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 Silver badge

    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. Mike Richards Silver badge

    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..


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