BBC F1 vs Sky Sports F1: Your 2015 Verdict Revealed

The 2015 Formula One season concluded in November with Mercedes finishing a dominant season. Off the track, what the future holds no one seems to know. As usual, the blog asked readers to give their opinion on BBC’s and Sky’s 2015 coverage, and the response was in stark contrast to last year.

Last year, many readers noted that Sky Sports F1’s coverage had improved. The opposite can be said this year, with multiple readers not keen on their 2015 service.

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. – Ayrton01CZ

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. – craighypheno

Jack Picko is also not keen on Sky’s coverage, notably the Fogglebox feature during the United States Grand Prix weekend, however did state that Ted Kravitz is still the “pound for pound the best reporter/presenter/commentator in the Formula 1 business”. The commentary duo of Martin Brundle and David Croft for Sky resulted in a lot of conflicting opinions, Rishi made an interesting comment in response to a lot of negativity directed towards the pair in comparison to the BBC commentary team:

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 A1 GP was around). We’re all human though and it is a tough job of course.

Given the news over the past few weeks, and potential developments that may or may not unfold soon, there was a lot of reflection focussing on BBC’s coverage:

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. – Richard

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. – uf1redster

Lesmo makes a fascinating suggestion about a potential hybrid programme to save costs for both BBC and Sky, presenting value for money:

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.

If ITV were to take BBC’s Grand Prix rights, questions would quickly turn to personnel. And, based on the feedback, Suzi Perry is one of the main choices for the presenter role:

Suzi Perry’s improved (see how little Coulthard has been surprised this year by the line of questioning) – Richard

Suzi Perry is growing on me now, she is the far better presenter of the two broadcasters. – Jack Picko

The Sky presenting team generated a lot of mixed responses, especially in response to their coverage of Lewis Hamilton, as alluded to earlier. Ayrton01CZ gives a summary of the current situation:

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.

There were again one or two comments comparing the UK coverage to other parts of the world. As we come to the end of 2015 in uncertain muddy waters, this is a good comment to end on.

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.” – geeyare

As always, the original post has a lot of detailed comments worth reading, the above is just a taster of what readers are talking about.


3 thoughts on “BBC F1 vs Sky Sports F1: Your 2015 Verdict Revealed

  1. It’s interesting reading through everybody’s comments. Whether people prefer BBC or Sky I think the overriding feeling is that we are picking the best from 2 mediocre outputs rather than either being outstanding.

  2. Sky have cut all of their sports coverage to the bone because they overspent massively on Premier League rights.

    I read somewhere that in 2012, they had about 12-15 producers onsite. Towards the end of last season it was down to 3.

  3. 12-15 producers! If that’s true then their output isn’t just mediocre, it’s shockingly horrendous.

    Sky are in trouble because they thought they were untouchable after bullying and pressurizing other broadcasters and sporting bodies for 15 years.

    They’re now skint because BT came along with better content, fairer pricing and potentially better output.

    Reap the whirlwind you lazy, money grabbing, untalented waste of bandwidth.

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