F1 in HD “not until 2011″

The 2010 F1 season opener will not be in high definition

The 2010 F1 season opener will not be in high definition

Hoping to watch the 2010 F1 season in high definition? Afraid you’re set for another disappointment.

BBC’s Lee McKenzie has said on Twitter that FOM will not be offering Formula 1 in HD to broadcasters until 2011.

Many other forms of motor racing have been broadcast in high def for years. This year will be the sixth season NASCAR has been broadcast in HD.

While F1 dawdles about catching up with HD technology, football is pressing ahead with the introduction of 3D broadcasts, starting with this year’s World Cup.

F1 broadcasting

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81 comments on F1 in HD “not until 2011″

  1. superted666 said on 7th January 2010, 20:58


  2. How long is Bernies contract with the bbc for again? – and wasn’t the last contract with ITV cut short?

    • I believe the FOM supply the pictures to the different broadcasters. So changing broadcaster won’t result in any improvement, because the broadcaster doesn’t actually film the footage themselves, they get it from FOM, which Bernie is in charge of.

      I’m sure if BBC was filming the event themselves, it would probably be in HD. It’s Bernie and FOM that cannot get their act together. It is amazingly hopeless.

  3. Pacman said on 7th January 2010, 22:01

    Can anyone please explain why F1 puts up with Bernie Ecclestone?

    He charges the circuit crippling fees to host races that leave them with no chance of turning a profit.
    He siphons off half of the TV income, taking revenue away from the teams who the TV companies are actually paying to see – and therefore, preventing any of the teams from funding their exercises primarily through the racing.

    And what do we, the F1 fans, the one’s whose license fee money, ticket and merchandise purchases fund the whole sport, get in return?
    The inane (and occasionally offensive) ramblings of an old man whose only interest is to line his own pocket.

    I may have posted this before of here – but can you really imagine Manchester United, Chelsea etc. putting up with somebody who merely facilitates the broadcast of their sport taking half of their TV revenue? It’s laughable!

    Time for F1 to cast Bernie aside.

    (As you can tell, I REALLY wanted F1 in HD…)

  4. Icthyes said on 7th January 2010, 22:09

    Not really bothered! It would be nice though.

  5. Alistair said on 7th January 2010, 22:14

    It’s the same old story: somewhat paradoxically, perhaps the most technologically advanced sport in the world has the most archaic attitude to technology. And it’s a shame for all concerned: FOM could be making more money; the fans could have better coverage…

    • Hakka said on 8th January 2010, 5:28

      It doesn’t follow that FOM would be making more money at all if they switch to HD. HD is actually a substantial step up in costs, and I’m sure the “HD-ness” of F1 is not going to increase the fan and viewership base by any appreciable amount.

      Think of how many of us are saying “It’s not in HD, so I won’t watch!”

      That’s right, none.

      • Dr. Sasquatch said on 18th February 2010, 14:54

        Curling Tournaments are broadcast in HD these days so the “step up” in costs can’t be that substantial. While there may be many of us who will begrudgingly watch another F1 season sans HD there are potential new viewers of the sport who may chuckle and say “no thanks” when they hear that the most technologically advanced sport in the world is still SD.

        Last time I checked Bernie was losing viewers with his night races experiment… and he certainly will have a hard time gaining new viewers if he continues to shun HD.

        Sheer stupidity.

  6. Better late than never, I guess. I bought a new Panasonic Freesat TV earlier this year to go with my new house, so All will be fine and dandy come 2011.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys said on 7th January 2010, 23:44

    I actually prefer not having HD beause I don’t have an HD television. When Abu Dhabi was broadcast in HD format last year, half the screen was cut off.

  8. Keith, you miss on the most ironic part of the F1/HD not happening. It’s there :


    If you do manage to make enough noise publicaly around this, maybe that would force LG to actually do something more than add their logo and make adverts. Facebook group to start with, anyone ?

  9. wasiF1 said on 8th January 2010, 2:21

    Formula 1 is one of the most popular sport in the world,but it’s not offering HD.It shows how far back we are.

  10. Russell said on 8th January 2010, 2:45

    I really don’t understand what Bonkers Bernie’s problem is with going HDTV. Pretty much every country that hosts a F1 race has gone HDTV with its domestic outside broadcast facilities infrastructure, so if FOM were not so insistent on increasingly trying to produce the coverage themselves (for the 2009 season, only the Monaco and Japanese Grand Prix were not produced by FOM), FOM would be able to contract the coverage to a local OB company with end-to-end HDTV kit. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Formula_One_broadcasters )

    However, for some strange reason, Bernie has increasingly been shutting the door on this and bringing the whole production in-house. How inefficient must that be!! Shipping cameras, OB facility trucks and 70+ personnel around the world, only to output a mere eight hours of F1 coverage just 17/18 times a year (plus a bit of GP2 coverage). With such a low utilization of his own facilities, no wonder he finds it hard to justify the investment in HDTV kit!

    The IRB or FIFA don’t have their own facilities for rugby or soccer, and both televise far more hours of their respective sports. Memo to Bernie: Save some money and contract out the facilities part of the TV production to the local host broadcaster who can deliver an HDTV feed.

    Oh, and in case you thought the 2011 date for HDTV had some legitimacy, think again. I just came across this written by a FOC employee: “I have recently returned from Las Vegas where I attended the NAB exhibition. The object of the visit was to assess new broadcasting technologies with a view to FOM’s move into HD production.” Yippee!!

    But not so fast – he wrote this in June 2003……. (See http://www.trevor-turner.co.uk/CVResume.htm ). Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    Yet more reasons (as if we did not have enough already) for Bernie to go.

    • One advantage resulting from FOM producing the majority of the races is that the coverage is consistent from race to race.

      Although, surely FOM could enter into some arrangement with the local broadcaster for each race, where the local broadcasters provide the gear, HD cameras, lights, audio, OB facilities etc, and FOM provides the camera men, producers etc.

      It would mean that we get consistent HD coverage, and would save FOM from having to ship tonnes of gear around the world every year or upgrade their current gear.

      • Russell said on 8th January 2010, 4:13

        Not sure about the “coverage is consistent from race to race” bit. At some races (e.g. Japan) the Director seems to dwell on local talent, even if they are circulating by themselves playing tail end Charlie, thus missing the real action happening elsewhere.

        Of course only the cynic might say that the real reason Bernie wants full control of the production is that if – hypothetically of course – a race were to take place in front of just a handful of spectators, then this might not make for a good look. Let’s take a race completely at random, say, um, err, Turkey.

        If the FOM officials arrived at the Turkish circuit and were confronted with an alarming number of empty grandstands, then they could position their cameras in such a way the empty stands would not show on TV. Furthermore, if FOM were able instruct their cameramen to always go for really tight shots of the cars, thus showing minimal background, the sponsors and advertisers would be completely in the dark as to the truth and Bernie would thus not be made to look like he was forcing the circuits to screw the fans for tickets at exorbitant prices. All completely hypothetical of course. I’m sure this could never happen.

  11. Jay Menon said on 8th January 2010, 2:53

    Not too disappointed by this. We’ve just started HD broadcast in Malaysia this year, but ESPN Star is not available on HD just now. So by the time F1 catches up, hopefully ESPN Asia would have as well.

    Looking forward to F1 HD in 2011.

  12. Pengo said on 8th January 2010, 2:53

    Indeed Miha! HD is already over for me. Bring on the 3D! If ESPN can broadcast World Cup games in 3D why not F1??

  13. Rob A said on 8th January 2010, 9:54

    While this is a shame, from a selfish point of view I’m not that bothered – don’t yet own a HD ready TV nor can I afford one at the moment! Personally, I only intend to buy an HDTV when F1 starts broadcasting in HD – it’s the biggest motivating factor for me. I expect HDTVs will be a lot cheaper in January 2011 than January 2010 – not least because the upcoming World Cup will be pushing up demand at the moment (and hence prices)

    So not all bad for thrifty F1 fans?

  14. Macca said on 8th January 2010, 10:00

    It doesn’t really bother me, personaly I don’t see much difference between SD and HD. If you can see the cars going around the track then you should be happy.

    • Jon T said on 8th January 2010, 18:11

      You are kidding right? Can’t see the difference?
      “If you can see the cars going around the track then you should be happy.” Thats pretty low expectations for someone who is watching the “pinnacle” of motorsports.

      • Macca said on 9th January 2010, 0:37

        I grew up in a small country town with crappy TV reception, so anything is good to me know.

      • lol if you cant see the difference from sdtv to hdtv then crickey get to the doctors and get an eye test immediately!

        The idea behind bernie controling the footage was to stop the italians focusing on only ferrari or the british just focusing on their driver same and etc etc.
        But that hasn’t really improved the footage, with commentators almost in the blind as much as us at home.
        They need to feed the broadcasters a range of feeds so they can atleast allow the guys commenting to be able to follow a battle after the official feed is swapped to focus on LH driving by himself, or a tiny inside wheel lock up slow-mo replay.

        If they did contract local tv crews to hire hd cam’s and broadcast unit then the implementation should be very very easy, and be a lower cost than lugging around all the gear all around the world.

        The reason why it’s not in HD now…is totally beyond me, maybe it has something to do with a future deal to supply f1 to paytv only????

        • and the thing to remember is they tv stations that cant broadcast in hd can always downscale to suit their own market…

          It’s a win win situation…
          F1 need to pull your heads out of your ars…behind

  15. Adrian said on 8th January 2010, 11:43

    If, and that’s a big if, it happens in 2011 then that’s fine by me.

    I’m probably moving in the latter half of this year so will be buying new tv etc and will look at getting HD TV then (whether or F1 is on HD I figure if I’m buying a new TV, might as well go that way) so would then be able to watch F1 in HD next year…that said, I watched most of the 2009 season on the iplayer stream so even SDTV is a big improvement for me!!

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