Insight: Sky takes Formula 1 TV behind exclusive paywall in UK
F1 on TV
Sky F1
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Mar 2016   |  12:26 am GMT  |  410 comments

Sky has swooped to close a deal for exclusive live rights to F1 for six years from 2019 onwards, meaning British F1 fans will only be able to watch live Grands Prix behind a paywall from that point.

The move will align the UK with France and Spain, which has a similar situation at present. It is likely that other European countries will follow in due course, as F1 Management and CVC prioritise income from broadcasters over mass audience numbers.

The TV audience for F1 is still around 60% based in Europe, but few terrestrial broadcasters have the budget or appetite for an exclusive F1 deal. RTL in Germany is one of the few exceptions. It recently extended its deal for two more years, despite declining audience numbers in Germany.

The timing of the Sky UK deal is interesting on a number of levels; Channel 4 has just begun a three year contract to show half the races live on free to air TV. Their experience of the sport is set to be short lived.

Under its new deal, Sky is required to make the highlights and the live coverage of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone free to view. There is some debate about what Free to Air will mean by 2019, with various digital terrestrial platforms. It is launching a new Sports Mix channel, which is free to Sky subscribers and this content may feature on there.

But it may also sub-licence the highlights and Silverstone race to a terrestrial, like Channel 4 or ITV. That is the model in the UK for the Premier League, which has a weekly FTA highlights programme on BBC TV.

It would be valuable to the sport to continue to have a shop window on a mass market FTA platform, even from Sky’s point of view, to attract new viewers.


The audience for F1 in the UK, once it moves exclusively behind a paywall, will be interesting to monitor. It should settle at somewhere around 1 to 1.5 million. Last year live coverage of the US Grand Prix championship decider, live on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports F1, attracted a combined average audience of 1 million, with a peak of 1.2m. As a reference, BBC 1’s live audience for the Hungarian GP was watched by an average 3.9m with a peak of 5m. When Lewis Hamilton won the 2008 world championship the title decider in Brazil on ITV was watched by 9m average and peaked at over 12m.

No details have been given on the online rights in the deal; during the lifetime of this new deal the TV landscape will change significantly and many consumers will be looking to stream the races on smart TVs or mobile devices. No doubt that is covered in the new deal and will present a new opportunity for growth for both the broadcaster and the sport.

One clue as to the possible future direction came last year, when FOM and Tata Communications, its connectivity partner, did a proof of concept with an OTT (over the top) service. An OTT video feed has the potential to open a new world
of immersive and engaging experience for the fans, where they have a greater control over their race experience by
being able to select what they want to watch.

When BBC TV pulled out of its contract (which was due to run to 2018) at the end of last season, theoretically Sky had first refusal on the rights. But Ecclestone struck a deal with Channel 4, keeping F1 on free to air TV for three more years. It is understood that the F1 teams lobbied for a continued terrestrial TV footprint at least until that point.

Sky has leveraged its position to secure F1 for six years from 2019. It is partially a defensive move, which keeps its main rival BT Sport out of F1 until 2024 at least. BT Sport has already taken the Champions League from Sky and drove up the price on the Premier League football rights up to £5bn at the last round of bidding.

Sky has scaled back on costs at Grands Prix, with a travelling crew less than half as numerous as when they came in back in 2012. They have pooled facilities with Sky Italia and Sky Germany, such as cameramen and edit resources as they look to save costs. Against that backdrop, the rights move is clearly a strategy to close out BT Sport.

The Sky deal comes in a week when the network has increased prices to consumers, meaning that for the first time a UK family household with two Sky+ HD boxes, Multiscreen and the Variety Sport package, which is necessary to watch the Sky F1 channel, will have to pay £83.80 a month, which crosses the key psychological price point of £1,000 a year. On Sky’s sales website, a search for the cheapest single box package to receive the F1 channel, come out at £47.50 a month, which is £570 a year or £27 per Grand Prix.

This new F1 deal also goes well beyond the end of the current bilateral agreements with F1 teams, which run to 2020.

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Well, this may be the end for me. I was happy to pay per view for half the races, but all of them? At the costs outlined here, there's no chance. Guess I'll be one of the 4-5 MILLION who won't be watching. Sad times.


James seems rather quiet on the whole matter. I assume it's a conflict of interest regarding after race interviews and then giving a personal viewpoint.
James would you say this is a sad day for general ground level fans of F1?
I would say it is!


Where do people find the money to pay for all this stuff? Oh.. of course, the new minimum wage,£7.20 an hour, a step up for hard workers...oh no they are cutting your in work benefits so it's no F1 or holidays for you Matey! ( bitter, me? no)


Actually, it doesn't really matter because with manufacturers wanting the cars to "relevant" they will all soon be self driving, who wants to watch that? Maybe motorsport has had it's day, This is why everyone is trying to squeeze as much profit as possible right now, they can see the writing on the wall. Historic racing for me!


REALLY tiresome having to constantly try to repost things because the site randomly rejects comments, but here goes again....

I'm rather ashamed to admit that the original move from SKY to acquire F1 worked on me. I had previously ended my SKY subscription as I didn't have time to watch 100 channels and benefit. I railed and complained and wrote bitter responses on this and other sites about the greed and injustice of it all. Then I went out and re-subscribed to SKY just to watch all F1 races in full. I do not use SKY for any other purpose and it costs me around £600 per year. This was the end of me being able to afford to attend live races, I had to make a choice watch them all on TV or watch 1 or 2 (UK and Spa) live at trackside. So in my case, a greedy global conglomerate won out over these independent tracks. A deal with the devil to watch a sport I love - little or no other choice if I wanted to watch all races live.

And what have I go for my money so far? A pointless, neutered FIA with Todt doing Bernie's bidding. Greedy, self serving teams who cannot see past the end of their own noses for the good of their sport.

I do not feel that F1 ever, in any possible way, listens to me as a fan if they did listen to us there's be no DRS, double points would not have been implemented, qualy would not have been changed, Pirelli would not have been chosen as tyre supplier, radio bans would not have been implemented and the list goes on... In all of the above decisions fans were not consulted and were not even listened to.

Honestly, I feel let down and stupid for paying the money. I feel like an abused dog, loyal to its owner despite the cruelty. How long I and other will put up with the abuse is debatable. Perhaps most tellingly, I do not tell anyone I have SKY for F1 anymore because I'd feel stupid doing so.


I hate double points too.. I can see why they wanted it but was implemented wrong.. If it was ever to be put in place then at least at demanding tracks, spa/monza/monaco... Hang on what is demanding nowadays on the f1 calendar!?!


Is paying 600 GBP really the only option? What about NOWTV (
I don't use this but it doesn't seem to have any catches and represents a significantly cheaper option.


It's what I do, £32 a month for all 7 sky sports channels. £384 a year. I don't want it for anything else.


There's one little amazing thing called the Internet. I call it protesting.


It used to be said that the internet was designed to route around censorship and I suppose that F1 to pay TV is a kind of censorship!


It will be very laggy with so many people using it. I think this may signal the beginning of the end for F1, because It's not any where near as exciting to watch as it was in the 50s and 60s. Nothing last's for ever. Hope Bernie lives long enough to understand.


It's not like the football where you still go and see your local team watch it down the pub. Cricket is also much more mass market.

By F1 going to Pay Per View they will be destroying 90% of their loyal fanbase. It's an utter disgrace. I've put 26 years into this and this is the respect I've shown?

The moderators must be hard at work today.


Good bye F1 then in 2020. By then it will cost even more to watch. Have watched F1 all my life, attended loads of GP's but no more.


I've followed F1 since before it was covered by TV. In those days all we ever saw were bits of black and white newsreel footage from Aintree or Silverstone. Then gradually, I believe thanks to Murray Walker's enthusiastic commentaries, we saw more and more on TV, until by the 1980's they covered every race -- albeit just 45 minutes, late on a Sunday evening. By the 90's we started to see live coverage and the audience grew , as they began to understand what was going on.

Now those at the top of F1 have forgotten the history of the way F1's TV coverage grew and can just see £s before their eyes. They are, unwittingly, setting out on a course to destroy the sport: for that's what will happen without coverage on mainstream TV.

I watch no other sport with anything other than a passing interest -- not enough to pay to watch -- so I'm not buying dishes and boxes and subscribing for a 'sports package'. If they don't value incidental viewers then I won't value them. The advertising, followed by the sport's other income streams, will soon dwindle into obscurity without the mass audience.

Those milking the sport can't see further than the end of their noses. Do they think Mercedes, Honda and Renault will want to spend the money with no mass-market coverage?

What a depressing day.


Alonso, Kimi, Jenson, maybe even Lewis will have all hung up their helmets by then. To be honest with the direction F1 is heading in and with these great drivers I have become so accustomed to watching the last 15 years heading for the exit, the appeal is so much less anyway.


An interesting point about the drivers. I quit watching F1 in New Zealand because of Sky TV prices. I've realised I've stayed a casual fan following websites like this and Joe's because I feel I still have a connection with the characters involved. But once those world champions retire, I'll no longer have even a passing interest. Already I've stopped watching for enough years that I've never watched half the drivers race before. Bernie and Co have killed the goose in my opinion.


First watched an F1 race when Mansell was at Ferrari. Must have been 1990. Hooked ever since. But that's it now.


I still remember the first F1 race I stumbled upon in 1992, Brazil and Mansell was half way round the lap and won. I have only missed 3 years or so while traveling since then.
Where will the new fans come from then?


I'm a Sky subscriber now and quite enjoy the coverage. I have no interest in their Sky Q service, or moving to them for broadband (which the UHD coverage will require) so looks like I'll just not keep Sky come 2019.

It's a shame someone like BT Sport is now locked out, as their Football coverage has been great (plus their app is superb and supports Chromecast for eg). Channel 4 was also promising.

Hopefully Sky become a bit more open with this deal. I'd not mind paying just for F1 HD streams, rather than £1k a year for a full subscription. If FOM aren't going to do it themselves, maybe Sky will?


I'm a Sky TV and broadband customer. Broadband I use extensively but my Sky TV box only ever gets switched on for F1, I'm not exaggerating here, the channel never changes, I only watch F1 on Sky. Of course to do this I can't just buy the F1 channel, I have to have a sports pack and the HD pack and probably some other pack I don't remember.
I was considering moving to Now TV where I can just buy a weekend (or day) pass, I just haven't had the motivation to change yet.
I'd happily pay a £tenner per race or something to get qually, race and notebook be it via a stream or satellite.
One thing I've pondered before, if FOM stream the live feed from their own app/site, which commentary team will they choose? (the cheapest, right?) 🙂


I agree. I'm paying full package for sky (£8585 including multi room) . But it used to be if you had just the HD pack you'd get skysky sports f1 included without needing the sports package.

I'm not sure having BT Sport is good for the market, yes it is competition for sky BUT now they try out bidding each other for sports which pushes costs up, lool at the football tv rights, that is why sky has to keep raising prices.


I too have a Sky HD package and watch Sky1HD at no additional cost ie I don't have or require Sky Sports to watch F1. When I contacted Sky customer services last year they referred to this arrangement as a 'legacy package'. Does this mean if i moved to Sky Q or when the exclusive arrangement from 2019 I will have to pay for Sky Sports in order to watch live coverage? If this is the case I will not pay the extra £27.50 a month (or whatever it will be in three years) to watch a sport I've been watching for 'free' since 1985.

As many people have said, including the GPDA, moving wholly to a pay to watch model is a huge mistake.


But at least with BT, money is not going to Murdoch.


Yes, that's my problem. I could imagine paying to watch but not paying Murdoch.


Exactly - won't buy his papers, won't watch his TV.


I still have the old HD pack with the F1 channel, so hopefully this will continue.
I'm not really willing to pay for 5 other sports channels which I will NEVER watch.


F1 will be in dire straits if Sky1 has the full monopoly of F1.


I expect sponsors will not reckon they are getting value for money if the viewing figures go down.

Well done Bernie another kick in the goolies for struggling teams!!!!


AndyFov, sure. But...these Sky paying customers are qualified, likely higher earners, and can be targeted. There is a value to that. I'm sure there is an option for broadcasting to be pulled back to OTA if needed or perhaps onto AppleTV or something else. Could also be that F1 already knows it is a niche, and wants to monetize that niche best it can. I mean, 1M viewers projected, 1.5% of the population. That number is open to discussion, isn't it. But Rolex doesn't want to sell 64m watches in UK. If it did, it wouldn't be called a luxury brand. I'll say to you 1.5% of UK population owning a Rolex is probably the goal. Ideally 1.5% of population owning many Rolexes in fact, no?


What's better? Wide casting net, or qualified targeted customer base? We could discuss.


That's true. There will be an audience of self selected suckers. They've already paid £600 for a season so they must have lots of spare money and are easily persuaded to pay more than a thing is worth.

I see your point.


A wide casting net, I'd have thought. You've got to play the long game and think about where the next generation of fans are going to come from.

It's all good and well Bernie catering only for people who can afford Rolexes, but surely elite brands also like to reach future customers too?


I think you will be right. I can see how pay TV works for football long term. It's a deeply embedded sport with local teams all over the country that inspire tribal loyalty, so people feel they have to watch. That means there's loads of subscription money to spend on the contracts for the rights which makes the clubs very rich. It's bad for the fans but who cares about them. As a business it seems to generate money.

But F1 is different. Most people don't particularly support a team, except Ferrari. Maybe they support a driver but for the most part they just watch for the spectacle. More often than not there is no spectacle. When it is entirely pay TV less people are going to watch, so F1 will be less newsworthy, people won't talk about it, it will become a minority thing. Then it will be in a death spiral because the sponsorship money will go first and then as less people watch the contracts will decrease in value. The next step people speculate about is a pay per view direct streaming service, whether from Sky or or whoever. But I would have thought that would be very risky for F1 because if the season gets boring, like this season probably will be, people will stop paying and the revenue will collapse. If the season is decided early no one will pay for the last few races. That means there will be no predictable stream of revenue.

It's a sport that has developed entirely around free to air TV and now they seem to be forcing it into another model without really thinking about it. I expect it'll be a disaster. I certainly won't pay £47.50 a month for it. I wouldn't even pay £5 a race at the moment. If the season is boring, I probably wouldn't even bother going to all the trouble of finding a dodgy stream to watch in bad quality with Spanish commentary or whatever.


Agree with that, full monopoly will mean it gets more expensive.

Just as there was momentum seeming to build for "free" to air (or licence fee covered) F1, helping audiences, sponsors and teams ... boom.

Bet the torrent streaming audience increases though 😉

2019, School playgrounds all over the UK, "Did you see the race?", "What race, horseys?" "No, F1, Max against Carlos, it was cool" "Who's Max?"



That's fine, neither of them owns a Rolex.


That's the way Bernie do it. Money for nothing. No more TV for free.


So that's it then, 2018 is the last season of F1 I watch, having watched every season since I was 3. That makes me a bit sad, but I'm not spending the cost of a foreign holiday on 20-ish race weekends.


"I'm not spending the cost of a foreign holiday on 20-ish race weekends."

JNH has it.

Certainly not in its current state. I might have been tempted, just, if the V10s were still roaring round the circuit. But not for this....


Goes to show yet again that the fans of F1 are not considered. Money and profit are the only priorities!


Worse; it is only for short-term gain. Those clowns at CVC
can't see the big picture.

Good-bye masses of fans, and long-term profitability.


Bernie in his money grabbing ways dishing favours to his pal Murdoch.
Another sport will end up in the wilderness locked on a satellite station. Rest in Peace F1.


So, since the GPDA letter, the F1 "leadership" has already twice proven their incompetence. In less than a day.


The timing of this would be hilarious if it wasn't effectively killing off >80% of the UK viewing audience.


Ok that's it, after watching F1 continously since 1977 enough is enough.
James, I've enjoyed reading your site daily for the past 5 or 6 years but with free to air gone from 2019, I really can't be bothered to hang on for things to improve.

I really hope F1 goes under as soon as possible, maybe then the teams will put their heads together and come with something that resembles proper "Motorsport".

Totally discussted...... thanks Bernie for killing my sport and my life long passion... fingers crossed you'll be in the ground very soon.

Best wishes to you all and goodbye.


Exactly my thoughts, the end for me also.


"In the ground very soon" ? This forum needs a Report button - surely that remark isn't acceptable, James?


Self appointed member of the PC Police?
Don't break your arm patting yourself on your back.


Sounds like a death threat to me. There will probably be a real PC round soon. People have been arrested for tweeting much less credible death threats than that.


Nothing "political" or trendy about it, it's just a nasty thing to say. Such remarks have crossed James' line before and it's up to him what he allows.


Old Phart

Hear hear!!!

Fed up with all this PC rubbish.


Bernie's gone over the edge. Lost the plot. I can't afford to watch F1 (TM) on sat tv. And a watching it live is out of the question. I hope to gods that th BTCC is still going in 2019 - as least they still race with passion.


I could never afford pay tv. I watched only the first race of the season last year because it was the only full race coverage shown on Australian tv since fox took over here and I feel this year will be the same. So I guess it is time for my kids to find different drivers to cheer for in the future as these ones are now priced out of our market.


TV is dead – long live alternative media.
I’ll stop watching F1 at the end of 2018.
Unless, of course, there’s a truly viable streaming option.

I note Sky is looking at providing a 360 ° VR experience –
Free headsets tacked onto an exorbitant contract anyone?


Another nail in the coffin of F1.
No way I pay for anything where I know the money goes into Murdoch's pocket.
Guess my interest in F1 will decline to looking up who Bernie's latest gimmick rewarded with a "win" this week on the net the next day.
Goodbye and good luck.


Unless RTL is still FTA in 2019, it will be the end of live F1 in this household. Despite being an F1 fan since 1986, I'm struggling to get excited about watching it now and I certainly don't want to fork out £47.50pm for the privilege. Thats £27 a race, cricket aside I also have no interest in any other sport offered and I done without that for a decade.

Ultimately long term it will only be the sports that suffer. Bye bye F1!


Does anyone actually pay those prices? I've had Sky for three years. In yr 1 I had a 50% off package, I succumbed to another year with 50% off for year 2, then, when I was adamant I'd not pay that again they went and offered me a third year with 60% off.


"Under its new deal, Sky is required to make the highlights and the live coverage of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone free to view. It is launching a new Sports Mix channel, which is free to Sky subscribers and this content may feature on there."

Sooo...maybe I've misunderstood this, but it seems like you'd have to pay to subscribe to watch it for free - Awesome.

Never mind, there's more than one way to skin a cat... 😉


I don't think it is cats that are being fleeced.


Very good point Phil.


Just two words 'Live Streams'


By 2020, the terrestrial cable TV industry will be in serious decline as people move to online streaming. Netflix for 8$/month, or cables and boxes attached to TVs in a living room where you pay 200$/month for 95% garbage content? I wouldn't worry about this too much, the price for watching F1 has reached the point where clever folks will circumvent the system to get their fix. This deal is clear evidence that this entire F1 construct is set to obliterate itself within 5 years, IMO.


Isn't it ironic that fans who don't want to pay stupid amounts of money to watch the sport they love are looking down the barrel of lower quality streams than the analogue TVs we had back in the 70s?


Low res and not really 'live' and if you're a Sky Broadband subscriber as many are, they'll be blocking such streams...


A quick search will show you live streams in HD are easily available and the 'blocking streams' is a whack-a-mole game that Sky can only lose


Have tried those "streams", many times. They are usually unwatchable. Massive lag, stalling, freezing, looping over and over.
Had Sky installed, then realised i had to add a subscription to see anything worth watching, and had it disconnected within 24 hours.
Never going Murdoch again.
What a pile of garbage.


Believe me you get sick of looking for new streams, and it isn't really worth the trouble watching anymore as it once was.


Yup - I enjoy F1 but it isn't something I'd pay for, especially when half the races are so predictable. Viewing figures for live steams would be really interesting.


Yes but they are mostly low-res and you never know if the connection is going to screw up half way through a race. And you can't get them on the widescreen, unless you've got some fancy device that connects the PC to the TV.

We've been done CeeVee


"some fancy device that connects the PC to the TV"

You mean a VGA or HDMI cable that costs a couple of quid at most?


"some fancy device that connects the PC to the TV" They are called Android TV sticks, available for a one-off payment of £30 or less and anyone who isn't a luddite or is under 30 can work one with their eyes shut.


Look harder. I've watched that last 20 races streaming 720p/50 (with a decent bit-rate).


P.S. Guess the caption...


"Still time for Bernie to make it out"?


No prizes for guessing who the best candidate is to go in this box


Why is the hammer so big? Is it the one used to land the killer blow? Condoleances @Random 79. They succeeded in there plot to take our beloved sport away from us.????


More short term thinking by F1's current owners, driven by a quick profit result. They have invested nothing back into the sport, and are simply bleeding it dry.

It might be ok for now, but where's the plan to entice the next generation of viewers once the current middle aged Rolex wearing audience moves on? By then, Bernie will be gone and the asset strippers will be onto something else. Todt will have finally realised his lofty ambitions and moved onto a different political stage after the FIA (seriously what on earth does road safety have to do with the FIA's purpose in governing motorsport?....). Sergio Marchionne will probably take over from Bernie, and maybe (let's hope) we see some longer term planning for the future of this sport we all love.

Because exclusive and expensive pay tv, is not it.


So you have to hope that the kids in those households with Sky fall in love with the sport, to carry on the numbers. A short-sighted move.

As a first-time Sky viewer at the last race, of the full coverage, I think I liked Edwards/Coulthard better actually.


I managed to watch both sets of coverage and agreed, Coulthard and Edwards were far preferable. Generally they seem to pick up on more, and just more enthusiastic in general.


Totally agree.

Croft has the reverse of gravitas.

Even my old favourite Brundle is becoming pretty obviously disillusioned and bored sounding.

Edwards I think is very good, and Coulthard is solid


I like Coulthard but not so much Edwards, and same with Sky, I like Brundle but not Croft. It's irritating when the lead commentator (Croft) gets so excited at the start of the race and then pretty much fails to describe what just happened until Brundle corrects him.


Yeah, Brundle vs Coulthard as analyst is a saw-off, maybe slight edge to MB, but I like Edwards over Croft.

Qualifying now the same as in Australia!!! Who the hell is in charge of this [Mod] show?!?!??


"Twas ever thus"! Some of the best commentary was when good ol Murray, had James Hunt chipping in with his technical corrections!


Well that's disappointing. Can't see myself paying money to Rupert Murdoch.

I thought "Free to Sky subscribers" was an interesting phrase. In what sense is it free if you have to subscribe? That's like free to everyone who pays us £30.



Every company has a ruthless mogul at the top! I really don't understand the Murdoch hate. At least he pays his taxes.


I think you're being very polite there Phil. I'd say that phrase is a contradiction in terms.


It's a shame for UK viewers. Looking on Sky's website now the cheapest TV package coming with F1 looks to be £45.50 per month, £546 per year, which is a lot for someone who's pulsing watch Sky TV for anything else.

Also seems harsh for Channel 4 who presumably wanted to build up an F1 audience - there's now less incentive for them to invest in their production.

It will be in


You can get a now tv box and get all Sky Sports channels for £6.99 a day or £10.99 for a week. That's £231 to see all sessions of 21 races, not so bad.


And you know what... 100% I bet if the championship fight is really building up - say you've got 5 points between Vettel and Hamilton with one race to go... hang on a moment the final race suddenly becomes pay per view or something. You know what's going to happen already. Spa and Monaco will probably end up being box office when the next contract is renewed.


Utter disgrace


Probably like a lot of people, I like formula 1 but not enough to subscribe to Sky just for F1.
So thats going to be the end of regular interest for me. I am sure there are going to be plenty of casual fans who will forget it even exists, not to mention potential future viewers who will never become interested if they can't watch the first time by chance.


It will be interesting to see what online pay per view options Sky give. Their current Now TV online service is £6.99 for 24 hours which works out at £307 per year for all qualifying and race days. This poor value and feed is low resolution.

James/Alex, does the deal give exclusive rights to online streaming too? I always wondered whether if F1 would provide a paid for service direct to consumers.


Slight error in your calculations there, if you want just the races it would be £6.99 per race, or £147 for the season, but if you want the full weekends it will be £10.99 per weekend (you actually get 7 days of Sky Sports for that), so £231 for a 21 race season.

This is what I have resigned myself to doing anyway but the fact you don't need to pay a regular subscription or buy any equipment from Sky limits the pain somewhat.


You're right about the quality of the online service - it's terrible. I've watched through sky go. Last season you couldn't stream through web browsers like chrome, because you needed the archaic plugin in silverlight. You needed to download an old version of IE just to watch it... So I used the iPad app, but the stream would just cut out every 10-15minutes and would still be a little jumpy at times. That's whilst being attached to superfast broadband.


I think it's headed that way


why do my comments keep disappearing?


Just had a light bulb click on.
James how about a section specially dedicated to F1 Fans & on what they did when the Grand Prix was on Sky. From 2019...
Instead of F1 I did....
It would show what the actual grass roots fans are doing instead of paying Bernie & Murdoch!
I hope Bernie & CVC realize that the profits will plummet each year.

Sreekanth Thopucherla

you can cover the race weekend with one pass.
All you need to avoid the news for few hours on Saturday Till the replay of Saturday qualifying.
If you check the broadcast timings replay of qualifying and race can be covered with a 24hr pass.
Still it costs £140 per year


Murdoch can [Mod]!
Not paying the man a penny.
Not after after the Sun's debacle in Mille Dowler phone tapping!!


Killing the goose methinks.

F1, at every turn, and in every way, continually takes steps for short term gains. I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Burns, oops, I mean, Bernie, is shorting his own position.

Moving the content behind paywalls may be the way the future for all content but when you're barely interesting, coherent or relevant now, making that step only means one thing: imminent demise.

Sure, the show will go on a for a while. But who will be watching?


So long F1 I knew you ..... well. And now the end is near, and so (F) I (A) face the final curtain....
Regrets I had a few, but now too much to mention.....
But after all Sky did it their way.

Rubinho's Keyfob

"a UK family household with two Sky+ HD boxes, Multiscreen and the Variety Sport package, which is necessary to watch the Sky F1 channel"

I have one Sky+ box with a HD subscription. I don't have multiscreen, I don't have (and will never subscribe to) specific paid-for sport channels.

I watch F1 on the Sky F1 HD channel.


The point was that the Variety Sport channel is necessary to watch F1.

But that's only in SD. To watch in HD you have to subscribe to the full Sky package. Don't watch movies? Tough, you have to pay for them. Don't like the entertainment package? Tough, you have to have it. There is no other way to watch F1 in HD.

It sucks.

Rubinho's Keyfob

I don't think I missed the point. I was stating that I don't have the Variety Sport package (I don't have /any/ sport package). But, as I said, I continue to watch the Sky F1 HD channel.

From JC's reply, it seems that perhaps it's down to the fact I still have a legacy package that is no longer available to new subscribers - presumably they can't "pull the rug" on existing packages that subscribers signed up to (OFCOM or similar?), but as soon as I want to modify my package in any way I too will probably have to give up on F1 or pay even more to continue to view what I currently already get ... they would most likely class it as a "new contract" and therefore I have to agree to whatever the new terms are 🙁

You said it sucks. I do not disagree.


Unfortunately new subscribers need to subscribe to the entire Sport package to get F1. Those of us with the grandfathered "HD package" get it for free still. Not sure if that will continue in the future, or if there will be a need to move to something else ...

Scott Robertson

It was free with HD for a while. It's not anymore.


I can see this leading to further dwindling audiences, leading to manufacturers pulling out of the sport. It really is becoming a shadow of it's former self.

The irony is that Bernie and CVC will probably both not be around to see the effects having cashed in their chips by that point.


Having seen the same mass exodus of big name sponsors from the English Premier League I see your point.


That's a good point: If the audience becomes too small then the marketing value for teams may become too small.

Harry Snapper Organs

I've been watching F1 regularly for decades.
I certainly will NOT be paying that kind of money to watch F1. NOT A CHANCE.
This system will eventually fail and they'll be forced go back to free to air to drum up interest.
But sounds like that can't occur before 2024 or 2025.
Oh well, I'll be taking at least a temporary break from F1 viewing.
I might be dead by the time it returns to free to air!
Bernie will probably still be boxing on!!


Not a proper fan then. Close the door on your way out.

Harry Snapper Organs

Probably not by your definition. Not dumb enough to pass your test.


If F1 is determined to alienate the masses ( without which masses, any realistic F1-based marketing schemes of course fall flat ) then F1 is pursuing the correct strategy.

Fulveo Ballabeo

Is the move from free-to-air to pay-wall robbing Peter to pay Paul?

Assuming the numbers are representative across broadcasters, it's trading an audience of 4-12M for one that's 1-1.5M. Without that mass audience, the number of companies willing to put their brand on a car will fall (and the ones that stay in will pay less). Looking at today's increasingly barren sidepods, aren't we starting to see that already?

I guess the good news is that if the above plays out, we can go back to the days when cars ran in their beautiful national colors "unencumbered" by sponsor logos.

Will pay TV prove to be the promised land, or a short-term fix for a "grow revenue at all costs" addiction with little/no regard for long-term health?


There has to be some kind of response from the teams now. They have to break away now and start a new series and put it on free to air, starting in 2019. All the current drivers that can come with them. That's the only possible reaction to this. They hardly have any sponsors even at the present moment. Bernie is simply laughing at everybody.


Nice to see Johnny.


To pay or no to pay. That is the question for the bald dudes.


Formula X1? Always viable and executable thanks to efficiencies.
OTA free, $100 weekend grandstands. Faster, louder and fairer than F1. A true motorSPORT.


That's it? No elaborate conspiracy theory?

Actually, I guess none is needed here - it's obvious what's going on.


The real question is, does this put F1 in a terminal state, thus opening the way for the Seebee Formula X?


Na sebee, just ask us Aussies how we do it... (a pirates life for me!)

now I'm sure alot of UK/EU people will be looking at this option very soon


It's hardly worth the bother now. what do you think it will be like with countless more people looking for live streams that constantly change and go of air?
This is the beginning of the end for F1. Nothing lasts for ever.


Control of owned content will improve significantly by then. If not, like in many countries, content owners will go after the individual users with law suits.


By then those pirate options will not be available or blocked by ISPs.


Sure... People have been saying that for >15 years since Napster shut down. How has the recent spate of torrent site blocking gone? I can still access piratebay etc.


Yeah, unless FOM offer a web portal for live content, i wont be watching F1 in 2019.


Assume you mean for free?

You won't be watching F1 in 2019.


No, not for free. Im happy to pay FOM directly to watch F1.

F1 is about the only TV i watch, so not interested in paying for all the other stuff.


I could imagine myself paying to watch F1 but I couldn't imagine myself paying Murdoch for anything.


This is a low moment for the fans of F1 on Free to Air TV.
Sky & Bernie the money grabbers well they love it. Just hope Bernie rattles off at some stage. Every time one seems him you just want lasso his ankles & tie him to a mobility scooter & set the auto control to the nearest German Law Enforcement office . Same goes for Murdoch !!


The sad thing is when everyone realises what they've done its going to be too late. All the fans will have moved on. Only think I can think of is that some kind of alternative series is started up and put on free to air. Bring the sport back to its roots. Races at Imola, Magny cours etc. Surely something has to happen now.


I'm not a fan of Formula E as it is today but by 2019, who knows? It could well be a viable competitor. And it should be obvious to the people running other series that a door has just been opened: in three years' time, one of the (if not the) world's most motorsport-hungry countries will have a huge gap in the market. If the ACO and INDYCAR aren't talking to Channel 4, the BBC, and ITV right now, then they're as poorly run as FOM. (Then again, if you look at the state of WRC coverage over the last few years, that is a distinct possibility.)

Bernie might just have signed F1's death warrant.


Agreed. At least here in the U.S., boxing disappeared from mass attention when all the big matches went pay per view. Only now, after decades of damage done (during which MMA steadily raised its profile to the point at which it eclipsed boxing) are there any moves to get the sport exposed to new fans via free to air coverage.

Some other form of Motorsport will fill the gap (MotoGP, WEC, Indycar...). Like boxing, the mass audience will dwindle to what amounts to the Paddock Club and other hangers on.


"Every time one seems him you just want lasso his ankles & tie him to a mobility scooter & set the auto control to the nearest German Law Enforcement office"

That I would pay to see 🙂


Who will bell the cat? 🙂


If the current standard of governance in the sport continues and the 2017 regs flop as expected then Bernie is wise to do the deal with Sky now. I believe there is a perfect storm brewing between poor governance, lack of racing interest - one team dominating, reduced fan base due to the former and worldwide broadcast changes in the past 10 years, lack of "sport" in the F1 business that will conceivably kill the series in the next 5-10 years. We are so far gone from the glory days of the sport....


I disagree about "one team dominating" - there's so often been one team dominating all through F1's history, so what's the big deal about Mercedes?


It's kind of miopic to send a Mass Sport like F1 to Private TVs.
All F1 rulers want is cash in advance in exchange of loss in audience.
Britons deserve better.


I like the sky coverage and I willing pay for it (through Foxtel in Australia) but to have this deal at the expense of free to air broadcasters is short sighted in my view.

This will have an effect on viewing figures in years to come as fewer young people will be exposed to races.

Unlike soccer, rugby or tennis this is not a sport that you can learn by playing or get an appreciation for from participating at school. The whole point of this sport is the event and the only way to get new fans is either to inherit them or entice in he casual observer.

Bernie and CVC have been good for the sport, but now I feel they are mailing the cash cow ahead of an exit strategy.


Bernie may have once upon a time been good for the sport, but CVC have never been anything but money sucking parasites who have done nothing good whatsoever for Formula 1.

I really despair at the way this sport is run.


Oh great so to watch F1 in the UK come 2019 you have to pay upwards of £45.50 at today's prices, which if this years price increases are anything to go buy would be over £52 come 2019. It's not like I or millions of other non Sky watching people want to watch all rest of Sky's content either so we'll be paying on average about £31 per race... And with all that money they plan to reduce the quality of coverage. Good thing WEC is getting so interesting!


There are cheaper options, have a look at Sky's Now TV, you don't even need any Sky hardware, you can watch it on Xbox One, Android, iPhone, PC, etc.
Sorry if that sounds like an advert, it isn't, I just don't want Sky getting more money than absolutely necessary.


This phasing out of f1 off "free" tv happened years ago in South Africa. The feed here on pay tv has remained the UK's free version though (itv, bbc, c4). Not sure what will happen on SA tv and other countries when it goes behind a pay wall in the UK and the free feed goes off... Anyone got a clue?


I can't see DSTV shelling out shed loads of cash, even if they are allowed to. Sky's exclusive rights may even mean F1 won't be shown live at all here. Delayed highlights only would be my guess (and with the ******* adverts!). Sad day.


After 25 years of watching live, this is something I don't want to imagine...


Don't worry I'm sure SKY have got a lovely high-priced subscription lined up for people in SA.


Eh? We already pay through the freaking nose for cable TV over here to get a commercial filled broadcast (a third of the race... gone) on NBCSN. If I could just pay for a streaming service like MotoGP for F1, I'd love it.


Bye bye F1. It's been a blast but this is the final nail in the coffin for me.


Is this the final nail in the coffin for F1? Are they truly happy with such a massive decline in viewers? Doesn't this, in turn, make it significantly less attractive for major corporations to become sponsors as the exposure is dwindling? Have we ever seen a business model succeed that actively seeks to reduce its market penetration? Doesn't that normally happen when an organisation is trying to shed itself of debt, peripheral activities and position itself for a sale? And so the fan outrage is enflamed (again).


Is that not partly the point. The teams become more reliant on prize money or management's money so will have to follow their rules/opinions a little more.


In the US, F1 is only available as part of a pay bundle and it's also interrupted by advertising. I've given up on it and joined the growing number of people who watch free over-the-air and the streaming channels like Netflix.
I would gladly pay for an F1 streaming channel but only if races were available on-demand. I have no need to watch it live.
For now I'll be relying on this site for coverage

Gareth (the Philadelphia one)

I usually watch NBC's coverage, but for a change I occasionally grab Sky broadcasts off the net. Not live, a few hours after the race. Dump them on a DVR and watch as usual. The picture quality is sometimes better than the NBC broadcast, I assume Verizon don't give NBC Sports much bandwidth.


All this whining really breaks my heart. In the US we not only have to pay extra to see the Grands Prix, we also have to put up with commercial ads as well. At least you get to see the race uninterrupted.


Don't worry I'm sure that will be coming.


£27 per race, though?


Its very nearly $100 USD to get high definition service with DVR* that includes the right channel over here. So, $1200 a year or $57 per race or about £41 per race. And then we get 20 minutes of commercials an hour, and then when they come back from a break, a recap of what we missed, and shots of the background of the city they're in, then maybe 5 minutes of the race before more commercials. I have heard of a cheaper service though called Vue, but you need a PS3 or PS4 which I dont have.

*And given that european races start at 6AM in my time zone I need a DVR!


The equivalent of around 20 to 22 pounds here in South Africa, if you subscribe as necessary to the premium pay TV. The actual cost of watching a grand prix, when you relate it to cost of living, is extremely high here. (Obviously somewhat variable, but rental of a decent 2 bedroom flat in a middle-class area of Durban can cost ~360 pounds per month.)


And look how F1 has struggled to get a foothold in the US market. That's the point.


In the US, any race that has a start that is AM in the Eastern time zone (European races are 8 AM, Australian and Asian races are between 1-3 AM, and Russia is between the two) is on pay except Monaco. The three races that start in the afternoon in that same time zone air free. The four free races have important appeal to the local jewellers, high-end automobile dealerships, and other high-end goods, as 30-second ads can appeal to a high-end audience.

Sunday mornings are reserved for news, public affairs, and in many markets, local church services. That's why the free races in the US (except for Monaco) are reserved for afternoons, similar to golf coverage on weekends.


Exactly. That's the future of F1 in what is currently its biggest market.


So 2019 is when I stop watching F1 altogether then. The process has been inevitable since Sky's involvement. Being required to make the British gp free to view on Sky does not help non Sky subscribers! Always good when a sport prioritises money over its fans. 🙁


I think f1 fans can feel let down by this deal and the previous deal but I don't think sky are to blame. The BBC are the ones who gave it up like so many other traditional sports. Once you let sky in on s deal it's never going to go back to main terrestrial tv. We have seen this in football cricket rugby and even darts!! Sky can pay the big bucks the Beeb is currently a rudderless ship in the middle of a ocean with no clue how to fix itself.

I have VM as opposed to sky but have the sports package so get sky f1 and I have to say they provide a fascinating insight into the sport. Ted kravitz for me is excellent his passion for the sport shines every time he's not just your pit lane reporter he's actively getting all the snippets of whisperings and juicy details from drivers and teams alike. The commentary is also first class along with hill and Herbert plus another each giving you a great insight into the drivers mind.


Hear hear.
I, too, blame BBC.
I agree fully with all of your points.

Look what the fools did to their cash cow "Top Gear".


I don't know that anyone blames Sky, obviously they are a force for [Mod] in the world, they do what they do. It's CVC increasing its income now with no regard for the long term future of the sport.
Of course the government cutting the funding to the BBC gave Sky the initial in.


Hill and Herbert? Really?


The real showstopper is the fact that even if you have Sky or VM you have to pay for the whole Sports package even if you only want to watch F1. So very true about the BBC; I can't think of a single thing I watch now on their channels, yet I still have to pay for a TV licence. Pay more, get less!


The BBC's rudder isn't the problem - it's the engine. Firstly it's being starved by the Murdoch-loving UK government, and secondly why would British taxpayers want to bid against the richest international bidder anyway? F1 doesn't actually need to run itself for maximum short-term profit but this is what happens when it does.


Bernie: Any chance I could have an advance payment to enable me, or many others, the grand a year to watch poor racing at random state sponsored tracks around the world?


They are making it harder and harder to watch F1.
We in Australia have to pay to watch and it has put alot of people off F1 forever.
I pay!!!


O.M.G. LMAO Let the foaming at the mouth begin!


What a disgraceful move. I guess this will officially confirm the death of F1 as a popular sport moving it into the niche category.




This is great for the long term growth of the WEC. Ultimately, this strictly short term thinking. Maximize revenue and profit margins before CVC exits. The fundamental problem in F1 is that the teams do not own it. Consequently, there is only short term thinking. An entire younger generation of fans is being lost across europe.


This is a shame. I'm on sky sports and I pay £85 per month for the sports and full HD package. I feel that on sky we are just paying for the football tv rights which have been pushed up. You used to be able to get the f1 channel free as long as you had the HD package.

Your viewing figures speak for themselves, how can the sport expect to attract young fans or young potential drivers into the sport if no one is getting exposed to it. I remember Hamilton winning in 2008, the exposure that got attracted a lot of fans. (I see a lot more of my friends talking about f1 since then). Another problem which isn't helping when the sport continues to shoot itself in the foot.


Fortunately once it is on Sky no one will see the sport shooting itself in the foot.
Maybe that's why they did it


What is your company? Please can I send my CV!


we are living in dark days of F1 at the moment
is there anything good happening out there
been a fan for over 40 years, I used to live for F1
but my enthusiasm has waned.
who would have thought when I was young that I would see
another british triple champion crowned and feel that I'm just
going through the motions,

I get distracted watching live coverage now, the racing is so poor,
I'm a sky subscriber (20+ years) but I don't think what I'm watching is worth an extra premium.
So today I'm sad.

on the positive I now spend a lot of time following F1 online. this site being a regular visit.
next race I might try doing something else and maybe listen to the radio commentary instead.
can't see in happening though, F1is a big part of my life and I will tune in for all the sessions as usual
I just wish it was worth watching!


Really, you think it is worse than the Schumacher years.


There wasn't anything wrong with the actual race!


I wont be paying to watch a program about moving advertisement boards interspersed with adverts. I thought the whole idea of the sponsor sort of made if free to watch.


Just to understand the issue better, how does Sky work in the UK? Do all competitors get the same basic channels, then you get some extras (like Sky F1) through the individual providers? What I'm wondering is if having Sky would be everything you need, or is it like Netflix, where it's more of an add-on. I can't imagine paying for basic cable, then tacking on an additional thousand pounds a year just for F1. Thanks 🙂


Sky are a TV network that predominantly sell their service over satellite, not cable. They rebroadcast a lot of channels (eg BBC1), have a pool of "basic channels" to subscribe to, and produce some of their own channels - including premium sport and movie channels.

They have about 10 million subscribers - about a third of the UK premises. Their own channels, including their sports channels, get viewing figures of about 7%.

Subscribing to Sky directly, getting a satellite dish and STB, and subscribing into a package is the primary way to access their service. Paying extra for the premium sport and movie channels, of course. They definitely aim to be "everything you need", but they are starting to dip their toes into the OTT online market, positioning their sub-brand of NowTV as something of an add-on.

There is one cable provider in the UK, Virgin Media. They reach about 46% of homes, and have over 4 million subscribers (about 16% of homes). These subscribers can pay extra to get some of Sky's own channels - including the F1 coverage.

The other half of the country continues to view through the free-to-air digital terrestrial transmissions. The 14 million Sky and VM subscribers likely have access to the terrestrial transmissions too.

That's your main choice in the UK: Satellite (ie Sky) vs Cable (ie VM) vs Free (ie "just" BBC, ITV, Channel 4 etc).

Some TV services are starting to take a share over IP - such as the "BT Sports" service mentioned by James in the article. "BT TV" has around 1.5million subscribers; abou the same number of subscribers as Netflix. The internet has started to shake things up...


£1000 per year...????????????. Good one James!! Oooh, my sides hurt. I can just see it now, people lining up with their £1000 notes to watch the circus ????????????

Ok, so joking aside, what's the actual, reasonable price a guy's gotta pay to watch some F1?


"Free" (basic cable) in Canada.
Really free when you steal it from the inter-webber.

Lately, though, I have had C4 on and Sky (on the TV)
at the same time, for "free", and still didn't think I
was getting my money'e worth.

Most weekends have been Nascar boring!


@ Twitch_6

you can watch Sky Sports on line with a daily pass for £6.99 or a weeks pass for £10.99.
I've been a Sky subscriber for over 25 years and I got it originally (can you guess what's coming here?) because I wanted to watch all the F1 races live and the BBC wasn't showing them at the time. The difference now of course is that it appears all the races will be behind a paywall which, whilst it may good in the short term for the money men, will be a massive error in the long run for the sport.


I think Bernie is correct, I wouldn't pay to watch this either!


How much do you pay for your internet? 😉


I think you might have missed the point of the question Twitch - How much do you *need* to pay to watch F1.

As I said before, there's more than one way to skin a cat 😉


@Random79, I pay about $50 per month for just Internet, dry loop. Don't have cable.

Like I've said before, I'd pay up to $250 CAN per season to watch F1 (full coverage of all sessions). Anything more than that is out of my budget, and honestly, I'm not paying more than $250/year to watch anybody do anything on TV....that's just, incredibly lame. If going to cost me more than $250/year, I'll find something cheaper and more productive to do with my time.

@gpfan, "most races are NASCAR boring" Que?? NASCAR, with the new rules package this year, has been brilliant so far in 2016!! The Aus GP was great, but F1 needs to keep rolling with that much action/close racing if it wants to keep pace with NASCAR.


Firstly, I'm not sure this really makes sense:
"Under its new deal, Sky is required to make the highlights and the live coverage of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone free to view. It is launching a new Sports Mix channel, which is free to Sky subscribers and this content may feature on there. "
Am I missing something? "Free to view" and "free to Sky subscribers" seem two rather different things to me. The phrase "free to Sky subscribers" alone seems to be playing a bit loose with the meaning of free. "The new Sports Mix channel, FREE (to everyone who's already paying us a substantial amount of money every month)."

Anyway, on the surface this seems a rather daft move, that despite being several years ahead of time, comes across a tad short-sighted. There has to be a fair bit of flexibility in this deal, because it seems stupid from both sides.

The only thing I can think from the F1 side is that it's Bernie trying to lock in deals to try raise the value and make the business look more attractive to potential buyers. Which in a way does make sense... but if you're looking at F1 and seeing plummeting viewing figures everywhere around the world coinciding with each country going to pay-TV, combined with the general short-sighted poor decision making going on in the sport, circuits dropping off the calendar and being replaced with desert circuits with empty grandstands, the EU investigating, the regulations being decided by a bunch of people who mostly really shouldn't be involved in making the rules, etc.... I'm no billionaire looking at buy, but personally I'd be inclined to think, "Actually, I'd rather NOT have this potentially great investment tied up in a bunch of potentially rubbish long term deals/problems."


This is just insanity. I do suscribe to Sky (£54 per month) because the terrestrial signal was so poor in my area and I have just carried on. I do get all the F1 races and I have grown to prefer the Brundle and gang presentation. Bernie doesn't care as he will most likely be dead by 2019. By the way I have followed F1 since the days of Raymond Baxter and John Bolster in the fifties and I still get a buzz out of it today but to take it away from free to air is just plain madness.


Goodbye F1. Not bothering to watch any longer. Past 35 years gave been great, and watching help made me into a bit of a Petrol Head :-).
I have no need to purchase SKY, nor can afford the luxury. I hate football too. Time to get more involved with following Formula E and the BTCC on terrestrial. R.I.P F1


It's probably bernie purposefully driving down the value of f1 so he can buy it from cvc at a significantly reduced price.


Would that even work? Or would CVC say, "Why would we sell it for so much less than what we know it could be worth?" and instead move to replace Berniie with someone (or several people) who they think could do a better job?

Besides, if Bernie were to drive the value of the business down, then do a deal to buy it back, and then miraculously turn it around again... pretty sure that'd look a bit suspicious to CVC and their legal team.


Yes. I'm also confused.

Mercedes, Renault, Honda et al are not necessarily high end brands, they wish to appeal to a mass audience so what is their motivation to compete (and likewise many of the sponsors on the cars) if viewing figures drop by 60-70%? Looks like a bad investment long term unless by 2020 some other viewing options (such as online streaming) are on the cards and a way can be found by Sky to monetise that. Otherwise Sky effectively smother the sport in which they're investing.

I'm no business guru so this makes little sense to me. I've also watched Formula 1 for almost 40 years so find this whole situation a little depressing. Not sure my little girl will grow up to be a Formula 1 fan if we're locked out by such a large paywall.


I think BE operates in a world most of us will never know. He probably counts the number & size of super yachts in the harbour at Monaco as his measure of how well F1 is going.
He probably can't see any correlation between "the masses" and how much money they spend related to F1 so we are irrelevant to him. He'd rather a million paying subscribers than 10 million who don't directly pay. Who knows, with all of us gone, maybe F1 will die, or maybe BE is right and the bubble will just keep on chugging along as it always has, a playground for the rich and famous.


And the headstone shall read....
R.I.P Here lies Formula 1, once a popular sport ruined by money, greed and politics.


Been following the sport very closely since 1981 and have attended 11 gp's in that time. Sadly now it has come time to say good bye to Formula One.


Fan since 1982. Going to try Le Mans this year but won't be paying Murdoch a penny. Nice one BE.


Yes, you just pay Eurosports a one off 5.99 monthly fee and can watch loads of other stuff too.


This is so sad! Is Bernie the crook Ecclestone trying to take F1 to the grave with him? He's lost the plot! Another sad story from F1. This is disgusting. Plus the sky coverage and commentary is not that great. Pretty classless in my opinion.


Wow! Assuming the cost for one screen in JA's example given is only half the cost of £83.80 per month, being £41.90 (unlikely as with the rest of the package mentioned, it's probably £50 + per month), you guys in the UK are paying A$78.79 per month.

We can get Foxtel(one box) in Australia for A$50 per month with all the F1 Grand Prix, which would be £26.59 per month equivalent in the UK. It's not often we pay less for anything imported from the rest of the world, but there you go.

I still won't pay A$50 for pay TV as they are full of ads (mostly self-promotion of other channels) which is what I'd want to be paying to not have to watch!


Interesting, let`s see what happens though with the driver and team outcome, without us there is no F1. Bad choice Bernie


James, my understanding has been that the Concorde Agreement used to prevent F1 from going solely behind a paywall ( judging from that article anyway and given the inherent secrecy of it.
Presumably the latest 2013 agreement removed that stipulation, but I find it difficult to comprehend that those party to the agreement would willingly agree? Surely F1 going behind a paywall is only beneficial to Sky, not the huge amounts of sponsors, teams etc.


I live in Belgium, so we always had (and still have) several options: French-speaking Belgian broadcaster RTBF (+-3 ad-breaks per race, very good commentator), RTL (Germany) and up until 2016, BBC. All free to watch (I pay 25€/month for digital tv, I have not activated any options/passes).
I can pay for Dutch-speaking commentary and on-board channels and what not, but I don't. It's 22€/month and I would also get MX (not interested), national football (not interested at all) and Formula E (free to stream anyway). So I watch F-E via free stream, IRL via Youtube (never live) and Moto GP free to air on Eurosport. I realise I'm spoiled and I don't mind watching races in English, Dutch, French or even German if needed. But my god, you British are getting screwed over! So much money, incredible! I pay 300 euro for tv for a whole year and can't even imagine having to pay additionally... Good luck to all of you! I really hope this will backfire!

Scott Robertson

If you go on live chat, a sky rep will give you 50% off. Then after a year just cancel it about 2 weeks before it runs out, and then go back on live chat after a week of emails and letters begging you to come back and they will give you 50% off again.


This isn't about the cost, I'm guessing many here can afford it, its about principle. Murdoch will not be receiving a penny from me.

If people just cough up without question nothing will ever change.


For years and years I got up at all hours to watch every race live, went to a GP every couple of years, read all the off season news....etc.
These days a pay about 1/3 as much attention to F1 as I used to, not sure why I've been loosing interest.

Oh yeah, For the last couple of years in Aus we only get ~1/3 of the races live and free, the rest a delayed highlights.

I have no ideas how the financials of these deals stack up for all concerned, but from a long term perspective, surely there's nothing more stupid than disenfranchising your fan base.

Greedy [Mod]


I think it's amusing that they think there will be an F1 in 2025 when this deal comes to a close. The teams are crying poor, blue chip sponsors aren't interested, promoters can't afford to host the classic races and the sport is running to new territories where there is zero grass-roots motorsport culture. The big decisons are made by reclusive, faceless men with dubious intent, and the focus has never been on the punter in the grandstand at the circuit.

Part of the success of any popular culture venture is ACCESS. Putting F1 behind a pay wall reduces corporate interest (aside from the Fox network and those important short term gains to be siphoned off to the shareholders as some form of fiscal trophy). I know Bernie wants to target those that can afford a Rolex and contribute to hedge funds, but that leaves the sport in a precarious position. Those viewers aren't the passionate types who don the team kit, and they have a limited lifespan. Do people still follow F1 and it's technological acronyms when they're over 75?

The future of the sport depends on the engagement of younger fans, possibly the type that don't yet have the disposable income. Unfortunately for the dinosaurs in charge, this audience is the internet generation where there are millions more accessible means of entertainment, not just those that inevitably end up with some tedious variation of a HAM-ROS-VET podium.

The GPDA are absolutely right: it's like they're not even interested in the long term success of the sport.


I've been watching every Sky-exclusive race on (illegal) streaming sites for years and will continue to do so from 2019


2 more points if I may.

SKY Mix still requires a basic subscription so that's not free to air.

Here's an idea F1, if you really want to give your fans a voice set up a fan council (FC) with a member from every country where their is a GP to represent fans. The FC could meet remotely via the web, provide a voice and feedback on major decisions. Have its statements read at decision-making meetings within F1 as a fixed agenda point to give teams/Bernie/the FIA pause when jerking about all over the place.

And if you really want to be forward thinking and brave, give the FC a vote equal to a team!


Sky is poor value currently, which matters little to Bernie and the money grabbers.

Business wins over sport again. F1 will be watched by fewer fans than ever in the UK.

F1 is a toxic mess of greed dressed in the facade of incredible technology and driving skill. Fans love love the SPORT, but the relentless undercurrent of avarice will kill it.

Bernie, should take note - there are other motor sports available.

He's killing F1, and doesn't care. It seems only the fans and the teams do. His legacy will be to be remembered as the greediest man ever in sport. The one who took everything he possibly could while making the sport ordinary people love inaccessible.


Surely this has got to affect sponsorship in the long run. Why would sponsors pay high prices for less exposure. It's not like the teams are getting a bumper premier league TV revenue deal.


I watch F1 live on Setanta Sports (IRELAND) through my Sat receiver for £20 a year. Sky have always been rip offs.


I'm not from UK, but this is what happened in Croatia two and a half years ago so I understand you. Now a great deal of fans here, including me, are forced to watch F1 via horrible and unquality illegal streams. SAD, SAD, SAD...


It's cheaper to book on a language course and move to Germany!


James, complements the RTL pictures rather well....


Time to start a GPVA .. (viewer) .. put a mad letter on Twitter, then boycot the next F1 event. Let's all NOT watch the next race.
This sport is killing itself. Shame.



I honestly think we need to start voting with our feet and eyes.

- NO fans to watch the next GP
- NO fans to buy another ticket until this mess gets sorted out

We need to unite, people!


Yeah I like it.
I might even get back on twitter for that...


That's the wrong boycott. We need to stop paying Sky to view F1. If they make no money they won't bid. They're not even spiting the BBC anymore.

Red (with white bits) Rob

Time to switch to bowls. Is that still on free tv?


When I started watching F1, it was free on Eurosport, all the races! Back then, I would have paid to watch, because it was fantastic! Senna, Prost, Mansell, Piquet etc. The racing was better, the cars looked and sounded amazing!
For me, F1 is hard to look at now because I know how good it used to be. I certainly won't pay to watch it in it's current form, full of stupid rules, back and forth negative changes. Even the drivers are disillusioned.
I guess F1 wants the fans to pay for the engines and drivers salaries.


£570pa? I think I'll put that money towards going to a GP rather than give it to Sky.


I wouldn't bother personally. You'll see far less, won't be able to follow properly because Bernie got rid of Kangaroo TVs and the cars sound cr*p, so there's literally no point.


Time for the teams to walk away and form their own series, Away from FOM, FIA I'm sure free to air terrestrial channels around the world would do deals. Is it a legal requirement for the FIA to be involved in any motorsports or are they just another self appointed governing body. 2018 onward do the FTA deals let all of the teams designers and drivers get together design the rules to make cars fast and able to run in dirty air to allow overtaking, keep the PU to keep manufacturers interested. let the teams use who they want to supply engines tires or other tech, this way we don't end up with one poor performing supplier whinging and dragging the sport down to their level. Allow as much testing as is needed, distribute the entire pot of money based on success not historical success. Competition breeds better racing and development


Boooo. That is it for viewing for me thanks Bernie. I refuse to get Sky and cannot see how they will attract new viewers. Another nail in the coffin.


Plenty of free streaming sites available, feel sorry for the muppets that subscribe to murdoch


Nope the hardware and fibre optic broadband are definitely not the issue, I would say it is more to do with the sites themselves.

What amazing stream sites are you lucky enough to have access to that never crash and provide 4K picture??


If I had to watch F1 on a crappy stream website instead of Ultra HD I wouldn't bother..


guess it depends on how crappy your pc/broadband is.


Wow. All good things come to an end. 35 years of watching & avidly following F1

Greed is a terrible thing

I reckon that hey'll be more people watching in the Grandstands at Silverstone in 2019 than watching in their own homes....


Why don't the broadcasters offer streaming for each race weekend.... lets say £3.00 per race weekend or £50.00 for a season. Based on 1million regular viewers this would provide an income of between 50-60Mill per season on top of any ad revenue! on a global scale this would surely improve the TV income stream currently in place? streaming direct to the fans at reasonable cost has got to be the way forward, look how Netflix has revolutionised the way we consume entertainment for a small monthly cost.. a less is more approach is required here I believe


Unless there is some sort of pay per view set up at @ £5 a weekend I'm done.
R.I.P my F1 experience 1985 - 2018.


Bernie sticks up two fingers to the drivers and to the fans whose past dedication to F1 has brought him his vast fortune.
On a positive note, I won't care how boring F1 becomes after 2018.


Gobsmacked & surprised they let Sky do this.
????Well done Bernie you just killed F1????
This surely is the last straw that broke the donkeys back.
I'd rather watch another racing format. The best drivers would've moved onto different race formats by then. F1 would be an empty rich man's sport. I can imagine F1 going downhill drastically. Will not give toupee Bernie & the skeleton that is Murdoch and his cronies a single penny. 2018 will be y he last dip into F1. I'll stick to WRC highlights & Motorola GP highlights on terrestrial TV.
Biggest Low point for F1.
CVC will see their profits tumble as will the F1 circuits & sponsors.


A cut and paste of my facebook status update. Pretty much sums up my feelings. SOLD OUT.

Anyone that's known me since I was younger knows that I've been a die-hard F1 ever since the days of Mansell, Senna and Prost in the early 90s. Well the sport has been dying and dying over the last few years - lost half the live races 3 seasons ago. Driving is not what it used to be - drivers can't push to the limit any more because of fuel saving and fear of wearing out the tyres. Lost the V10s, then the V8s as well. Well, today it's been confirmed that from 2019 there will be no more live races on free to air TV at all, and I'm not paying Murdock £30 a month just for the privilege of it. What a complete disgrace, it would appear like my life long love affair with this sport will finally be coming to an end. And just to think I'd religiously get up no matter how early in the morning to watch the race, and the first thing I lined up during my travells was to go and see the F1 race in Australia in 2003. It's not like football when you can just go down the pub to watch it RIP F1, it was nice knowing you.


Even though I suspected this was coming since the BBC sold half it's FTA coverage to SKY, it's still a bit of a blow to actually see it happen.

So, unless a reasonably priced streaming option appears later down the line, I'll be one of the 90% of current UK based fans who stop watching F1. Catching the race result in the sports section of the news will then help me decide whether to bother watching the highlights show, until my interest finally wains to the point of indifference.

Shame really, I'd always envisioned raising kids to watch F1 with their doddering father on a Sunday afternoon and held a vicarious hope of spawning a future WDC, mainly for the big house she'd have bought me I admit!

Ciao ciao F1, I'll wave at you when I see you go past in the street!


What highlights show are you talking about?


Sky may have bought a white elephant, because I expect Lewis Hamilton to be close to retiring when they get the F1 monopoly. With only one other British driver on the grid, I'd be very surprised if they will even retain the current number of viewers.


GarH, good point. with Jenson and Lewis gone it would only leave Palmer, what if he loses his drive? I could be wrong, but I don't see another young brit in the junior formulae who looks destined to make it. Remember what happened to the popularity of the WRC in the UK when the British drivers all retired.


@TimW, "no young British tallent" - what about Lando Noris. He broke Hamilton's record for being the youngest ever World Karting Champion, and he looked pretty damn good in New Zealand's TRS this winter. He wasn't mistake free, but on most of the tracks, his pace was on another level compared to the likes of Artem Markelov. Pretty sure he's doing Renault 2.0 this summer, so keep an eye out for him. So far he's won in nearly everything he's jumped into.


Thanks twitch, I will keep an eye on him.


The jury is still out on FE but how about a Sunday afternoon WEC highlights show with highlights and live finish at Le Mans? Bring it on BBC or C4.


The jury is still out on FE

Not out for me, I'm fully on board. Last year I was still on the fence, this year I'm comlletely sold. Every race so far this year has been great ????


I agree with respect to the racing but that applies to many series - I meant as a "pinnacle of motorsport" replacement for F1. Maybe just need to give it a few years - till 2019, perhaps!


Ahh ok, I agree FE is not a replacement for the pinicle. It's entertaining as hell though!


Interestingly, here in Portugal F1 has just gone "free to air" from 2016-2019. It is on Eurosport, so you need a cable box to watch it (about €30/month, there is no freeview here), but most people who watchTV have cable, because the State channels are terrible! Before it was on Sport TV, where all the football is, which is another €30 per month.


I have been watching F1 avidly since 2015. It has been disappointing not to be able to watch all the races live for the last couple of years, but at least the highlights package on the BBC and now CH4 is fairly decent. I only tend to watch the races these days as family time takes precedence. So, I really don't see me paying Sky to watch F1 from 2019 onwards as it just won't be good value for money for me, unless their prices come down drastically, just to watch 1.5 hours of racing every two or three weeks. I wish those in power in F1 could understand what it is like for 'normal people' who have 'normal income' and 'normal lives' outside of the sport. Oh well, goodbye F1.


1985 even. 🙂


£1,000 per year to watch! F1 is dead. Well done to those who can't see beyond the end of their noses.


I look at this deal and read the comments and think: "Here in South Africa we've gotten used to watching F1 on Pay TV". With time you get used to it.


You mean 10% of the pre-existing fan base has got used to it?


With the money I save NOT subscribing to the extortionately expensive Sky Corporation I will go in person to watch hillclimbs and get out on my mountain bike more. It's time to let go, I will miss live races, but not for long.


Oh good, when this happens everyone that refuses to cough up can come on here and whinge about how crap free to view sports are. Enjoy your world free of F1. I didn't realise that so many people would rather spend their money on things that didn't make them happy (or interested in the very least).


I'll just add my voice to the crowd. Over 30 years watching. This will be the end for me too probably. Shame, as my son was starting to show an interest.

Paul du Maître

1,000 pounds a year! That's very expensive. Here, in France, the broadcaster is Canal+. It costs about 40 €/month, or a bit less than 500 € per year. F1 is included in the standard package (which comprises a sports channel, movies channel, a TV series channel and a kids channel on top of the general content channel).


Bigger, grippier tyres. Less disruptive aero. Then it would be easier to follow, you would see more (real) overtaking, more spectacle, and a BIGGER AUDIENCE.

Then they wouldn't need to go behind a pay wall to raise the money. Is that so difficult to understand? Am I alone?

I cannot fathom how bad those in charge are at making decisions. it's like they're actively trying to destroy F1.

When F1 goes to sky exclusively in 2019, that's it for me, and for the sport.



James the GPDA wants F1 to engage with fans existing and new fans more than iy does now as part of a reform of F1's Governance . Will announcements like this concern the GPDA for it may disengage some fans from the sport?


has anyone tried watching F1 on a Now TV box? Does it make sense cancelling my sky subscription and go on a pay as you go model. My household hardly watch any TV, its all youtube and iplayer these days.


Sad times. TV will undoubtedly have moved on by then but to think that there will be no? top level sport on terrestrial TV by then is amazing. I'm amazed that for anyone wanting to watch football, rugby, F1, tennis and cricket not only would it cost a fortune but you'd need access to Eurosport, BT and sky.
We've all been spoilt with our TV license (looks particularly good value for money all of a sudden doesn't it), when growing up I remember watching all sorts of live sport thanks to the BBC, ITV and C4 - how sad that the next generation's access to sport on TV will simply depend on how affluent their parents are.


[Modding Mods!]

I had my heart set on Channel Four eventually getting the live races, and letting me finally leave this Sky package I bought from Virgin. The package seems to have grown from an additional £14/mth to £50 while I wasn't looking.



One word



James, a direct question, and of course I understand if you don't want to answer, but do you not worry your own livelihood in a sport you have built a career in over many years is threatened? In most industries, executives can see the writing on the wall and pre-empt the inevitable by making a career change. I can only see F1 suffering massively and dwindling in the next few years if Bernie and CVC carry on this way. So many good people in the industry will suffer as a result.


How is James going to feel when at a tentative guess the majority of his fans on here will gradually disappear and become less interested?

Andrew Halliday

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On one hand, I don't really care as I already pay for the Sky Sports HD package (on Virgin Media which also includes BT Sport) and enjoy watching F1, cricket, Moto GP, AFL and bits of Premier League & Champions League so I'm paying for this anyway. On the other hand, it's nice to know that others are also enjoying the spectacle of a grand prix and that casual observers may also have the opportunity to watch a race. I remember when F1 coverage was free to air and people at work who wouldn't necessarily be overly interested in F1 would come and chat about the race as they had seen part of it. I worry that this casual interest in F1 will no longer exist if only those that have Sky Sports are able to watch the coverage.
I do think the Sky Sports coverage is of a high standard and I enjoy the commentary (Martin Brundle) and insight. One thing about F1 coverage that has started to annoy me over the years is the focus on the presenters rather than the sport. It seemed to start in 2009 when the BBC took over and Sky seem to have continued the tradition. Most people tune in to watch the sport, therefore, whether the TV presenters have arrived at Silverstone on the roof of an aeroplane doesn't add anything to the coverage.


I predicted this would happen as soon as the split deal was announced with the BBC a few years ago. Off the back of one of the worst seasons in F1 history, this is a very bad move. Wasn't the combined Sky live and rerun viewing figures for Australia under 300k James, a few sources on line are reporting that? That's abysmal for a sport being run as a giant car manufacture commercial.

If F1 is happy to shed so many viewers then so be it. It simply will not be an attractive prospect for sports fans when £27 per race is an incredible fee given the quality on show. If fans don't have Sky already, they won't be signing up for this.

F1 has absolutely lost its mind and I patiently await an alternative, hopefully run without the greedy moneymen that have run this once great sport into the ground.


When i used to live in the UK i had a sky F1 package. I paid a premium for two years to get the best coverage possible. Since i moved abroad (middle east), i have a TV package out here which offers coverage, although it's not always in English and doesn't even come close to Sky F1 coverage. For that reason i don't watch it out here. The thing about sky - love it or hate it - is the quality of the coverage. Martin Brundle is one of the best pundits i have seen on TV in any form sport. His knowledge, opinions and insight are fantastic and i would say the best aspect of Sky coverage. If sky was available over here i would probably still buy into it. Having said that, Sky is not available here but i still manage to watch every race from the sky coverage... The internet is a wonderful thing and you can get just about anything if you know where to look. Just because F1 won't be free to air anymore doesnt mean you can't get it for free!


I'm not bothered about the punditry I just want to be able to watch the flippin' race


Looking at JA figures above the viewing figure will drop by around 75% with Sky, this begs the question will Mercedes, Renault and Honda feel its worth being part of F1 with such lowly TV viewers, I think not.
As a pensioner I cannot afford Sky prices so I am being forced to abandon F1, this not only means me but my great grand kids will not see F1. I was hoping they would do well in their future and be able to afford a Ferrari but not seeing one race that is now unlikely, they wont know what a Ferrari is!!.
At least I will have the memories of seeing Hawthorn, Collins through to Hamilton, Alonso race.


James - I should recall, but how are the various teams currently locked into F1 at the moment? I know there are various bilateral agreements but no over-arching Concorde at the moment - surely this move, fans reaction, drivers' issues raised yesterday just adds more incentive for a 'new' F1 soon (once revenues drop enough that Ferrari's huge bribe, sorry, payout based on their history and importance, can no longer be sustained or influence them).


Without wanting to sound completely flippant, the sooner Bernie croaks it, the better for F1. The sport's endless chace to make billionnaires millions more is the reason it's dying.

It's making manufacturers billions in marketing and R&D
It's making Bernie & CVC billions in event revenues and TV rights

And all the while we are moving towards:

Cars the fans & drivers don't want
Tyres the fans and drivers don't want
Circuits the fans and drivers don't want
Rules the fans and drivers don't want (encouraging fuel saving/endurance style driving and artificial over-taking)
A (lack of) contest that the fans and drivers don't want

We are lucky enough to be in an era with probably the most talented pool of drivers anyone could ever wish for. And it's all being wasted. Sorry guys, you are owed an apology, as our we, the fans.

This is a SPORT not a show at Las Vegas. We don't want entertainment, we want competition and that will be entertaining in itself, thanks. Where did we go wrong??

Bernie and his cronies are too old and, frankly, too stupid to run this gig any more. The guy is one of the biggest crooks on the planet, he's been allowed to escape a bribary charge with a €100M bribe FFS! Why aren't we still talking about that? How is he allowed to make a decision at all apart from who his free phone-call is to?

I am at a loss.

By the way, I am a Sky subscriber through gritted teeth, so I will still get to watch whatever tut is put in front of me. But I hate the brand, I hate everything it stands for and I hate the over-dramatised, Amercianised coverage of every sport that they pollute with their greedy tentacles. It's disgusting that F1 has sold-out in this way.

I call for a revolution! Can't someone mega rich, come in and buy the sport for benevolent reasons, or better still, if it floats, can't the F1 fans globally buy it out? If we owned it, we could make decisions on free to air and bring the sport back to its former glory.

Change needs to happen fast, or else the sport will die.


This looks like more plans to rule the day. Everything looks to go behind Sky's horrific gladiatorial VTs and dumbed down coverage... (exactly what they did with cricket). When all looks lost, F1 come out with their own coverage subscription which is cheaper than sky... looks like a chess game ahead. either way, F1 is doomed to the money grabbers.


A sad day. I remember sitting watching my first Grand Prix with my dad in 1992. I may not be able to do the same with my son now and another potential fan of the sport will be lost. Take a bow Bernie!!


Just like every other sport taken over by Sky, my watching will wane away. The hunger will drop. Then my emotional involvement will wither. Then my interest will go. I'll stop caring. I'll stop even reading news stories about a sport I no longer bother to watch. I won't even know the names involved.

I used to watch cricket. Be interested. Care. Now I no longer bother.

The current system, with half live races, already started me down that path - I no longer bother to keep track of the dates of live races, so if I end up planning something for the family, it's a case of "oh well". The race gets recorded, and there's a 50:50 chance that I'll delete it without watching. Just like the fans that don't turn up in the "new" venues, I won't be turning up in front of the TV.

I'm not angry. More like "ho hum". There are plenty of other demands on my time and interest, and they'll fill the hole, I'm sure. Interest and emotion is already going ... and this won't cause me to make the effort to revive it over the next 3 years. Will I even make it as far as 2018?

BTW - A real kick in the teeth to Channel 4. No opportunity to show F1 what it could do, and now audiences will start withering away. Is that what they signed up to?


Not a good sign. It suggests that the rights-holders have decided the sport is in such decline they might as well trouser as much cash as possible while Sky is willing. However, perhaps the drivers should issue another irate statement because the likelihood that their brands will be worth a fraction in the future is very much in doubt once the sport lives entirely within its own gated community. A genuine star like Joe Root might have won SPOTY already if cricket was still free to air.


shame they had to come out with this after c4 effort started. Agree its to head off BT grabbing it as sky subbers who like F1 would have jumped ship in 3 years time. Even if thats only 1 million its a hell of a monthly loss of revenue.
quite frankly people will soon find its easy to go without and start doing something useful on a sunday .


I watched some of the F1 races last year on BBC - i never watched it on Sky because i refuse to pay so much for something. 95% of my F1 'fix' is absorbed through this site, autosport & Joe Seward. I have been a fan for over 35 years and love the sport

However, this got me thinking - how well do i know the current cars and the organisations who pay for them to go racing - their sponsors - could i name the prime sponsor on each car? Coudl i name some of the minor sponsors?? If not, then surely this is a reason for the F1 teams to get worried?

Ferrari - hmmm - Shell and i know Marlboro still pull the strings
Red Bull - they are the sponser
Mclaren - no idea
Force India - is it still King Fisher?
Williams - Martini - looks brill
Sauber - no idea
Renault - i remember Sure being on the side - nothing else
Torro Rosso - more Red Bull
Manor - no idea
Hass - just Hass

5 years ago, whilst watching several hours of F1 every weekend, i could reeled them all off!

Market penetration hey........

Andrew Halliday

Interesting way of looking at this Jon. I had a quick think about the sponsors on cars and at tracks and was almost surprised at how many I could reel off. Not just recent ones, but with pretty good accuracy, I could think of who sponsored which team and when over the last 20 years. Good example of the value of F1 sponsorship!


Hiya Andrew - I agree and I could tell you who sponsored who over a big lump if the last 25 years.

However, since Sky got involved, I have no idea who sponsors what because I no longer watch it

All my F1 fixes now comes from sites like this - not television


After 45 yrs watching, attending and supporting the only sport I like it's coming to an end. I can't and won't pay to watch advertising boards go round. RIP F1, a self destructive swan song.


Bernie and CVC pocketing as much money as they can before they leave


That's it for me then. I was getting thoroughly fed up of watching my favourite sport destroy itself anyway.


Its funny you say that but maybe in a way this could be a blessing in disguise. I can't help thinking that I've just been limping along with F1 for the last few years with about 20% of the passion I used to have for it. No more V10s or even V8s. Lost half the live races anyway a while ago. Maybe us poor sods just need to be put out of our misery and move on.


Goodbye F1 !


As a lifelong f1 fan this is really testing my patience. Money, money, money. Bernie needs to go and a service for streaming direct from needs to be put in place.


I feel that there is somewhat of a disconnect between F1 fans and F1 in general. I'm sad to say that F1 does not have a very significant interest in fans or any real respect. Of course they tout the motherhood statements and for a few in the sport/business the fans do hold some degree of respect.

But... how many companies that are involved in F1 are really directed at a mass retail market. ie I dont think Haas is targeting Joe Europe for his tools, Rolex? ,Ferrari?, McLaren's larger business, William's larger business. Indeed most of the teams can't even be bothered seriously marketing to their fans.

Red Bull is an exception of course, but they are a marketing machine and are effective in being in the headlines every week no matter what, and the F1 image adds to the marketing of their image and their $8 / litre drink.

What is really important to F1 is it's Status / Image. The real money is business to business and that reflects in the total dis respect to the wishes of the established fan base.

Promoters will struggle on and scrape out a modest living from gate takings. Race venues will come and go. The formula will be played with in a political arena and the odd cap will be sold at the track, but I suspect that the real deals are in the paddock and corporate entertainment. We've all seen the blow ins in the team hospitality at F1 races that are eating lunch behind the pits while the race is on. F1 is a place to be seen to partake in the swill and do business. But as a fan, just don't expect any favours.


This Sky/BE action has surely given a great opportunity to WEC. All they have got to do is keep their classic 24 hour races and add some 1-2 hour sprint to their season at the classic circuits. Offer the rights to the free to air TV companies and you will soon see the Mercedes, Renault etc migrate to WEC from F1. This will surely kill off F1 as we know it. We will then get good racing with a lot more high class competition. Plus of keeping JA, Webber and Coultard in employment so cant be bad.


How long until they take the mega bucks pay TV offers?


Yes, lets hope WEC can take advantage of this and we can get some decent free to air racing back.


'Bye, guys, won't miss it as it has become an uninspiring miasma of confusing regulations that has left me not interested in watching it recently even when it was on open TV.

I'll find a low spec racing series that has some excitement instead



James - when are you (not personally) going to sort out the bug in the commenting system? If I reply to a post, the "Add comment" box stays aligned to that post. To post a new, independent comment I have to refresh the screen.

It's unlikely that anybody will want to post multiple responses to the same post by someone else. Once a reply is posted the "Add comment" box needs to return to above the comments.


It will be a sad day, but I will stop watching if I need to pay £27 a race to watch F1. Rubbish decision.


Hi James, this move by Bernie is a huge mistake, Sky do not get very good viewing figures for F1 and I really can’t see them getting much better with the amount Sky charge for their F1 package. Less views equals less sponsors willing to pay big bucks to advertise on the cars and tracks, less advertising money means less income for the teams which of many are already struggling to afford the costs of competing in F1. I for one have been a fan of F1 for over 30 years and I have attended many of the races over the years, however I will not be paying sky to watch F1. Come 2019 I will become one of the many who stop following or watching F1. Well done Bernie for hammering in the final nail into F1’s Coffin.


Years back, James, we mused about the likelihood of a future in which pay-per-view might be offered offered by the teams and their sponsors streamed via peer-to-peer networks like Facebook. I suggest that future has come just a step closer and the current rights holder has decided to cash out.


GUTTED.............., started watching F1 in the late 80's, this exclusive Sky deal is the end for me watching at home, No more sunday afternoon relaxing on the sofa me. I can see my wife compiling a list of DIY for me now............., quick escape to the pub they'll have Sky............, what the pubs have all closed down............. Everyone start watching at the pub today to keep it in business ready for this new deal to kick in. This Licencee reminds every body to drink responsibly.


And no pub is going to be showing the F1 on the main screen anyway - just some out of the way screen right in the corner. It's finished.

And yes, I always used to like a good excuse to bar my wife from the living room for a Sunday afternoon! What can I say now?


Im not sure about the UK, but in Australia pay tv was pretty late to the party.
It never really gained traction before digital tv led to an influx of FTA channels.
Unlike the US where pay tv is/was the norm, here most shows are available FTA , pay tv offers more channels but the content is pretty low quality and not exclusive.
F1 or other exclusive pay tv sports are really the only drawcard for pay tv.
I am presuming the UK is similar. Exclusive sporting rights is really the only ace card pay tv has to not being to be put out of business by streaming services such as netflix.
You are right though they have laid off the ads during the races for now , I'm sure when people don't have an option the ads will be back.

Cedric Baumgartner

Another smart move to push the f1 audience away from the sport. Fair well f1


Morons. The only thing I'll say further than that:

Sky live viewers peak: 400,000
C4 highlights views peak: 2.7million


James, You have a great site with a massive informed following. Do you show the results of the feedback to the powers that be? and are they interested? Surely someone with your standing with a site as well run as this one should be able to show how much this decision will hurt F1? It is very clear its an issue.


It's just singlehandedly destroyed itself. The rights have been now been solved - its all contracted up. That's it.

All that can happen now is some kind of break-away series starting.

Harry Snapper Organs

Hear Hear.

please do one of your polls.
Maybe ask something like : Will you pay ..... (insert amount) to watch F1 on pay TV?
A simple Yes or No response.

Saw a stat on BBC website saying 30Million viewers have been lost since the switch to pay TV began


I am simply astounded that this is going to happen. Astounded and rather angry.

At a time when the governance of F1 is so bad that the drivers feel moved to collectively voice their overriding concern at the direction of this sport, this is announced.

F1 audience numbers are declining in large part because the live format is largely unavailable. For the casual F1 fan, they will watch races if it is easy, and free, a enjoyable and accessible bit of action after lunch. If you don't cater for the casual F1 fan, by making the product inaccessible, you surely risk reducing the fan base in general.

To think that Ecclestone considers revenue a priority over audience numbers would be astounding, were it not for the fact that it is in fact entirely predictable. It is predictable because this sport is run by people and companies who make rules primarily aimed at satisfying corporate profit margins, rather than at pleasing the fans. It is, far more than ever, a business over a sport.

That is why F1 is incapable of seemingly coming up with an adequate wholesale revision of the sport for next year, why we have power units that satisfy the marketing aims of manufacturers rather than the desire of the fan, and why we see constant gimmicky tinkering (last weekend's qualifying, DRS, etc) rather than meaningful change.

I really think it is time for Ecclestone to go, for the teams to collectively relinquish their vested interest control, and for the FIA to take over the running of this SPORT.

To any F1 personnel reading this, particularly those involved in F1's governance: I, a committed fan, am becoming increasingly unhappy with the direction this sport is taking.


Interestingly, here in Portugal F1 has just gone "free to air" from 2016-2019. It is on Eurosport, so you need a cable box to watch it (about €30/month, there is no freeview here), but most people who watchTV have cable, because the State channels are terrible! Before it was on Sport TV, where all the football is, which is another €30 per month.

Appologies if this is the second post of this, but the new comments system just seems to eat comments without displaying them, and then says they are already posted.


Sorry to be a pedant, but premier league football highlights are not 'sub-let' to the BBC as you say. They are a separate package sold directly from the premier league. It seems that Sky's 'exclusive' rights would prevent FOM from doing that with this contract. (Although it hasn't be explicitly stated).


That's it for me with watching F1 then! I cannot justify spending on a subscription when I would not watch every race and attending a Grand Prix is too expensive. I used to love F1, but if I am not able to watch then I am afraid I am lost to the sport - watching highlights is not the same.


I am really missing the BBC coverage already, despite a good effort on C4. But the last few seasons of BBC coverage was brilliant. After 50 years of following F1, my first heros were Jim Clark and Graham Hill, I won't subscribe to SKY just for F1.... I will resort to You Tube no doubt.... It is ironic with the current actions and concerns of the F1 drivers and teams over the way the sport is governed that they will take action now to see the demise of a huge portion of F1 fans. Shame.... and Bernie.... bu**ger off!


First time I've ever posted a comment but what a dark day for F1 in the UK. With a young family I can't afford to sign up to a Sky subscription.
Been an avid F1 fan all my life, dedicated so much time to indulging my interest in the sport which I greatly enjoy.
R.I.P my F1 experience 1993 - 2018.


Its not just the fans that will suffer, Silverstone has a contract to run the British GP until 2027 (IIRC), with projected viewer numbers falling will less people want to go see the race live? Given that its an expensive day I would imagine you would get more of the fans that can afford to have full sky, but there will still be a reduction in gate sales. Can the race survive with only 1/2 the current attendance?


My two brothers and myself have been watching F1 for 30 years because our Dad watched F1 (and raced FF). My three sons watch F1 with me. That's three generations of fans because of FTA. So this stupid move wont just decimate the current fan base in the Uk, but the future generations as well.


F1 coverage would have suited me on BT Sport has it's free with the XL package on Virgin Media. Must have a lot of money or someone else pays the Sky bill if you can afford Sky subscription including all sports. They should have let BT tender in a price.....


It will also be interesting to see whether FOM have taken steps to avoid the mess that UEFA have made in the FTA clause of their Champion's League contract with BT. In the contract they are obligated to show one match per round fta. However BT have hidden the match on their 'BT showcase channel' low down on the Freeview EPG which shows little else and has been given no promotion. Fair enough for BT I guess, they want to drive people to subscribe but it's not really in the spirit of the agreement. Viewing figures are pitiful and advertisers are said to be unhappy. They do however have a highlights show on ITV in a separately sold package.

I wonder if Sky will similarly try to hide their FTA coverage or if the clause os stricter in this case?


Simply gutted. I've watched F1 every season since I was little, even through the dire years of Schumacher domination. I've been to races, obsessed over pre-season testing but this really is it, this is the end. The people in control of this sport live in a bubble and don't know what they don't know. F1 can't survive as a minority sport hidden behind paywalls so it will die. Farewell my old friend, at least my wife gets Sunday afternoons back.


I am not affected, but the situation is awful.
Untill Mr.E and co. realizes, that the only true way is to allow Internet streaming, audience will keep declining (with the very help of such exclusive deals).
Well done, Mr.E, well done.


Absolutely disgusting. Once again the fans of F1 are being taken for a ride, and by doing this it's also alienating new viewers. I've loved this sport since I was a boy, and I've attended numerous Grand Prix's over the years, but the cynical manner that those who care about this sport are being treated is beyond comprehension. Sadly, I realise it's time for me to turn my back on this sport once and for all. Bernie should be ashamed.


"It is likely that other European countries will follow in due course, as F1 Management and CVC prioritise income from broadcasters over mass audience numbers. "

This is exactly the problem. The FIA and others including the [Mod], want to milk F1 for everything it can get out of it and screw the fans who are helping to pad their pockets. Viership needs fans because people will not bother to look away from their football and WEC to worry about what's going on in F1. If nobody is going through the gates trackside, that will never translate to increased viewership on pay TV. Here in the states with exception to the US GP and Monaco, F1 is only available on cable. Because we don't have reasonable access to attend races when they are two days away by car for most people and cvost hundreds of dollars to attend.


Won't pay. It's that simple.

I've watched everything that was watchable in F1 since 1996. I'm disgusted by the BBC executives who sold us to Sky and now by Bernie's contempt for all of us fans.
On principle, I refuse to be fleeced.


As a US fan, can somebody explain the British Pay TV scheme to me? Is it like paying for cable here in the US or is this strictly Pay Per View? Also what is the average cost of these services?


Welcome to being a niche sport F1. Money money money... You can't take it with you Bernie... Anything else I have to say is gonna get modded so I'll leave it there.


This is a mistake, although I wouldn't go as far as describing it as "the final nail in the coffin", it will damage the sport in the long term. The teams will lose out as their rate card will drop due to the lower ratings, will Bernie make up the difference to them? When the Premiership rights are re negotiated the teams get a bigger slice, no doubt this wont happen in F1. How will the next generation of fans be engaged with the sport? I stumbled across F1 on TV as a kid, no other family members had any interest in it, so paying to view would not have been an option, would I have still found F1? It is inevitable that an 88 year old wont take a long term view, is he still the right man for the job?

Jonathan Powell

I completely agree with everybody about how outrageous this is and the extortionate amount us the fans have to pay to watch all the races live!Especially for those of us,like myself,who have watched it for free since the mid 80s until 2012 when sky tookover!
People have been talking about prices in other comments but im not sure if this has been mentioned that if you get SkyGo as a non Sky customer then the sports package is £35/per month and this isnt a contract so you can cancel it at the end of the season and then start it again when the new season starts.With this aswell you can sign in on your laptop and then hook it upto your tv which is what I do.

Unfortunately,as Murray Walker has said,it looks like all sport or the biggest sports,will be on pay tv eventually.
All the premier league football matches have been for some time,boxing you have to pay for big fights,with tennis its only Wimbledon,French Open and Davis Cup on terrestrial tv and I see Wimbledon as going on pay tv in the next few years,apart from the finals weekend!If like me you want to wacth other tournaments like the masters events throughout the year then these are on pay tv aswell.
Darts takes over the F1 channel over the winter,snooker is on the BBC but for how much longer?

It doesnt make it right but unfortunately its the way things are going!


For a sport that is to a degree reliant on sponsors putting their names on cars in order to advertise their products, you would think that these sponsors would want to maximise their exposure via 'free-to-air'. Why are the teams not up in arms about this deal?


I have been stunned since this news came out. A monopoly on T.V rights has never been good for a sport aside from SKY test match team who are immense . infact may be Gower/Holding/Bumble and co could do everyother race ? Genuinely gutted by this . I have an ammount i am prepared to pay for F1 but non of the figures mentioned above cover that!


Viewing figures will of course collapse and surely with it the team's budgets from sponsorship. If a team like McLaren struggles to get a title sponsor now, how will any team get anything with such a small audience? I can see the teams relying almost entirely on TV money, which will give Ecclestone even more control over them.

I have watched F1 for 30 years but there's no way I will pay anything near what Sky are asking.


Judging from the article, people are paying $118.29 with a sports package. My US cable without a sports package but with F1 and broadband costs me $185 a month. I don't know if the SKY packages includes broadband. I assume that it doesn't so I would guess that our costs as consumers works out to be about the same which is too much.


Bernie sold his soul!


Would be interesting to hear the genuine view of each of the teams on this.


Already a dreadful was of a day owning to the time it starts, I rejoice a bit when it's not on terrestrial these days. I think I'll just go for a sail or a nice bike ride. I'll follow that with a slap up meal and tell myself I've paid for it with the money that I haven't given to Sky.


That's it for me I will not be paying to watch.

I have BT and am very happy with it.

BERNIE THEIR IS ONLY SO MUCH BLOOD YOU CAN EXTRACT FROM A STONE, Sky will find that out to their cost and pay less next time.

Can't think that the sponsors will be happy having less viewers see their products.

James any chance you can get the name and email details memorised I have to put them each time I log on. Cheers!


Anyone know details of the bidding process behind this? Did FOM even talk to C4, BT etc or was it a closed deal between 2 'legitimate businessmen' (Mr M and Mr E).


just to echo a lot of the other comments, I reckon I'll call it a day on watching the sport when it all goes to Sky. With the current state of it, and the likely future trajectory its just not worth paying to watch it. Sad but sometimes these things happen, life goes on.