BBC F1 versus Sky Sports F1: Your 2013 Verdict

The Brazilian Grand Prix is over and another season of Formula 1 has passed. It may not have been the most enthralling season ever, with Sebastian Vettel in command of the championship from the Summer, but it has been an interesting affair nevertheless. The BBC F1 Forum and Sky Sports F1 race day programmes have gone off air for the final time this season.

I’ve illustrated many times on this blog the positives and negatives of both BBC and Sky this season. But, like I did this time last year, it is time for you to have your say.

The comments section is open for everyone to comment, so get your BBC and Sky thoughts in below this post. Where do you think BBC’s and Sky’s weaknesses are? What would you change for 2014? How do you think both sides compare to 2012 now that we are firmly into a new era of Formula 1 broadcasting in the UK? And of course whilst the main focus of the blog is F1, comments about the wider broadcasting spectrum are more than welcome.

The best thoughts will be put into a new blog post in a few weeks time.


22 thoughts on “BBC F1 versus Sky Sports F1: Your 2013 Verdict

  1. prefer the bbc coverage to sky’s. bbc coverage is obviously weaker than in previous years due to not having all the races live and jake is a much better presenter than suzi.

    apart from that tho the bbc VTs they put together are outstanding and the comms team is better than sky’s. can’t put my finger on it but brundle seems to have lost his shine and dc has overtaken him. could be down to dc being experienced with modern cars or just that he’s fresher to commentary than brundle. also can’t stand croft, his voice grates on me and his excitement sounds forced. distinct lack of opinions on #askcrofty as well. needs to sit on the fence less.

    sky’s pundits are all drivers so you tend to get pretty much the same opinion all around and bbc have a team owner, chief designer and a driver at their disposal to give different points of view.

    eddie jordan is the biggest difference to me. a lot of people don’t like him but he adds the spark that’s lacking in the sky team. don’t get me started on lazenby, no idea why sky haven’t replaced him yet

  2. I don’t have sky so I watch every race on the BBC. Generally their coverage is great. Coulthard and Jordan are brilliant, as are Lee Mckenzie and Ben Edwards. Their video packages and interviews are also excellent. However, I have become increasingly tired of Suzi Perry tripping over her words when speaking live. I know that she has to do the tricky bit of listening to instructions in her ear and talking but even this last race was littered with minor errors that really grate after a while or is just me? Prime example: referred to the V8 engines in the build up show as being the “start of an era” or “the end of a new era”.

    I think Jennie Gow (sometimes presentes practice sessions) from 5 live, Lee McKenzie or even Gabby Logan would do a better job.

  3. I don’t have SKY and so can’t comment and haven’t see their coverage… have always liked the BBC but since they sold out and now only cover 10 live races, a shameful deal which is rumoured to be for the next 6 years, I have become increasingly angry at this sell out by BBC bosses against the fans. This one thing is the key reason to desert the Beeb. The coverage of Austin Texas race was abysmally poor, and the so called ‘ replays ‘ of live coverage were nothing more than highlights, often less than 1,5 hours.

    This BBC sell out is a disgrace.. as long as they do not cover EVERY race, including practice and Quali, then it doesn’t matter how much you like the presenter line up or how hard they work, as a fan you always end up disappointed.How the BBC lost track of this essential core principle is beyond me.. shame on the BBC bosses…

    As for the BBC team well DC is great, Gary Anderson invaluable, EJ a laugh at least and a character, but I could do without Ben Edwards non-stop chatter even if he knows his stuff… no one will ever equal Murray Walker …and Suzi Perry.. not sure…a bit flimsy and frivolous, no real match for Lee McKenzie, and did she make up for losing Jake… ? the jury is out… but good to see a woman lead the team.

  4. I would go with Sky on this one. Fantastic coverage, loads of insights, Ted Kravitz, Martin and Anthony really make the coverage of races and practices amazing. Testing coverage has made the channel come alive this year and is great to see a channel do so. Looking forward to 2014 and hopefully they get rid of Simon.

  5. BBC’s VT’s and features have been top notch as usual, BE and DC are a good commentary pairing. However Suzi + EJ are just painful to watch and listen to. Suzi clearly is not a fan of F1 and it would certainly be best for all concerned if BT came calling for her for MotoGP. If that were to happen, I would hope that Lee McKenzie would get the job.
    From what I’ve seen of Sky’s coverage they have improved upon last season. MB is great as always. DH and JH seem to be developing some sort of double act routine which is ok as long as they don’t overkill it. Ted Kravitz just seems to get better and better, his notebooks certainly are a highlight of the weekend. Their constant self promotion e.g. “Ways to watch” is rather irritating but overall their doing a good job.
    Ultimately though I don’t think either side is near the level of BBC 2009-2011. Sky have more airtime, but it just doesn’t feel as polished as the BBC’s was when they had it exclusively.

  6. I watch both broadcasters, BBC edges it with the presenters and commentators.
    Brundle moans too much, whereas Edwards is full of enthusiasm.
    Croft is a fool, whereas Coulthard has gravitas.
    Lazenby is a slimy tosser … Err, Perry is still overawed by the job.
    Kravitz has dumbed down his notebook for typical Sky viewers, whereas Anderson is a dedicated fan’s engineer, and therefore knows what he’s taking about.
    The mass of other Sky pundits are a waste of time. EJ goes where no other pundit dare go, and has a laugh with it.

    The main problem with the BBC is that not all races are live.
    One of the main problems with Sky, is that almost no one is watching, which is harming the sport

  7. i watch bbc f1 coverage here is my view on this year
    the bbc f1 team:
    suzi has been awful,DC and Ben have bee outstanding with good insight , humour and rapid at picking up things, EJ has been good as always with his driver moves and politics. Lee has been again brilliant both as an interviewer and a practise presenter. Gary has been good but for the race and quali he has been dumped into r5l com box so tv viewers dont get a decent pitlane reporter. Tom hasnt impresed me as all he goes on about his weather and windspeed. jennie has not really made an impact as she is r5l.

    highlights shows:
    no practise highlights,1hr 15min for quali 1 hour 30min(when the deal was announced in 2011 didnt bernie say there would be full race re runs for bbc!) for most races is too short and this means ive felt totaly disconnected from f1 on highlight weekends unless ive watched f1 via other means on the internet.

    live races:
    show lenths have been too short with almost half the coverage you would have thought bbc would make the most of it. what happened to 2hr 30min quali shows and 3hr30min shows every race. and the bbc cutting f1 short e.g at montreal and brazil q in favour of the news which is on bbc news chanel 24 and is now avaliable too everyone who has a tv now.
    the forum has been awfal aswell only 40mins of just watching lee interview in the pen and suzi dc and eddie just stayinh in the same place not doing anything exciting.

    calender was 22 races but might be 19 so will this mean bbc get only 9 races live hope not.

    my preffered team.
    i think the r5l coverage should scraped as little people listen to it

    main presenter : lee or a new presenter
    pundits: DC and EJ
    commentators quali and race: Ben and DC
    commentators practise: Ben and guests or permanent co co commentator like tony jardine
    pitlane : gary anderson and lee

    just hope bbc give f1 a higher priority in there lis next year as there wont be moto gp coverage so f1 will be one of the sports which are regularly unlike rugby,golf,snooker,darts etc. thats my view of the 2013 season on bbc.

  8. Personally, I think BBC’s coverage is so much better than Sky’s.

    On the BBC, they have a wealth of former people from the sport, a former driver, designer and tem owner so the comments and opinions you get are often mixed. With Sky, all you get is a handful of former drivers so they views seem to boringly mirror one another.

    In terms of main presenters, neither Suzi or Simon are up to scratch. Lazenby comes across as not knowing Formula One, as does Perry with her obvious bias towards MotoGP. She often refers to the words drive/driver/driving to ride etc. which, with her constantly tripping over her words on live pieces, does aggravate me.

    In terms of commentary, BBC wins this. Ben Edwards is one of, if not the best commentator around and with DC alongside him, they create an almost unbeatable duo. Gary Anderson’s snippets during commentary is also very useful, especially when he makes the strategies easy to understand. David Croft for Sky is far too shouty. The emotion which he tries to portray sounds forced and ruins it for me, although Brundle is still a vital asset to Sky.

    Tom Clarkson, Jennie Gow and Lee McKenzie are superb working in the paddock and pit lane with each one providing news in their own unique ways. McKenzie is by far the best pit lane reporter though with her excellent relationships with the drivers; se always knows which questions to ask. Sky’s Natalie Pinkham is useless. She seems far too chirpy and unprofessional and always asks the wrong questions, sometimes rubbing the drivers up the wrong way. Ted Kravitz is by far the best member of the Sky team.

    For next season, the best team for the BBC would be Gow as main presenter with DC and EJ alongside (and why not MW once in a while?). McKenzie and Clarkson should remain in the paddock/pit lane with the same commentary team. 5 Live should keep Allen in the commentary box but should attempt to get McNish (or another former driver) to sit in as many races as possible as co-commentator. They should also try to improve their consistency for next year with some obvious slip ups of cameramen on screen or lack of microphones for guests. Their VTs and content is still stunning, top notch as ever.

    For Sky, get rid of Lazenby for anybody else, along with Herbert, he seems far too smug and in your face, shall we say. Hill is also too boring, providing very little. Brundle, Davidson and Kravitz are the only three who provide a decent output for Sky. But with less than 1 million viewers almost all the time, the whole BBC/Sky deal ruins the sport for those without Sky, who want to watch every race live.

  9. Preferred BBC (they have Ben Edwards so they’ll always win for me) but Sky significantly improved over last year. I’ll tend to watch their post-race coverage.

    For Sky, I’d say Simon is a million times better than last year, the VTs were much better than last year, having Croft answering Q’s in twitter is an improvement too in this age of Social media and Herbert is great as always. However, I haven’t liked Martin Brundle this year. Coulthard now is as good or better commentator and Brundle on the gridwalks has come across arrogant/cocky this year. A few times I’ve seem him get annoyed when other people are interviewing someone he wants to – seen him prodding Will Buxton in the back to get on with it and the one with Eddie a couple of weeks ago stands out. Ted Kravitz seems to have had the same cocky attitude too lately. Just can’t take to Natalie – I’d prefer it if they had Rachel from Sky sports news. She just seems to bring up stupid things on the F1 show too. Ant Davidson- to be honest, I preferred Allan McNish last year and Karun this year. To me, they just seemed much more natural on TV.

    BBC’s pundit is better because they just don’t have drivers – they have a team owner, a driver and a designer so you never get the same opinion whereas with Sky you sometimes have Martin, Ant, Johnny and Damon all saying the same things – adds nothing. Tom Clarkson was a needed addition and Ben Edwards has always been the best motorsport commentator in the world. He also has more knowledge on general motorsport than Crofty which I think adds a lot. Suzy – she was better than I thought, wish she’d stop tripping over her words but she was way more comfortable in this arena than Simon was at first. Lee was great in the practice sessions so I wouldn’t mind if Suzy goes off to BT Sport for MotoGP and Lee got the main job.

  10. I have written time and again on this very blog about the various qualities of both broadcasters, I shouldn’t really as it’s my job and my observations and editorial judgement pay my bills.

    So I will briefly bullet point what both broadcaster needs to do.

    Perry and Lazenby need to go for multiple reasons.
    BBC should look to their track record for VT inserts, not copy Sky.
    Sky should stop letting media student film director wannabes make self indulgent VT’s.
    Brundle needs reining in.
    Croft needs to stop making technical/driving assertions he doesn’t understand.
    Sky need to stop the repetitive questions in build up chat.
    Both channels should fire anyone for asking ‘what can you do from there’?
    Sky need to get senior production with passion for the sport, not rugby fans on a jolly.

    There are many more salient points but that’s off the top of my head.

    Both outputs need work but when you consider Sky’s resources and budget compared to the BBC their output is really poor.

    1. “Both channels should fire anyone for asking ‘what can you do from there’?”
      Spot on. Glad I’m not the only one who gets annoyed by this!

  11. BBC:
    Good points
    Excellent coverage when live.
    Outstanding VTs.
    Gary Anderson technical expertise.
    Eddie Jordan and Tom Clarkson.
    Bad Points
    Suzi Perry seeming scared to death
    Half the season highlights only

    Good points
    All races live.
    Bad Points
    Repeats of repeats of repeats.
    Ted acting more like a kids TV presenter.
    Sky Pad (it’s just like the Dance Pad on BBC’s Strictly it Takes Two)
    VT’s which are really more adverts.
    The vile Simon Lazenby.
    More repeats
    Sky’s attempts to falsify the viewing figures shows desperation
    More repeats

    1. Bbc highlights is generally a hot or miss. Brazil for example was awful. With barely any lead up at all and the whole race was just garbled and missing most of what was going on. I’ll have to get a hold of the full race somehow and see how much I missed.

  12. BBC – Perry is the obvious weak link, particularly notable on live races, she doesn’t appear capable of driving the programme forward; which is a bit of a surprise considering her previous experience in this field. Quality / duration of the Forum has declined this year, some of which is down to Perry. There is also the continuing suspicion that she doesn’t really like Formula 1 and that it’s a marriage of convenience for both parties.

    Ben Edwards good apart from occasional moments of over excitement. Anderson has excellent technical knowledge and you know Sky will never nick him owing to his accent and age.

    Lee McKenzie is an excellent interviewer and continually manages to extract good information from drivers.

    Should use Tom Clarkson more.

    Don’t have Sky but have watched some of their races not entirely legally. Croft seems to be under instructions to make every race the most exciting thing he’s ever seen. Pinkham is not a great asset, another one who I suspect is not a huge Formula 1 fan and her interviews are too much fanboy stuff (I often think she’s there because she is young and good looking and can be used in appropriate publicity), they should replace her with Rachel Brookes.

  13. I mainly watch Sky Sports F1 and felt that they have improved a lot in terms of presenting/features since the beginning.

    Sky Sports F1:

    I disliked Lazenby but have started to like him a bit more, his presenting has improved and making it better for the viewers. Some of Herbert’s comments are ridiculous and offer no insight whatsoever such as ”You need a car which drives well” however I like Johnny, can be quite funny alongside Hill. Hill is a good asset, offers some witty comments, good banter between him and Herbert also.

    Brundle and Crofty are a great commentary pair but I still prefer Edwards to Croft. More dramatic and energy which is what I prefer. Ted is an integral part of the team, love his notebooks and highly amusing. Similarly, I prefer Karun to Davidson however both do a decent job in terms of practice commentary and Sky Pad analysis. But I feel that Chandhok offers better analysis and different perspective.

    Natalie is clueless, awful presenter on the F1 Show. Eye candy for the male viewers. Like what other people are saying, Rachael Brooks seems to be a good presenter when called upon. The F1 Show, needs something new added to it as I feel it is very similar every week.


    Suzie Perry is a joke, calling Monisha Kaltenborne- Monisha Kaltenberg as an example. No apparent F1 knowledge. EJ and DC continue to be a great pairing. Great banter between both.

    Like I said earlier, I prefer Edwards as a commentator compared to Croft. Gary Anderson is very knowledgeable like Ted, both know their stuff. Prefer Lee to Natalie in terms of actual ability. Tom Clarkson and Jenny Gow- I can’t make a fair analysis as I don’t watch practice on the BBC often enough.

    BBC- Get rid of Suzie and replace her with someone ele

    1. “Suzie Perry is a joke, calling Monisha Kaltenborne- Monisha Kaltenberg as an example. No apparent F1 knowledge. EJ and DC continue to be a great pairing. Great banter between both.

      Like I said earlier, I prefer Edwards as a commentator compared to Croft. Gary Anderson is very knowledgeable like Ted, both know their stuff. Prefer Lee to Natalie in terms of actual ability.”
      Spot on.

  14. How is that Lazenby is universally hated yet still has a job?

    Likewise how is that Perry is universally accepted as incompetent and still has a job?

    Great unanswered questions of the universe……………

  15. I cancelled Sky this year and have watched mainly on the BBC. I signed up when the sport went exclusively to Sky but its really not been value for money for me. I didn’t get the impression Sky were putting as much effort into 2013 as they did in their first year either. Lazenby gets on my nerves and so does Herbert so I found myself watching pre race on the BBC and flicking over for the race on Sky by the end of my time. I started to wonder what exactly I was paying for? Fifty odd quid a month just to listen to Brundle commentate? I just think the BBC have a more relaxed approach and I really like Suzie and EJ and the commentary between DC and JE has been better this year. Why F1 are bothering with Sky I do not know. It would be much better for fans if it were all back on the BBC. Covering F1 is just natural to them.

  16. I liked the old team on BBC. It was probably the best F1 coverage I have seen. The new Sky team is very, very good and that is now where I watch F1. From time to time I have been forced to use the BBC iPlayer to watch a practice, qualifying or race on the BBC and whilst the practice commentary is very good as is the Android mobile F1 commentary.

    The main problem with BBC F1 is the idiotic comments made be the all unknowing BBC anchor person Suzi Perry. It must have been hard to find someone who a). knew less about the subject and b). has less empathy with the other two presenters.

    I realize that the BBC need (for their own internal reasons) to put a woman as the main presenter but why, oh why did they choose Suzi Perry. What a moron.

    Jennie Gow or Lee McKenzie have shown time and again that they can and have done this job.

    Let’s please just get rid of Suzi and put someone in who does not keep making silly faces at the camera whenever Eddie sounds off.

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