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”

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  1. How dissappoiting. I’ve only got into f1 in that past couple of years, I can’t afford Sky. I won’t be watching.

    I wonder if Sky will also have mid race adverts?

    1. I wonder if Sky will also have mid race adverts?

      That’s what you’re complaining about? The rest of the world already get mid-race advertising. We cope with it just fine.

      1. Just let people vent. This is not your blog.

      2. And is it better or worse to have mid-race adverts? Are you saying it’s a good thing?
        F1 fans are being asked to pay a lot more money for coverage, which will also be interrupted by sponsors’ messages. Sounds worth complaining about to me.

      3. That’s what you’re complaining about?

        I think he’s more worried about the fact that he can’t afford Sky, meaning he won’t be able to watch the races broadcast by Sky. People have a right to be upset about this PM. Commercials are a shame, but missing entire races is worse. We’re both Australian, PM, so what would happen if you had to get pay-TV just to watch F1? Would you be happy?

  2. What a waste of money by the BBC! Surely its better to show ‘all or nothing’ rather than squandering millions on half a season and highlights?

    I am gutted but as an F1 fan I think I will probably stump up the ridiculous cash for Sky rather than not watch it. I am just really really disappointed that there will be no free to air coverage of the whole season. A very sad day indeed.

    1. I’m sure those that can afford to, will stump up the extra cash. F1 may be the sport of millionaires run by billionaires, but it is still loved and (for now) watched by the average man, woman and child on average or less than average wages.

      1. Trust me, I’m one of those on an average wage, but I love F1 too much to just ignore half the season. I really am genuinely upset about this but I don’t think the situation will change (contracts have been signed).

        I truly despise News Corp but if they are the only ones who will allow me to see the sport I love then I don’t really have a choice.I really am sorry that some people won’t be able to afford Sky and its atrocious that they don’t have another way of viewing races live – extended highlights are fine as long as you don’t find out the result first… which if you and your friends are into F1 then you will. My real anger and disappointment is with the BBC who have achieved the highest F1 viewing figures for years and are then dropping the sport.

        1. I will NOT be watching the Sky coverage, regardless of whether I want or could get the Sky package. I will be illegally downloading every non-BBC broadcast race for the forseeable future, and I hope many have the same thought. I would rather see F1 go to the wall for a year or 2 than watch Bernie trash it.

  3. Bernie has reneged on his promise that F1 would remain free to air. My personal circumstances and financial commitments in the current economic climate means that I cannot afford the extra expense to watch F1 throughout an entire season. With missing half the races LIVE next year, not sure that watching highlights, however, extensive, will keep me watching at all. Still going to the British Grand Prix but you can stick the rest – who wants half a season? The Murdoch Money Maker continues

  4. Now I’m massively disappointed. Sky can kiss my sweaty b@lls, I won’t pay. I’ll be forced to watch f1 on hungarian RTL Klub, with incompetent commentators, and with advertisements. I would happily write down massive Malcolm Tucker quotes, but I won’t swear here, everybody who know the character Malcolm Tucker, knows what I’m talking about. (for a fcking revenge, maybe I’ll find a way to watch Sky coverage F1 four hours after the live event. Now I’m motivated.)

  5. Oh, how very very sneaky. Make sure the non-live races are still presented as highlights so it satisfies the “free-to-air” clause F1 has. Now, if this was only for the fly-away races that start in the early morning, it would actually be okay and very understandable from a ratings point of view. But I don’t think it’s going to be that reasonable an arrangement at all.

    I hope that when the race isn’t on live, the highlights are in a prime-time slot like the Canadian and Brazilian Grand Prix are when they’re live, because they usually get the highest audiences. That way F1 can still remain in the public consciousness, so to speak, and people will carry on watching. But if the BBC have some other arrangement, a late evening Match of the Day type arrangement, then they will have wasted a massive amount of money in keeping half of the rights, because from a lack of regular exposure the viewing figures will drop like a stone amongst the most casual fans.

    1. And as Keith just said on BBC News, it will make it incredibly difficult for future fans to be introduced to the sport.

  6. RacingGreen
    29th July 2011, 8:29

    Love F1, always have. But I will NOT, on grounds of cost and principle subscribe to Sky. This truly demonstrates Bernies contempt for the ordinary fan and the BBC’s complete lack of understanding of the sport and it’s followers. This also shows once and for all that there is still too much money in the sport when these crass decisions are made in order to claw in the funds that a minority seek to protect at the expense of what I regard as the finest coverage the sport has ever seen.

    These needs action and it needs it now.

    1. Couldn’t agree more – looks like I’ll be back watching my ‘classic’ race collection every other weekend. Maybe not all bad, at least I’ll get to relive the glory years of Schumacher, Senna, Mansell and Hill(s)!

  7. Gents, for those with the money, they dont give a hoot about the ‘normal’ fan. I find it utterly disgraceful that after all these years of excellent coverage it has to part move to Sky!!. This is just the calm before the storm, because once Sky has the rights it will try to get all of the rights to host F1, and you know money talks, especially to Bernie. I am one of those who will be swithing off as i too dont have Sky sports and never will. Its a sad day for fans!!!!!

  8. What a shame!!

    1. narrower coverage, small viewer -> less sponsorship…

  9. James Brickles
    29th July 2011, 8:31

    About 2 years ago, my family dropped sky because we couldn’t afford it, and now this has happened. This is the worst piece of news that I have received in my nearly 19 years of existence

    Formula 1 is my most ultimate passion and seeing this piece of news… it made me cry.

  10. So, so, so disappointed. I feel like my favourite sport has been pulled from underneath me.

  11. The BBC had one year left to run on their existing contract and could have shown all of 2012 – they chose not to.

    My bet would be 2-3 years into this new contract, and with dwindling viewer numbers on the BBC they hand the entire live side to sky with maybe a 1hr highlight package at 23:00 on a Sunday evening. Clearly these contracts, as in F1 can be changed.

    I’m pretty gutted about this news, it such a bitty proposition…. which race is it this weekend? is it a Beeber or Skyer, if it’s the beebs turn no-one is going to watch the advert version on sky – in the same way that when ITV and BBC both show the world cup final the viewers go to the bbc. Hopefully the radio 5 coverage remains – but marrying it up to the pictures is just a drag.

    I’ve watched every race for the last 25 years, without exception, and ironically I already have Sky Sports (for the cricket), but even I think this is such a crap decision that is going to result in reduced viewing numbers and marginalization of the sport – just when it was going so well on the bbc with numbers and quality of coverage. -sigh-


  12. Almost everything I want to say at the moment is likely to be blocked by the swear filter. I’m really angry! I don’t have Sky; I don’t want Sky; I can’t particularly afford Sky.

    F1 coverage is at an absolute pinnacle this year – from next year I won’t have the same sense of continuity over the season which is so vital to following the “story arc”. Nor, if I do manage to watch a few races on satellite (presumably at a friend’s house – pubs will still show football or rugby in preference to motorsport) will I get any continuity during a race: how many ad breaks will there be?!

    The sponsors will gave less airtime

  13. When all is said and done, I’m going to keep watching Formula 1. Why? Because I think the sport is worth it. I love my sport; I look forward to every race – even if it’s Valencia. I’d gladly pay $75 a month for access to it. Furthermore, I don’t think some foolhardy ‘protest’ against the sale of the broadcast rights by refusing to subscribe to a pay-per-view channel will actually do anything.

    But then, who am I to comment. Channel Ten (and its sister channel, OneHD) is a syndicated station. They pay the rights holder for access to their broadcast, which is considerably cheaper.

    1. I’d gladly pay $75 a month for access to it.

      That’s now. Get a wife, couple of kids & mortgage and then try again with that. :D

      Furthermore, I don’t think some foolhardy ‘protest’ against the sale of the broadcast rights by refusing to subscribe to a pay-per-view channel will actually do anything.

      I agree it won’t. The protest is that it’s feels like the start of the end of F1’s long history in the UK. F1 not being free to air will significantly drop its viewing figures. This will lose fans / sponsors and worse it will lose potential new fans, like the many kids who want to then go on and work in engineering or take up karting.
      Fans here care about the sport and it’s roots in the UK and do not want to see it decline because of pure greed of a select few.

      F1 is becoming more elitist as is ages. Might as well 50% all the circuits F1 Paddock Club only.

  14. I went to see my first British GP in the 60’s at Brand and have been a loyal F1 fan (mostly watching the TV) since then. This decision really stinks.

    I used to watch the Cricket a lot when it was free to air but now rarely even bother with the highlights programmes.

    F1 is the only sport I watch (I am not a footy fan) so maybe I will be forced to get Sky (I can afford it but I would not watch much else) and may start to watch more Cricket again but this is still a bad decision.

    As other have mentioned what will the sponsors feel about losing a large % of their UK audience.

    1. Also what they say the BBC are going to show the ‘last’ race but what about the Championship decider – what can occur anytime in the 2nd half of the season! Sorry this is just crap.

  15. The big question here is, will there be adverts during races?

    1. Of course there will!!!! – lots of them – cant wait for perpetual brainwashing – ITV had major cock ups with their ads here’s for more of the same….

  16. Terrible news… This season the BBC coverage has been superb, and now they are “absolutely delighted” to destroy what was they have achieved. This is a disaster…

    Getting rid of the dreadful Jonathan Legard and trusting the commentary to Martin Brundle and David Coulthard was a brilliant move, but will BBC keep them when Formula 1 is downgraded? Or will BBC return us to the age of constantly talking, but nothing knowing, journalist commentators?

    I just do not understand this. Why does Bernie repeatedly try to stop us from watching Formula 1? I thought the task of the promoter was the opposite…

  17. What a truly awful decision.

    There is no chance in hell that I am subscribing to Sky and then buying the sports package just to watch F1. Sky+ with Sky Sports costs £31.75 a month, for HD it’s £42 a month. That’s £38.10 a race, or £50.40 a race for HD!

    I sincerely hope that many of the F1 sponsors start to pull out of the sport. As one of millions of F1 fans who refuse to pay for satellite TV, this will effectivelty cut our exposure to their brands by 50%.

  18. The BBC coverage is great, my only gripes were
    1- that practice sessions were on red button so i couldnt sky plus them if at work(and yet BBC3 and 4 were empty at this time of day and could have shown the coverage)
    2- occasionally i cannot see all the races due to other commitments (usually driving kids to sports etc)so i depend on R5L; but if a match is on they would have the F1 on R5L Sports Extra which is digital and my car (like most cars) doesnt have a digital radio.

    I first installed Sky 16 or so years ago ‘cos i thought when the BBC first lost F1 that it would go to Sky, however it went to ITV. So i wont miss anything, so selfishly i dont really mind. However the BBC has been bitching about the cost of F1 for most of the past year so this or something like it has been on the cards.

    Its a shame, the quality of the coverage and the post race forum is fantastic. Hopefully Sky will try to match it, and if other sports on Sky are anything to go by, there should be little advert interruption of the race, just lots of ads before and after. Their football coverage is good, so no reason to believe they will mess this up. Heres hoping anyway.

    1. 1. BBC3 and BBC4 were empty at this time of day and could have shown the coverage – Although BBC3 and 4 aren’t showing anything at this time. The bandwith they use during these none operational hours is used by the 2 Childrens BBC channels.

  19. What have BBC done??? What a mistake. The BBC coverage has been excellent recently, guess they just don’t care about their licence fee payers. Don’t have sky sports and refuse to pay for it. Come on BBC sort yourselves out.

    1. Couldn’t agree more! And by putting it on Sky this will lower F1’s credibility after all the News Corp issues recently.

  20. Goodbye F1 after more than a decade, been nice to watch but this is the end! :-(

    I don’t have Sky so how will the other non live races be done on BBC?

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