Ian Burrell: Scared of spinning out of race, BBC lets Sky pass

Comment

Of all people, you would have thought that the BBC Formula One commentator Martin Brundle might have spotted something in his rear-view mirrors. But even Brundle, a former Formula One driver himself, was caught out.

"Found out last night, no idea how it will work yet. I'm out of contract, will calmly work through options. Not impressed," he posted on his Twitter feed yesterday morning, still clearly shocked by the news that Sky Sports had forced itself to the front of the F1 grid.

The BBC presenter Jake Humphrey was no less stunned. Appealing for perspective, he compared the event to the Norway massacre ("it's only sport") and wrote in the London Evening Standard what was almost an obituary for the Beeb's F1 coverage, saying "how proud I am of the past two-and-a-half years".

The reality is that F1 will remain on the BBC, although only half of the season's 20 races will be shown live by the corporation. It will get the first three picks (inevitably the British Grand Prix, Monaco and the final race). Then Sky will move in and take the next three choicest races, with the remaining choices made alternately. Races that are exclusively live on Sky will be shown on the BBC as extended highlights.

It is not so much an audacious passing manoeuvre of the type we have come to expect from Lewis Hamilton, but a case of the lead car (the Beeb) giving space to the overtaking driver (BSkyB) for fear of being dumped out of the race altogether.

BBC sources were yesterday congratulating themselves on a move that has saved up to £30m a year, at a time when BBC Sport needs to deliver some hefty cuts. Had the partnership deal not been clinched, the BBC might have lost all F1 television coverage in two years' time. The BBC has invested a lot in the sport (live broadcasts will continue on Radio 5 Live) and recently won a Bafta award for its coverage of last season's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

For Sky this is new territory, but the broadcaster believes it can do for F1 what it has done for coverage of football, cricket and golf. As well as the qualifying races (which the BBC will also cover when it has live rights), Sky will be showing practice sessions as well. The offering will be made available on the new Sky Go app for mobile devices.

Earlier this year it emerged that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp had held exploratory talks to buy the whole of the F1 circus. The media mogul has had his problems recently and for the time being he must be content with BSkyB (in which News Corp has a 39.1 per cent share) having attached its brand to the sport. The BBC still has a place on the lower reaches of the podium but it's the satellite broadcaster cracking open the Jeroboam.

Who has 'Crown Jewels?'

The Sporting 'Crown Jewels' are those events which are said to be of particular public interest and, as such, are generally compelled to sell their TV broadcasting rights to terrestrial networks.

*Football: The FA Cup, formerly on the BBC, is shared between ITV and ESPN.

*Olympics: Likely to be a bidding war for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.

*Horse Racing: The BBC has rights to the Grand National and the Derby.

*Tennis: BBC hold the Wimbledon rights until 2014.

*Rugby League: Sky have retained the broadcasting rights for Super League until 2016 in a £90m deal.

*F1: From next year, the BBC will share TV with Sky, broadcasting only half the races. The deal lasts until 2018.

*Cricket: Sky have the Test match contract until at least 2014.

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?