Start, Silverstone, 2011

Sky and BBC to share UK F1 coverage from 2012

2012 F1 seasonPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Silverstone, 2011
Start, Silverstone, 2011

The BBC will no longer show every round of the F1 season live, starting next year.

Under a new deal announced today the BBC will share coverage with Sky from 2012 to 2018.

Sky will show every race live. The BBC will only screen around half the season’s races including the British and Monaco Grands Prix, plus the season finale.

Sky will show all the practice and qualifying sessions live as well, while the BBC will only show practice and qualifying sessions for certain races.

BBC Sport director Barbara Slater said: “We are absolutely delighted that F1 will remain on the BBC.

“The sport has never been more popular with TV audiences at a ten-year high and the BBC has always stated its commitment to the big national sporting moments.

“With this new deal not only have we delivered significant savings but we have also ensured that through our live and extended highlights coverage all the action continues to be available to licence-fee payers.”

Barney Francis, the managing director of Sky Sports, said: “This is fantastic news for F1 fans and Sky Sports will be the only place to follow every race live and in HD.

“We will give F1 the full Sky Sports treatment with a commitment to each race never seen before on UK television.”

Sky passed a target of achieving ten million customers in the UK last November, however many of these will not have the Sky Sports package.

Are you happy with the new arrangement? Will this change how you watch F1 next year? Have your say in the comments.

F1 on television

Image ?? Pirelli/LAT

443 comments on “Sky and BBC to share UK F1 coverage from 2012”

  1. Massive, massive, massive mistake.

    Audiences will drop badly – especially if we see a repeat of Vettel’s dominance next year.

    1. I agree. I’m not willing to pay for Sky, and so if I can’t follow my favorite sport properly, then I may not follow it at all. This is a huge mistake whose repercussions could very well destroy F1 in the very near future.

      1. This absaloutely ridiculous!!!!! I love the BBC overage, and now I can’t get the thrill of watching a race live, which was always thrilling
        Furthermore, I agree with @Dougy_D, as the BBC coverage is perfect at the moment. If they want to save money, then pay the presenters slightly less, not cutting short coverage of the races

        1. Just checked – to add Sky Sports to a Virgin Media package is either £14.50 or £25.00 per month depending on your existing package. This is not acceptable to me as I pay approx. £40 for my entire package of TV, Phone and Broadband currently. There’s no way I’m prepared to pay around 50% more for a single channel that I’ll likely watch for a few hours every other weekend for only half the year! This is a disgrace, I fear for F1’s future, I really do. My dad has been a fan ever since I was a kid (I’m 38 now), but he’s never going to go out and get Sky just for this, and I bet there are literally millions of others that won’t bother when this comes to pass.

          1. I agree. I suppose I will have to take much more of an interest in Moto GP. When F1 switches to sky I will be switching off F1.

          2. Plus the BBC license fee of £12.13 per month…

          3. Andy,

            Same boat – completely agree with you on that one. Sure there will be many, many others in the same position.

        2. I live in Angola and I subscribe DsTV (South Africa based sat tv distribuitor)for over 100 USD per month and F1 is not free-to-air, however, I’m afraid it will spill over here because we get BBC coverage through South Africa’s Super Sport channel.

      2. well said mate

    2. This is the worst news I have heard for many years! Terrible terrible terrible decision. I will not be subscribing to sky sports so I will not be watching all the races anymore…… Has F1 in the UK Now Died?

      1. In the UK only.

        1. In Italy RAI has never covered Free Practices , only Sky had the total coverage . We can see freely only quali , race and GP2 … RAI shows free practice exclusively of Italian Gp (from the last year , because Sky doesn’t broadcast F1 ) . I remember that in 2003 also to see the friday quali you should pay Sky !
          However the audience is very good , 10-15 millions of people (30-35% of audience) , also 25-30 millions for Monza ! But you must consider that until 80’s we could not see F1 in Italy (although Ferrari) because it was too cruel …

          1. ChimpSafari
            29th July 2011, 11:34

            But at least you could watch every race and qualifying session. I would happily forgo free practice on all races to catch qualifying and the actual race.

          2. I’m in Italy and not seeing FP is not such a great loss. During the scholastic year I’m at school, I concentrate on Qualy and Race. I’m happy with them showing both GP2 races, F1 Q & R.

      2. This is quite pathetic.

        Not just what they have done, but also the way the have gone about it.

        They aren’t keeping it on the BBC yet they say they are. Stupid. If I was British I would be anoyed have having to pay 40 bucks (aussie) to watch F1.

        People who are 50/50 on whether to watch F1 or not are probably turned off by this.

        I don’t want to watch boring F1, but if there isn’t anyuthing better on I’d prefer to see Vettel win in an overpowered RBR and Webber have KERS issuses than nothing. If however I had to pay to watxch that, I wouldn’t, I would want a GUARENTEE of my moneys worth.

        As for me, wathcing it on ONE with British commentary, it’s sad enough if we lose Brundle.

        1. Vettel has been winning in an underpowered car, the renault has much less top end power then the mercedes engine. you are watching a great driver, driving the best he can in a great car – savour it.

    3. I don’t beleive it!!!!!!!Having followed motor racing and F1 for the last 45 years or so,I’m upset and refuse to pay extra for another box Freeview and Cable is enough.I more viewer lost BBC.

      1. Sky “This is fantastic news for F1 fans”

        Ya we really love having to go out and buy at satellite dish,

        Then we will really love having to pay a fee every month,

        And it is fantastic news we will have to watch advertisements too,

        Guess its going to be BBC highlights as I ain’t getting Sky and I certainly ain’t paying the Murdochs a penny.

        1. What they mean is fantastic news for them. Or they don’t understand the definition of fantastic.

      2. Duane Massey
        6th March 2012, 11:34

        It’s fantastic for Bernies pockets, that’s what they meant.

    4. I have Sky but not Sky Sports.

      I could live with the ITV coverage but have always loved the BBC coverage.

      For £40 per month there is already little that I watch regularly on Sky. Now I should pay more as an approval of this sell-out?

      I’m appalled that the sport has allowed this to happen.

      1. I totally agree – the only reason I keep Sky is for Living & Atlantic and if I was in a cabled area, I’d be switching to Virgin with no hesitation. I just hope that the presentation team at BBC1 keep their jobs.


    5. I do not intend to pay for SKY, as many others have commented…Was a fan of World Rallying until that went to pay to view..I understand its expensive to cover, but surely the BBc knew that to start with..will be moving on

    6. This is madness, i hope that what i heard whitmarsh say at the fans fourm is what the voice of fota believe..if this is the case we are in for a rough ride and i can see a break away being threatened again..i’d watch that rather than have to pay.
      as for the bbc showing half the races, give it 1 year with low viewing figures and they will pull the plug totally and blame the low viewing figures. The fact that jake humphrey tweeted after the german gp the viewing figures had been the highest since 1996!
      utter joke

    7. what a difference 11 days make!!!

      love the last line, thanks bernie..He added: “It isn’t possible that F1 could go on to pay TV, we wouldn’t want to do that.”

      amazin how quick a 6 year dela can be done and dusted in these days

    8. Elliot Horwood
      29th July 2011, 19:06

      I AM ****** OFF A TREAT! So annoyed about this and so are several other million people around the UK!

      I aswell as many others will most likely be watchiing the other 11 races illegally rather than pay £50+ a month for Sky

      1. Roman Krmicek
        4th August 2011, 21:45

        Yes, this is all for ****** Sky.
        BBC shouldn’t let this happend.
        Illegal races plus premier league is future for sport fan…my choice is to buy dish with foreigh card to what all of it…not Have to pay to SKY or others…

    9. It’s a huge mistake in fact. The UK is the most important center of motorsport in the world, so F-1 free-to-air coverage means a motivation not only for future drivers, but for future mechanics, engineers, team owners, etc…

      I’m very impartial in saying that, since I’m from Brazil, the country that provides many many drivers for the top categories in Europe and America, but only has a limited tradition of home motorsport categories above kart-level(F-3, Stock Cars, F-Fiat, and nothing else worth mentioning).

      Restricting its free coverage will be bad to all motorsport categories based in your country…

      Is it going to be pay-per-view or will they include it in the standard Sky service?

      If it is pay-per-view, It’ll be even worse…

    10. Some say they may not watch F1 next year well i will not be watching any of the races so give me back my money… bbc.

    11. I wonder which pockets the savings will go into.

    12. Just looked at getting sky package on my BT vision told for one chanel its £13.89 and for two £18.75 ontop of my payment for bt vision it to bloody exspensive on top of the tv licence and as a die hard F1 fan who is disabled can only watch it from there bed .
      what is the world coming too

    13. This is stupid I mean sky was terrible I had it and the broband speed was dead slow and the you couldent conect out side the room so imagine the races with some ****** coverage the. BBC has lost more than half the sports fan and we pay for our tv licsence so we should get bbc with whatever provider but oh no lots more people have sky last year on average 34% of sky customers found a better deal else’s wear

    14. Well I have to say that Bernie Ecclestone has sold All the british TV licence payer’s
      down the rive for his own personal wealth .
      As a Tv licence payer which cost,s us £149 per year , and now if we want to watch the race’s
      this season , we would have to Get SKY deals to watch them at a cost of £35.00 per Month .

      I have BT vision which costs me £20 per month which show’s Sky one and two but they dont
      show Sky F1 and to cancel Bt vision would cost £150 .

      I did watch the F1 on BBC 1 this afternoon and have to say it dose not feel that the BBC really
      care about the TV licence payer’s as the coverage was very weak and with little limp it was cut and shortened very badly, Not as much info as we used to get before Bernie” Ecclestone sold ALL THE F1 Fans out to Sky and to for his own personal gain.

      I have to say I personal feel let down By him and the BBC what is going own how much money dose one man need ????????????????????????????????

      One very angry F1 Fan of over 30 years

  2. Really disappointed by this. Would have preffered it the other way round. Bad day for F1.

  3. *** is this April 1st

    Formula 1 on Sky is the start of coverage downfall

  4. Baaaad idea. Very bad idea.

  5. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey)
    29th July 2011, 7:44

    This is the worst news for F1 that I have heard in a long time. Utterly horrible decision. Once again Bernie has stuck two fingers up at the loyal die-hard fans to satisfy his miserable company’s bank account and I am disgusted and angered.

    Sky Sports? Now you will be forced to subscribe to pay-TV just to see every race live. How will that do anything to help F1’s image in the UK if you’re forcing people to pay to be able to watch it? Oh, and this more than likely means we’ll return to the dark ages of races being interrupted by adverts five times a race. Has Bernie even considered what the viewing experience will be like for fans or does he seriously just give the rights to the highest bidder without considering what his audience thinks at all? Why does he continue to make these terrible decisions that go against everything that the die-hard fans want? We are the ones who are buying the merchandise, buying tickets to the races, discussing every facet of this brilliant sport on websites like this one and we are the true lifeblood of this sport – not your sponsors, not the governments you deal with and certainly not the television companies you pander to.

    And what happens to the fantastic BBC team we have? We won’t get to enjoy Martin Brundle and David Coulthard’s commentary live for half of the races anymore. We’ll have to cope with a brand new presenting team that will more likely than not be shoe-horned into the roles instead of being there through merit or actual experience in the sport. At least we’ll still get 5Live commentary for every race.

    It’s a horribly disjointed deal and will undue all of the progress F1 has made since moving to the BBC. The effort the BBC has made to provide F1 fans with world-class coverage has been commendable and shown that they genuinely care about the fans. Sky Sports don’t care about F1, they care about squeezing more money out of people by monopolising as many sports as they can.

    I genuinely fear for the future of F1 in this country now, because if Bernie and FOM really do care about the casual fans only, this is easily the worst decision he ever could’ve made with the TV rights.

    Now, who’s got FOTA’s email address? I’ve got another sternly-worded letter to write…

    1. Keith. Can we copy this, form it into a petition, get signatures and send it off?

      Worst F1 news in a long time.

      Germany last year has nothing on this.

      1. If it’s on 5Live, then will it be on the red button, like the practice sessions?

        1. Possible, but I doubt it.

        2. Eh sorry to dissapiont, but the other races WONT be on the red button. The reason being that the BBC wont be there. If it’s on the red button it means that the BBC has coverage, why lug all the team and equipment along if you are not going to broadcast. This is simply a 50% saving for the BBC. Show half the races and pay half the money simple. Yet all the BBC can say is we are glad to be broadcasting till 2018, yeah broadcasting half of it. I bet they wouldn’t be so keen to say that they were showing only the first half of all football matches till then. This is the death of F1 as we know it, and lets be honest Bernie no longer cares he is looking for retirement soon anyway. 35 years of watching all the greats on F1 – sorry Bernie no longer Bye Bye.

    2. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey)
      29th July 2011, 8:16

      Also, if you’re on Twitter I’m trying to see if we can get #F1FansDontWantSky trending to try and make a point.

      1. while it might be a forum post soon closed, this sounds like a good idea as well

      2. I am sorely dissatisfied with this, I remember ITV had coverage a few years ago and remember the bloody adverts! I have Sky but choose not to have sports. I pay them for my phone and broadband already this is indeed a VERY sad day fo F1. I wonder if it is cost cutting by the beeb or F1 wanting more”jazzy” show. I have been watching F1 30 odd years and will continue to do so but begrudge paying Murdoch and Co. yet more money.

        1. very interesting timing isn’t it?
          parliament forces murdoch into closing NotW and then Murdoch gets his own back by stealing a blue ribbon event from national TV

      3. Tweeted too!

    3. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey)
      29th July 2011, 8:27

      playing devil’s advocate, we don’t know what BBC’s motives were. it may be that they are more than happy at cutting their costs of covering F1 which is why we have the deal that has been announced. i think we’ll probs get a bit more from jake h when he’ll be on radio 1 at abt 0845.

      if, and i strongly suspect that it has, purely been done for financial gain on the part of BE then it’s a dark day for f1 and i agree with everything you say.

      as a sky subscriber, it won’t make a great deal of difference to me. i’ll watch the bbc coverage when it’s on. might watch the sky coverage or just watch the bbc’s extended highlights. if sky includes adverts (like it’s not going to!) then i’ll seriously consider just watching the highlights on bbc.

      i do think that we need to know more about the motives behind this decision before petitions etc are launched.

      1. Probably saving cost to get into a scope where the Management allows for the spending. Will mean Australia season opener is doubtfull to be shown on BBC, although it might be and get Malaysia as well. Then the end of year double of Austin/Brazil. Then Monaco, UK, Monza? and probably Belgium, Germany and Spain/Europe to keep travel cost down.

      2. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey)
        29th July 2011, 9:54

        from radio 1 interview and comments on fp1, bbc are looking to cut costs. f1 forms part of that cost cutting.

        50% live and 50% extended highlights is better than nothing. if i weren’t a sky subscriber, then i’d be narked at the decision, but it wouldn’t stop me watching. those that suggest they will are just slinging their toys from the pram and need to wake up to the real world.

        1. this has really made my day……****.

          worst news of the year, worst tv news ever.

    4. NOOOOOOO!!!!

      BBC is the only to watch F1 in Belgium. Coverage on Belgian TV is terrible!

      When I started following F1 in 1995 I used to watch the German RTL+. As they were dropped from Belgian cable I switched to the French TF1 until BBC started their coverage.

      Guess I will have to start watching the RAI for Italian comments :-S

      A sad day…

  6. bad bad news….. not happy at all to be honest

  7. FYI radio 1 to have Jakes reaction to this at 8:45am.

    1. As good as Jake is, I don’t think he’ll give an ‘honest’ response – i.e. its terrible decision – rather he will tow the party line and say how its good that at least they have some races.

  8. whoever thought this was a good idea should be fired. This is the probably the worst decision the FOM has EVER made.

  9. this is terrible, they might as well just let sky have the rights and not bother on the BBC. . Most F1 fans want to watch every race, so will need to pay Sky.

    I don’t know if I can afford sky :(

    1. I can afford it but they will not be getting my money. It is around £20 a month on top of what I already pay! Just so I can watch a race every other weekend…. Terrible, plus they will stick adverts all through the coverage so no thanks. There is no point in watching just half of the races so unfortunately after watching F1 for the 34 years of my life I will need to find another motorsport to watch.

      Keith is there any chance you could rename the site MotoGPFanatic as that is what I will probably be watching from now on, Although I did enjoy F2 and F3 on motors tv the other week so that is also an option (Also less of a name change for you).

    2. James Brickles
      29th July 2011, 9:23

      A couple of years ago, my family had to get rid of sky because we couldn’t afford it. It’s the worst news I’ve ever witnessed in F1

  10. I am really not happy about this! I’m assuming that you will need a Sky Sports subscription to watch! I’m sure Bernie said that it would remain free to air!

  11. Horrible news.

  12. Hearing this has ruined my Friday. It seems a poor deal for the BBC and an atrocious one for the fans.

    There have been no announcements about the format of BBC shows or the line up but I doubt we’ll see the standard of coverage we’ve been treated to for the past three years.

    I would speculate this makes it almost certain Jake Humphrey will step back to focus on London 2012 full time next year. And will the BBC be able to keep Brundle? I doubt it – I’d guess he’ll be off to Sky to commentate live on all 20 rounds.

    I’ll be surprised if we keep all of the excellent additions too – things like the practice sessions online and red button, and the forums, seem less likely to me in this paired down deal.

    It may well all be available on Sky but for a huge monthly charge.

    I hope I’m wrong but this seems a grim day for F1 fans in the UK.

  13. Ben Needham
    29th July 2011, 7:47

    I’m absolutely devastated by this. Does this Barbara woman have any idea what this means? She seems happy about it, but to me it’s quite plain that anyone wanting real coverage will now stick to Sky for the entire season in order to have some consistency between races.

    I really love the BBC coverage and this has really disappointed me – better go and sign up for Sky Sports then…

    1. I guess you have to look at it from the perspective of choosing between no BBC covering F1 at all and showing at least race highlights for each race and showing half of them live.

      1. The red button: the article said that the races will be broadcast on Radio 5 Live, so Im thinking that they could be broadcasted on the red button, like practice sessions currently are

        1. that would help the F1 fans in the UK at least, if true.

          It still leaves those who aren’t in the UK w/o coverage – I wonder if Sky also gets the contracts for the Australia etc. re-broadcasts for example. I was happy my digital subscription was likely to get BBC HD soon, that’s quite useless now (sure Top Gear and Dr. Who – but I don’t need those in HD really).

        2. Thats on the radio so no pictures…

        3. No. They don’t have the rights to show the race live, so they can’t show it live. Doesn’t matter which channel.

    2. signing up to sky sports is letting bernie and murdock win.

      Bernie set’s his price far too high

    3. I think the best way to deal with this crazy decision is to just watch the BBC covererage and let the F1 viewing figures drop on Sky until Sky realise that viewing figures are not worth the large sums of money they are paying Bernie and team. I know its drastic but its the only way that BBC might get it back? I have Sky anyway, but I will only watch the BBC coverage to make a point through out 2012.

  14. FOTA and Bernie promise races on free to air, and having half a season on free to air is a cop out in my eyes. Still greatful BBC can keep half the races, but highlights packages are not good enough. Chances are they wont be shown till late at night, and still miss crucial bits. Moving to Uni next year gives me no chance of getting sky sports, and those who suggest the pub, well which pub will show F1 over Football, and the earlier morning races? Looks like I will be streaming it offline, or just having to forget abot f1. BBC doesnt know what kinda of mistake it has just made.

  15. Astonishingly poor decision there. Sky in my opinion has also ruined top-tier English football by making it the corporate, bloated entity that it is today.

    Plus NewsCorp’s part ownership of BSkyB automatically rules me out of subscribing to them. The phone hacking scandal reinforces this stance.

    Onwards to internet streams ;)

    1. My thoughts exactly. I’ll go to one of the non-BBC races live next year but I second ‘onward to internet streams’ for the rest!

    2. I agree, Football was a big passion of mine, but over the years I have lost interest mainly due to sky and the attitude they have created in football. I rarely watch football anymore and even then it is only really the big games like the FA Cup final or internationals.

      Now F1 has died to me too….

      1. Completely agree . Also in Italy we don’t have free football , not even Champions League !And Italian football is died . Thank you Sky !

  16. I am actually quite suprised and shocked. I thought Bernie and FOTA wanted F1 to stay on Free-to-Air TV? I guess we was all wrong. I know that BBC will get half of the races but what are the odds of us seeing Bahrain and Spain. I’m sure you all know what I mean by this. I agree with Journeyer, viewing figures will be down a hell of a lot. Also the fact that we won’t be able to see qualifying and practices unless we pay for the privelege is just wrong. Petition anybody?

    1. We can, but if the contract has already been signed, will anyone bother backing down? This isn’t like getting rid of a radio station, which was purely an internal BBC decision. When there are contracts involved, it’s much harder to undo that.

      1. Michael Counsell
        29th July 2011, 13:38

        Don’t just petition. Boycott all F1 sponsors and all F1 merchandise. Force the teams hand to ensure that F1 stays 100% on free to air TV.

  17. Better start investing in server capacity for the live Blog Keith. And put up a big “streams here” button for everyone looking for them!

    I guess Sky will do a fine job of the coverage, even if only a minority of viewers will actually see it.

    Is this another move by Bernie to put pressure on the teams (hurting their sponsorships, making them more dependant on his payments)? I guess it did play a role as well as guaranteeing TV contracts for a longer term.

    1. I would be careful with the streams! I don’t think Keith want’s and cease-and-desist letters from Murdoch’s lawyers!

      1. True enough!

        I guess listening to radio 5 live will be fine to get through the ad brakes and endure polish or czech commentary!

      2. I somehow think linking to streams won’t be illegal anytime soon or do you think Google is being sued as we speak?
        Murdoch and his lawyers are going to be busy keeping the law of their backs.

        1. Given this High Court ruling only yesterday, any serious website would be extremely foolish to publish such links. What it means for Google is an interesting point, and ultimately highlights judges lack of IT comprehension in not designating the ISP as a common carrier.

          Back on topic, I think this is extremely poor for the future of F1, providing only short-term gain for FOM and probably medium-term gain for Sky, though they won’t be getting my money. It also makes Freesat less attractive.

  18. Michael Counsell
    29th July 2011, 7:50

    Time to start a petition? I have sky now but one day i might not so important not happy about this either.

  19. Disastrous for F1 in every sense.

    Ecclestone’s staggering gate prices mean many of us simply
    cannot afford to go to many F1 races and the BBC’s coverage, totally free of advertising intrusions has been superb. Murdoch’s outfit will destroy it.

    What a terrible day this is.

  20. Paul Campbell
    29th July 2011, 7:51

    Nightmare. The Troll grabeth the gold again.

    I have Sky, but not Sky Sports, and don;t want to be forced to buy it just for F1. I thought F1 was one of the protected sports that needed to remain ‘free to air’ – I guess have they gotten around this by keeping the British GP live on BBC?

    Adverts. Groan. Maybe the Troll will bring in a new rule that lets Sky ‘Pause’ the cars every 10 mins to let us see what type of chocolate we should be buying.

    Utter rubbish.

    1. Sadly F1 isn’t on the free-to-air list. Everyone thought that the teams would fight a move away from free-to-air, but apparently not.

      1. I guess they did not get much of a chance to do so.
        To suit the Concorde agreement the race highlights will probably officially do enough of free coverage, so this means Bernie’s got them covered and tight around the throat.

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