So much for keeping F1 free-to-air

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Update: F1 fans in Britain are urged to support this petition to the government to make F1 a protected, free-to-air sporting event:

See here for more information:


Paul di Resta, Martin Brundle, Silverstone, 2011

The BBC's Martin Brundle interviews Paul di Resta on the grid at the British Grand Prix

F1 fans in the UK have reacted angrily to today’s news that Sky TV will take over much F1 broadcasting.

From next year, the only way to see a full season of F1 will be to buy a Sky Sports subscription. And they don’t come cheap.

For 12 months of Sky Sports a new user will have to pay ??487*. And that’s only if you want to see the action in standard definition.

To see every F1 race in HD next year the price goes up to an eye-watering ??610. No wonder Sky just announced annual profits of more than ??1bn.

This is surely not what F1 Teams’ Association chairman Martin Whitmarsh had in mind last month when he said: “It?s crucial to the commercial model of Formula 1 that TV coverage should remain free-to-air, and therefore universally accessible, and therefore widely consumed and enjoyed by large numbers of viewers ?ǣ and the BBC delivers that in the UK.”

It was a hot topic during the recent F1 Fans’ Forum at Silverstone where Whitmarsh told the assembled fans: “All of the FOTA teams believe in free-to-air television.”

The BBC says it will continue to show “half” of the races live. So far three out of a potential 21 rounds have been confirmed.

The upshot of this is clear: for F1 fans, who want to see all 20-odd rounds of their favourite sport, the broadcast is no longer free-to-air.

It is also exactly why the British government should have added F1 races to list of protected events when it last had the chance to do so in 2009.

There is hope for fans yet as the new deal may infringe upon the teams’ contract with Bernie Ecclestone.

Whitmarsh said last month: “Our current contracts require that F1 remain on free-to-air and the teams, through FOTA, are clearly going to safeguard their business interests and the interests of the fans in this regard.”

Let’s see if FOTA do what they said they would and safeguard the interests of fans who want to continue watching F1 as they can this year without paying over ??600 to do so.

Thank you for all your comments on the subject so far. Please continue to leave your thoughts below, and do let us know whether you’re a current Sky customer or not, and whether you will be next year.

Several people have asked how to register complaints or contact the people involved. You can contact FOTA here and the BBC’s complaints department here.

*12 months at ??39.75 per month plus a ??10 set-up fee. HD costs an extra ??10.25 per month

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615 comments on So much for keeping F1 free-to-air

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    • Jimmy said on 29th July 2011, 8:41

      cheers for the link mate!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 8:47

      The deal has already been done. It’s not going to be undone because of an online petition.

      • Chris P said on 29th July 2011, 8:53

        You are almost certainly correct Prisoner Monkeys, however if we don’t voice our concerns then the BBC won’t think twice when the contract comes up again in the future. Signing the petition will not do any harm, it only has potential to do good. Just sign it! Lol

        • Stew said on 29th July 2011, 11:03

          This is not the petition you should be signing, the government has its own petition service – and if we get over 100,000 signs – it will be debated in the house of commons.

          We just need someone to make a petition at the following link:

          http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/index.html

          • F1Andy83 said on 29th July 2011, 11:33

            Basic cable or over the air tv does not get F1 access in the USA. I had to spend 15 bucks to upgrade to the next tv package that includes SpeedTV, then spend another 10 bucks to get HD. You are guys are in for a hell of a ride. It only goes downhill, and sooner than you realize, F1 will get less popular in the UK. Sorry to all of you. Good thing I can speak portuguese as well, so I can still jump into brazilian broadcasts.

          • Paulocreed said on 29th July 2011, 14:06

            @F1Andy It’s similar here in Canada. With basic cable we do not get TSN (which is our sports channel) Would have to upgrade to the next package and same as you another package for HD, and it’s more than $25. It really is a heck of a ride. With this struggling economy, and the cost of living that keeps going up, these cable prices are absurd. I personally had to watch the last few races streamed online. Which is probably what I will continue to do. I would be just as angry as the folks in UK. I thought the F1 wanted to get a wider audience? This surely is the worst way to do it.

          • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 29th July 2011, 15:46

            Just made one! Just waiting for a link now

          • US_Peter said on 29th July 2011, 17:53

            @F1Andy, yeah, we pay close to $1000 a year for our DirecTV package in HD. I have to say though that while the price is pretty steep DirecTV does a great job with their HD DVR. I can record two things simultaneously, and can set to record from anywhere via phone of iPad apps. The biggest problem here is the 4 races mid season broadcast on FOX. For those of you in the UK, imagine you’d paid for your Sky service, then right in the middle of the summer at the height of the season 4 races are only available to watch free to air, edited, delayed, with little to no pre and post race coverage. That’s basically what it’s like. Sounds like SPEED are trying to work on a solution for next year, so hopefully they’ll do something like Sky/BBC where SPEED will show the races live in full, then FOX will show an edited delayed broadcast.

      • Andy W (@andy-w) said on 29th July 2011, 11:56

        and the deal can be undone…. this is F1 after all.

        Nevermind that Bernie and CVC are now in breach of other ‘done deals’ that require that all the races are shown on free to view channels….

        I suspect that this will be resolved in the courts…

      • surley this is not allowed under bbc licencing rules,.imparsialety [sorry bout the spelling] im not paying the bbc any more f1 is the only thing i wach on bbc,so no more pennys from me…..

        • michaela light said on 29th July 2011, 23:41

          f1 is the ONLY tv i watch alltogether and i be pretty annoyed if i cant watch indian race

      • Chris B said on 29th July 2011, 18:23

        @ Prisoner Monkeys – we pay our licence fees, we have no choice in that matter unless we want to face legal action. In paying the fee we fund and, in essence, own the BBC. The decision makers at the BBC are trusted by us as licence payers to make judgements on our behalf that are sensible and what we would like to see on TV. If we disagree we have the absolute right to complain in every legitimate way available as strongly as possible.

        A fairer division would have been equal rights for the BBC and Sky. I’m not sure why this wasn’t the case and why the BBC didn’t sign up for this.

        Of greater concern is that, from a certain point of view, it breaks the 2009 Concorde Agreement.

        I believe, and hope that hundreds of thousand of other F1 followers do too, that it ain’t over yet.

    • Wouldn’t a boycott of F1 this weekend demonstrate more? Tell FOM just what us fans will do if F1 does get taken away (even in part) from the BBC.

      • Ben Curly (@ben-curly) said on 29th July 2011, 9:22

        It will not work. There isn’t enough time to organise a boycott this weekend, but I think we should try anything to express our dissatisfaction. Today I’m signing the petition, but I’m happy to boycott one of the coming races (but not Belgian Grand Prix).

        • make said on 29th July 2011, 10:11

          Hi guys dunno about u guys but am excited bout sky broadcasting races in 2012. Am hoping for a Allen & Legard pairing for live commentary.

          • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 29th July 2011, 10:41

            I honestly couldn’t disagree with that comment more…

          • Lee said on 29th July 2011, 11:05

            I love adverts so much and love paying high prices so much that I too am excited. I can’t wait to be ripped off while being fed substandard coverage and sold products every 15 mins!

            Or I more likely, I will stop watching F1 and put my interest into something else.

          • Matt said on 29th July 2011, 11:19

            Is this sarcasm? I’m hoping this is sarcasm.

          • Keith said on 29th July 2011, 12:10

            No Matt this is ascerbic British wit in full flow.

          • John H said on 29th July 2011, 12:19

            LOL!

            Thought you were being serious until the last bit

          • Clark said on 29th July 2011, 12:42

            Ok so which part of Sky’s marketing department do you work for?

          • @make you probably are already a member of sky, others that can’t afford sky are the ones missing out on what’s meant to be free-to-air.

            @Lee Sky have at least confirmed they will not show adverts during the qualifying and racing. But still not happy its leaving BBC.

        • Stephen Higgins said on 29th July 2011, 13:34

          Why not boycott Abu Dhabi ??

      • matt90 said on 29th July 2011, 12:26

        Only if you get the people to boycott who have the special boxes on their TVs that record how many people in a room are watching what channel and then extrapolates it to find a rough figure for the entire population. Switching off your TV will not affect the viewing figures- not even by one.

    • LolaF1 (@lolaf1) said on 29th July 2011, 11:14

      Done that thanks.

      The real “stinky” for me isn’t just the cost it’s whole funk that syurrounds anything to do with the Murdochs and I for one don’t like F1 (or any other sport for that matter) being damaged by association.

      Maybe too simplistic a view but it’s mine.

      • f1geordie said on 29th July 2011, 11:29

        Remember as well, even if you can afford sky (which i and many others here cannot) you will have to pay EVEN MORE to watch it in HD. Absolute joke.

        • I hope the BBC do not clash with MotoGP on their revised coverage as it offers more action and I hope will still be free. For £600 I can almost buy a ticket for Silverstone!

          • Chris P said on 29th July 2011, 15:38

            My three day ticket in the International Pit Straight grand stand was £329 this year. For £600 you would just about have enough to put your coat and umbrella on a seat of its own.

          • brendan said on 29th July 2011, 20:01

            again crazy money when you compare it to say world superbikes.

            i know what one id pick for a day out!

    • huw taylor said on 29th July 2011, 11:39

      I have skysports already but i cant believe that they are selling the rights to sky so much for keeping it on free to veiw tv, its so unfair to all F1 veiwers who havent got sky. I cant believe im saying this but id rather it went to itv sport and have adverts (which i hated when they had the sport ) but thats how strong i feel that it should be kept on free to veiw tv !

    • Julian said on 29th July 2011, 14:06

      Much more useful than signing an online petition that can be just ignored by anyone is to flood FOTA’s email inbox with complaints. Their contact is given above, but here it is again:

      http://www.teamsassociation.org/contacts

      This is the only way of making those capable of doing anything at all sit up and take notice.

      • John Edwards said on 29th July 2011, 15:42

        Done it. Sent one in.

        “Dear Sir,

        I would not normally write to big organisations but I feel if you get enough of these something may change.

        I’m a dedicated fan and supporter of the sport for 20 years, attending 17 races inside the last decade, I’m probably not what can be described as the casual fan.

        I’m utterly appalled how fans in the UK have been sold out. A 10 race coverage on free to air is just not acceptable, F1 is a story over a full season, what use is the story if chapters are missing? Highlights aren’t any good either. What use are highlights? The moment is gone, it’s not like watching a movie.

        I think if this is the direction the sport is going, I will turn my back on it altogether, if I can’t have all 20 pieces of the pie I will go without the pie. Please bare in mind my £600 a year in ticket revenues that goes with it will disappear as well, which isn’t much in itself, but I won’t be the only one.

        Maybe you should be thinking about who makes the decisions in the sport if you don’t the sport will die in the UK no doubt about it.

        Yours faithfully,

        John.

        • Marcello said on 30th July 2011, 20:40

          John I couldnt agree more with every single word you have written. I too m a hardcore f1 fan of over 20 years and I find this whole think gutting to say the least.

    • Ral said on 29th July 2011, 16:55

      Inaccuracies, no matter how small, may invalidate any actions one might take whether symbolic or not. As F1 fans specifically, we should be accustomed to details making a difference.

      So signing a petition that specifically complains about ads in the Sky coverage, seems a bit silly.

    • Ian said on 29th July 2011, 22:36

      Signed and shared on FB. Well, that’s it then if we don’t get it changed. I can’t afford satellite packages and my interest in sport is confined to motorsport so I wouldn’t spend a fortune for something I would hardly use.

      Is this the thin end of the wedge working towards the END of FREEVIEW??

    • Lee said on 29th July 2011, 23:35

      For anyone interested the BBCs Head of F1 has posted a lame excuse for you to comment on. The excuse is ridiculous but the 2500+ comments are an interesting read.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/sporteditors/2011/07/f1_coverage_to_be_shared_betwe.html

    • Rob said on 30th July 2011, 13:18

      Very disapointed, an expensive sport taken away from the common man now even veiwing. I love all sports F1 being my favorite this is a sad day for F1 fans and sports fans alike. The BBC sports personality of the year will become a farce if we can’t even see them on the BBC. SAD SAD SAD.

  1. Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 29th July 2011, 8:41

    Time for FOTA to show some teeth, and actually act in the interests of the fans rather than just talking about it.

    • Red Andy (@red-andy) said on 29th July 2011, 8:57

      My parents have Sky Sports, mostly for cricket. To paraphrase the bloke from Airplane! “Looks like I picked the wrong week to move out…”

      But I should be able to access the races from my new place through my ma’s SkyPlayer login. Hooray for grainy footage about four minutes behind the real action!

      • Derek said on 29th July 2011, 12:24

        I used to have Sky Sports 1 for cricket coverage. They then moved some of the matches to Sky Sports 2 (more money). I binned it in the end. I bet they’ll end up doing the same with F1 to make you get ALL the sports channels!

      • matt90 said on 29th July 2011, 12:36

        It is funny. F1 adds so many gimmiks (some do make sense), and the reason is often in the name of attracting the ‘casual fans.’ Except for putting ALL the races on sky, I can’t think what else they could have done to better detract both the ‘casual fans’ as well as anybody with any inclination of watching F1.

      • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 29th July 2011, 17:58

        Hooray for grainy footage about four minutes behind the real action!

        The sad thing is, you live in Britain and you’re having to resort to such measures. I live in Australia and that’s how I follow F1, but I understand it wouldn’t be feasible to show all F1 sessions live on TV over here as it doesn’t have a massive following.

        The UK, however…

        • Alex W said on 30th July 2011, 1:12

          It’s live on channel one (and qualy), the analouge channel 10 is gone in my area and will be gone in yours too soon, get a new tv.

    • Bernard (@bernard) said on 29th July 2011, 10:53

      Maybe we should set up a fans association – FOFA anyone? :)

      • ivz said on 29th July 2011, 11:43

        This is FOTA’s big chance to grow some balls and leave. The teams don’t need F1, F1 is nothing without all the manufacturers and teams. If Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Mercedes and Red Bull formed their own series they could run it any way they want, and I would follow it!

        • matt90 said on 29th July 2011, 12:31

          I’m not sure they would do another breakaway threat. The last one sort of worked, but this time the arguement isn’t with the FIA. I just hope the current concord agreement prevents this deal going through until 2013 at least.

          • F1George (@f1george) said on 29th July 2011, 15:42

            Thing is, there is a huge UK interest in F1, most of the teams are based here and we have 3 drivers racing, as well as top team principles/designers etc. being form the UK. It may not be to do with the FIA but it would scare the pants off Bernie if they all decided to make their own series (unless the issue is resolved). Especially as Bernie said how important it was to keep F1 free-to-air… I’m most interested in the reactions form sponsors, because this will cut the audience figures significantly in the UK….

          • Ian said on 29th July 2011, 23:19

            Matt, I did think whether that would work but money talks, mate. Do we know what the teams are going to get out of it yet?

        • IVZ totally agree ,without the large teams F1 is a lame duck,

      • John said on 29th July 2011, 17:02

        It may have been a joke but this isnt a bad idea :)

      • sunnyside said on 29th July 2011, 20:15

        I thought of that a few years ago and was surprised to find it already existed. They’re on Facebook (FOFA).

      • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 29th July 2011, 20:42

        FOFA exists, check Facebook!!

    • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 29th July 2011, 13:57

      I don’t think FOTA has the power to be anything more than a pressure group. It thought it had agreement from Bernie not to pull this sort of stunt last week, from what I’d read…

    • Mouse_Nightshirt said on 29th July 2011, 15:58

      FOTA, or at least the teams that make up FOTA, now and past, are as much to blame as anyone else.

      For years and years, costs have spiraled onwards and upwards, and no matter what serious methods are proposed to bring them down, they are halted or watered down the point where even a homeopathy practitioner would be proud.

      This in itself has given Bernie the justification to charge more and more for the sport each successive year, which, in turn, prevents broadcasters, like the BBC, being able to fund such coverage.

      I’m particularly upset about what this means for the future. Many a father-son moments have been spent infront of a TV, cheering on a favourite team or driver. I fear that, for many of us, these are moments we will miss with the next generation.

      A sad, sad day for the home of F1.

  2. John H said on 29th July 2011, 8:41

    Goodbye F1.

    • Will said on 29th July 2011, 8:56

      Indeed. There are many things I worry about in life, and very few things I look forward to and enjoy. F1 is one of those things.

      • DonSimon said on 29th July 2011, 9:15

        Said it perfectly. I feel like someone has died.

        • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 29th July 2011, 9:55

          Sad times indeed. It’s easy to say “Just get Sky” but fact is I can hardly afford my rent never mind an extra £600 a year to watch F1.

          Looks like I’ll be watching poor quality streams online or YouTube highlight after the race.

          A sad sad day for F1.

          • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 29th July 2011, 9:57

            Also say goodbye to casual F1 fans.

            I quite enjoy being able to speak to my mates, who aren’t hardcore fans, about F1. Now though no one is going to be able to flick it on and see what it’s all about.

          • Hoohah said on 29th July 2011, 11:14

            Amen to that…

          • That is true. Sky believe it will get more people subscribing to sky sports. All it will do is get even more people streming it online.
            Well said

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 29th July 2011, 17:59

            Also say goodbye to casual F1 fans.

            I quite enjoy being able to speak to my mates, who aren’t hardcore fans, about F1. Now though no one is going to be able to flick it on and see what it’s all about.

            Too true. And now it’s going to hard for potential future fans to discover the sport. It’s a lose-lose situation! :P

          • Publicise the overseas broadcasters, that will cause a riot over there too

          • F1Sidewinda (@f1sidewinda) said on 30th July 2011, 9:43

            F1 has recently seen the highest viewing figures in years, and all those new fans will no way pay for sky to watch F1.

  3. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 29th July 2011, 8:42

    Thank you for the link to FOTA. I hope your standing as an F1 journalist will help us to communicate how angry we are at this news to the sport’s leadership.

    • Cornflakes said on 29th July 2011, 15:12

      Very true. Keith you will be much more influential than any of us. Do all you can to convey your readers thoughts!!

  4. Katy W said on 29th July 2011, 8:43

    This has angered me so much. The BBC have been delivering sterling coverage, and now we’re set to lose it.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 8:52

      I’m sorry, I didn’t see the part of Keith’s article where Sky said they were going to change everything about the broadcast. Because they haven’t said that at all.

      It’s likely that this deal has been worked out in such a way that Sky has purchased the broadcast rights, with the BBC putting up some of the cost themselves as they become a syndicated station. This means they will have the ability to influence Sky’s board, and they can use that influence to keep the broadcast the same. Sky would be absolutely insane to compeltey overhaul the presentation.

      • Will said on 29th July 2011, 8:58

        You may be right, but I cannot afford Sky so the quality of their broadcast is utterly irrelevant to me.

        I cannot watch half the races next year on TV, and thats that.

      • Rob said on 29th July 2011, 9:06

        Yes, well done for missing the title of the article as well, and the main section where Keith addresses the issue of price. Does that mean you didn’t actually read any of it?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 9:10

          We know that the BBC will be broadcasting half the races. So you’re not really losing anything – it’s just being scaled back. Therefore, the post I was replying to directly implies that Sky will change the content of their coverage.

          • jake said on 29th July 2011, 9:16

            i can only assume you have sky sports? Many of us don’t, and for the majority, it’s because we can’t afford it and that’s not going to change. So for us, we will only be watching half the season of the sport we love, and are used to watching every second of every session live. So can i kindly suggest you let people vent there frustrations without picking up on anything they say that may turn out to be a little factually incorrect.

          • DonSimon said on 29th July 2011, 9:17

            Not really losing anything? What is the point in watching half the season? Remeber the highlights won’t be on until 23:30 and we are basically worse of than when it was on ITV. We are losing everything.

          • TFLB said on 29th July 2011, 9:18

            Not really losing anything? We’ll be losing half the races, those of us ho can’t afford Sky Sports!

          • John H said on 29th July 2011, 9:29

            Some of us are struggling to pay our mortgage here. I’m not going to get a sky sports subscription. F1 was my Sunday escape, I looked forward to it all week. Watching half the races now is going to seem half-baked to an F1 fanatic like myself.

            the BBC will be broadcasting half the races. So you’re not really losing anything

            Have a read of what you’ve just said PM. Usual senseless comment I’m afraid.

          • Rob said on 29th July 2011, 9:41

            The actual wording of the post you replied to said that we will be losing BBC’s coverage, which for half the races we will. The words ‘change’ and ‘content’ weren’t mentioned. Why should Sky just transplant the BBC presentation and format onto their channels? They haven’t done that with any other sport.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 9:51

            Not really losing anything? We’ll be losing half the races, those of us ho can’t afford Sky Sports!

            And yet, you’ll still have more than the Australian fans.

          • Ben Curly (@ben-curly) said on 29th July 2011, 9:51

            It’s not only about being able to afford it. For me it’s also about contributing to Murdoch’s fortune. I absolutely despise the man and will not pay a single penny to him.

            By the way, PM, why are you always playing the devil’s advocate? Is it just your hobby, or do you honestly believe this isn’t a negative sign for the future of the sport? Do you really believe everything is going to be hunky-dory?

          • Tom said on 29th July 2011, 9:56

            I wouldn’t be so confident about the presentation not changing.

            Sky Sports don’t spend so much money buying a sport to stick with another channel’s ‘brand’, no matter how successful it is. They have to justify the price of Sky Sports, which means brand awareness is crucial.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 11:20

            do you honestly believe this isn’t a negative sign for the future of the sport?

            I believe that people racing to judge this and whinge about it – especially considering that we know absolutely nothing about the deal (aside from the fact that the broadcast will be shared) – is foolishness. The BBC obviously dropped their coverage of Formula 1 for a reason, and yet most people seem to assume that this reason is sticking it to the fans.

          • Keith said on 29th July 2011, 12:17

            One of the main reasons for watching F1 live is not knowing the result or what is going to happen in the race. Waiting for the highlights and trying to avoid all the pundits who can’t wait to tell you the result is not an option. Let us not forget the famous BBC sportscaster line… “If you don’t want to know the result, look away now.”

          • Derek said on 29th July 2011, 12:29

            I love the “half the races” concept. Let’s push this into the Olympics coverage as well…. The first 2 legs of the 4*400m relay? The first 4.5 seconds of the men’s 100m final.

            Just absolutely ludicrous. The ONLY potential glimmer of good news is that we may not have to endure Valencia!????

          • matt90 said on 29th July 2011, 12:41

            ‘Not really losing, anything, just being scaled back.’

            That is the worst attempt at a political statement I’ve ever heard. It’s what I imagine Cameron says before he takes away students money.

          • matt90 said on 29th July 2011, 12:56

            Also, I previously felt sorry for you Austalians, but if you’re (just PM I mean, I know everybody else has sense to appreciate things from a different perspective) going to keep cropping up and telling us how you have it worse, my heart is hardly going to be bleeding for you. This isn’t about how we still have more than you, it’s about how we have half of what we previously had.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 14:54

            This isn’t about how we still have more than you, it’s about how we have half of what we previously had.

            Fine. You have half of what you previously had. But that doesn’t change the fact that we’ve always had half of what you’re about to get. You say “my heart is hardly going to be bleeding for you”, and yet you’re asking that we do just that for you, despit the fact that you’ll still be getting more coverage, better coverage than anything we’ve ever had. You’re like a rich person complaining about a tax raise despite the fact that your net income is still greater than anyone else’s.

            So I’ll do you a deal. I’ll got to England for a year and watch half of the races on the BBC. You can come to Australia and watch races on a delayed telecast at midnight, with no coverage of practice and qualifying or pre-race show and post-race analysis, commercial breaks every fifteen minutes, and interrupted commentary from the BBC and Sky.

            You don’t know how good you’ve got it – and you’ve got the hide to complain about how you’re losing half of it when some of us would gladly accept what you’re getting without a second thought. Your heart is bleeding? Mine’s retching.

          • Juzzy88 said on 29th July 2011, 15:13

            Are you actually from Australia? One HD shows all the races, live.. Sure the ads are annoying and the idiot australian commentators who interrupt the BBC commentary to cut to and from the ads drive me up the wall, but we definitely do get all of the races live and in HD for free.

            I wonder what this deal will do to the Australian (One HD) stream of BBC’s broadcast…

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 15:27

            Are you actually from Australia? One HD shows all the races, live..

            But I don’t have OneHD. I live in regional Australia, and a lot of digital content is unavailable, largely because we have to connect a digital transciever into an aerial to pick up anything, but even with a boosted antenna, I can only get about 70% of the signal. I’ve been lucky with the past few races because I do have access to a television that can receive a proper-quality signal, but after Hungary, my access dries up quickly. So I’m forced to watch the races on conventional analogue channels, usually after something like The Devil Wears Prada.

          • Mike said on 29th July 2011, 16:28

            Not the topic to play devils advocate on I think PM….

            The ONE HD coverage might actually be better!
            At least ONEHD are improving. Last race they had a post race show, (short though it was, and in the pre-race show they even had a diagram. A diagram!

            /Course they didn’t seem to understand it….

          • Skett said on 29th July 2011, 16:48

            But I don’t have OneHD. I live in regional Australia, and a lot of digital content is unavailable, largely because we have to connect a digital transciever into an aerial to pick up anything, but even with a boosted antenna, I can only get about 70% of the signal. I’ve been lucky with the past few races because I do have access to a television that can receive a proper-quality signal, but after Hungary, my access dries up quickly. So I’m forced to watch the races on conventional analogue channels, usually after something like The Devil Wears Prada.

            Well thats hardly fair to the australian coverage then is it. I know a few people who live in rural areas in this country and can’t pickup bbc on their freeview, doesn’t mean they make out as though the bbc doesn’t exist!

          • matt90 said on 29th July 2011, 16:59

            I wasn’t saying I expect your hearts to bleed for us. I was saying don’t bother posting negative comments. You managed to miss my point entirely. I know Australia have it worse, and that is a shame, but you seem to think we have no grounds to complain, which is ludicrous.

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 29th July 2011, 18:02

            PM, I’m Australian too, and I agree we don’t get very good coverage. But this is the UK, where there are no excuses for poor coverage. And people aren’t specifically concerned about the coverage that Sky will provide, but they are worried about the fact they won’t even have the option to watch it as they can’t afford it.

            Don’t pretend we have it worse than that over here, because we don’t.

      • bernification said on 30th July 2011, 2:51

        PM, if you’re trying to gloat in the fact that we in the uk now have it as ‘bad’ as you do in Aus, then, brilliant, well done.
        And congratulations on alienating yourself to the majority of people on here.

  5. What an awful mishmash of a solution! It’s such a stupid compromise and like all compromises doesn’t suit anyone.

    I wonder how Channel 4, ESPN, Channel 5 and Virgin are feeling about the BBC working actively with Sky (a commercial broadcaster) to keep the rights out of their hands.

    The biggest question I have is whether it will be on sky sports 1 and 2 (which you can access for a fee on digital terrestrial with the right set top box) or whether it will be on 3 and 4 which are Sky and Virgin only.

    I have Sky fortunately with the full sports pack, but that’s not the point.

    • SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 29th July 2011, 9:11

      Well the fact F1 Qualifying is on sat midday and the race 2pm on a sunday – Both of which are Premier league kick-off times I’m going to say 3 and 4.

      Sky Sports has 3.5 million Viewers total. What are the viewing figures going to look like?

      What does this do to the circuits that don’t get shown on the BBC? do they get a discount on the deal?

    • Lee said on 29th July 2011, 10:03

      Do you also have HD?

    • Chalky said on 29th July 2011, 12:51

      and you forgot Sky Sports Extra channel that is exclusive to Sky customers only.
      It is not available via VirginMedia.

  6. mename2332 (@mename2332) said on 29th July 2011, 8:45

    Don’t fret yet. I have posted an e-petition on the direct.gov website, which should be avaliable on the 8th august. As long as it gets 100,000 signatures, it will be debated in the house of commons, so we might save free-to-air F1 in the UK yet :)

    • DonSimon said on 29th July 2011, 9:18

      Ink is dry, no juristiction. Parliment is on recess. The finger has already been well and truly inserted.

    • Lee said on 29th July 2011, 11:15

      How do I search for the petition so I can sign it?

    • John said on 29th July 2011, 17:17

      Well if the govenment in the UK started helping the sport as they do in other contries there may be hope. Also remember the BBC is a publicly owned company so the govenment DO have an influence.

    • Alex W said on 30th July 2011, 1:20

      Frame it as people v murdock and you may get somewhere!

  7. Martin said on 29th July 2011, 8:45

    I just contacted Sky, i know its no consolation but you could get a Sky Go account with Sky Sports subscription to stream over the internet if you cant get sky which is coming next month.

  8. Alfie said on 29th July 2011, 8:46

    Arrrrrgh. F1 is going to die. Look what happened to Australian Football..

    • Jimmy said on 29th July 2011, 8:53

      the AFL is fine though?

    • Jimmy said on 29th July 2011, 8:54

      the AFL is fine though? i could be wrong but that is just my understanding!

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 8:56

      Are you referring to the Super League? That didn’t fail because News Corp. were broadcasting it. That failed because News Corp. started their own football league when their bid to but the rights to the ARL was rejected. And even then, the Super League introduced ideas that are now standard in the sport – like video referees, grand finals held at night in prime time, and the ANZAC tests.

      • Pinball said on 29th July 2011, 9:44

        Not quiet correct. Superleague did fail because not enough people were willing to pay to watch Rugby League. Not to mention it destroyed the sport. A lot of people walked away from Rugby League when Super League came around. Suddenly the only way they could follow their favourite team was on pay TV. They never came back.

        Same will happen to F1. Why will people be committed enough to watch half the races. They won’t, they’ll just find another form of motorsport to watch.

        • Alfie said on 29th July 2011, 9:54

          Sorry. Meant superleague. I effed up there..

        • Toro Stevo said on 29th July 2011, 13:00

          Yes, and no on the TV issue. Pay TV wasn’t big enough here in 97 to have any effect, and besides both the ARL and SL had two FTA games on TV at the time – the year before there had been 2 and a half total on FTA, and there’s only 3 today. It failed because it simply couldn’t exist apart, it was destroying the fan base as you said.

          The same won’t happen in F1. The split arose in the league because of a media war between Packer and Murdoch, with the league divided and played against each other by both. F1 is more savvy than that I believe, and the teams are better prepared and better organised. They also hold a lot more power, and have shown they are willing to exercise that power.

          But for the rugby league, News Limited won in the end. They half own the NRL (for now), have their men in charge, foxtel (which they half own) get the pay tv rights for a pittance and they still run a couple of clubs. And the pay tv company that the ARL chose during the divide has been dead for years. Super League failed, but News Limited won. The League community lost – it is only now back to where it was at its peak support in 1994.

        • Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta) said on 29th July 2011, 14:36

          Precisely. LMS and ALMS sportscars has more consistent and reliable coverage than F1 will have next year, and it costs a lot less (free, even if the camera angles are limited and the US situation is strange, but there’s always a radio-only commentary option).

  9. Ady said on 29th July 2011, 8:46

    Goodbye F1, no point watching the highlights as they miss the build up. An no point watching only a few races as you miss what is going on the rest of the season.

    • Ady said on 29th July 2011, 8:49

      And when I say build up, I don’t mean race build up, but the suspense that is generated as a driver approaches another.

  10. NiccyB said on 29th July 2011, 8:46

    Whitmarsh: “…[the teams] are clearly going to safeguard their business interests and the interests of the fans in this regard.”

    I’ll wager they’re more interested in the former than the latter.

    • Mike said on 30th July 2011, 10:12

      But the former is the later. It is absolutely vital to the interests of the sponsor reliant teams that F1 is consumed en mass.

  11. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 29th July 2011, 8:47

    as i said on the other thread, we need to know what bbc’s interests in this decision are. they may have been more than happy to reduce costs by only covering 50% of the races.

    • spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 29th July 2011, 9:00

      from jake h on radio 1 a few moments ago….
      “it’s probably a money thing”
      “bbc had no option”

      it was not specifically stated that bbc can’t afford to cover f1, but it was implied.

      • spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 29th July 2011, 9:34

        more from fp1. bbc are cutting costs. f1 was part of the cost cutting.

        they won’t cut the crap such as eastenders as that gets way more viewers.

        • mike77 (@mike77) said on 29th July 2011, 10:04

          F1 gets more viewers than the majority of BBC programmes.

          • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 29th July 2011, 10:53

            For it’s timeslot, I’d say it’s about average, but BBC can save money by cutting some of the rubbish they put out later on (Don’t Scare the Hare, Tonight’s the Night, even Total Wipeout has reached the end of it’s run in my opinion)

            Shows like Doctor Who and Eastenders are pulling in the figures, I really hope BBC can salvage the internet broadcasting rights to the remaining 9/10/11 races they won’t broadcast, and put them up on something like Iplayer.

            I’m not what you’d call a ‘Casual fan’, but I’m not gonna want to pressure my dad too hard to be paying £600 a year for a load of football we won’t watch, and about 150 hours of F1 we will over the year, that’s £4 per hour!

            Typical that it’s just when F1 was getting to be interesting aswell…

          • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 29th July 2011, 11:48

            In the UK perhaps. But things like Eastenders, Doctor Who, and especially Top Gear are syndicated all around the world and bring in huge amounts of revenue.

            F1 can’t be ‘re-sold’, so all the investment is basically a one-off. They can’t even release season-review box sets because Mr E holds all those rights.

    • Will said on 29th July 2011, 9:00

      I would guess the BBC’s interest is simply that they cannot afford it anymore. No secret agendas I would guess.

  12. streetfightingman said on 29th July 2011, 8:48

    It’s not free in sweden either and haven’t been for a couple of years. It sucks.

    • antifia said on 29th July 2011, 10:03

      Here in the Netherlands it is free (well, almost – it’s on cable) but it is unwatchable – the pace and content of the commentary is so slow and boring, it takes the whole life out ot it. That is why I watch it on the BBC, where you have the impression that the commentators enjoy the event as much as you do. And we don’t even have the option of paying for Sky here….
      Sometimes I think Bernie has been running some sort of social experiments in the last few years. He seems to have realised that he doesn’t need F1 anymore to be a super wealthy man and is testing the boundaries of the sport’s popularity. Half of the calendar is already run in one of Tilke’s boredroms in the east, making the bulk of F1 fans (who live in Europe) obliged to watch the races at 7am. At such a time one cannot even have a beer and feel good about it. Then there was the Bahrain thing. And now this.

      • antifia said on 29th July 2011, 10:16

        Forgot to mention. What a timing to ask people in the U.K. to pay 5 to 6 hundred pounds a yead to Mr. Murdock to be able to watch their favority sport! Seriouly, Bernie could not be more eloquent in his demostration on how much he cares for the sensibilities of the British fans.

        • John Edwards said on 29th July 2011, 16:05

          £500-600 to a man who’s organisations have tapped peoples phones, ruined English football, ruined the future of English Cricket amongst other things.

          Sky makes a lot of money and makes their sports money.

          I do wonder whether sponsors will look at F1 now and turn away because they are getting less bang for their buck.

          I can only guess the BBC will try and secure what amounts to the European season races and those broadcast in the evening because of the viewership figures and timeslot. My guess is Sky won’t let this happen and we’ll get a pish posh of crap with Sky keeping the good races like Monza and Spa, which they have every rite to do.

  13. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 8:48

    I never thought I’d see the day people started complaining that they could not watch Valencia or Abu Dhabi. But, here it is.

    • Martin said on 29th July 2011, 8:54

      I am an F1 fan, i watch all races wether they are good or bad.

      I stayed watching uninterrupted for the Canadian GP and it turned out to be one of the best races this season.

      We wont get things like that if we lose half the races to premium TV.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 9:01

        Oh, cry me a river. British fans get the best Formula 1 coverage in the world. For the rest of us, it’s considerably worse. Here in Australia, we get delayed broadcasts, regular ad breaks, no coverage of free practice and no coverage of qualifying (unless you have digital channels), idiot commentators, and an unfortunate habit of having the evening news report on results before delayed races have taken place.

        So all you’re really getting is coverage that is te same as everyone else.

        • Hoohah said on 29th July 2011, 11:18

          That makes it ok then????

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 11:25

            No, it makes everyone’s reactions a massive over-reaction. All the British racing fans are acting like they’ve just had an arm cut off when there are some of us who have had to make do with one arm for quite some time, and we’re doing quite well for ourselves, thank you very much.

            I’m sorry, but I have no time for the people moaning about how this is the worst thing in the history of the sport because I’m already experiencing limited, inferior coverage. And I’m willing to bet that when 2012 comes around and the British broadcast is split, it will still be better than what we get on this side of the world.

          • jake said on 29th July 2011, 12:03

            PM…one thing you forget to mention is that you don’t have to pay £600 (over 1000 AUS $) just to watch the sport you love. Now, we do, and many of us can’t, and hence won’t have any coverage for half the season.

          • Martin said on 29th July 2011, 12:50

            Hardly an over-reaction, F1 is a british sport we have every right to be annoyed.

            Imagine whatever crap sport you Aussies created suddenly half dissappeared from your TV stations and you had to pay some foreign country who are only in it for the money just to see the rest of it.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 15:22

            F1 is a british sport we have every right to be annoyed.

            Really? Because I’m seeing a German driver and his Australian team-mate racing for an Austrian team leading the championship in Hungary.

            Imagine whatever crap sport you Aussies created suddenly half dissappeared from your TV stations and you had to pay some foreign country who are only in it for the money just to see the rest of it.

            Please. We did this dance fifteen years ago with the Super League. Not only did the sport survive, it came back stronger as a result.

          • Mike said on 29th July 2011, 16:37

            PM, We don’t pay anything but the electricity bill to watch F1.

            The Brits will have to pay $885 Au (approx) to see it.

            Even when it was delayed on channel nine it was at least free.

          • Skett said on 29th July 2011, 17:22

            No, it makes everyone’s reactions a massive over-reaction. All the British racing fans are acting like they’ve just had an arm cut off when there are some of us who have had to make do with one arm for quite some time, and we’re doing quite well for ourselves, thank you very much.

            Personally if I only had one arm, I’d be more sympathetic to people who need to have one cut off rather than just dismissing them!

            You seem to think that because yours is bad, everyone elses should be too.

        • Gman said on 29th July 2011, 15:46

          My thoughts exactly.

          Try following Formula 1 in the USA, and then you’ll see just how good you have it. I must confess that we do get coverage of FP2 and Qualifying, and practice on Friday and Saturday morning is streamed live online. But we have ad breaks in everything, and event worse, a hanfdful of races each year are shown on tape-delay. We don’t have things as bad as in Australia, but it’s still nowhere near the British braocasts.

          • Ian W said on 30th July 2011, 14:20

            PM – Red Bull being main force in F1 currently; based in the UK, designed by a Brit (who’s the most successful designer ever) and run by another Brit (even if Horner is quite annoying!). F1’s home is the UK. And judging from the amount of people from other countries commenting on here, they will miss the BBC coverage too!

        • bearforce1 said on 29th July 2011, 15:56

          Mate, I love the BBC coverage. I always watch one of the many dodgy streamed services. So this will also affect poeple in OZ like me. I can’t abide the fools on One HD.

        • have you ever wached skys chump car,,thats gonna be bbc hilites,cant wait

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 29th July 2011, 19:06

            PM have you thought that perhaps the reason that the Australian Grand Prix is in danger is because not enough Australians are following F1 and the reason is that the coverage is poor and not universally available. I too lived in a small town for several years in the 70’s and completely lost interest in F1 due to the lack of coverage available, in fact shortly after I returned to the “big smoke” I was totally baffled by what I thought was the stupidest newspaper placard I had ever seen that read “JONES QUITS” made as much sense to me as would have “Smith quits”. By the way, any of you thinking that you are going to get adverts only every 15 minutes are in for a shock when they start with the ads. you will be getting 1 minute of ads for every 2 mins of programming, which means 2.5mins of ads every 5 mins of program.Thats how we have to watch it in the US on SpeedTV,another Murdoch channel.

        • hohum said on 29th July 2011, 19:01

          PM have you thought that perhaps the reason that the Australian Grand Prix is in danger is because not enough Australians are following F1 and the reason is that the coverage is poor and not universally available. I too lived in a small town for several years in the 70’s and completely lost interest in F1 due to the lack of coverage available, in fact shortly after I returned to the “big smoke” I was totally baffled by what I thought was the stupidest newspaper placard I had ever seen that read “JONES QUITS” made as much sense to me as would have “Smith quits”. By the way, any of you thinking that you are going to get adverts only every 15 minutes are in for a shock when they start with the ads. you will be getting 1 minute of ads for every 2 mins of programming, which means 2.5mins of ads every 5 mins of program.Thats how we have to watch it in the US on SpeedTV,another Murdoch channel.

      • DonSimon said on 29th July 2011, 9:21

        Well said Martin. Seeing 6 cars chugging around Indy was hilarious. Likewise, seeing mechanics floating RedBull boats down the Suzuka pitlane was a bit of colour you don’t get with any other sport, and you can bet that Sky will go to the adverts at this point. This is awful.

        • Adrian J said on 29th July 2011, 9:59

          Do Sky have adverts mid football match?

          If it stays uninterupted then I might consider trying to convince my other half to let me take out a Sky subscription…

          • Lee said on 29th July 2011, 10:06

            No, but they make best use of the breaks to give as many ads as possible and in the run up to the start. Remember though that F1 has no natural breaks so interrupted coverage is the only way to show adverts.

      • zecks said on 29th July 2011, 9:24

        oh god, remember the itv advert breaks? half the time you would have martin brudle saying “while you were away this happened”

        • Lee said on 29th July 2011, 10:09

          I know, but how I would love ITV to have the rights instead of Sky right now……

          • John Edwards said on 29th July 2011, 16:08

            They are not showing adverts in the race, it’s been confirmed.

            They have no option as long as BBC has half of the deal because nobody would watch the Sky coverage on BBC days.

          • Mike said on 29th July 2011, 16:43

            nobody will watch the Sky coverage on BBC days.

            Fixed. :D

    • Neil Smith said on 29th July 2011, 9:56

      But we will complain if Valencia, Abu Dhabi, and Hungary are 3 of the 10 races the BBC “wins”…

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 29th July 2011, 11:29

        The BBC aren’t competing for the rights to show certain races. They’ll be agreed-upon ahead of time. And if they’re smart, they’ll hold the ten race open to make sure they broadcast the championship-deciding race – which could well be in Abu Dhabi.

        Also, Hungary gets a bad rap. Statistically, it’s the circuit most likely to produce an unexpected result given that a) seven different drivers have won it in the past eight years, and b) the driver who wins the race one year is more likely to have a bad result at the Hungaroring the next year.

        • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 29th July 2011, 15:54

          Unlikely?? Let’s scroll back…

          2010: Webber (he was on fire at that point)
          2009: Hamilton (got lucky)
          2008: Kovalainen (also got lucky)
          2007: Hamilton (relatively strong that season)
          2006: Button (a wet race, an exception)
          2005: Raikkonen (Kimi being Kimi)
          2004: Schumacher (boring race)
          2003: Alonso (Had a strong season)

          Not exactly unexpected results…

          • John H said on 29th July 2011, 18:14

            I don’t understand this reasoning. Why did Hamilton get lucky for example? It was a great win in a piece of crap car that was not expected to do well.

            Massa wasn’t a given to win in 2008 either, Hamilton was and then he passed him around the outside at turn 1.

            Wet races are not always unpredictble.

            And “Kimi being Kimi”?

            The point is that they weren’t in the most part wins from pole position, and hence a little unexpected.

  14. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 29th July 2011, 8:51

    We do have Sky here, but not the sports package. We have it because we have Sky broadband and the extra channels are barely any extra and Mum loves her cooking and home makeover programmes. But I won’t be upgrading to the Sports package for F1, because it would meaning paying TWICE as much as we already are.

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