‘Sky for free’, Alonso on Hamilton, Trulli in 2012 and races without champions

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It’s time to answer another batch of your questions on Sky, quotes from Fernando Alonso, Jarno Trulli’s seat at Caterham and F1 races without world champions:

Can you get Sky F1 for free?

I’ve had various emails on the subject of Sky’s 2012 F1 coverage in the UK along these lines:

I have discovered a site which allows you to watch all Sky Sports channels including HD for free! The site is: (link removed)

Please could I have your expert view, will they have Sky F1 HD as well when it is launched, and do you really think this is a solution?

There seems little point in pretending that the disappearance of half of this year’s races behind a paywall in the UK is not going to result in a massive increase in demand for and supply of illegal pirate streams.

But the mass sharing of links to such sites usually ensures they have a pretty short lifespan. Be warned that they also tend to be choked with adverts and malware.

As regular readers will surely know by now, I believe the new arrangement will be bad for F1’s popularity. Legalities aside, I suspect trying to watch this year’s races via online feeds is going to be a frustrating experience as some sites get taken down and those that remain crash as they are hit by massive traffic spikes.

If you want to watch the ten races that aren’t on the BBC live on your TV, Sky F1 will cost ??363 per year.

Readers on the forum have been exploring less expensive but still legal alternatives including Sky’s internet services and using a cheaper satellite service. See those threads for more information.

Alonso on Hamilton and Vettel

Recent stories about Alonso's views on Hamilton and Vettel weren't all they seemed

Rick wondered why a story he saw reported on some other sites did not feature on F1 Fanatic:

Very surprised that you have not reported Alonso comments this week regarding Vettel and Hamilton’s driving threat/prowess?

Was looking forward to people’s comments.

Following Ferrari’s Wrooom media event – the one where Alonso donned his natty new wig – some sites attributed quotes to him in which he allegedly described Hamilton as being “very fast, aggressive and totally focused” and Vettel having “not reached that level yet”.

However, as Joe Saward pointed out, these quotes were actually over a year old. What’s more, they’d been edited to disguise the fact they were 12 months out of date.

So remember where you read them, and bear it in mind next time you spot another ‘sensational exclusive’ on the same site.

Jarno Trulli in 2012

Joseph Miotello asks the question a lot of people are asking about Jarno Trulli:

Is Trulli definitely 100% confirmed as the second driver for Caterham?

The Trulli rumours are nothing if not persistent. First he was going to be replaced by Daniel Ricciardo. Now that Ricciardo is confirmed at Toro Rosso, Vitaly Petrov is being touted as Trulli’s replacement.

Caterham (then Lotus) announced in September last year that Trulli’s contract had been extended.

We all know that contracts in F1 are often not worth the paper they’re written on. But it’s one thing for a driver on a multi-year deal to be kicked out a year early – as Kimi Raikkonen was in 2010 – quite another for a driver to be given a contract for the coming season and then lose his place just five months later.

Caterham are due to reveal their CT01 in two days’ time and the first day of testing is two weeks away. If there’s going to be any pre-season changes to their driver line-up I’d expect an announcement very soon.

Going to F1 testing in 2012

Rubens Barrichello testing at Jerez last year

Are you going to any F1 tests this year? Darren is heading for the Circuit de Catalunya:

Just thought I would email you as me and three friends have booked to go to the final test at Catalunya on March 2nd, we’ve actually managed to negotiate a corporate deal that includes a grandstand view, pit walk, paddock walk etc… for ??200 each.

It would be great to know who is going from the UK to the test and to find out if anyone has an tips or suggestions that we hadn’t considered. We fly on Thursday evening, spending Friday at the track, Saturday in Barcelona, flying on Saturday night.

If you’re heading to an F1 test session in 2012, join in the thread here:

James is also considering going to testing:

I will be in Spain at the end of February and was thinking of going to watch the Barcelona test. It would mean a bit of a detour to my plans, and I was wondering what you thought about it?

On the plus side it seems cheap, and easy to get to from Barcelona. The problem I have is getting tickets seems a last minute affair, and I read it can be very popular with Alonso fans. Is there a chance it will sell out?

Also I was wondering about what access is allowed. I presumer the main grandstand is accessible?

I wouldn’t worry about the test selling out, though it does get busier on days when Alonso is expected to appear.

The main grandstand is usually open and gives an excellent view of the pits. However bear in mind this is testing so most teams will have their garages closed most of the time.

For those considering going to the test in Barcelona, Jordi Mateu from the Circuit de Catalunya has joined us on F1 Fanatic recently and may be able to help you with enquiries about attending testing there.


A question on F1 Fanatic Quizzes from Marc:

I really like the quizzes. They’re hard but it’s great to score some points from memory.

Even though you say, “Make sure you submit your answers before the timer runs out or your score will not count,” I often run out of time pondering over that one question that I know I know, but can’t think of at that moment.

If you scroll to the bottom of the screen, the timer is out of sight, you forget about it and the quiz is cancelled spoiling my result, even if I have filled in most of the questions.

Please make a small modification to show the timer always on the screen. Or even an duplicate timer at the bottom. Thank you!

I agree there’s room for improvement here and it’s something we’re working on at the moment. When the change is made I’ll make sure to let everyone know so keep an eye on the daily round-up.

An F1 race with no champions on the grid?

No world champions on the grid at Spa in 1994

We’ll end with a trivia question from Darren Smith:

Has there ever been a F1 season when there hasn’t been a F1 champion on the grid or when was the last race when there wasn’t a world champion on the grid?

The untimely death of Ayrton Senna in 1994 gave us the most recent series of races without a world champion on the grid.

Nigel Mansell, 1992 world champion, made sporadic returns later that year, including at the final three races. The last race without a world champion on the grid was the 1994 Portuguese Grand Prix.

Since then there has always been at least one world champion on the grid. This year a record six champions will contest the season: Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel.

There have been two seasons in which every race started without a world champion on the grid. These were 1950 – the first world championship – and 1959.

Since then, races without world champions have occurred in 1958, 1959, 1960, 1975, 1982 and 1994. But there has never been a race in which none of the competitors either previously won a championship or won one subsequently.

Got a question for F1 Fanatic? Send it in via the contact form. Please include your real name.

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Images © Red Bull/Getty images, Pirelli, Williams/LAT

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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52 comments on “‘Sky for free’, Alonso on Hamilton, Trulli in 2012 and races without champions”

  1. I keep meaning to send a question off, but I always forget about it until one of these articles is posted – by which time it’s too late to ask a question.

    Does anybody know what would happen to a race if pitlane was blocked for whatever reason? Say Driver A was released from his pit box too early, and collected Driver B, and Driver C following behind them. The cars are travelling at 100km/h, so it’s not going to be a light contact. So what would happen to the race while the lane was cleared?

    1. @prisoner-monkeys

      by which time it’s too late to ask a question.

      No it’s not. That’s why it says “Got a question for F1 Fanatic? Send it in via the contact form”.

      1. Yeah, I know the contact form is there. I meant that I was looking to ask a question, and the Q&A articles remind me of the question I’ve been looking for an answer to for a while, but then I forget to get around to actually sending it off and the next Q&A article reminds me that I should have done it before we repeat the cycle over again.

    2. @prisoner-monkeys On a note, I beleive Martin Brundle mentioned at some point this year that it would be a red-flag situation. I could be wrong, though

    3. The pitlane would be closed and the carswouldn’t be allowed to come in while there is a red light at the entrance of the pits.

      I remember that it happened in Monza in 2010 when Yamamoto harpooned a team mechanic during a pitstop and injured him. The pitlane had to be closed to allow an ambulance to come and pick up the mechanic.

      1. I believe this is the correct answer. I can’t remember when it was exactly, but I’m sure I saw the ‘pitlane closed’ message on screen at one point in 2011 too…

      2. Yep, it happened in Monza ’10. But I wonder what would happen in the refuelling era, or with Pirellis. Bridgestones in Monza were not wearing almost at all and it wasn’t a problem for the drivers to wait a few laps. If someone was running out of fuel/tyres maybe the situation would be different?

        1. I suspect it would be red-flagged unless the FIA thought the closure would be so short that nobody would be inconvenienced. If the latter happened and they guessed wrong, they’d probably attempt a re-calculation of position for that driver based on where they would have come out had the pitlane been open. This happened at the 1974 British GP, when Niki Lauda pitted in the late stages of the race to discover the exit was blocked by a Ford Cortina, of all things… He was given the position he should have had on exiting the pits (fifth) instead of his actual finishing position (several laps down due to the organisers not moving the Cortina).

  2. One way to watch Sky for free is for a friendly err friend with Sky HD or Sky Sports to lend you one of their two ‘Sky Go’ logins for online services.

    Every Sky subscriber can have up to 2 devices activated at any one time, but changes are limited within a 30 day period. In theory this means that every subscription to Sky can enable three people to watch the races live.

    Perhaps groups of friends could club together to share the cost of a sub?

    1. Tom Haxley (@)
      24th January 2012, 12:48

      I do this already to watch the Football.

      But he only has SKY Sports and the basic package. Not sure he has HD or not – does that mean I’m ok or not for this seasons F1 ?

      1. As long as he has both Sky Sports 1 and 2 (which would also mean he has 3 and 4), he’ll get the F1 channel.
        He will only get F1 in HD if he has a Sky HD pack of any type (he wouldn’t even need Sky Sports to get F1 HD) – but I don’t know if that makes a difference to the quality of stream you can watch using Sky Go; I imagine it wouldn’t.

        1. Tom Haxley (@)
          24th January 2012, 14:50

          Excellent, thank you for that.

          The sky go stream is quite good, it automatically calculates the detail you can get on the fly, so sometimes it does drop quality if it gets bandwidth issues but its pretty good overall.

          Perfectly watchable for football which tends to be zoomed out and the ball is quite small! I expect F1 will look fine on there.

        2. I believe Sky have changed that policy. They’re stating it’s free to Sky Sports 1 & 2 AND HD customers. The language is quite plain to see now, and it’s not nearly as bad a deal as it once was.

    2. at least you can get sky. i have a mountain in the way of the astra 2 satellite, i have no optic cable to access f1 through virgins package and to top it off, the crappy 1.3Mb broadband download speed i get probably wont be fast enough for sky go :( good bye 2012 season

      1. In Australia, we have an entire planet in the way of that satellite! I wish i could get SKY.

    3. You can watch pretty much any interesting TV channel for free (apart from your Internet bill) online. I though it was a no brainer for most people. All you need is a decent Internet connection and Google (or its alternatives).

      However, a TV set connected to a box is the best option.

  3. Jack Flash (Aust)
    24th January 2012, 11:31

    The FIA Sporting Regulations will likely say something on that scenario (or a generic “blocking” scenario involving pit lane, etc).

    The FIA 2012 Sporting Regs say:
    41.1 Should it become necessary to suspend the race because the circuit is blocked by an accident or because weather or other conditions make it dangerous to continue, the clerk of the course will order red flags to be shown at all marshal posts and the abort lights to be shown at the Line.

    Unfortunately, I cannot find anywhere in either the Sporting or Technical regs that clarifies if the Pit Lane is considered part of “the circuit”? I would have thought it should be, but I can’t find any clear statement that it is as far as FIA is concerned for regs.

    So, PM, I don’t know how to answer your Q with assurance. Dang! JF

    1. I guess, if it’s not clear in the rules, it’d come down to circumstances and common sense.

    2. It may be in the International Sporting Code rather than any F1-specific regulations, but the “fast lane” of the pit lane is certainly considered to be part of the circuit.

    3. Pit lane is considered as part of the circuit because a circuit is not complete without a pit lane smof simple.

    4. Sporting Regs 2102

      23.13 Under exceptional circumstances the race director may ask for the pit entry to be closed during the race for safety reasons. At such times drivers may only enter the pit lane in order for essential and entirely evident repairs to be carried out to the car.

    5. I believe the pit lane is considered part of the circuit, hence how Michael Schumacher was once able to win a race by finishing in the pit lane to serve a penalty…

    6. The pit lane is definitely considered part of the circuit, in both “slow” and “fast” lanes. Otherwise it would not be possible to have pit stops without breaking the regulations.

  4. i think this time you’re wrong Keith Alonso did made a statement to Sport-Bild & he said exactly “Lewis is too fast & aggressive, totally focused, only interested in victory . Sebastian hasn’t reach yet this level I know that he’s a double world champion, but still under the level reached by Lewis ”
    this statement was reproduced by “TUTTOSPORT” & La Gazetta Dello Sport

    1. @Tifoso1989 Did you follow Keith’s link to the Joe Saward article? It looks pretty conclusive to me. The author of the book is one of the commenters on the Saward article, backing up the chain of events. The book was written last year, quoted in Autosport a week ago, then picked up and rehashed by “a German publication” and subsequently others.

      1. no i didn’t
        sorry anyway

    2. Spanish “La Marca” did the same as its Italian counterparts.

  5. Went to the Barcelona testing last year. I’d say there’s little chance of it sellling out. + It was only 10 euros to get in.

  6. The only season in which every race started without a world champion on the grid was – perhaps obviously – the first ever world championship season in 1950.

    I may be misunderstanding the statement but does 1959 count?

    Probably just having brain fade, but Farina had retired, as had Fangio and both Ascari and Hawthorn were dead.

    1. @RBAlonso Yes you’re quite right, have corrected the text.

  7. I think the Trulli rumors keep doing the rounds because they have never said which seat he’ll get, the announcements and quotes have always been that “he’ll remain with the team”. Until we hear that he’ll be a race driver, there is no reason why Petrov or someone else cant take his seat.

    1. I think the rumours have more to do with the general perception that Trulli’s had his time in F1 and it’s time for his seat to go to a promising, up-and-coming talent.

      1. So not Petrov then!

        1. haha brilliant. and spot on. No need for Petrov in F1 with JA, Sutil, Klien and rubens all much better.

  8. Be warned that they also tend to be choked with adverts and malware.

    Absolutely. I stumbled across a site last night to watch the Saints vs Leicester Championship game – froze my laptop! Won;t be going anywhere near that again

  9. Since then, races without world champions have occurred in 1958, 1959, 1960, 1975, 1982 and 1994. But there has never been a race in which none of the competitors either previously won a championship or won one subsequently.

    This of course excludes the Indy 500s that counted towards the Championship (although 1952 and 1958 did feature F1 champions).

    I believe the last race not to have a champion on the grid was technically France 1996 (where Schumacher’s engine blew on the formation lap).

    1. Anorak…

  10. Readers on the forum have been exploring less expensive but still legal alternatives including Sky’s internet services and using a cheaper satellite service.

    If anyone’s interested in the latter, I’ve done it myself. Here’s a post on the installation/setup of the required dish, plus the F1 experience through free-to-air German channels.

  11. But there has never been a race in which none of the competitors either previously won a championship or won one subsequently.

    In any given year, it would be rather difficult to win that year’s championship without participating in at least one race, wouldn’t it?

    1. In theory, a champion driver could have missed out on a race due to injury.

      1. rather difficult

  12. Keith – on the Sky thing, I have a plan:

    Sky are (rightly or wrongly) getting a bad rep here so could do with winning over some fans, maybe you could approach them with a monthly comp where they give away, say, 10 free 12-month Sky packages each month. They get some much needed good PR and 10 F1Fanatics get to watch the whole season for free.

    Sneakily, when handing out the prizes, each winner agrees to let two other F1Fs use their SkyGo account. No way they would ever find out and over the whole year we’ve sorted 360 F1Fs with coverage (albeit staggered throughout the year).

    Defnitely no way anyone would find out as not like I’m posting the idea on the internet or anything.

    1. How many countries in Europe have F1 free-to-air? In EU, I’d say it’s about 50% and in 10 years time it will be even less.

      1. In the EU, full free-to-air for races is available in Austria (ORF eins), Belgium (VT4 and La Deux), Bulgaria (TV7), Czechloslovakia (TV Nova), France (TF1), Greece (Alpha TV), Italy (Rai), the Netherlands (RTL), Slovakia (STV), Slovenia (RTV Slovenija) and Spain (La Sexta). That’s 11 countries.

        Countries in the EU with primarily pay-to-watch coverage of the race include Cyprus (LTV), Denmark (TV3 Puls), Estonia (Viasat Sport Baltic), Finland (MTV3), Germany (RTL), Hungary (RTL Klub), Ireland (Setanta Sports), Lativa (Viasat Sport Baltic), Lithuania (ditto), Norway (Viasat Motor), Poland (Polsat), Portugul (Sport TV), Romania (Digi TV), Sweden (Viasat Motor) and the UK (Sky). That’s 14 countries.

        Croatia’s situation is not clear, as a group of broadcasters have the rights and I’m not sure which of these, if any, are free-to-air.

        Two countries (Luxembourg) appear to have no F1 available, though in Luxembourg’s case TV viewers likely have access to neighbouring countries’ TV options.

  13. @Tifoso1989 Did you follow Keith’s link to the Joe Saward article? It looks pretty conclusive to me. The author of the book is one of the commenters on the Saward article, backing up the chain of events. The book was written last year, quoted in Autosport a week ago, then picked up and rehashed by “a German publication” and subsequently others. so if it was the year before how come he said vettel was a double w/c

    24th January 2012, 16:35

    nice TBone….we are all now co-conspiritors in a plot to defraud Sky TV.!!!If there are no live feeds for the races next year I will be 1 unhappy bunny!! Every Sky TV leaflet or promotion thru my door goes straight into the bin, because I WILL NEVER BUY Sky TV, even if it means I never see another race!!! We are already being robbed by the politicians, who have given this oportunity to Sky to rob us again!!! We cant even watch our own football anymore, and football is supposed to be the “poor mans sport”!!! Bernie Shekelstone was saying only yesterday that F1 is about to hit hard economic times, and if they suddenly lose half of their spectators because of pay per view, then it makes complete nonsense of his blustering statements last July about how F1 audiences will grow under the new Sky/BBC deal!!! I am counting on a live stream to watch at home, otherwise its gonna be down the pub for us every fortnight and then we will look for anything with the Sky logo on it to smash up on the way home!! #:)

    1. Welcome to my world – as a avid MLB, NFL & NBA fan I’ve got my methodology down. I download the torrents (about 2 hrs after the final whistle) and don’t bother with the live aspect. The technology is such that I’m waiting 2 hours to watch the thing in 720p at my leisure without ads. The NFL playoffs have been epic.
      I’ll just no longer frequent F1Fanatic on raceday – Not that I do much anyway but will still come for the after race analysis

    2. You have a pub showing the F1 races?

      All the ones I’ve tried will be showing football, rugby or donkey racing as a priority over F1…

  15. I’m already dreading that the first 2 races of the year as I’m unlikely to see in full- streams are unreliable (although I’ll give them a go) and I’m not looking forward to seeing how many laps are removed when the BBC mauls the races to make them highlights.

    1. If there isn’t a good Sky stream then stream a foreign channel and turn on 5live, i found an HD RTL stream which would be easily good enough for f1. :)

      1. Nice idea. Syncing the sound and commentary might be difficult though.

  16. Dude tell me about it! I live in the us, where many places have cable, or dish. On cable the package that includes speed tv is the 75+ channel one for 45-50$ a month. On dish, it just got moved from 200 to 250 channels. I was hoping it would go down, NOT up. I too watch nfl, nba, f1, soccer(liga,serie a, and premiership league) and i do it all online. I dont have a choice, in some cases it ends up being a replay hours later. Which with f1 is okay, since most races are 6/7am anyway. Recently with the addition of espn on xbox live it has been ALOT easier to follow some of these sports, so i dont have to spend an hour every day to watch each event i want.

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