Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Melbourne, 2012

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

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. Even if all the races don’t end up on pay TV, I suspect more and more of them will. It’s a Trojan horse, Sky did the same thing with cricket and rugby. And if they’ll pay more for all the races than Sky and BBC combined are paying now, a deal will be done. Sadly, I expect BBC will pull out before the current agreement ends – again.

    I’m more disappointed that the Guardian is using Christian S**t. The poor guy just parrots anything Bernie says, out of either end, and pads it out with speculation (“The BBC was unavailable for comment”?! You didn’t even try!) and tries to blind us with unsubstantiated figures (he must’ve had a previous job selling car finance). He has a whole website dripping with this stuff (rhymes with **** *ss), and it’s a worry that it’s now being presented as news in (arguably) respectable papers.

  2. Here’s a bit more on the story of Bahar being sacked from Lotus.
    Looks to me as if the new owner is now doing what should have done a year ago. Clean up, ditch the over the top plans and built on what Lotus has with introduction of a new model, but not 5 at once.

  3. The F1 sponsors must be delighted that prime markets like the UK and Italy see their actual number of viewers and therefore exposure reduced by Bernie’s short term greed. I am surprised the teams don’t moan either as this will affect their income too. Or is it compensated by added revenue ?

  4. Sadly I think it is inevitable that live F1 will move away from free to air TV in the major markets, it won’t help the long term popularity of the sport but it will help the income, in the short term at least.

    Yes Ecclestone says that F1 will never move all countries to pay-per-view, and it wouldn’t make sense as they wouldn’t want to do that in countries where the sport isn’t popular and they wanted it to grow.

    Also in the past people believed Ecclestone had said F1 would always be free to air in the UK, but it turns out that half the races live and highlights is enough to fit those conditions, so even just a highlights package late at night on a minor channel would be enough to say F1 was still on free to air TV.

    The problem I have with the interview is where he states it wouldn’t make any difference in the UK if F1 went to pay per view only.

    As Ecclestone isn’t an idiot he obviously knows that isn’t true, but he tries to justify it by saying that Sky reaches more households than view F1 on the BBC, as if every Sky subscriber will watch F1 which is just plain nonsense.

    The BBC reaches every house in the UK with a TV whereas according to Ecclestone’s figures Sky don’t even reach half of them, also the fact that the BBC still has more viewers for highlights than Sky does for live races show it would make an impact.

    As has already been suggested Ecclestone is probably using this as part of a negotiating tactic regarding the Concorde Agreement.

  5. For the record that Guardian article is littered with errors, Sky are paying much more than £25m.

    Also F1 coudn’t move totally away from FTA-TV as teams woudn’t allow it, Neither would the concorde agreement. The current Sky/BBC deal is only allowed because every race is still avaliable on FTA-TV (Highlights or Live).

    As to the Sky Italia deal. F1 has been on Sky Italia before (Both before & After it became Sky) & they did a good job with the coverage.
    F1 has also been broadcast on what is now Sky Deutschland (Was DSF:Plus & Premiere previously) since 1996.

    1. Yes, the current Agreement requires FTA coverage. No, there is no certainty that the one that starts next year will have such a clause – in fact, as it’s designed as a long-term contract, so I doubt it will include that clause, given the way the internet is developing as a viable means of transmitting both live and time-shifted sports events.

      I believe that the investment with TATA is groundwork for expansion into new media delivery. It’s just proceeding at a glacial pace because of the lead balloon that are the expensive broadcast contracts – If Bernie announced tomorrow that all fans can sign up to FOM-run live internet streams for a monthly/annual sub, everyone would be happy… Well, apart from the TV companies who have spent millions on the contracts.

  6. Mark my words this day. F1 will become a PPV event if Sky get their way and it’ll work like this, pay £10-£15 a race without ads or watch on normal Sky Sports with it included in a package price with ads. Bernie would rather get £50 million pounds for 1 million viewers than £25 million for 6 million viewers.

    Sky Sports F1 got 650000 viewers for their first race in Australia compared to an average of 3 million when it was on the BBC. Money talks and F1 will die a slow death if Bernie is allowed to go unchecked.

    1. Bernie isn’t long for this world – he’s now on a crusade to extricate as much money from F1 as possible for himself/CVC with the goal to let his successor sort any resulting mess out.

  7. “Ecclestone: F1 may abandon free-to-air TV in UK”

    And several million free-to-air viewers may abandon F1.
    I’m sure sponsors will love that.

  8. It sounds to me like the BBC, Sky and Bernie are in the process of negotiating a new TV rights deal at the moment and this is Bernie using the media to scare the BBC into making a higher offer. It’s all part of good business.

    Sony did the same thing recently with attending gamescom, the largest games industry event in Europe. Sony told the media they were thinking of not going, it turns out they just wanted to reduce the cost of attending.

  9. Dear Mr. Bernie Ecclestone,

    Please stop being such a money-grabbing, poison dwarf. That is all.

  10. If no one signed up to the sky F1 deal, we would not have this problem.

    Bernie took your money when you didnt have to give it, and in a few years we will have to pay or not watch perfect footage. I wont pay bernie / murdoch.

  11. I highlt doubt he means it, however its a rather naive approach to run your ‘cough’ business!

    The half and half deal is bad enough…I can’t tell you how many times people ask me ‘whens the next race on and when? then I have to say at (location) BUT it only on Sky…and then they usually say something like ‘damn it’…it causes great frustration!

  12. As it is now past FP2, I wait with eager anticipation as to what the announcement from F1F will be. I have realised that it is probably a stockmarket floatation….

  13. Someone tell me how Ecclestone and the BBC managed to screw the public over this year’s switch from BBC for all races. At the end of 2008, they declared BBC had secured the exclusive rights “for an undisclosed sum” with Ecclestone to cover F1 for FIVE years from 2009 season. We ~ the licence payers ~ footed that bill, so how come they changed the situation? Does BBC intend to refund its licence payers for the loss?

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