F1: is this what we can expect from the BBC next year?

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarWednesday, July 9th, 2008


Motorsport bloggers have dedicated many keystrokes to discussing what the BBC might have in store for us when it re-acquires the broadcast rights to Formula One next year. But as yet there’s little concrete news about its plans.

Which is why this story published on its website just now about the future of MotoGP coverage is interesting.

It details exactly what the Corporation plans to do with a five-year extension to its current contract to show the word’s premier bike-racing competition.

And it therefore might give a few pointers as to what us F1 fans can expect:

BBC signs long-term MotoGP deal

The deal until 2013 includes the rights to show all the races – 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP, plus qualifying sessions.

All MotoGP races will be shown live on BBC TV with the 125 and 250 races, and qualifying sessions shown live on interactive TV and online.

As well as added interactive coverage MotoGP races will be on BBC iPlayer. Read full story here…

We know already that the BBC plans to significantly improve its interactive coverage of F1. And the latest presenter rumours have got David Coulthard and Jonathan Legard in the commentary box, Martin Brundle as the anchor and as many of the Top Gear chaps as you like knocking about for light relief.

Anthony Davidson also made a highly-regarded return to the Radio Five Live commentary team during the British Grand Prix so, if the gods don’t smile on his bid to find a race drive, maybe he’ll become a regular fixture.

iPlayer availability would certainly be very much appreciated – because if, for any reason, you happen not to be in front of a TV when the race is broadcast, it’s currently impossible to get access to anything better than an hour-long highlights package.

Being able to replay the full race at will, assuming iPlayer is up to the technical challenge of a three-hour long screening, would be simply awesome. If the Indy Racing League can do it, surely the Beeb has the wherewithal too?

A major highlight of this season has been the ability to watch televised GP2 races (even if the commentators and presenters do sometimes cause solid objects to be hurled in the direction of the screen).

It would be nice to think that the BBC’s commitment to a range of MotoGP races signals a similar attitude to all the races staged during a grand prix weekend.

13 responses to “F1: is this what we can expect from the BBC next year?”:

  1. doctorvee Says:

    July 9th, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Hmm. I don’t think any of that MotoGP stuff is actually new. The BBC already show all that stuff on interactive and you can already watch the races on iPlayer. ITV also already have F1 races for 30 days on itv.com, so I have absolutely no doubt that the BBC will do this.

  2. ljh Says:

    July 9th, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    It might not be new, but it is timely. And, since I don’t follow bike racing, I had no real idea what the BBC coverage was like for MotoGP.

    Therefore I did find it helpful to get a sense of what the Corporation sees as a reasonable offering for a major racing series, and to have it spelt out for me in a way I could assimilate easily.

    By that I mean without half an hour of watching people scraping their elbows on the track, grappling with the red button, trying to work out what the difference was between what I was just watching and what I’ve switched over to now…

    I really do hope they go with the iPlayer thing. ITV stream the race, and they do highlights packages, but you never have access to the best of their coverage unless you’re sitting in front of it as broadcast. With the iPlayer as I understand it, footage would be available for up to 30 days if you’re prepared to subscribe.

  3. doctorvee Says:

    July 9th, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    You can actually re-watch the entire ITV race (and qualifying) programmes on itv.com/catchup for 30 days. It’s not advertised very well on the ITV-F1 website (if at all), and it took me a while to find it, but it does exist!

  4. Keith Collantine Says:

    July 9th, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    I was under the impression BBC’s Moto GP coverage had not been very well received. I’m not a Moto GP fan but I’d heard a lot of people in Britain were disappointed when Eurosport lost the coverage because they thought it was better than BBC’s product.

  5. Peter McAuley Says:

    August 26th, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Oh no!

    DC for the BBC F1 coverage? Please no. What about someone with a personality? Where’s Eddie Irvine these days?

  6. Andy Says:

    August 26th, 2008 at 10:09 am

    Too busy counting his money to bother with the BBC, I’d have thought.

  7. Kristoff Says:

    September 22nd, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    The MotoGP coverage is far better on Eurosport, with the notable exception of Suzy Perry. If she graces our screens for F1 it may be an improvement, but If Coulthard gets to speak on my TV I tend to turn it off, which would be a shame.

    I predict that the BBC coverage won’t be up to much somehow as recently they decided to remove live coverage of MotoGP on a Sunday evening to favour a repeat of a very old Top Gear, whish, much as I love it just was not on frankly!!

    We shall see.

  8. matt weeks Says:

    November 3rd, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Would anybody know whether the good old boys at the Beeb have plans to broadcast on the BBC HD channel? It would be a much needed boost for this so-far-ropey channel.

  9. ljh Says:

    November 3rd, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Hello Matt, and thanks for visiting. This Autosport article suggests it’s something that’s being considered:


  10. Tom Says:

    November 4th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Am I the only one who thinks that the BBC should not have got F1 back? Fair play that they’re only interested because of Lewis (otherwise there’d be no talk of this) but ITV did such a brilliant job, so I’d be surprised if ITV get it back after the 3-year clause in F1 TV contracts.

  11. Keith Collantine Says:

    November 7th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    “ITV did such a brilliant job” – I’m pretty sure you are the only person who thinks that! They left a lot to be desired – not just in terms of the adverts.

  12. Tom Says:

    November 7th, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Come on! – I must admit when their coverage started in 1997 it was a bit flaky, but it improved towards the end! I reckon BBC will want footie back in 2014 so they’ll switch sides again!

  13. Tom Says:

    November 7th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Not mention Steve Rider is an excellent presenter

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