Ecclestone: F1 may abandon free-to-air TV in UK

F1 Fanatic round-up

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2012In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone indicates F1 coverage in the UK could leave the BBC entirely.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Bernie Ecclestone suggests free-to-air Formula One could end on BBC (The Guardian)

Bernie Ecclestone: “We will never move all countries to pay?per?view only though it wouldn’t make any difference here in the UK. Sky reaches over 10m. We don’t get 10m on the BBC, normally about 6m or 7m.”

Murdoch’s Italy TV arm buys F1 rights (Reuters)

Bernie Ecclestone: “We have worked with Sky Italia in the past and I have no doubts about their production standards. We have a similar agreement in Britain that is working very well.”

Sky to have exclusive F1 live broadcast rights? (F1 Kate Walker)

“I’ve been told that Sky’s commitment to broadcast the races free from commercial interruption is a one-year thing, and that fans can expect ad breaks from 2013 onwards. But I’ve not been told that by anyone from Sky, so make of it what you will…”

No hurry for Hamilton (Sky)

“The championship is more important than what I plan to do, what my next contract will be. My future at the moment is not important – I might not even see next year! What’s important is making sure I capitalise and maximise on this year.”

Jonathan Neale Q&A: McLaren can win in Montreal (F1)

“I wouldn?t put the last two or three races into a professional like Lewis?s mind in terms of where he?s going to be comfortable in the future. We would like Lewis to continue racing for us. We have plenty of time. We don?t need to make that decision until much later this year.”

Bahar dismissed as Group Lotus boss (Autocar)

“A statement issued today said the decision was made by the board of Group Lotus plc following the results of an investigation into a complaint made against Bahar by the company’s owner, DRB-Hicom.”

Grosjean downplays first lap accidents (Autosport)

“It doesn’t mean anything. In Australia I couldn’t do much [with Pastor Maldonado], in Malaysia it was my mistake [with Michael Schumacher], I spun in the wet. And in Monaco what can you do? Trying to put a scooter and a bus into Sainte Devote together is difficult, so four cars side by side is too tight.”

2012 Canadian GP – Conference 1 (FIA)

Sergio Perez: “The only weekend we didn?t have the speed was in Bahrain. We had a lot of degradation. All the other weekends, Barcelona I was in fourth place but then I had a puncture; Monaco in qualifying we had the speed to fight for a win, I think, but then we had a problem with the steering wheel and I just went straight. I think the speed is there and everything is there and it?s just a matter of luck. We have been very unlucky in the last few races.”

Villeneuve slams standards in Formula One, calling today’s drivers ‘babies’ (Daily Mail)

“There is no respect amongst them. I think, 20 or 30 years ago, the risk of dying was high and there was that extra respect. They weren?t little daddy?s boys like now. They are still babies.”

Montreal’s Grand Prix kicks off under protest threat (CBC News)

“Michel D’Avignon, who organizes the downtown Peel Paddock event, said he has quadrupled security in light of the potential protests.”

Montreal police make arrests ahead of Grand Prix (CTV News)

“One day before Montreal comes alive with the sound of revving engines and cheering fans during the Grand Prix, police carried out a series of raids targeting 11 key suspects believed to have been involved in vandalism.”

Paul Pietsch 1911-2012 (Adam Cooper)

“Paul Pietsch ?ǣ the last surviving driver of the pre-war Silver Arrows era ?ǣ has died just a few weeks short of his 101st birthday.”

Susie Wolff explains why there aren’t more women in F1 (BBC)

“Wolff, who races in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and signed for Williams earlier this year, believes there will be a female F1 driver ‘within the next decade’.”

F1 Fanatic via Twitter

“F1 Fanatic should hit a major milestone tomorrow. Keep an eye out for a special article to mark it…”

Comment of the day

Mark Webber’s plain-spoken style appealed to several readers, including Timi:

I love how he?s so frank. I wish every driver would just tell it how they see things.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio was badly injured in a crash at Monza on this day in 1952.

The reigning world champion had driven to the track overnight from Lyon, having flown there from Northern Ireland where he had been racing the day before.

Exhausted, he started the race from the back of the grid having not participated in practice. Nonetheless he passed 15 of his rivals in the first two laps.

On lap three Fangio lost control of his car in the second Lesmo corner and hit a straw bale. He was thrown from the cockpit of his Maserati and suffered neck and spinal injuries that kept him out of racing for the rest of the season.

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

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169 comments on Ecclestone: F1 may abandon free-to-air TV in UK

  1. Re: Comment of the Day. You know, I like it when drivers are frank, as well. I hadn’t really gotten the impression that very many other fans did, though, judging from the firestorm of outrage that tends to erupt erupt when certain drivers veer “off message.” (And, just so no one accuses of me having a particular ax to grind, one of the main drivers I’m thinking of is Lewis Hamilton.) Honestly, I can understand exactly why more drivers don’t just “tell it how they see things.”

    • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 8th June 2012, 9:36

      People like drivers who ‘tell it like they see it’ when it matches what they think about things. When a driver says something they disagree with, it becomes VERY BAD.

    • PJA (@pja) said on 8th June 2012, 11:36

      I think it is down to which driver is speaking their mind as to the response it gets.

      I may be wrong but Webber seems to be pretty well liked and there doesn’t seem to be many anti-Webber comments in general.

      Whereas there seem to be plenty of people at both extremes for someone like Hamilton, lots of fanboys for whom Hamilton can do no wrong and lots haters for whom he can not do anything right.

      An example would be earlier this season when Hamilton said with the car he had and the grid position he had achieved he should have won the opening few races. I interpreted it as Hamilton saying he hadn’t performed as well as he could have, which I thought was a reasonable comment and wouldn’t get much response.

      So I was surprised when there were lots of negative comments along the lines of how arrogant of Hamilton to think he has a divine right to win every race, which obviously caused the fanboys to come out and defend him.

      If Hamilton had made the sort of remarks that Webber had I wouldn’t have been surprised if the comments in reply to the article were well over 100, (at the moment there are less than 50).

  2. Lateralus (@lateralus) said on 8th June 2012, 2:37

    Voice your opinions with your wallet, folks. Cancel your subscription to SKY. Get rid of your cable box entirely. Tell those companies exactly why you’re canceling your service. I download every race now, even though I could watch it on SPEED here in the US without any extra costs. I simply refuse to tolerate poor coverage. Ad breaks are not acceptable to me, so if I can’t get what I want, I’ll find it elsewhere. If SKY goes to ad breaks next year, I’ll watch another network’s coverage of the feed, even if the commentary is in a language I don’t understand. Commentary is usually useless boring drivel anyway (Martin Brundle mostly excepted).

    TV networks are motivated by profit. They don’t particularly care about F1 or sports or anything else. As long as people continue to buy subscriptions, that tells networks like SKY that what they’re doing now is the correct thing to do. If you don’t like their policies, don’t patronize them.

    This whole affair really shows how hopelessly inept and archaic FOM is in regards to TV coverage. They could easily create a fee-based service for streaming the world feed (live, continuous, unedited) through their own website. I would pay for such a service. If they won’t even allow me the possibility of obtaining their feed through legal means, what the hell do they expect me to do except to obtain it illegally?

  3. Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 8th June 2012, 3:50

    I dont get all this fuss about women in F1. The fact is, if somebody is good enough they get in. If you stand out in the lower formulae, why wouldnt you get a shot? If Michele Mouton made it to within striking distance of winning the World Rally Championship, why cant women be in F1? There is no reason why they cant. Perhaps there hasnt been anybody that been good enough just yet? There are quite a few women plugging about in the lower formulae just now..its only a matter of time before someone good enough pops up.

  4. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate) said on 8th June 2012, 3:51

    Bernie would force all the teams to paint their cars pink and wear purple fire suits if it meant F1 would gain a little profit….

  5. justhuman (@justhuman) said on 8th June 2012, 4:00

    You Brits just don’t realize how good your coverage of F1, and motorsports in general, is! On both the BBC and Sky. In America, I have lived in 2 states, 3 cities, together they total populations of over 300,000 and yet, I have met just 4 or 5 people who even know what Formula 1 is, and only 2 who know about GP2 or Formula Renault. We are STARVED in America of quality motorsports! I can’t stand our own coverage of F1, so I torrent all yours! I would giddily pay hundreds of dollars per season to get the coverage you guys receive. There many more like me, and when F1 comes back to America, there will be even more. This country has been polluted by the fake racing of NASCAR, we need an awakening and series like F1 and MotoGP and Aussie V8’s can do that! (I hope)

    • Coanda (@ming-mong) said on 8th June 2012, 4:16

      Starved in OZ as well & considering we have two Aussies contesting the WDC at the pinnacle of motorsport. F1 coverage is pathetic and viewing other formulas is none existent. F1 coverage has now gone back to delayed telecasts & in SD so they can run “D” grade movies on there HD channel. The coverage is full of lengthy add breaks every 5-7 laps & always around pitstop time. We don’t get any practice seasons either. A lot of viewers i am sure would be seeking illegal feeds.

    • mantresx said on 8th June 2012, 6:19

      Reading all this comments makes feel a bit lucky (just a bit) that here in Latin America we get all the sessions, there’s only 4 or 5 (3min) commercials on the races and if you don’t want to wake up at 5-7am they show the race again in the afternoon, of course there are drawbacks for example the commentators are Argentinian doesn’t matter where you live, the HD broadcast isn’t really HD and as soon as the race is over they switch back to football… very annoying.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 8th June 2012, 7:27

      The think people are talking about though @justhuman is, that it might only be a matter of a couple of years until the British, Italian, … coverage gets to be just as lousy as yours (or worse, at least the team at Speed do a great job of it, compare Aussie and Asian fans’ comments!).

  6. DVC (@dvc) said on 8th June 2012, 4:36

    Seriously BBC, why can’t I see an interview with Susie Wolff from Australia? Is someone else really going to pay you guys a lot of money for the rights to that interview?

      • DVC (@dvc) said on 8th June 2012, 7:55

        Thanks! Very much appreciated. :)

        I was interested in what she had to say about her own personality and how that doesn’t fit with the perceptions we might usually have of women in motorsport.

        It was an interesting interview. I most agree with what she said near the end. We shouldn’t generalise. Generalising just leads to discounting individuals whose actual merits are strong.

        Of course on such a topic it is difficult not to generalise, and it is necessary to an extent for discussion. There were some stereotypes used though, and stereotypes are never useful. By saying that women can take criticism better and men are more aggressive we create problems for when these things aren’t true. Even when these things are positives in one instance they are negatives in another. If you say I want an aggressive driver, so I’ll go with a man, then you’ve got a problem because you might select a man who is not aggressive and pass up a woman who is.

        I was also interested to see the women are better multi-taskers theory used. I’ve trawled through the scientific literature and there is only one (fairly recent) paper that makes that conclusion, but its methodology is fundamentally flawed. My own hypothesis on where this idea comes from is that getting someone to do all your odd jobs for you frees you to concentrate on one thing. If you tell someone they are a good multi-tasker then they feel good about doing those odd jobs for you. For a long time our society has been male dominated, and the men have taken to the tasks they want to concentrate on. I think we’ve developed the idea that women are better multi-taskers as a rationalisation for them doing all the odd tasks.

  7. tkcom (@tkcom) said on 8th June 2012, 5:05

    Foreigners willing to pay £145.50 licence fee for BBC’s superb F1 coverage.

    Denied. :(

  8. walster (@walster) said on 8th June 2012, 5:37

    well all u whiners about tv. joe canadian here, country boy at that. been with f1fanatic from the get go. lost me tv over 8 years ago. i’ve have spent many a sunday morning at 4;00am watching live timing on officialf1 and thats all there was! over the years i “adapted”.
    today, any feed you can want is on the comp for free. hook up hdmi and its pretty good on big sceen. ever hear of VyprVpn. come on folks, make it what u want!!!

  9. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 8th June 2012, 6:30

    In itself, the insight that F1 may not stay free-to-air in the UK is hardly controversial. After all, there is no guarantee that in the future the BBC or another channel will take up the rights. However, Bernie coming out and stating it is already a little bit annoying, as if it is some kind of message in his political games. What really annoys me is his twisting of the facts beyond recognition. He makes it sound as if 10 million people watch the races live on Sky alone, compared to 6 or 7 million on the BBC last year.

    I’m not from the UK, btw, though I do watch the BBC coverage when it is available, (otherwise I watch Dutch RTL which has some ad breaks), so from a personal point of view I am not that bothered about how F1 is broadcast in the UK. However, reduced viewing of the sport in the country where it is most popular can hardly be a good thing for F1.

    I also agree with @lateralus‘s point that I would like to see an official live feed from FOM at a price, if the price were reasonable, and that is a big if. Their live timing-app has increased in price from 0 (I believe) to 23 euros this year! Anyway, if an official feed were available, that would mean I wouldn’t have to stay home every GP weekend (which is Ok for me, but not nice for the family).

  10. Chops (@chops) said on 8th June 2012, 7:26

    Congrats on 1000 Articles Keith! (I’m presuming that’s the milestone).

  11. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th June 2012, 7:28

    Regarding Sky, it all sounds like rubbish. I honestly don’t see the BBC.dropping their coverage altogether. They already screwed the fans over last year and you would like to think that they’ve now got their business model right for F1. I don’t see them letting the fans down again. With that in mind I don’t see Sky taking the opportunity to throw ads at us in 2013. If a race is shared with the BBC for a particular weekend people will just flick to that while Sky are at a break and probably not bother switching back.

    • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 8th June 2012, 10:50

      It’s simple – the BBC cannot afford F1 as a long-term entity without some massive price cuts (or change in how the deals are arranged) and Sky have deep enough pockets to simply out-bid them should they desire it. Whether the fans get screwed over or not is irrelevant if Bernie takes away the BBC’s license to cover the sport.

      No doubt they are already looking at the comparative viewing figures and trying to work out if any Sky subscribers are still watching the BBC coverage rather than their own (something they can easily do by monitoring their internal viewing figures during a live GP weekend) – if the numbers are right, they can just throw more money at Bernie for 100% exclusive live races and boom, all the Sky subs will likely start watching the dedicated channel.

      Even if Sky only get a paltry million views, assuming the ~£30 minimum sub fee to get HD & ~two races pcm, each F1 race is bringing them nearly ~£15 million from subs who are watching the channel. If some of the viewing figures for the BBC are also Sky subscribers, that number is much larger. This is just blue sky figures, but theoretically Sky have already made back their investment in F1 for 2012.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 8th June 2012, 13:13

        @optimaximal Oh yeah, I don’t expect the BBC to pay for something they can’t afford, however, the whole point of the deal with Sky was to ensure that fans could access as many races on FTA TV as possible without the BBC bankrupting itself. Now we have some measures in place I think the BBC would find it difficult to justify only 12 months later to find that it’s not a model that’s working for them.

        • Optimaximal (@optimaximal) said on 8th June 2012, 13:38

          The point is, the BBC doesn’t have to justify anything. Yes, they’re a public service broadcaster beholden to their viewers, but if Bernie makes the renewal terms unreasonable (possibly with a garnish from Sky), they will have to break the contract as they’ve got no spare change at the moment.

          He’s shown in the past with the Spanish(?) rights that he has no trouble breaking contracts with TV providers if they can’t pay if an alternative presents itself – threats of fines come out the woodwork only if its a one-party race.

  12. graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 8th June 2012, 7:39

    Yes we all hate Rupert Murdoch blah blah bring back Murrey Walker blah blah blah.

    This Kate Walker has retracted the statement about Sky introducing in-race ads (click on the link in the round up). Might be best to update on this site too @keithcollantine

    I can’t see them doing that just for F1 and no other sport. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the BBC reduce or even ditch their F1 coverage early though.

  13. Calum (@calum) said on 8th June 2012, 8:10

    Great to see a pro-Webber comment of the day, the guy has taken some **** over the years but he is a model pro, getting the results he deserves again – infact he is the ideal candidate to blow JV’s theory that all driver’s are babies out of the water!!

  14. tobinen (@tobinen) said on 8th June 2012, 8:29

    Good to hear JV again! Love it when he speaks his mind.

  15. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 8th June 2012, 8:31

    Okay, everybody just take a second to think. Don’t react. Just think about this: Bernie never actually says that Formula 1 will leave free-to-air television, only that it could. Let’s read everything that he said in that article:

    “We will never move all countries to pay‑per‑view only though it wouldn’t make any difference here in the UK.”

    “Sky reaches over 10m. We don’t get 10m on the BBC, normally about 6m or 7m.”

    “The thing that TV stations want to buy most is live sport. People don’t want to watch delayed stuff because nowadays it’s hard not to know the result if you don’t want to.”

    “Sky have done a super job.”

    “The Beeb were sure we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere else.”

    So someone please tell me, where does Bernie actually say that he is planning to move the sport entirly to free-to-air? If anything, he says that he will never do it. He is simply pointing out that he feels Sky has drawn enough ratings that if they were to acquire the exclusive broadcast rights, the sport would not suffer for it.

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