BBC: No HD F1 in 2009

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F1 remains stuck in the past with no HD service yet again in 2009
F1 remains stuck in the past with no HD service yet again in 2009

F1 will not be broadcast in high definition on the BBC in 2009.

Director of BBC Sport Roger Mosey said ??we?d very much like it to be?? but HD F1 broadcasts are not available yet.

He also suggested practice sessions will only be available online and ??via the red button?, and said the BBC is looking into broadcasting GP2 as well.

Mr Mosey has made a series of remarks about the BBC?s plans for F1 coverage on the BBC?s sports blog pages. Here are a few of the major highlights:

The races will be on iPlayer, but precise red button plans are yet to be confirmed.

The idea is that F1?s home will be BBC One, with all qualifying and races live and uninterrupted on that channel. The rest will be online and on the red button.

We?re still working on GP2 and other scheduling details. Clearly, we?ll have a lot of new content from F1 itself ?ǣ which will start with practice available online on the Friday of a race weekend. Catch-up F1 will later be on iPlayer with highlights on the site.

F1 won?t be available in HD though we?d very much like it to be. I?ll keep you posted.

I?m surprised at the choice of BBC One for the shows ?ǣ I expected them to screen it on BBC Two, to keep it clear of any clashes with mainstream programming. It makes no difference as long as they stick to their promise of ??live and uninterrupted?? broadcasts ?ǣ even if Eastenders is on, even if England finally wins a cricket tournament, even if the queen?s 17th cousin stubs her toe.

Having qualifying and races live is the bare minimum but he says ??the rest will be online?? indicating F1 fans will still get to see free practice live next year. Good news.

It would be a shame if nowhere could be found on the BBC?s many channels to show GP2 live. At the very least I hope it?s screened live on iPlayer. It?s provided some of the best races I?ve watched in the past four years. If BBC isn?t going to show it live on one of their channels I hope Eurosport or Motors TV can pick it up instead.

I?m very disappointed that F1 will not be in high definition in 2009. Once again it seems Formula One Group?s laughably slow adoption of new technology is to blame.

More on the BBCs 2009 F1 coverage

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 37 comments on “BBC: No HD F1 in 2009”

    1. well…. non-HD is disappointing, but i had always suspected the BBC would have quite a challenge to have had it in HD from every circuit in under a year – assuming that HD cameras would have to be shipped/used (??) and the number of other channels who get the same feed (??)

      live and uninterrupted, with free practices and other non-quai/race sessions available on the red button in front of my TV as well as GP2 tucked away in the plethora of other BBC channels will finally make the BBC worthy of my license fee…

      1. As I understand, the cameras at the track aren’t BBC’s, they’re Formula One Group’s. They manage the feeds and supply the footage to the broadcasters who then beam it to us. Mosey is saying HD is “not available” so presumably FOG aren’t giving BBC HD material in the first place (if it’s available at all).

    2. I hope the BBC have learned a lot from ITV, while I hated the adverts and a few of the personalities I’ve got to say that ITV improved the way F1 is broadcast a great deal.

      BBC Sports have improved a lot in the last decade, hopefully they’ll put on a good show for F1 and now that they’ve got more channels, the red button & the internet I can’t see any reason we wont be getting full, uninterrupted coverage of the race & qualifying.

      Yet again we’re waiting forever for F1 to adopt new broadcasting technology, if the wait for Wide-screen was anything to go by we’ll have HD in about 2012.

    3. This is ridiculous. The FOM TV feed from every race is in HD already. The investment in the camera’s etc has been made. This is just Bernie not paying for the satellite uplink in HD format from the race venue via the host broadcasters. British GP at least should be in HD and most European venues.

      1. This is just Bernie not paying for the satellite uplink in HD format from the race venue via the host broadcasters.

        Ah, OK. Seems this is a bit more complicated than I thought…

      2. Paul Graham
        1st April 2009, 10:06

        No its not. FOM do not film in HD. No one currently can watch F1 in HD. Until FOM start filming in HD no broadcaster such as BBC can provide it. The BBC can only broadcast the feed they get from FOM. In order to get F1 shown in all its glory in HD quality, the ball is very much in Bernie Ecclestone’s court. As history shows he will make the minimum investment for the maximum possible returns. For that reason I dont see him investing in HD until the demand is impossible for him to ignore. Currently I doubt many of the broadcasters around the world are in a position to broadcast in HD, so probably the BBC are the only ones asking for it.

    4. Bernie probably think that HD is a sexually transmitted disease!!!!

    5. I feared this might be the case, for a sport so technologically advanced, it is lagging behind in its offerings technologically to the fans. Bernie does not seem to have his finger on the pulse of most arm chair fans, who by now have splashed out hundreds of pounds on now big HD televisions and can enjoy Football and many other sports in HD. I wonder what LG (the official technoloy provider of F1) thinks of this….Their HD televisions cannot make a meaningful connection to the sport.

      Mattclinch – It is true, none of the TV camera’s covering the actual race are provided by BBC, I think BBC might have some input to the British GP, but most coverage is provided by Bernie’s FOM cameras.

      On the subject of exposure on BBC, I am skeptical about the BBC. If they put F1 on BBC1 they will come under pressure from the sitcom lovers, so what will happen is it will move to BBC 2, like it did when it had it before. I also want to access the practice sessions in full resolution and not online – If this is the red button then so be it, but we should not have to gather around a laptop or PC to access this feed anymore – come on lets have some progress.

      I don’t want to watch GP2 on iPlayer either, I want to watch it on TV – Like ITV did.

      Anyone getting the impression BBC are just doing the bare minimum? I will love not having the adverts but will miss positive energy provided by ITV towards it’s coverage.

      I hope to be proved wrong on this though…

      1. Bernie does not seem to have his finger on the pulse of most arm chair fans, who by now have splashed out hundreds of pounds on now big HD televisions and can enjoy Football and many other sports in HD.

        Guess what I got for Christmas?

        Oh well, I can watch NASCAR and A1 on it…

    6. Geez already in May 2007 Ecclestone claimed that HD footage would become available.

    7. I really want Robert Mosey to assure us of flexibility in the programming following a GP, and that they wont cut away from a GP two seconds after the race ends so the sheep can watch some infuriating mundane brain deadening dribble soap opera, dance-a-thon, or other such like idiotic rubbish.

      I’m not the biggest fan of the red button because you still can’t record the practice, and the red button can’t be used if you are already recording more than one channel on Sky. Someone suggested that with all the sport content on the BBC they should seriously consider a dedicated sports channel. Besides, BBC3 and BBC4 don’t broadcast until 7pm, so lots of room there.

      Also, does HD really make a difference? Some people seem to think so. I’ve been looking to upgrade my TV to HD and have been looking at HD TV’s in the shops but frankly I struggle to see a marked enough difference that warrants the expense (and no I don’t where glasses). And why should we pay extra to watch something in HD. Its ridiculous because in a few years it will be standard.

      Furthermore and slightly off subject, I guess I’m still one of the few who think wide screen is a bit of a con as well. You go out and buy a wide screen TV and then you put on a movie or certain TV programmes, and the screen gets reduced with thick black borders on the top and bottom reducing the screen size bizarrely even further. What’s the freakin’ point!

    8. 3 broadcasters have to sign up before Bernie will invest in HD. The BBC is keen, as are RTL, however none of the others are interested yet – therefore F1 stays in standard definition.

    9. Jonesracing82
      5th January 2009, 23:24

      considering the high tech state of f1, u’d think HD would b no problem! i thought it was this year…….?
      and looks like good old oz f1 fans will miss out again!

    10. To Keith
      Do you really watch NASCAR or was that a joke, I did not think NASCAR was watched in the UK.

      1. It was mainly a joke – I was pointing out that you can watch NASCAR in HD in the UK, where it must get a tiny audience, but not F1.

        That said I’ll probably watch the odd race here and there. I’m much more likely to watch A1 though.

    11. FOG really is behind the times; HD is almost required to watch NASCAR! (I’m in the States, I like NASCAR. Sometimes.)

      Formula 1 does need to get into the HD arena – it really is the technology of the future. Heck, I saw an ad for wrestling saying it was broadcast in HD! Formula 1 can’t manage that? Maybe they need some more money…

      Here we have SpeedTV, and (usually) 4 races on CBS. Speed is good, CBS is terrible. I really should check the schedule for this year! We typically get the practice sessions, live and the race live and a replay at a reasonable/decent hour. Not always, but often enough. There are commercials, but you get used to them – and they learned from ITV’s mishap, too. I think every TV station in the world did. (The commercials are good time to fetch another cup of tea, a beer, a glass of wine, rescue a cat, and/or other mundane stuff. If anything exciting happened – it’s replayed. There aren’t many replays… But that’s another subject).

      Wot’s the “red button”?

      Carolyn Ann

      PS I really do know how to spell Wot… :-)

      1. The WWE made a big thing about swapping over to HD about a year and a half ago now. They even redesigned all their sets and arenas to be more HD-friendly and really make the whole show jump out at you.

        The ‘red button’ is a service on the digital tv channels in the UK ahat allows for extra broadcasting.

        For instance, on a saturday, BBC shows a sports show in the afternoon called ‘Grandstand’ which covers various live sporting events (including F1 back in the early 90’s).

        During Grandstand, the presenters often tell you to ‘Press the Red Button’ (on the TV remote) to access live broadcasts of different sporting events on what are effctively overflow channels. They can also be accessed by flicking straight to channels 300-303, I believe.

        It’s good during Wimbledon, where they’ll often show several matches at once, and you can choose which you want to view from the ‘Red Button’ menu.

    12. It can be done but as always Bernie and company don’t want to pull out their wallets. Its tough being a billionaire.

    13. Did Bernie not invest in HD in the late 1990s, only for his own F1 channel not be subscribed to?
      This being the case I’d imagine that Bernie’s ‘once bitten twice shy’ about shelling more out to provide HD.

      It’s still a pity though. This would be the perfect way for the Beeb to kick off their coverage.

      1. That was digital, but not HD.

    14. … do you believe that BBC’s iplayer will be tougher to be “hacked” so , WE , the people that live atside UK can also see the f1 free practice season etc …

    15. I think maybe Robert Mosey is having to tread carefully between what he knows the fans want, and what is actually available through BBC and FOM agreements. At least he is talking to the fans and promises further updates, which more than we got with ITV.
      Will BBC get GP2? Would Bernie have put it as part of a package? I think he is more likely to want another broadcaster to have it, which is why BBC are only suggesting a link through the net.

    16. As long as the race and qualifying are live and uninterrupted somewhere, I don’t mind about practise sessions. Having them on the Red Button would be nice though, easily accessible from the TV, and surely everyone has a digital TV or box now, there’s no excuse not to.

    17. this is weird as i’ve posted previously F1 has been broadcast in HD to odean cinemas in the Uk for the past year or so (, so why this feed cant be used by the beeb is beyond me. I suspect some of the other posts RE: number of broadcasters signing up is the real cause, the the f1 in cinemas thing is run by FOM which tells the real story, they’ll do it form themselves but not for anyone else!!

    18. PS completely unrelated to this post but the Zavvi retail stores are going under and are selling the F1 2008 review for a bargiain £7.99 if some of you havent already got it

    19. Kevin Queally
      6th January 2009, 11:09

      Keith, Is the online viewing only available in the UK or is it to be available in Ireland aswell?


    20. i know the BBC , ITV and Channel 4 will start transmitting evrything on HD in September on freeview (BBC 1, 2, 3, 4, News, ITV 1, 2, 3, 4, CHannel 4, More 4, E4)

      im not sure how this wll affect sporting coverage though, it will look a bit poor if Eastenders and the news + football, motoGP and tennis are in HD, but F1 isnt!

    21. Thanks, Ajokay!

      Carolyn Ann

    22. and the point in gettin a hd box was to watch………….

      you guessed it!!!

      luckly i am not bitter

    23. To Keith,

      I thought so, I Love NASCAR but Love F1 for different reason, We dont get A1GP here.

    24. The WWE made a big thing about swapping over to HD about a year and a half ago now. They even redesigned all their sets and arenas to be more HD-friendly and really make the whole show jump out at you.

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Vince McMahon should be running F1 !

      Leave the sporting regulations to the FIA and let him do all of the broadcasting, promoting & merchandise.
      You may not like pre-wrestling but watch just one episode of RAW or Smackdown and you’ll be convinced, go to an event and you’ll be blown away, they make sure all of the fans go home happy.

      only for his own F1 channel not be subscribed to

      I was living with a few friends at the time and we used to get his pay-per-view service and it was brilliant.
      It had loads of extra cameras, better graphics and interactive information. It’s hard justifying the expense though when it was already being shown for free, especially when Brundle was commentating on the free version.

      Regardless of when we get HD F1 should bring in a full time F1 production company & director for every race, the local directors are often shocking.

    25. We started getting SpeedTV in HD at the end of the F1 season…and, yeah, it makes a difference.

    26. SpeedTV F1 feed is not actual HD, it’s just the widescreen standard def FOM feed, scaled up to HD size.
      It’s better than before, but once you watch a NASCAR race in HD on Speed, you’ll see the image quality is night and day. FOM REALLY need to step it up.

    27. A little more from Mosey on HD:

      I’ve just spoken to our F1 team and they confirm that no HD world feed is available, though they say there may have been one or two experiments in the past and/or some “upconversion”. But we promise we’re not wilfully avoiding HD.

    28. This doesn’t bode well for my hope that I can buy kangaroo tv coverage or something similar for my iPhone anytime soon. If fom would only wake up and realize how much money they could make… I’d be very willing to pay 300 (usd) for a season but knowing Bernie it would cost at least twice that

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