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GP Week : Issue 127
7 v F1 NEWS >> Revised 2012 calendar likely to change again? IN a shock move that took the paddock by surprise, it was announced on Friday that Sky and the BBC will be sharing F1 coverage between 2012 and 2018, with 50 percent of races aired by the BBC, and 50 percent on the satellite subscription service. The BBC will continue to show highlights of every race and qualifying session that they do not broadcast, while Sky will air all practice and qualifying sessions – plus all races – on the subscription-only Sky Sports service. According to the BBC’s press release on the subject, “the move will bring increased choice, innovation and breadth of coverage to UK and Irish motor racing fans. The two leading UK sports broadcasters will offer fans unparalleled live High Definition coverage of every race of the season.” “ We are absolutely delighted that F1 will remain on the BBC,” enthused Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater. “ The sport has never been more popular with TV audiences at a 10 year high and the BBC has always stated its commitment to the big national sporting moments. With this new deal not only have we delivered significant savings but we have also ensured that through our live and extended highlights coverage all the action continues to be available to licence fee payers.” Most ominous was the comment from Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis, who said that his channel would be the only place to follow every race live and in HD. “ This is fantastic news for F1 fans and Sky Sports will be the only place to follow every race live and in HD,” Francis said. “ We will give F1 the full Sky Sports treatment with a commitment to each race never seen before on UK television. As well as unrivalled build up to each race on Sky Sports News, we will broadcast in- depth live coverage of every session. Sky customers with Sky Sports will also be able to enjoy F1 across multiple platforms and devices, including Sky Go.” According to the results of a poll of 5,000 British F1 fans run by former IT V commentator James Allen, 81 percent of respondents without a Sky Sports subscription will not sign up to the service in order to follow Formula One. While the bulk of ire has been directed at the move from free- to-air to pay TV, a large section of the viewing public is unwilling to subscribe to the Rupert Murdoch-owned service in light of the current phone-hacking and privacy scandals surrounding the now defunct Murdoch-owned tabloid News of the World. UK fans angered by BBC/Sky F1 announcement