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F1 Broadcasts

2012 has been one of the greatest years of F1 in many peoples memories.

But this year, watching this brilliance has been difficult for many.

In 2011, the BBC announced that they were making a deal with BSkyB over the 2012 broadcasts of F1. The reaction to this was not one of happiness. And, the announcement came in the midst of the News Corporation hacking scandal. With News Corps ties to a BSkyB takeover, people were not happy. At the time, there was an article in the Concorde Agreement stating that F1 viewership must be free. But Bernie Ecclestone, as many claimed, made a classic U-turn and said he was happy to sell F1 to a pay-per-view channel. It was this u-turn that had many people riled up.

F1 Broadcast Chatter

The details of the broadcast plan became public early after the decision was announced. Sky would create a dedicated “Sky Sports F1” channel showing every single session from every race live, with a weekly “F1 Show” and GP2 and Gp3 races live from each race. The BBC however, would show only 10 of the races live, the rest being extended highlight shows.

Many people already had Sky TV subscriptions, and the addition of a dedicated HD channell was great. But equally as many people, if not more, used the UK’s Freeview+HD service, allowing them to watch the BBC 2011 coverage in HD. Many people used Freeview, or Freesat as I did, because paying for Sky is just out of the question.

But what most people want in sports coverage is good presenters, good features and a sense that we are seeing the most we can. And with the side by side live race coverages, all these are met. Sky Sports F1 put together a great presenting team; Simon Lazenby and Georgie Thompson from a presenting side, added with Damon Hill, 1996 F1 World Champion, and Martin Brundle who crossed over from the BBC bringing his many years experience as a racer and a commentator, taking up position of lead commentator alongside David Croft. Crofty, much like Martin, has spent many years commentating on F1, most recently with BBC Radio 5 Live. Ted Kravitz and Natalie Pinkham, both of whom worked for BBC F1 TV and BBC Radio 5 Live, aer the two pit lane reporters, Ted covering the technical side, and Nat getting the Driver info and Team reactions to the days events. With appearences and analysis from Johnny Herbert and Anthony Davidson, to whom everyone wishes a speedy recovery from his crash at Le Mans, Skys Broadcasts are generally quite good.

Sky Sports F1 HD Team

The BBC kept their team as similar as they could, Retaining Jake Humphrey, Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard as presenters. DC, who commentated in 2011, was joined by lead commentator Ben Edwards. Ben has had a long and illustrious career in motorsport commentating,being likend in style to the great Murray Walker. Lee McKenzie stayed on as pit-lane reporter and a somewhat knowledgeable man was brought into the team.

BBC F1 Team

What F1 broadcasts have been lacking has been a purely technical input. Ted Kravitz had provided his outside expertise for many years, but no one had ever used an insider. but for the BBC in 2012, that was about to change. Gary Anderson has been involved in F1 since the early seventies, working with Brabham, Tyrrell, Jordan and others. Garys knowledge of Aerodynamics and car design is astounding, and his insights bring a very special insight into the hugely technical side of F1. You can speak all you like to Team Principles and Technical Directors, but they will only let you know so much. You need to be “in the know”, like Gary and Ted, to know whats really going on.

Gary Anderson

Ted Kravitz

As with all double broadcasts of a single sport, the competition is tremendous. The BBC have pushed to get the very latest info, with Lee McKenzie leading many of the race retired driver interviews. They have the same number of cameramen and crew and still hold a presence in the paddock. Sky Sports F1 has what can only be described as a “swarm” of  cameramen and crews moving in perfect unison around the paddock and pitlane.

BBC Crew

Sky Sports F1 Crew

As with all TV content, the online world is not too far away. And the BBC and Skys F1 coverage is no exception. A consortium of YouTube users are striving to put the best of the features, interviews, intros and outros of the shjows on the internet for those not in the UK, or those who want to watch it all again. And they are doing a might fine job of it! As soon as its broadcast, the cogs begn to turn and videos stream on line in Standard Definition, and quite soon after in HD.

There has never been so much choice in how to watch F1 since it began and through the F1 Digital+ era. The reason? Competition. The battle between the BBC and Sky has lead to the creators and producers putting in even more effort into the programmes. This can only mean goo for the viewers.

So, whatever way you watch it, or whichever broadcaster you choose, enjoy it. Be happy in the knowledge that you are getting as much info as you can, and in the highest quality of presenting.

Thanks to newmotoring.com for the logo image.

BBC F1 on Twitter:


Jake Humphrey

Eddie Jordan

David Coulthard

Ben Edwards

Lee McKenzie

Gary Anderson


James Allen

Jaime Alguersuari

Andrew Benson

  Sky Sports F1 HD on Twitter:


Simon Lazenby

Damon Hill

Martin Brundle

David Croft

Natalie Pinkham

Ted Kravitz

Anthony Davidson

Georgie Thompson

Johnny Herbert

Sky F1 Insider

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