back to article BBC races away with five-year F1 rights deal

The Beeb has bagged the rights to broadcast Formula One (F1), having signed an exclusive five-year deal. F1 will return to the Corporation’s screens in 2009 after more than a decade’s absence. Auntie, which snatched the rights from commercial rival ITV, remained quiet on the financial terms of the deal which includes …


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  1. A J Stiles

    Better Idea Innit

    Personally I think that all such dog-in-the-manger "exclusivity" deals should be outlawed. Just because one broadcaster wants to show an event, shouldn't mean that nobody else can.

  2. Simon Preston
    Thumb Up

    Thank god

    Nice to be able to watch that race rather than watching a programme full of adverts which now and then updates us on the F1.

  3. Carl
    Thumb Up


    Maybe I can finally stand to watch it again on a Sunday now, without fear that when we came back from adverts for toilet cleaners the two frontrunners had crashed off and Hamilton had just performed the move of the century to slip past Mika...

  4. Nick

    I just hope that

    they manage to get Murray Walker back over to commentate. I've watched Grans Prix on TV in other countries, and it's not the same without him.

  5. Owen Sweeney


    Why is a sport named after a function key?


  6. The elephant in the room


    Well done Auntie!

    Looking forward to ad-free coverage. Less popular sports like football dont have ad breaks so why should F1?

  7. Ralph B
    IT Angle

    Unless I'm Very Much Mistaken

    Wikipedia claims "On March 20th 2008, while being interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live, Walker was asked if he'd consider a return to theTV commentary box when Formula 1 returns to the BBC in 2009, he answered "Never say never"

    Mr. Walker is 84.

  8. thefutureboy


    So is it going to be in HD?

  9. Craig

    BBC should come clean about how much it cost us

    I'm guessing they paid over the odds seeing as the cost is being kept quiet... My guess is probably 1.5x the salary of Jonathan Woss.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Does this mean we get Fleetwood Mac's the Chain back as well?

    GO GO GO!

  11. Carlos


    Well done BBC. I am so happy the F1 is back on a decent channel. I totaly despise ITV.

    Now we can have real commentators again :)

    The BBC really have their act together at the moment.

  12. Pum
    Thumb Up

    Theme music: The Chain

    As my friend Tet put it:

    If they don't use "The chain" for the theme music, then someone will be due for a high speed collision with a clue stick!

    Hope they keep Martin Brundle's grid walks.

  13. nick dring
    Gates Horns

    High Def

    I hope this will bring on F1 in HD.

  14. Ian Hill
    Thumb Up

    Brundle to commentate?

    Fantastic, no more coming back from the ads to find the championship has been decided in the meantime cos Schumacher got a flat tyre.

    Here's hoping the BBC manage to get Martin Brundle on the commentary team, just like ITV poached good ol' Murray in '97. James Allen I could take or leave but he's certainly improved since he started...

  15. Gordon Ross Silver badge

    Decline not due to safety rules

    "[F1] suffered in the popularity stakes after new safety rules"

    No, F1 suffered because everyone got bored of the procession of cars with Michael Schmacher always in the lead and Rubens Barrichello second.

    Now that Michael has gone, and Ferrari have lost their dominance of the sport, it's starting to get interesting. Just look at the last season: The drivers championship wasn't decided until the last race of the season.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Well this is interesting... Be right back after these words from our advertisers.... News..

    I have to say that the whole ITV F1 experience has been wholly disappointing.

    Now that the BBC has got the contract I hope that I no longer have to flick through ITV1, 2, 3 or 4 to try and find the broadcast and that qualifying is shown live for all races.

    It would be nice if Martin Brundle/Mark Blundell/Louise Goodman and Steve Rider are brought over to the Beeb, just spare us from James Allen :-)

  17. Beelzeebub

    Keep Louise but ditch James

    Because I can't stand his false excitement. Enough incitement to have him down here.

    Flames again, 'cos it's still hot in here!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Going to ITV was a dreadful move.

    They'd better still use "The Chain" as the theme, mind...

  19. Steven
    IT Angle


    When are we going to start getting NASCAR coverage from the Register?

  20. Michael Compton

    Oh Dear...

    Just because he's british doesn't make it anymore interesting to watch. Going round in circles ~60 times and essentially staying in the same places they started unless someone in the pit trips over their hose isn't my idea of top quality entertainment.

    *Wanders off muttering about irrational bouts patriotism*

  21. Test Man
    Thumb Down

    Martin Brundle?

    Lets hope not, PLEASE. Lets hope he stays on ITV cos his "opinions" really grate season after season after season. Bring back Murray Walker though.

  22. jim parker

    sport on uk tv

    No chance of being able to watch our national summer game , no not football even though it is on all the time, on television I suppose?

    Someone who enjoys cricket but has only freeview channels.

  23. Rob


    Mika who?

  24. Andrew Norton

    F1's time has been

    I tried watching F1 again, and its just so staid and boring nowadays. The A1GP races have been much more interesting. The cars aren't much slower, but they're all identical. There's powerboost to help with overtaking, a good range of ability, and it's easy to pick a team to support - they're national teams. Oh, and you don't have to have team orders slowing things down, and fixing results, since each team runs just one car. There has been so much close racing, that at the South Africa race a month ago, some teams ran out of painted noses,

    Whilst it's nice to be able to watch it on the website free, it would have been nicer still to see it on a major channel like the BBC. Even if the to-date excelently reliable Zytec engines are going to be replaced with Ferrari engines for the 4th season. Still two meetings (4 races) left in this season though, and its still very close.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Replace James Allen with The Stig

    that will improve the commentary!

  26. Anonymous Coward


    Give James Allen the boot.

    Are you listening Auntie?

  27. Elmer Phud

    Not Murray Walker!

    Considering Murray's knack of praising drivers just before they get shunted or do something stupid it may be kinder to Lewis Hamilton if Murray didn't commentate.

    Charlie Cox, though, has a superb collection of phrases and used to work with Murray Walker.

  28. JakeyC

    You just know...

    ...that the BBC will do a techno remix of The Chain, completely ruining it in the process.

    In much the same way that they do to all their sports themes when they decide they want to be more 'popular' or 'appeal to a younger audience'.

    the Snooker theme and - to a lesser extent - the MotD, tennis and golf themes have all been ruined for no good reason.

    Bring back Grandstand!

  29. matt
    Thumb Up

    Come on auntie, rid us of James

    ... and give us HD.

    In fact, if you do employ that useless plonker, I'll stop paying my license fee.

  30. Louise Tolman

    Stop the cock!

    Let's hope that James Allen doesn't transfer - Pitpass gives me hope that they've already picked a reasonable commentary team so there should be no reason to have to suffer his smug inanity any longer.

    Won't be sorry to say goodbye to what has become The Lewis Hamilton Show - just hope the BBC can resist the temptation next year to spunk off about him at every opportunity. Every race weekend we're shouting "Get a room" at that creepy-looking Steve Ryder as he gazes soulfully into the eyes of the Wunderkind. I think Lewis is a star but I'm actually interested in other teams and drivers too. Poor little Ant barely got a mention last week.

    I also never EVER want to see a crap "feature" headed by that spoiled brat hyperspam Tamara Ecclestone again. Nor am I bothered about Kelly Osborne's uninformed views on Grands Prix. Or any ligging sleb's views, for that matter.

  31. JP Bonello
    Thumb Up


    Good news all round I say.

    I had enough of ITV after falling asleep at the last race at 5:30am during one of their 20 minute adverts and missing the rest of the race, thus forcing me to watch the re run at 3pm, still laden with adverts.

    Like above said, hope Martin Brundle will move over to the BBC as I think he's a decent commentator for the sport. Bring on 2009! :)

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    that'll teach ITV

    Well thats what happens when your grid reporter asks Bernie awkward questions...

    Hope the beeb give him worse.

  33. Eddie
    Paris Hilton

    'Unless I'm very much mistaken....

    ...I AM very much mistaken!'

    The inimitable Murray Walker - whilst half of me hopes he returns, half of me realises he's at an age where he may not be able to maintain the intensity which was the keystone of his performance - the contrast with the lugubrious (and sometimes stoned) James Hunt, and the the more thoughtful, (and sometimes acerbic) Martin Brundle, made F1 in the eighties and nineties a more enjoyable time - either team could enliven a processional race.

    I'm glad the BBC have claimed F1 - but I'll miss the sarky comments from Brundle "And we'll be back after these important retail opportunities"

    And, to drag in an IT angle - Microsoft - in cahoots with McLaren - design the ECU, which is odd, 'cos McLaren used to drag round bucketloads of top-end Sun kit (which I think that they still use at their technology center). And I'm fairly certain that there is no open-source in F1......

    Paris, 'cos she wouldn't pass the exam to be a pit-babe.... (it's either that or Bill in a halo after seeing the fun and games the ECU caused Ferrari last weekend...)

  34. Name

    Ad free?

    F1 is expensive and mostly boring - very poor entertainment value for money.

    As for Ad free? In Ecclestone's ideal world they would be racing transit vans providing much more advertising space on these moving billboards.

  35. Chris

    Er, ignore that last post

    I can read, honest. Finally some sport on iPlayer - nice.

  36. Chris

    Probably too early to tell...

    But does the deal cover internet rights too?

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    Very, very pleased about this. Forgot about the old theme tune, hopefully they'll bring it back.

    Now all we motorsport fans need is for the Touring Cars to return to BBC1/2/something. ITV can't even do a 20 minute race without an ad break. As someone said, they hold off for the football, so why not for something that lasts half as long?

    [insert Bill Hicks advertising rant]

  38. PReDiToR

    No more ads!

    And those awful titles that ITV brought in a couple of years back.

    I always think of the "back from the break" tune as 3 blind mice.

    The mute button is your friend.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Undisclosed amount

    How the hell is the BBC allowed to refuse to say how much they pay for people pottering around in motorised fag packets and wankers like Jonathan Ross? We all pay into their budget, it's only reasonable to know where it's going.

  40. Peter Clarke

    F1 v MotoGP

    Maybe they will put F1 on BBC3 or 4 and keep MotoGP on BBC2 - I can dream can't I? Oh well, now all the 'dedicated' F1 fans have returned I suppose I'll have to hunt around for coverage (no I will NOT be putting money into Murdoch's pocket) If you want to see someone with charisma I suggest you check out an interview with Valentino Rossi instead of the F1 corporate droids

  41. Big_Boomer
    IT Angle


    Since when was NASCAR a World Championship?

    Do they race outside the USA? (Mexico & Puerto Rico don't count!)

    If it were a true world chamopionship then surely it'd be WASCAR <LOL>

    Ok, maybe it's not exactly IT, although a LOT of the Formula 1 team sponsors ARE in IT & Telecomms, but it's still way more interesting than NAZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzCAR.

    God, 6 hours of cars driving in circles. Please just shoot me. :-)

  42. Nick Haw


    While I look back at the Murray years on the BBC with a certain amount of fondness, I have to say there is absolutely no place for him commentating on the F1 any more. I say this because I listened to his commentary on the race of champions that was recently broadcast on Sky and he didn't have a clue what was going on, who the drivers were and he kept making the same mistakes about the places the cars were on the track.

    Brundle is an excellent pundit, so he would no doubt be my first choice for "commentators sidekick", maybe they could get Motty or Jonathan Pierce to commentate ;o)

  43. Graham Bartlett

    James Allen

    Cue SniffPetrol's anti-James-Allen campaign last year - "Stop the Cock".

    Mine's the Crazy Dave coat. Och aye mofos.

    (All of which will make absolutely no sense to anyone who doesn't read SniffPetrol, although if you've got any interest in cars then you probably do already.)

  44. Paul

    The Chain (unchanged) + Murry + Martin + NO ADD's = YAY!

    Could they manage that mix or will the 'improve' things and make a cods of it as expected? Also - PLEASE drop the token female asking dumb questions.

  45. Jon Wilson


    God love him, he was a part of the landscape of F1 for so many years, but those calling for his return should just listen back to the Race of Champions commentary from Wembley last year. Even compared to his lovable, enthusiastic bumbling from the glory years of the 80s, it was completely inept. He was right to retire when he did, take nothing away from his achievements, but we really need to move on.

    I'll certainly look forward to more in-depth coverage (maybe practice sessions, interactive choice of on-board cameras, live T&S etc.) from the BBC's much-vaunted selection of digital platforms. I might even be persuaded to pay for HD if F1 is added to the mix...

    By the way, it's amazing how many people care what the theme tune is. Struth - don't you lot have Sky Plus?

    As for hiring ITV personnel or not, for me the first against the wall should be Blundell (talking through a lap in Canada: "Concrete walls both sides, you don't want to be getting involved in none of those"). I can take or leave James Allen, and it seems to me that Louise Goodman probably has better contacts in the pit lane than Holly Samos ever will! I do think, though, that within reason they should pay whatever it takes to get Martin Brundle. You need someone who's been there and done it, and with him he delivers domain knowledge with a lovely dollop of good old British cynicism - and as several people have mentioned, he does give drivers other than Lewis their due, unlike most on ITV. As for the duffer who holds the mic and talks to camera at the start and end, I couldn't give a stuff. Ryder's as good as any other, I suppose.

    (Actually, there is one bit of Murray I'd want to hear. Each race when those five red lights go out, Auntie should play in a sample of Murray screaming "Go! Go! Go")

  46. James Dunmore

    Lets go for a semi IT angle....

    Although I think ITV did a fantastic Vanilla F1 coverage - minus the adverts. Before it became Lewis TV, the pre-race was excellent. But, when it came to modern interactive TV - it just did not exist. I want to see (via the red button) live timings, pit cameras, choose the battles (I might want to follow the battle for 8th place), overhead circuit maps with drivers pinpointed on them, etc etc. I hope the BBC do this!!

  47. Ben Ketteridge
    Thumb Up

    Loose Steve Ryder & James Allan

    ... but keep the rest.

    Martin Brundle's commentary has authority and insight gained from 158 F1 starts and years of competing in the Le Mans 24.

    What we *don't* need is that old coot, Murray Walker. He's long past it now, and indeed should never have bothered with moving to ITV in the first place.

    Perhaps Louise Goodman or Ted Kravitz should have a turn in the commentary box with Martin.

  48. andy

    rose tinted

    What's good about BBC coverage? They've always had the same feed as Bernie gives everyone else.

    Nodding dog Murray as a commentator was marginally better than having a blind person behind the mike. Just because ITV are worse (James, and the creepy guy that only lasted a season or so) doesn't make BBC good. The only channel that ever did F1 properly was Sky. So what if it cost a little - it would cost a lot more to go to the race - and with 8 screens and commentators Ben Edwards, John Watson and Damon Hill actually adding value it remains as the best way to watch.

    Are BBC going to show all the sessions? Or just the race and qualifying? On real channels or relegate it to BBCi where you can't record unattended.

    Same old, same old but now paid for by good old license fee.

    Maybe that's why BBC relegated qualifying for their previous motor sport 'top dog' MotoGP to digital to make way for Crufts. Signs of things to come?

  49. Ian Ferguson


    MotoGP on iPlayer is a godsend, I'm looking forward to accessing F1 in the same way. Absolutely fantastic.

    Also; no more adverts over the important bits!

    And hopefully, the beeb will ALWAYS show the grand prix live on some channel or other, even if it's in prime time.

  50. Alan Parsons


    "And, to drag in an IT angle - Microsoft - in cahoots with McLaren - design the ECU,"

    Ah.. So when Lewis' car randomly stopped working in the last race of last season for about 30 secs that was a "General Protcetion Fault 0xE"... Makes sense now.

    Shame that on F1 cars you can't just "Close all the windows" and see if that speeds it up..

  51. Michael Sheils
    Thumb Up


    I'm rather pleased with this news :)

  52. Mike Arthur

    The beeb have...

    Clarkson, let's have him presenting/commentating, would be MUCH more entertaining!!

  53. Daz Robberts


    Hurrah, or not? The Beeb still has multiple channels so you'd still be flicking the through 1, 2 , 3 and 4 trying to find coverage.

    As for commentators, what about that great guy that does the MotoGP for Eurosport? I'd be up for that. Murray still works for aussy channel 10 and does a better grid walk than Brundle. But Beeb, please, please, please, no Simon Taylor. Why does that guy keep getting commentary jobs????

    And when did Lewis last overtake anyone called Mika? Hakkinen and Salo were gone back in 2001/2002.

  54. Carl
    Paris Hilton


    Well, that just proves my point about ITV ruining my viewing of F1....

    I guess it can only really be the curly-haired one with the testicles somewhere around the larynx area...

    Paris, because testicles around the larynx area are her forte, I've seen the evidence

  55. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Re: F1

    In motoro racing F1 is short for Formula 1.

    The F1 on your keyboard is short for Function 1.

    It's not that hard is it?

  56. pctechxp
    Thumb Up

    Bring back Murray

    you know it makes sense

  57. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Why is it acceptable to have adverts every 15-30 minutes in Formula One yet in Football they don't show any adverts until half-time?

    They can't really have a half-time in F1 but they could show adverts a bit less frequently.

  58. Jesthar

    At last!

    Finally, F1 back on a channel that doesn't stop for ad breaks! Just two points:

    * Much as I loved Murray Walker, no bringing him back, please. He's had his day, and I want to remember him as the legend he was. :)

    * If they don't bring back The Chain as the theme tune, someone needs to be used as a speedbump of the first corner - it's the best matched theme tune ever!

    Dummm... da-da-daaa-da-da-da-da-da DUMMMMM

  59. graeme leggett Silver badge

    To Paul

    " Also - PLEASE drop the token female asking dumb questions."

    Would that be Tamara ECCLESTONE you are talking about?

    (Mentioned in Private Eye latest issue- don't watch the racing myself.)

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jim Parker


    The day Channel 4 lost the cricket was a sad, sad day indeed. Even better watching the Test Match on Film Four with no adverts (another thread?)

    Off to the pub, now.

    Have a good weekend.

  61. Patrice

    ITV in HD vs. SPEED network

    The ITV broadcast is available in Canada in HD from TSN. It isn't in the UK? That would be a shame. For some reason sometimes the resolution seems to be off but it's clearly 16:9 HD signal.

    As for those complaining about the broadcasters, I can tell you that the ITV crew is heads and shoulders above the US commentators from the SPEED network. That's truly the pits. They didn't last long on TSN. They tried them at one point and got the ITV crew back in a hurry. I am actually quite pleased with Louise and Martin and the lot.

  62. Dazed and Confused
    IT Angle

    F1 interest

    Hopefully now that they banned the computer controls of the cars F1 shouldn't be so processional this year. Now we get to see the drivers actually drive. Motor racing has always needed a massive surfeit of torque over traction to bring out the best in the drivers and make it most interesting. Now we seem to have that back. Tiny errors get big punishments, witness sudden right turns in the middle of the straights and drivers flying off the end because they've forgot they have to do the braking this year. I'm certainly not hoping to see drivers getting hurt, but I want to see them really driving, I want to see them recover from their mistakes and I want to see them going sideways.

    Here is hoping for an exciting season.

    Of course this year if there is any excitement they'll immediately have an ad break so we can't watch it so that we have to watch the highlights later to boost the rating for that too.

    Roll on next year

    Glad to see F1 coming back onto uninterrupted coverage.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Clarkson FTW

    +1 on that. Might almost make F1 entertaining.

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    No adverts , Brundlefly commentating and murray shouting ahhhhhhhhhhhh

  65. Timbo

    Would be goood....

    ...if Messrs Brundle and Blundell can transfer over to the least, that way, we will have some insightful comments from people who've been there and done it...

    Mr Ryder and Mr Allen, can join the dole queue....

    And Louise should take a break from running around and get a nice cushy PR job with one of the teams.....and become their she did with Jordan....

    As for the "anchor man's" job . .someone with verve and panache and fire.....stand up Mr Alan Sugar.... !!!!!

  66. The Other Steve
    Thumb Up

    @Decline not due to safety rules

    Hmm, I'm afraid I have to take issue with that, I for one lost interest when the number of participants killed or maimed fell below the level required to hold my attention.

    And I want MORE jiggling bimbos, not less.

  67. Anonymous Coward

    ITV had to butt out because....

    ... Steve Ryder sadly(!) stuck irretrievably up Lewis Hamiltons Arse.

  68. J

    Not so sure

    ITV moved F1 coverage forwards IMO. Sure, they f***ed up with the adverts for a while.

    But I'd rather have Adverts and Brundle than no Brundle - so please come with F1 to the Beeb please, Martin.

    The others I can take or leave....but I've developed a massive fear of John Invadale presenting.....I think I'd rather have big nose Rosential than him.

    As for Murry - God bless him. I think he should make the odd studio appearance but I think his commentating days are behind him.

  69. dave lawless

    If it's anything like MotoGP coverage

    You'll find the opening race of the season only on BBC3 because it clashes with Songs of Praise.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Kelly Fiveash

    "Last September Surrey-based McLaren was fined $100m and kicked out of the constructors' championship for spying on rival team Ferrari" is a slight distortion of the facts. Their punishment was for disseminating unsolicited confidential information. God alone knows what the punishment would have been for actual spying, although the fact that Renault got away with it implies it is better to be guilty and found out quickly than to be innocent and not tell anyone for a while.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Spray that champagne

    Good news. But just remember however how much ITV improved the whole weekend's coverage. Until they made an effort, BBC coverage was two men in a windy commentary box, and the sport was just another "feature" within Grandstand.

    Hopefully the BBC will use some common sense that ITV sadly lack. Why they never show Friday practice on ITV3/4 I just don't understand. Ditto if races overrun - how about continuing coverage on the digital channels rather than rudely cutting it all to show Coronation Street? Here's a programming tip, you morons: I doubt there is much cross-over between the F1 audience and the Corrie one. So don't p1ss off the former to appease the latter.

    Martin Brundle MUST be part of the BBC package. By a long way he's the best been-there-done-that TV commentator in any sport. Having met him, he's an affable chap too. Murray I can take or leave - if he comes back, brilliant as that would be, at some point he will very sadly have to go again (and I'm thinking in an Arthur C Clarke sense...)

    Oh and the BBC website is at least usable, unlike the eye-stabbing ad-laden over-sold abortion that is ITV-F1. It would be no surprise if, following the report of a serious driver accident, the story would conclude with "click HERE to buy Ferrari merchandise". Using that site I swear I can sometimes hear the ITV sales team slobbering in the background at another banner ad sale. At least I hope that rhythmic squishing sound is them slobbering. It would not surprise me if this website were the single reason Bernie Ecclestone grabbed the first offer the BBC made. "£6.34 and a decent website? You promise not to try and sell me some rawlplugs? Well when can you start?"

    And as for James Allen... well... I was going to be polite and not mention him. But now I'm in the mood, "spectacular" is not a word I would have used three times during last weekend's coverage to describe three cars slightly spinning off the circuit, or going ever-so-slightly wide. Spectacular would be that 1991/2 race when the car got launched as it crossed the finishing line (Pedro Lamy was it?) Spectacular, James, was the opening corner at Spa in 1998: almost all the field piling into each other. David Coulthard farting, James, is NOT and never will be a spectacle.

    So it's probably good the Beeb have it, as long as they treat it properly. I wouldn't expect HD coverage - that's up to Bernie and he's only just got to grips with televisions being a bit wider than they were in 1982.

  72. J

    Re: So...

    "When are we going to start getting NASCAR coverage from the Register?"

    Hopefully never, since that's not real racing...

    Anyway, I'd love to be able to watch the ad-free BBC broadcast of F1 from here in the US. I'd pay for it if the price is reasonable, is that possible?

    The Speed TV commentators here are good, the pre-show things are nice (although I usually don't care to watch them anyway)... But about 25% of the race is not shown! Ads every 6 or 7 laps, so out of every 8 laps, 2 are gone. And, you know, interesting stuff always happens during those 2 laps... What's up with the incompetence of American TV? (and apparently British ITV too) Back home (Brazil) they show the whole thing on only one *private* TV channel, but without a single ad break (commentators suck though, but I don't care that much). More than two hours. Maximum that happens, maybe 3 or 4 times in a race, is a voice over announcing some product with a little logo on a corner of the screen for 5 or 10 seconds, and that's it.

    Why can't they do it here? Incompetence, that's my guess. I mean, don't these people know Picture-in-picture in the backwaters?

  73. Veritas

    I like the American commentators on the Speed channel!

    While I, too, hate the commercial interruptions, F1 is still the best racing going on American TV at the moment. For a couple of years, one of our major networks carried four F1 races on their schedule, but their announcers were so appallingly BAD that I had to turn down the sound.

    What F1 - and all other open wheel racing - really needs is to ban all aerodynamic devices. I am old enough to remember the glory days when the drivers sat upright and sawed away at huge steering wheels as they fought their beasts around the bends while wearing only a light coverall, canvas or leather helmet and goggles. The American open wheel drivers even wore t-shirts mostly. The cars may have been going only half as fast, but it seemed as if they were much faster than the cars of today.

    And don't get me started about stock cars! Bring back the Hudson Hornets and other cars of the 50s, cars I could actually tell apart and which bore at least a reasonable resemblance to cars one could actually buy, and maybe I would tune in again. I reckon I'm just too old...

  74. Graham Marsden

    @Andrew Norton - Re: F1's time has been

    Hear hear!

    I don't even bother watching the F1 "highlights" these days, I record it on Sky+ then work on my computer until the commentator gets excited and I look up to see if anything's actually happened, but unfortunately usually it's not much.

    Compare that with A1 GP where, with two meetings left to the end of the season (and four races!) there are at least *four* teams who could take the championship, you don't get the cars from two or three teams so far ahead that they might as well be in a different race, you get a real test of driver skill and tactics with the limited use Power Boost button and you get passing manoeuvres all the way up and down the field.

    Forget about F1, it's living on past glories...

  75. Paul Neale
    Dead Vulture

    Rose tinted rims...


    For one, would much rather see the current snafu-laden ITV1 ad-fest, than return to the two-paper-cups-and-a-piece-of-string production values we left behind with Aunty in 1996.

    As many a sane reader has alluded to: Murray *was* a legend back in the day, and if he stays off the TV, will remain so. Likewise, Steve should stick to the golf and I wouldn't mind if Fatty Blundell had a "long nap" too.

    If only ITV's dumb-it-down approach for the "Corrie early-birds" is forgotten, Louise can be forgiven too. That just leaves contentious James. He comes out with such fantastically ignorant uninformed twaddle but does not have the lovable charm of his gaff-prone geriatric spiritual-ancestor. Sadly (or maybe not), he too must go the-way-of-all-flesh.

    F1 is dead! Long live F1! Aha...

    Yours muchly,


    P.S. If one of Bernie's drones is spidering this coverage, would you mind terribly asking your boss to make the original camera-feeds available to local directors who may have an interest and (God forbid!) some slight knowledge of motorsport, so we might actually get some relevant racing coverage once in a while...

  76. Steve Kelly


    Does no-one see the irony of complaining about adverts in F1?

  77. heystoopid
    Paris Hilton


    Hmmm , the last time I watched Formula One the commentator was screaming into the mike like a two year old child , and was almost enough to put one off for life , and reached for the mute button and got a better view ! To be honest even a trainee radio horse race caller could show him how to do a proper job with none of his pretend queer drama , he is and still remains total crap as an overpaid car race caller even now !

    Say , with Bernie moving the race to Beijing for the bigger monies on offer, I wonder what the EU rules are in regard to full brand cigarette plastered all over the cars advertising on prime time TV like the Beeb ?

  78. tony trolle

    on speed channel

    the commentators are funny mixing up drivers just like murry

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: Clarkson FTW

    Unlikely, considering that Clarkson thinks F1 is boring. And he's dead right. If I wanted to watch a bunch of blokes changing tyres I'd go down to my local KwikFit.

  80. P!

    Martin Brundle's commentary.....Bring in NEW BLOOD

    "...if Messrs Brundle and Blundell can transfer over to the least, that way, we will have some insightful comments"

    Brother PLEASE! I have lost count of the number of times poor old Martin has been asleep at the wheel, commenting in a completely different direction from whats happening on the track. How annoying to listen to someone simply talk for the sake of talking! As a person whose been inlvolved in motor sport I think his attempts to create drama where there often isnt any takes the attention away from driver performance and technology advances. When Bridgestone was still in competition with Michellin how many times did you hear Martin talk about "..a family of compounds"? Im still not convinced that he even knows what that actually means. How refreshing it was this weekend to see a fresh set of faces on the podium..Auntie, lets have more of the same behind the mike! and yes some of us REAL F1 fans would love to watch Friday practice as part of the weekends build up.

  81. Claire Rand

    just as long as...

    they don't go back to their old tricks of not showing the end of the race in order to cut to the pre match interviews for a fottie game, ditto the start when footie overruns.

    or deciding some races are in prime time, so they will only show edited highlights, though the last few laps will be 'live' so they can bill the race as 'live'

    or ITVs trick with the 'full repeat' of cutting it down if its too long, apparently china last year had a restart.. which got cut.


  82. Foxhill


    Bugger, just when ITV started streaming all the free practice, qualifying and race live on the web the BBC get the contrac,t so now we'll have to deal with that POS iPlayer wankery. Boo hiss etc.

  83. VulcanV5

    Bring back Murray. Bring back The Shunt. I miss Morecambe & Wise.

    Well all right, it probably won't happen, but Formula 1 -- more sterile, more pretentious, more self-regarding than ever before -- needs a Murray Walker to fuel it with the zeal of an enthusiasm so great it does become genuinely inarticulate.

    Otherwise we're left with Mr Allen, who manages the inarticulacy but not the enthusiasm, and Steve Ryder, who unfortunately for him encapsulates all that's wrong with F1: veneer all the way through.

    Like many others here I long for Murray and James to be back together on our screens again. But then, I miss Tommy Cooper and Morecambe & Wise.

    ITV did a great job when it got the F1 franchise: it certainly invested far more in the programming than the beeb ever did.

    But as the original "team" was whittled down, and viewing totals declined to the point that sponsor after sponsor decided the broadcast wasn't worth backing -- Toyota pulled out after one year; the Daily Telegraph after one year; I can't think of a single sponsor who re-signed after 12 months -- the reality became apparent that F1's golden era has gone and, like Eric & Ernie, Walker & Hunt, ain't ever coming back.

    The Beeb probably picked up F1 at a price which startled the hugely irritating Ecclestone, not because it was high but because it was so low: no percentage in ITV continuing on, not when cheap reality or even cheaper quiz shows rack up higher audience figures.

    As an F1 devotee from the days when, er, it wasn't even F1, I thought I'd feel a sense of pleasure at the prospect of it returning to the Beeb.

    Now I realise, I couldn't actually care less.

  84. Chris
    IT Angle



    Since when was NASCAR a World Championship?

    Uh, never. The N stands for National, you know.

    Do they race outside the USA? (Mexico & Puerto Rico don't count!)

    Yes they do. First, Mexico is not part of the USA, and I believe they have also held races in Canada, Japan, and Australia.

    But NASCAR races are usually decided by the skill of the driver, rather than how much money the team spends - the rules are constantly tweaked to make sure the cars are as equal as possible.

    I would rather watch a race where the winner isn't known until the last lap, and the margin of victory is a few car lengths, or a straightaway at most, instead of one where the qualifying order is pretty much the same as the finishing order and the margin of victory is measured in minutes.

    Open wheel racers have been switching to NASCAR at an ever-increasing rate. Juan Pablo Montoya started it, and it took him almost an entire season to win one race, and that was on a road course, rather than an oval.


  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BBC F1

    From what I heard/read ITV pulled out and the Beeb paid over the odds as there was no other UK broadcaster wanting to fork out for the package.

    Anway lets hope we finally get some F1 coverage in HD with The Chain theme tune back and remastered in 5.1.

    As for the commentators please leave Murray in the retirement home and stuff Steve Ryder and his oil slick veneer in there with him. The guy knows nothing about F1 only how to shmooze. Mark, Martin, Louise and Ted are great and I don't understand the campaign against James Allen. Sure he's not knowledgable as the rest but he tries hard and makes the sport more accessable to those not in the know and adds excitement with his commentary, almost like Murray used to.

  86. Anonymous Coward

    @Chris + Gordon Ross

    "I would rather watch a race where the winner isn't known until the last lap"

    Kind of defeats the purpose of having a multiple lap race doesn't it?

    "Just look at the last season: The drivers championship wasn't decided until the last race of the season"

    And the Constructors Championship was decided in court effectively...


  87. Chris Hunt

    And.. THERE... Goes...

    ...a great big slice of the licence fee to televising the world's dullest sport. All the racing seems to be over at the first corner, then it's just down to who breaks down first.

    I hear they've got the 4th International Paint Drying Championships on Eurosport...

  88. Matt
    IT Angle


    "It suffered in the popularity stakes after new safety rules were imposed in 1998, following the death of Ayrton Senna four years earlier."

    Not really, it suffered, in the UK, due to Damon going to Arrows and then Jordon. It suffered because of a lack of overtaking which is down to less emphasis on mechanical grip and more on aerodynamics so cars lose speed as they get closer together.

    I can't really remember any new safety rules having a big impact in 1998.

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