F1 gets internet coverage in USA

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Speed TV has confirmed a new deal to broadcast F1 live in America – including the first deal to show official Formula 1 video online in the USA.

A statement from the channel said:

Speed will continue to offer its long-running live coverage of the FIA Formula One World Championship, including live coverage of qualifying and practice sessions.

As has been the case in recent years, four yet-to-be-named races will be shown live on Fox.

The deal to show F1 clips online is long overdue. American motor sports fans are used to a much higher quality of coverage from NASCAR and Indy Car racing including multiple live online feeds as well as HD footage.

F1 hasn’t had a race in America since 2007 and its following in the United States is best described as modest but passionate as Speed commentator Bob Varsha alluded to:

Anyone who was a part of the paddock fun at the old USGP at Indy knows that our fans are smart, loyal and vocal. I look forward to trying to give them what they expect on Grand Prix weekends for years to come.

We’ll have the biggest field of cars since the ’90s, so knockout qualifying will be crazier than ever. Three new teams, including one from here in the USA, new tracks, new rules, a new points system, no refuelling, narrower front tyres, the return of the Canadian Grand Prix and, we are told, the return of Michael Schumacher! What more can we ask?
Bob Varsha

What do American F1 fans think of Speed’s new deal? Do they do a good job of broadcasting F1?

Thanks to Gerard for the tip

F1 on TV

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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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54 comments on “F1 gets internet coverage in USA”

  1. I miss living in the UK because their F1 broadcast are 100 times better than here in the US.

    1. yes, i AGREE with Harry. i live in southern Spain and can watch all the qualifying runs friday and saturday, plus the race on sunday FREE. in the USA where i am now, it’s such a pittance what little is shown, plus so difficult. in the USA, nothing is free.

  2. At least the FOX races are live, FINALLY!!! If I had to guess, the 4 races will be Canada, Valencia, Britain and Germany. (Since Canada and US GP’s were always shown live on Broadcast Stations, similar to US and Indy MotoGP races.)

    1. why valencia? surely Monaco instead…

      1. Nah, American broadcast networks don’t care about Monaco, that’s Indy 500 weekend. It sounds unfortunate, but it means that Monaco is on Speed, not Fox. Fox is terrible at F1 broadcast.

    2. Mouse_Nightshirt
      22nd December 2009, 0:41

      Well, if there is one way to turn America off F1, it’s to broadcast Valencia…

      1. It’s 4 straight races. So even if it starts with Monaco it’ll be Turkey, Canada, Valencia.

        Plus, June through July is typically the time of the year when FOX shows F1. Any earlier, it could interfere with Nascar coverage. Any later, it interferes with the NFL. So it has to be in the Summer.

    3. From the Speed announcement

      Four F1 races will air on FOX this season with the SPEED on-air team calling the action. Those four races, which will be consecutive events, have yet to be named.

      There ts no mention of the Fox races being broadcast live, they will probably be shown tape delayed as they have been in the past (except of course for Canada if it is included in the four).

      1. You’re right, sorry about that.

    4. Fox races are not live. In fact they are the disgrace of the season. Usually, I know the results. They rarely show the podium and good luck with the interviews.
      Speed does a good job. They used to seem in a quandary in the 90’s and early 2000 but now they have much improved. This is good news that will make a good show even better.

    5. Ooops. Forgive me. My mistake about the FOX issue.

      1. Yes it’s pretty bad, they squeeze everything into a 2 hour time slot with about a quarter of it taken up by commercials!

        1. Well they have to pay the troll his money

  3. I still plan on keeping my $20 per month subscription to a UK proxy server so I can watch the BBC coverage online whenever I want.

    1. myles, what subsciption is that?

  4. Harry – for some reason I think the opposite of you. I’ve been living in the US for about 10 years and the current SpeedTV team of Varsha, Matchett and Hobbs is the most enjoyable commentary team I’ve heard since James Hunt and Murray Walker were together – before the latter became too old to be fully cogent.

    Matchett’s technical insights and features are excellent, Varsha knows his stuff and is a serious motorsports all-rounder and Hobbs has a proper sense of humour – British old guard ex F1 and Le Mans racer that he is. Yes, they have their foibles, their pet loves and hates and so on but they also have a great, sincere camaraderie. Windsor – on his way out now of course – always had a keen insight or two even if he had a glossier view of F1 than I do and a few biases of his own.

    Long may they shine on. As for the UK, I didn’t see much of the new team but I saw enough of the last one to be thankful for what I have, and my friends and family in the UK are less than awed. Brundle is a small treasure and I’ll always have time to listen to him, but the SpeedTV team could be way, way worse. As this article shows, things are generally getting better, not worse.

    1. Agreed! Varsha, Matchett and Hobbs are the jam…

    2. Sean,

      Dont get me wrong….

      I like the SPEED team, especially Matchett’s technical comments as well as Hobbs Driver insight. I also really like Windor’s constant insight from the pit and his grid walk interviews. However, it does my head in when he gets on his ‘F1 is not about over taking’ rants. Varsha is tolerable, although a bit of a geek and a little to much self promoting at times. But I will take him over most others.

      I am greatful that they do the FOX coverage as weell (For those who dont know – FOX owns SPEED so it is basically the same set up). It just irritates me no end that the FOX coverage is so stripped down without the aforementioned Grid Walks, Pre-Race show and Post race interviews & commentaries.

      While I fully agree (but dont understand why) NASCAR is a lot more popular in the US than F1 – I dont understand why FOX’s F1 coverage is cut short in order to bring 4-6 hours of NASCAR Pre-Race, especially considering that 99% of it is crap that even the most die hard NASCAR fan could do without.

      It should also be noted, as stated in another post, that the majority of NASCAR fans are in the South & Mid-West. I live in Orange County California and the people I know dont give a rats arse about NASCAR and most have never heard of F1.

      I have been in the US since 96 so I have not seen any BBC/ITV F1 coverage in ages, save for the occasional vid posted here & there. I have no idea what there coverage is like now.

      1. orange county here too – mission viejo. looking forward to the internet availability but not the FOX coverage with derek daley as commentator and the abbreviated coverage. f1 fans locally are tough to find but we are all up early for every race……

  5. I think the Speed guys do a decent job. I have nothing to compare it to except youtube clips. Varsha makes a lot of little mistakes, but he usually corrects himself.

    Live races are too early for me, but I DVR the races si I’d rather they were live.

    What I really want is HD….

  6. That is great news… I think… as here in Canada last year, for some reason, and for the first time ever Speed’s broadcast of quali and races were blacked out… thank god our local TSN channel also had the races… but I hope that changes next year… when it really helped was for commercials… you could always switch to the other channel to keep watching…

    What do they mean by video “clips”… I would like to have all the practice sessions online… I would pay for that in a second… Speed only televise Friday second session… I’m always up watching online trying to find feeds before the FIA kills it… why can’t the FIA just have global online broadcasts? People would pay… they say they need more money… there it is… :)

    This does sound like good news and I hope it makes it’s way to Canada… :)

  7. Although not having any other F1 coverage to compare it to, the Speed TV team does a good job IMHO, and as annoying as Peter Windsor is, it was nice having the access to the F1 paddock that he was afforded, that will be missed.

    Compared to other sport coverage in the US, I think Speed is pretty good, they get worse when the races are on FOX (much larger audience than Speed, races are edited too) and the Speed TV team would try to dumb down the race talk, which just doesn’t work.

    I hate the same kind of approach from some American Football announcers too. The best ones are the ones that talk to you like you know about the sport, which is what the Speed team does for the most part too.

    1. More reason for USF1 to succeed. Less Peter Windsor on screen!

  8. This is a great opportunity to increase the amount of F1 fan in USA.

  9. What do American F1 fans think of Speed’s new deal? Do they do a good job of broadcasting F1?

    more of the same crap.

    1. speed’s (fox, newscorp) level of commitment to f1 is minimal. actually, speed’s level of commitment to anything other than nascar and their own terrible shows is minimal.

    2. the production value of the BBC’s show is first class. it is comparable to the best sports coverage in the states. contrast this with the non-show (half-hour pre-race, commenters not on site) that speed slaps together. hobbs, varsha and matchette are good, and do the best with what little they have to work with. i don’t know if they would be interested in working live at the race, or if the offer would be made.

    3. the picture quality on speed standard-def is miserable. speed hi-def isn’t widely available. fox hi-def is widely available, and the picture quality on those programs is very good. however, races carried on fox are not shown live, and the races are edited for time. there is also more advertising.

    4. some of the races chosen for fox broadcast have been really boring. when they were on, i remember thinking “this does not reflect well on f1”.

    5. speed’s website is pretty terrible.

    1. good point, alan. they are directed to dumb things down to widen the appeal on fox. too bad the boss doesn’t realize this make for an even worse show.

      1. As much as we all follow F1, I’m sure Speed’s revenue is not very big from it, and pennies when compared to some of the European markets, remember there was a time in the 90s when there was no F1 on TV in the US, so I’ll take what I can get…but we can still bitch about it :-)

  10. American_F1_Fan
    22nd December 2009, 1:58

    Speed does a decent job, but the BBC coverage is much much better.

    1. Wholeheartedly agree. I’m in DC, and I always watch the BBC’s live coverage online (thanks, proxy servers!). Speed’s coverage is boring at best. Plus, BBC’s COMMERCIAL FREE coverage has completely spoiled me.

  11. SPEED’s in race commentary is better than the BBC’s in my opinion. However, due to a small F1 fan base in the US and little commitment SPEED’s pre/post race stuff is horrible.

  12. Yes, Fox does not show them live, and I hate it. I want F1 live in america :'( I got spoiled by my RSS reader twice this season. x-(

    F1fanatic: you should edit your post and remove the bit about Fox being live.

  13. Having lived in Britain and Germany and now the U.S., I agree that the coverage obviously isn’t the same, but Matchett really brings a technical side to the coverage that I hadn’t seen in other countries.

    I think they do a pretty good job with limited resources and I actually like the speed coverage much better than I expected to.

  14. I enjoyed SPEED’s pre-race coverage but when it comes to the actual race I would switch over to TSN, which broadcasts the BBC coverage. I hope this deal also means the race will be allowed to be broadcast in Canada, as this year we could only watch on TSN.

  15. The four events will certainly include Canada, which would probably be the only live coverage. Monaco probably won’t be one of the four, since it conflicts with the Dover NASCAR race which starts at 1pm Eastern time, and there’s no way they’ll be done that race’s coverage before 5pm.

    That leaves two possible sets:

    Given their past history in selecting events, I’d guess the latter is most likely, since both Britain and Germany were shown last year on FOX.

  16. As said before Matchett really does a terrific job with his pieces with redbull/torro rosso. The commentators are great but it’s rather annoying not having them at the actual site. Heard a million times “Not quite sure if it’s raining, I think see a few umbrellas”. The FOX races are horrendous but thank god for internet streams. Really isn’t the same not watching the races live. I know as a U.S. fan part of the ‘fun’ of F1 is staying up past 2am for practice 1 then getting a nap before practice 2 on Friday’s. I think a lot of people would be surprised by U.S. F1 fans, not too many of us but we tend to be pretty diehard fans. Hard to be casual fans when you cut your Friday and Saturday night going out short to sober up for 3am quali sessions and races =D. Average Americans aren’t huge motorsport fans in general though, NASCAR isn’t very popular outside the South/Midwest.

    1. No, the feed you are thinking of is the BBC Radio 5 live coverage over the top of the standard FOM feed. In the U.K. we get a choice of commentators between tv and radio on the red button, we also get a choice of video feeds such as tv feed, in car feed etc. we get easily the best coverage in the world. plus there is all the online stuff the bbc do and live coverage of all three practice sessions via red button.

  17. I used to believe that the BBC coverage had to be better than Speed’s….but right now it isn’t. I’ve watched the two side by side and I got tired of the BBC’s coverage, though Brundle is the best. The rest of the in-race stuff is almost unbearable. I’d rather even watch the other feed (Australian?) with Davidson on it.

    Fox coverage is a bit better because they employ the same team of Varsha, Hobbs, Matchett…it used to be Shaheen and I think Bell…and it was HORRIBLE! It was so bad you could sense THEY knew it was bad.

    I think the steps taken to increase online coverage are one good way of bringing interest back to American fans, because there is a new generation of fans who will want to see a Grand Prix on American soil even if the older generation is stuck on Nascar.

    1. i think it was CBS that carried 2 or 3 races a few years ago, with derek bell and someone else. i’m sure it was monaco that had bell exclaiming “he was screwed! ABSOLUTELY SCREWED!” and with that, so were you, derek.

  18. Interesting range of responses! I have Speed but have also seen some of the BBC (and prior ITV) coverage. Of the three, I think BBC is highest quality by far, and Speed is lowest – again by far.

    The Speed commentary team *clearly* have the credentials and experience, no doubt there. But not having them local (save Peter, of course) just kills it for me. Understand Speed’s budgets/revenue for F1 being minuscule next to NASCAR, and I think the team does a great job with what they have. But listening to them discuss the same video feed/live timing I’m watching is a little underwhelming, and the lack of local presence leads to many of the ‘bumps’ frequently encountered during the race.

    Add in the fast cut away from post-race, the fact they tape a ‘wrap up’ soon after the race but not broadcast it until before the next pre-race show, the previously-mentioned Fox coverage (which makes me want to beat my head against a wall repeatedly), and several more minor annoyances, and I’m left quite jealous of the Beeb. I really do love Peter’s grid walks… But he’s not even in the same league as Martin. Nope, BBC wins.

  19. Any other country besides the uk send their commentators to every race? I hear that argument alot-that speed doesnt send its people over. Then again speed/fox arent gov subsidized like the bbc. I would be outraged if gov money was spent sending sports commentators to exotic locales every other week..

    1. Inc0mmunicado wrote:

      I would be outraged if gov money was spent sending sports commentators to exotic locales every other week..

      Why? If it improves the show it would certainly improve the ratings and therefore the revenue

  20. HounslowBusGarage
    22nd December 2009, 8:06

    Then again speed/fox arent gov subsidized like the bbc.

    That’s why the BBC doesn’t have to have commercial advertising to pay for itself. I sympathise with your argument, but I prefer TV without enforced ad braks.

  21. Prisoner Monkeys
    22nd December 2009, 9:19

    I’m still waiting for actual pre- and post-race coverage in Australia …

  22. Well it wouldn’t really matter because live coverage on the internet would probably come at a price. So it would almost be the same as upgrading your cable subscription just to watch the races.

  23. I live in the UK and have only watched/heard speed TV’s coverage when I have downloaded clips from this site and other sites, I must say the commentary team are fantastic, thank god they still don’t have derek daly commentating, he was the most annoying bloke ever.

    In regards to BBC’s coverage, I cannot fault it apart from the lead commentator Jonathan Ledgard, he is a complete moron, still thinks he is on the radio, we can see the pictures jonathan. I think they should give David Croft a go next to Brundle, that would be grand!

    Happy xmas and new year to everybody at F1fanatic!

  24. Whoa whoa whoa…I don’t think you read this press statement closely enough. There is nothing in here about live Internet coverage. The only thing Internet about this deal is:

    Beginning in 2010, SPEED also will have on-line clip usage rights from F1.

    Not live coverage. Clip usage rights.

  25. Finally, F1 is dragged kicking and screaming into something they should have been embracing and leading ages ago…

  26. keith, here´s a interview with USF1 Peter Windsor, talking about Pechito Lopez.

    and another link saying he will be announced this week


  27. I’ll just keep downloading the BBC broadcasts

  28. From watching both BBC and Speed’s coverage I personaly can say that I much prefer BBC for the reason that they actually broadcast the whole race, with pre/post race even before the grid walk. I always got the fealing that the drivers disliked Peter on the grid walk(unlike the BBC guy) but with him being a team pricipal this year I’m guessing someone else will be taking his spot. Howevever I did like the other shows that speed had for each weekend(inside GP and GP in review) these were nice to learn a little something you may have missed. BBC’s race commentary can be be long winded at times cause they have to cater partially to the radio audience though, didn’t like that to much.

  29. Personally I feel that SpeedTV got good commentators for most part and from what I read about for example the ones in UK I will not complain on the commentators.
    It SUCKED in the summer to have 3 races broadcast 6-7hours after the fact (in the afternoon), which means on Sunday you don’t want to get on the computer because you don’t want to risk spoiling the race and then to have the broadcast shortened down. Price cermony is edited short (no champagne spray etc, and only first question to the winner in the interview afterwards then DONE..). Fox sucked the last few years. However same commentators on Fox a SpeedTV.

    One other thing that is irritating is the ~10min qualification delay (not live). If you check timing and scoring live online you know before it shown on TV. Of course way to impress your friends not knowing your Iphone App ;)

    I HATE the delayed asian races all to give a better time for the Europeans (like they couldn’t get up to watch a COUPLE the race at 10am when I have to almost entire season get up to watch at 7 or 8am?).
    Before they started to mess with the Asian/Australian race times I could simply just stay up little later on Sat and watch the race at 1 or 2am then go to bed and sleep in. Now delaying the race 3-4 hours that means if I want to watch the race I get up at 5/6am.. :(
    At least we have 1 more race in “our” time zone area now with Canada race in 2010.

    Looking forward to see what fun stuff SpeedTV might do with videos online (live streaming perhaps???!!)

  30. I’m sick of always having to walk around all day with my fingers in my ears because I don’t want anybody to give the results away before it airs on Fox here in the states.

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