Ecclestone: F1 may abandon free-to-air TV in UK

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone indicates F1 coverage in the UK could leave the BBC entirely.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Bernie Ecclestone suggests free-to-air Formula One could end on BBC (The Guardian)

Bernie Ecclestone: “We will never move all countries to pay?per?view only though it wouldn’t make any difference here in the UK. Sky reaches over 10m. We don’t get 10m on the BBC, normally about 6m or 7m.”

Murdoch’s Italy TV arm buys F1 rights (Reuters)

Bernie Ecclestone: “We have worked with Sky Italia in the past and I have no doubts about their production standards. We have a similar agreement in Britain that is working very well.”

Sky to have exclusive F1 live broadcast rights? (F1 Kate Walker)

“I’ve been told that Sky’s commitment to broadcast the races free from commercial interruption is a one-year thing, and that fans can expect ad breaks from 2013 onwards. But I’ve not been told that by anyone from Sky, so make of it what you will…”

No hurry for Hamilton (Sky)

“The championship is more important than what I plan to do, what my next contract will be. My future at the moment is not important – I might not even see next year! What’s important is making sure I capitalise and maximise on this year.”

Jonathan Neale Q&A: McLaren can win in Montreal (F1)

“I wouldn’t put the last two or three races into a professional like Lewis’s mind in terms of where he’s going to be comfortable in the future. We would like Lewis to continue racing for us. We have plenty of time. We don’t need to make that decision until much later this year.”

Bahar dismissed as Group Lotus boss (Autocar)

“A statement issued today said the decision was made by the board of Group Lotus plc following the results of an investigation into a complaint made against Bahar by the company’s owner, DRB-Hicom.”

Grosjean downplays first lap accidents (Autosport)

“It doesn’t mean anything. In Australia I couldn’t do much [with Pastor Maldonado], in Malaysia it was my mistake [with Michael Schumacher], I spun in the wet. And in Monaco what can you do? Trying to put a scooter and a bus into Sainte Devote together is difficult, so four cars side by side is too tight.”

2012 Canadian GP – Conference 1 (FIA)

Sergio Perez: “The only weekend we didn’t have the speed was in Bahrain. We had a lot of degradation. All the other weekends, Barcelona I was in fourth place but then I had a puncture; Monaco in qualifying we had the speed to fight for a win, I think, but then we had a problem with the steering wheel and I just went straight. I think the speed is there and everything is there and it’s just a matter of luck. We have been very unlucky in the last few races.”

Villeneuve slams standards in Formula One, calling today’s drivers ‘babies’ (Daily Mail)

“There is no respect amongst them. I think, 20 or 30 years ago, the risk of dying was high and there was that extra respect. They weren’t little daddy’s boys like now. They are still babies.”

Montreal’s Grand Prix kicks off under protest threat (CBC News)

“Michel D’Avignon, who organizes the downtown Peel Paddock event, said he has quadrupled security in light of the potential protests.”

Montreal police make arrests ahead of Grand Prix (CTV News)

“One day before Montreal comes alive with the sound of revving engines and cheering fans during the Grand Prix, police carried out a series of raids targeting 11 key suspects believed to have been involved in vandalism.”

Paul Pietsch 1911-2012 (Adam Cooper)

“Paul Pietsch – the last surviving driver of the pre-war Silver Arrows era – has died just a few weeks short of his 101st birthday.”

Susie Wolff explains why there aren’t more women in F1 (BBC)

“Wolff, who races in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and signed for Williams earlier this year, believes there will be a female F1 driver ‘within the next decade’.”

F1 Fanatic via Twitter

“F1 Fanatic should hit a major milestone tomorrow. Keep an eye out for a special article to mark it…”

Comment of the day

Mark Webber’s plain-spoken style appealed to several readers, including Timi:

I love how he’s so frank. I wish every driver would just tell it how they see things.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio was badly injured in a crash at Monza on this day in 1952.

The reigning world champion had driven to the track overnight from Lyon, having flown there from Northern Ireland where he had been racing the day before.

Exhausted, he started the race from the back of the grid having not participated in practice. Nonetheless he passed 15 of his rivals in the first two laps.

On lap three Fangio lost control of his car in the second Lesmo corner and hit a straw bale. He was thrown from the cockpit of his Maserati and suffered neck and spinal injuries that kept him out of racing for the rest of the season.

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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169 comments on “Ecclestone: F1 may abandon free-to-air TV in UK”

  1. God, I hate Ecclestone sometimes. Often. Every time he opens his mouth in fact.

    1. “We will never move all countries to pay‑per‑view only though it wouldn’t make any difference here in the UK.”
      In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king – Bernie. money, money, money screw the viewers, money, money, money..

    2. Well it is only fair, considering the rest of the world pays for it…

      1. I don’t pay for it here in Belgium.

        1. Nor do I here in Spain.

          1. Sorry… I missed the sarcasm.

          2. Nor do I in France

          3. (Just felt like it was something to follow up to :D)

          4. Nor do I on the Philippines (just to pile on) :)

        2. @deurmat On what channel will you be watching the qualifying live then?

          1. @necrodethmortem Usually quali is live on “La Deux” and “Sporza” (één) depending if you want it in french or dutch …

          2. @jeanrien Usually, yes, but not this weekend. On Saturday, La Deux is showing Holland-Denmark and VT4 (not Sporza anymore) has it’s usual evening reality TV drab. And the race on Sunday is only live on La Deux. Good thing I speak both languages well enough, others might not be so lucky.

            At least with pay-per-view you know for sure you’ll be able to see what you want.

          3. I never watch VT4 because off the absolute crap commentators, and if I did have to pay for it I don’t want commercial breaks DURING the race like on Sky.

          4. @deurmat: There are no commercial breaks during the race on Sky.

      2. Nor do Italy or Australia I believe.

        1. We’d be happy to see it off Free-to-Air here in Australia. Our coverage is atrocious and run by a team of illiterate monkeys with little or no clue about F1.

          1. I’d prefer that than not be able to watch at all (with the exception of a terrible stream).

          2. One coverage, and I say this only as I think you are being serious, is a hell of a lot better than it used to be, and I’m damn pleased to have it at all.

          3. Please don’t speak for a whole nation because you sure as hell don’t speak for me.

          4. christopheraser
            8th June 2012, 16:27

            Apparently this guy speaks for all of Australia…. I can deal with the monkeys. I can’t deal with paying for TV

      3. We have to pay here in LIthuania, too. But I watch it free on internet, because: a) I don’t want to pay money; b) Sky commentary is much more entertaining than our local commentators; c) it’s ad-free.

      4. Here in Mexico we can watch Formula 1 just with TV cable, but thanks to Carlos Slim (principal sponsor of Sergio Perez) we can watch it free on internet streaming

    3. I have a great idea for everyone: one of my friends, in the UK, watches the LIVE German F1 feed, and listens to the 5Live F1 radio show. How about that?

      1. Having to do that would be tragic. Awful quality stream plus out of time commentary designed for radio rather TV.

        1. But the commentary from 5Live is pretty much keeping in tune with the pictures; it works when the BBC is broadcasting live races. And anyway, it isn’t streaming; it’s tuning your satellitte to pick up german TV

          1. For me it would be streaming. I don’t have any satellite.

          2. i watched the 2000 german gp from a bar in corfu – it was german coverage which was ok, plus radio 5 live commentary, which was awesome. there were some long ad breaks, but the radio commentary kept us up to date.

            not a bad idea…

  2. He explained that of the 25m households in the UK, “Sky reaches over 10m. We don’t get 10m on the BBC, normally about 6m or 7m.”
    FFS Bernie, get it into your tiny head that only a small percentage of the 10m Sky users watch F1.

    1. How dare you suggest that Bernie talk sense!

    2. Like he really cares about the viewing figures…the only figures he cares about are the millions HE can make from sky if they’re the exclusive broadcaster…

    3. And also, those numbers don’t overlap. People who watch on BBC aren’t watching on Sky. So, very basically, Bernie’s saying he’s ok with losing 40% of the (potential) viewers.

      1. Exactly @aseixas; what’s interesting to see is if Sky on its own reaches the same, or more, people than the BBC did last year, and whether together they a bigger audience (which it does seem they do). There might be some overlap for the non-live BBC races, by the way.

        1. Sky will be a long way off.

    4. And a little further down the actual article it even admits Sky have only averaged 1m viewers per race. What a load of dribble Bernie speaks.
      On the subject of Bernie: am I correct in my memeory that Bernie specifically stated that he and the commercial rights owners had nothing to do with the Sky deal? But then at the bottome of the article he says:
      “Sky have done a super job”, and added that the live rights slipped through the BBC’s grasp due to its complacency. “The Beeb were sure we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere else,” suggecsting that they actually did, go somewhere else, that BBC lost the rights, not bartered them. What is the truth? We will never know.

      1. To be fair – Sky getting 1m F1 viewers from their 10m subscribers is quite good going. Not quite as good as BBC getting 7m viewers from 25m households, but not bad at all.

        1. But a lot of those 1m must be paying specifically for the F1 channel. So of course they’re going to watch it having paid specifically for the privilege.

    5. I don’t mind the coverage being on Sky, to be fair F1 is a minority sport in the UK and being exclusively on pay-tv will not affect the viewer ratings too much. I wonder if these figures take into account recordings and re-runs, since Sky replay the races and all the other sessions constantly.

      1. Is it? F1 is at it’s most popular in places like Britain.

      2. I certainly don’t think it’s a minority. It obviously doesn’t have the following here that football does, but it must be one of the top sports regardless- 6 million viewers regularly last year- that’s 10% of the population taking the time to watch a race.

    6. He’s practically saying that 4 milions of people decided to watch F1 only when it came to Sky. That’s plain ridiculous, I think more people have quitted watching F1 rather than the opposite.

    7. he quite confusingly compares number of Sky households (10m) to F1 viewers on the BBC (7m). “Sky reaches 10m households…”, yes Bernie but the BBC reaches all 25m.
      “it wouldn’t make any difference here in the UK…”, except of cours that the viewing figures for F1 would be slashed down to 1m.
      Bernie really doesn’t give a toss about anyone except his bosses. If his short term greed causes the collapse of F1 viewing in the UK who cares? he’ll still manage to milk the cash cow for all it’s worth for as long as he can. What disappoints me really is that every party involved at all levels of this debacle, from the BBC execs to the teams, can all be bought and Bernie is the right man for *that* job.

  3. I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that having all the races on Sky is better than the current arrangement. Why? Because it makes Sky better value and easier to justify for many people who only want Sky for their F1 coverage. Of course, it’s a far from ideal situation, and having all the races on free-to-air, even with adverts, would be infinitely better.

    If, however, they have adverts in their coverage there WILL be violence — I will not be held responsible for my actions.

    1. However, BBC has higher quality F1 coverage. Sky have, in their usual way, tried to force it, rather than let it evolve, like the BBC has.

      1. I would say they have different sort of coverage @alehud42 The BBC one is much more of an event, with some fun and lots of great action, while Sky provides great sports coverage, and plenty of it. Matter of style and preference.

      2. It’s head and shoulder above what TF1 has to offer. I actually think the Belgium coverage is better than the French and always try to get it. I really need an english IP

      3. Disagree, I think the Sky coverage is miles better than what the BBC have to offer.

    2. If I could get Sky where I live then I probably wouldn’t be too annoyed, because you only need to have the basic Sky HD package to get SkyF1, which isn’t too expensive (for me at least). As it is, I can only get Virgin Media cable television and to get SkyF1 I will have to subscribe to the Sky Sports package on top of what I pay Virgin – I can’t justify that level of expense (roughly £25 per month extra) just for one channel.

      If it all goes to Sky then I will make do with highlights on a terrestrial channel if they are available. If I can’t see them I will just make do with the BTCC on ITV4…

      1. You still have the IPTV Dobin. I live outside of the UK and I get every channel on the net. BE manages to close some but more springs out after that basically by the same warriors on the net ;-) So all is not bad mate, as I guess you have an internet at home …..

        The Global war on Murdock and BE has started, both men are ageing and the young shall grow …

    3. They assured the 2012 season would be ad free. There are no assurances beyond that so the outcome there doesn’t take a genius. The access to SkyF1 is relatively cheap for Sky premium channels but again – that is this season. If Sky rights became exclusive then naturally the cost to the viewer would rocket. That’s not even a doom and gloom prediction either, that’s just simple business sense for Sky.

  4. subsailorfl
    8th June 2012, 0:18

    Milking it for all he’s worth to stay in charge.

  5. Ahh sweet COTD! Cheers

  6. Of course, it all makes sense! F1 is an exclusive sport for people with money. What was I thinking, getting seriously into F1 when I didn’t have the money to pay for a Sky subscription?! Silly me. Perhaps I should try rugby instead.

    1. I’ve found snooker.

    2. Have you ever tried getting a ticket for an England rugby match at Twickenham? Now that’s expensive and exclusive!

      1. And yet every England match at Twickenham is sold out, so I would argue the tickets are still too cheap ;)

    3. Rugby sold out to Sky as well, and there figures dropped as a result. Same will happen with F1.

      BTW Bernie that’s 10 million ‘SKY reaches’ (your words) watching football etc and next to none watching F1. 1 million? 10%? Nice drop from the 7 million from the BBC.

      1. @bbt The thing is, Bernie doesn’t care how many people view it. And why should he? He’s getting old and will be moving on soon enough. He’s proven himself to be a money-grabber, rather than someome who truly does their best for the sport.
        So, as long as Sky are paying him more, for less viewers, he doesn’t really care. And that’s the worst part of all this. Get Bernie out, and put in a board of advisors or something.

  7. Well, this was so obvious – didn’t you notice the “sky will have no advert breaks (in 2012)” in all the press releases when this whole BBC/Sky thing started?

  8. disgruntled
    8th June 2012, 0:55

    Cant be worse than here in Australia. F1 coverage hase gone back to Channel 10 & we get a commercial break every 7 laps. Its more watching commercial breaks with some Formula 1 in between

    1. Its still on onehd and while ad breaks are a nuisance it’s not the end of the world. I’d take f1 with ad breaks over no f1 at all.

      1. I would gladly have it on Foxtel if it meant no adverts.

      2. Maybe you’re in WA Julian? Eastern states its on Channel 10, so not only is half the time ads, but its also in blurry SD. I’ll stop before I rant about the 3 knob hosts

        1. A-men to that. The three Channel 10 hosts are about as useful as a chocolate teapot and as knowledgable about the sport as my son.

          p.s. I don’t have a son

        2. I’m in crappy ol’ SA
          Wow I didn’t realise it was different on the east coast, that is a bummer indeed.
          But yeah the hosts are terrible. I cringe every time we lose the sky feed and have to put up with them.

        3. Yeap that’s true.

          At the start of the year they were delaying the broadcast of the European races in Western Australia, in order make it fit into their Sunday Night Line of Masterchef, then whatever show is after that.

          For eastern states though Qualifying is on One HD, that’s the only high definition F1 we get though.

          I just shake my head at the decisions made to programming on Ten / One HD. With the MotoGP, Qualifying is shown in HD, Moto3 and Moto2 races shown in HD, but then the main event, the MotoGP race is shown in SD. Also anyone noticed the difference in number of ad breaks between the MotoGP and F1 on Ten? Seems to be a lot less ads in the MotoGP for some reason.

          My girlfriend and I agree that we would rather pay to watch F1 in HD definition, live and without ad breaks if that was an option either through Foxtel or web streaming through the F1 website (like how the MotoGP does).

          p.s. I generally don’t have a problem with Greg Rust, Craig Baird, and Darryl Beattie you can tell they are trying hard to put on good show, but have been severely hamstrung budget wise, and airtime wise by executives. My only two complaints regarding the hosts is 1) I wish they wouldn’t cut away from the Sky commentary going to and returning from ad breaks, and 2) I don’t understand why they include Darryl Beattie in the F1, they don’t include Craig Baird in the MotoGP; you can tell that Darryl Beattie is much more excited about the MotoGP than the F1, and they should just let him focus on that.

          1. I would pay for a dedicated F1 subscription service here in Australia if it were available.

            I am tired of how Channel Ten/OneHD are managing the F1 coverage over a weekend. It seems as if it has taken a step backwards.

            For instance, where have all the pre-race segments gone? ‘Ask TC’ was one of the better things on offer last year.

            I would also like to see more post-race segments. The BBC post-race stuff keeps you informed with the current ins and outs of F1.

            And finally. Get rid of Daryl Beattie and bring back Neil Crompton. At least that guy has a clue and knows what he’s talking about.

        4. Still a better job than 9 did of it!

        5. I usually watch the races at my cousin’s place since he’s a big F1 fan and has a pretty good home theatre set up. The first thing I noticed when it went back to Ten was that instead of being transmitted in 5.1 surround it went back to stereo sound. The picture isn’t too bad but it sounds so disappointing after hearing it in surround sound, especially when they’re showing netball on One (love to know what kind of ratings that pulls…) when they could be showing F1 on Ten and One concurrently.

          1. I’m sick of Channel ten’s F1 coverage. It’s complete rubbish, especially when the commentary feed drops out and we have to listen to the three clueless hosts!

            Not to mention the amount of commercials during the race is just ridiculous.

            BTW their broadcasting the Canadian GP race on channel ten in blurry SD in all states this weekend!

          2. I have the F1 Timing App, so during the ads i can see what’s happening.

            Its not perfect but it keeps my nerves intact ;)

  9. Andy Redden (@andyredden-on-f1)
    8th June 2012, 0:56

    I doubt SKY will have advert breaks in their races. Especially as they make it one of their main selling points and they would lose all their viewers when they shared with the BBC, making no sense what so ever. However if this sharing deal ended then it is likely ads will come into play. But finally SKY have a reputation of fitting breaks in around the action. Football, Cricket, Rugby, Tennis only have breaks during stoppages in play etc.

    1. @andyreddon-on-f1

      Very good point. If Sky don’t have adverts with Cricket, which goes on far longer than F1, then surely they won’t tarnish their flagship sport (as they are marketing it).

      1. @cduk_mugello

        their flagship sport(as they are marketing it)

        I would say Sky’s “flagship sport” is football, not F1.

        1. @keithcollantine

          I’d agree.. just they seem to be really pushing F1 since the start of the season. All you ever see on sky are F1 adverts!

      2. Sky do show adverts during the cricket – however, they’re in between overs, or after a wicket or during a drinks break.

        I’d be surprised if Sky introduced adverts during F1 races at all given all the negative publicity that would attract – but if they were to do so, perhaps they’d only show them during a safety car period/red flag or instead of the formation lap or slowing down lap?

        1. Or, far more likely, they would show as many as they can, as that’ll make more money.

    2. I’ll bet you that within two years, Bernie will come with a great idea : why shouldn’t the race be stopped every 30 minutes for a 5 to 10 minutes break ? It’s for the good of the sport ! (add justification to cover the fact that you want stoppage time to put adds without missing in on the action).

      1. The problem is that with Bernie, unlike every other 81 year old, he’s got a very small chance of dying at any given moment. Otherwise we’d all just sit around waiting for him to shuffle off the coil. As it is, he’s immortal and therefore needs to be challenged before his slip into dementia is complete.

  10. HA! Bernie still talks like he’s the only person in the world that matters and yet I’m still watching F1 after everything that has tried to put me off it in the past 3 or 4 years. He keeps launching his stupidity but I keep on watching.

    Anyway, moving on from a little weirdness on my part… I find it hard to see Hamilton leaving McLaren at the end of this season, but Mercedes could be the best team if he were to leave McLaren and if Schumacher were to retire. Lewis has a good friendship with Rosberg and would probably settle in quicker than at Red Bull or Ferrari.

  11. <blockquote.“There is no respect amongst them. I think, 20 or 30 years ago, the risk of dying was high and there was that extra respect. They weren’t little daddy’s boys like now. They are still babies.”
    Am I the only one who thinks that this is the most dim-witted, inappropriate and unintentionally-hilarious thing JV has ever said?

    1. disgruntled
      8th June 2012, 9:04

      I think so. For once he’s right, only thing he dosent realise he’s just another daddy’s boy

    2. Not the last of JV you would see. Also he talks about how racing was dangerous 20-30 years ago(alluding to his father’s death) and respect and all, conveniently forgetting that he himself only raced in F1 16 years ago

      1. But even then things were still far more dangerous…

  12. I hate to disappoint you, but my argument will centre on the way Bernie never actually says that the sport will move entirely to pay-per-view. Everybody is just assuming that he plans to do it.

    1. Everybody is just assuming that he plans to do it.

      I dont really have an opinion on the matter, but the cynic in me wouldn’t be surprised if everybody was right. But I think this will happen long after Bernie bites the dust.

      But I do agree that everyone is overreacting due to an overzealous headline

  13. super-high prices AND tons of commercials…welcome to the club! i’ll point out that the sky f1 package price is comparable to what americans pay to get speed (and its minimum coverage for minimum time, maximum ads and standard def only)

    1. Standard def? My speed f1 coverage is all hi def… But yes, it is indeed overpriced for the amount of coverage we get. If we had even half the pre & post race coverage UK viewers get I’d be happy.

      1. is that satellite? i have comcast cable (the nation’s largest) and they don’t carry speed hd at all as far as i can tell

  14. Other then maybe 3 races a year that are shown “FTA” on FOX (with them usually being tape delayed except for the North American ones) all our F1 races here have been on SPEED for years which depending on the cable provider is either on the Basic (as in like 70 channels) tier or in a separate Sports tier that you have to pay more for. I believe that Canada & Mexico also have it on Pay channels as well so yeah y’all in the UK aren’t gonna get any sympathy from anybody over here l0l.

    1. Well think of it like this….F1 is a mostly British watched, British backed sport, and for them BBC is like our FOX over here, which we get without having to pay any sort of fee except the basic cable package which everyone has to anyway.

      The NFL is our flagship sport and we get it on FOX for free…the Brits just lost their NFL(F1) if you will from a basic cable station to a pay-per-view outfit. I can understand the anger.

      1. f1 isn’t “mostly british watched” or backed, and to compare the bbc to fox is insane

        1. agreed, its closer to PBS then fox, as in its not out to make nothing but money and they actually have good programming.

    2. Sure, the coverage is worse here in the US, but i’m not going to wish the same on the UK and Italy. If F1 loses popularity in its home countries, the sponsors keeping the teams afloat will switch to sports viewers can actually watch, the money will go elsewhere, and the series as a whole will suffer.
      Selling F1 to Asia hasn’t been a huge success, there aren’t that many people in the Middle East, and North America’s never taken to it (besides showing up at the few races we get), so I can’t imagine why Ecclestone is trying so hard to shut out Europe.

  15. “Sky have done a super job”. No. No they have not.

    1. I think they have done a superb job.

      Great interactive coverage, every session in HD, Better commentators than what the BBC have, Better analysis, Live GP2/GP3 & better pre/post race analysis.

      I’ve been watching both Sky & BBC coverage this year & think Sky’s is miles better than BBC’s.

      1. I only have access to BBC and the only Sky F1 output I have seen was when they repeated their season preview show on Freeview.

        However I would be surprised if Sky didn’t do a good job considering the resources they have thrown at F1, giving the sport its own channel, it allows them to do things that the BBC could never have done even if they wanted to.

        As for which commentators and pre/post race analysis is better, obviously I can’t comment on which is best, but it is really just a matter of personal taste for example Brundle is highly regarded as a commentator but you still find people who don’t like him.

        I have read quite a few people say that when the BBC are showing the race live they watch the actual race on Sky but watch the pre/post race coverage on BBC.

        1. I have read quite a few people say that when the BBC are showing the race live they watch the actual race on Sky but watch the pre/post race coverage on BBC.

          The first few races the BBC post race was better, However Sky really upped there games for Spain/Monaco & there pre-post race stuff was significantly better than the BBC’s.

          1. I only watch the race itself, I don’t bother with the pre or post race waffle. I also watch the ‘Sky-only’ races over the web via whichever broadcast I can get from around the world. So I’m still getting all the races with the benefit of a smorgasbord of international broadcasters thrown in.

    2. I have to say that they have done a great job too. They are getting better each race.

  16. Re: Comment of the Day. You know, I like it when drivers are frank, as well. I hadn’t really gotten the impression that very many other fans did, though, judging from the firestorm of outrage that tends to erupt erupt when certain drivers veer “off message.” (And, just so no one accuses of me having a particular ax to grind, one of the main drivers I’m thinking of is Lewis Hamilton.) Honestly, I can understand exactly why more drivers don’t just “tell it how they see things.”

    1. People like drivers who ‘tell it like they see it’ when it matches what they think about things. When a driver says something they disagree with, it becomes VERY BAD.

    2. I think it is down to which driver is speaking their mind as to the response it gets.

      I may be wrong but Webber seems to be pretty well liked and there doesn’t seem to be many anti-Webber comments in general.

      Whereas there seem to be plenty of people at both extremes for someone like Hamilton, lots of fanboys for whom Hamilton can do no wrong and lots haters for whom he can not do anything right.

      An example would be earlier this season when Hamilton said with the car he had and the grid position he had achieved he should have won the opening few races. I interpreted it as Hamilton saying he hadn’t performed as well as he could have, which I thought was a reasonable comment and wouldn’t get much response.

      So I was surprised when there were lots of negative comments along the lines of how arrogant of Hamilton to think he has a divine right to win every race, which obviously caused the fanboys to come out and defend him.

      If Hamilton had made the sort of remarks that Webber had I wouldn’t have been surprised if the comments in reply to the article were well over 100, (at the moment there are less than 50).

  17. Voice your opinions with your wallet, folks. Cancel your subscription to SKY. Get rid of your cable box entirely. Tell those companies exactly why you’re canceling your service. I download every race now, even though I could watch it on SPEED here in the US without any extra costs. I simply refuse to tolerate poor coverage. Ad breaks are not acceptable to me, so if I can’t get what I want, I’ll find it elsewhere. If SKY goes to ad breaks next year, I’ll watch another network’s coverage of the feed, even if the commentary is in a language I don’t understand. Commentary is usually useless boring drivel anyway (Martin Brundle mostly excepted).

    TV networks are motivated by profit. They don’t particularly care about F1 or sports or anything else. As long as people continue to buy subscriptions, that tells networks like SKY that what they’re doing now is the correct thing to do. If you don’t like their policies, don’t patronize them.

    This whole affair really shows how hopelessly inept and archaic FOM is in regards to TV coverage. They could easily create a fee-based service for streaming the world feed (live, continuous, unedited) through their own website. I would pay for such a service. If they won’t even allow me the possibility of obtaining their feed through legal means, what the hell do they expect me to do except to obtain it illegally?

  18. I dont get all this fuss about women in F1. The fact is, if somebody is good enough they get in. If you stand out in the lower formulae, why wouldnt you get a shot? If Michele Mouton made it to within striking distance of winning the World Rally Championship, why cant women be in F1? There is no reason why they cant. Perhaps there hasnt been anybody that been good enough just yet? There are quite a few women plugging about in the lower formulae just now..its only a matter of time before someone good enough pops up.

  19. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    8th June 2012, 3:51

    Bernie would force all the teams to paint their cars pink and wear purple fire suits if it meant F1 would gain a little profit….

  20. You Brits just don’t realize how good your coverage of F1, and motorsports in general, is! On both the BBC and Sky. In America, I have lived in 2 states, 3 cities, together they total populations of over 300,000 and yet, I have met just 4 or 5 people who even know what Formula 1 is, and only 2 who know about GP2 or Formula Renault. We are STARVED in America of quality motorsports! I can’t stand our own coverage of F1, so I torrent all yours! I would giddily pay hundreds of dollars per season to get the coverage you guys receive. There many more like me, and when F1 comes back to America, there will be even more. This country has been polluted by the fake racing of NASCAR, we need an awakening and series like F1 and MotoGP and Aussie V8’s can do that! (I hope)

    1. Starved in OZ as well & considering we have two Aussies contesting the WDC at the pinnacle of motorsport. F1 coverage is pathetic and viewing other formulas is none existent. F1 coverage has now gone back to delayed telecasts & in SD so they can run “D” grade movies on there HD channel. The coverage is full of lengthy add breaks every 5-7 laps & always around pitstop time. We don’t get any practice seasons either. A lot of viewers i am sure would be seeking illegal feeds.

      1. “A lot of viewers i am sure would be seeking illegal feeds.”

        I do! How else can I watch practice sessions. :(

    2. Reading all this comments makes feel a bit lucky (just a bit) that here in Latin America we get all the sessions, there’s only 4 or 5 (3min) commercials on the races and if you don’t want to wake up at 5-7am they show the race again in the afternoon, of course there are drawbacks for example the commentators are Argentinian doesn’t matter where you live, the HD broadcast isn’t really HD and as soon as the race is over they switch back to football… very annoying.

    3. The think people are talking about though @justhuman is, that it might only be a matter of a couple of years until the British, Italian, … coverage gets to be just as lousy as yours (or worse, at least the team at Speed do a great job of it, compare Aussie and Asian fans’ comments!).

  21. Seriously BBC, why can’t I see an interview with Susie Wolff from Australia? Is someone else really going to pay you guys a lot of money for the rights to that interview?

      1. Thanks! Very much appreciated. :)

        I was interested in what she had to say about her own personality and how that doesn’t fit with the perceptions we might usually have of women in motorsport.

        It was an interesting interview. I most agree with what she said near the end. We shouldn’t generalise. Generalising just leads to discounting individuals whose actual merits are strong.

        Of course on such a topic it is difficult not to generalise, and it is necessary to an extent for discussion. There were some stereotypes used though, and stereotypes are never useful. By saying that women can take criticism better and men are more aggressive we create problems for when these things aren’t true. Even when these things are positives in one instance they are negatives in another. If you say I want an aggressive driver, so I’ll go with a man, then you’ve got a problem because you might select a man who is not aggressive and pass up a woman who is.

        I was also interested to see the women are better multi-taskers theory used. I’ve trawled through the scientific literature and there is only one (fairly recent) paper that makes that conclusion, but its methodology is fundamentally flawed. My own hypothesis on where this idea comes from is that getting someone to do all your odd jobs for you frees you to concentrate on one thing. If you tell someone they are a good multi-tasker then they feel good about doing those odd jobs for you. For a long time our society has been male dominated, and the men have taken to the tasks they want to concentrate on. I think we’ve developed the idea that women are better multi-taskers as a rationalisation for them doing all the odd tasks.

        1. Your welcome @dvc!
          I liked what she is saying as well. The interview shows she really knows why she is there and what she wants as a professional (and a female).

  22. Foreigners willing to pay £145.50 licence fee for BBC’s superb F1 coverage.

    Denied. :(

  23. well all u whiners about tv. joe canadian here, country boy at that. been with f1fanatic from the get go. lost me tv over 8 years ago. i’ve have spent many a sunday morning at 4;00am watching live timing on officialf1 and thats all there was! over the years i “adapted”.
    today, any feed you can want is on the comp for free. hook up hdmi and its pretty good on big sceen. ever hear of VyprVpn. come on folks, make it what u want!!!

  24. In itself, the insight that F1 may not stay free-to-air in the UK is hardly controversial. After all, there is no guarantee that in the future the BBC or another channel will take up the rights. However, Bernie coming out and stating it is already a little bit annoying, as if it is some kind of message in his political games. What really annoys me is his twisting of the facts beyond recognition. He makes it sound as if 10 million people watch the races live on Sky alone, compared to 6 or 7 million on the BBC last year.

    I’m not from the UK, btw, though I do watch the BBC coverage when it is available, (otherwise I watch Dutch RTL which has some ad breaks), so from a personal point of view I am not that bothered about how F1 is broadcast in the UK. However, reduced viewing of the sport in the country where it is most popular can hardly be a good thing for F1.

    I also agree with @lateralus‘s point that I would like to see an official live feed from FOM at a price, if the price were reasonable, and that is a big if. Their live timing-app has increased in price from 0 (I believe) to 23 euros this year! Anyway, if an official feed were available, that would mean I wouldn’t have to stay home every GP weekend (which is Ok for me, but not nice for the family).

    1. Agree with that on all points @adrianmorse, apart from usually watching on Dutch RTL as that is HD, and recording BBC+switching on ad breaks (but with Sky feed on computer).

  25. Congrats on 1000 Articles Keith! (I’m presuming that’s the milestone).

    1. Pages, not articles.

      1. @chops 10,000 articles perhaps?
        Only seven to go assuming 10 per page for a thousand pages (page 1000 only has three articles on it)

        1. Aaah nice work. That makes sense.

  26. Regarding Sky, it all sounds like rubbish. I honestly don’t see the BBC.dropping their coverage altogether. They already screwed the fans over last year and you would like to think that they’ve now got their business model right for F1. I don’t see them letting the fans down again. With that in mind I don’t see Sky taking the opportunity to throw ads at us in 2013. If a race is shared with the BBC for a particular weekend people will just flick to that while Sky are at a break and probably not bother switching back.

    1. It’s simple – the BBC cannot afford F1 as a long-term entity without some massive price cuts (or change in how the deals are arranged) and Sky have deep enough pockets to simply out-bid them should they desire it. Whether the fans get screwed over or not is irrelevant if Bernie takes away the BBC’s license to cover the sport.

      No doubt they are already looking at the comparative viewing figures and trying to work out if any Sky subscribers are still watching the BBC coverage rather than their own (something they can easily do by monitoring their internal viewing figures during a live GP weekend) – if the numbers are right, they can just throw more money at Bernie for 100% exclusive live races and boom, all the Sky subs will likely start watching the dedicated channel.

      Even if Sky only get a paltry million views, assuming the ~£30 minimum sub fee to get HD & ~two races pcm, each F1 race is bringing them nearly ~£15 million from subs who are watching the channel. If some of the viewing figures for the BBC are also Sky subscribers, that number is much larger. This is just blue sky figures, but theoretically Sky have already made back their investment in F1 for 2012.

      1. @optimaximal Oh yeah, I don’t expect the BBC to pay for something they can’t afford, however, the whole point of the deal with Sky was to ensure that fans could access as many races on FTA TV as possible without the BBC bankrupting itself. Now we have some measures in place I think the BBC would find it difficult to justify only 12 months later to find that it’s not a model that’s working for them.

        1. The point is, the BBC doesn’t have to justify anything. Yes, they’re a public service broadcaster beholden to their viewers, but if Bernie makes the renewal terms unreasonable (possibly with a garnish from Sky), they will have to break the contract as they’ve got no spare change at the moment.

          He’s shown in the past with the Spanish(?) rights that he has no trouble breaking contracts with TV providers if they can’t pay if an alternative presents itself – threats of fines come out the woodwork only if its a one-party race.

  27. Yes we all hate Rupert Murdoch blah blah bring back Murrey Walker blah blah blah.

    This Kate Walker has retracted the statement about Sky introducing in-race ads (click on the link in the round up). Might be best to update on this site too @keithcollantine

    I can’t see them doing that just for F1 and no other sport. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the BBC reduce or even ditch their F1 coverage early though.

    1. Kate retracted the linked story because it related to the Italian TV rights (the source she used was ambiguous).

      She has since posted a new story relating to the British rights here –

  28. Great to see a pro-Webber comment of the day, the guy has taken some **** over the years but he is a model pro, getting the results he deserves again – infact he is the ideal candidate to blow JV’s theory that all driver’s are babies out of the water!!

  29. Good to hear JV again! Love it when he speaks his mind.

  30. Okay, everybody just take a second to think. Don’t react. Just think about this: Bernie never actually says that Formula 1 will leave free-to-air television, only that it could. Let’s read everything that he said in that article:

    “We will never move all countries to pay‑per‑view only though it wouldn’t make any difference here in the UK.”

    “Sky reaches over 10m. We don’t get 10m on the BBC, normally about 6m or 7m.”

    “The thing that TV stations want to buy most is live sport. People don’t want to watch delayed stuff because nowadays it’s hard not to know the result if you don’t want to.”

    “Sky have done a super job.”

    “The Beeb were sure we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere else.”

    So someone please tell me, where does Bernie actually say that he is planning to move the sport entirly to free-to-air? If anything, he says that he will never do it. He is simply pointing out that he feels Sky has drawn enough ratings that if they were to acquire the exclusive broadcast rights, the sport would not suffer for it.

    1. He just implies it, and suggests nobody would suffer if it were to happen by completely manipulating the numbers.

  31. I was stunned when I read the JV article, they gave sutch a misleading headline. Then I read the script of the press conference, and I realised why they say Button would be a good ambassador for F1.

    Q: (Livio Oricchio – O Estado de Sao Paulo) To all of you, a World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, said this generation of drivers are all Daddy’s boys.
    JB: I’ll make a comment. Jacques has a very unusual way of answering questions but you’ve also just picked out one piece of his interview. Basically, the more important part of his interview is him talking about safety and the way that back in the seventies the drivers were more aware of there being a lot more risk and the possibilities of fatality. I think he was stating that these days racing has got safer, and the circuits have got safer, and he was talking about the manoeuvre with Nico and Lewis in Bahrain and he was stating that he didn’t think it was correct. That’s what he was saying. But that’s quite normal for you to pick out that sentence.

  32. Bernie go away.

  33. I think there is actually some logic behind Bernie’s comments. What he might mean is: We like to keep F1 free to view in most upcoming markets (America, Asia, Russia etc.). Because that is where he can increase the number of viewers, and people aren’t going to cough up a lot of money to watch a sport they might not even like. As for the established countries (most western European countries), here there are lots of fans that will pay to watch their favorite sport, and not so much potential new fans.

    1. I must say that while I might not like the tactic @sempregilles, it sounds like a pretty viable one and one it would make business sense to follow.

    2. Bernie’s logic is probably right, from his point of view. The problem is the core market – Europe – is basically bankrupt and its population are struggling to make ends meet on a massive scale.

      I currently ‘share’ a Sky Go account with someone who has a full sub, which I use to watch the live races. I’d also happily pay a reasonable sum (even £10-£15pcm) to watch the races on the internet, but I can’t afford the commitment to a full Sky sub and still pay my mortgage and feed my 2 year old son, such is my families financial balancing act.

  34. Interesting that Bernie times this comment to coincide with a race which isn’t live on BBC.

    Is it normal to question why you still follow a sport, even though you don’t agree with its direction, rules, rule-enforcement, broadcasting and ethics? Starting to know how Casey Stoner feels.

    1. Is it normal to question why you still follow a sport, even though you don’t agree with its direction, rules, rule-enforcement, broadcasting and ethics?

      I asked myself that question at the end of last season. After the last race, I was honestly prepared to stop watching my favourite sport on the grounds that there would have been not enough passion to cope with it not being live. If it’s wasn’t live, then it would have just felt frustrating and a bit empty watching it knowing that it’s already happened and you could just find out the results within a click of a mouse.

      Thank goodness for Kimi Raikkonen coming back and giving me a reason to watch my favourite sport again. In the end, I’m glad I did with it being one of the most exciting and unpredictable season I’ve ever seen. Though when he retires again, and F1 will probably be completely on ‘pay-to-air’ T.V, I would probably hang up my racing eyes. Pretty much like Casey Stoner.

  35. I believe that this “exclusive Pay Per View in the UK” comment should be seen in the light of previous Bernie statements…
    We still haven’t got shortcuts in F1.
    There still isn’t a medal system.
    And Ferrari are still considered indispensable.
    Silverstone/Britain still has a Grand Prix.

    All he is doing is trying to manipulate someone.

    1. I rather think it might have more to do with ongoing talks about the Concorde Argeement, and a bit as a reaction to the deal with Sky in Italy.

    2. The medal system wasn’t for lack of trying though. That was only dropped because F1 didn’t know its own rules, and thankfully following that they decided not to try introducing it again.

  36. Doesn’t it say somewhere in amongst the agreements and contracts that F1 *has* to be available free-to-air in some form? I’m sure this point was made during the original brouhaha. I don’t have the time to trawl back through the posts to find it at the minute.

    1. Something like that is part of the Concorde Agreement, @squaregoldfish, it was discussed last year amongst the discussion about the BBC/Sky deal.

      And now you write it down, you might be on to something. Although its something not directly related with viewers it does give a hint of why Bernie is talking about it now. Because that Concorde Agreement will end this year, and is being negotiated for the coming years, starting in … 2013. And its fully possible to change any such provisions to enable NOT having ANY FTA coverage in key markets.

      When one thinks about it, suddenly Bernie’s remark fits into the negotiations with the teams, as it might be a point they had been arguing about (say, if teams want FTA, OK, but they will get less share of the money or something like that).

  37. Just wish F1 would follow MotoGPs idea of hosting live coverage on their website and paying for a yearly subscription (which is great by the way), instead of having to commit to a subscription to Sky for which that’d be the only thing on I’d watch if I ended up having to get Sky installed (which seems ridiculously over the top these days).

    1. F1 coudn’t do that for contractual reasons. Most F1 broadcaster’s buys exclusive rights for that region which prevents any dedicated online feeds been made avaliable.

      Its for this reason that each individual broadcaster is left to provide online/mobile feeds.

      MotoGP do it mostly because there TV deal is a bit of a mess with most country’s not having any live coverage.

  38. Firstly, i refuse to take responsibility for Bernie’s scheduling policy, races held at the best time of the day for the host country is perfectly fine by me, even if that means recording the event or getting up at an unsociable hour of the morning.
    Secondly, i pay for F1 coverage via my TV Licence Fee, every Brit with TV Licence pays for F1 regardless of whether they watch it or not.
    Thirdly, we Brits are not unaccustomed to ad-breaks during F1 races, its not so long ago that ITV had the coverage and we had to endure ad-breaks at crucial times during the race that were the equivalent to ad-breaks just before a penalty kick in a football match.
    Fourthly, meh.
    Fifthly, meh.

    “Man up and Pay for sky!”
    NO!, why on earth would i pay an extortionate subscription fee for a broadcast service that is going to bombard my TV with adverts. Bernie might think that he can squeeze more money out of my pocket via SKY rather than via the BBC, aint gonna happen. Also, its News Corp, they dont get my money at all.

    1. “Also, its News Corp, they dont get my money at all.”

      EXACTLY! I take a hard line and don’t give any of my money to that evil empire.

  39. I think it’s time to learn a language where it’s broadcast is FTA. I’ve always fancied learning Deutsch.

  40. Rui (@ruicaridade)
    8th June 2012, 10:33

    The whole issue with Sky / BBC just means more and more people will be watching races through web streams. Is there any difference , license fee wise, between watching F1 in a pub (1 license multiple watchers) and through a web stream ? If the pub owner installs Sky (or any other pay per view in another country) to draw people in, is it really that different for a individual to make a web stream of a content he pays for and making it available for others to watch?
    In Portugal 5 years back F1 went on pay per view and honestly if it weren’t for web streams i couldn’t watch it. I missed a couple of years of F1 due to that.

    1. There is a big difference @ruicaridade, at least in the UK with Sky. A pub pays a different charge (higher) from home users to show the coverage, as its part of their business.

      1. Rui (@ruicaridade)
        8th June 2012, 11:24

        Oh. Here (Portugal) the price is the same.

        1. In that case, have a look at the Formula 1 in Pubs initiative, and maybe try to set up something like that in Portugal @uicaridade! –

          1. Rui (@ruicaridade)
            8th June 2012, 14:21

            Nevertheless even if the fees are bigger could there not be something like an “online/virtual pub”? You could play a membership fee and enable the people that attend your “pub” to watch F1 or any other thing for that matter.

  41. Even if all the races don’t end up on pay TV, I suspect more and more of them will. It’s a Trojan horse, Sky did the same thing with cricket and rugby. And if they’ll pay more for all the races than Sky and BBC combined are paying now, a deal will be done. Sadly, I expect BBC will pull out before the current agreement ends – again.

    I’m more disappointed that the Guardian is using Christian S**t. The poor guy just parrots anything Bernie says, out of either end, and pads it out with speculation (“The BBC was unavailable for comment”?! You didn’t even try!) and tries to blind us with unsubstantiated figures (he must’ve had a previous job selling car finance). He has a whole website dripping with this stuff (rhymes with **** *ss), and it’s a worry that it’s now being presented as news in (arguably) respectable papers.

  42. Here’s a bit more on the story of Bahar being sacked from Lotus.
    Looks to me as if the new owner is now doing what should have done a year ago. Clean up, ditch the over the top plans and built on what Lotus has with introduction of a new model, but not 5 at once.

  43. The F1 sponsors must be delighted that prime markets like the UK and Italy see their actual number of viewers and therefore exposure reduced by Bernie’s short term greed. I am surprised the teams don’t moan either as this will affect their income too. Or is it compensated by added revenue ?

  44. Sadly I think it is inevitable that live F1 will move away from free to air TV in the major markets, it won’t help the long term popularity of the sport but it will help the income, in the short term at least.

    Yes Ecclestone says that F1 will never move all countries to pay-per-view, and it wouldn’t make sense as they wouldn’t want to do that in countries where the sport isn’t popular and they wanted it to grow.

    Also in the past people believed Ecclestone had said F1 would always be free to air in the UK, but it turns out that half the races live and highlights is enough to fit those conditions, so even just a highlights package late at night on a minor channel would be enough to say F1 was still on free to air TV.

    The problem I have with the interview is where he states it wouldn’t make any difference in the UK if F1 went to pay per view only.

    As Ecclestone isn’t an idiot he obviously knows that isn’t true, but he tries to justify it by saying that Sky reaches more households than view F1 on the BBC, as if every Sky subscriber will watch F1 which is just plain nonsense.

    The BBC reaches every house in the UK with a TV whereas according to Ecclestone’s figures Sky don’t even reach half of them, also the fact that the BBC still has more viewers for highlights than Sky does for live races show it would make an impact.

    As has already been suggested Ecclestone is probably using this as part of a negotiating tactic regarding the Concorde Agreement.

  45. For the record that Guardian article is littered with errors, Sky are paying much more than £25m.

    Also F1 coudn’t move totally away from FTA-TV as teams woudn’t allow it, Neither would the concorde agreement. The current Sky/BBC deal is only allowed because every race is still avaliable on FTA-TV (Highlights or Live).

    As to the Sky Italia deal. F1 has been on Sky Italia before (Both before & After it became Sky) & they did a good job with the coverage.
    F1 has also been broadcast on what is now Sky Deutschland (Was DSF:Plus & Premiere previously) since 1996.

    1. Yes, the current Agreement requires FTA coverage. No, there is no certainty that the one that starts next year will have such a clause – in fact, as it’s designed as a long-term contract, so I doubt it will include that clause, given the way the internet is developing as a viable means of transmitting both live and time-shifted sports events.

      I believe that the investment with TATA is groundwork for expansion into new media delivery. It’s just proceeding at a glacial pace because of the lead balloon that are the expensive broadcast contracts – If Bernie announced tomorrow that all fans can sign up to FOM-run live internet streams for a monthly/annual sub, everyone would be happy… Well, apart from the TV companies who have spent millions on the contracts.

  46. Mark my words this day. F1 will become a PPV event if Sky get their way and it’ll work like this, pay £10-£15 a race without ads or watch on normal Sky Sports with it included in a package price with ads. Bernie would rather get £50 million pounds for 1 million viewers than £25 million for 6 million viewers.

    Sky Sports F1 got 650000 viewers for their first race in Australia compared to an average of 3 million when it was on the BBC. Money talks and F1 will die a slow death if Bernie is allowed to go unchecked.

    1. Bernie isn’t long for this world – he’s now on a crusade to extricate as much money from F1 as possible for himself/CVC with the goal to let his successor sort any resulting mess out.

  47. “Ecclestone: F1 may abandon free-to-air TV in UK”

    And several million free-to-air viewers may abandon F1.
    I’m sure sponsors will love that.

  48. It sounds to me like the BBC, Sky and Bernie are in the process of negotiating a new TV rights deal at the moment and this is Bernie using the media to scare the BBC into making a higher offer. It’s all part of good business.

    Sony did the same thing recently with attending gamescom, the largest games industry event in Europe. Sony told the media they were thinking of not going, it turns out they just wanted to reduce the cost of attending.

  49. Dear Mr. Bernie Ecclestone,

    Please stop being such a money-grabbing, poison dwarf. That is all.

  50. If no one signed up to the sky F1 deal, we would not have this problem.

    Bernie took your money when you didnt have to give it, and in a few years we will have to pay or not watch perfect footage. I wont pay bernie / murdoch.

  51. I highlt doubt he means it, however its a rather naive approach to run your ‘cough’ business!

    The half and half deal is bad enough…I can’t tell you how many times people ask me ‘whens the next race on and when? then I have to say at (location) BUT it only on Sky…and then they usually say something like ‘damn it’…it causes great frustration!

  52. As it is now past FP2, I wait with eager anticipation as to what the announcement from F1F will be. I have realised that it is probably a stockmarket floatation….

  53. Someone tell me how Ecclestone and the BBC managed to screw the public over this year’s switch from BBC for all races. At the end of 2008, they declared BBC had secured the exclusive rights “for an undisclosed sum” with Ecclestone to cover F1 for FIVE years from 2009 season. We ~ the licence payers ~ footed that bill, so how come they changed the situation? Does BBC intend to refund its licence payers for the loss?

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