Ecclestone unwilling to renegotiate BBC deal

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone declines to enter talks with the BBC over their F1 broadcasting deal in the UK as the broadcaster seeks to cut its expenditure on sports.



A photo posted by Fernando Alonso (@fernandoalo_oficial) on

Training day in Genk. Never forget your roots 😃! #Karting #Practice

A photo posted by Max Verstappen (@maxverstappen1) on

Comment of the day

Hamilton chased Rosberg all race long
A view from the track on why Hamilton found it so hard to pass Rosberg:

I was at the track, and for the most part of the race they were very close to each other.

The only parts where Rosberg was able do open up a gap was on the entrance of the straights, benefit from being on clear air. Hamilton had two great opportunities to pass, on one of them he simply wasn’t able to follow Rosberg on the left hander that leads to the back straight, and on the other (this one was the time that he was closest to Rosberg) Grosjean got in the way and hold him for almost a entire lap. After that he couldn’t recover.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Joao!

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On this day in F1

Five years ago today, F1 teams tested Pirelli tyres for the first time since their return to the sport as official tyre supplier was announced:

Also on this day 20 years ago Ralf Schumacher won the Formula Three Macau Grand Prix. Jarno Trulli led at the start but a huge crash behind them triggered by Norberto Fontana forced the stoppage of the race.

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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51 comments on “Ecclestone unwilling to renegotiate BBC deal”

  1. Apart from Senna’s ‘second is the first to lose’ has there ever been a driver giving as many statements about how it ‘doesn’t matter’ that he is so far behind in races?

    Maybe his feeling is genuine that it hurts more to finish second than 16th, but a driver as competitive as him, with seasons like 2010 and 2012 fresh in his memory, where running second ended up giving him the win once Red Bull’s reliability expired on multiple occasions, he has to realize you have to be close to the top to seize opportunities?

    I know it’s probably something he gets asked every race, but it’s nearly always ‘at least I’m not finishing second or third anymore!’ or ‘Ferrari still hasn’t won any titles since I left!’ instead of ‘for sure, obviously we would prefer to be higher up with McLaren’. It just seems like a poor attempt at PR.

    1. Poor PR or not… I agree with it.

    2. @npf1 I think people underestimate the fact that sometimes you just have to move on because the same old path isn’t going to take you anywhere.

      Look how both Hamilton and Vettel jumped ships. Back then, for Hamilton at least, it was hard to see how Mercedes would end up being this dominant, but he felt his time with McLaren was done, regardless of his future. Same with Vettel, he went to a team that was seriously struggling and in no way one could’ve expected such resurgence, leaving the team that took him from racing karts to 4 time world champion. You could also throw Grosjean in this: he’s also leaving for the unknown.

      For Alonso it has not worked out that well. And I’m sure he’s not that much happier at McLaren than he was at Ferrari. But after 5 years of failing, come the end of the year meeting, how could he trust the directors in charge that the team would make a serious step ahead and beat the opposition?

      A decision had to be made. With no other option, and the potential of McLaren solely running a strong Honda enigne, he placed his bet. It’s not worked out… yet. We’ll see next year and in seasons to come.

      1. @fer-no65 Granted, it’s not wrong to think that a team with a works engine deal and a history like McLaren’s can fight for the championship in a few years. And sometimes you have to move on. These are not things I doubt about Fernando’s interviews.

        It’s his rehashing of the same statements during this season, ‘it hurts more to finish second’, ‘Ferrari isn’t that much closer to Mercedes’ and ‘I joined McLaren to beat Mercedes’ that makes it come across a little.. Forced. I don’t think anybody expected McLaren Honda to be this bad this long. He seems to have emotionally distanced himself entirely from this season somehow, fighting the past (2nd hurts more, Ferrari hasn’t improved) and putting all his faith in the future. The more people say they’ll be fine, the more they tend to be fuming.

        To be fair mate, there is only one article about someone mentioning “I think it’s even more frustrating when you are second or third on the podium.” and only one name above it; Alonso.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          19th November 2015, 8:56

          putting all his faith in the future.

          It seems that both Button and Alonso have been a lot more positive about next year lately. @npf1
          Not sure if that’s a genuine insight of what to expect in 2016, or if they’re just accepting that there will be no miracles this year.

    3. @npf1 In which context are you talking about. This is a roundup with several articles and a COTD. Wouldn’t it be wise to mention the reference at the start of the comment.

    4. I like Alonso statement as I can use the same to comfort myself I only work a 9-5 job. Better to do what I am doing than being race driver as I would hate to just miss out on getting into a top level series. Better to be an ordinary bloke hey?

  2. I honestly think the beeb should now just drop live F1 and move on. Either have them all or none at all. Just finally move away from this horrible little man that has ruined the sport.

    Let everything go to pay per view and maybe one day we can start a new series with Vatanen at the helm and people that care about racing again… not making as much short term money as possible whilst the FiA do nothing.

    I know its not going to happen, but I can but dream.

    1. I remember the times when Ferrari was threatening to leave the sport and start their own series. It was very unlikely and probably just a PR stunt to force their own way on F1 but at the time I was really rooting for that to happen. The F1 is so bad currently that I have actually stopped paying any attention to the news and rarely watch the entire race which a decade ago would result in my mates sending me to shrink to check if I am horribly sick.

    2. @john-h just follow SkySports on stream and use your anger towards Bernie in a different way :P or on a different topic about him, there are so many to discuss!

    3. Its not just about how much Bernie is asking from them, The around £15m a year the BBC are paying for F1 currently is actually on the lower end of sporting tv rights.

      As i’ve said before the problem is more paying to produce there own coverage. Producing live TV is expensive, Producing live sports is even more expensive & producing coverage for a sport that involves traveling around the world every 2 weeks is more expensive still.
      Your paying for the on-air talent, The behind the scenes crew, The equipment, The cost of sending it all out to every track, The hotel costs, Catering costs, Travel costs for all the crew, Satellite time to send there broadcast out & it all add’s up.

      I’ve told this story before but i’ll mention it again.
      When the BBC got the rights for F1 in 2008 they agreed the deal with Bernie & what he was charging them wasn’t an issue for them, However they vastly underestimated how much it was going to cost them to produce there own coverage & that is what got them into trouble.
      I was told in early 2009 that the BBC contacted ITV to ask for a rough estimate on how much they were spending & when ITV gave them there figures an expletive was heard & the phone line went dead.
      The expected budget for 2009 wasn’t enough & its why if you actually go back & look a lot of what they planned to do pre-season wasn’t done, They were unable to do the in-depth technical features they wanted to & were unable to use some of the technology they had hoped to because the budget suddenly wasn’t there & watching the coverage you notice the number of features declined as the year went on as there budget shrank.

      When the then coalition government decided against raising the license fee in 2011 what they were spending on production became unsustainable among the cuts they were been forced to make elsewhere & the went for the shared deal with sky to cut the amount of content they were needing to produce while retaining the F1 coverage that the people within the bbc sports department saw/still see as good value.

      To be honest where I think they have gone badly wrong since 2012 is that there wasting money sending out almost as much crew/equipment to the non-live races as they do the live ones. If they had scaled back the non-live races & sent out a smaller team to the tracks (pit reporter, a paddock interviewer & a small crew to film/support them) while producing pre/post race analysis (And commentary) from a UK studio (Like we did with our UK F1-Digital+ coverage in 2002) they would have made significant savings & more than halved overall costs.

      1. Not wishing to sound overtly political, but it’s not the lack of increase of the licence fee that’s the issue for the BBC, but the conservatives party anti-BBC wing foisting them with increasing costs from political decisions – firstly the bill for World Service was added to the license fee regime, and then the over 75’s free licence subsidy. Both of these are political decisions and in both cases previously government funded policies became part of the licence fee remit. As I understand it the over 75’s subsidy was around 20% of the BBC budget. Still I totally agree with your analysis of the costs become prohibitive. As the coverage switches to PPV and the audience diminishes, I cannot see how the advertising funded (for both the teams and for F1 on trackside) model can continue.

        1. @tvr350

          it’s not the lack of increase of the licence fee that’s the issue for the BBC, but the conservatives party anti-BBC wing foisting them with increasing costs from political decisions

          I generally agree with you. The wording of the BBC statement on the necessity of its cuts – which go far beyond just BBC Sport – is interesting:

          The shortfall has arisen because as more people use BBC iPlayer, mobiles and other online catch-up, the proportion of households owning a television is falling, while a loophole allows viewers to watch catch-up TV without a licence.

          We have welcomed the Government’s firm commitment to close this loophole, and will continue to urge Ministers to legislate as swiftly as possible.

          I don’t doubt that this ‘loophole’ has cost them some money. But so has the Conservative’s freeze on the licence fee, which has been in place for five years now. And if the BBC were to put out a statement blaming the latter, they could be quite certain of the government not acting on its “firm commitment to close this loophole”.

    4. Ratings are improving on BBC. The deal to effectively bypass the ruling that F1 should stay on free to air as long as it has a strong following was bbc’s and sky’s idea, not Bernie’s fault. Bernie should not heed to BBC.

  3. As an Aussie I’m concerned what the BBC dropping F1 means for our free coverage as that’s what 10’s been broadcasting (and I’ve really enjoyed their live streaming product when it’s available.) :(

    1. What are you on about? Free to air coverage of F1 in Australia is already completely rooted! These idiotic pay tv deals are killing not only F1 but Motorsport across the board. I have missed more races this year than all the ones I have missed in the last 30 years put together. I would rather the silly rules than no fta coverage any day. My kids interest in F1 is steadily waning now and I imagine the same is happening all over the place.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        19th November 2015, 9:10

        I expect Ten/One to do a ‘BBC’ and drop the remaining races as well.
        No worries – I’m used to streaming now when I can’t get the live FTA feed.

        1. You know what’s ironic, the only people who’d watch it on such tiny screens, with such a low quality feed are real fans. And yet, they have to talk about it in hushed voices for fear of reprisal.

          As far as I am concerned, F1 being lured to Murdoch’s fill my wallet service is the single most harmful thing for F1.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        19th November 2015, 12:18

        It’s devastating to see what that odious little idiot is doing to the sport I love… I’m in the same position – I’ve gone though all my mates and workmates stopping watching F1 so I had no-one to talk to about it anymore but I carried on sticking up for the sport. It’s reached the point now though I’m just not interested in what the sport has to offer. I don’t feel happy being forced to pay for it on the BBC – I’d rather have the option to cancel it as I think I will be doing for 2016.

        I was on holiday this weekend and have the Brazilian GP recorded on the box – I already know the result. I have had this situation loads of times though and despite knowing the result, I was always still excited to see how it all happened.

        I’m struggling here though to find any enthusiasm to watch it. I’m sure there were a bunch of lovely DRS passes down the home straight, plenty of team orders, shots of rich people, massive grid penalties, issues getting tyres into the right temperature band, Brundle moaning about drivers going off the track, nothing being done about it and so on… I suppose at least as it’s Brazil, the fans will be brilliant. 2 races in a row where the fans are the most interesting (and loudest) thing about the race!

    2. They would likely just take the Sky commentary as other English speaking broadcasters who don’t produce there own commentary do.

      1. Pray you don’t get the US/NBCSN commentary.

        1. Do they still make random noises & squeals every-time cars get close to each other?
          And does Matchett still randomly shout things like “go on my son” every-time someone attempts an overtake?

          When i’m in the US these-days I always make sure I have a VPN to give me access to UK coverage, Preferably Sky as I prefer there commentary & it gives me access to the goodies such as in-car cams on there ipad app.

          1. Mansell's_Stache
            19th November 2015, 19:44

            Yes. Yes, they do.

            Whoooooa!!!! Get in there, son!

            Oh, and don’t forget. You have to be within 1 second to use DRS (in case you didn’t get that the first 1,000 times we mentioned it).

        2. I actually like their commentary. I have watched both Sky and NBCSN over the past few years and Sky seems to be less exciting but more informed on what is happening. NBCSN is the opposite, but Steve Matchett does often pick up on minor details and make predictions that end up being confirmed based on those minor details (basically he has a good technical understanding of F1). While NBCSN’s commentary team is on par with Sky (IMO), their broadcasts are not because they decide to miss 1/4 of the race due to commercials and often miss important stuff. They spend a lot of time advertising F1 during the week only to have tons of cross promotions during F1. To get the best of both I tune into NBCSN but have a Sky stream on my laptop for when they go to commercial, and that seems to work well.

          1. @blockwall2 – Haha I like your strategy! I used to VPN back to the UK for the Sky feed but a few months ago they ended Sky Go so I don’t know how to get it – suggestions anyone?

            Agree Steve Matchett is value, but David Hobbs is very very hard to listen to. And don’t get me started on that Australian guy…

            On another note, I’m not sure if its just me being away from the UK for a few years, but has Martin Brundle’s ego grown somewhat? I was back in the UK for the Austin GP and he was starting to grate…

            Finally, IMHO whichever broadcaster Ted Kravitz is with is the one worth watching.

      2. I doubt they’d get the Sky commentary as Foxtel use the whole weekends Sky coverage. Ten would probably be forced to go with their own commentators or drop coverage

      3. We already get the full Sky coverage but you have to pay for it. Up until this year every race was free, and in HD for a while on a dedicated channel. It’s really gone downhill fast. I coughed up for the Sky coverage though, so haven’t missed out.

    3. Murdoch will likely not help Ten unless it also helps himself.

  4. Regarding comment of the day:

    The only parts where Rosberg was able do open up a gap

    I don’t think he was unable to open a gap, I think he didn’t want to push for no reason and risk ruining his tyres or making a mistake. He was managing and controlling the pace.

    Whitmarsh – I cannot see being a good candidate for the job. He was unable to produce results at a team which had an absolutely massive budget, I don’t see him succeeding at a team that basically has nothing.

    1. @strontium Whitmarsh knows Manor’s new engine supplier Mercedes very well and was a top figure at McLaren during many of their championship-winning seasons. Whether he could have done better in his spell in charge of the race team is one thing, but he is immensely qualified for the Manor job.

  5. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    19th November 2015, 1:25

    So Fernando didn’t miss Ferrari in Malaysia, Hungary and Singapore? And a podium hurts more than not being able to run at least Q1, making us wonder which are the #placesalonsowouldratherbe ?

    1. He might have missed driving in the car, but things were very much broken between Ferrari and Fernando. Why he doesn’t admit at least that he’d like to finish higher up is a mystery to me too, though.

      1. Alonso always seems to end up leaving a bad feeling in teams. There must have been happy enthusiasm from him at first, which waned along with the car’s performance. I’d like to bet that Vettel’s light hearted yet passionate and on-going work within Ferrari’s engineering team has made him a favourite among the Maranello staff and it will continue.

        ATM I’m paying NowTV for a day pass when it’s not live on BBC. Okay so far. I don’t think I would be willing to pay Sky £30 extra a month for two hours of race.

  6. Lewis will be in Zoolander..?
    Quoting Brad Keselowski: “Oh, hell no.!” (before getting eaten by the shark)

    1. You can see him in the trailer for a second or 2 watching the podium of either a concert or a fashion show of some sort @ernietheracefan

  7. Alonso’s season of delusion knows no bounds. One should have suspected such statements after such a disappointing race in Brazil.

    But anyhow Alonso, it only matters if you are happy. If you are happy at McLaren, happy to be chasing Q2 spots, happy to be relieved at finishing 12th and just missing out on points, happy to sometimes score a point; its all that matters. Meanwhile let Vettel enjoy the bitter champagne along with the Red team.

    He is putting all his eggs in one basket and if McLaren turn out to be a dud next year, he has to keep quiet for a full season.

    Meanwhile Ferrari have issued a bold claim that they want to be ahead of Mercedes next year and not just be close to them. Why would someone want to be with such a team when you can get into Q2 and call it the best lap one has ever driven :)

    1. YEah, well Alonso. But his former employers at Ferrari are back at it too @evered7. From being cautious one year, they are now back to their “next year will be our year” mode. I do not expect them to do better than second anyway, as they did in the past few years, exactly what Alonso grew tyred of.

      At least now he can feel that they are building somethign up, making progres.

      1. I honestly feel that after 2010, this is the first season that Ferrari have gotten closer to the leaders. There is nothing wrong in a bit of optimism and Arrivabene clearly states his goals that since the engines are almost a match, they need to focus on improving other areas of the car to get them to beat Mercedes. Looks like a honest observation to me.

        Unlike Alonso/McLaren who aim to somehow find 2.5s and beat the Mercs next season.

        1. Yes, it is the first time since 2010 that Ferrari have not dropped a bit back over the winter and actually catched up. But all of it was from their big jump over the winter, hardly anything they brought to the car seemed to get them closer @evered7.

          Yes, Arrivabene is right that now they need to up the ante with their chassis. But mainly with keeping the development coming, as Mercedes has clearly not reached the end of their potentials yet. I can see Vettel really being in the fight next year, but so far haven’t seen anything that points towards him being able to get the WDC next year. And with Kimi in the other Ferrari, it will be a one man show, making them out of reach of the constructors championship. And if Red Bull get something going, I can see them beat Ferrari to that too.

          1. @bascb @bosyber I don’t think Ferrari is as interested in the WCC as they are on the WDC. I agree they made the biggest jump in terms of the performance in the Winter break. But the last two races (after the intro of the new engine), they seem closer than ever before even when Mercs are at the strongest.

            Kimi has had his share of blunders but has been let down by the car as well along with the pit crew while Vettel has had relatively easier time with reliability. Not saying he will match Vettel but he isn’t that slow either.

            As this year has shown, the PU is everything. Even if RB build a spaceship, they ain’t going anywhere on the Renault PU and with Mercs/Ferrari declining their engines, I don’t see a challenge from them next season unless Renault show a dramatic improvement like Ferrari last winter.

            McLaren is the dark horse here and even then I don’t think they will beat Mercs in the first year of asking (after the debut).

            So in all sense, the 2016 WDC challenge will resemble 2015 but being a lot closer. Mercedes can’t choose to satisfy both the drivers while Ferrari will openly support Vettel. It will be a difficult task for Mercedes to then do the single strategy thingy.

        2. Well @evered7, @bascb, I hope they are right about being closer, perhaps even a bit ahead, but I wouldn’t want Ferrari well ahead, with only Vettel there to win; we can only hope Ferrari aren’t as good as they seem to think they are so that we can have a Mercedes – Vettel fight.

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        19th November 2015, 9:16

        I’ll get my 2016 prediction in early as well @bascb.
        – McLaren making the most progress;
        – Vettel WDC
        – and (I hope that) RBR-‘no name’ can be up there ever so often, STR-Ferrari strong enough for VES/SAI to shine, and Manor catches up with the midfield.
        Could be an exciting season!

    2. @evered7 Realistically, what is the alternative for Alonso other than to stick it out at McLaren and put a brave face on it? He’s not going to another F1 team, he’s not taking a sabbatical to pedal an LMP1 car for a bit. And it’s not as if he isn’t piling the pressure on Honda (“GP2 engine”). So really, what else do you expect him to say?

      Of course if Arrivabene’s prophesy comes true, Alonso will definitely need a new line of argument…

      1. @keithcollantine I would really like it if he can not put down one team in order to get his argument going. Be it the ‘gp2 engine’ comment, second is the first loser line etc. People have accepted that he has the best race craft of all the grid even if he lack the ultimate top speed now. What is the need to nurture his pride in his age?What happened to the ‘no comments’ line? Does he really have to give them a sound bite?

        There is sticking it out for McLaren and then there is putting Ferrari down to make his decision seem the right now. Choose the former and blow it when the time comes. Not when languishing at the bottom of the grid fighting to stay ahead of the Manors.

        Personally I feel 2010 was his best chance to win the WDC. He blew it early in the season along with Ferrari making a blunder at Abu Dhabi. He made a career out of putting the team down to highlight his shine all the years at Ferrari and is starting to do the same in McLaren as well.

        Didn’t work well before and I see no reason to think it will work now either. It will be a big improvement if they even challenge Ferrari let alone beat/match Mercedes.

        I have supported his decision to move away in the beginning of the season but his comments are becoming a shame as the situation at McLaren goes from one disaster to another.

        2016 can’t come soon enough for me for this reason alone :)

      2. The subject matter isn’t why FA made his move and ‘what else should he have done?’.
        It’s WHY does he continue to make ridiculous comments that make him look like a petulant child? Really FA? It’s better to fight for Q2 positions than race wins? You’ve turned into a meme-factory shadow of your former self. Shameful.

      3. @keithcollantine You think what FA is running on about every time he’s asked is ‘putting on a brave face’? He’d be better off deferring to a different question than saying he’d RATHER be a back-marker than fighting for race wins. Just cut the Ferrari comments. They’re doing much better without him. He should be focusing on which color lawn chair to bring trackside for the next race.

  8. So where in the zoolander trailer is Lewis???

    1. About 22 seconds in.

    2. 20 seconds in.

  9. I never missed a race in thirty years, I even got up for the night / early morning races back in the day, but when it went to the BBC and they dropped races I started to ween myself of my sport and honestly I don’t miss it. But Bernie should realise that once you stop watching and lose interest nothing will bring those people back and that revenue is lost for good. Bernie has three or four more years on this earth and his mammoth greed will see him excluded form heaven, remember camel rich man eye of the needle cobblers . Devine pay back I hope.

  10. Not a penny to Murdoch …. I will feed my dwindling interest in F1 via alternative (legal) means

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