ITV loses F1 coverage to BBC from 2009

British F1 fans will be able to enjoy live Formula 1 free from adverts next year as the BBC have won the right to screen live coverage.

ITV has broadcasted the sport since 1996 and angered many fans by missing up to 15 minutes of every race with advert breaks. Last year ITV missed the moment that decided the world championship – Lewis Hamilton’s gearbox problem in Interlagos – because they were on an advert break.

More recently fans have bemoaned the obsession with Lewis Hamilton in much of the coverage.

And lead commentator James Allen, who took over from Murray Walker in 2002, has never enjoyed popularity among the sport’s fan base. It’s not yet known who BBC might put in the lead commentary chair – Walker did the European Grand Prix for Radio Five as a one-off last year but he has said he’s not up to doing a large number of races per year.

ITV-F1 hasn’t been without successes though. The appointment of Martin Brundle as second commentator was an excellent move and has been very well received. And they began broadcasting F1 live online this year, allowing British viewers to watch two of the practice sessions for the first time.

BBC’s deal will allow them to broadcast F1 on television, online (via its iPlayer service) and on mobile platforms. BBC already has some high definition channels as well, so we might finally get to see F1 in HD as well.

Ironically television communications regulating body Ofcom had recently revealed it was looking into changing advertising restrictions which might have forced ITV to reduce the number of adverts in its coverage.

It also appears ITV’s existing F1 deal has been cut short. At the last extension of their contract it was reported they would show F1 until the end of 2010, but that appears to have been cut back by two years. Was this ITV’s choice?

More on ITV and F1

2009 F1 season

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94 comments on ITV loses F1 coverage to BBC from 2009

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  1. Scott Joslin said on 8th July 2008, 11:32

    Interesting news floating around at the moment that Brundle and Coulthard are supposed to be on the BBC’s wish list for next year, but with Brundle moving to the anchor position that Steve Rider has at the moment and with DC in the commentary box.

    This doesn’t sit quite right with me. Brundle is far better in the box. DC would be a suitable replacement for Blundell. Still no news on the lead commentator – Hope to god it is not Charlie Cox, bless him!

    Interestingly no one ever seems to remember Murrary Walker being completely blinkered to the English drivers. Mansell and Hill could no wrong in his eyes, I bet he would be James Allen levels of obsession toward Lewis if he was still behind the microphone today.

  2. sparki said on 8th July 2008, 12:11

    only thing that annoyed me about Murray was he kept praising schumacher waaaaaay to much and im glad he was biased towards to Mansell and Hill wouldnt you be if you was in the box?

  3. s law said on 2nd November 2008, 1:33

    glad no adverts

  4. looks good but like to see james allain on the bbc

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