F1 may get first HD show at Abu Dhabi

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The first F1 race at Abu Dhabi may also be the first broadcast in HD

F1 may finally be broadcast in true HD for the first time ever later this year.

Discussions are under way about broadcasting the 2009 F1 season finale – the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – in high definition.

This could be a useful boost for F1’s high-profile end-of-season event at the ambitious new Yas Marina venue. Jenson Button’s increasing lead in the championship makes it less likely the season will culminate in a down-to-the-wire contest as it has for the last three years.

Formula 1’s uptake of high definition has been painfully slow. Rival championships like A1 Grand Prix have had the technology for some time and NASCAR has been broadcasting in HD since 2005. Last year NASCAR was even available in HD in Britain where it is very much a minority sport.

BBC F1 reporter Lee Mckenzie mentioned on Twitter revealed this year that the hold-up on HD is at FOM’s end: broadcasters like BBC are ready to roll with HD coverage, but FOM aren’t supplying a high definition feed. “I think maybe 2010 [they will] though” she added.

As someone who bought a high definition TV a few months ago in the belief that F1 could not possibly go much longer without catching up with the rest of the broadcasting world, this is good (if long overdue) news!

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Via Vee8

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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21 comments on “F1 may get first HD show at Abu Dhabi”

  1. Sush Meerkat
    5th June 2009, 22:45

    the only thing I watch on my Tele is F1, and its a Matsui that was bought for me second hand in 1989, and its fine, I can tell which car is which and which driver it is…. maybe I should of lent it to James Allen when he was at ITV so he wouldn’t have made so many mistakes.

    I’m currently trying to upgrade to “great big tele of vision” for this weekend, but my big TV doesn’t want to hear any of it, stupid tele.

  2. That’s great news, I watched A1 GP in HD and it looked amazing.

  3. This isn’t news unless a deal is reached with FOM to also *distribute* that HD broadcast internationally.
    Fuji TV has produced the last 3 Japanese GPs in HD, but they were broadcast only in Japan. If LIVE (who I’ve never heard of) produces the Abu Dhabi GP in HD but only broadcasts it in the Middle East, I really wouldn’t call that progress.

    I also don’t put much faith in this story because of this line:

    Each Grand Prix is produced by German broadcaster RTL in conjunction with the local host broadcaster.

    Huh? I could be wrong, but it’s my understanding that with the exception of Monaco, FOM will produce the world feed for every grand prix this year. Most host broadcasters haven’t been involved since 2006, and RTL has never produced any GPs outside of Germany.

  4. A nice idea. I hope it happens… will make the race worth watching, seeing as both championships will be decided long before we reach Abu Dhabi.

    1. Oh how times have changed.

  5. I LOVE High Definition :-)

  6. Keith,

    if you are keeping track on how many engines each of the top teams has used, please post this information.

    Teams get 8 engines for the whole year, so it would be interesting to know who has how many engines left.

    Thank you in any case.

  7. What will we do with HD if there is no F1 next year

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      6th June 2009, 8:33

      Do you REALLY think that’s going to happen? Max’s ultimatum of get on-board or get out may have been stupid, but Force India have crossed the floor and filed an unconditional entry. For all their tough talk, neither Mosley nor FOTA want to see Formula One come crashing down around their ears; sooner or later, a truce will be worked out. It’s just a question of who will blink first. And my money is on FOTA.

  8. Richard Merk
    6th June 2009, 4:12

    I’m happy that they are at least broadcasting in widescreen right now. I have a feed from a canadian broadcaster TSN, and an American broadcaster Speed with an HD feed. Most of the cameras look like they are HD, it is obvious that the on board cameras are not, but generally the trackside camera look to be as clear as any 720i feed i’ve seen.

  9. I watch my F1 on my little baby MacBook, so it’s not much of a concern for now, but for one of the races last year I got a (very) HiFi-equipped friend to watch with me at his place. I was filled with anticipation to see F1 in all the glory of hi-def and…. it was such a dud! All fuzzy pixellation. I’ve seen other sports in true HD and it’s almost creepy how real they look on screen. This is a much needed, much delayed improvement to the experience for those who have the equipment and I’m certain that when it comes to pass it will have some potential to increase viewership, especially in the US.

  10. I’d rather they stream it over the internet, so then people in Australia and other F1-backward countries can actually watch it without 30 minutes of ads and without having to resort to unreliable pirate streams.

  11. @F1Fan engine details can be found here http://www.f1wolf.com/2009-season

  12. Prisoner Monkeys
    6th June 2009, 8:31

    I’m just waiting for someone to complain that it’s Abu Dhabi that may get the HD broadcast.

  13. Wan’t Fuji shot in HD ? i’ve watched a 720p version of the fuji race

  14. I’ve been resisting buying Flatscreen as technology is moving so fast as soon as you buy one it’s out of date – but this may sway me.

    Forget plasma this is the future Laser TV If Mitsubishi rolled this out in Europe I’d but one tomorrow :)


  15. Great news. After enjoying Indy & WTCC in HD it’s just well overdue for F1. F1 one should be leading broadcast standards not following!

    The Indy races looked great also running at 60fps. Let’s have some of that please!

  16. Never seen the fuss about HD really…

  17. Yes, yes, yes! I’ve already bought HD set-top-box in order to watch F1 in HD, but since there’s no feed for true HD I postponed my HD tv :(

  18. In Sydney we get the BBC feed + commentary, it’s shown on free-to-air digital terrestrial TV. Ironically the callsign is ‘oneHD’, which is a relatively new dedicated HD sports channel. The intro, studio and even some interviews are in HD. Obviously the race itself is upscaled.

    Last year since Turkey we get the race live, from the Parade lap. This year subject to IPL cricket, we get qualie from green light. Albeit both action is interrupted by ads.

    Things are alot better than the dark years – where you only get the race delayed. However, the problem is that not all areas in Australia get digital TV, there are ads, practice isn’t shown and there is none of the pre-race.

    So +1 on stream it to F1 backward countries. No more crappy pirate feeds.

  19. I’ve seen F1 in 720p ( the Fuji Television coverage of the Japanese grand prix ) and I can’t wait.

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