I wish the BBC were continuing their full F1 coverage, but I don’t think it’s right to highlight all their other spending and use it to further criticise them.
I’m a fan of many sports – football and F1 are right at the top, but I also follow cricket, rugby, tennis, snooker, other motorsport, and more. Things like the Six Nations and Wimbledon belong on the BBC, if you ask me, not just because they are watched by large numbers of people (4.7m viewers per match for the Six Nations is comparable to F1), but because they are largely British events and have a cultural value that only the British GP can really match in F1.
I think the BBC should have fulfilled their contract, which ran to the end of next year, I believe, then allowed another free-to-air broadcaster to take over the rights exclusively. Doing a deal with Sky so they could cut costs while boasting about an extended contract was just cynical, and I don’t buy Bernie Ecclestone’s justification of it either; he claimed that he couldn’t negotiate with ITV or C4 because the BBC’s contract still had time left on it, but that couldn’t possibly have forced him to accept the new BBC/Sky contract which will run for five years longer than the original BBC one. He’s obviously making more money out of the new deal.