BBC F1 versus Sky Sports F1: Your 2015 Verdict

Year 4 of the current BBC and Sky Sports Formula 1 contract has come to an end with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 2015 has seen Lewis Hamilton clinch his third Formula 1 championship, alongside the emergence of Max Verstappen and the downfall of McLaren.

I’ve commented a lot this year on BBC’s and Sky’s coverage, now it is your chance to give your opinion on all things BBC and Sky in 2015, and how both sides can improve in 2016. What is the best that each team currently has to offer? Obviously this assumes that nothing is changing. Because what happens next? We would like to know, but at the moment we simply do not know. Will BBC even be broadcasting Formula 1 on TV in 2016, or is the newspaper speculation simply hot air? As said by Suzi Perry at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix show, over a caption for the 2016 Australian Grand Prix: “We will see you next year, hopefully.”

With TV viewing figures stagnant, it would be interesting to know if you have been consuming Formula 1 differently in 2015. More iPlayer, less TV, more highlights, less live? The picture is definitely changing, are you part of that change?

Assuming the contractual situation does not radically change in the next few weeks, I will publish the best thoughts and opinions in a new post just before Christmas. For those of you wanting to comment on all things MotoGP, head this way


25 thoughts on “BBC F1 versus Sky Sports F1: Your 2015 Verdict

  1. I’ve simply been watching less F1 this year because the product as a whole has been absolutely dire. However the BBC seemed to have coped with the abysmal display on and off the track better than Sky. The Hamiltonmania-based coverage from Sky was too painful to watch at times. I continued to not bother watching Sky’s race build up and I also started to watch less of the BBC’s. The Croft/Brundle partnership on Sky made far too many errors during races for my liking and it was just generally much less pleasant to listen to, whilst the Edwards/Coulthard partnership just didn’t seem as exciting, although that may have been down to the procession on the circuit.

    I cannot stand Lazenby as a presenter, whilst Herbert and Hill provide very little to the coverage. On the other side, Jordan was his typical either brilliant or awful self.

    Overall, I thought that the BBC did a much better job in dealing with a dud season, whilst Sky came up with too many sensationalist non-stories, terrible features and montages, and also had naff commentary.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, although the Croft/Brundle partnership doesn’t bother me as much as it does some others: I guess I kind of got used to Crofty during his time as Radio 5 Live presenter but he is very biased at times, there’s no getting away from that; especially if there’s a Brit involved (Usually Hamilton) he will always take their side. Brundle was a bit more restrained I felt but he is still one of the highlights of their coverage due to his analysis features and Sky seem well aware of this.

      As for the BBC I think the departure of Jake Humphrey and the sacking of Gary Anderson were big blows to their presenting team: Allan McNish hasn’t been that bad of a replacement and is starting to come into his own although as with Mark Webber we never really got to see enough of him this season (As Webber is still active in WEC this is understandable) aside from the odd comment post-race. Suzi Perry has been a solid and friendly if unspectacular main presenter (Humphrey is a tough act to follow) although you can’t help but feel that Lee Mckenzie was being groomed for that role. One departure they did recover well from was Ted Kravitz; I’ve really enjoyed hearing Tom Clarkson’s imput from the pits and the way he grills drivers; Ted I always felt was professional but way too ‘buddy buddy’ with everyone, which works in his favour sometimes but personally I think Clarkson is a bit more by the book which is refreshing, but like Alan we never get to hear too much from him.

      But by far the best aspect of the BBC’s coverage were some of it’s VT’s, which as this blog has consistently pointed out, have been thoughtful and extremely well constructed. Cases in point: The Button Rallycross piece and the Max/Jos Verstappen feature. Clearly shot and edited by people who love the sport and make use of every penny to make sure it goes towards what’s on screen: Sky definitely feels more clinical, but overall it’s still watchable and to their credit they are still capable of the occasional thought provoking feature, but most of the time it’s just ‘presenters mess around in contrived scenario with drivers’, which is their choice really.

      If this really is the end for the BBC then it’s a dark day for F1 in the UK; but it’s not like we haven’t seen this with other countries. We were never invulnerable to this.

  2. I must admit I haven’t watched much of BBC’s coverage this year (if I’m paying for Sky Sports I might as well watch it!) but on the occasions I have had to watch the BBC, Ben and DC appear to do a much better job of ‘reading’ a race than Crofty and Martin. I also think that Sky, for all their budget and hours of programming, haven’t exactly pushed the boat out in terms of the features and analysis (they seem to have regressed in their use of the Skypad, which I thought has always been Sky’s best USP). The Button/DC rallycross VT on the other hand was one of the best, original pieces of TV I’ve seen all year, and I think that entirely reflects the (usually high) quality of BBC programming, and it would be a crying shame if the BBC’s coverage were to go altogether.

  3. I’ve actually watched the BBC more this but it doesn’t mean I like them more, I find most of their team a complete dull-fest and Suzi Perry is again so cringeworthy, David Coulthard should be relegated to a pundit as I don’t think he is suited to the commentary box well and I also don’t see the need for Tony Dodgins who there for 1 Practice session and that’s about it, I also don’t see the need for 2 pit reporters during practice 2 and 3 as neither Jennie Gow or Tom Clarkson are technical people, the only people I like in the team are Allan McNish and Ben Edwards although I have liked Eddie Jordan’s opinions this year, other than that he is a joke.

    What I have liked about the BBC this year though is that they had adopted the new BBC Sport graphics package during pre/post sessions, yes they are still slightly messy in some areas but they look more cleaner and better than Sky have, the VT’s have also been top class level and I liked how they managed to merge the forum into the main program at Japan.

    There is still plenty of things the BBC did to get on my nerves though. For example the Canadian GP build up was BBC’s worst of the year for me, I know they had only 25 minutes build up that day but all they did was fill it with 2 track guides… Seriously?? That’s a bit OP for a 25 minute programme, also stuff like the TV rating decline debate during the Monaco GP Qualifying also made me annoyed as the BBC was half the reason why ratings declined and finally the schedule decisions by the BBC still need to be improved examples like Gymnastics cutting Bahrain GP qualifying by 35 minutes, Athletics taking priority over Belgian GP Qualifying On BBC2 and the recent last minute dumping of the Abu Dhabi GP to BBC2 is many examples of why you can’t trust BBC Schedulers.

    I Still prefer Sky, mainly because of how they treated the crisis after the Italian GP, I thought they covered that fantastically and took everything seriously. I also liked the US GP not so Qualifying programme, plenty of interviews with the drivers, an #AskCrofty debate, and even a look back at the season. I also think that the Crofty/Brundle combination in the commentary box works very well and they even report penalties before we even see them on the TV Screens. Ted has also been fantastic with Development Corner and his Notebook, both great highlights of Practice and post-race.

    It’s been slightly that we saw the lack of Anthony Davidson this year due to his WEC commitments, although Johnny Herbert, Bruno Senna and Paul Di Resta have been fantastic on the Skypad when he was not there, I also thought Paul was a great pundit for the races he was there.

    The best part of Sky’s coverage though has to be the 30 minutes before lights, you have Ted’s in the pit lane updating us on strategies, you had Crofty’s important info before lights out segment, then you would go to the Skpad to analyse the important action you might see, (and sometimes the track bites) then you had the grid walk!, and then after that some interviews and then to the FOM Feed, all in 30 minutes! I think it’s the best 30 minutes of pre-race coverage I have ever seen on British TV and I hope Sky keep that format for the proper race show next year!

    I’ve noticed a lot of complaints about Sky and their ‘Circlejerk’ to Lewis this year. To be honest I don’t think they have been as biased to Lewis this year and I even noticed that at the early/middle parts of the season, I honestly think people try to get too much attention on this and it seriously needs to calm down next year.

    There is still a few niggles that Sky need to sort out for next year. They really need to run proper qualifying reports next year rather than getting someone to the Skypad and compare the top 2 and then looking at the grid, it makes me think that Sky are trying to be lazy with qualifying recaps. Also something that needs to be improved is the VT’s as sometimes they also feel rushed and hyped too much and as a suggestion they should show the Track Parade fully live rather than delay the interviews.

    Overall this year I’m still on the Sky side and looking at their coverage so far I ain’t changing my mind.

  4. I really hope BBC don’t dump it, I love their coverage. I think they may gain from a highlights package of GP2 n 3 so people can get familiar with the younger drivers. I am not saying a different program, however this might make a nice addition to race build up.

    I like the current line up and definitely think the BBC gain a lot from DC, and Allan McNish (would be nice to see more of him). Obviously the live races were better, however the Beeb do a good job of the highlights.

  5. The BBC coverage is better than Sky’s because they are welcomed in the paddock, unlike Sky who just have to be there. Sky arguably have more output, which is highly unnecessary but the BBC give top coverage when live on air. Suzi Perry is still improving but there are better presenters available. EJ and DC work together well but EJ is only opinionated, not a strong pundit. DC has inside knowledge and is a decent commentator. Sky’s show looks like a group of oldies at a pub, whereas the BBC are more fresh faced.

    I despise Crofty and Brundle – who are stupidly excitable and are very dreary. Ben Edwards is a good commentator with lots of inside knowledge.

    The only problem lies with the BBC highlights: there is too much chatter and should be more race coverage. 90 minute shows should have at least 80 minutes of the race.

    Overall, the BBC coverage has improved in 2015, but Sky’s is getting worse. Money isn’t everything.

  6. I don’t know the exact budget that each team has to play with. But Sky F1 (you’d think) has more money, and they certainly have more airtime. The BBC have much less time when they are live, and often have to make way for other events. Of course, they have the biggest handicap of all, and that is not having all the races live.

    Given those factors, it is hard to judge the BBC vs Sky in a completely fair way. But with all that taken into account, the BBC blows Sky out of the water in my opinion. The season is easy to follow via the BBC, and they have the advantage of being across 3 formats, TV, audio and web.

    What is the best that each team currently has to offer?

    Sky have their moments of course (if they didn’t that would be a criminal waste of resources.) I like the ex drivers they have on. Ant Davidson is usually the best of the bunch, and sadly there hasn’t been much of him this season. I do enjoy Ted’s Notebooks, and some of the features are clearly well thought through.

    For the BBC, I think the commentary team surpasses that of Sky. I think that is more important than other elements. Silky montages are irrelevant if the race coverage itself is poor. DC is insightful and measured, and Ben Edwards has done a great job since taking over the mic. The features have been stellar (Kvyat and JB spring to mind) and they’ve made the best of Aussie Grit when they’ve had access to him. There’s also the excellent podcast and online bits and pieces that tie the whole thing together.

    What happens next?

    I think we will see live sport (generally) continue the trajectory it has had over the past few years. Look at football and other sports. Highlights are on terrestrial TV, with live stuff on PPV or Sky. I think F1 will be no exception to that, and as a result a free-to-air channel will take on highlights.

    It would be interesting to know if you have been consuming Formula 1 differently in 2015. More iPlayer, less TV, more highlights, less live? The picture is definitely changing, are you part of that change?

    No. Since the contract change, I have followed the sport via the BBC where possible; and then on Sky where necessary (which I can access through family.) I like to sit down in front of the telly box, and watch the race live. Why would it be any other way?

    I think a majority of people (given F1’s older audience) will do the same; even if the pictures come from internet connectivity. At the moment TV is going through a similar situation to radio, when millions of listeners were “lost” to apps and digital sources. They hadn’t disappeared, they were just listening in other places. Once they can be added together, the viewership might be more healthy than first thought.

    Just a last point though, in light of these concerns. I think over the past 10 years or so we’ve been spoiled in the UK. Others have to put up with the tacky studio coverage with a live feed. No roaming cameras, no special access. So even though the coverage could be improved, I do suspect that we have had it so good for a while, and we should remember how lucky we are to have that choice. We could soon be back to the days of watching the race only, as I did in the ITV days. And on that note, if the resources of the BBC and Sky were pooled in some way; perhaps we’d get to keep the coverage and enjoy the quality of show we do today. Food for thought.

  7. BBC seem more comfortable in their own skin these days. They recognise it’s not 2010 any more in terms of personnel, budget or on track product and set their stall out accordingly. There’s a reasonable range of views, some sort of concession to the casual viewer and they don’t present in an uncritical manner. I also suspect that they do a good job of keeping Sky on their toes.

    Suzi Perry’s improved (see how little Coulthard has been surprised this year by the line of questioning), Tom Clarkson is good and they’ve finally found how best to use him, Ben Edwards has had a couple of shockers but otherwise a good commentator, Lee McKenzie excellent again. Some of the direction and camerawork has been a bit wobbly lately.

    Agree with the person in the comments that BBC seem more welcomed in the paddock, I guess that’s because they’ve always committed to the sport even when they don’t have TV rights, whereas Sky showed very little interest before 2012.

    I see some of the Sky coverage via, erm, the internet. They are at least editorially consistent with their other programming in that they won’t in any way criticise the general product. That’s all well and good, but it shows an ignorance of the viewer when they resort to pointing out for the eighth time “not every race can be brilliant”

  8. At the beginning I would like to say that BBC and Sky are doing the best F1 coverage in the world because of the British passion for the sport which is very special. So even whoever will be put in the second place here, should be basically easily second amongst all broadcasters in the world.

    Let’s start with BBC. Suzi Perry is finally established within the team, Tom Clarkson was fantastic alongside Lee this year and it was great to see him and Allan both a bit more in F1 Focus, a very interesting new format! Ben and DC were good as always, sure maybe not so exciting duo, but they handle everything very well. And EJ is EJ, what can I say more right?

    One of the biggest problems for BBC is definitely airtime. The post-race coverage still feels rushed and it would be great to have additional 15 mins. But that was the problem last year too. At least the F1 Forum seemed to be finally strong again, at least I was enjoying that more than last year. I like especially the relaxed forums, without chasing as much interview as possible, which sometimes felt like it’s happening.

    Montages and VTs. We all love them. BBC is unbeatable there with the most talented and creative team making them. You can feel the passion and the emotion, which is basically the most important thing I love about BBC. And every single coverage of absolutely anything should be done with a passion. The rally cross VT is already legendary and will be in the “hall of fame” for sure. Also I was delighted to see a fantastic season highlights montage after that not so great 2013 and 2014 montages.

    Now to Sky. Not many things have changed there, generally I enjoyed 2012 and 2013 seasons but since then it seems like Sky has lost its glory. A very limited production, no more season reviews, no more F1 Legends etc. very limited Classic races, they are not as active as they used to be in the first two seasons. Clearly there are some limitations following that messed up football deal but it’s a shame. Maybe it would be better to cancel the F1 dedicated channel and have it together with something else, the expectations wouldn’t be so high.

    About the coverage itself, the airtime is great, especially in Italy they were live until the decision came, that is what you expect from a dedicated TV channel. Sky’s build-up is quite boring, especially due to the lack of montage VTs (the did a nice one to celebrate Hamilton’s three championship titles in Austin though, that was great) and also terrible feature VTs. As a fellow editor, working on some VTs for a live coverage too, I think I can say that they VTs feel messed up, completely missing the point. Or completely pointless, like Brundle’s interview with Idris Elba in Spa. That was not related to F1 at all. They should bring a completely new production team next season if they want to compete with BBC in this area. Also SkyPad is still more and more annoying, it looks more like “hey look, we have a SkyPad, we are the best”. It’s generally there more about doing a show than a serious coverage sometime, some people might like it, but I prefer a serious coverage with naturally funny moments.

    And now the presenters’ line-up. Probably the most experienced one in the paddock. I still don’t understand what Lazenby is doing there, he is like an alien in the F1 paddock and clearly has nothing in common with the sport. The rest of the team sounds good on the paper, but (and here we go) to make everything around Lewis Hamilton is wrong. Yes, he’s British, he’s successful, but to praise him and to make a coverage all around him are two very different things. And to even have a problem to admit that someone else could be simply faster and it is not down to the technical problem… no, no, no. The basic rules of journalism are to be impartial and objective. Whatever is the reason (no theories here), it should not happen and they should go back to enjoying F1, the sport itself.

    Sky has changed a lot over the last few years while BBC had a really tough year in 2013 and had to completely restart everything last season. BBC is being impartial, having great VTs, a very friendly and funny team, while Sky is making a show, having a better airtime and a very experience line-up. Well, the decision was quite tough last year, but this time it is very clear for me that despite having only 10 races live, the BBC F1 team is producing the best F1 coverage not just in the UK, but in the whole world at the moment.

  9. I am deaf so put the subtitles on and on BBC they go over the top four in the leader board. I have tweeted many times asking them to be moved to the right by four chars but no acknowledgement form them ever. So now I tend to watch online with headphones.

    Loosing Gary Anderson was a huge mistake, and to replace him would probably have involved a bbc exec admitting a mistake thus better that we get poorer content that’s what it looks like anyway.
    EJ is still good entertainment. Suzi must be getting worried that her nemesis followed her from taking her MotoGP job (dads doing?) to F1. Lee is still very good.
    I much preferred the original F1forum inside, in a borrowed room.

    Best commentary is always by JA on R5Live when he is there.
    Sky is ok Brundle still has the far better grid walk, shouldering all aside regardless. BUT they have stopped the special offer of £9.95 for a week of Skysport on NowTV. So now ony watch the bbc. Cannot stand their main link man, no idea who he is.

  10. Sky for me for the whole package, although I skip the track parade. Ted has to be the best they have on Sky and his notebook brings the event to a great close. With the time allocated to Sky it at times gets somewhat silly with the time-filling but overall for me it is the complete package. I agree with ‘uf1redster’ that Jake Humphrey was the better presenter (and would be a catch if he moved to Sky) and to lose him was a big blow to BBC. Suzi P is ok, DC better as a pundit and EJ – just retired! Damon Hill gives a good balance with Sky and the Martin/Crofty commentaries are lively and add enthusiasm to the race but we don’t need 4 offering comment and presenting and wasteful. I hope (selfishly that BBC continue to broadcast the Grand Prix because I won’t be able to watch it on Sky next season, however if the last race was anything to go by I won’t miss much – so boring and the comparison between hamilton and Rosberg distract from the race and spoilt my enjoyment.

  11. Seen every race live except for Bahrain (I was at the btcc at donington) and Britain (I was at a 4 hour historic sports car race) the biggest problem I’ve had has been with the coverage from FOM tv which been getting progressively worse each season with pointless shots of pointless people although Japan was a lowest mark of the season for them… I’ve been harkening back to the F1 digital plus days. Its a stupid problem though F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport it should have the pinnacle of tv coverage as well but it just doesn’t

  12. It doesn’t matter how much better one broadcaster is over the other if the product they’re covering is poor.
    You can’t polish a turd…

  13. I’m afraid it was service as usual from both teams.

    Perry looked cringworthy and out of her depth, again.

    Brundle and Croft are terrible.

    I don’t know what Brundle is doing during the race but I’ve lost count of the number of times something happens, he speculates as to what we missed, and says “maybe we’ll get a replay” when we’ve just seen it on the main feed and he’s missed it!

    Then there’s the grid walk, oh dear. What used to be a great feature has become an intensely embarrassing experience. Where Brundle used to be the cool elder statesman, he’s now seen as a News of the World reporter and is visibly shunned by an ever increasing percentage of the grid. I can only assume this is due to their lowbrow red top style sensationalist reporting.

    Then there’s Croft, I don’t know what’s worse of his two major sins.

    First there’s his complete lack of technical knowledge, I spot a rear puncture, he shouts “FRONT SUSPENSION DAMAGE” with complete confidence only for Brundle to sheepishly correct him.

    Secondly there’s his terrible habit of announcing his own beliefs but pretending to be impartial by prefacing with “I just wonder” or “the question will be asked”. He’s paid to verbalize what’s happening, not speculate on matters he’s unqualified to talk about, technical, political or tactical. .

    If I were a media lecturer I could run an entire course on what’s wrong with Sky’s VTs and features.

    Saving grace of F1 2015, a couple of the Beeb’s VTs.

  14. Well, firstly it hasn’t helped that this season has been an absolute bore.

    Lets start first with Sky.
    I think Hamilton being on form hasn’t helped my liking towards SkyF1. They are extremely biased to Lewis (still), and I am not a fan of things being biased, (looking on the plus side, thank god it’s not BT Sport). I attempted to completely avoid Sky during the Singapore GP weekend, because Hamilton had the opportunity to equal the amount of Senna’s wins at the same amount of starts, i was afraid of Senna Hamilton comparisons dominating the entire weekend. Their coverage apart from that has been rather decent, but they are slowly running out of ideas (Force India segment in Mexico GP). However Fogglebox was the absolute worst. But I’m gonna focus of the faces of Sky F1.
    I am yet to stand Simon Lazenby, he is an awful presenter and should’ve been replaced years ago. Damon Hill is one of the few i can still stand. He’s a decent presenter, but still not exactly amazing. Johnny Herbert i did like for a while but i really dislike him now. I just don’t like him as a presenter, the only thing he’s done good this year is in that Mexico GP segment where he let go of the bat and it went straight into Lazenby’s balls.
    David Croft seems like a nice guy, but i don’t like him as much as a commentator, he’s decent but far from great (At this point I’d like to thank him for the shoutout’s in Italy FP3 and Mexico FP1). He is starting to join the Hamilton train. His co-commentator Martin Brundle is the only reason i was happy about the switch to pay TV. Throughout 2011 we had to listen to the god awful commentary of Brundle and Coulthard, at least that was over after 1 year. His grid walk has not been that on point recently, but he is too in the Hamilton train. Ted Kravitz is pound for pound the best reporter/presenter/commentator in the Formula 1 business, and this season he has been amazing as always.
    Natalie Pinkham has also been good this year, despite missing a big chunk of it. And then we come to Sky Sports News’s Rachael Brookes and Craig Slater. Rachael I guess is ok, but not that amazing. Craig on the other hand is dreadful. He’s better than Lazenby. I’ll give him that.
    Overall SkyF1, is decent, but I’m still not a fan, especially with the “season montage” which they decided would be a Hamilton Career Montage. Especially if you compare that to BBC’s montage. It was rather poor. Overall I’d not choose Sky as my main option, more of a last resort.

    Now, onto what could (unfortunately) potentially be BBC’s last season covering Formula 1.
    I love BBC’s coverage, not because it is Free, but i see it as better to watch, i have more enjoyment watching their coverage. And plus, its actually a lot less biased. However, on that point, i must point out, BBC has been quite biased this year, more than previous seasons. But most of their features and coverage have been rather good. However the scheduling is a big issue in my opinion. Being a free to air channel it is always gonna be quite hard to fit coverage in between their usual programming. I’m mainly pointing at coverage for the Canadian Grand Prix starting with 35 minutes to the start, and going off air a few minutes after the Checkered flag. More recently, for qualifying for Abu Dhabi, they had to go off air minutes or even seconds after Rosberg had got Pole, and on the Sunday as well, when they switched the coverage to BBC2 30 minutes before they were on air. After the race i saw many comments on Reddit saying how annoyed they were that they had recorded 3 hours of tennis when they were out and not the F1 Finale. After that long segment i should really talk about the faces of BBC’s F1 coverage.
    Suzi Perry is growing on me now, she is the far better presenter of the 2 broadcasters and occasionally it’s very fun to watch her. Especially when Eddie’s arguing with someone, she looks at the camera and its really good. Onto DC he’s been rather good this year, but i have gone off him a bit though. Eddie Jordan is the main reason i watch any build up and analysis nowadays. He is just brilliant to watch and is amazing at predicting stuff, and he’s just hilarious to watch. A highlight between him and DC this year was when they wore matching outfits in the Canada build up. I found it particularly funny after I read a comment somewhere about Eddie using Vanish Oxi-Action and DC using regular washing powder.
    Ben Edwards in my eyes is the best motorsports commentator still in the job. His enthusiasm really gets me going, and for example in Australia and Japan, his commentary just about kept me awake. James Allen (with the exception of Brundle in 2011) was my least favourite lead commentator. But he has been rather good this year and grown on me, i think its the fact that he hasn’t been biased that much if at all (Also, thanks for the shout out in FP2 Abu Dhabi, James). God help us with those years at ITV *cough* Hungary 06 *cough*. Allan McNish has been a brilliant co-commentator during practise sessions, and if i think what should happen with BBC’s F1 coverage (if they retain it), I’d like him to be DC’s successor. In terms of Tony Dodgins, i don’t know why he is there tbh, but he’s decent i guess.
    Lee McKensie has been brilliant this year pit reporting and also presenting the practise sessions, i would’ve liked to see how it would’ve gone had she replaced Jake in 2013. Tom Clarkson has been a great addition to the BBC since Day 1. I really enjoy his stuff. Jennie Gow is also a brilliant pit reporter and is always great with the fans on social media. Jack Nicholls was barely seen on their coverage, but I’m just gonna say he’s an amazing commentator anyways, even if he is more related to Formula E.
    Overall, if this is the end, i will really miss their coverage. I also think that if their coverage ends here, Eddie will retire, he is 78 after all. the only way i can see BBC clinging on is that if they don’t send all their team out to all the races, and have a studio build up and analysis, and reduced it to 1 commentary team on radio and TV. Either that or, i wouldn’t mind it go to say Channel 4, but if it does go to all pay TV, then F1 is finished in the United Kingdom.

    So my final analysis is hopefully, the BBC don’t go, but it might be inevitable now. If so, hopefully some FTA broadcaster will pick up their side of the deal. I’m still a BBC man, but it looks like that chapter is ending. Finally, i apologise for the essay. So now we wait, and hopefully, next year, the season will be better, and it’ll still be on Free to air TV. Somehow.

  15. sadly f1 has had its a teenager in the early 80’s f1 was full of danger bravery and skill.seeing/hearing cars/drivers wheel to wheel is a distant memory the btcc which is now the best motor racing on tv will grow thanks to greedy cluless dinosaurs at the helm of f1.bernie ecclestone and co have squeezed every penny for their own taking from f1 and will be best remembered for asset stripping.and short changing everyone.i hope the bbc cancel f1 and put a sport in place thats exciting.and value for money

  16. It looks as if most of the comments here are from UK posters, and if so I’d say you are all very fortunate to have not just one, but two excellent F1 broadcasts from which to choose. And not to mention BT and coverage of many other series.

    Here in the USA we are saddled with the horrifically awful NBC Sports F1 coverage, which is subpar in every aspect, from commentators to commercial breaks to bizarre omittance of a random selection of practice and qualifying events. Throughout the F1 season, weekends of over the air (OTA) coverage are dominated by NASCAR, American football, golf, tennis, baseball, some sporadic IndyCar, and the occasional Red Bull sponsored event (e.g. Xgames or rallycross). There is nearly zero coverage on either OTA or cable of BTCC, WEC, Blancpain, DTM, IMSA, or anything else (let alone Dakar, Baja, Isle of Man, or any other one-off annual event).

    My point is simply that in the UK and EU, you have a cornucopia of excellent motorsport coverage – and a choice between not just one but TWO F1 broadcasters – and here in the USA we are living in the desert. You are very fortunate indeed to even entertain a discussion about “BBC F1 versus Sky Sports F1.”

    1. This is like saying one famine is worse than two others, surely they’re all terrible?

      To compare NBC, BBC and Sky’s coverage, the biggest difference is budget.

      NBC and BBC are budget limited where as Sky are skill limited. Sky have the money but absolutely no production expertise at all. They simply don’t ‘get’ the sport, have sub-par production knowledge and an arrogant disregard for real fans.

  17. I tend to think of them as Sky being the guys who can get a bit excitable and over-the-top in their F1 coverage while the BBC are the reassuring presence you go to for certain races (e.g. Britain, the season finale and maybe others like Japan). It’s difficult for me to say because I don’t tend to watch the build-up, free practice and even sometimes miss qualifying; I just watch the race and the post-race.

    However, I think both pitlane teams are good (Tom Clarkson & Lee McKenzie at BBC; Ted Kravitz, Natalie Pinkham and Rachael Brookes at Sky) and Clarkson, and presenter Suzi Perry, appear to have grown into their roles quite nicely after taking some time to find their feet in 2013/14. Ted’s notebook continue to be a highlight post-race and agree that Sky’s coverage of Monza post-race was a highlight.

    Bit surprised to see Crofty and Brundle knocked so much in the comments. I actually think they’re the better commentary duo; in particular, I also think they’re better at reading a race and getting the drivers right. Ben Edwards has disappointed me somewhat at the Beeb as he tends to make fairly basic errors (naming drivers, getting results or strategies wrong); a shame as overall he has a good pedigree and is a commentator I respect (having listened to him back when A1GP was around). We’re all human though and it is a tough job of course.

    1. I think while Croft and Edwards can make mistakes the reasons behind them are very different.

      Edwards makes mistakes because of his passionate exuberance and prioritizing watching the race over stats and notes.

      Croft makes mistakes out of arrogance and filling. He misses items within the race while clearly looking up some ridiculous stat nobody cares about. Then he attempts to display tactical and technical knowledge that is about as accurate as Katie Hopkins commenting on a physics lecture.

  18. Sadly BBC have let F1 go 3 years early and it looks like C4 will pick up the UK coverage!
    Hopefully EJ, DC & SP will make the move cross channel too?

  19. I think Sky has the best coverage overall for Formula 1, mainly by dint of their broadcasting everything live and having much more airtime to play around with.

    However (with apologies in advance for the cliché), I think the BBC has the best “pound-for-pound” production. When considering the opportunities and resources at the disposal of both channels, the BBC does a much better job of making use of what they have. As a result, I find that when both channels are broadcasting at the same time, the BBC programme is much better. So I find myself watching the BBC on their live weekends, and Sky on other weekends.

    With regards to personnel, I think that Eddie Jordan and David Coulthard are indispensable. Jordan is a well-respected member of the F1 paddock, and Coulthard adds valuable insight with flair.

    As for Sky, their crown jewel is Martin Brundle. I would have thrown Ted Kravitz into the mix as well, but, as much as I hate to say it, I think Tom Clarkson does a much more professional job of pit lane reporting. Ted Kravitz makes no bones about himself not knowing too much about what’s happening on track, with Kravitz asking Croft questions live on air, Croft having to explain things to him, and interrupting him for the team radio. In fact, they often talk over each other.

    On the other hand, Tom Clarkson seems a much smoother operator. He sounds authoritative and on-the-ball, and not flustered like Ted. He also provides estimated cut-off times at the beginning of each qualifying session, unlike Ted.

    That said, however, I like Kravitz’s off-track performance, namely his Notebook feature (which is available to view for free on Sky’s website). In particular, I like his Qualifying notebook, where he reviews qualifying whilst walking through a buzzing paddock, talking about the next day’s race prospects. It’s a really interesting 30 minute feature.

    His Sunday Notebook, however, is very drab and dreary. He walks through a paddock of teams packing up their things, with the grandstands emptying out in the background. It’s quite boring.

    Moving away from the pit lane, Sky’s Midweek Report (free on their website) and Friday F1 Show are quite decent but not spectacular.

    TL;DR: BBC better than Sky when both are broadcasting at the same time, Sky has good programmes at other times. Clarkson better than Kravitz. Jordan, Coulthard and Brundle good.

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