Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren, Silverstone, 2011

Whitmarsh: “free-to-air is available to everyone”

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh’s claim BBC will show all races in full in 2012 is disputed.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

New F1 deal explained (BBC)

At the time of writing this piece on the BBC has attracted over 3,000 comments!

Whitmarsh sees positives in Sky deal

Martin Whitmarsh: “The BBC will show every Grand Prix in full, half of them live and half of them deferred, so free-to-air is available to everyone.”

New details of co-operation between Sky and BBC emerge (James Allen)

“Although FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh says he has had assurances from Bernie Ecclestone today that the race will be shown in its entirety a few hours delayed on free to air, BBC sources say that this is not the case and that the show will be around 75 minutes, meaning extended highlights with brief introduction and post race analysis.”

Jake Humphrey: I’m proud of the effort that our whole BBC team put into F1 (London Evening Standard)

“Sky has done wonderful things with cricket and football, it offers incredible depth of the sports it covers and has already signalled its intention to take the sport to new levels. We’ll see how a sport that is so dependent on big TV audiences will react to the news of partly non-free-to-air F1 coverage.”

True value of BSkyB under scrutiny (FT, registration required)

“A person familiar with the BBC?s position said the corporation, facing a freeze of its ??3.5bn licence fee funding for at least six years, would save more than ??25m from the deal, which sees it surrender the last year of a five-year exclusive coverage deal.”

Maurice Hamilton on Twitter

“We’re told some one has to pay to broadcast F1, BBC can’t afford it and has to cut costs. Here’s the question: does F1 really need that much money? How about joining the rest of the world and cutting back?”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

Bacheta’s big crash in GP3 practice at Hungaroring (YouTube)

Gianluca Pisanello on Twitter

“Best Friday of the year. Jarno [Trulli] happy with steering and gave lots of feedback. Feels like the first Friday of season. Lots to catch up now.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

F1 Fanatic on Twitter

Sauber says it will split from sponsor Money Service Group after this race. MSG’s founder was arrested on Monday.”

Via the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app

WWP may sue MSG (Austrian Independent)

“The head of a sport sponsorship agency has announced legal action against Money Service Group only one day after Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda complained about outstanding payments of a partnership with the firm.”

F1: Hungarian Grand Prix HD trial (BBC)

“This is our Formula 1 HD video test page for the Hungarian Grand Prix. We will be offering this service only for qualifying and the Grand Prix for UK users only. ”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Today’s round-up is almost an hour late as it’s taken quite a bit of time to read all of yesterday’s comments, including over 1,100 responses to the three articles on the BBC/Sky deal (here, here and here).

The response to the BBC/Sky deal was overwhelmingly negative. While a much of it was angry in tone, a lot of also came from fans pointing out that they simply cannot afford to continue watching F1 under the terms arranged for next year. Many also questioned whether it would harm F1’s popularity.

I have seen comments from several journalists, on Twitter and in their articles, dismissing the public response on the internet as “hysterical” and worse. I think they would do better to pay attention to what people are actually saying and listen to their legitimate grievances about the deal and what it will do to our sport.

With that in mind, here’s today’s Comment of the day from Magnificent Geoffrey:

It?s a horribly disjointed deal and will undo 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.
Magnificent Geoffrey

From the archive

Following yesterday’s development I think it’s worth looking back on this article from late 2009:

F1 may be on free-to-air television in Britain at the moment but we cannot take for granted that will always be the case. Bernie Ecclestone has moved F1 coverage in other countries to higher-paying pay TV companies. […]

Ecclestone would surely love a more lucrative TV deal with Sky to help pay the CVC bill.

From the forum

Damon Smedley invites you to reveal the person behind the avatar.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Cyanide!

On this day in F1

Michael Schumacher won the German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring five years ago today.

Following the controversial banning of the ‘mass dampers’ used by Renault, Schumacher led team mate Felipe Massa in a Ferrari one-two.

Kimi R??ikk??nen was third for McLaren ahead of Jenson Button and the Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 113 comments on “Whitmarsh: “free-to-air is available to everyone””

    1. I don’t understand – Whitmarsh is saying the BBC will show every race in full, just half deferred – but I haven’t even seen the BBC claim this – they’ve just said it’s highlights. What’s going on?

      1. Elliot Horwood
        30th July 2011, 1:35

        if BBC delay the 11 races by a few hours AND SHOW IT IN FULL, i wont mind as much. Highlights is a deffinite NO!

        1. But you’d have to make sure you wouldn’t see ‘spoilers’ on internet or accidentically hear the news (as I do when I recorded a race, sometimes even during holidays – you know, that you won’t even listen to French radio for fear of being spolied the results of the race).

          And Keith probably would need to run two live sessions? Or maybe even a non-spoiling url (

          1. I love how you can read that URL two different ways.


            You see it now don’t you? Sort of like

        2. Elliot Horwood
          30th July 2011, 10:35

          yeah but im normally working during the day so i watch it when i get back anyway so if its deffered to 7pm it makes no difference to me, aslong as it is shown in FULL

      2. According to the digging James Allen’s done, it seems that Whitmarsh’s interview is questionable. The article then went on to wonder if it’s to spread confusion (as Bernie does) or to push a free-to-air scenario.
        The BBC say that the coverage of the non-live races would be approx. 75 minutes long (inc. pre-race and analysis).

      3. From BBC article: “We will broadcast extended highlights for the rest of the grands prix just a few hours after the chequered flag has been waved. Sky will have live action from all races, qualifying and practice sessions.”

        It doesn’t sound like the races will be shown in full.

        1. Doesn’t at all. Unfortunately I can’t trust what Bernie has said to Whitmarsh. The fact he had to ask ‘several times’ implies Bernie couldn’t give a clear answer.

        2. F1 has more to lose from this than Sky has to earn. Many people will get Sky to see F1 probably, but the number of fans F1 will lose will be way greater.

      4. If the BBC show thw whole race but deferred, how are they going to save money?
        I am really disapointed by Whitmarsh – he has sold out to Ecclestone.

        1. Sush Meerkat
          30th July 2011, 9:44

          If the BBC show thw whole race but deferred, how are they going to save money?

          It reducers the fee’s the BBC has to pay from 200mil to 50mil.

          I’m saddened, I can’t afford to go to any of the races because my disposable income doesn’t allow it, over the years I’ve been priced out of going to a race, hence I watch it live on terrestrial TV.

          Now I’ve been priced out of watching F1 live, maybe FOM doesn’t want a cretin like me being associated with F1?.

          1. Precisely my position too, SM.

            And you sum up the position of millions of us dedicated, knowledgeable F1 fans perfectly.

            We’ve been comprehensively sh*fted.

            And two of what I have always seen as the most reputable and decent F1 team
            leaders have shown that they are no better than the very worst of these betrayers

            I refer to Whitmarsh and Horner. Who, as of today,are clearly no longer to be trusted to tell us the truth.

            F1 as an entity is severely damaged by
            the events of the last 48 hours.

        2. ALL the teams have sold out not just McLaren. They will each receive £1 million yearly from the new deal…which is…. nothing to the top teams – a few sets of carbon brake discs.

          1. It is disgusting to see FOTA not defending the fans as we hoped. Lost respect for most people in F1.

      5. It’s just Bernie being his usual self. The guy that is systematically ruining F1 in order to grab as much money for himself and CVC. Really sad.

    2. agree with Maurice Hamilton. F1 already has huuuge profits, and if Bernie was a real fan of the sport as well as a rights owner, he would know that the BBC coverage is the best thing to happen to F1 in years, and he would have made it work by lowering the price. The simple fact is, he doesn’t care about the fans, and therefore, can’t really care about the sport.

      1. He doesn’t have a controlling stake in F1.

      2. Completely agree with Hamilton here. Fans, Sponsors and Teams are all needed to make F1 what it is!

        1. The teams don’t realise how much pulling power they have. If they really wanted to, they could just leave and start their own series. The fans will follow it, not Bernie’s F1 money hungry bank account. What is wrong with the teams, don’t they have the balls to do it on their own?

          1. See 2009. They tried, but failed spectacularly. Mostly it’s down to the poor teams being more reliant on Bernie’s prize fund than the rich teams.

    3. ………………haha and here was me thinking (or hoping) the F1 teams would go against Bernie.

      Seems that I was far too optimistic

      This is annoying…

      1. Maybe the teams were lied to. Whitmarsh seems to be misinformed on this issue.

        1. He was informed by Bernie Ecclestone. Whitmarsh seems to be the only one who doesn’t realise how worthless anything Bernie says is.

    4. I won’t be affected (directly) by Ski F1 taking over the BBC coverage, but I understand frustrated fans.

      Football matches in Argentina were broadcasted by a Ski F1-like channel, so you had to pay a pretty big amount of money to be able to watch ALL the matches every weekend. The other viable option was to watch them at around 10 PM on free-to-air television, but not all the matches (if any) were covered entirely.

      So it was really frustrating. Because you had to listen to the games on the radio or learn about the result on the internet only to be able to watch them at night… on a sunday… when everyone gets up very early the morning after.

      It’s something that should be avoided. In F1’s case, I cannot belive F1 won’t be free to air in the UK, with such a big support the sport has over there. In Spain it’s free to air only because of Fernando Alonso. UK has Hamilton, Button, di Resta, more than half the grid’s teams and so many engineers being part of the show.

      They should’ve tried harder to keep F1 free to everyone. Or FOM should’ve made an exception… but we run on money, not brains.

      1. Your last phrase is the most telling about the whole affair “. . . but we run on money, not brains.”

      2. Your scenario of how the viewing experience would be sounds bad, and mirrors what happened with Dutch soccer before, when it went to a (now gone) pay channel. There’s a reason it is now back on free-to-air. I do think that would be really bad for F1 in the UK, and since the UK is such an important part of the F1 demographic, in extension it would be bad for F1 on the whole.

    5. I am so disappointed by the whole situation. The amount of misinformation and so-called ‘clarifications’ throughout yesterday didn’t help matters either.

      I’m disappointed by the initial announcement which means that I have to pay £600 per year if I wish to continue to enjoy F1 the way I do now with my licence fee.
      I’m disappointed that Martin Whitmarsh has made an apparent U-turn in ‘cautiously welcoming’ this move.

      I’m disappointed that Bernie conducted another classic U-turn in that he said he would never sell to pay-per-view because it said in the Concorde Agreement that viewership must be free, and was central to F1.

      I’m disappointed in the BBC because they reneged on their contract to continue their excellent exclusive coverage to 2013.

      I’m disappointed in the BBC because of their U-turn lies when they say that this is good for F1 and support this claim by saying that the free channel (ie BBC) had the greatest viewing figures in 10 years.

      I’m disappointed in FOTA because of their silence so far in this issue. Am I optimistic that they will speak up? No, because ultimately, money talks.

      I’m disappointed because this makes the rumours of the SKY consortium eventually buying over F1 more credible.

      Will I get SKY? No, I just can’t justify the cost. Will I settle for the BBC’s deferred coverage and highlights (which will be far worse quality, not least because of the absence of a pre-match show, the F1 forum, and the inevitable break-up of the current fantastic commentators and presenters)? Yes, I have no real choice.

      Thank you Bernie, you had a great product and most importantly you were marketing it brilliantly. Shame you just broke what didn’t need fixed.

      1. Will I settle for the BBC’s deferred coverage and highlights (which will be far worse quality, not least because of the absence of a pre-match show, the F1 forum, and the inevitable break-up of the current fantastic commentators and presenters)? Yes, I have no real choice.

        You do have a choice, but that choice is to either see only “half” the races or to abandon F1 altogether.

        Although I have been a fan of F1 for a long time, I am considering the latter. There are more exciting forms of motorsport anyway which I have been planning on getting in to. It is very possible that I will not watch another GP after this season (although that depends on my girlfriend too, she is horrified at the prospect after only just getting into F1 these past 2 seasons while I’ve been living with her)

      2. chris wallace
        31st July 2011, 11:41

        yep totally agree, i like millions of other fans have followed F1 for many years, this whole deal stinks and Ecclestone should be ashamed of himself. he is so stinking rich and just wants more. This will be my last season to watch it as i cannot afford sky and i don´t want to watch half a race.
        The BBC and all that worked to produce the show were fantastic, SKY will kill it and the sports followers.
        the end of a great era,

    6. F1 on the BBC may have been hemorrhaging money, but thanks to this deal with Sky and Bernie, the BBC will be hemorrhaging its record viewership…

      1. I do think this will only help those who want to see the BBC reduced in size and influence.

      2. And how Guys, and how !

      3. The BBC was never really about viewership, was it? It doesn’t make that much more money if 1 million or 10,000 watched any given show. Their funding is tied to the license fee, not to any commercial endorsements (which are then tied to ratings).

    7. He made those comments because that’s what Bernie told him the deal was: Bernie later reversed his position to say that a highlights show was his preference – see the interview on … (can I mention the BBC’s F1 website, Keith? I guess I can since I heard you on the BBC radio news!)

      1. (that was in reply to Jaffy)

        1. Thanks mate

    8. I see the BBC is not saying anything about how much it will cost the Corporation in order to break their current contract with FOM, which was to allow them to broadcast exclusively until 2013.

      We all know that Bernie won’t let a breach of contract to go unpunished.

      C’mon BBC, tell us how much Bernie charged you to release you from the current contract. As a licence payer I’m paying for this contract breach pay-out.

      1. I expect, since the BBC have negotiated an extension, and since Sky are picking up coverage, any financial penalty is avoided.

    9. The BBC will show every Grand Prix in full, half of them live and half of them deferred

      So, what were you all complaining about yesterday, then? Rather than wait for details of the Sky-BBC deal, you all rushed to judgement. Don’t you look silly now?

      1. Eh…where did you get that quote from?

        Because the BBC website certainly does NOT say that.

        1. …it says ‘extended highlights’…not ‘every Grand Prix in full’

        2. Eh…where did you get that quote from?

          From the article Keith posted. This one.

        3. Try reading the link Keith gave for the BBC Sports editor it says (quote)

          We will broadcast extended highlights for the rest of the grands prix just a few hours after the chequered flag has been waved. Sky will have live action from all races, qualifying and practice sessions.

          1. Well, at the very least, you’ll get some coverage of all the races.

            1. if your happy with that, then you obviously arent a serious fan of the sport.

            2. But my mate, who has wife and 4 teenage daughters never gets his choice of programs at prime time viewing.

      2. Perhaps we should wait and see if what Whitmarsh is claiming, which is contradicted elsewhere, turns out to be true.

        1. Prisnor Monkeys, I sincerely hope that the BBC DO show every FULL Grand Prix, either live or deferred, because that increases the probability that the current team, both behind and in front of the cameras, remain intact and continue to do a great job.

          So i have to avoid the news for a full day. Hey, I’ve done it before, I’ll be able to do it again…

          1. I sincerely hope that the BBC DO show every FULL Grand Prix, either live or deferred, because that increases the probability that the current team, both behind and in front of the cameras, remain intact and continue to do a great job.

            When Formula 1 transferred from ITV to the BBC, pretty much everyone except James Allen went across with the coverage. Sky have given no indication that they want to change anything about the presentation (especially since the general consensus is that the coverage is the best it has ever been), and I suspect the deal between the two was worked out in such a way with the BBC contributing the cost of a syndication fee to Sky’s bid, giving them a stake in the deal. They’ll be able to influence things.

        2. Seems as though the BBC can transmit the whole race later but have chosen, at the moment, only to give us extended highlights.
          Also it turns out it is Bernie that suggested to the BBC that a highlights program in prime time would be the best option.

          The broadcast is available at;

          from about 6 mins in until about 13 mins

        3. Perfectly true Keith, but do you really expect a pleasant surprise ? That we ARE to get a deferred full race coverage ?

          MMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm !

          My cynicism about Ecclestone’s/CVC dealings
          knows no bounds, as you can clearly see !

          Think I’d rather buy a slightly used F1 car from Arthur Daley, whose character was apparently modelled on Ecclestone in his early days !

      3. deferred still sucks big time…

        1. agreed

          1. You Brits might not rember it, because you have had it live for so long. But in Australia it’s only recently that we have had live F1 (race & even qual) and it is so much better.

            You don’t sit on the edge of your seat when you know the outcome isn’t in the balance.

            If I knew how I’d send a huge thanks to ONE HD. Who are constantly improving and allowing me to watch the sport i love for free.

      4. PM, I like to watch all of my races and sessions live, I open up Twitter & keep track with what journalists and fellow F1 fans say. I don’t want to come online and see what’s happened already, it’s a massive disappointment… (unless FP is at like 3am, then I’m not completely distraught.)

        1. and it’s a massive effort to do that. It’s very difficult not to see the outcome of the race before you actually watch it.

          1. Really?

            I do it regularly. I’ve never had a problem with it. I just don’t go online, watch the evening news or talk to anyone who might know the result (which is all of five people that I know).

            If you’re struggling to find things to do while you wait for the delayed telecast, I recommend reading a good book. I just finished reading Jeffrey Deaver’s The Sleeping Doll, which was excellent.

        2. I like to watch all of my races and sessions live

          So do I. But I don’t – because I can’t. The races are shown live on OneHD, the dedicated sports channel here in Australia. But I don’t have OneHD myself; I have access to a television with OneHD, but only sporadically. So I have to watch most of the races on free-to-air – and here in Australia, they’re often delayed. And I do just fine for myself.

          I’m really struggling to understand what everyone is complaining about here. Assuming, for the moment, that what Martin Whitmarsh says is true, then you’re going to get all twenty races in full. You’ll get them without commercial breaks, and you’ll get at least half of them with pre- and post-race analysis. That’s still better than anything Australia has ever gotten. Our free-to-air package has no coverage of practice or qualifying. We have regular commercial breaks, and almost every race is on a delayed telecast. We get no pre- or post-race analysis.

          And you’re complaining that you won’t get to see every race live? That’s your issue with all of this? I’m sorry, but I have no sympathy for you. I just can’t summon it up. Even if the BBC is only going to show ten races live and completely ignore the rest, you’re still getting better coverage than anything we have ever had.

          I’m sorry, but you’ve just got no cause for complaint.

          1. The reason why it’s deferred for you it’s very different from the guys in the UK. You cannot see it live because it’s in the middle of the night. They cannot see it live because they sold the right to Sky F1.

            A lot more annoying.

            Also, just because they have a brilliant coverage, that doesn’t forbids their right to complain. They had a taste of what a superb coverage could do for 2 years (even I’ve been enjoying it on the online stream recently) and now they are going to have to wait until the race is over to watch it with the race result surely already spoiled.

            Or you pay a price for live stream… which isn’t good either.

            1. Forget the first paragraph… misread what you wrote :P

            2. You cannot see it live because it’s in the middle of the night.

              Ironically enough, the races that are run between why-the-frak-am-I-still-awake!? and please-God-just-let-me-sleep are the only ones (alongside Australia) that we get live. Most races in Europe actually happen at 10pm AEST here. However, a quick look at the TV guide shows that Channel Ten, the free-to-air network that broadcasts the races, will be showing The Devil Wears Prada at that time. And as much as Anne Hathaway is one of my celebrity crushes (the other being Tina Fey), this just goes to show that Channel Ten believe that a billionth repeat of the ultimate date movie is more important than Formula 1 despite their incessant hero-worship of Mark Webber.

            3. Damn. I didn’t see your second post.

            4. All ONE HD takes to get is a one off payment of er… about $50, to get the set top box. After that it’s exactly the same as normal TV.

              The ten coverage is delayed usually only until after “prime time” simply because in Australia there isn’t a big enough market. Which I can understand.

              However, In the UK it’s now going to cost about 600 pounds a year to get for what costs us practically nothing. (Skip lunch a few days and you’ll be right).

              The ONE HD coverage has been improvising dramatically and I’m going to be honest, Australia for the first time may have better coverage than the UK.

            5. improvising

              I meant improving.

              But both could apply :D

          2. But OneHD is free to air, you just don’t have the digital channels – get a digital box or have someone fix your aerial. The races have all been live on OneHD for 3 years at least. Most qualifying sessions are live too, unless they clash with the aerial ping pong. The delayed coverage is only on the traditional analog channel.

            You’ll have to get digital soon, they’re shutting the analog off within the next 2 years.

          3. PM, were not going to get all 20 races in full, not unless we fork out over £500 (roughly $750aud) a year to sky. And a lot of us who are earning around minimum wage (just over £6 per hour) cannot afford this kind of financial commitment. So 10 races and 10 highlight shows, compared to the full 20 races we were promised untill 2013 is a mighty let down. Especially considering we are forced to pay the BBC a license fee for just owning a telly, regardless of if we actually use it.

            1. Sorry i forgot to add that not only can we not afford it, but even if i could, i wouldn’t pay it as it is a company owned (in part) by Rupert Murdoch, The phone hacking paper owner.

            2. PM, were not going to get all 20 races in full

              You don’t know that for certain. Whitmarsh’s comments make it pretty clear that the teams have been told all 20 races will be shown in full. 10 of them will be on a delayed broadcast.

      5. Charging bull
        30th July 2011, 9:16

        nowe dont look silly because they are showing highlights not the full race but even if they did show the full race deferred races is a RUBBISH solution

      6. No, but you look arrogant. You fail to see things from any perspective other than your own. I can only assume it is an intentional attempt to wind people up, otherwise you just take pleasure in others losing things which you yourself do not have.

    10. JustAnF1Fanatic
      30th July 2011, 2:04

      does anyone have a link to keith on the bbc? kinda wanna watch it

      1. So do I… It’ll be interesting to see…

    11. If races do get shown in full on the BBC, I won’t be quite as choked off… I’ll just stream the race live from some foreign country, mute it, and put Crofty, Karun and Ant on, and watch the full show afterwards… Not ideal, but I ain’t giving up on F1 just yet…

    12. Bacheta was so lucky not to hit the barrier on his head.

      1. I can never believe my eyes when I see people walking away from these accidents. I’m very impressed by his team as well, who managed to get a new car put together by the second GP3 practice session in the afternoon.

    13. All for Profit! Will that line be the Epitaph of the human race? I think so. Sigh.

      1. First thing I noticed is your head turns slightly when you turn the wheel, something I was really hoping for. A good sign. Also the rev marker (or whatever you call it) on the wheel is more true-to-life now. Looking good, thanks for sharing.

      2. Thanks for sharing PM! :D

    14. its funny how Trulli is now happy with his steering after a week on the “subs bench”

    15. anto the irish
      30th July 2011, 4:19

      anyone remember the F1 channel that was out afew years ago?it didnt last long..did fans like it or hate it or maybe they just didnt want to pay for it?.i hope this deal gos the same,il watch f1 on the internet and have done when there is other people watching the of f1 in the uk give sky nothing yous were sold out and in very bad taste

    16. Whitmarsh just comes off as a puppet here–I expected the teams to put up some semblance of a fight. I think the TP from Ferrari should be the FOTA leader….it appears as though that Martin has all bark but no bite whatsoever, capitulating at the first opportunity.

    17. For everyone who thinks that the rules are applied inconsistently in Formula 1, I found this to be interesting. The Indycar drivers want a more consistent application of the rules, and cite Formula 1 as being a better model for it with stricter policing simply because the Indycar drivers don’t know whether they’re actually doing the right thing half the time.

      I think the application of the rules in Formula 1 is actually much better, and nowhere near as inconsistent as people like to make it out to out. If it could be improved, then perhaps the stewards could release details of why certain rulings were made a certain way compared to others. Take the Button-Hamilton incident in Canada and compare it to the Heidfeld-Buemi crash at the Nurburgring. Taken at face value, it’s wildly inconsistent – but in the aftermath of the Canadian Grand Prix, the stewards released documents detailing why Button was not penalised. They look at the racing line taken by a) the driver under investigation on previous laps, and b) the previous driver through that section of circuit on the same lap. They found that Jenson Button did not deviate from his racing line or the racing line used by other drivers, and was therefore exactly where he would have normally been. It was a racing incident, not a failed attempt at defending.

      In the case of Buemi and Heidfeld, however, Buemi clearly changes his driving line from lap to lap. He moves over to hold the defensive line into the chicane, then moves back to take the best racing line through it (unaware that Heidfeld is right there). The change in racing line means that Buemi is responsible, since it directly implies that he knew Heidfeld was in the vicinity, and should have taken more care. However, the stewards did not release details of the judgement the way they did in Canada. If they had, I don’t think there would have been any dispute. More transparency on these matters will always be a good thing.

      1. Can’t be bothered reading you anymore.

      2. For sure, they’ve improved compared to 2007/2008 (those were the dark days, stewarding-wise). Still a long way from ideal, though.

    18. Happy birthday Cyanide! Hope everything is panning out finely with the racing car and I wish you a very nice birthday and enjoyment with Qualifying.

    19. Interesting observation from Keith Huewen:

      Because we expect our sport to be covered comprehensively, absolutely live, and with the best possible quality production, only subscription channels will be able to sustain such high demands.

      1. He does raise an interesting point – fans expect first-class broadcasting. A two-hour Grand Prix, plus one-hour pre-show and post-race analysis all broadcast live in prime time is a very tall order. It’s little wonder the BBC felt this is unsustainable. And I’m beginning to suspect that if the BBC came out tomorrow and said “Okay, we’ll broadcast all twenty races live, but there will be regular ad breaks and no pre- or post-race show”, it would be as unpopular as the decision to move to pay-per-view.

        1. DeltaPDelatX
          30th July 2011, 9:37

          I disagree. I would much rather be able to see all 20 races in whatever form than to not be able to see half the races.

          All the extras the bbc does are great but the reason people watch is the race, half of which are now unavailable.

          1. All the extras the bbc does are great but the reason people watch is the race, half of which are now unavailable.

            And they’re unavailable because fan expectations of the broadcaster were unsustainable. You say you wouldn’t mind twenty races with regular ads and no extra content, but if the BBC took it away, everyone would complain.

            1. The BBC will never show adverts, this is why we have a license fee of over £100 a year. I’d be very happy with all 20 races staying live on the BBC, with no pre or post race broadcasting.

              If anybody wanted the full coverage package they would have to subscribe to Sky Sports costing over £500 a year (on top of our license fee I might add). I don’t know about other F1 fans, but I’d rather save that money and go to the whole race weekend and Silverstone!

              Also, we’ve seen no official comment from the BBC regarding the non-live delayed broadcast of the remaining 10 races, until we do we should assume that we’ll only get race highlights of those races as they’ve stated.

        2. What do BBC One show on a Sunday afternoon, when the GP isn’t on? As far as I can see it’s the EastEnders omnibus, and not a lot else. Not exactly groundbreaking viewing.

          I simply don’t agree that broadcasting F1 on the BBC is unsustainable. The BBC could save so much money elsewhere, if it wanted to. Various superfluous radio stations, the much-maligned BBC Three and, of course, the massive executive pay deals they hand out. Or even jack up the licence fee, if it hadn’t been frozen by the Government (many of whom are running an anti-BBC agenda anyway).

          If the BBC axed everything except for the news, the F1 and Mike Harding’s radio show, I’d be happy. Don’t expect too many others would be, though.

          1. See my comment below…

            News + F1 … that’s about it for me too.

            As you don’t need a license for the Radio… If you are happy with reading News online and watching all the F1 delayed on iPlayer then save yourself the £145.50

            (Just need 170k people to do this the BBC effectively lose money)

    20. ““A person familiar with the BBC’s position said the corporation, facing a freeze of its £3.5bn licence fee funding for at least six years, would save more than £25m from the deal, which sees it surrender the last year of a five-year exclusive coverage deal.”
      So, by screwing up the viewing figures of 6 million F1 followers nationally, countless more outside, they save a wopping…..0.7%
      nought point seven percent. Ludicrous.A sport worth 48% of its viewing population in that time slot is devalued to 0.7% savings.
      Did BBC staff EVER go to school. Are they indeed human. They sold Torchwood to the yanks too.

      1. They could have saved £900 million by not moving to Salford.

        Wonder how much it cost to send 200 to the 1 year to go event last week?

        1. The BBC are serious about saving money, thats why they flew Jake to Italy just to tell us F1 fuel is similar to fuel we put in our cars.


        2. To be fair, you’d have to factor in how much they’d make by selling their old properties and buildings once they move to Salford. May still be a net-positive.

    21. It’s second season, that F1 is on pay channel here in Lithuania. Of course, F1 not very popular here, but for me, die-hard F1 fan, it was horrible news. In my country, the most popular sport is basketball, and Euroleague games are broadcast also on pay channel, though national team games are on free to air channel. I just watch on internet, because buying the hole package is too expensive for us.

    22. Hope Bacheta is going to be OK!

    23. What’s that smell?

      Ah i know, it’s ******** :D

    24. Melbourne
      Austin ( Texas)

      Now if the Beeb give us these races plus one of the less exciting circuits, the pain of losing all the dross won’t be quite as bad.

      I said, ‘quite as bad’…still be pretty damn unpleasant to miss half the season.

      1. We won’t get Canada or Japan – the BBC will have no wish to move the schedules we’ll get Spain, Europe & Germany instead.
        I think we might see something like this –
        Australia 18 March
        Spain 13 May
        Monaco 27 May
        Europe 24 June
        Britain 8 July
        Germany 22 July
        Belgium 2 September
        Italy 9 September
        U.S. 18 November
        Brazil 25 November

        Interestingly 14 of the 20 races will clash with the EPL.

        1. I think you’ll see Canada as it’s a ratings winner – smack-dab in the middle of primetime. I do agree that Japan is a long-shot, though. Singapore is highly likely to end up in the 10, I reckon.

    25. Harry Palmer
      30th July 2011, 12:22

      It seems from the interviews with Martin Whitmarsh and Bernie on the BBC website that the contract gives them the ‘option’ to show the full race later on, but that his (Bernie’s) and the BBC’s preferred option seems to be a prime time highlights show on BBC 1. If this is true, then why couldn’t the BBC show the full race on the red button say even if they choose to have just a highlights show on the main channel?

      1. Because doing that requires them to give a toss about the average F1 fanatic. Don’t hold your breath.

    26. £3.5 billion budget, and this deal saves them £25 million ? Is that £25m over six years ? And they spend best part of £100m a year on BBC Three, which is 99% pure ***** ?? What a JOKE.

      And to me, the teams have put the interests of Rupert Murdoch before the interests of their loyal fans. Thanks very much.

    27. Boo hoo, but £145.50 saved…

      If we have to watch half the races non-live, we might as well get used to watching them all non-live. In which case we can watch them all on iPlayer after they have been broadcast – without the need for a TV license. As it’s almost the only thing I watch on TV potentially £145.50 saved.

      Dear BBC, please readjust your figures you savings are at least £145.50 out.

    28. F1 will eventually be the loser in all this. It isn’t just the majority of the current UK audience that will be lost who can’t afford the “sky high” SKY TV package prices. There are millions of other viewers worldwide that take the current BBC live programme. When it becomes evident that F1 is receiving less exposure worldwide just watch advertising revenues dip for F1 teams. I also think the USA model of 5 free TV races with the remainder on a pay channel is badly misrepresented as a good example of how things would work out. The cost of pay TV in the USA is buttons compared to SKY, and there is still widespread apathy in the USA for F1.

    29. As of next year, I will no longer be following F1, and will instead spend my hard-earned euros attending historic Group C events instead.

      During their time, they were more popular than F1, so why not return to supporting a proper motorsport that respects its fanbase…

    30. To The Sponsors of f1

      I am formula 1 fan I have been since I started watching it in the late 80s as a teenager. I have been Ferrari fan, a McLaren fan , a Honda/Brawn fan , a Williams , A red Bull fan and have lot merchandise with team logos. And now an angry fan. F1 is not football we will not follow our team to the ends of the earth. It is extreme l unlikely that I will pay £32 a month just to watch 4hrs or (2hrs) of TV a month but I may watch it on dodgy stream of the internet or I may point the satellite at rtl and watch it there or perhaps you will prefer me to watch it on my android table with data from the f1 or perhaps you would like me to sell my f1 merchandise on eby to fund my sky subscription.
      .I would like to congratulate the managers F1 on creating a situation where not only do I know which sponsors on the cars. I also know which sponsors to black list. My Santander(Ferrari/McLaren) bank account will be closed, my Vodafone(McLaren) contract will cancelled, I will not buy car new or second hand from Renault , Mercedes of fiat. I will not change my existing Pirelli tyres to my car to another set. I will not use mobile(McLaren) or shell(Ferrari) oil, I will not buy an Acer(Ferrari) or hp(Williams) laptop with Amd(Ferrari) processers. I will not drink red bull. And I will not use any other products I spot advertised on the F1.
      There is potential 5million other people with the same vendetta. Hope the sponsors’ enjoy spending many millions of pounds to convince them to avoid their products.

      1. Or Philips (williams), or you will not fly using Air Asia, or King Fisher. This could especially damage the smaller, newer teams such as Lotus and HRT for example.

    31. In the UK F1 has never been broadcast on pay TV. Hence the negative reaction on this and many other sites. Sky plus Sky Sports costs over £500 if you’ve not got Sky, or an additional £240 annualy if you already pay for ‘straight’ Sky. So with every household cutting back, very few will be able to retain the F1 coverage we have become used to. There will be a drastic reduction in TV viewers. For a sport that is so dependant on sponsorship, where the tracks, cars and overalls are emblazoned with advertising such a loss of UK/Europe and worldwide TV and online viewers could lead to withdrawals particularly from the smaller teams. How many sponsors will be put off by the association alongside BSkyB whose main stakeholder is under legal investigation for activities that have repulsed the entire UK people and caused questions to be asked in other countries?
      With sports such as F1 and others largely reliant on sponsorship, it should be paramount for its organisers to get the maximum possible exposure for the sport. So as to provide the the most attractive ‘shop window’ for the sponsor brands. As far as TV broadcasts are concerned it would make sense to assess the quality of presentation and the potential size of viewer numbers, in order to choose the lead broadcaster. To do this on the basis of how much the broadcaster is prepared to pay does somewhat miss the point. Sounds crazy, think about it! Attracting the maximum viewing public with the best presentation far better than just accepting the largest pot of money. UK fan reaction leaves little doubt about the value of BBC presentation. Sky TV in about 50% of UK households, smaller percentage say 20% will have paid extra subscription for Sky Sports. BBC TV in probably 80+% households. Choice of broadcaster for maximum viewers is obvious!

    32. Well isn’t it funny how Sky are advertising everyday in both the national newspapers and on terrestrial TV. That wouldleave me to believe that not many fans have subscribed to that ripping off channel called sky. So Mr Ecclestone your big plan looks like it might have backfired on you. Do not under estimate the power of F1 supporters we could ruin F1 for you and it would serve you right.
      I have follwed F1 for 40 yrs both on telly and at live events and was a member of the BMRMC for several years, but i never thought you would see of your British fans in this way just to line yours and Rupert murdocks pockets.

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