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BBC announce free-to-air Formula One races for 2013 // UK broadcaster adds Canada and drops Monaco next year

Published by Christine Blachford

BBC miss out on live F1 coverage from Monaco next year
Credit: Caterham F1

The BBC made a raft of F1 announcements today, but the most important for fans in the UK was the schedule naming which races they will be broadcasting live.

Just as last year, the BBC get to have ten races where they will have live coverage, and ten where they can only show a highlights package after the event has finished. This runs alongside the broadcast rights for Sky Sports, who show the entire season live in its entirety.

For the 2013 season, the live BBC coverage won't begin until the third race of the season, which takes place in April. They have some of the more important races, such as the British Grand Prix, the racing at Spa and the action from the historic Monza. However, they have sacrificed the Monaco Grand Prix this year, whereas this was previously one of the key events they wanted to make sure they secured the rights to.

The final race of the year, the Brazilian Grand Prix will also be live, so that if the championship this season goes down to the wire again, the thrilling finale can be seen in full. A complete list of races and their respective UK broadcasters is below.

DateRaceUK Broadcaster
17 MarchAustraliaSky
24 MarchMalaysiaSky
14 AprilChinaBBC & Sky
21 AprilBahrainSky
12 MaySpainBBC & Sky
26 MayMonacoSky
9 JuneCanadaBBC & Sky
30 JuneGreat BritainBBC & Sky
7 JulyGermanySky
21 JulyTBABBC & Sky
28 JulyHungarySky
25 AugustBelgiumBBC & Sky
8 SeptemberItalyBBC & Sky
22 SeptemberSingaporeSky
6 OctoberSouth KoreaSky
13 OctoberJapanBBC & Sky
27 OctoberIndiaBBC & Sky
3 NovemberAbu DhabiSky
17 NovemberUSASky
24 NovemberBrazilBBC & Sky

The BBC have picked up the rights to the race at the as yet unconfirmed race in July, as well as the popular Japanese Grand Prix. Unlike last year, the Canadian Grand Prix will also be shown live in the UK.

To me, this doesn't look like as strong a line up as it did in 2012, but that very much depends on what kind of racing action we can expect in the coming months. Missing out on live coverage for the opening races was tough this year, and it feels as though things can't really get going until we're all caught up in China. Equally, at the other end of the calendar, missing Abu Dhabi and the USA, at what could be a crucial stage in the season may significantly deter the casual fan from taking an interest.

If you follow UK coverage, what do you make of this race selection and will it affect your F1 viewing decisions at all?




  • To repeat my comment on twitter which was my belief, not a flippant comment, on Canada vs Monaco:

    Better race, to be honest

    Monaco is about bling and slebs, not much racin’ going on

    All respect to history and that but for me, Montreal does it every time

  • I think - and I have no authority, just a guess! - that it might be more of a case of Sky demanding Monaco than the Beeb surrendering it. The Beeb will gradually have to relinquish power over the next few years of its contract until it's just a highlights show or perhaps even less.

    Once Sky had their foot in the door this is only going one way, I fear.

  • I think compared to this year it is a pretty fair line-up, apart from Monaco and the lack of races at the end. I can't argue with China, Canada, GB, Italy, Belgium, Japan, Brazil.

    I'm disappointed about Monaco. Crown jewel of the sport even if the racing isn't always good, and it can be good. I do love that week. That said, Monaco's ratings were apparently down this year, and maybe the BBC are chasing ratings, or maybe they have another sport to show that weekend.

    Montreal's racing is better and the viewing figures are high. I wonder if maybe they also picked 'TBA' when it was still New Jersey to get a double-hit of evening races - we don't know when these were picked - and had to stick with it when it changed. Speculating..

    Of course Sky now has exclusive access to both Monaco and Indy on the same day.. if they don't put Indy on SSF1 after the Monaco post-race show is over they're nuts in the head.

  • I suppose it depends if last year's bidding rules remain this year. Probably worth mentioning that the co-sharing deal has been extended until 2018. Might be relevant, might not

  • Oh the other one I was surprised about was Singapore, I thought the BBC loved that one

  • The Beeb will gradually have to relinquish power over the next few years of its contract until it's just a highlights show or perhaps even less.

    i don't know how the voting goes. but if choices alternate and the bbc start, and have to pick the british grand prix, choice number two for them must be the last race of the year, because not having it in a season like this year would have been too embarrassing to bear. that leave sky's choices to be the opening race and then monaco.

    so i'm not sure the bbc have relinquished anything, have they?

  • ...also, i would guess last year sky picked the first race and then the penultimate one, because that was the first US GP and would clearly be massive.

    with no obvious second choice this year, sky went with monaco and bbc with canada as third pick (a great choice given the prime time viewing slot).

    to me the selection of races seems pretty straightforward.

  • The Beeb will gradually have to relinquish power over the next few years of its contract until it's just a highlights show or perhaps even less.

    Why will they?

  • i don't know how the voting goes. but if choices alternate and the bbc start, and have to pick the british grand prix, choice number two for them must be the last race of the year, because not having it in a season like this year would have been too embarrassing to bear. that leave sky's choices to be the opening race and then monaco.

    I think last year BBC got to pick the first three then Sky picked three and then they alternated

  • Montreal's racing is better and the viewing figures are high. I wonder if maybe they also picked 'TBA' when it was still New Jersey to get a double-hit of evening races - we don't know when these were picked - and had to stick with it when it changed. Speculating..

    i heard a long time back, that if there are an odd number of races sky get the spare. therefore, i assume bbc have to have the TBA race, no question. if there are 19, they lose it.

    it would get super confusing if bahrain or similar was cancelled though.

  • I think last year BBC got to pick the first three then Sky picked three and then they alternated

    if that were true and i were the bbc, i would've picked: british/closing/opening races in that order. surprised if they had three bites that monaco was named, not australia?

  • I think last year BBC got to pick the first three then Sky picked three and then they alternated

    Yep. So if the same is true this time, my betting is:

    BBC: GB, Brazil, Canada [home race, title race, evening race & gets a summer spot]

    Sky: Monaco, Australia, USA [Monaco, first race, penultimate & big race]

    There's a big chance BBC might've gone Spa/Monza in that first group.

  • BBC: GB, Brazil, Canada [home race, title race, evening race & gets a summer spot]

    opening race of the season is crucial. at least from our experience of stats here. australia is even bigger than the BGP, in terms of interest.

    that's the race that everyone watches (only to discover schumacher is still fastest and going to walk the season... still scarred, sorry).

  • opening race of the season is crucial. at least from our experience of stats here. australia is even bigger than the BGP, in terms of interest.

    But are those global stats or UK?

    that's the race that everyone watches (only to discover schumacher is still fastest and going to walk the season... still scarred, sorry).

    Haha yeah me too :) :)

  • opening race of the season is crucial. at least from our experience of stats here. australia is even bigger than the BGP, in terms of interest.

    The opening race has to be in their first three choices. There is also a rule as to how many consecutive races BBC can have. I think they are only allowed two consecutive races so that may play some part especially if Sky are cute about thier choices and can force the beeb to pick races they don't want to avoid getting too many consecutive races.

  • But are those global stats or UK?

    good point, that was global. quick check though, filtered by the uk: the first weekend of the year is three times more popular here than the weekend of the british gp. and that is even taking into account the controversy of people being stuck outside the track in traffic and the whole place basically sinking in a quagmire.

  • I think they are only allowed two consecutive races so that may play some part especially if Sky are cute about thier choices and can force the beeb to pick races they don't want to avoid getting too many consecutive races.

    clever.

  • good point, that was global. quick check though, filtered by the uk: the first weekend of the year is three times more popular here than the weekend of the british gp. and that is even taking into account the controversy of people being stuck outside the track in traffic and the whole place basically sinking in a quagmire.

    Blimey. People are keen for it start! I'm just hunting for 2010/2011 viewing figs.

    I wonder then if there's an agreement they won't take both ends of the season.

  • The Beeb will gradually have to relinquish power over the next few years of its contract until it's just a highlights show or perhaps even less.

    Once Sky - or any pay TV broadcaster - got hold of live F1 coverage, I believe it became unlikely it will ever fully return to free-to-air. I guess an ideal situation for Sky is total dominance of F1 coverage in the UK, and I expect this will be done incrementally, with today's news of Monaco being an example. "Relinquish" was probably the wrong word, as it sounds as if I'm suggesting the BBC are charitably handing races to Sky - I expect by the end of the current contract, or a short time after, Sky will be the only place to watch F1 legally in the UK. This is all just my uninformed opinion.

  • I'd be more concerned, if I was the BBC, that a race that I'm not sure is going to go ahead, is the one they've been stuck with. Potentially it might not be their fault regarding the way the bidding structure works, but if no venue is found, thats two whole months of non-F1 on the BBC, right in the middle of the season.

  • I expect by the end of the current contract, or a short time after, Sky will be the only place to watch F1 legally in the UK.

    could not disagree more.

    online streaming direct from FOM will almost certainly be a factor before the bbc deal ends and i expect that to eventually challenge both broadcasters. f1 won't be free to air, but sky isn't the only option by a long shot (bt vision own most of the fibre going to uk homes, they hold cards too).

  • online streaming direct from FOM will almost certainly be a factor before the bbc deal ends and i expect that to eventually challenge both broadcasters. f1 won't be free to air, but sky isn't the only option by a long shot (bt vision own most of the fibre going to uk homes, they hold cards too).

    In an ideal world that would be amazing, but do you really see FOM broadcasting down the internet wires before the end of 2018? I would love to be proved wrong, but considering we've only just finished our second year of HD I'm not going to bet my gran on it! ;)

  • In an ideal world that would be amazing, but do you really see FOM broadcasting down the internet wires before the end of 2018?

    the question you're really asking is, do i think the people currently in charge will remain in charge until 2018. i say, if said persons are no longer in charge things can change very quickly and TATA aren't fibre-ing up every circuit for nothing - www.tatacommunica…s.com/globalring/

  • Interesting analysis of the figures for the first 6 and 11 races. Eventually I discovered the Australian GP was 1.2m down on 2011, but on the whole combining the two, F1 viewership is 'only' down 400k.

    f1broadcasting.wo…verdict-so-far-2/

  • The other thing to note - Bahrain was on BBC live this year, it won't be next year. Good thing in my book.

  • The other thing to note - Bahrain was on BBC live this year, it won't be next year. Good thing in my book.

    Wasn't the 2011 Bahrain race a snoozer?

    Anyway, Monaco aside, it's a great set of picks from the Beeb. Boring or not, Monaco is Monaco, and I do wonder what the BBC would've had to give up to get that race.

    Speaking of which, it's interesting that of the two races deemed most crucial to F1 as a business (Monaco and Singapore), neither are live on the BBC. This is different to the races deemed most crucial to F1 as a sport (Monaco, Silverstone, Spa, Monza), of which only Monaco isn't live.

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