BBC and other channels to show F1 in HD in 2011

2011 F1 season

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2010

Formula One Management has confirmed that all F1 broadcasters will receive high definition feeds in 2011.

This will give F1 broadcasters the choice of offering HD footage to viewers.

Sky Germany announced yesterday it will broadcast in high definition and Australian broadcaster OneHD announced on Twitter its F1 coverage will be in HD.

British host broadcaster BBC is yet to reveal whether it will show F1 in HD but it is likely to having previously indicated it would as soon as FOM offered the feed.

Further details about its 2011 plans are to be published following the change to the commentary team announced yesterday.

Many other mainstream sports have been available in high definition for several years. NASCAR, America’s most popular racing series, has been in HD since 2005.

Has your local broadcaster announced it will broadcast in HD? Let us know in the comments.

Update: BBC announce they will broadcast F1 in HD in 2011. They also confirmed Eddie Jordan will remain on the coverage team.

BBC’s Head of F1 Ben Gallop said:

It’s fantastic that Eddie is rejoining the team, and this year in a more expanded role. He’s such a core character with his outspoken views, unrivalled contacts in the sport and his ability to unearth the stories from the paddock. We’re also delighted to be broadcasting in HD, something we know fans have been waiting for and it will really add something extra to our coverage for 2011.
Ben Gallop

Read more: F1 in HD "not until 2011???

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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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111 comments on “BBC and other channels to show F1 in HD in 2011”

  1. What can I say other than this:


    1. Eddy Jordan? Sigh. He was terrible last year, and he is going to make me rip my hair out this year as well now.

      Everything that comes out of his mouth is either negative towards Ferrari and Alonso, or praise for the british teams and drivers. He has no middle ground.

      1. Or ridiculous “conspiracy theories”

        1. Like schumacher coming back?

          1. ooooo Zing!

      2. Very true, but I still find him entertaining, to an extent

      3. Mind you now Coulthard won’t be there for them to nag at each other like school boys.

  2. Great news!

    What about the onboard camera…

    will it be in HD too?

    1. Rede Globo, brazilian broadcaster, will broadcast F1 in HD.

    2. Nope. They stay in SD for now.

      1. It’s interesting they’ve said that. I’m sure last year some of the Red Bull onboard pictures were much better quality than trackside and other onboard shots. It felt like they had HD resolution footage but then downscaled it for the broadcast.

        1. Wouldn’t surprise me. Is there a Blu-Ray season highlights reel?

        2. yeah that was just upscaled SD. in 2011 all cars should have this higher quality onboard footage.

        3. I recognise that name! I really should make mine more obscure.

      2. What I know officially, is that they will broadcast only brazilian GP in HD, but all soccer championships are in HD and the world cup was in HD.

        So, I presume that there´s all reasons — and a HD culture inside Globo towards sport in general — to show F1 in HD right to the start already in Bahrein.

    3. i dont know weather onbourd camera is but they said it would be for practice sessions aswell for the bbc

  3. Come on BBC, do us proud!

  4. No news about the belgian TV. But I don’t like about it, is altough the channel is a free one, you have to pay the see the shows in HD.

  5. Well, finally, but worth noting that NASCAR is once again ahead of F1 in terms of coverage:

    (not that i think 3d is anything more than a gimmic still)

    1. There are a couple of things I would like FOM to adopt which has been common in NASCAR for a while:

      a permanent display showing the gaps between cars updated more regularly (although this is easier to engineer on oval circuits I think I remember seeing it at Watkins Glen where the times updated every few seconds rather than at the end of each sector)

      picture-in-picture so that the action on the track can still be followed while showing cars pitting. And also this would allow viewers to see who was pitting faster between two cars fighting for position rather than having to rely on Martin Brundle looking out of the window and waiting to see another car flash past the camera in the pit box!

      Bernie may have been around during the stone age but it is criminal that nobody involved in the sport has taken him to task for keeping the TV coverage there.

      1. hey guys its in real time just so you know :)

      2. A semi-permanent display already is in place if your broadcaster uses the widescreen graphics. The gaps update roughly every 5 seconds or so. See:

        1. Hmmm, that gap between the yellow and red car probably doesn’t need a split time ;)

      3. Hmmm, I actually think too much information could be a bad thing. Knowing the splits all the time takes away some of the excitement of not knowing until they cross the sector lines… and you have live timing for that on your laptop.

        Personally, I think it’s fine as is with Brundle pearing out of the com box, but I see your point.

    2. Getting your eyes to hurt during the endles races wearing goggles is not my idea of a nice afternoon!

      I think HD is great though.

  6. i hope this will not slow down the streaming on I-player? BBC should compensate once they start broadcasting in HD, otherwise there will be frame rate issues when watching online.

    1. The Flash player behind iPlayer always adapts to show the best quality it can, based on your line speed. Much like YouTube does.
      It’ll be fine, though there is a toggle on iPlayer (and hidden in the YouTube settings) if this is important to you.

    2. iPlayer offers SD versions of HD shows

  7. If you want, i got the news of Rede Globo here

  8. All the shows on iplayer that were filmed in HD are also available in SD, theres a link below the video to change between HD and SD

  9. Supersport is broadcasting F1 in HD to South Africa and Africa in 2011 too….

  10. “A higher bit-rate will not automatically deliver higher picture quality.” comes from the head of BBC HD so don’t get your hopes up for F1 in full HD.

    Don’t expect full HD on FReeview BBC HD – 1440×1080 at 9.7Mbs instead of 1920×1080 at 17Mbs from the satellite

    I’m sure FOM will supply the feed in full HD. What the bbc will do with is it is anyones guess.

    1. That might just be a bit of a warning not to expect to much from it.

    2. No one broadcasts in “Full” 1080p HD anyway, as it uses too much broadcast bandwidth. Although it would be slightly more possible online, it would still be too expensive for the BBC to want to bother.

      They are mooting the possibility of using the extra bandwidth given by the digital switchover to broadcast Freeview in 1080p, but that is for the future I guess.

      FOM may or may not use Full HD cameras, depending on how cheap they’re feeling, because it won’t matter on the broadcast although a season review Blu-Ray would probably warrant Full HD.

      1. Well anyone with a 40 inch or smaller set will not notice the difference between 720p and 1080p anyway and even some of those with bigger sets will find it hard to notice so it is only the truly giant sets that would benefit and not many people have those.

        1. Not if you have a good tv there is a real different. is 46 inch though.

          1. No one transmits HD at as low a bitrate as the bbc you mean. This is a fight that’s been going on since they dropped the bitrate from 16mbs to 9mbs in August 2009 while claiming it made no difference to the picture and the thousands of people complaining were just imagining it.

        2. @Lee: You can’t make such a sweeping statement for a topic that is in many ways subjective.
          Discernible quality has nothing to do with physical screen size. It is more to do with the characteristics of the flat panel display and the technology used.
          ‘Some’ people may not notice any difference between (1280 x)720p, (1920 x)1080i or (1920 x)1080p but some will, based on many factors.
          If you really can’t discern a difference between 720p & 1080p the problem is ‘probably’ not with your perception but with the display characteristics.

          What we are likely to get from the BBC is something better than SD. But it certainly won’t pass for HD on most of my displays. But I’ll take it!

          1. pSynrg, you may have forgotten the most important criteria = viewing distance.
            No idea what you refer to by “display characteristics” but a pixel is a pixel, it’s either there or not but the human eye needs to be able to see it. With 10/10 vision, the human eye can’t physically discern any additional details than 720p at 10ft on a 50inch for instance, regardless of the TV.
            More details here

          2. That’s one way at looking at particular variables.

            I’m thinking more along the subjective.

            A higher quality image will always be a higher quality image. Be from that 3ft or 30ft.

          3. As wificats says though nobody broadcasts in 1080p anyway, Sky/Virgin/BBC etc all broadcast 1080i on their HD channels.

          4. I’ve been renting ‘hd’ movies from appleTV (720) – how I have bluray (1080) – there’s a big difference to my eye.

      2. The BBC replaced the encoders which process HD pictures in August 2009.
        The replacement encoders work at a bitrate of 9.7Mbps (megabits per second), while their predecessors worked at 16Mbps, the standard for other broadcasters.

        So while you say no one uses full HD the BBC are using just over half the bitrate of the HD standard and you don’t think that might be a problem with the fastest cars one the planet?

        1. The cars are not moving on TV so their speed is irrelevant, it’s the camera that moves and the background, it’s called panning.
          Totally agree on the BBC low HD bitrate scam/scandal, the pre-August 09 picture was signigicantly sharper.

  11. Great news but can anyone in Asia confirmed whether Star Sports will show F1 in HD in 2011?

    1. ESPN HD showed F1 in upscaled SD last year, so I fully expect them to show it in HD this year. Note that this is a different channel to Star Sports, so as ever, check with your local cable operator for details. :)

      1. Cant wait for a True HD broadcast on ESPN HD!

        Too bad Steve Slater will still be there..and Alex Yoong as well…crap!

        I just saw an ad for for footy matches on ESPN HD 3D! Wonder when F1 will venture into that

  12. Yeaaaaaa!

  13. Will HD be available to stream online? I ask because I don’t have an HDTV.

    1. Probably the iplayer will offer a higher definition recording, I doubt they’ll offer the live streams in HD though, seems like a waste of bandwidth.

  14. Next step 3d, although that’s probably another 10 years away at this rate! Imagine seeing Jaime Algusuari’s smash from Suzuka last year in slow mo 3d, all the pieces of carbon fibre and polystyrene going everywhere!

    1. I want the footage from Schumacher’s onboard camera from Abu Dhabi. That would also be awesome in 3D :-)

      1. Imagine Vettel’s index finger poking out of the screen :O

      2. That too! I doubt the backside to his suit was silver after that moment! o.O

  15. Everyone is commenting on the great news of the HD feed. The other issue I feel is a bit more controversial, is Eddie Jordan having a “more expanded role”. Hope it’s not going to be him for the grid walks :-(

    1. Basically he is now both EJ and DC. EDCJ if you will.

      God I hope they get another pundit to balance him out. EJ’s great but your right, lets not get ahead of ourselves, part of his charm is he can be entirley baffling or massive tool from time to time, don’t think saturation will do him any favours.

      1. Brundle has to do the grid walks, even if we don’t get to see them in Australia (OneHD you will pay for this) and it means he’s late to the commentary booth. Big deal, I’m sure DC will live. His grid walks are just great.

        1. Yes OneHD just give us the ENTIRE BBC feed! Get rid of our local dullards, they are wannabees unlike the BBC crew who are not… I feel better now.

  16. This is awesome news! I’m looking forward to the 2011 season review blu-ray as well, it will be near the top of my christmas list.

    Anyone suggestions on the best/cheapest ways to get HD? I have my HD tv ordered and sorted, i’m just astounded by Skys prices.

    1. If you’re in the UK, get freesat or a freeview HD box. One off payment, several satelite channels and in HD for no monthly charge.

      1. Nice one chief! I had heard of the freesat HD,not the freeview though. I’ll have a nose :D

  17. At Last (Fingers crossed and knock on wood) Hopefully the beeb will deliver it in full HD!!

  18. HD would be great, but I reckon BBC will only provide HD coverage in the UK through its BBC HD channel, and not in mainland Europe through BBC 2.

    1. F1 is a BBC 1 flagship sports programme, so it’ll probably come on BBC 1 HD.

      Most likley anyone with freesat, sky, virgin media or whoever the big local provider is will be able to get it. That is indeed if it’s the beebs feed that they use.

    2. Have you not heard of BBC 1 HD??? Towards the end of last season a couple of races were show on it…OK it was upscaled, but it still looked good… I have no doubt the F1 will be on BBC 1 HD.

  19. I so hope this means the BBC will feed SPEED the HD feed as well. For the past couple years it has been on SPEED HD in the states, but it was the same SD feed. Finally F1 will look like all the high def photos!

  20. As long as the red button service remains!! I like F1 in HD but i still want the optiion of the 5live commentry. When the BBC did the upscaled broadcast in Abu Dabhi, the was no option for it. This might sound like im being spoilt, but since we UK citizens pay for the BBC coverage (in TV license form) id like to think they wont change it.

    But great news, glad that F1 is finally showing HD coverage. Should be awesome!!!

  21. Now, I just need to convince my wife we want an HD box…

  22. I care so little I almost passed out ;)

    1. My 12 year old CRT TV joins you in really not giving a .

      My wallet cringes a big every time news like this comes out though. It can’t sustain any more of this capitalistic “progress” :(

      1. Exactly. I mean, I pay a Sky+ subscription and we have bought many televisions over the years (side story: for my 13th birthday I got a TV/VCR combination set, which I thought was the greatest thing in the world, but I asked to have it on the evening before my birthday so I could get up in the middle of the night on the day itself to watch the Australian Grand Prix). Now, I always assumed in giving our money to these various companies, part of it would go to research on better technologies which we could have once they were out. We didn’t pay this money for them to research a great big cash cow, but a service. Until HD subscriptions are standard or I live with more than 2 people, I’m not having one.

  23. HD! Finally! BBC has been fighting for this so hopefully they will show the quality to its maximum and not go cheap…

    As for EJ, I heard that DC will still be around before and after the Grand Prix’s joing Jake and Eddie. Shame really as it is a good opportunity to introduce another ex-driver. Perhaps Johnny Herbert or Anthony Davidson

    1. Davidson is still doing work with Crofty on 5live. I think it was a bit of a missed oppoortunity for the BBC to combine Brundle with the 5live team. Having that team for both TV and Radio would save them money and combine three excellent comentators.

      I cant remember when, but at one point last season Crofy, Davidson, Brundle and Chandok were commentating during a practice session, and that was both extremely insightful and entertaining!

  24. Guys…. any news about TSN Canada?

    F1 is their least priority :-(

    1. Argh, TSN, I feel your pain. Nothing but the race and the podium. At least they split the screen during the commercials though, unlike ITV.

  25. Dan Cadera in Canada
    12th January 2011, 17:53

    Good job BBC, better late than never. If you want to have any shot of making an impression in North America HD is a No-Brainer. I can more easily count the people I know without HD television than ones that due, and that includes my parents and grandparents and we’re just an average middle class family. You can’t even buy a non-HD TV anymore can you?!

    Anyways, the NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL, Nascar and every other sport (including lower level racing like Canadian Rally!) are all in HD over here and it was kinda embarrassing my favorite sport wasn’t.

    Icemangrins: I’m certain TSN will pick it up. Don’t know why they’d sply an SD broadcast on their HD channel when HD is available. If they don’t, we’ll raise a stink! :)

    1. Thanks man

  26. hi there,

    will the BBC HD be available in mainland europe/the netherlands? we only have BBC 1 2 3 and 4.

    1. I have a digital subscription, it includes the (option of) HD channels for all the commercial channels, and for BBC 1 HD (Ziggo, but UPC did as well where I lived until October); but it does, of course, cost extra for digital, and a few euro’s more for HD – but once you are on digital, not all that much, although for Ziggo, the recorder costs extra money for HD.

      I hope RTL 7 will have a good quality feed too, and the Belgian TV might offer quality video.

      1. UPC Holland will add BBC HD starting 30th of march.


        confirmed bij @wijzijnupc on twitter

        Can’t wait!

  27. Will it be in 5.1 ?

    1. Here we go. We’ll want 3D next!

      1. No, just HD & 5.1

  28. This is probably the wrong post for this, but isn’t Martin Brundle still David Coulthard’s manager? Wasn’t it in his best interests therefore to push Legard out of the commentary box and bring DC in – after all DC is probably getting a raise for this and that’s more money in Martin’s back pocket….

  29. I don’t mean to be cynical or anything but this largely means nothing to me.

    I don’t have a HD TV. I don’t have a HD Sky Box.

    I won’t be buying either.

    Fair enough, the picture might be crystal clear to look at but, it has to be said, the picture we had last season and seasons before were perfectly ok.

    I could easily distinguish between a Ferrari and A Mclaren, even between Massa and Button without the need for High Definition.

    I suppose when they don’t make normal TV’s anymore, or when the tv I have blows up, then maybe I’ll consider it but until then non HD F1 will do me quite alright, thank you very much. :)

  30. SPEED in the USA have confirmed they’ll be broadcasting F1 in HD starting in Bahrain:

  31. I’m not enthusiastic about this at all. For those of us who don’t have high definition televisions, HD coverage will only make things worse – I remember the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was broadcast in HD, and it was terrible. Half the screen was cut off, there was no way to read any of the graphics and a whle myriad of other problems.

    1. Time to get HD then and join the 21st century.

      1. Why does everybody seem to assume that I can simply do this? Every time this topic comes up, people tell me I should just get it, as if money grows on trees. I’m a 24-year-old university student! I have a weekly budget of $220, which has to cover food, accomodation, travel expenses and textbooks. If I’m lucky, I get $50 a fortnight leftover, and that usually has to go towards odds and ends. I simply cannot afford to get HD. Even if I put that $50 a fornight towards getting an HD-capable television set, it would still take me the better part of a year to save enough money. It’s not going to happen any time soon. So it might be easy for you to get HD, but don’t assume that it’s easy for everyone else.

        1. Don’t worry, by 2013 it will be the 3D instead… … So you won’t have to hear that any more.

        2. I’m against it too to be honest. All this HD-TV business is so the boys can sell their big televisons and make plenty of money. They don’t give a toss about our viewing pleasure, they just care about lining their pockets.

          The normal broadcast was fine

          Exactly how much detail are we going to be able to see exactly.

          For the things we don’t see, we have slow mo replays.

        3. BBCone broadcast in both SD and HD. Just watch the former like me and the rest of us students!

          1. I’m not a student but I’ll still refuse to buy one until they’re reasonably priced.

            I ain’t made of money or anything much as I’d like to be!

        4. Relax the video broadcast will be scaled down as to accommodate the non HD sets.

        5. How about getting a job & stop whinning.

      2. Hey! I wouldn’t be so quick to knock a 14 inch CRT TV if that’s all you’ve got and can afford for the time being.

        I upgraded from said TV this year primarily for the F1. Because it was getting impossible to read the on-screen graphics without squinting (they just seemed to get smaller and smaller year by year!).

        Major point though… it took me the best part of 5 years to ‘join the 21st century’

  32. Mr Ben Gallop you are bloody fool. Even people who rarely watch F1 are the first to tell me what a total **** jordan is. I cringe every time he’s on screen but do enjoy how last year it was open season on him in the pitlane, mockery from every direction.

    Really though, the guy is a disgrace, from grabbing a Crown Prince or Emir by the arm to his moments of utter nonsense like “Full marks to Liuzzi” ????? (Abu Dhabi 2010)

    1. Jordan might be a bit of a pain, but at least he’s got personality. I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on having six identical commentators do all the coverage. That would just be boring.

    2. I like him. And if some of us do, then perhaps he’s ok to stay. It’s not like Legard for christ’s sake!

  33. great to see ONEHD finally broadcasting in.. HD
    but its taken a while.. most other sports are nearly broadcasting in 3D!

  34. The problem is the quantity of the broadcast not the quality. Better coverage is needed not more pixels

    1. Excellent comment.

  35. Sadly makes no difference to me (and I’d suggest still a majority of people) as I don’t have a HD feed despite having all the hardware. In fact I only know one person that has (the sister in-law)

  36. So, reading this it sounds like a lot of Europeans don’t have HD? Over in North America, like pretty much everyone does, especially sports fans.

    If F1 tries to sell to the States with the United States Grand Priz and come out without HD (in 2011!) they have zero chance of success I’m afraid.

    There’s already 3D hockey games broadcast in Canada, HD is old news already. ;)

  37. Scandinavian broadcaster Viasat will be broadcasting in HD starting in Bahrain!

    I’m so psyched!

  38. I think, in 2014, we all we watch in in 3D with 3D glasses on. Lol!

    I’m happy that the BBC will show it in HD, hopefully McLaren doesn’t perform too good… those British can get carried away if they do.

    Very curious of the upcoming car launches and the testing next month. At the moment I’m disappointed that Bahrain has gone back to the old layout.

    Lotus-Renault, 9/10 for their livery!

  39. In The Netherlands the F1 is Broadcasted by RTL, they use commercial brakes during races :S Commantary is very poor, pre-race builup is a gameshow so no we don’t receive F1 in HD in The Netherlands.

    I prefer waching F1 on BBC

    1. i also watch bbc or the belgian broadcast but i wonder if bbc will be in HD or not since we only have bbc 1, 2, 3 and 4 but no BBC HD…

  40. Re: OneHD, you’ve got the wrong ‘breaking news’ tweet :)

    Here’s how it went down:

    Initial answer to 2 of us (+ Mr. Noble) just after Germany’s Sky announcement:!/OneHD/status/24929707724111872

    Followed by a quick “er… are we allowed to mention that yet?” tweet:!/OneHD/status/24953420297281536

    And finally a ‘phew – we’re heroes, not fired’ announcement:!/OneHD/status/24976730192084992


  41. Viasat will broadcast F1 in HD in Sweden.

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