elsewhere, I’m not looking for a full time F1 TV position. I had 8 fantastic years commentating with ITV.

I enjoy the level of appearances I make nowadays on TV and radio worldwide, which sits well alongside the work I do in the online sphere, where I see great opportunities.


Interesting to see the Guardian "tip" your name...

I personally reckon Jonathan Legard will return. I can't see Ben Edwards leaving BTCC (I emailed him when BBC got the rights and he says he enjoys being Britain based most of the time, and enjoys the BTCC).


Great opportunities for you or us James?

At the moment online /website usage is limited to text and stills - part of FIA ruling for applying for website media accreditation.

In particular the para:

"the strict prohibition on the taking of any moving picture images, sound recordings, use of trade marks, title or logos or the transmission of certain kinds of results as further set out in the Accreditation Agreement. If any pass holder is found producing moving images of any kind of the Event (or any part thereof), their accreditation will be withdrawn and the pass holder will be not be admitted to any major FIA championships for the foreseeable future"

which is preceded by

''IThe applicant must be a professionally run website dedicated to reporting on the Championship and its events or a professionally run general news or sports website with a dedicated Championship section. In each case all and any coverage of the Championship must be free of charge to the public.''

So the public in FIA eyes can see their cake but not necessarily eat it, as live streaming and edited highlights are strictly verboten


This website is a google PR 6/10. Very impressive.


It was inevitable that some went, at the end of the day it's a career and I'd certainly rather cover 20 live races than 10. I'm not condoning SKY but I can understand why various members have gone.

One other thing, now that many races are on at strange times I often avoid the result and watch the re-run in the afternoon anyhow. If the BBC runs a good highlights show then I won't miss getting up early to watch a race live on Sky.

Each to their own at the end of the day, choice is part and parcel of the world we live in and what a boring place it would be if we all had the same opinion.

SKY F1 on Bt vision - then I may be interested.....



Gonna stick with the bbc as its the team who make it such good coverage, just wont be supporting it all like i have done for the past 25years. Money has to go elsewhere these days and just cant afford to pay for sky.


Delighted with the new line up and im really looking forward to seeing what Sky will bring to F1 coverage. While its a shame that this will exclude some fans who cannot afford Sky, they still have half the races to enjoy on the BBC.

I dont mind paying for F1 in the slightest and if the coverage and services offered enhance the sport i love then its definitely worth the money for me.

I think having Brundle as co is a good move, this will free up air time for Martin. I feel he was a bit pressured in the BBC with the grid walks etc. Im also looking forward to seeing more technical pieces like we used to have back in the ITV days.

Cant wait for 2012 now.


He's still doing the gridwalks.


I am very much looking forward to the Sky coverage. It's a great presenting line up and they give us a dedicated F1 channel. Brilliant. Hoping and expecting that the quality they put into football coverage will be there in F1 too.

Gonna be good.


I'm sure David 'Crofty' Croft, a man who clearly prefers football to F1, will appeal to the typical sky subscriber. Thank god he won't be showing up as lead commentator for the BBC..


delighted withe the news of crofty making it to tv at last. himself and m brundel shud make a great team. i wont be watching a single minute on the bbc. they let f1 fans down by teaming up with sky. they shud have tried a deal with itv and split the races 50/50.


Agree 100%


Anthony Davidson is (sorry, was) the most under appreciated talent at the BBCF1 team. A real gem of a commentator.

In some senses I can see why everyone has jumped ship to Sky, because the BBC has treated F1 with such little regard that why would you owe them your work? And of course the money is better.

But on the other hand, these people claim to be fans of the sport and are constantly banging on about how things can be improved for the fans - surely working for a company whose F1 output will be available for a minority of fans is contrary to their seemingly noble aims?


Just one thought, I may be wrong but don't you need an HD TV to watch HD broadcast programmes. Whilst I know a lot of F1 fans will already have one of these (since they clamoured for HD for so long until it came along), surely there are still many people who don't. So you have to factor in that the first anunual cost to watch Sky won't just be a minimum of £360 for their HD subs package but also the cost of a new TV as well!


Clutching at straws there I feel. Valid point, but the amount of people this would affect would be miniscule in the grand scheme of things and dare I say it, not a factor in consideration. Besides, Sky have, I believe, confirmed there is a SD broadcast for those without HD. And for those who don't want/won't get/can't afford Sky, and don't have HDTV they can continue to watch a SD F1.5 on BBC.


Hi Laura, whilst they call in Skysports F1 HD they still do provide a normal version of it.

They put the HD in to publicise the fact they do have the HD option.


Do not worry, you are able to watch the HD channel through a SD TV. The feed may be HD but the TV will just display it in the best resolution it can do. I have tried this previously with sky HD and it works fine.


I am very pleased with the announced line up and will be watching all of the races next year on Sky.

You cannot blame the BBC staff who have moved to Sky, they were all badly let down and sold down the river by the Beeb in Hungary. Just as the team were really starting to gel and with a continued increase in viewers as the season progressed they were cut down in their prime.

Glad Ant and Crofty will be reunited for the practice sessions. The insight they provide ahead of the weekends racing is truly first class, not to mention the quests they attract to the comm box which I hope will continue.

Would have liked Lee McKenzie to have joined Sky also as I enjoyed her interviews and the flirting with Seb, it made some great TV. Plus she is gorgeous!

All in all very happy with the line up but still mightly dissapointed with the BBC for letting down the fans and their award winning team. Just a shame I still have to pay for the TV License even though the BBC now have nothing of interest to myself.



£360 a year for 10 races - i think not.

i have no particular issue with Sky (other than the ethics of the managment)- they are just doing their job of running a pay for view service.

the let down is the BBC who have taken the licence fee which we are virtually forced to pay and mis-spent it without consulting the people who fund them - what other business model takes money from customers and offers them no platform to comment or choose on how the money is spent?

i'll be re-directing my freesat to RTL and 5-live commentary - just because i can.


Sicne Brundle seemingly made a big thing of wanting to be the lead commentator in 2011, it seems odd to pair him with David Croft. It'll be interesting to see how the relationship plays out - are they meant to be co-leads? Or is Brundle returning to the "expert" role?


Will miss Brundle/DC combo, I wished that sky and bbc had sharded their commentary team to save cash.


....and meanwhile Bernie fiddles as F1 burns

Still, on the bright side BBC need a good lead commentator - any plans for next year James?

Your diplomatic silence throughout the posts here is commendable.


Wow! Some v e r y vitriolic comments from the anit-Sky brigade. Let us all remember that it was the BBC that forced F1 onto Sky by refusing terrestrial channels the chance to bid. It is only good business sense for Sky to improve and expand their coverage after the Beeb proved how popular FP and Qualy programmes were. Compare how general coverage has improved, firstly by ITV when the Beeb lost it to them, and then when they got it back. My personal opinion is that the BBC would have done far better by keeping F1 and getting rid of most of their cr*ppy programming. I am looking forward next season with a great presenter line-up REGARDLESS of their personal lives!!!!!!!


A point. I have Sky Sports purely to watch American Football - Channel Four is the only terestral channel to show it all season, but having been a fan for 25 years, Sky gives me what I want and yes, I think the cost is worth it for what I want to see. The same must be true for F1 fans. Who really care about politics where their passions are concerned?


As expected. So let me ask a question - where are the moral standards then? So many readers here mentioned that they will never subscribe for SKY simply because of the moral standards.

I guess money talks.......


Disappointed not to see your name on there James!


I'm just wondering if there are a few people from Sky HQ making comments on this page?

Not to say that the line-up isn't good, but they have just cherry picked the best of the BBC team. That being said that team were also the basis of the ITV team who actually made massive improvements to the presentation of F1.

I remember the BBC presentation before sometimes just amounting to a 1.5 hour segment on Sunday grandstand, switching to the race during the warm up lap. There was uproar when it switched to ITV (me included), but they really improved the F1 show. Perhaps Sky will do the same, but to be honest I don’t think I really want to see more F1 coverage than the BBC provides with about 6 hours spread across 2 days with more if you desire on the red button.

That being said I can’t justify forking out the extra money just to watch F1, Even if they have the excellent Brundel and Kravitz. And Sky being within the Murdoch Empire doesn’t do much to appeal to my ethics, perhaps they are the best placed company to show next year’s Bahrain Grand Prix!


I am totally pro BBC, despite their ultimate cock up in this deal. They seem to have brought Sky to the table, and protected their own interests ahead of the sport going to Channel 4.

I also have some of reservations about sky, both for the morally reprehensible way in which the Murdochs are trying to ruin the BBC from the outside, and also because their sports coverage is poor in my opinion.

Their glossy magazine style coverage of football is what they mean when they say "it will get the full Sky treatment." Expect Martins (excellent) features to be repeated endlessly. Expect the ladies to be much more focal front of camera (Sky notably prefer a "babe" to be in conjunction with their fellas) and expect some dumbing down.

Their recent coverage of the rise of Manchester City for example is a perfect example of the way they create stories that don't exist. A petulant Mario Balotelli has been brought up to the level of a pantomime villain, and the non-story of the Carlos Tevez issue which has been well handled by the club, and is now pretty much a non-issue, is still an ongoing "saga" on their news channels. It's hardly "in depth" and in my opinion, if this is transferred onto F1 we will be left with a pre-race show that follows Lewis Hamilton's girl problems more than his front wing adjustments.

That said in patches they have some excellent team members on all their sports who provide colour and insight, rather than bluster, glossy swooshes and some eye candy.

Despite my reservations however, this is undoubtedly a fantastic opportunity, and one I will look forward to, with hope they can do it justice. Sky will make sure every person in the UK knows there is a Formula One race happening, there will be a relentless push to get new fans of the sport on board. A full channel dedicated to the sport could be everything an F1 fan needs and more if they can truly uncover the parts of the wrapping the BBC started to take off.

If the team are allowed to be as creative and do the in depth coverage we have loved in the last 3 years, this could be amazing. Let's hope they don't let us down.

It's also a chance for the BBC. The Beeb tend to promote from within when it comes to sports coverage and also try and have people with recent experience to give the coverage an edge on the likes of Sky. If they find the right voice for the coverage (is Murray about? 😉 ) they will have to re-build but could also provide a brilliant alternative. IF you have Sky, it's only a button away and the figures I suspect will speak for themselves.

Looking forward to more details.


Can anyone please help me understand the commentary role Andy gray has with the EPL? As an Aussie,

I don't know exactly what it is he does, and thus cant picture what brundle will be doing..... Thanks 🙂


You don't know Andy Gray?

That's like saying you don't know the offside rule, mate.



haha! Don't worry, there are a few Australians that understand the offside rule, and, for the record I do know Andy Gray as a player (ahem) Never knew his role at Sky though.

Thanks for the replies everyone.


It is not massivly different to what Brundel has been doing on BBC. Talking about tactics and sportscraft before and after the race as well as being co-commentator. Although one would asume that MB will try to steer clear of the misogyny that got Gray sacked.


Before he was fired, Gray would be essentially everywhere across Sky Sports coverage on a game he was involved in. He wasn't great at the job but he was their main man as it were. He would be interviewed by the anchor in the build up to the game, usually pitchside. He would then co-commentate on the game, as well as providing some post-game analysis on what appeared to be a ludicrously oversized iPad.

If MB does what he usually does in hos own style that could work out quite well.


Im stoked with these additions to the coverage. F1 is so important to me that it is worth paying for, especially with pratice seassions now also in HD.

As for those who avoid Sky due to Murdochs and worries of lining their pockets. News Corp only own 39.1% which is a controlling interest but still it isnt 100%.

Also they own many other corparations of which they own the full 100%. Liek FOX, how many of you have watched a Fox product say 'The Simpsons' or The new Xmen Movies and countless others.

They also own the Times papers here in the UK too.

Like Video Games? how bout IGN & GameSpy they own those as well.

What happened at the News of the World was disgusting and imo newspapers nowadays are 80% filth. The News of the World got what it deserved and what the few hundred people did there shouldnt be allowed to spread into other things simply by association. This of course doesnt make Sky innocent of all things.

But im not going to give up on F1 , something that i love sooo much, Simply due to it being connected to something by association.

I think Sky have done right by offering F1 for only a £10 extra on top of the most basic package. This won me over and along with all the right signings from the BBC i look forward to their coverage.

Would i preffered it to stay on the BBC? of course but thatgs not the case. Money talks.

I think Sky will do a good job and i wouldnt be suprised if many eventually move over if next season is as exciting as 2010. If its 2011 again then i think Sky might lose those guys for good.


IGN? Thats a laugh.


i know i know. I use subscribe to Giant Bomb.My point was that chances are all those who refuse to buy Sky soley for the Murdochs thing should probs realise that they line thier pockets elsewhere without even knowing it. This coupled with them not owning more than half of Sky for me makes that reason pretty irrelevant and its more that they can't afford it which is fine. I can barely afford it myself but F1 is a life saver to me and i value it enough to pay whatever it takes.


Am hoping that the BBC actually put some effort into providing great coverage next year. On a matter of principle, I will not pay a single penny to Sky, irrespective of how many tempters they offer.

The saving grace, though, is that the sharp end of qualifying and the actual racing is the key to an F1 weekend. As long as the BBC have a great commentator that allows us to enjoy the action and feel apart of the race, then great.

Irrespective, I will not pass any of my hard earned to Sky.

The biggest travesty would be if the BBC simple give up and no other public service broadcaster pick up the reigns. Best comment of late: @jakehumphreyf1 - just press 1 (Autosport Awards)!


I think it's great that Sky are putting so much effort into their F1 coverage, hopefully it will be as good if not better than the BBC's effort (and not in the wrong direction like ITV went).

However I really don't understand the half-baked approach BBC are using, they are just adding confusion for the consumer


Matin Brundle a loss yes,as for rest of them,no

Bring in Ben Edwards to BBC


Hopefully Australia ends up using the Sky commentary team!


Pains me to say it but Sky have the dream line-up.


Personally, I am torn in two. I love F1 but have nothing other than contempt for the Murdocks.

I know I may be part of a minority but I do not care for Martin. It is my opinion that he is an average commentator at best. I believe he is liked because he is biased towards certain drivers who are popular in the UK. As an example, I might have actually become a Hamilton supporter if he had not been rammed down my throat by ITV. The BBC TV commentary was an improvement but I think you need a dedicated commentator, one who is able to put their own ego aside, follow the on track action closely and make unbiased, objective comments.

I am not so sure that Brundle is well liked in the paddock. It may just be my imagination but I see people recoil when he performs his grid walks, (I know I would.)

I also note that there is no technical expert on the SKY team… an individual with an actual engineering background.

I am not angry with SKY, this type of deal is in their nature, and you would have expected it from them. I am angry with the BBC for selling on to a non-free to air channel.


I am old enough to remember B&W TV plus highlights of GP's with the wonderful Murray Walker but thought the idea of Digital TV and multiple 'free to air' channels -- BBC1/2/3/4 - ITV1/2/3/4 etc. plus other renditions on Red Buttons would lead to better sports coverage not worse.

I will survive watching extended highlights until Sky realise that it hasn't found a load of 'mugs' who can be blackmailed into coughing up their hard earned money instead of feeding the family.

I had Sky Sports 1/2/3/Extra for 1 year to follow A1GP and found it very poor, including the much loved football coverage.

BBC is not perfect but it is the BBC!


I have bookmarked this page for the first two races of the year. I bet quite a few of our outraged posters will be watching Sky.


I find it quite exceptional the amount of people that are using "ethics" as the main reason they won't be getting SKY to watch F1. Mind you I won't be getting it myself due to my living situation, but be assured I will be watching it. Granted the Hacking scandal was horrific and Murdoch is undoubtedly a grease ball, but are you seriously telling me the people that are ethically opposed to sky showing F1 take the issue of ethics as strongly in other faces of life?

I mean in my opinion The Times still remains a top paper regardless of who owns it? Plus it seems a bit naive citing ethics as a reason; Formula 1 isn't the most ethical of sports to begin with is it really? I mean just look at some locations where GP's are held, not the best human rights records....

I think people should chill out about ethics... Where do you get your coffee, clothes, cars etc etc I could go on. Are you telling me are you ethical in ALL aspects of everyday life?

Saying that, my passion for F1 (shamelessly) transcends whatever ethics (not much) I may have so I will be watching.



Even though F1 is more or less the only thing I watch on TV these days (as many others have commented), I can't help thinking that the BBC's money is better spent making original high quality programming (that wouldn't otherwise be made) than lining the pockets of Bernie and his CVC pals. The main attraction of F1 is the actual racing and this isn't going anywhere, whoever covers it.

I've not decided whether to subscribe to anything or just watch the BBC, it will depend on how much it actually costs and how much unrelated fluff gets bundled in with it.


I am pleased with the lineup and am now actually quite intrigued by what they will be providing in terms of magazine shows etc.

I dont understand all the hate being thrown at Sky. They have chosen to provide f1 for free to hd customers and sports suscribers. Most households have a basic sky/virgin package so in real terms its only an extra £10 per month for the uplift to get the F1 channel.

Its the BBC who should be lambasted for allowing such a half baked deal to be done which effectively stopped any other free to air channels from taking on F1.


I don't feel the moral outrage about buying Sky that some do, but I simply can't afford it. If I was to buy the package to watch F1 I don't feel I would be getting anything like enough value out of it, so I can't justify it. A football fan can, for their subscription, watch football pretty much un-interrupted 7 days a week, yet there are only 20 races in a year. Also, F1 doesn't really work in the pub because you need to be able to concentrate on the commentary in order to follow the flow of the races properly. No, I have pretty much resigned myself to slowly losing interest in F1, much as happened with test cricket, and I feel a bit betrayed by that, as an enthusiastic fan who has been watching regularly since the late 80's.


Time to join those calling for the abolition of the TV licence.


Can we stick to discussion of the Sky team?



I knew when I saw the title of this piece it would bring out the Murdoch-is-the-Devil crowd!

And I wasn't disappointed, was I!

Thanks for the laughs, guys!


No David Coulthard????? What happens when someone needs to check their murr-orrs??


BBC really need to change their BBC's Formula 1 website team page - I've just had a dekko and it's out of date!!!!!!

Anyway, I know we've been berated by James for going off-topic from the Sky team but WHO is going to get the other commentary position with the Beeb?

Answers on a postcard to,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


What does this deal mean for those that do no tlive in Europe but still love to watch the sport. We don't get the BBC or SKY tv here in Canada so I watch my races on TSN. Does anyone know if TSN will be showing all reaces live???


Ted Kravitz and Martin will be missed.

Don't pay for Sky and they'll be back on the beeb soon.


Dream team!

Brundle was a better analyst than lead commentator

Crofty is (alongside JA) the best F1 commentator, knows the sport but also when things are worth getting excited about about. (where MB falls down vs Murray or JA)

Ant Davidson is very knowledgeable, at least on par with Coulthard

Lazenby is great on the rugby, at least on par with Jake's current performance on F1. If he puts in the time to know the sport and make the connections in the pit lane that Jake has then I won't miss Jake as much as I thought I would.

Pinkham vs McKenzie - Much the same so no difference.

I had thought I would end up watching the BBC races in the Beeb but and the rest on sky but this line up may tempt me to watch the lot on sky. Depends who the BBC bring in.

Although (and I not sure I can believe I'm typing this) I will miss EJ and his collaring of drivers as they try to escape the interview!



..... my two penneth.

Good luck to Martin Brundle et al. They all did a wonderful job for the BBC...

... but I will not be going across to Sky. Even before Murdoch's empire came to prominence for what they are known for I did not buy Murdoch products realising what a pernicious force in my society they are... that goes for The Times and Sky as much for the tabloids.

ITV took F1 and could not make it work... & for those of us who remain committed to the BBC and public service broadcasting that is our hope, that Sky abandon it, but one supposes that that is a scant hope and, if it happened I suppose that it would be bad for the sport we love.

It is the new reality of the situation that the BBC are going to lose out when it comes to bidding big bucks, afraid of spending in an environment where they have to cut spending, but also for the backlash of what would happen when the story leaks ("BBC spends millions on F1!" - probably in the Murdoch press).

So we watch the BBC make sport popular and then watch as they get creamed off to Sky. I suppose, if we like the sport, we pray that the BBC will one day make that stand, keep one of these sports... but it seems unlikely.

Personally I cannot understand why successive govt.s think that the BBC needs to be reduced, for my money I would rather pay a licence fee than a cable subscription, to a corporation whose content is controlled and monitored by charter, than give my money to the unscrupulous Murdoch's and watch them buy yachts and send their kids to the best schools in the land (you think that BBC execs expenses are excessive? Have a look at James!).

Bye bye exclusive F1 on the BBC. You were the best and I loved it. I will not go to Sky though... I will do what I do with football... I will take it on TV where I can and listen to the rest on Radio 5... Damn the Murdoch's, I can only hope that their empire crumbles around them soon.


Another not for Sky here.

But this all sounds so familiar. Remember F1 would not be the same without Murray Walker? Well it wasn't, it was different and was easily as good.

Clearly Sky are taking the easy option and paying big money(?) to all the current BBC crew they can get to do the same as they have been on their new channel.

But don't forget this is where the BBC can do well, they have the chance to develop a new take on 'our' F1. And good luck to them, I'll look forward to seeing what they can do for the live and highlight races.

Meanwhile I wonder how many of those stuffing big money into News Corps greedy paws to see 'all the races live' will start to fell a bit short changed with the same old, same old....


I am not as proprietary of "our" F1 as you credit me with... for a start I could not wait for Murray Walker to finish. Do not get me wrong, I loved him... but toward the end he would just get everything wrong and it was hells own for his commentary partner to get a word in edgeways and correct him.

I am not afraid of change... for me F1 does not revolve around Martin Brundell and Natalie Pinkham and I have no doubts that the coverage that the BBC does keep will beat the living bejesus out of Sky, whomsoever fills the various bums.

Everything has its day, everything must pass... & everything must renew in order to remain fresh. I am not being all dewy eyed because "BBC 1 is the natural home of F1", my annoyance is not nostalgia and a desire that nothing should change...

I am anti-Sky... per se & I believe that there are certain sports that the BBC do well (whether it is Murray or James Hunt or Martin Brundell or DC in the seat)... and I will not pay Sky's inflated prices, we do well with our system and I do not think that Sky bring anything to the party (in whatever field that they have a hand in; news, football or F1).


I am happy for the guys who joined Sky. They are a talented bunch and I am sure they will do a fantastic job. I was wondering why Ted Cravitz was avoding questions from the Autosports guy during the awards ceremoney. Now I know.

BBC did a very good job but in the middle of their contract they let us down. When they took the rights from ITV, it was not to telecast selected races. Next year only 10 races live, and the following year we don't know whether any race will be shown live on BBC.

I am not going to subscribe to Sky sports. I have complete faith in Ustream 🙂


As consumers you have the right to choose to pay or not pay sky.  I fully behind sky F1 not because im already a sky sports customer but seeing how they transformed football they are capable of taking F1 coverage to another level that the bbc would never be able to. Would we have ever seen BBC dedicate a channel just for F1.

James, I have to apologise as I never was a big fan of yours during your lead commentary days but having been a reader for a few months I now appreciate how good you were back then and now, perhaps taking over from a legend was always going to difficult and didnt help with people like me not supporting you so once again im truly sorry.

Will we be seeing you on SKY magazine show?


"seeing how they transformed football they are capable of taking F1 coverage to another level that the bbc would never be able to"

This just proves how naive you are and how little you know about what is happening.

Sky is doing exactly what the BBC (and the rest of the 50+ worldwide broadcasters) are doing, paying FOM to show that race footage that is produced in house, and the only part they create themselves is the pre and post race programming.

Since the race is the main attraction, there won't be much difference, and there is no possible way Sky can improve on it.


It is true that Sky can have no influence at all on the action pictures. They can do the best job they can on the pre race build up and the post podium analysis, but when the cars are on the track it is FOM that covers it - except for Japan (Fuji TV) and Monaco (Telemontecarlo)


All good things must come to an end. One can't help wonder how long this bizarre Beeb/Sky split will go on for.

Great choice to put Crofty as lead. I'm sure he will rock. I think Brundle's style is better suited to being colour commentator...he wasn't brilliant at building excitement at the start or end of the race.

I feel sorry for the Beeb. Maybe they'll dust Legard down and bring him back to life as a replacement for Crofty?..."there he goes, down the hill, around the bend..."


LOL ; ) JL rocks not


I doubt SKY will bring anything better to the coverage of F1. What more do want than live races? Do we need more pundits talking about the same thing over and over again, with the programme peppered with advertising? I aready dedicate about 6 hours to F1 on race weekend. Have we really got the time to watch endless comments and re-runs and fancy graphics on the PC?

I think the BBC had virtually the right amount of coverage and of a quality that I doubt will be attainable by a commercial outfit.

I haven't subscribed to SKY for a long time now and after all that has gone on lately, I'm glad I gave it up.

I'll stick with the BBC and hopefully James (Allen) will continue to Twitter the race highlights live.

It's a sad time for F1 fans.


I do think what Sky plans to do on their F1 does sound a bit much, quantity over quality...


Oh yeah, when I read the twitter feed of CroftyF1 announcing his move I 'unfollowed' him and all the others he outed today.

Brundle had already been deleted from my feed.

If those not watching Sky do the same they may get the idea that a big pay packet is not everything....


The real sad thing about all this is that the excellent team Sky have recruited will only be broadcasting to a few thousand, rather than a few million F1 fans. Our national sport of football on Sky only gets average audiences of between 500,000 and 750,000, with only occassional games topping a million. The BBC F1 audience which has steadily increased as a result of their great production (not just the commentators)now runs at several million viewers with a peak on around 6 million. For all their faults I have great faith in the BBC's way of presentation and look forward to their re-vamp of F1 next season.


I don't care who their line up is, I still won't buy sky and never will. Almost every sport in this country has sold out to sky and now F1 does the same. Well good riddance to the lot!

Hope Brundle and the rest of them enjoy their smaller audience!


I just checked the Sky F1 web site. You don't have to buy the Sky Sports package to watch F1. If you subscribe to Sky HD, then that is enough.

If you upgrade to Sky HD before 11th December, for just £10.25 a month, you get a free Sky+ HD box and free standard set up and a £100 M&S voucher. Not a bad deal.


Sky employees spamming F1 sites the last weeks, anyone else notice this?


lol ... sorry to disappoint you but I am an IT Manager for a bank 🙂


Yeah, I worked out that you could not be "Mr. Newman from Sky" when I scrolled up and saw that you were advocating getting a internet feed 🙂

As I said in the reply though the "only £10.25 a month more" only really applies if you are an existing Sky customer, if not, then it is a lot of money to splurge, no matter how much you love F1. I think that you should stick to your internet idea.


Haha.... he does sound like an employee but I will reserve judgement on that. What "Rob Newman" does do (of course) is sugar coat the pill...

In order to watch Formula 1 as "Rob" proposes then you have to first get Sky...(£20.25 for the first month and then £30.25 thereafter)

and then upgrade to the Sky HD (a further £10.25 per month)...

... do not forget that you also have to pay the TV Licence (£12.12 per month).

So to watch Formula 1 on Sky (as Rob Newman proposes) it will cost you

£52.62 per month...

...(but you get £100 M&S Voucher!!!) not a bad deal, eh?


You could get a TV licence (which we all have) and Freeview HD for £12.12 per month and watch a reduced season and listen to the radio/watch the highlights...

Which one sounds like "not a bad deal" and which one sounds like a stupid rip off?


Well then I stand corrected.... I made my calculations by going to the Sky website and calculating getting a new package...

But to be honest the saving of £10 a month (if I have misunderstood it) does not greatly affect the point I am making....


Gavin, your maths are incorrect.

To get SSF1 the cheapest way is to:

Get the basic Sky package (£20) and add the HD pack on top of that (£10.25).

So it would work out as £30.25 p/m.

Of course you would still have to pay the licence fee on top of that, but this this would only make it £42.37 p/m not £52.62 like you said.


Good news is Sky F1 is free for me as I'm an existing HD customer. Bad news is Steve Rider is joining them. Remember when he joined ITV all the presenters were forced to wear dinner jackets in th pit lane?

He is painfully boring and his presenting style is old hat.


Oh dear, all pics so far from the Sky F1 twitter feed show them wearing dinner jackets. I spoke too soon!


Beats white jeans and pink shirts...


What a great line up from sky. They have created a fantastic team getting all the key players. Having seen the coverage that sky have given to cricket I know that the f1 coverage will be flawless. Roll on 2012.

I wonder if the BBC will be team "jenson" and the sky team "Lewis"!


How lucky are the Australians not only do they get the weather, but they get our beloved James Allen. How much more can we F1 Brits take!!!


I personally don't care who is where.

This entire scam between the stations and teams backing it sudenly has made me look up illegal HD live streams on internet and I found some and will be watching everything there exclusively.

Passd it on to everyone I know too, be it in real life or internet.


Pass it on. It's a free country. If it is not suitable, then JA has the right to censor it.


Pass it on here will you?!


With F1 people reading this site too, not a smart thing to do, because that place would be down in a second 😉


Right on, do not put JA in any sort of risk. And here's Rob egging him on to do so, and that from someone who claims to be an IT manager. In post 119 above, some thought he sounded like a Sky employee.


In Australia, we were spoiled by having the Beeb commentary over the races.

I used to enjoy Allen and Brundle; thought Legard wasn't really up to par; really really enjoyed Brundle and Coulthard. I'll miss that combination immensely - two former racers, both with a sense of humour, one with a cracking Scottish accent.

So I'm not sure what the lineup will be on Australian TV; there's also no option. I think we'll end up with local Australian commentary over the non-Beeb races, and whomever the BBC keeps (DC? JA!?!?) for the other half.

So essentially, the coverage might well be broken by this, in more places than just the UK, only we don't have the option to pay our way out. (or do we? Seems like only the odd pub has Sky here).


Can't say I'm happy with Rusty + co's race commentary (which we hear if the BBC one drops out due to technical glitch). Sorry to say they are not very good at all.

Chris of Adelaide

Hi James.

Any word on what is happening to the coverage in Australia? Are we going to get the half/half that the bbc is getting or the full season? Also, still on ONE?


Good news Chris - network 10 have confirmed via twitter that they will be showing all races live in 2012.

Confirmation -


Chris of Adelaide

That makes me very happy indeed, I was getting a little worried it was going to Foxtel

(Which I cant afford) or we would only see half the races live.


Am I the only one who is sick to death of people moaning about F1 going to Sky. Ok, it's not great but it's a sign that the sport we love is in excellent health. There was a certain inevitability that one day this would happen, so lets stop moaning at Sky and the BBC and be positive. Looks like Sky is going to be trying very hard to get this right and ok, whilst I dont want to pay for Sky every month, i've sucked it up and signed up to Sky. Why? Because I really enjoy F1 and dont mind spending a bit more each month to get to see it all. Seriously everyone, stop with all the negativity it's time to get over it!!