BBC considering dropping F1 coverage

F1 Fanatic round-up

Cuts imposed on the BBC by the government may lead it to drop its F1 coverage.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Wimbledon and Formula One at risk as BBC seeks sports cuts (The Guardian)

“Formula One, although helped by the popularity of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, is not peak-time programming, and as a result is viewed as a relatively expensive part of the sports schedule. Having been on ITV as recently as 2008, the sport is not seen as a mainstay of the BBC calendar.”

Gregory Haines on Twitter

“So yes, apparently photographers were threatened to stay back ‘for their own safety’ by Mercedes GP when taking snaps of new front wing.”

Mercedes W02 ?ǣ New front wing analysis (Scarbs)

“The wing (main plain and flap) itself is largely similar to the launch spec wing, while the endplate and cascades have been changed. Mercedes front wing design harks back to the Brawn BGP001 of 2009. The Brawn pioneered the idea of the endplate-less wing.”

Car upgrades boost Mercedes hopes for Formula 1 season (BBC)

Ross Brawn: “I think it does mean a step forward. I don’t believe one or two of the other teams have shown their full hand yet, but it’s certainly a lot more respectable.”

Vettel sure of early-season reliability (Autosport)

“I think we are reasonably prepared. I think the last couple of years in the first races we didn’t do very well, and that’s the target because the championship starts straight away and every point in the end can be important. We need to have a competitive car from the first race onwards – and finish the races.”

Pirelli intermediate tyre

Pirelli intermediate tyre

Pirelli on Twitter

“Intermediate. These tyres have light grooves to disperse water, but this reduces the contact patch.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

McLaren boss is banned from driving (Get Surrey)

“Executive chairman Ron Dennis, 63, formerly of Thorley Close, West Byfleet, was ordered to surrender his licence at Woking Magistrates? Court on Monday (March 7) after pleading guilty to driving through a red light in Bagshot.”

Jonathan Legard on Twitter

“Told that McLaren engineers are braced for another year of technical catch-up, like 2009, which took at least half a season for progress.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

F1 Fanatic on Twitter

“Williams have extended and increased their deal with Oris, their logos will now be more prominent on the FW33.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

The secrets of Laurel Hill revealed (Racecar Engineering)

“Rumours of an abandoned highway tunnel being used by a racing team were the talk of the industry, but details were sketchy at best. Eventually Racecar Engineering managed to get hold of images of the tunnel in use which showed some intriguing modifications, including a large metal structure that has been added to the eastern end of the tunnel.”

Thanks to bosyber for the tip!

McLaren MP4-12C GT3 racing car first run (YouTube)

McLaren’s other racing car:

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Think F1’s smallest team has no fans? Think again:

I don?t care thinking how many haters are there, I just love this team. It must be really difficult period for their engineers to build this car with few resources and money. Geoff Willis did great job. Car is really looking good and I would love to see it doing better than Virgin and Lotus.

Again good work from engineers and best of luck to HRT.

From the forum

Thoughts go out to the victims of yesterday’s tsunami in Japan.

Site updates

Further updates to F1 Fanatic Live in time for today’s final day of testing.

Happy birthday!

It’s a birthday extravaganza with five F1 Fanatics celebrating today. All the best to Monkzie, Daniel, Garf, Michael Griffin and nitin24!

On this day in F1

The F1 season began in Bahrain for the first time ever on this day in 2006. Fernando Alonso beat Michael Schumacher to victory.

Kimi R??ikk??nen mounted an impressive recovery to finish third after starting 22nd.

But Felipe Massa’s first race for Ferrari did not go well:

On lap seven Massa?s debut for Ferrari took a dismal turn as he lost control of his car and hurtled off the track at turn one, very nearly taking Alonso with him.

He limped to the pits where a 45-second stop destroyed his hopes of a points finish.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

Advert | Go Ad-free


108 comments on BBC considering dropping F1 coverage

  1. Burnout said on 12th March 2011, 6:29

    I’m not a tyre engineer, but I’ve only seen Bridgestone and Michelin intermediates with a central tread rib. Will the Pirellis be as effective without a central tread?

  2. Christian Briddon said on 12th March 2011, 6:51

    That’s strange. If you read this article :

    It says “Formula 1 has been a signifcant success in 2009/10, exceeding all of its reach, average audience and cost per viewer hour targets.”

    It also says that Euro 2008 was the least successfull sporting event.

    I really hope the BBC doesn’t drop F1. Their coverage is second to none.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th March 2011, 9:09

      But they are spending quite a big chunk of money on F1.
      However my guess is, this is about raising some eyebrows everywhere (stop Wimbledon???) and acheive a rethink of the budget targets.

      • Icthyes said on 12th March 2011, 10:24

        Hopefully the re-think will entail a refusal to spend any kind of serious money on salaries. Part of the reason the licence fee has outstripped inflation for so long is because of the wage bill. The BBC would argue it needs it to attract talent. Well, who cares if they can’t keep Chris Moyles or anyone else and will lose them because someone can pay them better? They can use the money saved to make more quality programming instead, to offer an alternative to those of us who don’t want to watch Jonathan Ross on a Friday night. The point of the licence fee is that it gives a steady income. If they stopped spending stupid money on salaries then there would be no need for it to be so extortionate and people would largely stop complaining that they’re paying a lot for stuff they don’t want and can easily be found on the other side anyway.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 12th March 2011, 13:13

      Euro 2008 didnt have England in it, probably why it didnt have as many viewers for the BBC (or ITV for that matter). Thats my take on it anyway.

      They wont drop F1, someone said they have 6million viewers in a population of around 66mil, which is still at the 10% mark of viewers (there or there abouts(, and remember this is a Sunday when the race runs, so is competing with other sports, nevermind other types of TV programmes or activities that are happening at the same time. Thats only for the UK tv.

  3. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 12th March 2011, 7:30

    The BBC have always justified the licence fee by saying it frees them to pursue quality programming instead of being slaves to ratings. Yet if you look at their policies, this is blatantly not the case. The amount of decent documentaries has gone sharply downhill since I was a young boy watching them with my dad, to be mostly replaced by dumbed-down and sensationalised hack journalism, endless Eastenders and trashy rubbish like “My 14-year old alcoholic is pregnant” (okay that one’s not real, but the truth is not so far away).

    F1 is the only thing I watch live on TV on a regular basis (you don’t need a TV licence to watch the on-demand services). If F1 goes, I might as well ditch my licence and watch the racing on streaming sites, down the pub, or round my grandparents’. I don’t pretend it’s going to affect the BBC, but it’ll save me £130 a year.

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 12th March 2011, 7:39

      Happy Birthday to everyone celebrating!

    • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 12th March 2011, 8:12

      I realise I could do this anyway, but I feel paying £130 a year for what we get now on the BBC is worth it. If it went back to ITV we’d have adverts and even though they get zero of the licence fee I’d still have to pay it to watch ITV, so the value for money would drop.

      But yeh, I can’t see it. Maybe less services, but I rarely use those anyway and if they cut the pre-race build-up, I always thought they were too long anyway.

  4. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 12th March 2011, 8:06

    Pirelli are announcing their system of telling the tyres apart in Melbourne, sato113.

    I can’t see the BBC dropping F1. They would get so much grief, given the rubbish they justify on BBC 3.

  5. Richard said on 12th March 2011, 8:24

    The news article is just political scare mongering by the BBC/Guardian and not to be believed. There is a freeze on the license and they try to make it look like they have to make really unpopular cuts.

    How can you link an article which finishes with..

    A BBC spokesman said: “We are looking at a range of ideas and it would be wrong to comment on what is speculation.

    It’s a non story.

    • Daffid said on 12th March 2011, 11:49

      That’s a really interesting point. My first reaction was that it was a negotiating position to stop Bernie demanding a big new pay day, but the mention of Wimbledon makes me think you’re probably more on the right track. Why cut bureaucratic waste when you can threaten to cut services and get more cash… sounds familiar… ;)

  6. BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th March 2011, 9:10

    Happy birhtday to all al you celebrating today. Make a nice party of it, I hope none of you are sitting in the cold wet Barcelona granstands now waching an empty track.

  7. Monkzie said on 12th March 2011, 9:34


    Happy birthday to me and to all the other birthday people today – I didn’t know it was such a popular day for F1 Fanatics to be born!

  8. nickthegeek said on 12th March 2011, 9:42

    ITV wouldnt have it back i suspect. No other “Free” channel could afford it. If it went to sky F1 would be dead to me.

    I do wonder what the BBC were are paying. It blew me away that they were paying something like 7-9 million a season in the 90’s then ITV took it over for 70+ million. (from memory from the no angel book) I wonder if they are on a good deal now or have picked up where ITV left off. I suspect Bernie isnt that stupid and knows limiting the audience to a premium service would cut viewer numbers drastically and as such advertising reach (which is where the real money is)

  9. If the BBC do drop coverage and that coincides with the move to the four-pot turbos that’ll be it for me. I’m not paying Rupert Murdoch a penny for that. Saying that, I wouldn’t pay him a penny for it now…

  10. Andy c said on 12th March 2011, 11:45

    I’m getting a bit sick of reading comments of the BBC being focussed on British teams and drivers.

    Read what BBC actually stands for. It is a British org that happens to provide a world service from it’s legacy empire days.

    If you are Spanish, german, Italian and want f1 programmes focussed on your teams and drivers then by all means tune into something else.

    But don’t criticise a corporation for looking after the viewers and license fee payers that fund its coverage.

    Having seen other national broadcasters I think BBC coverage is no more biased than any other.

  11. Andy c said on 12th March 2011, 11:50

    And for any doubt about funding issues, check how much of the license fee goes to fund their ridiculous final salary schemes.

    My company changed it’s scheme this year, closing its defined benefit scheme as it cannot afford to continue.

    Why public sector organisations should expect to receive something the public cannot has always seemed hypocritical to me.

    • Why public sector organisations should expect to receive something the public cannot has always seemed hypocritical to me.

      There are quite a few members of the public who receive public sector pensions – about six million, last time I looked (although alas I don’t receive one myself).

      The old maxim was that the decent pension was payback for lower public sector salaries. But public sector pay has improved over the last decade or so while pensioners are living longer, so no one can credibly argue that public sector pensions can continue unchanged. But singling out the BBC’s pension scheme as being solely to blame for the possibility of dropping F1 seems a little unfair – and nobody wins when the politics of jealousy rears its ugly head. Your pension may not be the greatest but you may well have a few perks not enjoyed by nurses or teachers.

      And, of course, you could always get a job in the public sector if you’d like one of these “ridiculous” final salary schemes. If they still exist by then, anyway.

      • Andy c said on 12th March 2011, 14:00

        I’m not trying to single anyone out. The BBC is facing cuts to many services.

        I’m pointing out that exec salaries and overall pension schemes and liabilities form a large portion of the overall spend.

        I’m not for a moment saying cancel pensions. I’m saying defined benefit schemes are no longer practical as higher life expectancy is making fund deficits huge.

        My pension is fine by the way thanks ;-)

        Anyway. This is not the best place to run through non f1 issues :-)

  12. A Singh said on 12th March 2011, 11:59

    Stupid Tories

  13. James (@jamesf1) said on 12th March 2011, 12:28

    I would suggest the BBC cut the salaries of it’s overpaid executives and presenters (i.e. Gary Linekar and Jeremy Paxman are on over £1million) before cutting it’s excellent coverage of sporting events.

    All of the journalists have generally been full of praise of the coverage the BBC have given. Stepping up still further from the quality coverage ITV gave (barring the advert breaks…)

    I wish the public had more say in matters such as these, especially considering it’s the BBC. They’re the bunch of apes that bought in the license fee in this country, so people should get a better say as they’re paying towards programming

  14. Pete said on 12th March 2011, 14:58

    I think it’ll go to Sky once the BBC contract runs out. It’d be a shame although as I have Sky, it’ll only affect me in indirectly in terms of F1 being much less popular.

    Sky will offer ALOT more than ITV and they are the only two realistic channels for it to go to. ITV lost out to the BBC (who don’t normally offer much money for things) because they couldn’t afford to keep it.

    • Asanator (@asanator) said on 14th March 2011, 16:20

      Bernie rules out Sky because he insists that F1 is shown on free to air (terrestrial) channels to maximise the number of viewers that can watch it. It doesn’t have anything to do with adverts which is why ITV were able to buy the rights.
      I find Sky’s sports coverage to be pretty rubbish, it’s not all about quantity, it’s about quality, Just look at what they’ve done with the cricket! I have to watch it with the sound turned down and TMS’s radio 5 feed on.

  15. teamcba said on 12th March 2011, 15:33

    Pete. Itv didnt lose out to BBC, they actually finished their contract early because the couldnt afford to continue. The bbc stepped in to make sure there was free to air coverage.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.