BBC considering dropping F1 coverage

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Cuts imposed on the BBC by the government may lead it to drop its F1 coverage.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Wimbledon and Formula One at risk as BBC seeks sports cuts (The Guardian)

“Formula One, although helped by the popularity of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, is not peak-time programming, and as a result is viewed as a relatively expensive part of the sports schedule. Having been on ITV as recently as 2008, the sport is not seen as a mainstay of the BBC calendar.”

Gregory Haines on Twitter

“So yes, apparently photographers were threatened to stay back ‘for their own safety’ by Mercedes GP when taking snaps of new front wing.”

Mercedes W02 – New front wing analysis (Scarbs)

“The wing (main plain and flap) itself is largely similar to the launch spec wing, while the endplate and cascades have been changed. Mercedes front wing design harks back to the Brawn BGP001 of 2009. The Brawn pioneered the idea of the endplate-less wing.”

Car upgrades boost Mercedes hopes for Formula 1 season (BBC)

Ross Brawn: “I think it does mean a step forward. I don’t believe one or two of the other teams have shown their full hand yet, but it’s certainly a lot more respectable.”

Vettel sure of early-season reliability (Autosport)

“I think we are reasonably prepared. I think the last couple of years in the first races we didn’t do very well, and that’s the target because the championship starts straight away and every point in the end can be important. We need to have a competitive car from the first race onwards – and finish the races.”

Pirelli intermediate tyre

Pirelli on Twitter

“Intermediate. These tyres have light grooves to disperse water, but this reduces the contact patch.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

McLaren boss is banned from driving (Get Surrey)

“Executive chairman Ron Dennis, 63, formerly of Thorley Close, West Byfleet, was ordered to surrender his licence at Woking Magistrates’ Court on Monday (March 7) after pleading guilty to driving through a red light in Bagshot.”

Jonathan Legard on Twitter

“Told that McLaren engineers are braced for another year of technical catch-up, like 2009, which took at least half a season for progress.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

F1 Fanatic on Twitter

“Williams have extended and increased their deal with Oris, their logos will now be more prominent on the FW33.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

The secrets of Laurel Hill revealed (Racecar Engineering)

“Rumours of an abandoned highway tunnel being used by a racing team were the talk of the industry, but details were sketchy at best. Eventually Racecar Engineering managed to get hold of images of the tunnel in use which showed some intriguing modifications, including a large metal structure that has been added to the eastern end of the tunnel.”

Thanks to bosyber for the tip!

McLaren MP4-12C GT3 racing car first run (YouTube)

McLaren’s other racing car:

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Think F1’s smallest team has no fans? Think again:

I don’t care thinking how many haters are there, I just love this team. It must be really difficult period for their engineers to build this car with few resources and money. Geoff Willis did great job. Car is really looking good and I would love to see it doing better than Virgin and Lotus.

Again good work from engineers and best of luck to HRT.

From the forum

Thoughts go out to the victims of yesterday’s tsunami in Japan.

Site updates

Further updates to F1 Fanatic Live in time for today’s final day of testing.

Happy birthday!

It’s a birthday extravaganza with five F1 Fanatics celebrating today. All the best to Monkzie, Daniel, Garf, Michael Griffin and nitin24!

On this day in F1

The F1 season began in Bahrain for the first time ever on this day in 2006. Fernando Alonso beat Michael Schumacher to victory.

Kimi Raikkonen mounted an impressive recovery to finish third after starting 22nd.

But Felipe Massa’s first race for Ferrari did not go well:

On lap seven Massa’s debut for Ferrari took a dismal turn as he lost control of his car and hurtled off the track at turn one, very nearly taking Alonso with him.

He limped to the pits where a 45-second stop destroyed his hopes of a points finish.

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

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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108 comments on “BBC considering dropping F1 coverage”

  1. I really hope BBC don’t drop F1 coverage, it’s been brilliant.

    1. SeattleChris
      12th March 2011, 1:28

      I thought Britainia was the home of F1 racing? It would be shameful for the coverage to be dropped due to budget when there are so many bad shows on the tele that could easily be dropped.

      As representative for America, I will trade you Jersey Shore for your BBC F1 coverage!

      1. I just hope this is a bit of a stance to get the desicion makers to rethink and do something with the budgets.

    2. I hope they don’t as well. Then, the new F1 coverage will have adverts in them.
      1 area where ITV was rubbish

      1. I never watched coverage on ITV, as I started watching F1 in 2009, but I have heard from a friend the adverts on ITV really use to annoy him.

    3. They won’t. Seriously, that article suggests they’ll drop Wimbledon – the crown jewel of the BBC’s annual sporting calendar.

      I take this article with a pinch of salt in the same way as when I read that they’re going to cancel Doctor Who – another one of the BBC’s crown jewels.

      And really, if they dropped F1 and Wimbledon, what sports would they have left??? Darts? Snooker? Hardly the makings of a world class broadcaster!!

      1. Im not sure they’l drop F1. Everyone i know who watches F1 knows its heads & sholders better then ITV’s coverage, which was good in itself but ruined by adverts. BBC’s coverage has been going 2 years now and has gone from strength to strength with the coverage it offers.

        Theres other things that can be dropped, Snooker, darts, various Athletic championships. I cant speak for everyone but given the choice of which to drop, its not a hard choice to me. Frankly i wouldnt cry much if ITV got the football highlights as I grow more and more tired of Match of the Day with each passing season.

        1. I’m going to pick up and run with that point about Match of the Day, because I’m also getting bored by the Beeb coverage. Ever since they lost Ian Wright it doesn’t feel like ‘fun’ watching Match of the Day, it’s still very accurate and technically brilliant but when you watch Match of the Day 2 you can see a spark which Match of the Day doesn’t have.

          1. The man who does MOTD2 on a SUnday night makes it more fun than MOTD1 on a Saturday – it’s much less formal than the Staurday night version where Garry Linekar, and usually Alan HAnsen and Mark Lawrencen are so serious in their match analysis. MOTD2 is heloped by it’s guest subhosts who are more jokey about gaffes and mistakes.

    4. As far as I’m aware the BBC will have a contract in place about their F1 coverage so they’ll be under obligations they can’t get out of.

      Wimbledon is another matter, Sky has been trying to buy Wimbledon off the BBC for years but Wimbledon is a protected sport so it would require legislation for Sky to buy it off the BBC.

      This is a scare story that is part of the BBC’s PR campaign against cuts.

      1. BBC’s PR campaign against cuts.

        The same BBC whose editorial guidelines instruct journalists to use the term “savings” instead of “cuts” wherever possible? Not a very effective PR campaign if that’s what it is.

      2. itv had a long contract too….

    5. F1 is too important.

  2. somerandomguy
    12th March 2011, 0:28

    oh no please dont drop f1. i dont think they will. does this also apply for one hd in australia? because i think they use bbc coverage.

    1. they only use bbc audio – but they’ll take any english audio, so there’s always the world feed commentary i suppose …

    2. As Homer said, they only use the commentary provided during the session, not even the Jake and Eddie Show. Considering that Martin Brundle was commentating for ITV during their years covering the sport, and easily switched over to the BBC, it’s unlikely that he won’t continue as commentator on a new network. The video feed comes from FOM, and will be unchanged.
      The article also says that the BBC are contracted to cover those events until 2014, so there’s a few more years yet.
      There’s little actual hard news in that article, it’s basically working off an executive suggesting cutting those sports as a way of saving money. In years gone by, they’ve suggested cutting Top Gear (which is unlikely).
      I think it’s just political leverage used by execs against the strongly unionised blob of bureaucracy who strike every time someone suggests that they could be made redundant.

      1. In years gone by, they’ve suggested cutting Top Gear

        And Doctor Who, which along with Top Gear is one of the highest rated BBC shows and easily among their biggest profit spinners through BBC Worldwide…

        1. I think Topgear has run it’s course…

    3. We also used the ITV commentary when it was being used.

      If it were to change hands, the one problem I can see though is that the new rights holder might try to charge too much, and we’ll get reduced coverage, or worse. We haven’t got Premier League highlights on free to air in years because of how much they are charging.

      And if it does change, I don’t mind who does the British commentary, as long as they don’t go all James Allen and turn it back into the Lewis Hamilton show featuring F1.

    4. If F1 on BBC is dropped I will eat my Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes team cap…

  3. I want ITV back provided they minimize the adverts. I hate Jake Humphrey with a passion.

    1. You should fear that it will go on Sky or some other premium TV provider. That seems to be the trend today.

      1. That’s fine, I love everything Sky cover.

        1. That’s not fine, not everyone has Sky.

          1. I am a huge F1 fan and I would be very angry if coverage moved to Sky as our family do not have Sky as we cannot afford it! Please don’t drop it BBC!

    2. easy, just don’t tune in before the race starts…

      1. I got Sky and love it for its football coverage, but the adverts happen just as much as on ITV for other programs, e.g 4 per hour which would mean 6-8 per race if on Sky. Sure, it has HD and could bring in any pundit/Ex-driver to cover it, but Im certain it wouldnt be as good as BBCs.

        1. Sky would be a disaster. I’m pretty sure Bernie rules out Sky solely because of the sponsors requiring as much TV exposure as possible.

          I don’t know what the equation is though.

          1. that rules out anyone other then the BBC then, and if reports are true, they cant afford it either. ITV, Channal4 & 5 and all their minor channals are crammed with adverts who wont be paying Bernie for the privalige, its to who owns the channal.

            The most obvious answer in all this is to cut costs at the top of the chain. Do the presenters and fatcats in suits need their hefty pay? cut it by X% and theres a chunk of the budget back right there.

            The alternative is what happens every Christmas and the BBC do re-runs of past races, Canada ’78 anyone?

          2. Bernie rules out Sky because he insists that F1 is shown on free to air (terrestrial) channels to maximise the number of viewers that can watch it. It doesn’t have anything to do with adverts which is why ITV were able to buy the rights.

            I find Sky’s sports coverage to be pretty rubbish, it’s not all about quantity, it’s about quality, Just look at what they’ve done with the cricket! I have to watch it with the sound turned down and TMS’s radio 5 feed on.

  4. Sorry McLaren, but I think this unit will outperform your MP4-12C for less money. Not to mention it looks cooler too and you won’t believe where it is made.

    1. maybe in a straight line, but i think the Mclaren would easily beat it around a track

    2. What makes you think the SSC Ultimate Aero is cheaper than the MP4-12C? The prices listed on Wikipedia are:
      Aero : 650,000 USD
      12C : 230,000 USD

      In any case, I’m quite sure the Aero doesn’t conform to GT3 regulations.

      1. So that is about 3:1? Then you can spent the rest actually running the car to get to grips with it and be 10 times faster around a track than with that Aero.
        Sounds like a deal for the McLaren. If you are waiting for a 1.200 hp monster, I think McLaren might bring someting nice with the top of their line of 3 cars. This is the “starter” package with relatively high volumes.

        1. Ultimate Aero is rubbish, give me a Koenigsegg anytime!

          1. Zonda R or Buggati Veyron SS. Sorted.

          2. Koenigsegg rules!

  5. Loved the article about Ganassi’s tunnel. Very interesting stuff.

    Happy birthday to all of the birthday people!

    1. yes, how interesting was that! It must be a bit freaky if you didn’t know what is was to be hearing strange V8 noises coming out from that tunnel like in the first video. Also strange to see an abandoned highway, like in that second video.
      I thought it was very interesting, and i wonder if F1 teams would:
      1 – consider using it
      2- consider trying to replicate by finding tunnels in Europe
      3 – I don’t think they could afford to construct a tunnel, the cost to benefit ratio would be to small, and perhaps applies to numbers one and two above, but loved the link.

      1. I think the hardest part would be the 2. point. I doubt there is much in the range of “left over tunnels” in Europe.

        Possibly on a closed old railway track, but that would make it pretty expensive to convert and probably to narrow to make sense.

        1. I think a railway tunnel would be wide enough, and likely not too expensive to convert… It would just need the tracks removed and some tarmac laid down.

  6. aha! so it looks like Pirelli will be colour coding their tyres this year. good news.

  7. Michael Griffin
    12th March 2011, 0:38

    The BBC get over £4 Billion of our money every year and they have to cut F1 or Wimbledon?

    Someone needs to sort out their finances there….

  8. This is very worrying news if ITV and BBC don’t screen F1 on ‘council’ TV then this is a historic moment for uk (and austrailia?) viewers the dawn of the pay per view era…

    This would have a massive impact on F1’s ability to reach large an audience as possible in these regions shifting the viewer market and no doubt reducing the audience and possibly even the media’s perception… hope the bbc get it sorted and continue to spend my tv licence bucks wisely

  9. BBC wouldn’t drop F1, i know the viewing aren’t huge (roughly a 2 million per race average over the 09 season) but there isn’t anything else they can replace it with that will attract those figures on a regular basis in the timeslots F1 runs.

    Interesting article here talking about the drop in viewers worldwide

    1. link didn’t post, never mind

      1. Roughly 2m per race? Multiply that figure by just under three, then you’re correct. They get 5m to 6m for each race. (including pre-show it’s 4m)

        1. BBC released figures for the 2009 season, the rights cost £30 million and the viewers where 32 million over the whole season, so if you do the math that’s nearly 2 million a race, 17 races (not stated if includes Quili)

          They don’t state if that’s unique viewers (i doubt it) so at a cost of roughly £1 per viewer it isn’t a good return for the BBC. Worldwide figures dropped too by about 1/2 a billion. Unfortunately i cant post the link here as it won’t let me.

  10. I would actually love it if another company ran the English language broadcasts of F1. I’m so sick of the “British is all that matters” attitude that the BBC crew have, that I dont tune in until the race starts. Some times I mute the audio because It just gets so bad.

    If another company had the broadcasting rights, then I’d be able to watch the pre-show and listen to the commentary.

    1. Like when they did the Forum in the Toro Rosso garage with their Swiss and Spanish drivers?

    2. Did you ever watch the ITV coverage? They were much worse than the BBC when it came to focusing on British drivers.

      If it went to Sky it would be totally unbearable (for the much fewer people who could actually watch). From what I’ve seen of their sports coverage (a little bit of the Ashes review) it is incredibly biased and nationalistic.

      Above all, I don’t think I could go back to watching a race with advert breaks.

    3. Yes, I can’t believe that a British TV Channel would focus on the British drivers…

      …have you seen the Spanish, German or Italian coverage?? From everything I hear they’re just as bad if not worse.

    4. I’m so sick of the “British is all that matters” attitude that the BBC crew have

      They are far, far less focused on the British drivers than ITV were – to the point where I have to say I don’t really notice it that much.

      ITV were so fixated on the British drivers it was toe-curlingly embarrassing. And don’t get me started on the time they gave Schumacher an England football shirt.

      1. The Cynics here would point out a Mr David Coulthard might have been focus’d more on a Australian/German partnership last year ;)

        BBC are far, far from biased to British drivers, vertainly compared to ITV. But are British programmes anyway, I wouldnt begrudge a German channal focusing on German drivers/teams.

      2. ITV was horrible with it’s coverage of Hamilton, I started watching coverage on Speed after the Spa race where Hamilton cut the track to close up on the lead car and pass, which was obviously a huge advantage, but they rambled on about his penalty it in the next race commenting on anyones mistake that caused a cut. BBC does focus on the British drivers more, but not too much and not talking them up so much.

        I hope BBC doesn’t drop coverage, commercial free F1 is the only way to watch it!

      3. DeadManWoking
        12th March 2011, 14:02

        Being in the US, I watch Speed’s coverage on my big HDTV but they only cover P2 Qualy and Race. Last year I watched all the BBC coverage by livestream or DL and didn’t find them overly Brit-centric and an average of 10 1/2 hours per race brilliant. By contrast, Speed has 5 1/2 hours per race and if you cut David Hobbs he bleeds Rocket Red!

        1. DeadManWoking
          12th March 2011, 14:04

          And that’s 5 1/2 hours including numerous commercials.

    5. The ‘Better than ITV’ argument doesn’t really cut it. They ARE better than ITV, but the Lewis/Jensen obsession still makes me sick, I gave up watching anything except the actual race about a third of the way in last season.

      But curiously, I was recently made aware of people who ONLY watch F1 for the EJ/DC/JH banter, so I have to live and let live a bit, and allow for the fact that different people switch in for different reasons, and the BBC have to drum the viewers up somehow.

    6. taylortheory (@)
      12th March 2011, 11:50

      you cant blame the bbc for focussing on the british drivers as most people watching in britain will be most concerned by whats happening to the british drivers and they will get more in terviews with the british drivers as the british drivers will want to do interviews with the british media the most and the german drivers will want to talk to the german media the most and so on.

      1. I don’t agree – from my experience a lot of people in Britain follow F1 out of an interest in the sport, not just out of blind allegiance to the drivers who are from the same country as them.

        (I’m not saying the same does not go for other countries, but we are talking about the BBC here.)

        Also, people’s allegiances to nationalities goes further than just drivers. Two-thirds of the teams have facilities in Britain and naturally they have a lot of support for that reason.

        And even if all that weren’t true, the first priority of the BBC (or whatever broadcaster) should be to cover the sport well, not to pander to nationalistic allegiances.

        1. The vast majority of people who go on websites such as this aren’t people who are interested in nationalistic allegiances, however I would say the vast majority of the 6 million who watch the races on the BBC every week probably are.

          The money to support this coverage is coming from British taxes, and the chances are the more casual viewer is going to have an interest in how the Brits are doing moreso than any other.

          Also, I don’t think the BBC do a bad job at all of spreading their coverage around. They seemed to have a lot of love for Lotus last year(granted, British team – but most of them have a base in England these days) – and neither of their drivers were British. They seemed to try and get through every team at some stage in the season.

          I think the people who say it focuses too much on the British drivers are using selective memories to forget all they do with regards to other teams.

          1. “The money to support this coverage is coming from British taxes”

            Maybe a percentage is from British tax’s, but a large amount of it is from license fee’s paid to the BBC by all the hundreds of TV networks around the world who broadcast the BBC show in their countries.

            My my country for example (South Africa – most widely used language here is English), the only coverage of F1 is on DSTV (pay to view) who hold exclusive rights for my country. No doubt DSTV had to pay a large sum of money to the BBC for those rights.

            I think it is fair to say that the BBC’s coverage of the sport is the most viewed around the globe, which means it is not exclusively for Brits. There are probably more viewers watching from outside of Britain than inside. The English language is not exclusive to the UK… other counties speak it too.

            My point is that the BBC should market their product towards the global audience which they serve, and not their local audience.

        2. I agree completely with what Keith has said. Furthermore, people should remember that the BBC coverage also goes to a lot of other countries – for example, here in Australia. This would be income lost to the BBC should they cancel their coverage, and while that might not be all that significant in comparison with the overall pricetag, it is significant. It’s my understanding that Australia alone pays between 10 and 25% of the overall quoted pricetag for formula 1 coverage. How many other countries do the same? What is the actual NET cost to the BBC of the coverage by the time all such factors are taken into account? Simply quoting the bottom line would seem to be myopic and one-sided.

        3. Sound_Of_Madness
          12th March 2011, 12:52

          I have watched a number of BBC-broadcasted races, and they did not seem very focused on the British drivers (some older races seemed to repeat again and again how were the British drivers doing, despite how much below the grid they were). Perhaps this is due to the fact that you have to pay attention to the British guys due to them being frontrunners, I think that a better comparison will be made this year that di Resta runs (who should not get much attention as midfield runner).

        4. That´s my huge problem with German broadcaster RTL. They focus extremely on German drivers which annoys me a lot. Commentator Heiko Wasser outs himself every single time as a Vettel fan. Disgusting for someone who actually has to be neutral. Ferrari boys are always the bad guys for them. Being a Ferrari fan it ****** me off. If I had the money I would watch it on Sky Germany, though I don´t like Jaques Schulz for the way he´s speaking but they´re at least objective…

          1. I agree. If it weren’t for that their coverage could be quite good, with Lauda (who is sometimes worse than Jordan though); but not being a fan of Vettel, I got to really dislike hearing about him the one time I recorded the RTL broadcast.

            I mean, Vettel was one of the main competitors so yes, naturally he comes up. But they hardly mentioned Webber or Hamilton, or even Alonso; and certainly not entirely positively. I guess if it had been at the start of the season they would have also talked a lot of Schumacher and Rosberg, but that became too embarrassing later in the season …

  11. Maybe the BBC should ask for a bigger subsidy from Apple to cover the every growing stock of macs, iphones, ipods and ipads they enthusiastically promote on a daily basis.

  12. I don’t know about anyone else, but I actually really enjoy getting up around 6am, sitting by the tv with a blanket and watching a race at 7. there’s no distractions at that time of day either, just me and f1 in peace… ;)

    1. Plus, when you’re done, you still have pretty much the whole day ahead of you.

  13. Probably that tunnel is being used by a team for wind tunnel.I am not sure why BBC wants to drop F1 as I think may be next to cricket & football it is a favourite.

  14. Pirelli intermediate tyre’s tread is wired.

  15. It’s a shame if the BBC decides to drop F1 and continue paying ,Chris Moyles an exhorbitant sum of money to sit in studio talking rubbish. Sad

    1. Very well said although when it comes to talking rubbish Jake Humphrey on twitter takes some beating.

      1. It does seem to me that if your Twitter account has ‘F1’ in it people are going to expect to spend more time talking about F1 and less about your favourite football club and everything else.

        I think he should set up a personal account for all non-F1 stuff – I’ve done this, and it has a tiny fraction of the number of followers the F1 Fanatic account does, which I think proves my point!

        1. I agree with Keith. I stopped following Jake Humphrey on Twitter because of his endless football tweets – I also find it annoying that the BBC link his tweets to their F1 page so at one point the Formula 1 tweets were showing a constant stream about Norwich Football Club. I don’t care about Norwich Football Club, I care about Formula One.

          I do follow Martin Brundle now on Twitter, whose tweets are about Formula One (and of course I follow F1 Fantatic)

  16. I’m not a tyre engineer, but I’ve only seen Bridgestone and Michelin intermediates with a central tread rib. Will the Pirellis be as effective without a central tread?

  17. Christian Briddon
    12th March 2011, 6:51

    That’s strange. If you read this article :

    It says “Formula 1 has been a signifcant success in 2009/10, exceeding all of its reach, average audience and cost per viewer hour targets.”

    It also says that Euro 2008 was the least successfull sporting event.

    I really hope the BBC doesn’t drop F1. Their coverage is second to none.

    1. But they are spending quite a big chunk of money on F1.
      However my guess is, this is about raising some eyebrows everywhere (stop Wimbledon???) and acheive a rethink of the budget targets.

      1. Hopefully the re-think will entail a refusal to spend any kind of serious money on salaries. Part of the reason the licence fee has outstripped inflation for so long is because of the wage bill. The BBC would argue it needs it to attract talent. Well, who cares if they can’t keep Chris Moyles or anyone else and will lose them because someone can pay them better? They can use the money saved to make more quality programming instead, to offer an alternative to those of us who don’t want to watch Jonathan Ross on a Friday night. The point of the licence fee is that it gives a steady income. If they stopped spending stupid money on salaries then there would be no need for it to be so extortionate and people would largely stop complaining that they’re paying a lot for stuff they don’t want and can easily be found on the other side anyway.

    2. Euro 2008 didnt have England in it, probably why it didnt have as many viewers for the BBC (or ITV for that matter). Thats my take on it anyway.

      They wont drop F1, someone said they have 6million viewers in a population of around 66mil, which is still at the 10% mark of viewers (there or there abouts(, and remember this is a Sunday when the race runs, so is competing with other sports, nevermind other types of TV programmes or activities that are happening at the same time. Thats only for the UK tv.

  18. The BBC have always justified the licence fee by saying it frees them to pursue quality programming instead of being slaves to ratings. Yet if you look at their policies, this is blatantly not the case. The amount of decent documentaries has gone sharply downhill since I was a young boy watching them with my dad, to be mostly replaced by dumbed-down and sensationalised hack journalism, endless Eastenders and trashy rubbish like “My 14-year old alcoholic is pregnant” (okay that one’s not real, but the truth is not so far away).

    F1 is the only thing I watch live on TV on a regular basis (you don’t need a TV licence to watch the on-demand services). If F1 goes, I might as well ditch my licence and watch the racing on streaming sites, down the pub, or round my grandparents’. I don’t pretend it’s going to affect the BBC, but it’ll save me £130 a year.

    1. Happy Birthday to everyone celebrating!

    2. I realise I could do this anyway, but I feel paying £130 a year for what we get now on the BBC is worth it. If it went back to ITV we’d have adverts and even though they get zero of the licence fee I’d still have to pay it to watch ITV, so the value for money would drop.

      But yeh, I can’t see it. Maybe less services, but I rarely use those anyway and if they cut the pre-race build-up, I always thought they were too long anyway.

  19. Pirelli are announcing their system of telling the tyres apart in Melbourne, sato113.

    I can’t see the BBC dropping F1. They would get so much grief, given the rubbish they justify on BBC 3.

  20. The news article is just political scare mongering by the BBC/Guardian and not to be believed. There is a freeze on the license and they try to make it look like they have to make really unpopular cuts.

    How can you link an article which finishes with..

    A BBC spokesman said: “We are looking at a range of ideas and it would be wrong to comment on what is speculation.

    It’s a non story.

    1. That’s a really interesting point. My first reaction was that it was a negotiating position to stop Bernie demanding a big new pay day, but the mention of Wimbledon makes me think you’re probably more on the right track. Why cut bureaucratic waste when you can threaten to cut services and get more cash… sounds familiar… ;)

  21. Happy birhtday to all al you celebrating today. Make a nice party of it, I hope none of you are sitting in the cold wet Barcelona granstands now waching an empty track.

  22. Wahey!

    Happy birthday to me and to all the other birthday people today – I didn’t know it was such a popular day for F1 Fanatics to be born!

  23. ITV wouldnt have it back i suspect. No other “Free” channel could afford it. If it went to sky F1 would be dead to me.

    I do wonder what the BBC were are paying. It blew me away that they were paying something like 7-9 million a season in the 90’s then ITV took it over for 70+ million. (from memory from the no angel book) I wonder if they are on a good deal now or have picked up where ITV left off. I suspect Bernie isnt that stupid and knows limiting the audience to a premium service would cut viewer numbers drastically and as such advertising reach (which is where the real money is)

    1. DeadManWoking
      12th March 2011, 12:41

      I believe it’s £200m for 5 years.

  24. If the BBC do drop coverage and that coincides with the move to the four-pot turbos that’ll be it for me. I’m not paying Rupert Murdoch a penny for that. Saying that, I wouldn’t pay him a penny for it now…

  25. I’m getting a bit sick of reading comments of the BBC being focussed on British teams and drivers.

    Read what BBC actually stands for. It is a British org that happens to provide a world service from it’s legacy empire days.

    If you are Spanish, german, Italian and want f1 programmes focussed on your teams and drivers then by all means tune into something else.

    But don’t criticise a corporation for looking after the viewers and license fee payers that fund its coverage.

    Having seen other national broadcasters I think BBC coverage is no more biased than any other.

  26. And for any doubt about funding issues, check how much of the license fee goes to fund their ridiculous final salary schemes.

    My company changed it’s scheme this year, closing its defined benefit scheme as it cannot afford to continue.

    Why public sector organisations should expect to receive something the public cannot has always seemed hypocritical to me.

    1. Why public sector organisations should expect to receive something the public cannot has always seemed hypocritical to me.

      There are quite a few members of the public who receive public sector pensions – about six million, last time I looked (although alas I don’t receive one myself).

      The old maxim was that the decent pension was payback for lower public sector salaries. But public sector pay has improved over the last decade or so while pensioners are living longer, so no one can credibly argue that public sector pensions can continue unchanged. But singling out the BBC’s pension scheme as being solely to blame for the possibility of dropping F1 seems a little unfair – and nobody wins when the politics of jealousy rears its ugly head. Your pension may not be the greatest but you may well have a few perks not enjoyed by nurses or teachers.

      And, of course, you could always get a job in the public sector if you’d like one of these “ridiculous” final salary schemes. If they still exist by then, anyway.

      1. I’m not trying to single anyone out. The BBC is facing cuts to many services.

        I’m pointing out that exec salaries and overall pension schemes and liabilities form a large portion of the overall spend.

        I’m not for a moment saying cancel pensions. I’m saying defined benefit schemes are no longer practical as higher life expectancy is making fund deficits huge.

        My pension is fine by the way thanks ;-)

        Anyway. This is not the best place to run through non f1 issues :-)

  27. Stupid Tories

    1. or stupid labour for running the country off a credit card for 13 years

      1. Stupid politicians for being… well… politicians…

  28. I would suggest the BBC cut the salaries of it’s overpaid executives and presenters (i.e. Gary Linekar and Jeremy Paxman are on over £1million) before cutting it’s excellent coverage of sporting events.

    All of the journalists have generally been full of praise of the coverage the BBC have given. Stepping up still further from the quality coverage ITV gave (barring the advert breaks…)

    I wish the public had more say in matters such as these, especially considering it’s the BBC. They’re the bunch of apes that bought in the license fee in this country, so people should get a better say as they’re paying towards programming

  29. I think it’ll go to Sky once the BBC contract runs out. It’d be a shame although as I have Sky, it’ll only affect me in indirectly in terms of F1 being much less popular.

    Sky will offer ALOT more than ITV and they are the only two realistic channels for it to go to. ITV lost out to the BBC (who don’t normally offer much money for things) because they couldn’t afford to keep it.

    1. Bernie rules out Sky because he insists that F1 is shown on free to air (terrestrial) channels to maximise the number of viewers that can watch it. It doesn’t have anything to do with adverts which is why ITV were able to buy the rights.
      I find Sky’s sports coverage to be pretty rubbish, it’s not all about quantity, it’s about quality, Just look at what they’ve done with the cricket! I have to watch it with the sound turned down and TMS’s radio 5 feed on.

  30. Pete. Itv didnt lose out to BBC, they actually finished their contract early because the couldnt afford to continue. The bbc stepped in to make sure there was free to air coverage.

    1. Whereas when ITV got the contract in the first place, Ecclestone didn’t even give the BBC the opportunity to counter-bid.

  31. BBC is British home of F1, no ITV! No Ads!!!

  32. I honestly tink that the BBCs coverage of F1 is probably if not definetly the best in the world and I’d say has attracted alot more people to the sport it would be an absolute shame if they dropped it!!

  33. How many people watch the F1 races in the UK on average?
    Compare that to other sports and see where F1 ends up in the ranking.
    I guess F1 will be rather high in the standings. And this for 19 sundays to come.
    Can’t believe BBC will hand that over to someone else for the benefit of cutting costs.

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