Start, Imola, 1986 San Marino Grand Prix

F1 TV archive will bring new ’80s and ’90s race video to fans

2018 F1 season

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Fans will be able to watch previously unseen footage of races from the past 36 years on the new F1 TV streaming service.

While live race streaming will only be available in a limited number of regions via F1 TV Pro, F1 TV Access will make parts of FOM’s video archive available to most viewers worldwide.

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“The goal is to have a handful of races, both on a full and highlight basis, available at launch,” said F1’s director of digital and new business Frank Arthofer. “Going back to 1981, so 36 years.”

“And a lot of that content has never been really seen or released, it’s been sitting in our production studio at Biggin Hill and we’re doing our best to make it available to fans. I personally think it’s a really great asset and something that, regardless of whether fans will pay for it, it will surprise and delight them once they sign up for the service.

“For context, this type of service typically take about 18 months to build,” Arthofer added. “We’ve done it in six which is quite a feat from the team who’s worked on it and we have a number of partners involved including Tata.”

Arthofer denied the new streaming service is intended to replace the traditional television broadcasting model.

Lucrative pay television deals have been a key source of income for Formula One. The upcoming launch of F1 TV Pro, which will allow fans in 40 markets to stream live coverage of races, which has been seen as a threat to those.

However Arthofer said it is “very much not the case” that the streaming service is intended to replace television broadcasts.

“We have 100 million or so viewers for an average race. I just said a percentage of 5 million would be the target from a subscriber base point of view in the near term in terms of addressable markets. Clearly I think there’s a role for both products.”

“This is what I would call the very ‘superfan’ product. But there will always be customer who free-to-air and cable TV is a great and cost-value proposition, very effective service. This isn’t about replacing that, it’s about delivering the really hardcore fans a better service than is currently available in the market.”

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30 comments on “F1 TV archive will bring new ’80s and ’90s race video to fans”

  1. Excellent news!

  2. This reduces my displeasure at the main service not being available where I live. Only slightly, though.

    1. Agreed!

      Would be nice to get some dates on these announcements.

  3. They should’ve been doing something like this yonks ago.

    Slightly different but I remember when the BBC had F1, they had highlights of every practice, qualy and race for the period they had the contract (2009-15). I’m not sure you can view them now since they ended the contract but they should be made use of.

    It would be great to have at least highlights of every race and qualy going back even further if they are available. And I don’t mean the 30-60 second snippets you often see as ‘highlights’!

    1. I’ve always had this idea of alternative era for the graphics and general presentation. Would be so awesome to see it utilised here.

      For example, all of the modern graphics for some of the old races from the 60s-80s. Have the commentary and discussion set as if it’s real-time and not past-tense. It’d really help engage anyone who is put off by the basic aesthetics and lack of on-screen information.

      Saying that, i’d also love to see the flip side of this (something that RaceFans touched upon..) – old school 80s/90s graphics on modern F1, but perhaps complete with some Murray Walker commentary! I’m sure they could buy him a great home-based mic setup!

  4. All of this old, wonderful footage has just been sitting there unused and unavailable unless you were willing to shell out a boatload of money. This was the biggest thing that ticked me off about Bernie and his greed. Truly wonderful news.

    1. @pastaman +1

      I can see myself watching whole seasons starting with 1981, watching the 1981 races on the weekends when the current season does not have an event! I became an full-time F1 fan in 1997, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

      Fantastic news!!

      1. Tell me about it – started in 2013 – never actually seen a great year of competitive F1 in full! I have over 30 seasons I’m itching to watch!

    2. When the great site f1archives was shut down several years ago, it was a dismal time for f1 fanatics. Now that something official is finally going to fill that void, I am filled with with cautious optimism! This is the best thing Liberty has done so far.

  5. I am happy with that- was thinking we wont get the new deal here as we get Sky from the UK, but why not the old achieves. I love watching the races from 80’s and 90’s

    I love this photo above as well (1985 I think), you can tell what car it is even if painted all the same colour as they had so much scope in design. If Newey was to have looked to enter F1 today rather than in the 1980’s, he would have done something else!

    Good move from Liberty- lets hope they get it right. The option of driver view of all cars is great, but not sure how much people will pay for halo blocked view of the track from 20 cars?

    1. @garns ’86 (If you open the picture, it says!)

  6. UK gets none of this. In the interim could Sky (after paying a lot of money for F1) have this content?

    1. Read the article properly – UK will receive this retro service, but not the live footage.

      1. F1 TV Access will make parts of FOM’s video archive available to most viewers worldwide.

        @ecwdanselby It says the archive will be available to ‘MOST’ viewers & considering that Sky got special access to the archive a few years ago & have been using it to broadcast classic races for a few years now it wouldn’t surprise me if the UK was blocked from this as well as the live side.

  7. I hope it has the classic commentary too.

    1. Unfortunately, all footage – due to copyright problems – has been rerecorded with voice-overs from Kai Ebel (RTL), albeit in English. The footage is not dubbed, so you can still hear Murray Walker in the background but he only becomes clearly audible when he gets very very excited.

      1. Paul T Ortenburg
        28th February 2018, 21:31

        “Murray Walker in the background but he only becomes clearly audible when he gets very very excited”

        So most of the race then?

      2. Daniel Schmidt
        1st March 2018, 0:26

        Good joke.

  8. This is great news!

    But I really hope the video quality on live and vintage races is at least up to the same standard as the regular TV broadcast 1080p50, otherwise people might not completely ditch their cable service (I know I wouldn’t) and just buy the cheaper subscription for the extras.

    1. Just magically fill in the missing pixels and the widescreen bits from when the cameras were all 4:3 ratio, eh?

      1. @justrhysism You know that it is not possible to fill in pixels that were never recorded. I rather hope that instead of doing a poor job at upscaling the footage they travel back through time and record the races with modern cameras and bring back the footage to the present.

        1. @mike-dee I only just saw this. I think we’re on the same page, but can’t tell as you seemed to think that I thought it was possible to fill in pixels never recorded even though I used the word “magically”.

  9. Knowing how much Mr BC Ecclestone Esq. loved to make shed loads of cash, it never ceases to amaze me that this sort of service hasn’t been available until now. Proper F1 fans, like those in this community, will no doubt jump at the chance to watch this stuff if the price point is right. I know I will.

    How he didn’t see value in this I’ll never know.

    1. @geemac agreed. Think of how much more money he could have made if he had only embraced the idea of the Internet and social media. I think perhaps, in his mind, he was creating artificial exclusivity of the product.

    2. @geemac, from what I recall from some commentators here, I though it was more of a case that the effort involved in categorising, reviewing and digitising that footage was the main problem, and that the process of doing so was previously not thought to be worth the time, expense and effort.

      1. This is just the reason that Bernie gave for not doing it. It’s not that hard to digitize things, especially these days. Is it a small effort? Probably not, but neither do I think it is the enormous undertaking that he would have us believe.

  10. It’s a shame the archive doesn’t go back to the 50s. Would love to see Fangio, Moss and others race.

    Since I have a lot of F1 Reviews (going back to the 70s) I wonder if it is worth the money.

    F1 TV is not available in my country at the moment and the only way I want to watch it is when I can see it in Full HD on my TV.

  11. It cannot be “replacing TV” when the current broadcaster (specifically TSN in Canada) has nothing other than practice/quali/race and maybe 2 hours combined pre-/post- race coverage. Never anything else aired of any type.
    At least we host one of the best races of the season.

  12. I really don’t have the time to go back through old archives, I struggle to find the time to follow the Motorsport I do follow. But the fact that this is becoming available is great for fans.

    What I’d really like is for Liberty to start making hour 30-60 min documentaries about classic seasons, stories of drivers, teams, engineers, anybody who has an interesting story to be told.

    I’ve seen a few of these historicals done for the NFL; I don’t even watch the NFL and I got hooked on those docos. Great stories!

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