ITV Sport to broadcast in HD… but not F1?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

David Coulthard, Alexander Wurz, Melbourne, 2007, 2Some time ago I started putting a bit of cash to one side so that when ITV finally arranged to broadcast F1 in high definition I could run out and buy a HD TV.

Predictably enough there’s been little sign of progress towards HD. I gave up hope of seeing a race in HD last season and spent the money on tickets to the Italian Grand Prix instead.

ITV eventually announced late last year that it will begin broadcasting in HD this spring. But it seems F1 is not top of their list of priorities.

ITV HD will broadcast on a new free satellite service called Freesat from spring 2008 (along with the BBC, former F1 rights-holders). According to ITV’s website the channel will feature:

The best of ITV sport and drama in stunning high definition quality. It will begin as a two-to three-hour peak time service that will extend its hours as HD audiences build.

“The best of ITV sport”? Well that’s got to include F1, surely? Perhaps not. Freesat’s website gives some more details:

Watch the Euro 2008 matches and the Beijing Olympics, and you’ll see every rippling muscle as the teams battle it out.

Well that sounds delightfully homo-erotic but what about Formula 1? More to the point, why on earth are they showing Euro 2008 in HD when none of the British teams have qualified for it, while ignoring F1 where a certain British driver has generated a considerable increase of interest in the sport?

Lewis Hamilton’s world championship bid is credited with boosting ITV’s F1 audience by an average of 40% last year. Over half the nation’s television sets were tuned into the Brazilian Grand Prix finale – that’s 10.6m viewers. Will that many people be watching Switzerland versus the Czech Republic play football?

At present the only way to see F1 in HD in Britain is in cinemas.

Are any of you outside of Britain getting F1 in HD this year?

Photo copyright: Red Bull / GEPA

More about ITV-F1 and F1 in HD